Saturday, July 31, 2004


We head off today for a week's vacation at Kanuga. I'm looking forward to hiking and am also going to take my bike. We are exciting that this year we finally got a cottage.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


I picked my kids up from sleepaway camp today. The most interesting story I heard so far is that my son said the first day they were playing capture the flag and one of the boys in his cabin was much too rough with my son and my son got upset (which probably means cried). He said the other boys made the one who was rough apologize. I hope for that kind of positive culture at a church-sponsored camp, but it is a relief to hear it actually happens. Particularly for my son, who doesn't tend to take action about problems.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

bike saddle

I've ordered a new leather saddle for my bike. My first assumption was surely the new technology was better, but I've tried two modern women's saddles and both were so much worse than my old leather saddle. I may regret it when I start breaking in a new one. Going to the bike shop to discuss saddles was my mid-day break--I wrote 9 pages today. I've got all the chapters drafted now, though a good bit of material still to feed into the later ones.

Monday, July 26, 2004


I can hardly walk down stairs, I am so sore from our hike. But it was worth it to do something special.

I discovered unexpected good news today--I had written more than I remembered of chapter 6 last summer. Only one more chapter to go, and then some smoothing and integrating material from interviews.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Table Rock

We hiked the trail to the top of Table Rock today--as something special to do while the kids are at camp. It's 6.2 miles, 2000 feet vertical rise. Two pints of water each wasn't enough in 90 degree heat. A good break from my writing--I've been writing 5 to 7 pages a day on the Forest Service book. Hoping to blast through finishing it.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

new bike

I bought a bike! I didn't get to ride it further than home from the store last night, and I was so excited to ride it this morning I had trouble sleeping. But my morning ride turned out to be more shakedown than joy. I threw the chain once, I wasn't happy with my new saddle (compared to my 30 year old leather one), the cleat was loose on one of my shoes, and I didn't do my usual 16 mile route any faster than on the old bike. The bike shop is a half mile from my house so I will keep taking it in until I get things right.

Monday, July 19, 2004


I went to the convent Thursday evening to do a full two days of silent individual retreat Friday and Saturday (I came home Sunday morning).  I hope another time I can do a silent retreat where I am still and wait for God.  This one was pretty noisy in my head--I wrote 24 pages of what is in effect a journal, several pages on a short story I have been writing intermittently, and 5 pages on the subject of dependence.  I had some sore muscles in my shoulders when I got home, I think from writing so much.  God was leading me--I put something that happened to me into my short story and that inspired me to pick up one of the books I had brought with me: The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community by Harlan Lane.  That book turned out to inspire me to think in new ways about dependence.  I was struggling with some issues of being alone, and I had a powerful experience of not being alone with those issues.

Monday, July 12, 2004


My father was released from the hospital, in good physical shape but with some minor language problems. He said now when he reads the New York Times the stories seem poorly written and stupid.

I'm struggling with bad memories from after my first father died.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

family news

My second father (stepfather) had a mild stroke Friday night. He sounds fine except for some memory and word-finding difficulties and he hopes to get out of the hospital tomorrow. It feels weird because he is almost 80 and until this point had slowed down so little (still played tennis, etc.). It also brings up feelings from my first father's death.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

car shopping

I stopped by the car dealer we have bought from for 15 years to see if they had anything that met our needs for a fairly low mileage used minivan. When the salesman took me in the meet the manager, the manager said: "cyprus green Voyager, live in Clemson..." He had been the salesman who sold us our current minivan in 1998. I remember vividly too--I told him the price he was offering us was garbage (there were various rebates from Chrysler, but no discount from the dealer). He did finally get us a better price on that car, but only because my husband and I are good at doing the good cop bad cop routine, and I'm the bad cop. I suspect he isn't going to be able to come up with a good enough price this time, since the car he has that is closest to what we want has an awful lot more options than we care about.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I have been saying I don't know who I am. I don't mean in the conventional ways--I'm happy with my husband, my kids, my job, my church, and the area I live in. And yet as I heal my inner pain I also feel I am losing an anchor. I finally found an analogy that I hope makes clear what I am feeling. Imagine a person who went deaf in early childhood and grew up in deaf culture. If that person chose surgery to restore hearing, he would suffer a terrible loss of identity. What would it mean to no longer be a deaf person?

I went looking for such a story and I found one story in progress. But it doesn't capture well the attitudes of deaf culture towards cure.

Monday, July 05, 2004


We had a dry May and most of June, and the lake was dropping fast. We worried about another drought where the shallow arm of lake behind our house would become a meadow again. Then we had a lot of rain--the place where we pick blueberries overflowed a 5 inch rain gauge in 4 days at the end of June. The lake looks a lot better. I suppose we are back now to a normal pattern of afternoon thunderstorms. But they can be frustrating. Yesterday we took a family hike and a thunderstorm came up and we got drenched.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

July 4th

This morning in church we sung America the Beautiful (719 in the Episcopal hymnal) and I was struck by the second verse:
O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
America, America, God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.
I wish the people in power would take in that idea of loving mercy more than life (not to mention self-control and liberty in law).

Friday, July 02, 2004

learning new things

At the spiritual directors training residency in May, one of my fellow students spoke of his commitment to learn something new every 6 months. He has MS, and believes that making new brain pathways is particularly important for people who have MS. He had learned new things varying from New Testament Greek to Yoga--the more different, the better.

I grew up in a family where the idea of adults learning new things was not seen as anything but embarrassing. There was a certain standardized set of skills (riding a bike, swimming...) that it was very important to learn as a child. But that isn't where I want to be any more, in fact I realized part of the appeal of running to me is that I haven't done it before, while I'm not likely to do anything on a bicycle that I haven't already done when I was into cycling in college. I rode a century ride then, a recreation of the first organized century ride.