Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Silence in August part two

unknown artistI must have pushed some wrong buttons, because I now have this copy in underlined blue, and I didn't mean to do it!
Anyhow, I spent all of July and the first week of August travelling to Frederick Hospital for the hyperbaric oxygne treatments.  They ended August 8.To continue what I posted in early July, here is the list of the other 28 movies I watched in The Chamber:19. The Devil Wears Prada20. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull21. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets22. Harry Potter and the Prisoner o Azkhaban23. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix25. Harry Potter and the HalfBlood Prince26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  pt.127. Groundhog Day28. Men in Black29.  Babe30. The Book Thief31. Die Hard32. Ratatouille33. Julie and Julia34. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory35. Mrs. Doubtfire36. Meet Joe Black37. The Princess Bride38. Ghost39. The Sixth Sense40.  South Pacific
I watched all these old movies because I had seen them all before, and with having to watch without glasses, and hearing aid, I had to follow the plots from memory.Some of these films were just as good this time around, and some were  "meh"  And about my eyesight:I kept noticing that my vision was getting increasingly blurry. I was still driving back and forth to Frederick every weekday, but I couldn't read the street signs anymore.  So on July 27, I stopped driving.I went to my retinologist and he confirmed what the doctor at the Wound Care Center had ssid: This hyperbaric oxygen treatment frequently has the side effect that the lenses of the eyes change shape.In my case, it has made me even more nearsighted than I already was.  The doctors said "Don't go and get your glasses changed, because after the treatments stop, your vision will return to normal.: How long after?   Anywhere from two weeks to two months.   So I am still waiting for my eyes to return to normal.    I am teaching my Mount class on Zoom , and can see the screen just fine.  And the guys in Transportation can drive me - they finished up the drives to Frederick, for example.But it is still worrying.Maybe that factors in to my not posting for two months.Sigh....  I'll try to be better.
Poet Laureate!On August 1, I was given the honor of being named Poet Laureate of Emmitsburg.That's Mayor Don Briggs handing me the proclamation.

Silence in August

How did I miss writing in this blog for two whole months? I don't know, and I also don't know how to get out of the format that's happening now. I have eyesight problems I'd like to write about....a

Saturday, July 2, 2022

18 movies in 18 sessions in the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

I was very ill at the end of February with hemorrhaging from the bladder - ended up five days in the hospital while they flushed out my poor shredding bladder- the most miserable medical procedure I've ever endured.  

There's no cure for this;  it's the result of long term radiation damage from the cancer treatment from thirteen years ago.  That radiation killed the cancer, but it did a job on the neighboring organs too.

Anyway, the doctors recommended this hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which I can get at the Wound Care Center in Frederick.  Two hours a day, five days a week, for eight weeks.   While in this 100% oxygen environment, the patient can't  wear glasses, hearing aids, or anything else, and can't bring a book or anything in.  Also, I am not allowed to sleep - they want you awake to be able to report any pain or other body changes.  It's very carefully monitored.

So what do we patients get to do for two hours?  Watch DVDs!  Not a bad deal; there's a very large collection of DVDs from which to choose.  Not a heavy intellectual film among them.

So, for the last eighteen days, I have watched:

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

2. The Bourne Identity

3. Raiders of the lost Ark

4. Sleepless in Seattle

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

6. Moonstruck

7. Legally Blonde

8. In the Line of Fire

9. Catch Me if you can

10. Four Weddings and a Funeral

11. Gran Torino

12. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

13. Patriot Games

14. Mama Mia

15. Star Wars 1: the Phantom Menace

16. The Da Vinci Code

17. The King's Speech

18.  Big   ( Tom Hanks)

For some reason, all this movie viewing has made me want to go back a reread Walker Percy's existential novel The Moviegoer, which I read in one of my graduate classes at Johns Hopkins University back in 1977.

I have found an audiobook of it  - a podcast.  Hoping to start listening and reflecting on it soon.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Another month passes

 Today marks the Summer Solstice.    Sunset comes at 8:39 tonight.  It's all downhill after that.

It's been a good month.  I've been busy in the garden. So interesting to see it come to life. Sadly, some of the plants from last year didn't make it through the winter, most notably my favorite dahlia, Linda's Baby, and the Sheffield Pink mum I was so hoping to see flourish.

But it looks pretty good all the same:

Stokes Aster

Tall Larkspur

Butterfly Weed, Sundrops, Dahlia, Blackeyed Susans

Pink Primroses, Joe Pye Weed, Russian Sage, Lavender

There's much more.  I hope to get back to posting more regularly.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

at Cape May


I love this place.  The weather for the past three days , has been glorious.

I haven't taken any photos this year. These are all from previous years, and not all by me.

Since the garden at home has come to life, and since I came to Cape May,  I haven't written anything.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

and this I tried to understand


artist: Jessica Boehmann

 Here's a poem by James Hearst

In April

This I saw on an April day:

Warm rain spilt from a sun-lined cloud,

A sky-flung wave of gold at evening,

And a cock pheasant treading a dusty path

Shy and proud.


And this I found in an April field:

A new white calf in the sun at noon,

A flash of blue in a cool moss bank,

And tips of tulips promising flowers

To a blue-winged loon.


And this I tried to understand

As I scrubbed the rust from my brightening plow:

The movement of seed in furrowed earth,

And a blackbird whistling sweet and clear

From a green-sprayed bough.

artist: Tinyan Chan

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A post from April 27, 1980


April 27,1980

Journal entry.  I am in Petersburg Virginia. I am 32 years old.



…I think of thirty-one years without much physical pain. Thirty-one years of seeing – of being able to see all the beautiful things of th world… to see the faces of the people who have been such central figures in my life, the peole whose faces remain in my mind’s eye at this very moment : my mother and father.. Sister Stephanie… my cousin Dick… Debbie Cotter…. Debbie Carey… Sara Bardoe…Tom McNaney, ill Keaveney, Jim Wambold, Lynda Cywinski, Toni Lutz, Maureen McCauley, Maureen McDonough, Sister Maureen Daniel, Sister Ann Maureen, Frank Reilly, Frank Talbot, Barbra McCune, Sister Margaret John, Karen O’Callaghan, Rosalie Ayres, John Whelley, Mark Redwood, George Marks, Bo, Barney, Joe Gallagher, Paul Philibert, Josephine Jacobsen, Ralph Harper, Frances Jackson, Sister Linda, Mary Ann Taylor, Msgr. Newman, May Sill, Mike Hast, Patrick Finnegan, Scotch Kincaid, Charlotte Tancin, Greg King, Sister Marie Therese, Sister Eileen, Sister Claire, Sister Mary Clare and Anita Harvey,Joanne Cahoon, and son on, just naming gthem like a litany, Lord, I send their names up to you and pray for all of them and thank You for each one of them. It’s really incredible when I think of all those faces, and what each of them taught me about YOU and about myself, too.

…Yesterday I was at the sink, washing dishes and looking out the window at the beautiful green leave, the whole green and blue world looked like a party. All I could think of was that Dylan Thomas poem, “Fern Hill,” “…it was all shining… it as Adam and maiden”

…I remember that in 1971 I lived without hope, as though my life were over. Now, in 1980, I live thinking that my life may very soon be over – but not without hope- now, as Paul says, I’d be glad to stay and live, but I’ll be glad to go and see HIim… but I am still afraid. ( There was an Iranian crisis in 1980 which I barely remember)

Then, a little later, I quote the lyrics of a favorite song from a rock group called “Fever Tree”:


We follow the river down into the stream
That's where my dream began
I left my worries to the people who stare
And dream without a care

That i'd always be beside you to watch the day and night
And we'd listen to the sunrise and feel its growing light
And peace will come inside
So quiet

Whereever we're goin' i dont know
For million years our love keeps growin'
The mystery deepens day by day

But trust my love and hear me say

That i'll always be beside you to watch the day and night
And we'd listen to the sunrise and feel its growing light
And peace will come inside
So quiet


And peace will come inside

So quiet


Guess i'll always be beside you to watch the day and night

And we'd listen to the sunrise and feel its growin' light

And peace will come inside

So quiet


Yes peace will come inside

So quiet


I kept writing for at least another page.  I do recognize myself in that 31 year old person, but oh, so much has happened to me and my world and the larger world since that particular April birthday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022



I don't know if I believe that.   Maybe at 30, maybe at 50, but not at 74

Artist: Andrea Kowch    The Lighthouse Keepers

Here's a poem by  Mário de Andrade :

I counted my years

and realized that

I have less time to live by,

than I have lived so far.

I have more past than future.

I feel like that boy who got a bowl of cherries.

At first, he gobbled them,

but when he realized there were only few left,

he began to taste them intensely.

I no longer have time to deal with mediocrity.

I do not want to be in meetings where flamed egos parade.

I am bothered by the envious,

who seek to discredit the most able,

to usurp their places, coveting their seats,

talent, achievements and luck.

I do not have time for endless conversations,

useless to discuss about the lives of others

who are not part of mine.

I no longer have the time to manage

sensitivities of people who despite their chronological age, are immature.

I hate to confront those that struggle for power,

those that ‘do not debate content, just the labels’.

My time has become scarce to debate labels,

I want the essence.

My soul is in a hurry …

Not many cherries in my bowl,

I want to live close to human people, very human,

who laugh of their own stumbles,

and away from those turned smug

and overconfident with their triumphs,

away from those filled with self-importance.

The essential is what makes life worthwhile.

And for me, the essentials are enough!

Yes, I’m in a hurry.

I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.

I do not intend to waste any of the remaining cherries.

I am sure they will be exquisite, much more than those eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied

and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

And per Confucius “We have two lives

and the second begins when you realize you only have one.”

Like Candide,  I just want to tend my garden.






Saturday, April 23, 2022

Again the woods are odorous


artist: Stephen McLoughlin

Here's a poem for today:

In April

Rainer Maria Rilke - 1875-1926



Again the woods are odorous, the lark

Lifts on upsoaring wings the heaven gray

That hung above the tree-tops, veiled and dark,

Where branches bare disclosed the empty day.


After long rainy afternoons an hour

Comes with its shafts of golden light and flings

Them at the windows in a radiant shower,

And rain drops beat the panes like timorous wings.


Then all is still. The stones are crooned to sleep

By the soft sound of rain that slowly dies;

And cradled in the branches, hidden deep

In each bright bud, a slumbering silence lies.



artist: Este MacLeod

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Evanescent life's eternal


Happy Easter!     Here's a poem by Mathilde Blind:

A Spring Song   


Dark sod pierced by flames of flowers,

Dead wood freshly quickening,

Bright skies dusked with sudden showers,

Lit by rainbows on the wing.

Cuckoo calls and young lambs' bleating,

Nimble airs which coyly bring

Little gusts of tender greeting

From shy nooks where violets cling.

Half-fledged buds and birds and vernal

Fields of grass dew-glistening;

Evanescent life's eternal

Resurrection, bridal Spring!


art by Laivi Poder

And this, from John Forti, about the moon I watched last night:

The Full Moon in April is the Pink Moon (from the pink flowers – phlox – that bloom in the early spring). Other names for this Full Moon include Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, Hare Moon, and the Old English/Anglo-Saxon name is Egg Moon. It is also known as the Paschal Moon because it is used to calculate the date for Easter.

artist: Sue Wookey

Saturday, April 16, 2022

the water touching its roots


Holy Saturday... we've had some lovely Spring weather, and the garden is coming to life.

Here is a poem by W.S. Merwin:


On the last day of the world

I would want to plant a tree


what for

not for the fruit


the tree that bears the fruit

is not the one that was planted


I want the tree that stands

in the earth for the first time


with the sun already

going down


and the water

touching its roots


in the earth full of the dead

and the clouds passing


one by one

over its leaves


— W.S. Merwin, from his book The Rain in the Trees (1998, A.A. Knopf).

Copyright © 1988 by W. S. Merwin.  Used by permission of the publisher.


artist : Carlo Formara