San Francisco

What a terrific weekend! John and I went to San Francisco (actually Tiburon) to his brother, Avery’s, wedding to Lo-Ping, his fiancee’. We started out very very early Thursday morning for a 7:30 AM flight (up at 4:30, on the road by 5:15, at the airport by 5:45), stopped, after circling for an hour above, Kansas City, MO (and I still don’t know what the city looks like!) and finally, after eight hours of trying to sit still, made it to the Oakland airport. Our nephew “J.T.” picked us up – he and his wife Angela are expecting their first in just a couple of months. To the Marriott to check in, bit of a rest, and then off to a little cocktail party at Avery’s house. It was great to see everybody from the family who was there – John’s sisters Kate, Holli and his brothers Avery (of course), Tom and Jim and their respective spouses. Donald, Brian, Lo-Ping, Judy and Jackie. (There’ll be a quiz in the morning, we told everyone…)
The weather was breathtakingly wonderful! The views of the city, the San Francisco Bay and the hills of the mainland were amazing! I would probably get into about 50 fenderbenders a day if I had to drive there:) One terrific view after another. It was a bit unusual not to have the usual fog around the Golden Gate Bridge, but the clear skies made the cool weather all the more enjoyable.
On Friday, John and I took the cable car down to the tourist areas of Market Street and the piers. We ended up on Pier 39, where we did a little shopping and had a nice lunch. I walked so much, but it was so enjoyable, the exercise actually felt good, despite my sore thunder thighs:)
If there was a choice between indoors and out – I was out! The air even felt cleaner and fresher! My face cleared up, for heaven’s sake! I cannot imagine wanting to leave that place for anyone who lives there! Friday evening was the wedding rehearsal (John was one of Avery’s groomsmen; his sons J.T. and Paul were his best men and his daughter Stephanie was a bridesmaid. It was nice to see all the brothers together. That night was the rehearsal dinner – a reception before the reception of sorts. We saw a lot of Avery and Lo-Ping’s friends who had attended J.T.’s wedding and caught up with them – a nice couple from Toronto, one from the Bay area, and another from Arizona. The family traded stories about our children, what’s happening, empty nesting, etc. (not that we’re there yet, LOL!). We had far too much to eat and didn’t eat too much, but did cheat a little on the no carb rule;).
The next day was the wedding. It went off beautifully. There was a lovely string trio playing a lot of really nice classical/romantic selections. The bridal procession was accompanied by Pachelbel’s Canon and the traditional wedding march from Lohengrin if I’ve spelt that correctly! A very good mezzo soprano sang two selections: the Ave Maria (not the Bach-Gounod one, I’m having a brain cramp here…) and another Wagner selection in English.
A friend of Avery and Lo-Ping, a minister – performed the ceremony which consisted of a reading from Romans (read by Holli, Avery’s sister) a beautiful Chinese poem, read by the bride’s brother, Danny, and an essay on married love, read by Holli and Brian’s son, Jamie (who is BTW, a Philadelphia broadcaster:)).
One sad note was the absence of the one remaining (living) sister: Gail. There was speculation about her absence, but I won’t speculate. She had her reasons, but I hope it won’t be an occasion for a split within the family.
After the reception, there was an “after party” hosted by Paul, Avery’s younger son, but John and I were too exhausted and tipsy to stick around. I did my fair share of dancing and I really enjoyed myself. John did, too, but kept saying that getting drunk was his job, LOL!
Sunday, we slept in a bit and then went to a cocktail party/cookout at Avery and Lo-Ping’s house. It was a nice mellow afternoon. I told them both what a terrific time we had and thanked them for allowing us to share this wonderful time with them. They are honeymooning in Bali beginning today:)
John and I went back to San Francisco, to the hotel, where John changed into a suit. We then went to Mass around the corner. Funny how I still remembered the responses! I even received communion. I asked John if he would mind. Though I do not want to offend any Catholics, I believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, be it a Catholic or Episcopal one, and do not believe I offended Christ. Ironically, it was at this Mass that I had the realization that although I still harbor much love and affection for my brother and sister Catholics, I am not Catholic any more. (As my kids would say, NO DUH) We then went off to the hotel where some of John’s sibs were staying and had (yet another, well two) drinks with them and with Kathy, Avery’s ex-wife. Hey, it’s weird, but we weren’t going to go all the way to CA and not see everyone we could while we were there. It was a nice visit. We then went out to the Cliff House on the Pacific side of San Francisco to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely time. We actually hooked up with a taxi driver who took us around to all of our stops that evening. He was a nice fellow from Nigeria – his mother had died 2 weeks earlier and he was trying to save enough money to get to her funeral by working a lot of overtime. He brought us back into town to the hotel and we parted with well wishes.
Then we just crashed! At 3:30 came the wake-up call and then packing, showers, getting dressed and off to the airport shuttle by 4:30. On the plane at 7:15 and in Baltimore at 3:05 PM – a half hour EARLY! (Jet stream was working with us). Although I slept much of the trip, I did get to see a bit of the mountains, Montana and probably Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan.
Home to unpack, clean the house (what else is new?) went to the supermarket, and had a salad and wine for dinner. Of course, John and I had some stupid argument because we are both as cranky as two-year-olds from the lack of sleep/excess wine/excess sugar and what I think is the beginning of a chest cold for me.
Funny thing: amidst all this partying and sightseeing, I actually got ahold of the Tallis Scholars’ William Byrd Mass for Four Voices!! Whoo Hoo! Better than chocolate. And, miracle of miracles, John even let me practice the Sanctus (which has been bedeviling me no end) in our room, which (thank you Marriott) has a CD player!!!
In the week to come, some momentous events and the usual:
3 visits need to be done
some paperwork
catch up on last week
Thursday, my last opportunity to practice the Byrd before All Saints’ services
Friday, EFM retreat and Vicki arrives to spend the night (Joey’s lending her her room)
Saturday, National Cathedral and the installation of Katharine Jefferts Schori
Sunday, All Saints’ Services and singing the Byrd in the choir; Vicki departs for CT (after all, she is low woman on the clergy totem pole)
I don’t know how I’ll ever get back to “normal” after this week!
The hell with normal:)

Here are some pics of our time there – again, apologies for the “phone camera!”

String trio and singer.

A view from the front to the back of the church –

the brothers

Avery and his brothers and Rev. Jeff awaiting the arrival of the bridesmaids and bride….

Bridesmaids here – awaiting bride!

And here they all are!

Garden in the city!

Views of the San Francisco bay from Avery’s condo – whew!

And some inside views (portrait of their late father hangs in Avery’s home office – Kate had it for a while. Now Avery does.) Avery looks most like John’s dad, I think.

A shot of the happy couple and family members during the get together on Sunday:)



Monday, Monday, so good to me…

It’s 4:00 and I have gotten a lot of work done. Had our staff meeting – updated new attorney on cases she’s covering for me the next two, yes two, months. Have a couple of visits, some file review, a couple of meetings and second chair on a TPR trial to do, but none should be too terribly difficult. Then we are off to CA – San Fran Cis Co!!! Whoo Hoo. John is already off for the week – after the two weeks of hell and solid work, he deserves it!

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two months. If we have the contract, I have a job. If not, I gotta look for one. Well, never let it be said my life is boring.
Needless to say, I have little to no time for knitting these days, but I will soon. Rest assured, I will:)


I feel sad. And at the same time that sadness fills me with hope. Crazy, yes I know, but life has so many paradoxes and in my 50s I’m learning this in a new way. I can’t really go into details here, because to do so might hurt the innocent. I believe a dear friend has betrayed me in a terrible way. I should be angry and hurt. I am instead terribly sad, of course because I feel alone, rejected and vulnerable, and strangely enough, sorry for the person who did this because he/she is obviously threatened by me on some level and they have absolutely no reason to be. I have gone through two days of intense emotional pain over this. I still feel the pain, but at this moment, have such a sense of clarity for the first time in a long time. Look at the flip side. Why should this person feel so threatened by me? I’m a big ole harmless lump ferchrissakes. I am an intense person, to be sure, but I do my best to temper that intensity with humor and gentleness. This much I know about myself. So why?
It is the answer to that question that gives me hope. It tells me how fourth grade friends can be spitting, raging enemies on the playground and hit puberty as friends who never get off the phone with each other. For the same reason, healthy people and healthy families can move beyond all sorts of pain and betrayal and remain in community with one another.
My family of origin has a history, dating back to my great grandparents, of cutting off friends or family members for years, for decades, in some cases for a lifetime. Things get intense, things get scary, things get angry, frightening and we just walk away. My brother, Dan, and I had a conversation about this. About the great grandparents who left a country when their marital plans were disapproved. About the grand mother and great uncle who didn’t speak for decades. About the father and uncle who still can’t seem to stand each other. About cousins who were perceived to threaten a stepmother’s position in her new husband’s heart. About the step sibs and ex step mother with whom we still don’t interact.
I refuse to be part of that anymore.
I want to understand. I want to ease pain, fear and perceived threat. And I’m certainly not going to let someone else’s issues begin to define me, however weird I may be, LOL:)
Otherwise, I’m just going to continue to be part of the problem.

Not necessarily my future, but food for thought

“What is Great Purple?” asks Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki in his book Let’s Eat Stars. Is it “a piece of purple sky floating in my lover’s eyes?” he speculates. “A cloud made of purple wine passing over Mt. Fuji? The color of a full-blooming magnolia’s root? The shadow of a star visible only to birds? The light of the last water you drink?” I invite you, Aquarius, to brainstorm your own answers to the question “What is Great Purple?” According to my reading of the astrological omens, you now have a special relationship not only with plain old everyday purple, but with sublime, magnificent, life-changing PURPLE. It’s a perfect moment to develop a closer relationship with whatever Great Purple means to you.

Great Purple. Hmmmmm. Like the Great Pumpkin?:)

It’s funny. The last year and a half has been a series of so many ups and downs. I have had an experience that has changed my idea of self forever. I have gained a number of wonderful friends, changed churches, grown (I hope) spiritually, matured (again, I hope). My relationships with my children has changed somewhat, dear God I hope for the better. My relationship with my husband remains a mystery. What is Great Purple to me? Deep Purple? That sense of being awestruck and small as you are enveloped in closeness to the Divine. Awestruck because it includes an element of fear and “get me outta here.” That dark place where you realize you can never be all you were intended to be and it’s still OK, because you have more time than you thought (eternity). That sense of being on the brink of understanding it all and then you wake up from the dream, the answer eluding you. Of looking through a glass darkly. Of hoping against hope that the author of the Universe truly is Love. Of being humbled by the acts of mercy in the guise of the everyday and mundane. But the good news is it isn’t just purple. Some days it’s the warm red of a hearth fire, the muddy brown of the fertile earth, the gold and yellow of bright sunshine, the blue of an azure sky, the green of growing things and the white of a flash of insight. It’s the rainbow, rightfully a sign in Genesis of forgiveness.

Tonight it’s my turn to give my spiritual authobiography in EFM. Have not written anything, but have given it a great deal of thought. On the work front, I have to go to the office to pick up files, turn in some paperwork and get ready for tomorrow. All visits are done for this week’s hearings. Have yet ANOTHER conference to go to this afternoon. (I am literally all conferenced out, LOL).

To catch up since Sunday when I last posted, Donna’s vocal recital was so beautiful, I was in tears. Despite the mushy stuff you see on this blog, I was raised to believe it was shameful to cry in public and I still have some sort of internal prohibition against that. But I could not help myself. Donna sang art songs from the beginning of the 20th century, many by Ralph Vaughn Williams, that were stunning in melody and lyric. Donna made them hers as only she can do. It was the best hour I’d spent in a long time!

Immediately thereafter, off to St. Michaels. I alternated between listening to the Tallis Scholars (greatest hits, LOL) and my CD of The Spark. Got into St. Michaels listening to an inordinate number of “f” words and crashing band sounds (good guess: NOT the Tallis Scholars). Drove by the house we used to rent there. It really looked good, but there were still a sh*tload of cars and trucks in the driveway, LOL!

The harbor was beautiful. I am so mad at myself for not taking pictures. My room was actually a 2-room suite, with a balcony overlooking the harbor. Darlene, Connie and I had some wine in Darlene’s suite and then went to dinner. I was not a good Doobie, but got back on the right foods the next day:) Next morning it was over to Martingham for the “Multi-D” conference. Mostly judges and masters. Nice to see them as human beings now and then (as if I didn’t all the time). Saw the PBS piece on kids aging out of the system. Damn it was depressing! I have a hard time with that; it makes you wonder if you do any good at all. Jennifer Renne’s presentation on APPLA (Another Permanent Planned Living Arrangement) actually had some good ideas on how to advocate for older kids – she is with the ABA now, but used to represent kids in MD, so she feels our pain, so to speak.

Got home Monday evening, crashed, then up at 6 on Tuesday to get to Annapolis by 8. Rode down with Connie and Louie (another woman with a WILD sense of humor). We left early, since the last presentation was one of the same ones we saw in St. Michaels. That conference was actually better for us. Lots of really good substantive law review, review of evidence law, and a discussion on the new TPR statute.

OK, knitters, I know I’m boring you to death here! Just bear with me!

Got back yesterday afternoon. John had already left for work. Answered e-mails, deleted a lot of e-mails (sorry), did a little knitting on Brie’s scarf, and then Kristin and Sonny came by. They were picking up a space heater for Kris’ place. After giving her the usual warnings, which she understands better than I do, they went out to dinner and took me along. We went to the Panda Buffet, so I could behave myself in terms of carbs:). We went out fairly late, but the food was still pretty good and we really enjoyed ourselves. I teased them about how old they must be to take an old fart like me out on their date, but it was truly fun. When we got back, they loaded up Sonny’s van and I was ready for bed. So I had a really good night’s sleep.

After EFM tonight, I hope I have the energy to clean this place – it’s a disaster area! That’s what virtually being away for 3 days does!

This morning, after finally lugging the summer clothes downstairs, I got some of my projects into a box to keep while I finish others. I decided having too many UFOs around was not good for my mental health, LOL, since i hate living in a pig pen. Still working on: FLAK and getting to first sleeve; Dan’s oversized sweater, Sabrina’s scarf (took the easy way out and cast on a gagillion stitches onto a circ. needle, alternating moss stitch with dropped stitch patterns. so far so good), Log Cabin afghan from Mason-Dixon knitting and the Prayer Shawl (am a little more than 1/3 done, since I’ve finished a skein of the yarn. It’s very soft and actually looking not half bad!).

When I have some decent progress to show, I’ll post pics.


Circle Pits, not Karate Kicks???

OK, I did it. What is that you said? Sorry can’t hear you! What an amazing night. I came away with an appreciation for punk/hardcore music. Now some will tell you it’s not music. They will say all the “songs” sound alike. ‘Taint necessarily so. What I found really fascinating was the fact that the boundary distinction between performer and attendee was seriously blurred. The lyrics reflect the rage and sense of injustice. The yelling, the loud music, the intense, lightening swift rhythms brought forth by the drummer reflect the emotional catharsis that is being wrought by this artform. My ears hurt, there were a LOT of sweating young people. I had two big men standing in front of me, blocking me from the hurtling bodies of the young adults watching and participating in the entire thing. And my daughter, facing the amps with her bass, intently playing and enjoying every minute. I didn’t realize there is even a brief reference to her band (The Spark) in a Wikipedia article on the music of Baltimore!
When I arrived at Ten-Car Pileup in Towson (at about 9:30), the band, Kill Your Idols was setting up. Kill Your Idols were friends of Kristin and Dori’s about 10 years ago when the two of them went up to NY to see them. They actually stayed at the home of one of the bandmembers while they visited. This was Kill Your Idols’ last performance for Baltimore. A fitting prequel to the arrival of The Spark. They had quite a following! Kill Your Idols was typically punk with the lyrics shouted together by leader and crowd, the lighteningspeed drumming and fast bass/rhythm guitar progressions. But The Spark really took them up a few notches. It was really amazing. Yes, I’m her mother. Get over it.
I will modify this post by adding some pics I took. But I gotta pack and get to the recital, then to St. Michaels. Back Tuesday evening:)


“on this life journey friends are guides, guardian angels, mentors, role models, truth tellers, comforters, comic relief and side kicks.” Bonnie Anderson

How true that is! I was thinking about how important friendship is – you know, all those funny e-mails you get telling you that a true friend is not only someone you can call after you’ve killed someone and they’ll keep it quiet – but they’ll help you bury the body. Probably not a good analogy, but you get the idea. More often than not over the years, I’ve felt like the comic relief and side kick to the lives of many of my friends. Let’s face it, one doesn’t often know who ones true friends are until life hands you that kick in the gut that brings you to your knees. Not being a particularly attractive or wealthy person, I’ve felt that most people whom I consider as my friends truly are. At least I hope so.
Well this morning went reasonably well. I watched the granddarlings for a few hours while their Mommy slept after a long night at work. She’s a 911 operator, and has an insane work schedule, and Daddy had to work and the other grandp.s do more than their share of daycare, so it was my turn. I have to laugh. I raised six, hear me, six children. I used to start my day off making breakfast, doing dishes, gathering up the wash, making beds, vacuuming, even cleaning a bathroom or two, nursing one baby, feeding the others cookies (I know, shame on me), arguing with a pre-adolescent, moving over the next washload, folding, putting away, making lunch, doing dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, putting a couple down for naps, finishing the wash, getting them up from naps, making dinner, cleaning up, baths, bed and then I had time for myself.
Now I’m a grandma and I couldn’t multitask to save my a$$! By the time Dori got here to pick them up, the house was a disaster (and only the play room was picked up because Madison cleaned up, LOL). Ruby had not had her nap. Nobody had had lunch, and even Dori was cranky.
But we had fun.
What is it Bill Cosby said about his parents being nice when they became grandparents, “These people are old. They know they are going to die soon. They want to go to Heaven. “
Oh well…..
It’s been a couple of days since I posted. Thursday we had choir rehearsal and it was without a doubt one of the best rehearsals I’ve been to in my LIFE. Nancy was tough and I only wish she were like this all the time. We really really learned this piece. It is so wonderful to have a productive rehearsal. So often, I feel like I’ve got to go home and practice and learn the notes myself. Nothing wrong with that, but I felt like we were starting to take the music to the next level. Nancy is a brilliant musician. Unfortunately, she is doing really the work of 2 or 3 people – she directs four choirs (2 bell and 2 vocal), a youth instrumental group, runs the music department of a fairly large Episcopal congregation with all the administrative details involved therein and is a world-class organist who performs at least one breathtaking concert every few months, to say nothing of regular music and a Pre- and Postlude every blessed Sunday! Rehearsal was intense. I don’t know how she maintains her energy, but God bless her! What was so rotten was that afterward one after another of us told her they’d be out of town this Sunday! Nice reward for such hard work, eh?
I will be there tomorrow, but that’s cold comfort as I am not anything like some of the star singers of the group who often carry the day for us! And I am just learning to sing tenor. The cold has helped, LOL:)
Speaking of going out of town, my boss invited me and another attorney, Connie to go with her to St. Michaels for the first day of the statewide multidisclinary conference on CINA (child in need of assistance) cases. Whoo hoo – hobnobbing with the judges and masters – hope I don’t have to behave too much! Seriously though, it should be interesting and we are staying at the St. Michaels Harbor Inn – the hotel John pre-opened when we lived there twenty years ago! I’m leaving to go there tomorrow afternoon after I attend Donna H.’s recital of English sacred music (my favoritest ever – lots of Ralph Vaughn Williams!). Donna has an amazing voice. It’s truly beautiful and I know I won’t be disappointed:)
Meanwhile tonight….

and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment Winners
Best Punk Band The
The Spark keeps its punk straightforward with its sophomore 7-inch,
Fashion Rats and Status Whores (Mike Fitzgerald Records). Whores’ 10 superfast
tracks are a barrage of double-time drums and neck-grabbing riffs, throat-vocal
blasts slicing through only when necessary, from the leadoff affront of “Circle
Pits Not Karate Kicks” through the snottily titled “Of Course It’s a Basement,
Stupid” and the rousing “Get Awesome.” Everything here clocks in at right around
a minute, long enough to shove a pent-up emotional world into and not so long to
veer into the arty, clever, or boring. This quartet is all business, channeling
its no-BS ’tude into its unpretentious surge. And the Spark lovingly continues
the long tradition of punks killing their idols in the fabulous spleen of “Bored
in DC”: “We’re not banned in DC, not the slightest threat/ we’re devoid of rage
and inviting complacence/ our passion is fading, we’re accepting the norm/ this
must be the quiet without the storm.”
Tonight I get to hear my daughter, Kristin, play her bass in her old band, The Spark. The Spark was voted in ’04 as Baltimore’s Best Punk Band (see quoted article above) and although I am not normally a punk rock fan, I am so proud:) Their lyrics are decidedly anti the current regime, so I am further proud. A few less “F” words would be helpful, though. Anyway, this is The Spark’s farewell performance, their “swan song” as it were, so I thought I should go and actually see Kris play. I will try to take a picture or two and post it if possible.
Fear not, Kris is not done with her musical career. An employee for the State by day, student by evening, she will still be playing with her new band, Dragon something or other, by night. (WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I ANYWAY???)
Anyway, I am going to find a pair of jeans that fit, a top that won’t embarass me (or my kids) and try to go and act inconspicuous! Well at least Dori is taking Madison (and some earplugs) – she’s 6 1/2, so it’s not like its child abuse or anything. I think it’s way cool that she’s getting to hear Aunt Kristin play! Three generations all moshing together (NOT)!
I still have to-do lists. Before cinderella gets to go to the (Headbanger’s) Ball, she’s gotta
-finish the wash (ah, the Neverending Story!)
-clean up kitchen, den and living room and playroom
-vacuum (MAYBE)
-switch winter and summer clothes
-bring summer and unused winter clothes back down to basement
-practice for choir tomorrow (I’d better!)
-shower and dress for the show
-find out how to get there (It’s a place called Ten-Car Pileup in Towson, LOL!)
Think I should bring earplugs?
Yikes….Didn’t there use to be a band called “Mommy I’m Scared” ???

Half Day and I don’t know how to act:)

Yesterday was spent at the desk, doing a lot of paperwork, answering e-mails, getting ready for today. Yesterday evening was EFM, and what an interesting evening it was! Have you ever had the eerie feeling that something greater than your own planning was at work? I did last night. I drove over to church to cram some last minute reading (in the car, in the parking lot) for the course. This picture doesn’t really do justice to the beauty of this place. As I was about to get ready to go in, my phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but it was an area code in the Denver area – so I called it back – my brother, Rob, was meeting my Dad and Maureen at the airport and he didn’t know either of their cell phone numbers. It was so weird. There I was, sitting in a parking lot in Ellicott City, MD, getting a call from my brother at a Denver airport! OK, so I’m an old fart, but how utterly cool is that? Rob’s friend, Lisa, was with him and we briefly said hi over the airwaves, LOL. I hope their visit goes well with the parental units. It’s terrific that they’re able to get around and see everyone (the folks, that is.)
Anyway, after all that happened, we had a really amazing EFM class. Two people gave their spiritual autobiographies and both were alternatively fascinating and moving. It took a lot for them to share. Confidentiality prevents me from sharing what they said, but suffice it to say, we are in for a very interesting year. I only hope I have something worthwhile to contribute. Mine is next week and my life is so mundane next to some of the other folks. But the good news is, we all have something to contribute, even the mundane:) Many of the people in my class have backgrounds in different faiths, but also the types of professions that lend themselves to spiritual exploration and introspection. And we even have an archivist! Everyone has a unique and interesting perspective; it’s already been almost overwhelming, as if planned by some unseen Hand.
Today, I covered Ann’s two cases and she is covering a rescission for me this afternoon. Hence I am typing away at this blog. I’ve already done some knitting as I was checking e-mails, LOL. I so want to get the FLAK done before we go to San Francisco for my brother-in-law’s wedding, but I’m going to have to also finish Sabrina’s scarf. Maybe I should just focus on those two projects until the end of the month and then pick up one at a time to finish. I am about ready to start the sleeve section and will probably start decreasing in about 5 rows. I thought what I would do would be to start knitting in the round at this point so I would have a reference point to measure the sleeve length. I’ll see how that looks – hopefully I won’t have to frog back!
There’s not much real progress to show in a picture, so I’m going to hold off on posting anything until there’s something of substance to show.
The leaves are beginning to change colors and I am having a lovely view from the back of the house right now. Have gotten some work done – think I’ll settle in for a little knitting before the evening’s activities. This evening is choir practice, which is always a lot of fun, and I may try to get in a little practice ahead of time on the Byrd.