Thursday, April 30, 2009

I was late because Jeff couldn't drop Chris at school for me. Instead of the usual chronological review, beginning in Genesis, up to the book under consideration - which is always very helpful - we reminisced on the life of Christ.1

As I picked up a stick-on name tag, someone mentioned his first miracle, turning the water to wine at, well, she said, Capernaum. Pretty quickly, our leader set her straight. And, even though I've been to a town called Cana - and its church - nobody really knows where the biblical Cana was.

But what is it with this being Jesus' first miracle?

I began to question this bit of common knowledge while watching Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth at church during Advent. Someone objected that the water-turned-wine was his first miracle, but Zeffirelli stages the curing of the demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum as Jesus' first supernatural manifestation. Are healings not miraculous? Maybe not.

Let's see, I have my Gospel synopsis here and it seems that in calling Simon Peter, James and John, according to Luke, there was a "miraculous" catch of fish. Mark doesn't have it that way. Luke switches Mark's order here, placing the calling of apostles after the healing. And Cana occurs only in John, after the calling of Simon Peter and Andrew.

And yet, Cana is in our minds as Jesus' first "public" miracle, a debut, because (1) of the prominence the Fourth Gospel has always had relative to the Synoptics, (2) of the eucharistic and messianic overtones of the miracle and (3), as John 2:11 puts it:
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (RSV)

1 I could tell from the items listed on the whiteboard that I just missed the discussion of Jesus' "brothers and sisters."



A quiz in a book I really should have ... put it on my Amazon Wish List for Mother's Day/birthday ... I struggled with a couple but do better with the dialogue questions - that I can replay in my head - than those dependent on being observant.

Is "Hammerton" Hamilton? Never really knew all that the telegram said.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Misidentified as Upper Freehold, I pass this house everyday now that the bridge is open ...

Abandoned home may get knocked down - Examiner, 4/23/09.

Monday, April 27, 2009

UPDATE: Oh, it failed to pass without my vote ...

Millstone school budget defeated by 278 votes - Examiner, 4/30/09:
As they have for the past several years, Millstone voters rejected the school budget ...

Millstone Township Superintendent of Schools Mary Anne Donahue said she is extremely concerned from an educational perspective about the effects of the voters’ decision.

“... as our budgets have been continually defeated and then cut, we have worked extremely hard to try to maintain the level of excellence of our educational program,” Donahue said. “I anticipate that if budget cuts are made, this will no longer be possible.”

“any major reductions that are recommended will need to be taken from our K-8 program,” she said.
So, basically by the time my kids get to public school ... it will suck.

Better find out from my girlfriends how to homeschool ...

Yeah, but I literally forgot ...

Low voter turnouts are inexcusable - Asbury Park Press, 4/26/09:
Only 1,106 Millstone residents voted in the school election. At least 4,231 were missing in action.

We're all busy — there's no excuse.

Information was sent to my e-mail address and fliers with budget details were sent home ...
Perhaps if my kids were in the public school, I'd have gotten those reminders.

A week prior, I decided to vote right after dropping the kids off at catechism. I've made the mistake of going over there first thing in the morning only to discover the polls don't open until 2.

However, when the time came, I drove home like usual. How can I blame habit when we've been off CCD for two weeks?

Jeff called around 8 to say he was going to vote and then be home. At that point, it was too late to drag the kids out again.

I could just be cynical and say the town will pass it anyway like they did two years ago but, no, I really wanted to vote and had intended to. I take it very seriously.

Tell you what, Rose: Jot down my name and number and call me with a reminder next year. Thanks.
I was pretty sure Sandy Hook is "carry in / carry out" on trash ...

Volunteers sweep Shore - Asbury Park Press, 4/26/09:
The company is the first and only company to recycle the bottle caps, Kline said.

Volunteers picked up 33,282 caps and lids last year.
I would have estimated bottle caps were number one, but yes, it is shocking how much garbage is there, once you ... or the kids ... start looking.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A group of us went to Joe's Crab Shack on Rt. 1 in Lawrenceville for dinner. It was nice of them to invite me, actually. I gave Michele a graduation present, a book. What else would I give?

She told me she was in a pinch and used the commentary I had given her three years ago. I recall it being one of the better ones; not all the volumes in that series are helpful. The WBC is two volumes. Who can afford that?!

After dinner, I had planned to attend an Episcopal service on the Princeton campus.

I arrived at University Place with ten minutes to find the chapel. When the first building I approached turn out to be wrong, I asked a passerby for directions. She said I had to enter the campus. I was still on the outskirts, apparently.

So, I went in and discovered that every building looks like a chapel, especially at night. The place is just silly with Gothic spires. Asked another person for directions and after walking to the other side of the block, I found the chapel and slipped inside.

A beige, metal book-truck stood in the vestibule with hymnals and folded paper programs. I took one of each and boldly went inside the nave. The nave was empty except for the four-person procession standing at the front. I then spotted a dozen or so heads, people sitting on either side of the choir.

I stopped cold about halfway down the nave and the priest heard me, turned 'round and gestured me to come forward. I breathed an apology about being late and brushed past, climbed the stairs and took a quick seat on the top row. I became self-conscious when I saw no one else sitting on the top row. And I soon became aware that I was sitting behind the choir, I mean, the ones who sang. But, really, all that embarrassment would come later ... or more gradually. It was a running hour of embarrassment. I was pretty sure at least one person spotted me for a papist.

I knew the processional hymn, Alleluia, Sing to Jesus, well enough to sing from memory while I found my place in the hymnal. The cover of the folded program announced it was the Feast of St. Mark and the inside explained that the feast had been transferred from the previous day. True enough; keep the calendar interesting.

So, an invocation, a collect, the Gloria. Another collect. First Lesson (Reading) from Isaiah ... I don't know what translation was read from, actually ... the choir sang Psalm 2. The Second Lesson was from Ephesians and the Gospel was, like us yesterday, the "Longer Ending" to Mark.

A young man slipped in next to me during the sermon. So, no, I wasn't the very last to arrive. People blessed themselves at various times. I tried to keep up so as not to stand out. One man made a deep bow every time Jesus' name was mentioned, even in song, thinking of Philippians 2:10, perhaps. Several people bowed to the exalted crucifix that lead the procession/recession. One man at times reminded me of an Hasidim: he rocked as he prayed.

As we said the Nicene Creed, I noticed a deliberate rhythm to the prayer. I mean, they take a full pause for every comma, every phrase. I wanted to catch that rhythm. And I became aware that those around me had British accents. So I tried to say, "Ah-men" as they did.

Same with the prayers of the people, a meditative pause before the reply, "Lord, Have Mercy." And then a confession of sin which I'll include the words here because I can't find them exactly like this online:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen
I said those words and tried to mean them. Then, as the program says, the celebrant pronounced absolution of sin over us. And it was time for the sign of peace, for everyone to shake hands and greet each other. There were only three others around me, but a man came from across the choir to shake my hand. Then announcements and the collection. Then a Thanksgiving Prayer which sounded a bit like a eucharistic prayer. The Sanctus with a familiar memorial acclamation ... "Christ has died ... " and the Lord's Prayer. And the Angus Dei. At this point, the man next to me was on his knees, his face buried in his hands. I resisted the desire to get on my knees.

I wasn't sure how the communion line would work. Fortunately for me, I had all the time in the world to observe because things began on the far side and worked their way my direction. The deal I made with myself was that if the man who walked in during the sermon went up, I would too. And, well, he almost didn't but at the last possible second, he got to his feet and slipped out of the pew just as people in the front rows were returning. So, I really had to move because the communion line had shrunk to only a few people. I approached with the posture detailed in the program for a blessing and the priest began to break off a piece of bread for me. I spoke up, then, and said, "A blessing, please" and didn't know whether it was right to call him "father" or what, so I didn't address him directly. And he gave me a blessing and I crossed myself because that seemed appropriate and that was it. It was very nice.

So the prayer after communion and the final blessing. Most of us walked out when it was over but some stayed to pray. The place was very conducive to prayer. The singing was very beautiful as was the music. And I was able to pray for Michele and, even though I don't think I'll be able to join that service again, it was very encouraging to see young people - a good mix of women and men - so devoted to God and their religion.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Aw, face it ... this is just too simple ... BEACH DAY!

She said she was going to do Jonah "again."

And I can't remember doing Jonah the "first time," which she said was "in the fall."

Let's see, when did I start?

It seems that Chris wasn't born yet, so summer of 2004? Kenny wasn't at summer camp and Tim caused big trouble in their child care. My attendance that fall and spring with Chris was spotty because of Tim's misbehavior. I have no record of that fall but it may have been a first part to Daniel. That spring, however, we did Revelation II. I have no concrete record of anything. That summer was, however, Judges, just months before we embarked on a year with Judges at the other study.

Then I suppose I began in earnest in the Fall of '05 with a second part to Daniel as Timmy was at school. Spring was Revelation III and summer was 1 Samuel. Fall '06 was Revelation IV and that finished the Revelation series. I took the entire next year off for Ella and home remodel project but I think they did 2 Samuel that spring of '07. I haven't any idea what they did summer or fall. Was that the Jonah fall?

When I returned in Spring '08, they were doing Isaiah, Part I. That summer we squeezed in both Amos ("Prepared to Meet your God") and Hosea ("A Love that will not let me go"). Plus "Revival or Captivity." The fall was the second part of Isaiah, followed by Ruth ("Kinsmen Redeemer"). Then Micah/Nahum/Habbakuk in "Understanding the Anger of God." And we just finished "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" which was 2 Kings/2 Chronicles, from the Assyrian Captivity, up to the Exile.

We've "graduated" now to the New Testament, beginning the "Sermon on the Mount" study this week. There's some recognition/admission that studying the Hebrew Scriptures is drudgery, that only the truly faithful Christian would undertake it with diligence. So everyone pats themselves on the back with half-smiles. I don't understand it. Come to think of it, I don't remember anyone really enjoying Revelation either.

I suppose I should keep better records. I'm probably relying on our organized leader to do it.

tags technorati :
I passed by around 2. The truck was upright and on the tow truck.

By the time I returned around 2:30, the site was completely cleared except for a bumper that remained on the shoulder for several days afterwards. It continues to be a tricky intersection.

I wasn't aware of the second accident.
MILLSTONE — A pick-up truck overturned at the intersection of Baird and Perrineville roads in the afternoon of April 16.

The Millstone Township Fire Department and the Millstone First Aid Squad were dispatched to the intersection at 1:04 p.m. for the motor vehicle accident, according to Dave Markunas, chairman of the township's Board of Fire Commissioners.

Markunas said Lt. Chris Weltner arrived at the scene within one minute of dispatch to find a two-vehicle accident with a pick-up truck overturned onto its roof.

Both drivers had removed themselves from their vehicles and complained of minor injuries, according to Markunas.

Firefighters provided care for the injured victims until the arrival of the ambulances. The firefighters also contained a small oil spill, Markunas said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just entering a contest for books ...

Devotional Christian: "makes it easy to read your daily devotions online. We list all the best Bible devotions on one page. If you enjoy these Christian devotions, consider making our site a part of your morning routine. We aggregate popular daily Bible devotions and present them in a user friendly format."

tags technorati :

Monday, April 13, 2009

Alright, I swear, last photo set until school lets out. I promise. Maybe.

Easter leftovers: coloring eggs.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

There was a sense of obligation and an awareness of opportunity ...
to attend a Protestant church this morning.

Call me a "roamin' Cath'lic."
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Even with twenty minutes until the early service start, there wasn't a dozen cars in the lot.
"There are more cars here on Tuesday morning before Bible study."
However, I'd rather slip in to the earlier service, unnoticed, than barge in before the later service and see all heads in Fellowship Hall at Sunday School turn towards my disruption. But there would be no Sunday School this morning - I've never, ever been! - because breakfast was on tap.
"Keeps Christians out of restaurants serving Easter brunch where they would certainly cause some scandal for the wait staff."
Prudent and hospitable.

The Praise Team was in the sanctuary rehearsing. I hung up my coat and entered by the open door. And noticed within a few minutes that I was sitting behind the Bible study leader's husband who was reading a paperback while his teenage son played bass guitar. She was almost certainly downstairs at choir rehearsal; I would bump into her later, after the worship service. The pastor's wife was among the Praise Team members but, when a duet rehearsed, she took a seat just ahead of me, after greeting me by name with a hug and a simple "Happy Easter." She asked for any constructive critique of the music. I could only offer that it was all very magnificent.

The sanctuary filled slowly as families, having arrived together, met with others according to their ministries, chatted, and then regrouped in the pews. The pastor glides in, according to humble habit, unceremoniously - there's something so appealing about that - and takes his seat in the big chair where he promptly opens his Bible and puts the finishing touches on his sermon. Or appears to. He doesn't strike me as one who leaves anything to last minute.

A sure sign that I was in someone's seat was that ... she sat next to me. She's seen me there before but still seemed surprised. She told me how much she favors the contemporary service over the traditional one, because of there being so much text in the latter. I almost clarified, "You mean 'liturgy?'" but held that comment and admitted to being partial to the wording of the traditional service myself. She said she didn't grow up PCA but that the Illinois church she came from, years ago now, had too much talking. Remembering that she used to play keyboard at the Bible study, I dismissed that as a musician's sentiment.

The Praise Team led with a somewhat traditional hymn which I knew well (we sang the first, second, four, and fifth stanza). But there was where the familiarity with the music ended. Next up was Michael W. Smith's Agnus Dei which wasn't in Latin, of course. But at least alleluia was spelled correctly. :-) And then "Hosanna" which is a religious cry that I like very much. It seems to me that the second two songs were sung at the service a month ago, but I can't exactly remember. It must be real hard to have a good number of songs that a small group is comfortable performing together. Argument for soloist right there.

The Praise Team leader stated the announcements and offered the opening prayer. He is the weak link in the lineup, dropping Reformed expressions like "destined" and "sovereign" into a conversational prayer that otherwise lacks any theological cohesion. I take his position as a work-in-progress. And he's a very nice guy. Besides, he announced the second collection which helped me feel more at home.

The sermon was another installment in this year's "Why I Believe" series, "Why I Believe Jesus Was Raised From the Dead." And he didn't say, "because the Bible tells me so." There was more meat to it than that. He took a quick survey of world religions and concluded that Christianity really makes a difference in a person's life. He's seen it first-hand. Moreover, salvation through Christ is in a person's best self-interest, it lifts them from the pit. So there was a pragmatism about it which is certainly culturally appealing (even though he insisted that Christianity spans cultures).

The most disappointing part of the sermon was when he quoted that popular bit attributed to Alexander Tytler and predicted that we Americans are spinning from complacency to apathy. The best part was when he told of his young grandchild who countered adults' remarks about the Easter Bunny with a graphic description of Jesus' crucifixion. And his observation that people don't know what to say about Christ's death is spot-on: "so that every mouth may be silenced ..." It's mind-boggling, no matter where you sit.

The acquaintance next to me asked me, as we prepared to part, to pray for her husband who had just been diagnosed. And I prayed a few minutes in the car before leaving and throughout the day today as I thought about him.
Backyard Easter Egg Hunt:

Blessed Pascha.
I took Kenny and Timmy to the Easter Vigil last night which started at 8pm.
The rain that had fell hard and cold all day long mercifully lifted two hours before and the sun even came out. It was still somewhat cold but it was clear upon our arrival that the "new fire" would be started outside.

Large wicker baskets offered tapers and the boys took one apiece. Tim began complaining about the quality of his candle immediately.

We found seats on the left of the center aisle and waited twenty minutes or so for the service to begin. Fr. Ed invited us outside at the appropriate time and the fire was well underway. Kenny wasn't keen on the candidates and catechumens crowding us out from the fire but I told him we are there for them and not the other way 'round.

After some prayers at the fire, the Paschal Candle was lit and the deacon, whom I remember from previous years, carried it towards the church, elevating it once outside the door and chanted, "Christ Our Light," to which we responded a wavering, "Thanks Be To God." We found our way back into the church and I told Tim to take another taper if there were any left. And to get one he liked. So he did. Then, using the Paschal Candle as the source, every taper was lit throughout the church, from one end of the row to the other. It really was a sight, the entire church lit up by candles. And we held our candles while someone sang the Exsultet. With the light of the candle, I was able to follow along in my missal.

A few rows over had an incident with a candle being dropped and there was some scurrying of ushers, etc., but after we extinguished ours, I told the boys that they did a nice job keeping theirs lit and safe. And I was pleased that we didn't have an incident.

The readings were as they typically are, with the line "Let there be light" from Genesis, prompting someone to flick on the lights in the old church so that the stained glass wall depicting the cosmos at creation is lit up. During the reading of the account of creation from Genesis, Tim turned to me and said with all his might, "She's making up that entire story." He can be very assertive at times. Kenny jumped all over him for it. I didn't really want to get into it during church. At his age, I don't think it's worth getting into. But I do wonder where it comes from.

The boys were leaning on me during the readings and leaning on each other. The exodus account was performed as usual, with a nice Israeli melody which my kids almost, almost enjoyed. But they were too far gone already and it's too repetitive. I should say that the singing was, as last year, largely a one-man-show. He's good, very good, but there must be others in that huge church who can sing. And the lights came up, bright and intense and I had an unique feeling that I'd never had before, of God seeing everything that goes on and bringing the darkness to light. And I wasn't uncomfortable about that reality for myself, but I was ashamed for my children. After, a deacon read Romans 6 and Mark 16.

The homily was mercifully very brief but full of joyful language about the Resurrection. Last year, Fr. Ed had introduced us to the traditional Paschal greeting, "Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!" and he checked us, whether we remembered. Some did remember and he was happy about that.

After the litany of saints, those receiving baptism, their sponsors and families walked to the font behind us. A video camera above the font projects the live image to the front wall and, so, seeing that many of the congregation stayed in their seats, I figured there would be plenty of room for me and the kids to go back! At first Kenny didn't want to join us, but he later changed his mind and came back. We could see pretty good, as I said, there weren't many extras like ourselves. There were six adults for baptism, a small class indeed. Fr. Ed grabbed a large shell and stepped into the ankle deep water. One at a time, they stepped into the water with him and he poured water on their heads three times in the name of the Trinity. That's gotta be the most amazing, miraculous thing ... and it looks so ordinary, but it's extraordinary. Amazing that people want this for themselves ... and can get it. That's all grace. And, as each came up from the water, Fr. Ed greeted them, "Praise God who has chosen you in Christ." Amen.

Tim was quick to comment on the proceedings, with his tongue stuck out and a thumbs-down gesture and a quiet "Boo." I warned him that some people were taking video tape of the goings-on and I wouldn't want them to catch a glimpse of him being that way. I told him to keep his opinion to himself because this is a very important moment for these people.

So, there's a little downtime after the baptisms as everyone who got wet changes their clothes. I gave the boys an opportunity to get a cold drink and use the restroom and we returned to our seats rather leisurely. Tim noticed that ushers were filling metal bowls from the baptismal font and he asked why. I said there would be a sprinkling rite which Tim successfully dodged by pulling my coat over his head, but Kenny was thrilled to get dropped on.

After the confirmations, the liturgy of the eucharist began and it was old hat again, smooth sailing. The kids stopped asking how much longer the service would be because we were at last, again, in very familiar territory. My kids aren't very flexible about using kneelers because we sit in the choir loft at our church were the kneelers are always down. Tim happened to be standing right where two kneelers met, so he had to hop around a bit to avoid having his feet crushed. They also aren't flexible in the communion line, can't go with the flow. So, when Msgr. Stan finished his line on the outer section and sought to assist in the center, Kenny didn't know enough to go to him. And Tim just waved him off. Which is better than last year when he stuck out his tongue at him. I remember even if neither of them do.

The concern from the beginning was whether the candles would be available for lighting. As if the service of light at the beginning of the vigil hadn't satisfied their pyromania. And I noticed that even before the closing hymn was sung, the velvet rope barring the banks of votives had been lowered, maybe by a mob.

There's no question that the music was very, very loud in the second half of the service. I'm not sure whether the acoustics are just poor but the brass instruments, especially the trumpets, just blare. My kids, unfortunately, had their hands over their ears ... and we weren't sitting close by any means. Even a man behind us, no doubt noticing them, remarked that the music was loud. I didn't lose my voice singing as in years past. I was a little more self-conscious.

I told Tim about the candles and he literally made a beeline over, cutting through empty pews and running right in front of people trying to leave. It was about 10:30. I gave them each several dollars and I tried to keep track of how many they were lighting. When I told Tim that he was done, he snuffed his most recent candle out and then relit it. I had to reprimand him for that but was uncomfortably aware of a man to our right on his knees in front of an icon and I realized that, unlike me and my kids, some people are actually praying in here for their intentions. I'm just not sure how anybody can come away from the Easter Vigil service with all its prayers and joy and feel a need to light a candle and kneel before it. Isn't that something one does outside of mass? Like, when attending a liturgy isn't a possibility? Certainly we offered our intentions just now. I was even more troubled to see a man rubbing his right hand on all the stained glass windows in the alcove very quickly.

Well, and we left and got milk at the Wawa and I told the kids to remember that they had just been to church and to act like it ... advice they didn't get at all ... and we were home well after 11pm.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Q: In a conversation about changes in the Church during the past 50 years, someone remarked that many of these changes involved teachings that some pope, or maybe more than one, had said were "irreformable." We're confused. How can something one pope says is permanent be changed by another pope? (New York)

A: One must understand what the word "irreformable" means in Church documents. Its wide use developed in relatively modern times in response to something that was happening in the secular world. During approximately nine centuries, particularly in what is often called the Christian Europe of the second millennium, popes were commonly considered, even by themselves, as supreme over all other countries and governments.

Anyone who knows history is aware that this claim of supremacy rarely matched what was really happening, but it was there at least in theory.

Later on, this perception of who had what power changed dramatically, especially under the influence of such movements as the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Political decisions of states and nations began to be seen as actions of the people of that region, which could not be changed even by the pope. Such actions were called "irreformable."

For these and other reasons the influence of the Church, the papacy, even in religious matters, weakened enormously. In their desire for greater religious "security" and independence similar to that in civil society, Christian, particularly Catholic, people and leaders looked for ways to assure something similar to this civil authority for the Church.

It was in this light that popes characterized their decisions and statements as irreformable. This meant only that no other authority outside the Church was competent to change them. It did not mean that future popes or councils or other responsible authorities in the Church could not change policies and practices and even adapt and reformulate statements of faith in light of later circumstances and cultures.

This very concept explains, incidentally, much of the movement for the definition of papal infallibility during Vatican Council I in 1870. It also clarifies what that council meant by describing the Church as a "perfect society."

They dd not mean to claim that the Church is perfectly holy or, for that matter, perfect in any other way. It simply intended to proclaim that the Church was competent and autonomous in its own area of religious matters and in appropriate ways in other concerns connected with religion in civil society.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The dermatologist says I have urticaria (hives).

I'll start taking prednisone tomorrow for 20 days and am taking one Zyrtec at night.

I blame stress.

Sounds funny, I know.

"What, me worry?"

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I was reading Jeremiah 38 yesterday morning as part of, the final part of the Precepts study called "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." So, in the chapter, Jeremiah gets tossed into the cistern because some prominent men don't like his message. But the king draws him out again on the advice of a foreigner who is also an official in the government.

And the king asks Jeremiah for the latest word from God on the present situation with the Babylonians sieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah tells him that God wants him to "go out to them." In other words, surrender.

But the king can't do it. Moreover, he despises those Jews who have themselves followed Jeremiah's words and joined the Chaldeans.

It's hard to be unsympathetic towards King Zedekiah.

In his loyalty to Jerusalem, he's acting obediently to God's word as spoken through the prophets up until then. I saw very quickly in Zedekiah's inability to capitulate a contrast with Christ who does give himself over into their hands, in obedience to God.

Today's Readings. I need to get a highlighter suited to Bible paper and mark the part of the "Crowd" in my Sunday missal because it isn't marked. I can't imagine why.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

My favorite place, best food in NJ: "country Italian" with Cajun/Creole selections.

I haven't seen any cars in the parking lot, day or night, for weeks:
Luchento's in Millstone Closed? - Mid-Atlantic, 3/21/09.
There is a note on the door but I haven't pulled in to read it.
Some pictures of our afternoon at Georgian Court.

I'm so glad my camera is broken getting repaired because Jeff's camera works so much better:

We had tickets to an informal etiquette training class.

Only one other boy was there. Talk about preaching to the choir.

Most were dressed to the nines but we had just come from tennis lessons. I considered putting their suit jackets in the car ...

Kenny delighted at being inside the mansion. It's homier than the haunted Wilson Hall toured last month. And for good reason: it is lived in.1

We toured the first floor before the program began. I told what I knew, pointed out the Canterbury Tales mural2 spanning three walls at the rear entryway, explaining about the muses painted in the music room, and saying that the chapel used to be a solarium full of live plants. I told the boys not to sit on the furniture because most of it is 100 years old. Of course, other children arrived and sat on the furniture but I reminded mine again, quietly, not to.

My one and only other time there, they were showing off a photo album that had been recently found containing pictures of the home shortly after construction. I wish the photos were color. But they are lovely just the same. And it gave Kenny a chance to see how homes change over time.

As the program began, Kenny was comfortable and interested. Tim frowned, stuck out his tongue and gave a thumbs-down sign. He wasn't interested in learning any "rules." But, really, imagine teaching etiquette in New Jersey where everyone is woefully gauche. Kids were at one table and parents at another, and the grown-ups became so confused as Nanny Rose walked the kids through setting a place at the table.

Afterwards, we drove home through Lakewood and Kenny noticed the Orthodox. I was troubled by how his comments went from highly complimentary ("Look, that man is wearing a tuxedo!") to benignly informative ("Jewish men always have to have their heads covered.") to derogatory ("Those girls in long black skirts look like witches!"), all based entirely on appearance.

1 One mother shared that her daughter asked whether she could live in the mansion. I said she could, she just has to join the Religious Sisters of Mercy!

2 Kenny knows a Wishbone version of the story.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Just did a Five Favorite albums at FB ... and so, scrolled through the iTunes Music and am listening to some oldies, like David Gilmour's About Face, especially the final cut1:
And when you feel you're near the end
Will you just turn it over and start again

Is there a stirring in your heart
As the time comes when we will have to part?

And when you feel you're near the end
And there's a stranger where once was a friend

And you are left without a word
Only the whispers that you've overheard

Standing in silence, holding my breath
Disconnected and dry
And though I'm certain that there's nothing left
To hold on to, to give or to try
Some things never change, no don't ever change
And I'm feeling the cold
Thinking that we're getting older and wiser
When we're just getting old

And when you feel you're near the end
And what once burned so bright is growing dim
And when you see what's been acheived
Is there a feeling that you've been deceived?
So, did the music make me melancholy ... or just suit me?

1 I had this album, first, on cassette, so no "turning over to start again"