Archive for September 2011

Something in the air

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I enjoy being surprised…by little unexpected discoveries. Like sitting in an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in San Bernardino, and noticing tiny print at the bottom of the wrapper that surrounds my cheeseburger…

Rev 3:20

To refresh my memory…I do a search on my iPhone and find:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

It’s great to be part of a subversive plot set on overthrowing the kingdoms of the world. :)

Written by Jim

September 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Food, Musings, Travel

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Written by Jim

September 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

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A good little adventure

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It’s funny how very accustomed one gets to the presence of animals in the house. They’re always alert to what I’m up to. The slightest crinkle of a bag of chips in the kitchen is sure to draw Tinker out from under the bed where she’s been snoozing. And any time I start lacing up my sneakers, Belle starts stretching in anticipation of a walk outside.

This morning I packed up their bowls…their food…their assortment of treats (Dentastix, Jumbones, Marrobones, GoodBites)…and their little bed…and drove them over to the kennel where Miss Amy and Miss Linda whisked them off to their ‘room’. They both share the same enclosure that includes a little door that goes outside to their very own private dog run. I’m sure they enjoy that feature! I’m hoping it’s a good little adventure for them this week…they need a change of pace too.

The morning started off very foggy, but shortly after I dropped the girls off, the sky burst with a torrential rainstorm, along with bolts of lightning. Autumn wasn’t coming in ‘on little cat feet’, as Carl Sandburg beautifully described the fog…but with a resounding roar.

So this evening…the house is very quiet…and feels very empty. The girls are probably already wondering when I’m going to show up to take them home…and I already miss them. Tomorrow…I’ll be on the west coast…a continent away.

Written by Jim

September 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm

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…in-betweenness…on the threshold. It’s how I’ve been feeling lately. One foot in the real world…the other…I’m not quite sure where. Some days are good…some days…not so good. Driving home from church today, where I got my week’s worth of hugs…the sky a cloudy grey…the first cool weather  we’ve had for months. My eyes filling with tears. How long does this go on? What is the half-life of grieving over someone? A year?…two…ten…or more?

The other day at dusk, I was looking out of the kitchen windows, and saw a small tree suspiciously moving, as if it was being tossed about in the wind. None of the other trees were moving. I quickly grabbed my binoculars, and sure enough, I spotted the ringtail of a raccoon. It was foraging at the very top of the tree…munching on the tender leaves while precariously balancing its feet on slender branches. I suddenly had the urge to share my find…but…then I remembered.

Emily Dickinson wrote that, “the truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would go blind.”  Paul wrote that, “now we see through a glass darkly, but then…face to face.”  There’s a lot of explanation that I’m longing for at the moment…

Written by Jim

September 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Grieving

Something completely different

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The worst of the summer heat appears to be over here in the Carolinas. Daytime temps are still up in the 80-90 degree range, but the nights are definitely getting cooler…sinking into the mid-50s. Autumn is in the air…the haze is clearing…one can almost breathe again. My plan this year to embrace the hot summer months, rather than dreading and complaining, seems to have worked…even after a long string of 100 degree days. It wasn’t that unbearable…but maybe I had other things on my mind…or maybe just getting older makes one less susceptible to the heat…whatever.  But…now that I can sense that the dog days are in their last throes…Yippee!  That’s the nice thing about having four distinct seasons…there’s always some different weather to look forward to.

Lately, I’ve been reading a book by Brian McLaren, Finding Our Way Again. It’s about returning to the ancient practices or disciplines that made Christianity a way of life, rather than just a system of beliefs. It’s the first introductory volume to a series of seven other books by various authors, dealing with such topics as prayer, fasting, the liturgical year, and pilgrimages. I like the fact that he stresses the commonality of many of these practices among the various flavors or denominations of Christianity, as well as how they are being rediscovered as a way to reintegrate our faith into our everyday lives. His discussion of the threefold way of Katharsis, Fotosis, and Theosis (using the Greek Orthodox terminology) is alone worth the price of the book.

Towards the end, there are some haunting lyrics from a song, Closer to the Light, by Bruce Cockburn, that capture the feeling of being left behind after the death of someone near and dear, but at the same time hint of the mystery awaiting all of us…

There you go
Swimming deeper into mystery
Here I remain
Only seeing where you used to be
Stared at the ceiling
‘Til my ears filled up with tears
Never got to know you
Suddenly you’re out of here
Gone from mystery into mystery
Gone from daylight into night
Another step deeper into darkness
Closer to the light

Belle napping

And now for something completely different (homage to Monty Python)

I think that I may have  invented the perfect breakfast sandwich…and it only takes a minute to make. First, take one King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Roll (which are temptingly the approximate size of a White Castle hamburger) and slice horizontally in half, spreading both halves with your choice of butter or margarine (I use Smart Balance buttery spread)…not too much. Then place one MorningStar Farms veggie sausage pattie (either the Original, Maple-flavored, or Hot and Spicy variety) onto a paper towel, and place in the microwave on high for exactly one minute. When the microwave beeps or dings, place the veggie sausage pattie onto the roll. Enjoy with your morning beverage of choice (mine is currently a cup of Seattle’s Best…Level 4…formerly known as Henry’s Blend, coffee). Ahh…there’s something about a good-for-you sausage pattie made of vegetable protein between that sweet, and probably not-so-good-for-you, Hawaiian role. One of life’s little pleasures…

Breakfast of Champions

Written by Jim

September 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm


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It was a busy week at work. Finished up mid-year reviews for everyone in my group. Doing phone interviews to fill one position left vacant by someone who decided to move back home to the U.K. Planning a trip out to Redlands later this month.

I was thankful for this three day weekend. Nothing planned…just me and the dogs being lazy. That lasted about two hours. This mornIng I finally decided to get into the closet and pack up Sharon’s clothing. It seemed as if each item that I carefully folded and packed away flooded my mind with associated memories. At one point, I was on the verge of another meltdown, but I somehow managed to work my way through this unpleasant task that I had been putting off for over seven months now. I loaded everything into the car and made a trip to the local Goodwill in town. I can’t say I’m glad that it’s done…just something that needed to be done.

Yesterday afternoon I went in for an eye exam. Since my last visit was over a year ago, I needed to update some paperwork for their records. I was a bit thrown by two of the questions…actually kind of a mental block that temporarily froze my thought process.

Who should we contact in case of emergency?
(Hmmm…had to leave that one blank for now. )

Marital status: S M W D

I was about to circle the M…old habits die hard. After a few moments…and a long sigh…I circled the W for the first time in my life.

Written by Jim

September 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Grieving