Thursday, January 28, 2010


Sometimes it’s not just the memory that’s important but the timing of the memory. Yesterday, I put frozen cranberries into the blender as the start of a healthy shake. The trick was to remember to put the cover on the blender BEFORE I pushed the button. I had placed the cover right beside the blender, so I KNEW what I was doing, I just remembered things in the wrong order. On the other hand, it was a beautiful sight; the brightly colored berries flying through the air - my did they fly - landing nicely on ceramic floor and countertops. And it was good exercise, picking up all those cranberries. Maybe I should get my camera out and try it again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It seems that we grievously overstayed our time in the sun when we were young and irresponsible. We too much enjoyed the feeling of the warm rays and the lovely bronzed color that resulted. Now we are paying the price – directly to the dermatologist. When our skin betrays us by breaking out in basal or squamous cell cancers (we won’t even mention melanoma – that’s just too scary) we have several treatment options. One is “burn and scrape” (I call it slash and burn). Although this sounds like it involves pillaging villages or preparing farmland, in reality it refers to removing cancer cells from that very thin layer of skin that we mistakenly believe protects us from the world. The lovely sting and burn of a sharp needle keeps us from directly experiencing the feeling of the doctor’s electrified instruments. She kindly checks to be sure we are not touching anything metal before she makes contact. It seems strange to me that the cure for too much burning of the skin is burning off what’s left. Another treatment, which purges the skin of less aggressive invasions, utilizes a cream (did I see the word acid on the label?) that you drop daily on the offensive spot until it chooses to depart in an ugly crusting scabbing wave of remorse and then disappear leaving your skin in its naturally smooth and pink state. Finally, there is the most invasive method: cut and stitch. This involves total removal of the cancer cells, gathering in the remaining skin and stitching it together. Although this is the surest cure, it has a longer recovery period. And that’s just one part of the body. Taking care of all our parts requires almost constant attention if we plan to hang around this planet for awhile.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


When confronted by random tragedy and destruction, people naturally struggle to maintain what faith they have in God. The earthquake in Haiti affected many in our Linden Ponds Community whose families – parents, siblings, children – live on the Island. So it seemed appropriate to gather together as people of faith to struggle with the heartache of this destruction and to support our Haitian friends, many still waiting to hear from their loved ones. An interfaith service of readings and prayer was held here at Linden Ponds just a few days after the earthquake struck. Readings from Lamentations, the Psalms and the Gospels were given in both the melodious language of Kreyol and in our familiar English. Chris Beukman, Director of Pastoral Ministries, spoke to the anger most of us have towards God when crisis strikes and then quoted the words that, “God has no hands or feet except ours.” It is up to us to work towards the good that can be accomplished for our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Also taking part in the service were retired clergy of Linden Ponds, residents and staff. It was particularly moving to hear from some of our Haitian staff members. The music of the Chapel Chorale led by Joan Nahigian, brought words of comfort and hope. The Chorale has developed a peaceful flowing style that both soothes the soul and inspires the mind. Let us continue to remember our Haitian community in the months to come. We can walk through this trial with them, learning to become more caring of others and experiencing the blessings that come with compassion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


We are frozen in space. Not a drop or a drip anywhere. We are solid ice and snow. The small plows are struggling to open up the sidewalks but it is tough going. Dog owners have to walk their pets in the street. Some are walking three or four dogs at a time, trying to help out their neighbors. The rest of us are hiding out, making do, staying warm. The walkways between buildings are seeing good use. We can walk to French class, to watercolor painting, to garden club, to the hair salon, to our small market, to dinner. The pool and the fitness center are open, staffed by dedicated employees. We are not suffering. Our roads are plowed, our cars cleaned off, we are open for business. The mail arrives, packages, supplies for the market and restaurant, groceries for residents who have ordered them. And despite the cold, birds have been heard singing from underneath the porticoes. A sure sign that eventually, spring will return to New England.