Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Jesuit Retreat

Seventy Jesuits are attending their annual eight-day retreat in Los Altos, California. The retired archbishop of San Francisco is leading the morning discussions and he is captivating everyone's imagination. As an Ph.D. in English, he is riveting the group with his word choices and images. His reflections give us many inspirational points to ponder.

The best part of the retreat is the companionship the directors are enjoying. Since it is very relaxed, we find that we have sufficient time just to relax and to share stories. The liturgies and homilies are top notch. We know we are blessed to be in this rarefied place where we can enjoy our vocations.

We are praying for rain and and end to this four-year drought. The parched land needs relief. The mighty oaks appear sickly and the whole earth is in need of nourishment. It reminds me of Romans 8 where all of creation is groaning for redemption. We need to take better care of our environment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Body Art? My Eleven Inch Scar

Today during yoga, I noticed that the movements were so much more effortless than last week. During a pause in the routines, I notice that my colleagues to the left and the right had inked themselves. I never have thought to do that to myself, but when you have an eleven inch scar running straight up from guggle to zatch, you begin to wonder how you can make it into artwork.

Perhaps I should solicit ideas.

My original thought was to make it Jacob's ladder that stretched from heaven towards earth (or the other way around) and to accentuate it with angels who ministered to the Lord.

Or maybe I could have it be a connector from the Red to Dead Sea, or make it into a map. The idea of leaving it as a scar seems banal. It could be transformed into a paw mark of some sort, or as a lightning bolt.

There must be some nice artwork with the same markings that I could have engraved on my body. I'll have to keep my eye out for a nice design.

However, I'm not into body art at all and my scar is an historical marker of an event in my life. Rather than mask what it is, I will bear it as a symbol of life's precarious nature.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finding the Time

Today seemed to be a most unusual day - in a good way. A friend of mine and I arranged to take in breakfast somewhere near South Boston or Dorchester. I sought advice from a Southie Community Bulletin Board and I had such fun with the responses. I have 45 responses almost immediately. The four top choices were: My Diner (excellent economical breakfast with the best french toast), Galley Diner (working class, no frills), Muls Diner (which boasts creme brulee french toast), and McKennas at Savin Hill (great environment, quality food.) They also suggested some of the fine restaurants in the city (Local 149, Amrheins, Stephis at Southie, the Franklin, and Paramount) but we were looking for a diner this time.

I was leaning towards McKenna's because many BC High teachers recommend it and I knew it would be clean, but I thought my friend would want to try the Galley Diner, which was more than acceptable to me. We went to Galley and it was terrific. I had a ham (right off the bone) and cheese omelette with hash browns and my friend had an egg and cheese sandwich with corned beef hash. It was way too much food and it was quite good. The best part was that we were served by the friendliest staff that made us feel most welcome.

Anthony Bourdain visited the place on April 18th and made the diner famous worldwide. Their business is brisk and it seats maybe 30 people, but it is worth visiting.

Afterwards, my friend and I walked around that area of Southie and what struck us was the sense of community and friendliness of most residents. Many residences are well-appointed and renovated and there is great construction in the area that fits in architecturally.

With our IPhones, we took photos of the flowers of the area. Here are my photos:




Later in the day, my movement slowed down. I thought I would nap, but I had phone calls and emails. Since I can't yet plan too well because of my recovery, I have to play things by ear. Therefore, my planning is shoddy. I wanted to go out for a walk, but I already did that. I do not know how to best use those lull times yet and I get bored.

I made a few fruit smoothies so lift my spirits.

I started a little painting, but I could not focus so I only put broad strokes on the canvas. So, I decided to cook 30 pancakes for the community. I also cooked some bacon to go with the pancakes. They were very appreciative. i went back to the painting and then when I finished, I decided to make pizzelles.

Here is a photo of them:


I made 60 pizzelles with anise seeds. When I finished I realized I cannot eat any of them because I added the seeds. Next time I will make orange rum pizzelles so I can eat them.

Now it is time to relax for the evening.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Photo: Skin Bandages

For those who read my previous posts, here are my well-traveled bandages that have served me well since 1979. Now I can throw the package away.





Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Beaches are Packed

This weekend, the South Boston beaches have been totally packed with sun worshippers. Both sides of the roads were jammed with cars and the sidewalks were brimming with joggers, dog walkers, and groups of people laughing and chatting. I recall a time decades ago when no one would venture into the South Boston waters. Those times have changed. People of many nationalities and languages came to enjoy the ocean. What a great sight.

Even at 9:30 p.m., when I took a drive to Castle Island, many cars still lined both sides of the street.  I thought it would be deserted because I can only walk comfortably from my surgery when I do not fear people bumping into me. However, the place was still packed. The night air was cool and pleasant.

Sullivan's was still doing a brisk business. I can imagine they made their profit for the year on this weekend. The lines were not stopping. I noticed they even sell breakfast items. Very good. It is a great gathering spot.

~~~~~~~

Here is a curious event in my life. I am by no means a hoarder; in fact, I am always throwing out items before they have a chance to accumulate. I am a practical and thrifty man. Today, I needed a band-aid. I went to my cabinet and I used the last bandage in the box, which I bought in 1979 when I moved out of my family's home to attend school. I went thrifty and bought a 60 count Curity Curad plastic bandage pack. This durable pack lasted me 36 years! As a Jesuit, I guess I don't need all that much in life.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Glorious Weather

A perfect New England summer day with temperatures in the mid-80's and low humidity. With the sun burning brightly, many people flocked to the beach or to some fun venue. As I started my day, the first thing I wanted to do was to get outside for a walk.

However, yesterday I was given a bunch of bright flowers and I knew I needed to organize my room, which was a bit untidy since the hospitalization. So, I decided to launder the bathroom mats, all the bed linens (sheets, two blankets, a comforter, and a cover) including two pillows. I decided it was more important to put memories of the hospital behind me. It took more time than I wanted but it feels so clean. Tomorrow, I will dust and clean the bathroom.

I tidied my desk and then it gave me the opportunity to cover it with watercolor paints. I painted an image of a Greek Isle, Santorini, but it did not come out all that well, but it was still good to paint.

The best part of the day is that I did not nap. That means I will go to bed early, in a very fresh smelling bed, and I will sleep soundly through the night. To aid my fatigue, I went for a walk along the beach at dusk. It was great to get outside again and to put my toes in the sand and the salt water. An evening shower and it is time to retire for the day.

I'm coming back into form. Deo Gratias!

A Satisfying Week

What a good end to the week. I'm feeling great and I am almost back to normal in all activities. I went out for lunch today, which was very tasty, but I had to be very picky. Good thing because my appetite has diminished. Last night I also ate at a restaurant and I chose wisely. It just felt good to be among the living once again.

One thing that happens when one gets sick is that you are no longer noticed, so it is good to get out and about so that you are seen. I have learned a great deal about pastorally dealing with the sick in the future. The best thing is to acknowledge them as a person and then to find out what they need because those needs can change daily or even at various points in the day.

I'm back to painting again, which shows my increased level of energy. I am no longer relegated to sitting in a chair watching television because I have much greater mobility.

My plans for the weekend are to walk the beach and head out to a movie. All is going very well. I'm grateful to be alive and to be enjoying life.