I lost it in church today.

Our family has been through a lot of loss and grief in the past week. Week? How can it possibly have been only a week? But the world is turned so thoroughly upside down that the shock enabled me to hold myself together. Until now.

Oh, I'm still okay. Unless you count being touchy and frazzled and unproductive and unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes "not okay." Other than that, I'm doing fine.

But I'm highly sensitive to the power of music to bring forth emotions. Joy, sorrow, determination, tenderness ... music opens floodgates. There are songs that to this day reduce me to tears because of events that happened nearly 20 years ago.

I'm not surprised that I sometimes find it difficult to sing; the throat is not designed to handle sobs and songs at the same time. But this time it was not singing that did me in.

We were two of maybe a dozen people in church today, and we went into the service knowing it was going to be hard. We were spread well apart from one another, we'd already suspended the "passing of the peace," and made changes to the way we offer the Eucharist. (Quote of the week from our rector: I've used so much hand sanitizer today I'm afraid to go near an open flame.) Porter and I went further, wearing gloves, and—most heartbreaking of all—deciding not to take Communion. I doubt the latter was necessary, but out of an abundance of caution we took that step for the sake of others, in order to maintain distance. In an Anglican church, where Eucharist is the heart of worship and definitely not "just a memorial," that really hurt.

But we had counted on having the music.

We did, sort of. I'm rather proud of our "COVID-19 Concert Series" in which local musicians, who now find themselves unemployed as all their jobs have been cancelled, are hired to provide music for the service, even if everyone is watching the live stream instead of being in church. Today we had a young man who played clarinet, flute, and oboe, and we really enjoyed talking with him (from a distance) before the service about life as a professional musician, the dangers of air conditioning to wooden instruments, and the fickleness of oboe reeds.

It was lovely, but it was not enough. We are accustomed to a "sung service" with chants and music throughout. Today, for reasons I don't understand, it was instead a "said service." (That's "said," not "sad," but if I'd made that typo it would not have been inappropriate.) We had a few hymns, but we didn't sing the Psalm, and we didn't sing the Trisagion; we hardly sang at all.

Where it really hit me was during the Offertory. We had planned to sing one of our favorite anthems, and were thrilled to have flute accompaniment for it. But there weren't enough choir members present to make it work. Instead, we just had the piano and flute part together, which turned out to be very beautiful, but not singing along ripped me apart, exposing me to all the pent-up grief of the week (which would have been more than enough for a year).

Still, I know that if that's the worst of the grief this year brings, we are very blessed.

I also know why churches should not close any more than hospitals, grocery stores, and post offices should close. We must adapt as needed to minimize risk, and be patient with each other as we figure it all out. But this is not a social club. It's a life-and-death essential service.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Edit
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Despite my firm intentions to capitalize on the need to stay at home, I have not recently been accomplishing much. The world has been turned upside down and I'm finding it hard to stay focused on anything. On top of my own frazzled state, interruptions from distant family have greatly increased. They're all distant at this point—and that's harder than usually to take because in just one week we were supposed to have begun to gather most of them together here! The interruptions are most welcome and most treasured, but it's hard to work when every call, every text, every e-mail, every WhatsApp, every form of contact suddenly feels urgent.

I was at sixes and sevens all yesterday, but I made a concerted effort to have one finished task I could point to at the end of the day: I made barbecue sauce.

For years our favorite barbecue sauce was Jack Daniel's Original Old No. 7. But for months now I haven't been able to obtain it, and I became determined to make something similar of my own. Inspired by discovering the remains of a bottle of Scotch whiskey in our cupboard, I decided that yesterday would be the day. It was Cutty Sark, not Jack Daniel's, but I will hereby shock and alienate all aficionados by insisting that "whiskey is whiskey."

I found several "Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce" recipes online, took what I judged to be the best of each one, added a few twists of my own, and cooked it up.

In testimony to my frazzled state, it took me two tries. I hadn't gotten very far on the first one when something interrupted, and it ended up burning on the stove, making an awful mess of the pan.

After some extensive clean up work, I was able to see Try #2 through to the end.

Oh, was it delicious! Yes, I do say so myself. I think that even if I do find the commercial kind again, I won't look back. This is 'way better. The flavors bring to mind—of all things—the description in C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Proposes a Toast of devil's wine made from "vintage Pharisee": Look at those fiery streaks that writhe and tangle in its dark heart, as if they were contending ... forever conjoined but not reconciled. The flavors mingle without blending. It's sweet and sour, salty and smoky, smooth and rich with a bit of fire. No one impression dominates; each takes its turn coming to the forefront.

Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 - 2 tbsp whiskey
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Put both garlic and onion through a garlic press. Add with whiskey to a medium saucepan and heat gently for about five minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients, mix well and add to saucepan. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Stir in remaining whiskey and simmer for another five minutes. Bottle when cool, and refrigerate.

Using the garlic press on both the garlic and the onion was my idea, and I think it works well. The sauce ended up silky, with no blending necessary.

Initially I resisted using ketchup, figuring that I ought to be able to make the sauce from tomato paste alone. But all the recipes I consulted used ketchup, and the clincher was that my tomato paste stock was low and we had lots of ketchup. Since ketchup is pretty much a staple around here, why not use it?

None of the online recipes call for smoked Spanish paprika and hot paprika; Liquid Smoke and bottled hot sauce seem popular. I used what I had hanging around, and am pleased with the result. I suspect there's a fair amount of flexibility here if you can't get the named ingredients. If Worcestershire sauce is unobtainable, for example, try a dab of anchovy paste or some fish sauce.


Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Edit
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Ya'll know how much I dislike shopping. But I made a purchase the other day that was pure delight.

I bought a mouse.

Not the kind that Elbereth—our grandson's California king snake—would like to eat, but a replacement for my computer mouse. I'd been living for quite a while with its reluctance to register clicks properly, but then its scrolling started acting up. I even lived with that for a while—I'm always too ready to believe that the problem must somehow be my fault, or a temporary glitch, or anything else that lets me avoid having to shop for something new.

But when it started not scrolling at all, and replacing the battery didn't help, I reluctantly headed to the Best Buy website. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, among all the mouse choices, but the very same model mouse that was failing me, the one that I really like and had served me well for many, many years.

Thirty years ago that wouldn't have surprised me. Now, however, I find that when it's time to replace an item, it's no longer sold. Shoes, jeans, bras, mixers, computers, software.... You name it, most of the time I am not looking to replace my worn-out item with something "new and improved," but rather with the same thing that has served me well and requires no learning curve—but in working condition. And most of the time I fail in my endeavour.

Not this time. Could I have found a better mouse? Could I have found a less expensive mouse? Perhaps. But I bought it then and there, and picked it up the next day at the Best Buy down the street. I installed the battery, plugged it into my computer, and was able to continue working with no more thought than how nice it was that my clicks and scrolling were now dependable. I consider that $20 very well spent.

If only I could achieve the same success with my jeans.  Even the pair I bought just a couple of years ago, and finally decided would be an acceptable substitute for my old favorites, is no longer sold.

I wonder if I should have bought two mice....

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 6:43 am | Edit
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It's time for my annual compilation of books read during the past year. A few patterns stand out: my current C. S. Lewis retrospective; the discovery of several new Rick Brant Science-Adventure books, necessitating a re-read of the whole series; the release of a new Green Ember book, ditto; and the discovery in July of the Brother Cadfael books. Mystery and adventure were heavily represented this year; hence so was fiction. Here are a few statistics:

  • Total books: 92, not up to last year's 108, but more than any other year since I started keeping track in 2010
  • Fiction 61, non-fiction 22, other 9 
  • Months with most books: February and December, tied at 15
  • Months with fewest books: September, not a one; June had only two; travel is another way of expanding one's horizons
  • Most frequent authors: John Blaine (Harold L. Goodwin) 24; C. S. Lewis 23; Ellis Peters 16

Here's the alphabetical list; links are to reviews. Titles in bold are ones I found particularly worthwhile, but the different colors only reflect whether or not you've followed a hyperlink. This chronological list has ratings and warnings as well.

  1. 100 Fathoms Under: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #4 by John Blaine
  2. 3000 Quotations from the Writings of George MacDonald by Harry Verploegh (ed.)
  3. The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis
  4. The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life by Steven E. Landsburg
  5. The Bible (The Message paraphrase)
  6. The Black Star of Kingston by S. D. Smith
  7. The Blue Ghost Mystery: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #15 by John Blaine
  8. A Book of Narnians: The Lion, the Witch and the Others by C. S. Lewis, James Riordan, Pauline Baynes
  9. The Books of the Apocrypha
  10. The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis by Walter Hooper (ed.)
  11. C. S. Lewis on Scripture by Michael J. Christensen
  12. The Caves of Fear: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #8 by John Blaine
  13. The Chronicles of Narnia 1: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  14. The Chronicles of Narnia 2: Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
  15. The Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
  16. The Chronicles of Narnia 4: The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
  17. The Chronicles of Narnia 5: The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis
  18. The Chronicles of Narnia 6: The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
  19. The Chronicles of Narnia 7: The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
  20. The Confession of Brother Haluin (Brother Cadfael #15) by Ellis Peters
  21. The Crusades Controversy: Setting the Record Straight by Thomas F. Madden
  22. Danger Below!: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #23 by John Blaine
  23. Dead Man's Ransom (Brother Cadfael #9) by Ellis Peters
  24. The Deadly Dutchman: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #22 by John Blaine
  25. Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  26. The Devil's Novice (Brother Cadfael #8) by Ellis Peters
  27. The Egyptian Cat Mystery: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #16 by John Blaine
  28. The Electronic Mind Reader: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #12 by John Blaine
  29. Ember Falls by S. D. Smith
  30. An Excellent Mystery (Brother Cadfael #11) by Ellis Peters
  31. The First Fowler by S. D. Smith
  32. The Flaming Mountain: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #17 by John Blaine
  33. The Flying Stingaree: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #18 by John Blaine
  34. Go Wild by John Ratey and Richard Manning
  35. The Golden Skull: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #10 by John Blaine
  36. The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
  37. The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
  38. The Hermit of Eyton Forest (Brother Cadfael #14) by Ellis Peters
  39. Innovation on Tap by Eric B. Schultz
  40. The Last Archer by S. D. Smith
  41. The Leper of Saint Giles (Brother Cadfael #5) by Ellis Peters
  42. The Lost City: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #2 by John Blaine
  43. Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder
  44. The Magic Talisman: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #24 by John Blaine
  45. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
  46. Miracles by C. S. Lewis
  47. The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty
  48. Monk's Hood (Brother Cadfael #3) by Ellis Peters
  49. A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael #1) by Ellis Peters
  50. More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics by Steven E. Landsburg
  51. Ocean-Born Mary by Lois Lenski
  52. On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature by C. S. Lewis
  53. One Corpse Too Many (Brother Cadfael #2) by Ellis Peters
  54. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  55. Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnian Chronicles of C. S. Lewis by Walter Hooper
  56. Perelandra (space trilogy part 2) by C. S. Lewis
  57. The Phantom Shark: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #6 by John Blaine
  58. The Pilgrim of Hate (Brother Cadfael #10) by Ellis Peters
  59. The Pirates of Shan: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #14 by John Blaine
  60. Poems by C. S. Lewis
  61. A Preface to "Paradise Lost" by C. S. Lewis
  62. A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael (Brother Cadfael #16) by Ellis Peters
  63. The Raven in the Foregate (Brother Cadfael #12) by Ellis Peters
  64. Recasting the Past: The Middle Ages in Young Adult Literature by Rebecca Barnhouse
  65. Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis
  66. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  67. Rocket Jumper: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #21 by John Blaine
  68. The Rocket's Shadow: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #1 by John Blaine
  69. The Rose Rent (Brother Cadfael #13) by Ellis Peters
  70. The Ruby Ray Mystery: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #19 by John Blaine
  71. Saint Peter's Fair (Brother Cadfael #4) by Ellis Peters
  72. The Sanctuary Sparrow (Brother Cadfael #7) by Ellis Peters
  73. The Scarlet Lake Mystery: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #13 by John Blaine
  74. The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C. S. Lewis
  75. Sea Gold: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #3 by John Blaine
  76. Smoke on the Mountain by Joy Davidman
  77. Smugglers' Reef: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #7 by John Blaine
  78. Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
  79. Stairway to Danger: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #9 by John Blaine
  80. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church To The Dawn Of The Reformation by Justo L. Gonzalez
  81. The Story of Christianity, Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day by Justo L. Gonzalez
  82. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
  83. Studies in Words by C. S. Lewis
  84. Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis
  85. That Hideous Strength (space trilogy part 3) by C. S. Lewis
  86. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
  87. The Veiled Raiders: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #20 by John Blaine
  88. The Virgin in the Ice (Brother Cadfael #6) by Ellis Peters
  89. The Wailing Octopus: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #11 by John Blaine
  90. The Weight of Glory and other Addresses by C. S. Lewis
  91. The Whispering Box Mystery: A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story #5 by John Blaine
  92. The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner by S. D. Smith
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 11:30 am | Edit
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Since my birthday, when I received the first book in the series, I've been delighting in the adventures of Brother Cadfael. I had made it through almost half of the series when my reading threatened to grind to a halt, because I could not get the next book through either of our libraries (one here, one in Connecticut). I have a spreadsheet showing where and in what form (physical or digital) the books are available, and alas, three of them have a sad, red "0" entry.

Then I had a flash of inspiration. We were about to spend some time in another city! And indeed, the tiny Fuller Public Library, which I had been so rude as to denigrate on occasion because of its size, had everything I needed. What a clever solution! I returned home, confident in my ability to complete the works, since the rest were available at our local library.

Or so I thought. (Something about pride, and falls....) Yes, they are among the library's holdings, but only at the East Branch. Not to worry—the library happily moves books from one branch to another. Except for the slight problem that the East Branch is now closed for renovations, re-opening date unknown but likely March at the earliest, and the books are trapped inside.

That was probably a good thing, since I still had Gonzalez's The Story of Christianity, Volume 2 to complete before the end our our Church History class. But I enjoy lighter reading, too, especially in so busy a time as Advent, so I decided it was time to re-read my Green Ember collection, having just acquired the latest (The First Fowler) and anticipating the release of Ember's End in the spring. But I stopped after reading six of them, saving Ember Rising for closer to when I'll be able to follow it immediately with the next book. So, stuck again.

No problem! Christmas brought, depending on how you count, between 11 and 13 new books into the house, including three by David McCullough. So, no lack of reading materials (light and decidedly not so). Having devoured Nathan W. Pyle's Strange Planet, I'm now enjoying Innovation on Tap by my Occasional CEO friend, Eric B. Schultz. I had been waiting for this book for years (as had he, no doubt!) and will save my review for after I've finished it, but the very first chapter has inspired a genealogical blog post (still in progress).

I have great riches in reading material—not to mention the other 2000+ books standing at my service on our bookshelves and Kindles—so I can afford to wait for Cadfael and Green Ember, however reluctantly.

Time to read, of course, is another matter!

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 5:01 am | Edit
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Early this morning, photographed from our driveway.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Edit
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I love the fun and challenge of homemade Hallowe'en costumes. These range (not in order) from 1958 to 1989, and were chosen for the practical reason that they were the photos I could find handily.

The Trees in Autumn

The Happy Clown

The Salt and Pepper Shakers

The Fierce Knight

The Quill Pen and the Umbrella

Those were the days! The days before the proliferation of adult Hallowe'en parties, "harvest festivals," trick-or-treating at the mall, "Trunk-or-Treat", and safety-above-all. We enjoyed crisp fall nights (we never went out before dark!); hand-carved pumpkins with candles inside (though every Hallowe'en was haunted by the memory of the hoods who prowled the streets smashing them, breaking my six-year-old heart) and roasting our own pumpkin seeds; roaming throughout the neighborhood as a family, waving at our friends as we passed (we only went to the homes of people we knew, but that was most of the neighborhood and certainly provided a more-than-sufficient "haul"); consuming cider (unpasteurized, of course), doughnuts, and my mother's amazing pumpkin cookies. And we never, ever bought a costume! Hallowe'en was about children, creativity, family, and neighbors even more than candy. Not that the candy wasn't significant in those days when sweets were not so readily available as today.

I tried to keep my experience of Hallowe'en alive for our children, and succeeded to some extent. Moving to Florida pretty much did away with the "crisp fall nights" part, however.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 5:50 am | Edit
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Today some of the world's craziest most dedicated cyclists are tackling Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen bicycle race. I know about this not just because Heather used to live in Pittsburgh, but mostly because the race was founded by Danny Chew, the brother of one of our friends. I've written about Danny before; for example, when he and our friend's son biked from Pittsburgh to Alaska.

The coincidence of today's race with seeing this Babylon Bee article in my Facebook feed was too good to pass up.  (Thanks, Spencer.)

Motorcyclist Who Identifies As Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record

I've never seen the Dirty Dozen race live, nor am I likely to, given that we no longer have family in Pittsburgh. But I've seen some of those hills, and know that walking my bike up them would be enough of a challenge. I suspect even a motorcyclist would think twice.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10:18 am | Edit
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Our Church History class has resumed: we have moved on to Volume 2 of Justo L. Gonzales' The Story of Christianity. The books are interesting and the class even better—it's helpful to have our well-educated pastor's insights to affirm/debunk/clarify/expand the author's views. I wish there were more discussion—but the class is already an hour and a half long.

I recently rediscovered this cartoon, which I first came upon in 2012. Sometimes it feels like a good summary of church history. Or the history of science, for that matter. Or the human condition in general! (Click image to enlarge.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 7:00 am | Edit
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How many Anglo-Catholic snake-handling churches do you know? Once a year we let our wild side show.


This was at our annual Feast of Saint Francis Blessing of the Animals, where people bring their pets to receive a priestly blessing. Normally the service is outdoors, but rain intervened this week, so all the animals came into the sanctuary.

Had I known, I might have taken a preventative antihistimine, though I generally take such measures only as a last resort. Despite claiming for myself a corner away from most of the furry people—deserting my alto comrades and sitting amongst the sopranos—my eyes were burning before the service even began, and by the time it was over, I could barely sing. However, I managed to continue breathing unhindered, so I consider that strategy a win.

The snake? Snakes are good. No fur, no dander. Plus they eat rats.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 10:12 am | Edit
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Since 2010 I have kept a list of the books I've read each year. It began as a New Year's resolution, when I realized that although I was still reading a great deal, the percentage of books included in that reading had declined considerably. In the spirit of "what gets measured, gets done," that resolution was highly successful, and I've kept up the practice of logging my books because I still find it useful.

Last year was my best year ever (108 books read), and this year is on track to be good as well (67 by the end of August, which was ahead of last year's pace).

And then came September.

After a steady reading diet each month from January to August (6, 15, 11, 10, 7, 2, 9, and 7 books), I completed zero (0) books in September. In my 10 years of keeping track, that has only happened once before, in November 2011.

So what did I do in September, if I couldn't even finish one book?

Oh, yeah. We prepared for a hurricane. In the end, it didn't hit us, for which I'm exceedingly grateful, but for a long time it looked as if it would, and the preparation is largely the same whether the hurricane hits or not. And Porter was distracted and out of town until the threats became truly serious, because of his father's death and his subsequent executor duties.

Then we spent three weeks in Switzerland and Rome, where we played with grandchildren and hiked and travelled and visited museums from morning till night.

I could have made a better showing in September if I had thought about it. Some of my favorite times were sitting on the porch swing, reading side by side with our granddaughter, who turned from a self-described non-reader into a confirmed bookworm practically overnight while we were there. I could have been sharing her A to Z Mysteries as she blew through them. Or I could have been reading the new-to-me Life of Fred books that I noticed too late on their shelves. Instead, I tackled a longer and more challenging book: Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. I should have known I'd end up needing to borrow it and bring it home for completion.

Plus, I have plenty of fairly short books on my Kindle that I could have completed on one of our transatlantic flights. If I'd had a new Brother Cadfael book, I probably would have. Instead, I did puzzles, watched cooking shows, enjoyed a movie about J.R.R. Tolkien (that's another post), and slept.

There are no real excuses for having left September a blank in my reading record. As with many things in life, if I'd put my mind to it, I could have done better. But neither are there regrets. We had an exciting and fulfilling September, and October is another month!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 5:34 am | Edit
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What do you do when you're hiking along in Switzerland and a big Bernese Mountain dog runs up to you, leans against your leg, and sits on your foot, stopping all forward motion?

Then rolls over, exposing a furry belly and pleading eyes?

And you're allergic to dogs?

You give thanks that he's not a cat, and give him a good tummy rub using one hand only, promising yourself you won't touch your face until you get home and can wash.

Because who can resist such trusting love?

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 8:46 am | Edit
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There is something in the very presence and actuality of a thing to make one able to bear it; but a man may weaken himself for bearing what God intends him to bear, by trying to bear what God does not intend him to bear.... When we do not know, then what he lays upon us is not to know, and to be content not to know.

— George MacDonald, "What's Mine's Mine."

Waiting for Dorian is like being stalked by a tortoise.  A slow tortoise.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 10:23 am | Edit
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Porter is now the patriarch of our family.  His father died last week, at the good age of 92.  We are thankful that he did not linger in a nursing home, and that his mind was still his own even as his body deteriorated.  His obituary was published in the Hartford Courant of August 22, 2019.  Because the Courant charges a shocking price, I'm publishing the longer (and more genealogically satisfying) version here.

William Stoddard Wightman of Old Saybrook, Connecticut died August 15, 2019 at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown.  Born February 21, 1927 in Bristol, Connecticut, Bill was the son of Stoddard Elsworth Wightman and Hilma Louise (Lulu) Faulk. He is survived by a son, William Porter Wightman (Linda) of Altamonte Springs, Florida, and a daughter, Prudence Wightman Sloane (Jay) of Salem, Connecticut, as well as three grandchildren,  Heather (Jon) Daley, Janet (Stephan) Stücklin, and Spencer Sloane, and ten great-grandchildren, Jonathan, Noah, Faith, Joy, Jeremiah, and Nathaniel Daley, and Joseph, Vivienne, Daniel, and Eleonora Stücklin. He was predeceased by two wives, Alice Davis Porter of Higganum (1952-2001) and Arline Johnson McCahan (2002-2012), one sister, Elinor (Wightman) (Fredrickson) Fisher, and one great-grandson, Isaac Daley.

Bill enlisted in the Navy the day after he turned seventeen and was trained as a medic for the invasion of Japan, but was “saved by the bomb.” After the service he worked as a shad fisherman and helped Ernie Hull build the marina at Saybrook Point. He then went to Mitchell College and the Rhode Island School of Design, getting a degree in textile engineering. He worked thirty years for Albany International designing paper machine clothing. This gave him the opportunity to work abroad in France, Sweden, Holland, Brazil, and South Africa. He retired in South Carolina in 1982, living there until his second marriage in 2002 when he moved to Old Saybrook. He was an avid sailor and proud owner of the Fenwick cottage, the “Maggie P.”  In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington.

As our new rector has taught us, we are bold to say,

May he rest in peace and rise in glory!

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Edit
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We couldn't see yesterday's Falcon 9 launch from home this time, due to clouds between us and the coast. We did catch the first stage landing live, albeit via the television coverage. That was impressive enough for one who grew up with expendible rocket boosters and landing scenarios that did not look at all like those depicted in the science fiction novels I loved.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 9:30 am | Edit
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