Monthly Archives: May 2006

Final Kickball Game of the Season

It’s our last game of the season, and we’ve got only two guys on the field at game time. We need four or we can’t play.

Usually this wouldn’t be a huge problem, as another team might give us grief for not having enough women but would also likely just go ahead and play – and expect to totally stomp us – if we don’t have enough men. But there’s a young woman in a yellow t-shirt (Balls to the Wall, I think) who’s acting as some sort of league official today. And she’s being a hardass about having the right number of people on the field. The 6:15 game that’s going on, neither team has enough women, but they’ve decided to play anyway. But yellow t-shirt is trying to stop the game. There’s lots of arguing.

We need to find some guys.

We’re lucky, though, that the game is delayed for other reasons. There are workers erecting all these tents on the Mall where we play, so we’ve only got three fields for the eight games going on this evening. With a full complement of four fields, there’d be four games at 6:15 and four games at 7:00. As it is, our 7:00 game has to wait for another 7:00 game to play before we can play. And that gives us time to find some guys.

Kate is our hero in this, stopping random young men walking or jogging by our field, asking them if they want to play. And she actually gets two guys to volunteer. The second of the two is Brian, whom I meet briefly and then don’t see again, not after Virginia’s husband Patrick shows up, making Brian unnecessary. The first guy Kate grabs, however, is Chester, and he is a total star.

Chester makes protestations at first, about how he doesn’t know the game like we do, hasn’t practiced like we have, doesn’t have a strategy like we have. So we explain that it’s like baseball, except that you kick the ball. Then we explain that we’ve never practiced. And we explain that we have no strategy, except, well, “play kickball.” So he’s perfect.

Making small talk, I ask him what he does for a living, and get this. He’s a pilot. He graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in aviation technology, and now he flies. How cool is that? Well, sadly, like a lot of pilots, he doesn’t actually fly. He looks for work. I tell him that I always look at and write down the N-numbers on planes on which I fly, and he’s excited that I know what an N-number is.

Our game finally starts. I’ve got my video camera with me, and I’ve been interviewing the players, to match up later with footage of them actually playing. Neither Ben nor Julie want to be on camera, although Ben doesn’t declare such until after the interview starts. I also interview actual fans who have shown up to watch us play: LaFaundra and her daughter, and Stephanie’s two friends, Lindsey and Hannah. Lindsey later takes over camera duty and shoots us while we play. Chester tells the story of how he was born, at home.

We play a decent game, although we lose, to Recreational Hazard, who are generally nice about it though. Chester makes spectacular catches in the outfield. And then he kicks a home run, driving in another baserunner along with him. Another time he catches a pop fly out in left field, then personally comes hustling into the infield to tag the base runner trying to get back to first base. Elisa pitches well, but she tries to give up at one point after somebody kicks a home run on her. Stephanie tries a few pitches, but Elisa eventually returns.

I get up to bat twice. The first time I fly out to shallow center field. The second time I get on base, but later I’m forced out running to third. As usual on defense I play catcher and introduce the opposing team players at their first at bats. After the game I drive Tiffany, Kyra, and Kate to the bar, and then head home.

Tuesday with Gordon

I leave work later than I had hoped, right around five-thirty. I’m trying to get to Springfield via the Blue Line, trying to get there at six. The platform at Farragut West is packed: there’s some trouble on the Orange Line, resulting in single tracking some ways back, so my Blue Line is delayed as well. I’m late.

I get to the Franconia Springfield station right about six-thirty. I called Gordon when I was between King Street and Van Dorn, and we agreed that he would wait seven minutes then leave to come pick me up at Franconia Springfield. The cars at the Kiss and Ride are three deep when I get out and try to find him, but I don’t see him. I walk all the way down to almost the split between the Kiss and Ride and the bus lanes, and I wait.

Then I think about what car I should be expecting. When I met Gordon he had a VW Bug, then he got a Ford Escort, then a Ford Mustang (I even remember his license plate, LHB-507). Then he had a Honda Prelude. I remember all these cars so well. But I really don’t have a fucking clue what he drives now. Oh, wait, yes I do. It’s a Lexus. Babs bought him a Lexus for Christmas one year. I think it’s purple or champagne colored, even. Maybe. Oh, I don’t know. I’m waiting for my friend to arrive in a car I don’t know in a color I’m not sure.

Luckily, when he pulls up he sees me and pulls over. The car certainly looks familiar, but I am sure to forget it as soon as it’s out of sight.

We have dinner at the Hard Times Cafe in Springfield Plaza. Gordon used to manage the Mars Music here, that’s now a Baby-R-Us or something like that. I used to manage the Crown Books here that’s now a donut shop. The hostess who seats us turns out also to be our waitress. I ask her about this, and she says the hostess was just busy at the moment, so she sat us. (It’s only later that I think that this is a good strategy to make sure that customers get sat in your section, if you’re the wait staff. Seating them yourself, I mean.)

She’s a cute little number. She introduces herself as Christine. I give her my usual schtick, “Hi, we’re Gordon and Edward, and we’ll be your customers this evening.” While she’s off to get drinks, Gordon teases me about flirting with her. I’m thankful that he also notes that there’s no real actual desire behind the flirting, though. It’s just sort of habit with me. I’m not trying to pick anyone up. And she’s so young, just a girl, far too young for an old guy like me. Not that I ever picked up a waitress in my life anyway. Not to mention that I am also happily married. I ask Gordon to keep me reigned in, though, to make sure I stay friendly-nice-customer guy and not creepy-older-hitting-on guy.

Later, after dinner, when she’s bringing the check, she asks if I want more water. I’ve had a 23 oz. beer and a tall glass of water, so I tell her, “No, because … ”

And then I hesitate, because I was about to say that we’re going to be driving around in the car, maybe just listening to tunes, but anyway not especially near a restroom for a while, and I’m worried about having to pee later. And really all this is unnecessary. A simple “no, thanks” will do here.

She asks, “… because you’re already hydrated?”

And that just confuses me, the word ‘hydrated,’ and I don’t know what else to say now so I blurt out, “No, because I’m worried about having to pee later.” She laughs and walks away, but then Gordon warns me.

“Creepy,” he says soothingly.


So when she comes back, I apologize to her for being crude. But she just immediately laughs genuinely and says that she was glad that I was honest. She doesn’t seem offended at all. So I think I’m in the clear. Gordon thinks so too. Whew.

But it was close, man.

Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, Washington, D.C.: What passing bells for these?


The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

from Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic, General Orders No.11, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868, by order of John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief


No. 458-03
June 27, 2003
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today that Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, 29, of Washington, D.C., was killed on June 25 in Iraq. MacDonald was killed when the light armored vehicle he was traveling in rolled over.

MacDonald was assigned to Bravo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Frederick, Md.

No. 631-03
August 27, 2003
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today that Spc. Darryl T. Dent, 21, of Washington, D.C., was killed on August 26 in Southeast Arimadi, Iraq. Dent was in a convoy when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. Dent died of his injuries.

Dent was assigned to the 547th Transportation Company, U.S. Army National Guard, based in Washington, D.C.

This incident is under investigation.

No. 911-04
September 15, 2004
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

LtCol. Kevin M. Shea, 38, of Washington, D.C., died Sept. 14 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For further information related to this Marine contact the Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office at (760) 725-5044.


Today I think of Wilred Owen, greatest – and certainly my favorite – of the Great War poets. He was killed on November 4, 1918, just a week before the armistice. His Dulce et decorum est is for another day, though. Not today.

But this, from a letter he wrote in July 1918 to his friend Osbert Sitwell. He describes training the men under his command:

For 14 hours yesterday I was at work – teaching Christ to lift his cross by numbers, and how to adjust his crown; and not to imagine the thirst till after the last halt. I attended his Supper to see that there were not complaints; and inspected his feet that they should be worthy of nails. I see to it that he is dumb, and stands at attention before his accusers. With a piece of silver I buy him every day, and with maps I make him familiar with the topography of Golgotha.

Harold Owen and John Bell ed. Wilfred Owen: Collected Letters. London: Oxford University Press, 1967, letter to Osbert Sitwell – July 3, 1918, letter # 634, 562 (as quoted by Kevin Fielden The Church of England in the First World War (Masters thesis, East Tennessee State University, 2005))

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

(Ascension was actually on Thursday, but we celebrate it today. With and/or in lieu of Seventh Sunday of Easter, I’m not really sure.)

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?”

So say the two men in white garments who appear suddenly, just after Christ has ascended into heaven. They go on to say that this Jesus will return the same way. This is from the first reading, from Acts. It’s mirrored by the Gospel reading, which is from St. Mark and describes pretty much the same scene, but without the snarky angels.

But I love the snarky angels. Because, really, men of Galilee, just what are you doing just staring up at the sky like dolts? There’s work to be done, down here. The Holy Spirit is coming, (that’ll be next week, at Pentacost), and we’ve all got things we need to do with that. Or, as St. Paul says in today’s epistle:

[G]race was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God

So the Kingdom of God is here. It’s here now. And we’ve got a whole lotta work to do, to make it like it needs to be. Some of us are apostles, like he says. Others are prophets. And some of us are even database managers.

But see those people over there? They’re hungry. They’re our brothers and sisters and they need food. And these other people here? They’re homeless and they need a roof over their heads. These are the things we need to work on, right now.

Happy Birthday

Dawn wakes me with song, with Happy Birthday, and then she gives me a sweet card. We have breakfast but are able to be a little lazy. Yoga is later this morning; early classes are cancelled for the holiday weekend.

My class is at 10:30 a.m. Danielle is teaching. I’ve gotten kind of used to Chuck, after two weeks now, but Danielle taught my newbie workshop so I suppose it’s okay. The class is packed full, everybody’s mat is on a daisy, all thirty of us. Time passes oddly quickly. I’ve forgotten to wear a watch, but the woman next to me has one, and every time I glance up another half hour has gone by. Only in the last fifteen minutes or so does Danielle start to kick our asses.

We get home just in time to go meet my Dad at the Metro for the baseball game. Dawn walks over with me, then heads out for a walk by herself. Dad and I head over to the stadium. There’s cart vendors selling water and peanuts on the way, telling us it’s much cheaper to by from them instead of inside the stadium. I buy a water, which I’m positive has been refilled and resealed, but figure it’s okay. I drink it in the block to the stadium, but I take the empty bottle in with me and refill it twice, although the 72 oz. of water requires me to go to the restroom twice during the game.

We get sausages with pepper and onions right away and find our seats. We’re still in the middle of eating when we have to stand for the national anthem. We remove our hats. Some Springfield high school student madrigals sing their multipart harmony arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. It’s a little awkward, holding hat in one hand and sausages in the other. Finally we get to sit back down.

We greatly enjoy the game, even though the Nationals lose. But they deserve to lose, blowing as many scoring chances as they do. We have very good cheap seats, although we do move up even further so the people walking on the gangway in front of us don’t distract us so much. And up higher we’re able to stretch our legs over the seats in front of us.

On the way home we see Adrian Fenty, who’s on the city council and is also running for mayor. He’s out pressing the flesh. I make sure to shake his hand and tell him he’s got my support in November. But of course he needs votes in the Democratic primary in September. I’m not a registered Democrat, so I can’t vote in the primary. I ask him what he plans to do, as mayor, about the Nationals’ crappy bullpen. He says he’ll work closely with Lerner, the owner.

I introduce Dad to our neighbor Kara and her dog Rosie. I take an extra fabulous picture of them. Back home I print it out and take it back to Kara. We talk about councilman Fenty, and I tell Kara that I’m not a registered Democrat because the Democratic Party is too conservative for me. Dad pipes up that the Republican Party is too liberal for him.

We head to dinner at the Carlyle Grand at Shirlington. Dawn drives while Dad rides in front and totally kibbutzes. We get to Shirlington and there’s like condos and an office building and a parking deck all new to me, although I suppose it’s been almost fifteen years since I worked down here. I’ve been to movies here still over the years, but I haven’t been paying attention to the construction. Maybe because the movies have been at night?

We meet Rob and Carol waiting at the bar. Dad calls Sharon and she’s still on her way, so we make our way upstairs to our table. It’s a nice corner table, round, big, up a step. We order drinks. I get the Carlyle Lager and Dawn gets a glass of wine. Sadly, no one else orders alcohol. I feel a bit self-conscious. Sharon arrives and I really expect her to get wine, but she doesn’t.

The food is very good. I have lobster pot stickers for an appetizer and the pecan encrusted trout for an entree. Dawn has a salad, sized up to an entree. Rob has the lobster bisque to start. Carol has what looks like mashed potatoes but is in fact creamed cauliflower. I give Dad some trout in exchange for a medallion of his pork.

We all get coffee, except Dad, who says he thinks he hasn’t had coffee since the mid fifties. Dawn and I share the creme brulee. They bring it with a birthday candle on the plate. And they’ve written Happy Birthday in drizzled chocolate around the rim of the plate. The gang sings to me.

And there’s presents too. A wonderful book from Rob and Carol, and fun toy tools as well. And a very generous check from Dad. We chat more, about Tom Hanks and politics, and then we make our ways out and home.

At home I feed the cats. As I’m bending down to put Louise’s dish on the floor, it feels a little funny how far I’m bending down. I straighten my legs and see how close I can get to my toes. I’ve never been able to get more than about a third of the way down my shins. Now I can stretch stretch and touch the floor. And I’m still wearing my shoes while I do this. I rush out of the bedroom to the other bedroom where Dawn is on the computer to show her.

Amazing. It might have something to do with the yoga.

A software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network

I have a long conference call today, lasting from 11:30 to 1:00. It’s one of those sort of broadcast conference calls, where I’m just a participant listening while others present. The presenters use LiveMeeting, and those of just participating watch their slides go by. We’re able to type in questions if we want. And every so often one of the presenters shares their desktop and shows us what they can do.

They’re specifically discussing web services. The most interesting part is when Antonio from TMAR shows us the development environment that they use. It’s not just XML code, rather it includes some sort of interpreter that allows him to drill down into a data view. It’s pretty cool. And apparently they wrote this development application themselves. Even cooler.

Then there are a couple of customer presentations, showing how they use web services. Yeah, yeah, we get it. Show us the development environment more. But, I’m able to listen and watch and also, while listening and watching, I’m able to organize the pile of papers that hides what I assume to be my desk underneath. And I finally find it, the desk.

Post-Recital Ballet Class

It’s a relief to go to ballet and not have to run through the recital piece time and time again. But then Miss Jessica throws some trickier combinations at us in class. Even at the barre I’m completely inept at the double frappes that she wants us to do. I just stand there throwing out random frappes, embarrassed.

Later when we come center the adagio baffles even Miss Jessica. Another combination with changements and something new to me, contretemps, leaves me completely defeated. But it’s fun and I’m able to laugh at myself.

By the end of class we’re all leaping across the studio, first with a pique combination and then with grand jetes. Jill is easily the best leaper of us all, although she sounds like she lands hard, loud, without enough plie.

On the walk home we walk a ways with Renee, who invites us to a wine tasting. But it’s on an evening that we’re seeing the Royal Ballet at the Kennedy Center. It’s a shame, because it sounds like great fun. Renee also gives us a flyer for an almost month-long season of the Washington Early Music Festival.

I’m not even sure what early music is, but I’m intrigued. I think of it as something like the version of Handel’s Messiah that I have, the version that Dawn owned too when we met, with Christopher Hogwood leading the Academy of Ancient Music. Period instruments and things like that maybe.

Parc Vista Ballers

It’s Wednesday, so that means kickball. Kyra goes early to squat on the fields. Kate, who originally had to stick around because of a conference call, but now the call’s been cancelled, leaves a little later. They get to the fields sometime after four. Early games start at 6:15 p.m. Our game’s at 7:00.

I mean to go home to change into sports clothing, but I get wrapped up in work at the office until after six. But I’ve got jeans on today, in case of just such an emergency, so I just change into my sneakers and I’m ready. I get to the fields about ten of seven.

Kate’s there reffing the early game, between the grey t-shirts and the yellow t-shirts. I think the yellow are Balls to the Wall. Kate’s already on beer three, of the Natural Light or whatever rank brew that Ben has brought. She’s a little loopy and has to pee.

We find nearby some sort of construction area surrounded by privacy fence. She’s able to just squeeze under a gate as I lift it up manfully. And I’ve got a pack of Kleenex, so no need to drip dry, as she puts it. She comes back under the gate and we shake hands at our mission accomplished.

Our game turns out to be a very close one, with the Parc Vista Ballers scoring one run, after which we settle in for a defensive battle. Only in the bottom of the last inning do we get a break. Ryan boots one up the third base line past both infielders and outfielders, allowing Kyra and Virginia to score before he’s tagged out at third. But we’ve won anyway.

I actually feel a little guilty at our win, snatching it away from them at the last minute. I poll the rest of our team and nobody feels even remotely bad about it like I do.

Farewell Happy Hour for Tait

Tait is leaving ASH at the end of the week, to go to NYC and teach ESL. Or I think maybe that’s like a temporary gig, until he starts some fellowship or something. I don’t remember. I’ll have to ask him.

We go to Mai Thai, just up the block. Used to be Fin. I arrive closer to 5:30 than 5:00, when the shindig was scheduled to start, so I’m late. The place is pretty much empty, except for the ASH group in the lounge area to the right. I head to the bar to bus my own beer. I always prefer that to joining a group tab.

The bartender seems to be having trouble figuring out something, although she’s got all of three customers at the bar. She goes back and forth from this one customer and the cash register computer, and she takes a long time to get to me. Finally it’s my turn and I order a Bass on draft and hand her a ten. She pulls the Bass and fiddles with the computer screen. Then she hands me the beer and returns my change to me, in a cup. Strange. I pull out the bills and the receipt, and there are more bills back than I was expecting. Oh, apparently it’s happy hour. My beer is all of $2.75. I leave her the quarter and another dollar as tip, feeling mighty generous, having spent all of four dollars.

I go over to the gang and stand for a few minutes. Elisa is telling a story of having attended the Preakness the weekend before. She spent eight hours there, much of it packed in with drunken people, people who’d been drinking like since eight in the morning. She mentions not being able to count the number of men she saw urinating in public, but I ask her to try anyway. She guesses about eighty. And some women too, evidently, although the guys were polite enough to hold up a urine-soaked blanket to shield the poor young women. But there were cops on horseback on the other side of the fence. One of them whipped out a camera and took pictures.

Nice guy.

Lauren leaves because it’s her roommate’s birthday and there’s some sort of party or dinner going one for the roommate. She gives me her seat, between Kate and Sasha. Next to Sasha is Elisa, who talks more about the Preakness. There’s some discussion of spending time in the sun and then having to wear dresses to friends’ weddings and such. Dealing with tan lines. Guys never think about these things.

Ayuko the director of the meetings department shows up, and I feel a sort of twinge of nostalgia. When I was at Arthur Andersen, or even later at Deloitte, when a partner would show up for a happy hour, everyone was greatly pleased, since said partner could be counted on to pick up the tab. But those days are long gone.

I’ve been feeling sick the last couple of days, so I don’t plan to stay long. But of course I get settled in and so I stick around for another Bass. Finally I leave with Kate, who has to meet Ben Block on the corner of 19th & M, because Ben is dropping off the kickball bag for tomorrow. It’s our team’s turn to squat on the Mall, to save the fields for the league. Ben and Jeremy were going to do it originally, but now I think Kyra’s going to do it.


A comment from CPC to the Worlds Collide post:

[S]peaking as an observer who goes neither to church or to strip clubs, this posting helps to put your life into perspective. To me, your life seems to swing a bit like a big pendulum; there’s the meat phase, then the vegetarian phase; the heavy drinking phase then the more sober phase, the stripper phase, then the renewed Catholicism phase, and other phases that I’m sure that I’ve missed. Each seems like a correction — overcorrection? of the former. You’re certainly not the only one. Several of my wilder friends have turned to the church now, particularly those with kids. I guess I’ve taken a different tack; if one believes in moderation is all things (maybe except for root beer) the big swing, the big correction, is not needed. So, observing you fondly as I have all these years, I have to wonder, is the religious fascination a permanent thing, or another temporary swing of the pendulum? I have to wonder if a correction of the correction is in your future. Where will the pendulum rest?

Ouch. I am stunned when I read this. I try to think that it’s not true. But it is true, isn’t it?

But I suppose I never really like to do anything halfway. (Trust me, I’ve had to do a lot of things half-assed, but I never like doing things that way.) So, consequently, when I go about something, anything, I like to just dive right it. Perhaps I don’t recognize at the time that I’m doing so, or even much notice if I later decide to do something ostensibly opposite. Apparently it’s just what I do. Takes a good friend to point these things out sometimes.

But then I also like to think that I’m not just this way or that way, then or now, but that I’m all of these things all at once. I’m the sum total of all these things that I’ve been over time, becoming me now.

I’m a vegetarian, generally, by choice. Or I am at home anyway where my wife is strictly veggie. But I’ll eat meat if you put it in front of me, which kinda makes me not a vegetarian, even though I’ll feel guilty about eating the cute little animals. So I’m a non-vegetarian vegetarian.

I’m a sober guy, too. I’ve been to a couple of work happy hours, and seen the kids downing beers and doing shots, but none of that for me thanks. But I drink wine with dinner, and I have a beer about three o’clock on weekend afternoons. I even like to get drunk sometimes. I’m a sober drinker.

I’m a Catholic, but I still admire the strippers. Well, I don’t like literally admire them, as in to the point of actually going to see them. But I’ve also got nothing against them either. Heck, they’re just naked and we’re all born naked, in God’s image even. But strip clubs are just too smoky, now that I don’t smoke, and I’ve got no money to spend on strippers nowadays, what with the house and all. So, okay, I don’t truly have like much actual desire to hang out with strippers anymore, really. But, dammit, strippers are still just plain cool.

So, therefore, I’m sorry but I’m just not going to be able to quite fully accept the penduluum analogy. It’s close, but not exactly right.

However, CPC also uses the term tack, which gets me to thinking, maybe he’s on to something. Tack is a sailing term, a noun describing the position of the bow of a boat with respect to the wind. (I’m reading Horatio books, so I’ve got sailing on the brain.) He says that he’s taken a different tack in life, one of moderation. And I admire that. I totally do.

But in sailing terms, however, there’s also the verb form, tacking, which describes bringing the bow through the eye of the wind. It’s a way of sailing into the wind, of sailing upwind. So, there, exactly, I think, that’s what it is. I’ve always just had to necessarily go tacking like this, like I have, from one side to the other, because I’ve always been sailing to that point upwind, where I need to go.

That’s what I’ve been doing. Not swinging like a penduluum. I’ve been tacking.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

There’s some kind of race going on in our neighborhood, the Capitol Hill Classic 10K. Yesterday our friend Becky told us that she was racing, was why she was only drinking iced tea. Dawn declared that we needed to leave for church early, what with street closures and such.

So we leave ten minutes early and take another route, and end up getting to church like fifteen minutes earlier than we normally do. Hmm. And so I’m excited at the chance to read the readings ahead of time, which I always would like to do but hardly ever do. And so I’m reading, and now while I’m reading them I’m keeping like one eye open for thinking that I’m going to write about this later, whatever I think about these readings. And it somehow changes them, makes me aware of them in a different way.

And I’m not sure I like this change. I’m reading and thinking about reading and not especially taking anything in, just thinking that these are really boring readings and I’ve got nothing to say about them. Ugh.

But then Mass actually starts and after that I’m totally digging everything. The processional hymn is one of my favorite tunes, Hyfrydol, this particular version Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown.

And all the rest of the music and singing is all just so great, I end up taking the music leaflet after Mass rather than returning it like I’m supposed to do. And I enjoy listening to the readings, much more so that when I was reading them earlier. I mean, I read along with Dawn as they’re being read aloud, like we always do. But something about hearing them too really adds to them.

During this Easter season we have the rite of blessing and sprinkling of holy water instead of the penitential rite. There are two different rites in the Ordo Missae that we use to follow along, except Father Caulfield seems to use some different text that we don’t have. So we don’t know what he’s saying, those of us not fluent in Latin. Sure, I can catch a Dominum (or Domine) or Jesum Christum or (Jesu Christe) here or there (and declension and cases ain’t helping matters, by the way), but that’s about it. Qui tollis peccata mundi, on a good day, I suppose. Father Caulfield finishes and then he and Deacon Rice wander through the nave dunking the branches in the newly blessed holy water and flinging out towards us, flicking the water toward’s us, while the choir sings something lovely, apparently from Hassler’s Missa Secunda.

During the preparation of the gifts, the choirs sings Benedicite Gentes by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

Benedicite gentes Dominum Deum nostrum
et obaudite vocem laudis ejus.
qui posuit animam meam ad vitam
et non dedit commoveri pedes meos.
Benedictus Dominus qui non amovit deprecationem meam
et misericordiam suam a me.

O nations, bless the Lord our God,
let the voice of His praises resound;
He has restored my soul to life
and He has not suffered my feet to stumble.
Blessed be the Lord who has neither rejected my prayer
nor turned His mercy away from me.

Then, during communion, they sing Cantate Domino, by Claudio Monteverdi, although Hassler has one of these as well.

Cantate Domino canticum novum,
cantate et benedicite nomini ejus:
Quia mirabilia fecit.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
sing and give praise to his name:
for he has done marvelous deeds.

Sadly, the recessional hymn is way beyond my poor abilities. Dawn’s too, apparently, as she nudges me and says that she’s giving up after the first verse.

The first reading is again from Acts, as it’s been all this Easter season. Cornelius comes to Peter. It’s amazing what the reading leaves out, Cornelius telling Peter that he’s been directed by an angel of God to tell Peter that the good news is not just for the Jewish nation, but for all nations. And this is after Peter has had his vision of all the animals and the voice (heck, maybe the same angel) has told him that no animal is unclean to eat.The reading we hear today has Cornelius arrive, and then immediately has Peter’s reply. And the reply is utterly momentous actually, even without all the rest of the context. We understand that some great decision is being made: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”

Would Christianity would have spread as far and as wide as it did, if it had been kept a strictly Jewish sect, if Peter, and Paul as well, had kept it so? Would I be Catholic today, now; would there even be a Catholic Church? We’ll never know, of course, but here we see the beginnings of the Church as the Church. Sure, Christ gave Peter the keys, made him the rock, but here we see the institution being made. Later, in chapter fifteen, there’ll be the Council of Jerusalem, where Paul and Barnabas come to Peter for like the official word, right here and now is the big decision.


So, today, it’s recital day. We go to morning yoga, as a sort of usual thing, but also today in lieu of the warmup class that Jessica’s going to do before the show. We get home and I plug in the video camera, to charge the battery. I haven’t used it in a while, but it says that there’s 32 minutes of battery life left, so I could live with that, but any extra will be gravy.

When the battery’s all charged, I pop in a brand new tape and record a quick intro. “Hi, this is me. This is the St. Mark’s recital tape.” Then I pack up the camera and put it by the door. We leave the house around two-fifteen, to be there by three, for the recital at four. I of course forget the video camera.

The studio is packed with people, just finishing up the warmup class. Ann from the Thu 7:30 class is outside looking in, saying it was just too crowded to join in. Then folks start running through their pieces. Some have the music, some don’t. It’s funny running through with people watching. I’m more nervous I think than I’ll be in the actual performance, having peers watching me. I love seeing other pieces, though. I won’t be able to watch, as our class is almost last. It’s my only chance to see Dawn with her pointe class, with Renee, Rhonda, and Sally. Dawn is so great, so lovely. She’s totally the best.

Dawn and I get a chance to run through our duet. I feel like I screw up holding her on her first sous-sus, but later she tells me that she didn’t make it all the way up until I grabbed her and helped her up. The other students watching give us a big hand, whooping it up, when we finish. They’re nice.

I still haven’t got on my costume, and I won’t have it on until the actual performance. This worries me. It’s funny how it seems like such a little thing, what I’m wearing, but those little things can totally throw you. Last week was the first time we did the piece with Dawn in the dress that she’s going to wear, and it’s totally a slippery fabric and changes how I need to wrap my arms around her to lift her. And at one point I’ve got her lifted and I have to shift her from one arm under her to two arms, and I have trouble with the slippery fabric. Or even the difference between doing it over and over in the studio, and then going down to the actual performance space. The first time we went down there it was like I couldn’t remember a damn thing, it threw me off so much. So I’m glad that we’ve rehearsed there a number of times now. But the costume, I’m just going to have to deal.

Miss Jessica is in street clothes, not her usual ballet clothes that she teaches in. And she’s in total babe mode, with bright tight short dress with tall boots. I’m really glad that she’s here. I thought I had heard that she couldn’t make it to the recital. She had some sort of pilates training or certification last year and couldn’t make, and I thought there was something going on again this year. But she’s here and I’m glad.

I have time to read some Horatio while we wait. I’m plowing through the Hotspur book. I’ll probably finish it tonight.

The recital starts, with Dawn’s Wed 7:15 pointe class going first. Seems like they’re back upstairs so quickly. Rhonda and Renee both say it went well. Dawn’s gone to change for our duet, so I don’t see her for a minute. We’re up fourth.

And seems like the next two pieces go by too fast and we’re suddenly on. Everything’s happening so fast that I don’t have time to be nervous. I don’t have much time to enjoy it either, though, going by so fast. But, I try and take some time; there’s this point where I slide to the floor and then wait several beats until Dawn slides down next to me. I close my eyes as soon as I’m seated, trying to just be in the moment, until I hear her right behind me and then I open my eyes. I do this also for effect, having been thinking about what I should do, besides nothing, while I’m sitting there and I can’t see her. I feel like it’s sort of an awakening kind of move, that I’m there but not there until she arrives. Then she’s down beside me and we’re up again and there’s no time to think again. Except that my co-worker and dashing young protege Kate is here, so I make sure to give her a smile as I go by, on my way to catch Dawn at the end. It’s a modern piece, so we’re not really keyed to the music necessarily at any point, except for the end, where I’m supposed to have lifted Dawn and then dip her at one musical cue and she throws her arms out at the final drumbeat. I think I get her down at around the right time, but she totally flashes her arms out perfectly as the last beat crashes.

Then we have a while to wait upstairs, as our Thu 6:15 is not on until ninth. But I’m alone in the studio for a moment, which is good since I have to whip off my white shirt that I wore for the duet and put on a black shirt for the intermediate class piece.

When we’re finally about to go on, I’m standing at the end of our entrance line, wondering where Ayanna is, since she’s supposed to be at the end behind me. No, really, we’re like going into the church now and where is she? She slips in behind me at totally the last second. (She’s been in a number of other pieces with the St. Mark’s Dance Company, and they’ve been changing in the library, is why I haven’t seen her.) It seems like an agonizing wait for the music to start. And then it kicks in and we’re off.

It goes by in a real blur, except that I find myself at the end farther to the right and middle than I’ve ever been before, and Jessica B., whom I usually key off of, who’s usually just ahead of me to my left, she’s way up towards the front. We’re like in places we’ve never been in rehearsal. But, this is also a modern piece, more rhythmic to the music but not so rigid that we can’t just be wherever we are and just space ourselves apart. So we are where we are, and we finish.

And it’s been great fun. I always think of my brother at these times. He plays guitar and has been in bands and has performed a lot, certainly a lot more than I ever have. But he’s never had to do it in tights, I suppose. But anyway, here I am, up in front of people. It’s funny how exciting it is, before and after, exciting to think about doing, even if there’s no time to think while doing.

After the show there’s food and wine. Kate joins us, as do Becky and Aida. We all sit and chat and eat and drink, although there’s music playing and I find it hard to hear. Aida is in her seventies but doesn’t seem to have any trouble hearing, but I guess she never used to listen to Kiss really really loud through headphones. I mean to do more mingling, meeting Jill’s boyfriend, and Jessica B. seems to have a boy here as well, but I’m all wrapped up in our little group and never do mingle. Aida leaves first and then a little later we all get ready to go.

Dawn and Becky and I walk Kate to her car and then walk over to Tortilla Coast for margaritas and dinner. I show the hostess the flowers that Kate gave me, and I tell her that I’ve just come from my dance recital. She’s clearly and utterly not interested in hearing it, and disdainfully shows us to a table. We’re seated next to two large groups, the first being cops, Capitol Police, in all black and leather and utility belts and guns, and the other group five girls and three boys, Mennonites, seems like. The boys are in general young person street dress, while the girls are in Mennonite garb, pretty dresses plus wraps or covering jackets, as well as caps. I wonder why the girls have to dress traditionally while the boys don’t. None of them has any drink other than water.

Dawn drinks a frozen margarita while I have plain on the rocks, and Becky just has iced tea. We are next to the window on Second Street, and there’s a constant stream of colorful people walking by. There’re elderly people with name tags. Younger women with too-short skirts and not the legs to pull off said too-short skirts. A little girl charmed by a dog. Guys in tuxes. We snark on everyone, especially women who can’t walk in their high heels.

We see Becky off to the Metro across the street and then walk home. And by this time it’s pretty late, and we pretty much go straight to bed. And then I do in fact finish Hornblower and the Hotspur.

(And although I remember to set the VCR to tape Saturday Night Live before going to bed, I end up taping an hour of the ABC Family Channel and only the last half-hour of SNL. Seems like the satellite box has somehow screwed up daylight savings time. Grr.)

Something Called Firefox

At home, Dawn uses Internet Explorer and I use Netscape. Not because I’m like this huge fan of Netscape or anything, but more because we share the same desktop at home and we both use Yahoo mail. And I’m too lazy to sign out of Yahoo ever. So Dawn was forever having to sign me out and sign herself in whenever she wanted to check her mail.

So then I started using Netscape, so that I would never have to sign out and she would never have to sign out. But now seems like Netscape is freezing when I go to save a Blogger entry. And it’s crushingly disappointing to have written something and been satisfied with it and then hit SAVE and have the thing crash and eat my entry. I was using Netscape Browser version seven something, and I upgraded to eight, but it didn’t help any.

And so I’ve decided that Netscape has eaten my writing for the last fucking time.

I go searching for something else. I seem to think that’s there’s something called “Mozilla.” So I go to and look for browsers and there are any number of them. The most popular, measured by total downloads, is something called Avant Browser. Netscape is number two, IE is number three, and Mozilla Firefox is number four.

For some reason, something about Avant bugs me. I’m not even sure what or why. It may be that I’ve used AvantGo on my Palm and not been totally thrilled with it. I think that’s more a function of just the PDA-ness of the application itself, not anything to do with Avant, if that’s even the name of the company. But something puts me off Avant.

So then next is Firefox. It says that it’s open source, so that makes me all warm and fuzzy. The CNET reviewer seems to think the world of it. So what the hell. I give it a try.

And so far so good. It doesn’t eat blog entries. And it has that handy ctrl-Enter feature that IE has, that my brother showed me, where you just type like just “yahoo” in the address bar and then hit ctrl-Enter and it automatically fills in the “http://www.” before and the “.com/” after, making it “” without hardly having to type nothin’.

And it imported all my bookmarks from Netscape, which I suppose is standard but I totally wasn’t expecting, so it’s like a real treat.

Last Rehearsal

I’m late getting to ballet, and when I arrive they’re down in the church already running through the piece. But looks like only half the folks are in there. And I see Pat and Ayanna standing in back, not dancing and so they must have just arrived. And when I ask Jill after they’re done with the run-through she says that this was the first time through, so I’m not too terribly late or in trouble or anything.

We then work through it a couple more times, stopping and starting, trying to figure out our entrance. We’ve got this combination that we do coming in and up the far left aisle to get on stage, during this long intro to the music. We do two eight-counts of arm poses & an outside soutenu, then another eight-count of three chaines and tombe pas de bourree. Repeat until in place.

I never can figure out how to do three chaines to a four count, though.

We’re divided into two groups. Dawn’s in the first group, one of four. They arrive at their places right at time their music kicks in, and my group, of six, is supposed to arrive eight counts later. But we just don’t have time to get the six of us into position anywhere in the soutenus or chaines. So finally Jessica decides we can just walk to our places after Dawn’s group starts. This makes sense, as the audience is going to be looking at them at that point anyway.

Finally the choir is arriving and we have to leave since it’s really their space for the night. So we go back up to the studio and run through the piece like five more times. And, heck, I’m tired. And I’m still a little fuzzy on some of the transitions, but that’s showbiz, I guess. Or maybe I can rehearse a little with Dawn at home before the recital on Saturday.

Big Day and Kickball

It’s the anniversary of our engagement. I asked Dawn to marry me, on this day, in 2003, at Jyothi Indian Restaurant in Adams Morgan. It’s a shame we never go there anymore, but we like Aroma downtown so much better. Dawn swears by their baigan bharta.

It’s also Gwen’s birthday, or her calculated birthday anyway. She was a stray, so her actual DOB remains a mystery. She’s six now.

And I’ve got kickball on Wednesdays. And last time I went, last Wednesday I was in town, the third of May, I forgot my shirt. I was about to call it my jersey, but it’s really just a t-shirt with the WAKA logo on the front and “Play Kickball” on the back. Our team signed up late, like the last team to sign up, so the division had to order extra shirts. So we didn’t get the cool Kelly’s Irish Times logo and whatnot on the back, Irish Times being the division sponsor and the watering hole to which we repair after games. And the shirts are like totally the bottom of the barrel last color available, the last color anybody would ever pick, the last color available. Officially it’s called natural. You’d probably call it tan. We call it nude.

So anyway, this time I remember on Tuesday night to get out the ugly shirt and put it on my dresser, so that I’ll remember it. In the morning I put it on Dawn’s book on the newel post heading downstairs. And Dawn grabs it and puts it by my backpack, by the front door. And of course I don’t see it and forget it. Again.

But luckily it’s a 7:00 p.m. game, so I have time after work to go home and get it and drive back to the Mall. It’s weird being able to park right on the Mall, on Madison Drive, but I guess since the museums all close at 5:30 there aren’t many people needing to park after that.

It’s raining when I get to the field, around 6:40 p.m. I see a couple ASH Kickers arriving and parking themselves under a big tree. I find Virginia and Josh refereeing the early game, so I hang out with Virginia by first base and we share the umbrella. I wonder which is less safe, being under a tree in a thunderstorm or standing out in the open with an umbrella. But there’s no thunder, no lightning. There’s a league requirement that games are called on account of lightning.

The two teams playing both only have three women. League rule is that a team must field at least four men and four women, but apparently since the two teams are equal they’ve decided to play. This presents a moral dilemma for us, however, since we’re playing one of these teams in a few minutes. Since the weather is crappy rain, maybe we’d rather not play tonight. We could force them to forfeit, since they don’t have the required number of women. We discuss amongst ourselves, and various Ash Kickers offer differing opinions. My favorite is that we play them, but only as a scrimmage, taking the win before we even start.

As it turns out, the weather improves and we decide to tough it out and play them for real, despite the gender disparity. And it proves to be a good and close game, and we win by one run. All very satisfying. Afterwards, I drive Tiffany, Stephanie, and Elisa to Irish Times. I’d really rather not join in the drinking and debauchery, and I’m able to get off the hook because of the special anniversary with the wife. And especially because Dawn’s not feeling well, poor dear.

Worlds Collide

I leave work to go to my committee meeting at the Cathedral. I’ve been a member, gosh, for three years now, of the Adult Formation Committee.

Chris McCullough was the Adult Formation Coordinator and head of the RCIA when I went through classes and confirmation. He said at the time that we should attend some committee meetings and see if we were interested in volunteering for further service. For some reason I got it into my head that we were like required to check out the committees, like it would be really bad form not to do so. So I went to a couple of Adult Formation Committee meetings and a couple of Social Justice Committee meetings.

The really wonderful Dori was getting on the Social Justice Committee, but I found a better fit for myself with the folks on Adult Formation. My sponsor Barbara was there, as well as Pat and Mary. All good folk. And so I’ve stuck around.

So anyway, on my way there, on the block and a half walk, I necessarily go by Camelot, more formally known as Camelot Show Bar. And walking out at that moment, dragging an enormous rolling suitcase, is Ana C. I know her from way back, from my own drunken nights spent in strip clubs during my divorce. She danced under the name Rio at Archibalds on K Street. I think I may have first met her at the 1720 Club, or maybe Good Guys, but I don’t remember. She danced for a long time at Nexus Gold Club. Her sister danced at Archibalds as well, and later at Camelot, under the glorious name of Oona, before moving to California.

Ana C. now sells costumes to dancers all over the city. Hence the suitcase. I load it into the back of her minivan for her and we chat for a minute. I remember that she had had a son, and she says he’s doing well. She’s had another baby, just last year, a girl. I ask after her sister, and she’s doing fine, still in California. And Ana herself is looking better; she seemed like she had lost a lot of weight after her son was born. Too much weight. I used to beg her to eat more every time I saw her.

So then we say our goodbyes and I head off to my church meeting. And again I feel all full of myself. All renaissance-y, like I did on Thursday with the power tools and ballet. Today I’m the good Catholic boy who’s still friends with the strippers.

Horatio Addiction

Back in town, and having finished Lieutenant Hornblower, I resolve to make it to the DC Library to borrow Hornblower and the Hotspur rather than buy it. But then stuff comes up at work and I don’t get a chance to get to the library at lunch. So then I dash to Borders and just buy the damn thing.

But Lieutenant Hornblower ends with him (a) asking Maria to marry him and (b) having been made commander (but not post captain) of the Hotspur. I needed to know what happens next.

So, sure enough, Hornblower and the Hotspur begins:

“Repeat after me,” said the parson. “I, Horatio, take thee, Maria Ellen –“

And of course Horatio’s thinking that Maria is not the right woman for him, that he’s not even suitable husband material to begin with. And of course he bravely forges ahead anyway. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

Ryobi BTS20R

I finally cut some wood with the new saw.

I had had a blast putting it together at first. I love that kind of stuff, following directions from a manual and screwing this to that and whatnot. Like Ikea furniture. Just plain fun. But I had my Freud TK906 blade on Kevin’s miter saw, and I was going to put that eventually on the Ryobi. So I didn’t want to spend any time heeling the blade on the saw to the miter gauge grooves if I was just going to replace the blade and do it all over again. And I had stair railings still to cut on Kevin’s saw, is why the Freud blade was on it, so I had to cut the railings so as to be able to put the Freud blade on the Ryobi saw.


So after cutting some railings on the chop saw, I wasn’t especially happy with the results. It’s so hard to adjust the bevel. I finally decided, hell, the new Ryobi saw is just sitting there, and it’s got a miter gauge and bevel tilt, so why not give it a try? Plus, the chop saw was just spewing sawdust all over the shop. The Ryobi’s got a dust port, 2 1/2″ even, to hook up the shop vac.

So then, after moving the TK906 from the miter saw to the Ryobi, it took me a while to heel the blade to the left-hand miter groove. I started out just using my combination square, measuring to a tooth that I had colored blue with a Sharpie. But then I couldn’t find my feeler gauges anywhere. So then I got out the dial gauge and screwed it to a wooden bar, and then held that assembly on the miter gauge. Worked pretty well. Except that it was hard to measure to the same point on the colored tooth, and the miter gauge is a little sloppy in the groove. Not much, but the dial gauge measures to 1/1000th of an inch, so the slop was throwing it off quite a lot.

So then I had the bright idea to just take the Sharpie and pop a little dot on the flat part of the blade, still out towards the teeth. Easier to put the tip of the dial gauge to that rather than a tooth. And I just held the miter gauge firmly against the right side of the miter channel. And I was able to see that the blade was out of parallel by 0.011″. So I found a 4mm hex key and loosened the two bolts at the back of the motor. Was much easier system than the screws in the table of the Delta that I had, that I had to fit a closed-end wrench underneath the table.

But then for some reason I got it into my head that I had to use a wood board here to pound the blade back. I thought the Ryobi instruction manual said to do this. But after tapping then whacking with a rubber mallet, to no avail, I re-read the instructions and they said to just push the wood board and then, before letting go, tighten the bolts in back when the blade was parallel.

Finally got it to within 0.003″, which I figure is about as good as I can do.

The other cool thing about the dial gauge on the wooden bar is I was able to measure the wobble of the blade while the blade was running. It was exhilarating to do, although hard to read the results. Seemed like the needle was flicking back and forth with a 5 to 10 one-thousandth range. I think digital gauges maybe could save a range or something like that. I don’t even know if they make digital gauges, though. Maybe I’m thinking of digital calipers, which I definitely have seen. Somebody’s gotta make a digital gauge.

I probably should have measured the arbor runout when I had the blade off, now that I think about it. But there’s not a whole lot I can do about arbor runout, except maybe measure wobble with the blade rotated at different points on the arbor. More trouble than I’m willing to take at this point for three one-thousandths of an inch.

And so I cut some railing on the saw, and the cut itself was smooth. Like glass smooth. Like baby’s butt smooth. Like jointer smooth.

I still have to measure the rip fence to make sure it’s parallel. The instructions say to use a framing square. It’s funny that the manual at the beginning says that you’ll need a screwdriver, a 1/2″ wrench, and a framing square to assemble. Then you of course later need a combination square. It’s clearly pictured in the manual, but they don’t tell you up front that you’ll need one. But then maybe I can use the dial gauge assembly that I made. We’ll see.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

The first reading is from Acts. I like readings from Acts like this, where it’s like this action adventure. Here’s Saul first coming to the Apostles, and they’re all afraid of him, since he’s been so famous for persecuting Christians. They think he’s a spy or something. And so Barnabas is assigned to be his handler. And then they decide Saul’s okay. But then when he’s out and about in Jerusalem preaching, the Hellenists try to kill him. So the Apostles spirit him out of town, take him to Caesaria, on his way back to Tarsus.

And then from First John, the really simple and stunning “[L]et us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”

The Gospel is also from St. John. Jesus explains that he is the vine, the Father is the vine grower, and we are the fruit. Seems much safer than shepherd and lamb. Although I suppose with the shepherd and/or the lamb, in either case, we are the sheep.

Father Caulfield talks about his mother. He is so great, Father Caulfield. I’m really starting to like him a lot. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t like him before. But I loved Monsignor McGee so much, with his wonderful Scottish accent and beautiful sung Latin and dense & erudite homilies. But Father Caulfield, despite his youth, (he mentions being 32,) also sings the Latin very well, almost as good as Msgr. McGee. His homilies, in contrast, are always really earthy, really practical, and I like them. I like him.

Last week was a special celebration for vocations, and there were a couple busfuls of tourist kids from Cincinnati, and Father Caulfield spoke of his own path to becoming a priest. He said that even as a young boy he wanted to be a priest. He used to play Mass with his little sister, with Ritz crackers servings as communion hosts. That’s just so awesome.

Washington Ballet

We haven’t been to the ballet in a while. Tonight our friend Becky joins us.

She arrives just after I’ve finished vacuuming, just as she always does, before I’m finished dressing. We enjoy a wonderful early dinner and a couple bottles of wine. Then coffee. Then we’re off to the Kennedy Center for the Washington Ballet in something called the Bach/Beatles Project. It sounds perfectly dreadful.

First up is State of Wonder, choreographed by artistic director Septime Weber. Music is the Goldberg Variations, some of it recordings of Glenn Gould, other parts played onstage by a pianist and a harpsichordist. There’s the aria, twenty-nine variations, and the aria da capo. The dancing is very modern-influenced, but I find it beautiful, at turns moving and haunting and exhilarating.

The second program is Always, No Somtimes, choreographed by choreographer in residence Trey McIntyre. Dawn and Becky enjoy it, but I hate hate hate it. First, they use the actual Beatles recordings themselves, which is distracting. I’ve heard all these songs a million times, so they have meaning in and of themselves apart from what’s being presented and interpreted. As opposed to the Glenn Gould recordings, which I know of, but I don’t especially know. And then the Beatles songs lean more towards the Beatles’ later period (four songs are from the White Album) and are also somewhat McCartney heavy, neither of which things pleases me much. And the dancing is vaguely reminiscent of musical production numbers, gangs of dancers running to the beat or standing & tapping to the beat. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da is especially loathesome, although Wild Honey Pie might be worse if it weren’t so incredibly short.

That Erin Mahoney-Du has a hell of a lot of charisma, though. And she’s nine feet tall. She’s been my favorite since Emily Vonne SoRelle left. Well, I like Elizabeth Gaither. And Runqiao Du, I like him too. None of these are Dawn’s favorites, but she knows a lot more about ballet.

There are a ton of dishes to do when we get home. Dawn takes great pity on me and helps me.


I get many replies to my Craig’s List ad. The first one is unsigned and not so comprehensible, asking if the saw is still available. The second reply is signed with a first and last name, states quite concisely: “I would like to buy the table saw.” He also gives me a phone number and says when he can come pick it up.


We exchange a few emails, logistics and whatnot, and arrange to meet at Chez Bohls on Friday around 6:30 p.m. Dawn & I see him climbing up the stairs to our place just as we come around the corner home from work. We meet and greet and invite him in. And he’s a super swell guy, an older gentleman. He’s a tad frail, and no wonder: he explains the myriad illnesses and accidents that have befallen him.

We chat some and then he goes out the front to bring the van around back, where I load the saw in the back for him. I spy a Ryobi AP10 planer in the back as well and ask him about it. He chuckles a bit at my tool geekiness and explains that it also is a Craig’s List purchase. He says he’ll consider selling it to me when he’s done with it. I say that sounds like a grand idea.

He’s just pulling away when I spot the saw’s owner’s manual that I’ve left on the back deck & forgotton to load into the van. I grab it and tear ass after him, but I don’t catch him. I bolt through the house to see if I can get him before he turns on Independence on his way out of town, but I don’t make it nearly in time. On the shameful walk back to the house I realize that I’ve also got in my pocket the two wrenches that were promised in the ad. They were sitting on the saw and I stuck them in my pocket to carry the saw outside.

I feel terrible. I look up the email where he gave me a phone number and call the number, hoping that it’s his cell phone and he’s still close by. But I get a woman’s voice on an answering machine or voicemail. I leave a message explaining that I’ve forgotten to include a few things, offering to mail them on my dime. A little while later a woman calls back, saying not to worry and that mailing would be fine, but that she insists on paying postage.

Such nice people. Of course I have no intention of letting them pay the postage.

(The rest of the night and weekend replies keep coming in to the ad. I send everyone a note, saying that the saw’s been sold.

I don’t get around to buying a padded envelope for the manual and wrenches until Tuesday, and I don’t get to the post office and mail them until Wednesday afternoon. Get home from work on Wednesday and we’ve gotten a letter in the mail, with an enclosed check. It’s for twenty-five dollars. He says he feels like he’s paid too little for the saw. He also says to donate the money to charity in lieu of sending it back.

Did I mention nice people?)


Back at work for one day this week. We have an IPR of the online application that Krishna is developing, with too many folks in my office, on a conference call and WebEx session with Krishna. It all goes pretty smoothly, though, and the membership folks like what we’ve got so far, with minor tweaks.

Later we’re off to Tony & Joe’s at Washington Harbour for our Staff Appreciation Week lunch. I’ve been out of the office for the first four days of SAW, so it’s good to be able to do at least one event. I share a cab over with Marty and Mila. At lunch I sit with Sasha, Michelle, Laura, and Joe. I have the salmon, which is pretty good, with a not good salad and a blah baked potato.

Later there’s giveaways from vendors, and I win a two-night weekend stay for two at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. The Hyatt’s on Peachtree Street, just a block up from where I used to work at 133 Peachtree and where my first wife Rebecca used to work at 191 Peachtree. Yeah, I’m so looking forward to staying there and reliving all those memories.

I know, I’m being unfair. And ungracious. It’s a nice gift, a remarkably generous gift, worth like five hundred bucks or so. ASH did bring twenty thousand people to Atlanta in December at the annual meeting, so it’s probably a small gesture on the Hyatt’s part, but it’s a lot to me. But I’m not sure Dawn and I can ever use it, though. We do go to Newnan GA, just south of Atlanta, every year, but we stay with my in-laws. We’ve only got a few days down there, so seems like we shouldn’t be staying downtown.

I don’t know. Maybe we can use it. Or maybe we can give it to her brother or sister, give one of the couples a weekend away from their kids.

Day Off and New Saw

We sleep in probably the latest we’ve ever slept in, until after ten a.m. Then we’re up and we eat and shower and then head to Home Depot. It’s finally new saw day.

We grab one of those big rolling carts and first go to the garden center. (What are those carts called, besides just cart?) We’ve got one of those panel carts, rather than the plain flat ones. We figure the saw box is going to be big.

I leave Dawn and head to the tool corral to get the saw. I grab a guy dusting the sanders on display and ask if he can find me a Ryobi BTS20R. He says that they’re stored high up in aisle 13 and to give him fifteen minutes. So I go looking for garden hoses and sprayers in the meantime. After a while I figure out that they’ve moved them; they’re outside now. I meet up with Dawn and we get what we need and a sprinkler too and then I head back to Tools.

The guy is just wheeling back a cart with what looks like two saws on it. I’m trying to figure out why, and then I realize this box is huge, about twice the size I was expecting. It’s twenty-nine inches wide and thirty-nine inches long and fifteen inches tall. That’s about ten cubic feet, if my math skills are still any good. Plus it weighs just a few ounces under one hundred pounds. And there’s no way any plants are going to fit on the cart with it, so I go put it in the car. Thank goodness for the Jetta station wagon. It never woulda fit in the Taurus.

Oh, sadly, it’s thirty dollars more than what I was thinking the price was going to be. The web site does warn, “Local store prices may vary from those displayed.” Sigh.

Back with Dawn and we buy a lot of plants and potting soil and stuff. But, again, thank goodness for the Jetta wagon.

At home we pull the car around back, and then load the saw box onto the wheelbarrow to get it across the yard to the deck. Then we stand it on end and kind of push and roll it into the shop.

It has finally arrived.

And then one of my first orders of business is to go upstairs and type up an ad for Craig’s List to sell the old saw. I’m a little sad to do this, not really wanting to part with it, for sentimental reasons. It’ll always be my first saw, I suppose. Sniffle. I used it to make my workbench. Cut my first dadoes on it.

But, then again, I’ve replaced it because it’s too small. So I type up the following:

Benchtop Table Saw

For sale: One lightly used Delta TS200 Shopmaster 10″ Portable Bench Saw,
with Delta 36-541 Extension Wing,
atop a Delta 36-519 Steel Stand
on four McMaster-Carr 2368T61 2″ Casters.

Includes a homemade feather board that fits in the miter gauge slots, using a toilet bolt actually, and another toilet bolt/washer/nut assembly. Also includes the homemade extension fence on the miter gauge itself. Also the original arbor nut wrench for changing blades. And a 10mm wrench for the blade guard/splitter/anti-kickback pawls assembly. Oh, and the original blade that came with the saw, that I mostly had hanging on the wall while I used a Freud thin-kerf blade, which I’m keeping. And includes of course the original fence.

Asking $75, but of course will consider any reasonable offers.

So that’s it. The die is cast.

Dawn graciously allows me to store the Delta on its stand in the dining room, so I can have room to unpack and assemble the Ryobi in the workshop. I open the box and take out the loose parts, of which there actually aren’t too many. The miter gauge is already assembled, as are the fence and blade guard. The rest of the parts are mostly for the wheels. The main saw assembly and stand assembly are already together, although way too heavy to lift out of the box. I have to stand the box on its side and slide it all out. Styrofoam is annoyingly squeaky. And annoyingly static clingy.

The axle for the wheels has to be secured while attaching the wheels, so I stick a little screwdriver in the hole that’s provided for this very purpose, and I end up bending the poor little screwdriver. Not debilitatingly so. It’s fixable. But kind of funny. The two ends of the axle are sealed with bolts, and at first I try using these same bolts for the wheels. But they’re too short. After fumbling for a minute, I realize that the directions clearly state that these bolts are to be saved, if ever the saw needs to be re-packed or shipped or something, but the wheels actually go on with longer bolts provided. Then I of course put the wheels on but forget the outside washers, so then have to take it all apart are redo it. But eventually I get it right.

Then the bumpers go on and it’s about done. I practice getting the hang of setting it up on the stand and then putting it back down into roll/store position. Oh, it’s so great.

Then it’s time to get ready for ballet class. And I feel like the complete renaissance man, being the workshop power tool guy as well as the ballet guy.

Wednesday in Savannah and back to DC

Another KeyTech breakfast. I sit with Richard Lamb of the American Water Works Association. With him is a woman whose badge says simply “Brooke Lamb, Denver CO.” So I ask her if she’s here as a spouse, at a spouse rate, being that I also have brought my spouse. And she is. But I hadn’t seen anything about spouses and spouse rates. She says it was two-hundred bucks, but maybe not worth it. And she’s probably right, for me and Dawn anyway, since Dawn’s had such a grand time wandering Savannah by herself.

Then it’s off to the application extender swap meet. Rob Kaighn is there, along with Ike Irozuru of the Young Presidents Organization. There’s lots of code examples. Also piping up from time to time is Bruce Edwards from TMAR, who’s kind of a surfer dude. That makes me think he’s probably from Silicon Valley. Like he’s a California surfer dude.

Then finally it’s the closing session, with a pep talk from John Graham of ASAE. And, what we’ve all been waiting for, the announcement of the up-to-now-closely-kept-secret location of next year’s TAUG. We found out last year when they starting throwing little foam tchotchke peaches with “TAUG” and the date and location. Peaches as in Georgia. So now we see them getting ready to throw little red chile peppers at us. So it must be southwest, even though we were in Tucson AZ last year. Or maybe New Orleans, more famous for jazz maybe, but a spicy cooking kind of place. But still. I guess Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

And they throw them at us, and they say

Save the Date for TAUG 2007
April 22-25, 2007
Albuquerque, New Mexico

I scoop up two, one for me and one for Dawn. Later, when I give Dawn hers, she expresses far less enthusiasm than I had hoped. She didn’t go to Tucson with me, and has no interest in Albuquerque either.

I skip out to spend the afternoon with Dawn. I check out of the Westin and then get them to stow the bags for a few hours, then I ride the ferry over to the mainland. Dawn meets me and we start walking south. We walk up Abercorn, then detour through Colonial Park Cemetary. Then we make it back to Abercorn to eat lunch at Clary’s Cafe, what’s become a favorite place for Dawn. It’s featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where That Guy character actor Geoffrey Lewis as Luther Driggers is at the lunch counter with all the flies tied to him and flying around him. Dawn gets egg salad and I have a club sandwich.

We then walk further south, further into the neighborhoods of Victorian homes. Some are beautiful grande dames, while some are in need of a whole lot of restoration. Dawn says that a lot of them are student housing for Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD as it’s abbreviated around town everywhere. We walk around Forsyth Park, then head back to the historic district. We stop at a used bookstore, so I can look the next Horatio Hornblower book, since I’m in danger of finishing Lieutenant Hornblower and want the next one as soon as possible. They actually and surprisingly have a mass-market paperback edition of Lord Hornblower, but I’m looking for Hornblower and the Hotspur, so we leave empty handed.

We make it in time for the three o’clock tour of the Wayne-Gordon house, where Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, was born. The house was built in 1821. JGL aka Daisy was born there in 1860. It’s been restored to c. 1886, about the time she was married to the bounder William Mackay Low. Our tour guide is a rather sour but knowledgeable young woman. I ask about the old crank telephone in the hall downstairs, if it was there in 1886. Seems like maybe phone would have been a little later. She’s not happy with the question. Later, for revenge, she yells at me for stepping into the family parlor while she’s still talking about the formal parlor.

In the back yard there’s a rather small formal garden, with two quite huge and unbelievably ugly plants. They look like octopus. Or Audrey II.

We make our way out, then back to the ferry, to get to the Westin, grab our luggage, and catch the shuttle to the aiport. Lots of people waiting for shuttles, cabs, rental cars, etc. It’s kind of a disorganized mess. A couple of Low Country Executive Transportation shuttles arrive, and it takes a while to figure out which one we’re supposed to be taking. Finally gets all sorted out.

And Libah Grossman joins us on the shuttle. And we determine that she’s on our flight to Atlanta as well, where she’ll connect to KC instead of DC. She’s in the same row on the plane even. We chat on the ride to the airport, our driver not nearly as fast as Eric was getting us to the hotel.

At the airport we discover that our flight has been delayed. We go grab an early dinner at the only non-fast-food restaurant in the airport, a Phillips Seafood place. I’ve heard of the Phillips name, knowing it to be some sort of famous name in Maryland blue crab. I read a story recently in the Washington City Paper about them, about how all the blue crabs are gone, about how it’s all crabs from Vietnam now. I order a crab cake anyway. Dawn gets steamed veggies. It’s all pretty awful. But at least there’s beer.

We go through security and settle in for the long wait at the gate. Libah’s there already and we talk a while. She gives me a copy of a CD she’s recorded, the CD being a benefit for African AIDS orphans.

When they finally call for boarding, they call for first class and mileage club people first, then they start with the back of the plane. Rows 20 to 29 or something. We’re in row 15. But then they skip us and call rows 1 to 9. Then they call us last, rows 11 to 19. What’s up with that, calling the middle of the plane last?

It’s a short flight to Atlanta, where we say our goodbyes to Libah. Then we make our way to our gate for the DC flight. It’s down at the end of the terminal where there’s everything ripped up, walls and ceilings, under construction. And there’s gratingly loud PA announcements, for other terminals, as well as the usual security warnings. We lie on the floor in the hallway for a while until the flight before ours leaves and there’s room to sit at the gate. I put in my earplugs as well as the industrial strength ear muffs that I got for the workshop. Cuts out a whole lot of noise. It’s almost like being under water.

Finally they call our flight, and we get on quickly since we’re sitting right next to the jetway door. It’s late and we’re exhausted. We get to Dulles, then get a bus to long-term parking, then find the car. I’m dangerously sleepy on the drive home. Dawn talks to me, making up conversation, to keep me awake, but I fall asleep once anyway, on Eighth Street, just south of the turn onto Independence. I awake pretty much immediately, with a jolt and a start, and so Dawn gasps and asks what’s wrong, not realizing that I conked out for a sec. We make it the last few blocks without incident, getting home and to bed just before two in the morning.

Tuesday in Savannah

Another day at the conference while Dawn wanders around Savannah.

Another breakfast sponsored by KeyTech. More breakout sessions. In the morning I go to the training and documentation swap meet. There’s a lot of talk about LMS’s and video capture software and RoboHelp. They give out a CD of the presenters’ training materials and SOPs and stuff. Towards the end I pipe up with another use for video capture software, which is to quickly record and document errors and send them to tech support. I’m pleased that the suggestion is well received. Three people ask me for my card and ask me to send them more info.

Sadly, I’ve stupidly forgotten to bring business cards with me to Savannah. I take their cards instead, and promise to get in touch.

Before that is one of the highlights of TAUG, the Ask TMA Resources session. Paul Gannon introduces Tony Orlando, Paul Sanborn, Tom Brantigan, and Edi Dor. They first take questions from cards that we’ve handed in and Paul Gannon has sifted through. Then they take questions from the floor. As usual, most questions are directed to and handled by Tom Brantigan.

Staci Dixon from Corenet Global asks a couple questions. Then Wes Trochlil from Effective Database Management. Then Victoria Corbett from the ABA. Then Ron Moen from the American Management Center. More people, I think, but those are all I can remember off the top of my head.

At lunch, again sponsored by Syscom, I have a small incident while going through the buffet line. Just past the coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad, but before the burgers and hot dogs, there’s a chafing dish of baked beans. There’s a serving spoon for each side of the table, and as I’m putting our side’s spoon back and moving along, I knock the spoon against the other spoon. The other spoon goes sliding sideways, slowly sinking into the beans before I can save it. I fish it out and hold it with two fingers, looking for a napkin or paper towel to wipe it off, or at least a spoon rest to put it down. But neither is available. I look over at the tables, but there’s only linen napkins. So I just put the dripping spoon back in the beans, warning the people in line behind me about danger spoon now, not to touch it. A moment later a server comes by with more hamburger buns, and I tell her that some dolt has dropped the serving spoon into the beans. The people in line all laugh, knowing that I’m the culprit.

In the afternoon I go to a session on XML standards, because (a) Tom Brantigan is there & is very excited about this topic and (b) it’s about not just XML standards but XML standards specifically for the healthcare profession. But it turns out to be a great waste of my time, but I’ve made the mistake of sitting up front so I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself by leaving in the middle. It’s all presented at a sort of high strategic level way above my poor brain and skills. I thought maybe we’d learn some code. Parag and Dwight are both in attendance, and afterwards we discuss, and they rave about it and seem surprised when I tell them I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

For dinner, Dawn and I join in for the dutch dine around, picking the Italian place, il Pasticcio. We’re supposed to meet Lori McCarthy in the Westin lobby at 5:45, and we’re on time but she’s late. There are various TMAR people holding green signs with restaurant names on them, but our il Pasticcio sign lies solemnly on the table for a while. Finally Lori arrives, and while she’s getting other people together, I take charge of the sign and hold it high above my head. And I continue to hold it up and show it, like Sally Field in Norma Rae. And continue as we board the trolley, and continue as we sit there for a while. I ask people if they’ve seen Norma Rae. Some laugh, while others are weirdly perturbed.

At the restaurant, the hostess at first mistakes us for the Faircloth party of eleven and seats us in a private room downstairs. She soon figures out her mistake and hustles us back upstairs, just as the elderly Faircloths trudge down the stairs to the room we tried to steal from them. We get seated at tables pushed together in the middle of the dining room. I’m on the side of the tables with booth-like seating, so that I’ve got two people to my right and four to my left.

It’s actually Dawn to my left, and the very cool Jan Golding of Girl Scouts USA on my right. Across from me is April Manning of TMAR, and to April’s left is Lori. Lori is a total Italianophile and goes to Italy like four times a year or something, so she’s in charge of ordering the wines. Mostly everyone goes along with the merlot, but Dawn & April & I share a single bottle of pinot grigio before switching to the red, until the restaurant runs out of bottles of the merlot. It’s a grand and wonderful meal and time. We expect to pay for our share, but, when the check arrives, Lori ends up picking up the whole tab. We protest, but she insists.

Back at the hotel, in the lobby, we see Libah Grossman of Votenet Solutions. She’s sitting at the piano, playing and singing, with Mike from the IBEW next to her. We stop to listen.

She’s singing very softly, and it’s hard to make out what she’s singing. And I don’t recognize the music, but it’s lovely. She’s clearly looking at something in front of her, so I go around to see what book she’s playing from, like she must have found sheet music on the piano or in the bench or something. But turns out she’s playing from a hand-written sheet. When she’s done, I ask her, and she explains that it was something that she herself wrote. She then proceeds to pull out of her bag a book, an edition of the Hebrew psalms. No, seriously, actually in Hebrew. And then she proceeds to sing a few psalms, in Hebrew, to music that she again has written.

This is all totally blowing me away. She asks if I know Psalm 50, and of course I do not. But I do know Psalm 55: Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away. That and Psalm 38 got me through some dark days in Atlanta in early 1996. So she takes a shot at Psalm 55, explaining the Hebrew to us along the way. Apparently, dove is similar to Jonah in Hebrew.

An amazing evening.

Update to Monday

I forgot to mention Roy & Marlene, whom we met on our wanderings on Monday night.

We were by the Lutheran Church of the Ascension on Wright Square, and I was taking a picture of Dawn. This older couple stopped us and asked if we knew the way to Juliet Gordon Low’s house. Dawn had been wandering the historic district all day, so she had a bit of a clue, as much as I sure didn’t. Dawn and Roy consulted the map while Marlene and I checked out the statue of Tomochichi in the middle of the square. I declared that life could never be bad for a guy named Tomochichi, and Marlene agreed.

Dawn and Roy figured out the direction they needed to go, and we walked with them for a while. We talked a little about a building to our northwest, likely a church, with a steeple, but I remarked that I thought it odd that there was no cross at the top. Marlene said that their church at home had no cross. So I asked what flavor they were, and they said LDS.

Southern Mormons! How cool is that? And I asked where they were from originally, and Roy said Hoboken. I of course first thought NJ, as in Frank Sinatra, but apparently there’s a Hoboken GA. And then we learned that Roy and Marlene were brother and sister, not husband and wife. I had thought it odd that Marlene had called Roy “Brother” at one point earlier. Roy’s wife was relaxing at home and we weren’t too clear on Marlene’s situation, although she mentioned having had like three husbands or something like that. They were somewhat familiar with Savannah, having visited before (pace being lost earlier), soI asked for dining suggestions. Roy recommended Miss Wilkes. He said the Lady & Sons had become too popular too fast and isn’t that good anyway. We said our goodbyes and Dawn gave them her card and told them to call on us if they ever visit DC.

Monday in Savannah

I’m in my conference all day, from the breakfast meeting sponsored by KeyTech Services, through the morning breakout session on web services, to the lunch sponsored by Syscom Services. That’s a lot of services, now that I think about it.

Then through the afternoon breakout session on TIMS e-business, where I’m actually a presenter. Yikes! Then I’m done, as I skip the southern-style dinner at Johnson Square to have dinner with Dawn.

We wander around the historic district for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, checking out menus in windows. We actually try the Lady & Sons at one point, at 5:45 p.m. There are a lot of elderly folk hanging around outside, so we’re a bit embarrassed to be dining early like old folks. But then the hostess tells us that the earliest she can seat us is 8:45. Goodness, this is a popular place. We end up back down on the water, at the River House.

It’s mostly a seafood place, but they’ve got a little cheese pizza for Dawn. I have the crab cakes, which comes with a caesar salad. There’s also French bread, that Dawn dips in some sauce but I’m having none of that. Just good bread. We of course share a bottle of pinot grigio. Our waitress is Jen, who tells me, when I ask who Eddie is, because there’s a section on the menu called Eddie’s Favorites, that Eddie was the owner who tragically died last year. We have a toast to Eddie.

On the way back to the ferry we stop at Wet Willie’s for frozen drinks to go. While Dawn’s deciding what flavor she wants, I wander over to a cool display they’ve got up behind the bar, of confiscated IDs. They’re all really, really good for fake IDs, I gotta say. I ask the bartender, and he says that a lot of ’em are real, but that they’ve been slightly altered or else were being used by someone other than the person actually pictured. I talk to the bartender about my youth, how the drinking age was eighteen back then, and it was just before Mothers Against Drunk Driving came on the scene, and it was easier because a lot of places didn’t bother carding. Plus I had my brother’s military ID after he got his driver’s license at eighteen. And I remember that my brother-in-law Danny, his driver’s license in New Jersey didn’t even have a photo on it. It was still the old paper kind, with just height and weight and eye & hair color.

I spy a waitress on the other side of bar. She’s got on a sleeveless t-shirt, showing off great tattoos. She comes over to the bar and I ask her to turn around so I can look. It’s some sort of flower motif. Great ink, I tell her, as if I know what I’m talking about. Dawn comes over to check it out too, and the waitress lifts up her shirt in back to show us how it really encompasses so much of her back. She tells us that the whole thing took five hours, in two sessions. Just enough time to stop oozing in between, I figure, and she says that’s about right. She’s got other tattoos that she doesn’t show us.

She tells me that I should get tattooed. I demure, saying that my skin is too old now, no longer young and beautiful like hers. Dawn adds that my back’s too hairy now too.

Ick. She’s right.

The waitress says that they’ll shave the hair before doing the tattoo. But that’s really beside the point. Who wants a hairy back tattoo? Tattoos are for the young. The waitress says that when she gets old and they look awful, well, they’re on her back and she can’t see them. Smart thinking.

Dawn gets the margarita and I get sex-on-the-beach, and we get them in plastic cups and walk back out onto River Street. Who doesn’t love drinking in public?

We walk by a guy in a little mini park area, playing guitar and singing What a Wonderful World. We stop to listen for a while. There’s another guy with him, wearing shades, who sings along and dances on other songs. They sing Kansas City. The guy playing guitar asks for requests. Someone lamely asks for Jimmy Buffet. I ask him to play what I always ask buskers to play: Mean Woman Blues. But, incredibly, he doesn’t know it. He asks me to sing a little for him.

I got a woman mean as she can be
I got a woman mean as she can be
Sometimes I think she’s almost mean as me

A black cat up and died of fright
Cause she crossed his path last night
I got a woman mean as she can be
Sometimes I think she’s almost mean as me

I tell him that Elvis recorded it, Roy Orbison too. He still doesn’t know it. He asks if I want to sing it while he plays. No way. I plead that that’s his job, and he lets me off the hook. And then he and the other guy sing something they say is similar, a funny song called Don’t Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me.

We have to head back to catch the ferry, and but then we end up waiting for like forty-five minutes, and wishing we’d stayed and listened to the guys longer. The ferry is delayed because of some sort of medical emergency on the other side of the river. We hear later that someone had an allergic reaction or something. We have to listen to the guy who leadenly plays the bongos down at this end of the pier.

Sunday to Savannah

Dawn and I are up early to get to Dulles Airport. We’re off to Savannah.

I work at the American Society of Hematology, the professional society of doctors who work to treat and cure blood diseases. The software we use for our membership database, as well as committees, meeting and book products, exhibit products and all hosts of other things, is called TIMSS. That apparently stands for TMA Resources Inc. Integrated Membership Services Solution. TMA Resources Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “TMAR”) has an annual conference called TAUG, which itself stands for TIMSS Annual User Group. As in TAUG Meeting, I guess. It was in Tucson last year. It’s in Albuquerque next year. This year, obviously, Savannah.

Our flight is out of Dulles at 10:20. We leave the house at 7:20. We actually blast over empty roads, getting to IAD before eight. Then there’s the long bus trek from economy parking to the terminal itself, then a long walk to the B gates. Then the long walk to the end of the B terminal to where the economy flights are. There are only a couple of other sleepy people here. We get bagels and water from Starbucks, then settle in for the wait. I’m reading Lieutenant Hornblower, so I’m happy.

We get to Atlanta in short order, but then our connecting flight to Savannah is delayed. Dawn was already unhappy with the three-hour layover, already announcing that I am never to be left alone to book plane tickets again, so the delay doesn’t help me any. And I was cutting it short, as the TAUG welcome reception is from five to six-thirty, and we were due to land at SAV at 4:45. We have lunch at Sbarro, and the court area where we sit is crowded, so we join a young woman and her mother at a table. Said young woman is on her way to Carolina to get married to an enlisted man in the Army. She’s from upstate New York and has never especially travelled before. She’s in for some big changes.

We grab a beer after a while, still waiting.

We get to SAV at about 5:45, then have to wait for the shuttle to the Westin on which we’ve reserved seats. Eric drives mighty crazily. We’re riding with women slightly older than we are, having some sort of reunion. They’re from Indianapolis. They love the president.

I get to the reception at exactly 6:35, able to catch like the final beer. It’s a Budweiser, sadly. But I see Rob and Parag and Charlene and Suzi from TMAR and Dwight from ITAG and meet Mary and Rashida and Denise and Scott and Glenn from SHRM, all out at a gazebo overlooking the river.

Dawn and I then hop on the short ferry ride over to the south side of the river, to the historic district, and have dinner at Huey’s on River Street. I order filé gumbo and pasta jambalaya, but our server forgets the gumbo and only brings the jambalaya. Dawn has some sort of penne formaggio. We share a bottle of pinot grigio and lots of cornbread.

Our bed is huge, a king-size. We wave to each other from across it. We’re used to our double at home. We meet somewhere in the middle of this expanse of bed and snuggle and sleep.

Fourth Sunday of Easter

“The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.” This is a line from Psalm 118, which is used as today’s responsorial psalm. We sang a variation of another line from Psalm 118 a couple of weeks ago, which line for some reason has been running through my head at various times since then: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love is everlasting.”

The cornerstone motif is repeated by St. Peter in Acts, which we hear in our first reading. I like this first reading for two reasons. First, it’s again Peter, former complete fuckup, now really in stride. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” it says. And, I always like stuff in the New Testament that reflects or recalls or otherwise makes reference to the Old Testament. I especially love when Jesus preaches from the Old Testament, but St. Peter is cool, too.

So of course the Gospel reading must be from St. Matthew, where Jesus says, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?” But it’s not from St. Matthew. The Gospel reading is from St. John, where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.”

Why suddenly the good shepherd, instead of the cornerstone? We had the cornerstone motif from St. Matthew’s Gospel back in March, back in Lent, when the first reading was Joseph’s brothers selling him to the Ishmaelites. And Joseph was a shepherd, maybe even a good shepherd. Oh, I don’t understand! Why good shepherd today?

And good shepherd always confuses me anyway, because Christ is also the Paschal lamb. In the sanctuary of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the mosaic that’s above the main mosaic of St. Matthew depicts angels arrayed below and around an altar, upon which sits a lamb. We’ve got Christ as sacrifice as a pretty major element of our church, so I’m always reminded of Christ as Paschal lamb. But then, okay, Jesus does today immediately say that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. And of course God is all-powerful and can be lamb and shepherd all at the same time. (Not a tough thing to do for the creator of the universe, I suppose.)

I’m just easily confused, apparently.


Up early, but this time, yes, sadly, I go to yoga too, instead of working out.

I had taken a newbie yogi workshop with Danielle, at Tranquil Space, and it wasn’t awful. So now I’ve got the three classes for $33 pass. That’s the newbie rate of $11 per class rather than like $14 or whatever Dawn usually pays by buying the mega-pass. Teaching is Carol, assisted by the lovely Karen or something like that. It’s weird being in some pose and then suddenly feeling someone’s hands on you, pushing you down or otherwise adjusting you. I generally can tell who it is, because Carol keeps talking, so if she’s nearby and someone’s hands are on me then it’s her but if she sounds far away then it’s Karen.

I’m way up front, next to Carol, or her mat anyway, since she’s often wandering around. Down dog is not a restful position for me. I wear a basic workout sort of uniform, shorts & t-shirt, but am not especially comfortable with either, as they both tend to react to gravity a little more than I’d prefer. The shorts are particularly alarming when doing a shoulder stand, exposing more pale thigh than anyone really wants to see.

Later at ballet practice I decide that the tights and clingy shirt that I’m wearing might work better for yoga.

We go to the Saturday vigil Mass, since we’re flying out early tomorrow for Savannah. Later I screw up and don’t tape Tom Hanks on Saturday Night Live. Seems like I’m always screwing up and missing it. To wit, this Tom Hanks show is the seventeenth of the season, and the third non-repeat one in a row that I’ve missed. Although the repeats have allowed me to catch the Scarlett Johansson and Steve Martin episodes. But still.

Mom Update

Called Main’s house to talk to Ma and Main answered. She’s home today, turns out, because she’s going into the city (NYC) to see Cirque du Soleil tonight. But the big big biggest news is that closing happened on Mom’s house yesterday.


Oh, thank God.

The delays and all were probably pretty standard in the real estate biz, but I was getting worried. I’m so utterly relieved that it’s all over.

When I talked to Mom on Tuesday she said that she’s getting to see spring all over again, seeing that she’s gone a bit North. She said right now the forsythia are blooming. We’re just about at the end of azaleas down here.

Still at the end of every hard-earned day people find some reason to believe

Seen a man carrying a dead dog.

Dawn and I were walking to work along Mass Ave. We were somewhere between Lincoln Park and Stanton Park, I don’t remember exactly which block. We saw walking toward us a man carrying a dog. And at first I smiled at how the dog was being silly, hanging his head down like that. It made me think of how dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows and feel the breeze on their faces.

But then I noticed the really grim set of this guy’s face as he walked. And then I noticed that that dog’s head wasn’t moving at all. And you could see blood in its open mouth.

A woman was walking a number of paces ahead of us, and he passed by her first, then passed by us. The woman took a few steps and then slowed down and then turned around to us stunned. She tried to mouth some words but nothing came out. We just kind of nodded to her, understanding and feeling the same way.

The image of that guy haunts me all day. The way he was cradling the dog. It was some sort of spaniel. I imagined at first that he was out walking it and it got off the leash and it ran into the road and got hit. But then later I think that it couldn’t have happened so soon before we saw him, that I don’t know how he could have been holding himself together like that, even though it looked like he was just barely holding himself together. I imagine all sorts of scenarios leading up to what little we witnessed.

That poor man, I say to Dawn later. The poor dog, she says.