Sunday, January 21, 2018


Herself speaks.

This evening, at the rosary service for the young man, one of his brothers sang a song. And hearts broke anew. God, have mercy. Rest easy, young man. You are loved, from here to beyond.

Brother, by NeedToBreathe

Ramblers in the wilderness we can’t find what we need
We get a little restless from the searching
Get a little worn down in between
Like a bull chasing the matador is the man left to his own schemes
Everybody needs someone beside em’ shining like a lighthouse from the sea

Brother let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Face down in the desert now there’s a cage locked around my heart
I found a way to drop the keys where my failures were
Now my hands can’t reach that far
I ain’t made for a rivalry, I could never take the world alone
I know that in my weakness I am stronger
It’s your love that brings me home

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Double Decker Dogs

They help me work at the computer. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Education Is A Mighty Good Thing

Will be spending some time in the building in which I found this plaque.  Thank you, American people, for making higher education possible.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Godspeed, My Hamster Friend

Herself speaks.

Rocky the hamster, ancient and venerable, has gone to meet his Maker.

He had done well despite his advanced age; he ran and snacked and hoarded his food and fluffed his nest and rootled about in the bedding of his lair and regularly peeked out of his habitat to greet us and ask for treats. When he emerged from his nest yesterday evening, though, it was clear that he was ailing. He chose to rest out in the open by his igloo, eyes mostly closed, curled comfortably with head resting on paws. He did not seem to be in pain. I touched him lightly, and he did not complain. (Previously, he would flinch or run at contact; it was clear that he was well beyond those reactions now.) He was waiting for the right Time, and it was clear that Time was near.

I provided a square of fluffy bedding and a piece of sweet potato nearby to him, in case he felt a need for nesting or a snack, and let him be.

And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life. —J.K. Rowling, Tales of Beedle the Bard

This morning, his body remained curled gently in its spot, and he was gone. 

He was a handsome creature, even in death, with his soft grey fur and his little rounded ears. He looked  peaceful. I removed the giant nest he had built these past few months in his exercise wheel and put it into a box; I tucked him carefully into the nest. He has his stash of kibble within his nest to carry him into the Afterlife, where sunflower seeds will abound and all shall be warm and safe. Godspeed, my fine tiny fur friend. 

We will bury him with the other pets in my in-laws' garden. It is a Good Resting Place.

Farewell, Rocky. Thank you for your time with us. 

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018


Herself speaks.
Quite serious again today.

We continue today to process the death by suicide of a young man of our acquaintance. Bits and pieces of information come to us slowly, filtered through a variety of people of varying closeness to the family of the young man. There was first word of a terrible note, implying that this last act was an act of rage. Later information softened the tone -- it was in fact a simple text, not a note, and it was, more than anything else, an ever so sad message. Heartrending.

While anger thus has no purchase on which to stand, sorrow and regret and and immense, encompassing anguish have descended and perched on every surface. No one knows what to do, what to say.

We cannot change what has happened. How do we lead forward the grieving? Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute, if necessary. Breathe. Let it wash over us. Breathe again. And those for whom it may help, we pray.

-- John O'Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us.

As you huddle around the torn silence,
Each by this lonely deed exiled
To a solitary confinement of soul,
May some small glow from what has been lost
Return like the kindness of candlelight.

As your eyes strain to sift
This sudden wall of dark
And no one can say why
In such a forsaken, secret way,
This death was sent for …
May one of the lovely hours
Of memory return
Like a field of ease
Among these gravelled days.

May the Angel of Wisdom
Enter this ruin of absence
And guide your minds
To receive this bitter chalice
So that you do not damage yourselves
By attending only at the hungry altar
Of regret and anger and guilt.

May you be given some inkling
That there could be something else at work
And that what to you now seems
Dark, destructive and forlorn,
Might be a destiny that looks different
From inside the eternal script.

May vision be granted to you
To see this with the eyes of providence.
May your loss become a sanctuary
Where new presence will dwell
To refine and enrich
The rest of your life
With courage and compassion.

And may your lost loved one
Enter into the beauty of eternal tranquility,
In that place where there is no more sorrow
Or separation or mourning or tears.