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Heaven is freshly ground peanut butter and fresh local strawberries on whole wheat orange cranberry pecan bread, followed by homemade matzo toffee cookies (from the Seder) and vanilla rooibos tea.


(I'm dying to write about Meredith's graduation on Friday, but I found out the hard way yesterday that my hands, though much improved, still get too painful when I try to type more than a paragraph or two. I'm hoping to at least start on it later today.)


Arthritis flares

Why are my joints hurting so much?! My wrists are the worst -- they don't flare that often and never at the same time, but I've had several days lately where I've had to wear splints (not just elastic braces, splints) all day. Typing hurts like hell but I needed to bitch a little.

Yesterday my right thumb was so bad I had to dig out the thumb splint I bought a couple of years ago (last time I had a thumb-joint flare) and wear that all day. My right knee desperately needs replacement, but it's been even worse than usual. I had a flare in some joint in my right foot a few days ago. And my other joints are nothing to write home about, either.

I'm hoping it has something to do with the 2-week course of Cipro I've been on for a kidney infection. The last pill was last night. I sure hope it eases up as the drug is cleared from my system. I have a very busy week with a lot to do.

Quote of the Day

I was talking to my friend Anne this morning about the birther idiocy, and she said:
We thought Palin was beyond the pale, but Trump trumps her!
It wasn't until I cracked up and said that was wonderful that she realized what she'd said. She hadn't consciously thought it up, it just came out that way!

Happy Easter!

I don't really celebrate Easter. When Meredith was young I would make an Easter Basket Treasure Hunt for her every year. She'd get a rhymed clue; when she figured it out it would lead her to another clue, and so on. The last clue would lead her to the hidden basket, with the chocolate bunny sitting on top.

But once she grew out of it, that was about it. Unlike Christmas, all the secular aspects of which I happily embraced as a Unitarian Universalist, Easter really is primarily a religious holiday -- with a (to me) preposterous story that has no resonance for me in any way.

But I joined my church choir about two years ago, so I was there for rehearsal at 8:00 this morning. We sang "Dry Bones" (you know -- "dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ... de neck bone connected to de head bone ...") which is based on Ezekiel 37 and is easy and lots of fun to sing. We use a wonderful jazzy gospel arrangement. The congregation loved it -- they applauded at both services!

I did buy some chocolate mousse Peeps bunnies, and had some when I got home from church. Mmmm, even more yummy than regular Peeps! Now I'm going to go take a nap.

If you celebrate Easter, I hope it's a joyful one.


Please help!

via woofiegrrl:

A Japanese friend of mine wrote to me with horrifying news about the pets and animals in the exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. As you may know, people were forced to evacuate immediately, without being able to make plans for their pets. Although there have been a few stories of rescued animals, like this one, there are still dogs and cats in horrible conditions in Minamisoma and other areas around the plant. Although there are a few people who have refused to leave their homes, they cannot possibly care for all the animals, and many are in disturbing situations I won’t describe here.

There is an online form for foreigners to submit comments to Japanese PM Naoto Kan and his cabinet. Please take a moment to fill it out and ask that they allow rescuers to enter and save the animals before sealing off the area, and establish a shelter for owners to find their pets.

You can write in any language you want, but please include the following:


This means: “Grant permission to the pet owner and rescue volunteer to retrieve the abandoned pets from the Fukushima restricted area before sealing it off! Set up a shelter for the pets while the owners are found.”

Including this will make sure the Japanese government gets the message. Note that this is not an “online petition” (those usually don’t work) but rather the actual website of the Japanese PM.

Thanks for your support.

The website is in English. This is what I wrote:


I am an American, and my heart cries for the people of Japan who are facing such severe difficulties. I have sent money in addition to prayers, and you are all in my thoughts constantly. But my heart is also heavy for the animals in the exclusion zone around Fukushima. Many pets and farm animals had to be abandoned to follow your orders to leave the area, and now the people in shelters are not allowed to go back to take care of them.

The animals are starving and lonely, confused about why no one comes to give them food, water, and care. The owners' hearts are breaking from worry about the animals they love. These people have lost everything. Being reunited with the companions they love would help them so much to deal with the pain of losing their homes, businesses and normal lives.

I beg you, please, before you seal off the area, allow owners and rescuers to enter and save the animals, and establish a shelter for owners to find their pets.

Thank you for listening.

[my full name]
Maryland, USA

Medley of Poems

From Futility Closet:

The boy stood on the burning deck,
His fleece was white as snow,
He stuck a feather in his hat,
John Anderson, my Jo!

“Come back, come back,” he cried in grief,
“From India’s coral strands,
The frost is on the pumpkin, and
The village smithy stands.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
From many a boundless plain?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
Where saints immortal reign?

Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,
Across the sands of Dee,
Can I forget that night in June?
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

--Westminster Monthly, April 1910


Yesterday was my Unitarian Universalist congregation's annual Passover Seder. Over twenty years ago I created a UU-style Haggadah for the congregation, and we still use it every year. I have a health issue going on that involved some minor surgery last Wednesday that is sapping my already low energy level, so I couldn't do much of organizing or preparation, but by skipping a small potluck dinner on Saturday night I was at least able to conduct the Seder.

The group was small this year -- some years we've had almost 50 people, but this year there were only about 20. But although I'd like to see more of the community participating, it made the Seder seem more like the extended-family celebration it's supposed to be rather than the feeling of a big event.

Most importantly, everyone who attended thought it was wonderful! The all showered compliments on me for the way I led it and raved about the Haggadah. Several of the participants had never been to a Seder before, and they all said they enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

I originally created this Haggadah because the one my church had been using when I first came was too long and too high-flown for what is supposed to be transmission of oral history to the children! I was appalled when I went with woofiegrrl, who was then 5 years old, and discovered she was the only child there. As bright as she was, the college-level text was still way over her head; without understanding what was going on for over an hour of reading, she was bored to death. I could see why there were no other kids there -- but without children to learn the story, the entire point of teaching the history of a people to the next generation is lost.

I resolved to write a new Haggadah that would be short (it runs a half hour before the meal and 10 minutes after it) and use accessible language, yet include all the important elements of the Seder in the correct order. While being faithful to the spirit of the Jewish Seder, it's UU in flavor -- for example, we flick an additional ten drops of wine out of the glass for plagues that afflict all too many people in our own time (slavery, child abuse, poverty, hunger, and so on) as well as the ten in the story.

Between all the praise on Sunday and the warmth of the welcome here, my heart is full.

Apr. 17th, 2011

I need to start posting here again. So much has happened in my life ... and in your lives. I miss my friends! I always think I'll read everyone else's posts first and then I'll post something, but I never seem to get that proverbial round tuit. So I'm going to try to get back in the habit of posting first, and then try to catch up with everyone.

I don't know that I'll ever catch up with the last year or two of my own life. I have to learn to post shorter entries. Once I start writing I can go on for hours, and that's the problem. I'm going to try to post something every day, even if it's only a few lines and try to keep it to a few lines.


Therapeutic value of blogging

Blogging--It's Good for You says the Scientific American.

A neuroscientist posits that blogging is a form of expressive writing, something which has already been shown to be therapeutic, and embarks on a study trying to demonstrate the reasons.

Another reason for me to get back in the habit!

Mapping of the cat brain

(Originally published in MS Magazine, Vol III, #1, July/August 1992)


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