Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nothing to do on 4th July

I had nothing to do today, save twiddle my thumbs. So here are some pics of that twiddling.

They include:

the lovely sight of planes descending above my home into SRQ

some new decorations which I placed on my lanai

my gorgeous Penne

the triumph of Netflix over Blockbuster

powerboats which will race in SRQ tomorrow (July 5th)

alligator tails - a clear indication that I am not in Massachusetts any more

my cats – Ada and Adelaide waiting for “something”

a couple of pics of a Wood Stork which hung around outside my Lanai this a.m.

a neighbourhood street where the flag flies proudly on Independence Day.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Independence Day story

16 March, 1996

Submitted by Héctor Díaz, Chairman of the Hispanics in History Cultural Organization

WHEREAS, the Independence of the United States of America was achieved not only due to the efforts of American patriots, but also to the assistance of foreign governments, soldiers and individuals who supported them, and

WHEREAS, in spite of being an important factor in the victory, the participation of Hispanics in the War of Independence is not mentioned in the history textbooks of this nation, and

WHEREAS, thousands of Hispanics fought the British and their allies during the American Revolution in what today is the United States, winning crucial battles which eased the pressure of the Crown's forces against the armies of General George Washington, and

WHEREAS, Spanish Louisiana Governors, don Luis de Unzaga and don Bernardo de Gálvez, provided assistance to the revolutionary governments of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia in the forms of arms, war materiel and funds to wage campaigns and protect themselves against the British, and

WHEREAS, this assistance allowed American General George Rogers Clark to wage his successful campaigns west of those colonies and also was instrumental in preventing the British from capturing Forts Pitt and Henry in Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively, which guarded the last leg of the only remaining major patriot supply route at the time, that which originated in Spanish New Orleans, traversed the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and ended overland in Philadelphia, and

WHEREAS, don Juan de Miralles, a wealthy Spanish merchant established in Havana, Cuba, was appointed as a royal envoy of King Carlos III of Spain to the United States in 1778, and while traveling with his secretary, don Francisco Rendón, to the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia, he initiated the direct shipment of supplies from Cuba to Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina; and Philadelphia, aside from making significant stopovers in Williamsburg, Virginia and in North Carolina, and

WHEREAS, after Spain declared war on Britain in June, 1779, the victories of General Don Bernardo de Gálvez in the lower Mississippi and at Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola dismantled British resupply of close to 10,000 Native American warriors who were a major concern for General Washington because of the raids they had been carrying out in the western areas of the colonies, and

WHEREAS, the Maryland Loyalist Regiment, a force comprised of Marylanders from the Eastern Shore, was also defeated and captured during the campaigns of General Gálvez, and

WHEREAS, the victories of General Gálvez resulted, additionally, in the capture of four other British Regiments including the Pennsylvania Loyalists, the elite British 60th Foot also known as the Royal Americans, the British 16th Foot, and the German Waldeck Regiment, and

WHEREAS, fighting under the command of General Gálvez were men from Spain, Cuba, México, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica as well as from the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Native American Nations such as the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek, and

WHEREAS, the United States Senate has recognized that the actions of those men and their brave commander were very important for the triumph of American efforts in the Carolinas and Georgia, and also for the final victory against Lord Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia, and

WHEREAS, the success of the French and American armies at Yorktown would have been difficult to achieve without the donation of 500,000 pounds tournois that were collected in six hours by prominent citizens of Havana, Cuba, for the campaign, and without an additional 1,000,000 pounds that were subsequently donated by King Carlos III of Spain for the same purpose, and

WHEREAS, the Yorktown campaign not only consisted of a siege by land but also by sea, undertaken by the French fleet under Admiral de Grasse, whose ships had been readied and supplied with 100,000 pesos from the Spanish colonies of Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico that were handed over by Spanish authorities to the French for said purpose, and

WHEREAS, an important element in the French naval victory at the Battle of the Virginia Capes, which sealed the fate of Lord Cornwallis army at Yorktown, was the numerical superiority enjoyed by Admiral de Grasse's fleet, which resulted from a Spanish naval squadron taking over the protection of the French colonies in the Caribbean to allow the Admiral the benefit of maintaining his fleet intact, and, thus, obtain the superiority in numbers deemed necessary to defeat the British, and

WHEREAS, hardly any of these Hispanic contributions to American independence are mentioned in the current history textbooks of this nation, be it

RESOLVED, that the Legislature of Maryland acknowledges the pivotal role of Spain and Spanish America in the triumph of the American Revolution, and also recognizes General Bernardo de Gálvez and his men for their significant contributions and achievements in this respect, and, be it further

RESOLVED that the Legislature of Maryland hereby urges historians nation-wide to a deeper examination and dissemination of the role played by Hispanics in the accomplishment of American Independence as well as in the development and progress of the United States in general, and that the study of these contributions be made an integral part of the Social Studies and History courses taught in the State of Maryland.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


South Carolina's First Lady Jenny Sanford released the following statement Wednesday:

I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.

I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged.

Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.

I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions.

When I found out about my husband's infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.

This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage.

During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.

Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.

© 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Misled about deniers

I was reading Paul Krugman’s recent blog about the response of Congress to climate change, and he used the word “denier”.

I read it as though it was a word rooted in French, pronouncing it in my mind in the same way as one would pronounce “denier” as in a unit of measurement for fibres. (Remember when folks bought nylon stockings of a certain “denier” - maybe they still do).

I found Krugman’s use of the word to be odd, and immediately thought that he was resurrecting one of those good old fashioned journalistic words, such as “solon”, or “gubernatorial”, or “denizen”.

Of course I looked the word up, and then started to giggle when I realized that Krugman meant “one who denys”. I’d simply been reading the word with the wrong mental pronounciation!

Never mind. Up until I was about 10 years of age people in my word were constantly being “my-zulled”.

Then I learned that they were being “miss-led” (misled).

Tuesday, 30 June 2009



We have been stuck in a humid and rain producing weather system these past few days.

There is good news here. We are still in what has been a three year drought, so every drop of rain seems precious.

The recently stressed Hong Kong Orchid trees outside my lanai are once again in full leaf. Our grass is green. The pond is full.

Of course a couple of dry weeks could change all that, but for now I rejoice in Sarasota’s green and pleasant land.

The bad news is - getting soaked to the skin. I looked out at the sky a bit ago, and it seemed clear enough.

So Penne and I decided this was a good time for a walk. She lollygagged and I went along with her.

(What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?)

But we lollygagged for too long. The rain moved in, out of the blue, so to speak. Heavy rain. Monsoon type rain.

I ran. Penne ran too (she is a better runner than I).

But the rain was quicker than we.

Soaked to the skin, literally in my case, we got back into our home.

Penne shook it all off.

But I had to strip to my 65 year old birthday suit, and towel off before dressing again with clean dry garments.

“So what?” you say.

It’s simply this. I wrote this cos wanted to be able to use the verb “to lollygag”!

(The picture is of an Hong Kong Orchid Tree, but this one is not outside my home - it’s one which I lifted from the web. I could not find a picture of me in my birthday suit)

Monday, 29 June 2009

People pleasing

As is the case with many ordained women and men, I am a people pleaser.

It’s a good trait for clerics, indicating that we truly care for others.

It’s a bad trait for clerics, indicating that we seek affirmation from others, rather from deep within.

It’s especially bad when we are incessant in our searches for words of gratitude from others, and feel unhappy, restless, or downright mean when they are not forthcoming.

I was tempted to fall into the people pleasing trap when, a couple of Sundays ago, one of the choristers at St. Boniface said “you must join the choir, you have such a nice voice”.

I glowed for a while. But during the week I decided that singing in the choir would be bad for me. It would place me centre-stage where once again I could bask in some minor heroic pose.

That would not be good for me.

Mostly these days I need to simply sit in a pew with folks for whom I care, sans “star-billing”.

So I sat in the pew last Sunday at St. Boniface on Siesta Key. I sat, as I always do, with Adrian and Anno Swain – an older couple who are the greatest role models one could hope to meet - and their son, Ken (a man about my age).

I tried to pay attention to the Liturgy, and for the most part I succeeded.

I was almost lost in wonder, love and praise.

I paid especial attention to the sermon. That’s always worthwhile at St. B’s. It “spoke to my condition” (as the Puritans might have said) and I became very teary as I listened to words that became soul-manna.

Of course I will preside at the Eucharist again. Of course I will preach. I am blessed with gifts for those ministries.

And it is more than likely that my “people pleasing self” will be present with me in the pulpit and at the Altar.

But last Sunday, for once, having said “no” to the choir, I was able to abandon centre stage and be content with my good seat in a pew.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Welsh have a word for it

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation; an approximation would be the longing, or yearning for home.

I translate Hiraeth as “wistfulness”.

The following Noel Coward song, and the photo’ attached evoke in me such a wistfulness, such an Hiraeth that I could weep.

I believe in doing what I can
In crying when I must
In laughing when I choose
Hey ho, if love were all
I should be lonely.

I believe the more you love a man,
The more you give your trust,
The more you're bound to lose.

Although when shadows fall
I think if onlySomebody splendid really needed me
Someone affectionate and dear
Cares would be ended if I knew that he
Wanted to have me near.
But I believe that since my life began
The most I've had is just a talent to amuse.

Hey ho, if love were all