Sunday, July 28, 2013

video from another group of sisters: Why be an Episcopal nun?

There are quite a number of religious orders in the Episcopal Church, but most people are unaware of our existence.  Here's one order's perspective.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

Just listening to one of my favorite hymns this morning and thought I'd share.

Found it on this website, which has audio and video of quite a large number of hymns, arranged by first line:

They also have the audio for daily office each day, if anyone's interested.  I think I'm going to bring my computer to the hospital so I can share it with my mother.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

...and we complain in Indiana?

Missing Haiti, though I'm so very grateful to be with my family right now.

Checked the forecast, though, and realized it's not the weather I'm missing.  

Heat index of 130?  AAACK!

Mes soeurs et mes amis, que Dieu vous benisse pendant cette chaleur! I sure hope the temperature drops soon, that everyone finds a way to be as cool as possible, and that EDH gives you all power during the day so you can have fans running.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

tomorrow night, I'm not asking

This week, for the first time, we haven't stayed overnight at the hospital with Mom every night.  We were having trouble Saturday night figuring out transportation for Sunday morning, and she can reach the new squeeze ball nurse call contraption.  It seemed to be OK with her when we said we'd be going home, and we'd see her after church.  So far, so good, we thought.  Sunday night my sister stayed. Monday we asked her if she wanted company for the night; she said no.  Last night she said yes, so I stayed.

Tonight I was more organized than usual and even had yogurt and other breakfast items with an ice pack so I wouldn't have to spend money for breakfast other than coffee.  However, when I asked if she wanted me to stay, the answer was no.  So I gathered my things, Dad and I said goodnight, and we started to leave. "Wait!" she said. We turned back.  "Wait, I'm coming with you."  And she moved a little as though to get out of bed.  Which of course she can't do; she can't even sit up yet without two people's help, and even then it exhausts her after a few minutes.  It just about killed me.

So I went back around the side of the bed and held her hand and kissed her again and said we were so looking forward to her coming home, but she couldn't come home with us till she was better.  And that we knew she would be coming home with us later on, just not now.  And that if she would keep working hard - and eat - she'd be home all the sooner.

Did she want me to stay?

She shook her head again, but looked - what? baffled?  sad?  tired? all of the above?  Does she think we're just abandoning her in the hospital?

I am done in.

Tomorrow night, I'm not asking.  I'm just staying.

Friday, July 12, 2013

raft race

It's that time of year again in Fort Wayne, Indiana:  The Three Rivers Festival and, more importantly, the raft race.  Back when I lived here, it was the state's second largest outdoor spectator event of the year, beat out only by the Indy 500; I remember hearing that then, and it was confirmed by the newspaper article I just read (  I gather it has been fifteen years since they last had one; no one can tell me why they stopped holding it, though from the article I'm guessing it might have been the cost of insurance.  The important thing is that it's back!  

Now, I never worked on building a raft, though I did ride down the river one year on someone else's.  I remember swearing I would never get in that muddy river water. Of course, by the end, I was swimming around the raft with plenty of others just for fun.

One of the main reasons the raft race is particularly memorable for me is that my brother-in-law and his friends started building rafts in high school. Quite a number of them won prizes, not just for speed, but later on for creativity.  My favorite (was it their final raft?) was the one shaped like a dragon, with a head that could be lowered to go under bridges and then raised up afterwards. It had red headlights for eyes and breathed smoke (flour that could be puffed out of its mouth with some sort of bellows).

Pat's 1992 dragon raft, head lowered to go under the bridge
(screen capture from newspaper article online - too bad we don't have the original photo ourselves!)

This year my nephews are participating, too, along with their friends - on two rafts of their own.  A little competition, anyone?   My primary question for that group: how on earth, guys, do you think you are going to get a raft that large down to the river?

With all that experience behind them listed on their entry forms, it's no wonder the newspaper sent a reporter out to the house. The troops, spouses, and a few members of the next generation gathered in the dining room before and after the tour of rafts in progress in the back yard, and there was more laughter than I've heard in a while.  This evening, when I brought my laptop to the hospital, showed Mom the article and asked if she remembered the dragon, she gave a big smile and nodded.

There will be more laughter next weekend.

Three Rivers Festival raft races keep friends together -

Two excerpts from the article:

Building would sometimes take a month. With more than one engineer in the group, the process took a bit more time.
Delaney told his friends every year, “50 bucks and a weekend.” Neither element ever seemed to hold out.
Rob “Bert” Poinsatte was the parts guy. He would come across headlights for some of their old rafts.
“When you go down the river, you're bonded for life,” he said.
“Yeah, you share the same diseases,” Slusser added.
Eventually, the friends stopped racing in the early '90s. Family and work were growing responsibilities. They already had achieved much success, over the years winning at least six awards.
In the race's 15-year absence, some friends moved away. Two died. Trophies were relegated to basements and attics. But memories of the raft race surface every so often.
“You get us together and we all still tell many stories about the building parties and the trips to the lumber yard,” Delaney said. “We probably had as much fun putting together the raft as we did on the day of the race.”
Monday evening, the guys gathered at Delaney's home to start this year's boat building in earnest. Rain foiled their construction plans, but photo albums on the dining room table kept the race the focus of the night.
They still talk about their 68-foot-long dragon raft from 1992. The green beast's mouth would open and shut, spewing smoke (flour). Its tall neck would lower to sneak beneath bridges. They took first place for Most Creatively Outrageous.
A few years later, the dragon's head from the raft made it atop a trailer attached to the Slussers' wedding limo. When they went on their honeymoon, the head sat on their front lawn awaiting their return.
* * * 
Two of Pat Delaney's sons are entering the race with their own rafts this year. They have the youth, but not the experience, he reminds his 22-year-old son, Corey, who sits ahead the table.
Pat Delaney has offered bits of advice, but he's holding back on most of the secrets.
There's a healthy rivalry between father and son.
“We're well prepared for piracy,” Corey said.
Liz won't miss her husband taking to the river.
"It's one of those times I wish I was a helicopter pilot to watch you guys…"
"Drown?" suggested Corey.
As of Monday, the son's' two crafts were both half-way built while the SS Hope She Makes It! resembled a small lumber yard.
Pat has segments of an old raft buried in the garage if things get desperate. But he's sticking to his crew's motto.
"We have two weeks. We'll be fine."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


My commere G. from Haiti just called, having received a visit from the Sisters and thus having gotten a fuller picture of the situation with my mother.  I feel so bad that I left without calling. I left Haiti less than 24 hours after Mom's accident and was packing and sorting right up to the last minute. I'm so grateful to have been able to talk to her today, for her generosity in making an international call, and for her prayers.

For the last three and a half weeks, my tiny world has revolved around a hospital room.  If there is anything that has gone on in the world that I should know about, well... Well, frankly, I don't care.  Right now my interest is in my parents, both of them, and what we're going to do to get through this.

However, as of this phone call, I'm making a definite exception to this.  G. just told me that there was a storm and that it was pouring so hard that she couldn't leave work.  Cap Haitien tends to flood, and it's certainly on the way to doing that now.  I looked it up - sure enough, Tropical Storm Chantal.

Here in Indiana, we're also having a storm - and it brings no worries.  We have drains, and we don't think much of the  possibility of flooding this time of year.  In 1982, Fort Wayne flooded badly enough that even the President came in person; my classmates and I were filling and placing sandbags; even my little sister in 1st or 2nd grade made sandwiches for the Red Cross.

In Haiti, they get floods like that far more often, and there are fewer resources.  And very little drainage.  Ten inches of rain? This is a serious problem.

Please pray for Haiti.  Pray for my mother and my father, too, as the situation is serious, but for the next couple of days, pray that the storm stay out to see, that things drain, and that everyone is given the sense not to try to cross rivers and get swept away.

* * * * *

Here is more information:

Chantal s'approche, l'alerte rouge décrétée
Le Nouvelliste | Publié le :09 juillet 2013

Le Secrétariat permanent de gestion des risques et des désastres (SPGRD) a décrété l'alerte rouge à l'approche de la tempête tropicale Chantal qui demeure une menace pour Haïti. Toutes les dernières prévisions confirment qu'Haïti reste toujours sous la menace de fortes pluies orageuses, des rafales de vent et une mer houleuse dans la perspective du passage de la tempête, selon ce dernier bulletin publié mardi soir. Toutes les régions du pays sont concernées par le risque d'impact d'intensité modérée par rapport aux conditions de fortes pluies avec risques d'éboulements, de glissements de terrain et d'inondations à partir de mercredi soir. Les autorités ont maintenu mardi soir l'alerte rouge par rapport aux conditions de tempête du Plan national de gestion des risques et des désastres (PNGRD).

See also:

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I'm taking a break from the glorious chaos outside.  I counted 49 people within visual range, and there are quite a number inside as well, so once again, my sister's family by marriage has thrown a spectacular annual do.  I first attended in 1984 when it was at the home of the previous generation, and it was already an established tradition at that point.  Over half the people running around are kids.  How many can you put on one tire swing?  How many sparklers does it take to light up a yard?  Do they really allow those fireworks in Indiana?

Laughter is spilling over, refusing to be contained by the boundaries of this large back yard.  Two grills have been at work with hotdogs, brats, and cheeseburgers.  Potluck dishes of every variety are inside.  And there is one very happy little boy who has just presided over the blowing-out-of-candles of his birthday cake; he believes these festivities are all for him, and who would tell him otherwise?

My youngest sister has left for the hospital to be with Mom tonight. She assures me that she has been to years' worth of these festivities, while I haven't been to one since the late 1980's.  She'll turn on the Boston Pops for Mom if she's awake, and they'll watch the fireworks on television.

Mom was very alert this morning.  She can do thumbs up now.   She had nine visitors, so she definitely needed that energy; she slept all afternoon once everyone had left, but she looked happy.  

I hear we're leaving for the fireworks now.

* * *

Childhood flashbacks tonight.  Lying on the grass, surrounded by family and lots of little ones, watching fireworks, oohing and aahing in concert.  Not a beach, not Frankfort Harbor, but a community gathering with the same spirit.   Sitting by an outdoor fire afterwards - maybe not on Lake Michigan, but a similar time together with family around the new back yard fire pit.

And a yard full of fireflies.

I haven't seen that many fireflies for years.  Lightning bugs, we used to call them.  Beautifully, quietly blinking as they glide near the grass or further up near tree branches.

It's the simple things.

Next year, I want to share this with Mom.

Monday, July 1, 2013

severe weather - it's all relative

I've been amusing my sisters by wearing a sweater when it's in the mid-70's, feeling a little chilly.  I don't go down into my sister's basement for any length of time due to the overactive air conditioning, and my toes are downright cold in the hospital despite shoes and socks.  I'm getting used to it, though - I no longer sleep with my sweater on under the blankets.  Toto, we aren't in Haiti anymore.  A few weeks ago I was used to my room temp dropping to around 83F at night, though it was often much cooler outside. 

That black tower on the tray is a fan for Mom to go along with the freezing cold air conditioning in ICU. 

So I've been getting teased about my Haiti-influenced perception of temperature, but apparently I'm not the only one with relative senses of what is hot and what is cold.   A few moments I saw this post from a friend in Washington State and had to laugh:

.... Fairly certain people who don't live in the PNW will find this hilarious.

"Current Severe Weather
Special Statement Statement as of 3:41 AM PDT on June 29, 2013
... Very warm weather will continue across western Washington through early next week...
Daytime temperatures will climb INTO THE 70's AND 80's across the western Washington lowlands this weekend."

More needed humor in my day. Thank you, Beth.