Saturday, 14 September 2013



I like this word.  The wonderful St. James's Cambridge MA parishioner Anne R used it when she was the very able editor of the parish newsletter.


A Swedish woman,  with the improbable Nordic name of ":Randi" lives in the nearby Glen Oaks Garden Condominiums.  She is a total sweetheart and we have gentle  conversations when we meet on our walks.

 In the old fashioned way I bow to her and she curtsies to me.

I have not seen Randi for many months. This gives me cause for concern, and I worry lest she is sick or has passed from this life.

"Trouble is" that I do not know her last name, and that she lives in a development which has five three storey buildings with a total of at least 150 units - thus making it improbable that I could track her down.

I hope that she is in good health and that we will encounter each other ere long.


I had a lovely 'phone chat with a dear Pittsfield MA friend - (Gwen Sears) - today.  Gwen is a Deacon in the Episcopal Church. Her  ministry has been a means of blessing to scores and scores of people.

We mentioned another Pittsfield friend - a good woman who sadly views all of  life through negative lenses.

I told Gwen that I would take some time to telephone this woman, and added that "a 'phone call to x is no 
more interesting  than having an enema"  Gwen knew exactly what I meant.


I have a fabulous Primary Care Physician, Dr. Kristen P. She "knows her onions". I respect her greatly. "So why" I ask  "do I revert to being a young boy who is desperately anxious to please his mother when I have a consultation with this fabulous Doctor?".


I make notes each evening about the "important" (ahem)  matters  I have to take care of next morning. Is this an "age thing" or is it "normal"?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Arithmetic ..... and Duty

1. Arithmetic.

Dear JMP

Please remember that 725 - 100 = 625  (not 525).

That being noted, you now know why when balancing your check/cheque book there was a $100 discrepancy.

Be grateful that the error was in your favour.

Yours faithfully,



2. Duty.

I have been called for Jury service at the Sarasota FL Superior Court next Monday. In truth I welcome this opportunity for civic duty. It's better to be in a Country where trials are heard before a Jury of one's peers than to be in a land in which Judges make decisions without "lay" input.

I have such mixed feelings about this: (a)  I want to do my duty  (b)  I want to have good care for my darling dog. 

My usual dog-care friends cannot take care of Penne on Monday:-  R and C are dog-sitting another pooch,  R and L will be in South Carolina.

My neighbour B has promised to stop by a couple of times next Monday to assure Penne that she has not been abandoned, and to take her out for pee walks.

If I am not empanelled B's care for Penne will be for no more than 8-9 hours on Monday. 

If I am empaneled the likelihood is that it will be for a one day trial.

In the meantime I have two reasons to hope that I will be released.

For on Tuesday morning I have an appointment with an Ocular Surgeon/Plastic Surgeon to consult about a growth on my lower left eyelid.  (Noble reason).

And on Tuesday afternoon my new Bowling League has its first match.  (Ignoble reason)

On the whole I will be honoured as a proud U.S. Citizen if I am empanelled.

* ( I was called twice in Pittsfield MA, and once on Cambridge MA, but I was not needed for Jury service in these three calls).

**  (It used to be the case that Clerics were automatically exempted from Jury service. That exemption was rightly abandoned some 25 years ago)

***  ( When I reach the grand old age of 70 (May 26th 2014) I will be allowed to refuse Jury Service on the grounds of age).

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ministry in retirement with homeless people - and sadness

I am privileged to be the Chaplain at Resurrection House, a day shelter for homeless people on Sarasota FL..

There we offer laundry service, showers, clothing, some food, a medical clinic, counseling etc. Mostly we offer a place of shelter out of the heat of the day for those who have no fixed address and wander Sarasota's unfriendly streets.

I am there every Wednesday morning for a simple prayer service.  It's a quiet time. I do not preach, but we try to meditate on a verse or two from Holy Scripture. Those who attend can also light a candle on the Altar Table, and pray their concerns silently or aloud.

There were but four worshipers yesterday (including me).

There was "Becky" (not her real name) who is a rocker.  She sits down and rocks her upper body up and down, up and down.  When she prays she recites a lot of Scripture which she knows by heart. She is especially fond of praying to "Jehovah Jireh"  (the Lord will provide).

"Dawn" is a regular at the prayer service. She cries a lot.

Dawn  has a boyfriend named "Tom".  He is a 60 something man, short and muscular. He always wears a bandana, and he has a long shaggy and handsome grey beard. (American readers would see him as a Vietnam era "biker").

Tom is a devout Roman Catholic. He is always delighted when at the end of the service I pray the "Hail Mary"..

Yesterday, Tom was unusually pugnacious and talkative. He reeked of alcohol and was scarcely coherent.

After service I told Tom that it made me sad that he was intoxicated by 10:30 a.m. I expressed a hope that he could become sober.   He told me that he had had only one beer. (So many drunken persons have had only one or two beers!).

Tom  said that "if I did not want him to attend the service then .............(insert your own words).

I countered that indeed I welcome him, but that I was so sad that he had had so much to drink.


After service I chatted to some Res House staff about this. They were "gob-smacked" since Res. House had just fronted the money for Tom to be in an Alcohol Rehab. facility.

And so it goes.

Please pray that I will follow Jesus by caring for the lost sheep more than I care for religion.


By  god-incidence my friend and former colleague Jane Dunning posted this on her Facebook page today:

 I remember Desmond Tutu preaching at his daughter's ordination here in the diocese. He talked about the shepherd and the one sheep who wandered off. He said it wouldn't be the little lamb we saw in Sunday school pictures, and it wouldn't be the gentle ewe who would stay with her flock... No... the shepherd would seek out and find the smelly nasty mucky smelling old ram, the one with the nasty fleece, tangled with weeds and stained with urine, who wandered off who knows where. The shepherd would find that sheep, the one most likely to fight him all the way, and carry that one lovingly home.


Thanks Jane!  Your memory of Bishop Tutu's sermon helped me to make sense of my ministry at Res. House.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


When Republicans get whiney (every day) and lament what they call "President Obama's lack of leadership", what they mean is that they long for chest-thumping, devil take the hindmost, braggadocious and bloviating leadership of Dick Cheney's poodle, George W. "Mission Accomplished" Bush.

"Shrub"  (as he was named by the late but inimical Molly Ivins) had neither the grace or smarts of his father George H.W. Bush who led a truly international coalition to kick the Iraqis out of Kuwait, but was wise enough not  to push the fight into Iraq itself.

"Shrub" led us into two disastrous wars (Iraq and Afghanistan).

I prefer President Obama's measured and cautious approach.

( I reserve the right to change my mind, if necessary,  after President Obama's address to the Nation later today).

In the meantime my ears ache as I hear the Republicans singing "All we are saying is give peace a chance"

Monday, 9 September 2013

Auto shop. beauty parlour. or health goods store?

Just had some work done on my Hyundai.

The  Power Steering flush and subsequent renewal of fluids included "Antioxidant Ingredients"

The "Big Power Transmission Kit" included "Conditioners"

Goodness Gracious. Was I at an Auto Repair shop, a health foods store, or a beauty parlour?

My car will be fitter than I.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


I like Lamb, and have done so since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

I don't eat it very often because (a) it's supposed to be "not good for you", and (b) it's darned expensive.  I probably have not eaten lamb for more than a year.

My taste buds were yelling at me yesterday "east some lamb, eat some lamb, eat some lamb"

I knew that I could buy a leg of Lamb at Sam's Club, but I also knew that it would be expensive.

Trader Joe's also has good leg of Lamb, but it too is expensive (and seasoned too much for my taste)

So I took myself to my local Winn Dixie Supermarket. I hunted in vain for leg of lamb.  I hunted in even more vain for shoulder of lamb.

Then, tucked away in a corner I spotted some "shoulder blade Lamb chops" on sale at a very decent price -  two good sized chops for three bucks.

Shoulder blade lmb chop.

Of course many good folks eschew shoulder blade chops on the grounds that they are very fatty and very boney.  But that's the point. It is the fat and the bone which gives them their great flavour.

I say "Yummy". Thus my lunch today was a chop, grilled to perfection and very juicy, with roasted red potato, sweet potato, baby bella mushrooms, and sweet onion.  A feast fit for a Queen.

The crowning glory was the English "mint sauce" which I made today.

 This is not the same as the ghastly American "mint jelly"  which is very sweet and not very minty.

Mint sauce is made with some fresh mint leaves  finely chopped,and  a teaspoonful or two of malt vinegar, and a bit of sugar. It enhances and blesses the flavour of the lamb.

Mint Sauce

This posting together with yesterday's (about my pooch) will most certainly confirm your beliefs that I am a fussy old Queen.  So be it!

And if you are good I will tell you about my bunions in a future post (lmao)