Saturday, 2 February 2019

I have become......

..... one of those crotchety old coots who walks outside at 6:01 a.m. and every five minutes thereafter (each time muttering to myself) to see if my Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper has been delivered.

My best friends will not be surprised.  They have always been deeply aware of my incipient old cootdom.

I am perversely proud of it.

Friday, 1 February 2019

When Christianity is all in the mind ( St, Brigid help us!)

The English Reformation was at first political under Henry VIII, then theological under Edward VI.  Under Elizabeth I it was a curious mixture of English nationalism, protestant theology, and quasi catholic liturgy.

What emerged in the Prayer Books was essentially a religion of conformity in worship (the Book of Common Prayer); and adherence to intellectual propositions as expressed in the mostly Calvinistic "Thirty Nine Articles of Religion".

For some English reformers (we call them Puritans) this reformation was half baked. Their ideal congregation was composed of those who assented to correct doctrine and practice  under the leadership of a learn-ed Minister.

For Anglicans or Puritans intellectual assent was the keystone to true faith.

Meanwhile in Ireland and other places there was a tradition of  Christianity which spoke to the heart and soul as much as to the mind.

For those Christians the saints of the past were and are entirely and mystically present as they pray.

St. Bridget of Kildare (Bridie) was/is one of their soul companions in prayer. It is her Feast Day today.

My St. Bridget; cross

Here is the official "poop"on Bridie.

Yes, no, or maybe?  I care not.

Instead I will be sustained by St, Bridget's Blessing, one for my heart and soul rather than for my mind.

St. Brigid’s Blessing

May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
Bless every fireside every wall and door
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy
Bless every foot that walks its portals through
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.

Thursday, 31 January 2019


Egrets dancing in the air

Photo' via Noel B

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A fixed routine is important. And it makes me laugh.

Prince Zion of Sarasota has two meals every day, morning and evening. To keep it simple, both are called breakfast.

He will not eat until we have completed a fixed routine.

1) When I am preparing the food ( high quality lamb-based kibble mixed with freshly cooked sweet potato or green beans) he lies in the hallway with one eye on me in the kitchen.

2) When I place the dish of grub on a small wooden stool he arises and sits by the kitchen door.  He will stay there until I rub his pate and tell him that his "nice breakfast" is ready,

3)  Then he takes four steps forward and sits down again.  This is the cue for me to rub his chest and tell him that he is a silly old coot.

Then and only then will he eat breakfast.

This fixed routine cracks me up every day!  When he lived in Louisiana he must have read "The southern canine guide to etiquette".

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

I met a ... what?

Zion and I took a pleasant walk down at Sarasota's Bayfront Park this afternoon.

As we walked we were joined by a young man who was attracted by Z's good looks and gentle demeanor (surprise, surprise, that rarely happens!!).

Turns out that the young man was on holiday from bitterly cold Wisconsin. I apologised because we had not turned up the heat for him but he was at a good comfort level in shorts and a tee shirt.

We made our way back to the parking lot and chatted a bit about our lives and backgrounds.  I told him that I like Sarasota, but that I miss the hills, valleys, rivers and streams of Massachusetts.

"Especially", I said, "I miss the spring snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, narcissi etc and most of all the lilacs and their gorgeous fragrance which fills the air after a spring rain shower".  

At which he became lively and animated.  He told me that his chosen career was as a perfumer.  He works all alone; creating new perfumes, learning about chemistry and about business models.

It pays to walk, it pays to talk, and it's all a bit easier when you have a handsome and gentle dog!

When I got back to my car I shook his hand and said "by the way, my name is Michael".  "That's mine too" he responded.   No wonder we liked each other.

Well I never.  What a pleasant and unexpected encounter!

Monday, 28 January 2019


Our Representative in Congress, Vern Buchanan (R) mails "surveys" a few times each year.   

Here is the most recent (click on the link)

Top priority for Congress eh?

Jobs and the economy?
Social Security and Medicare?
Federal spending and the national debt?
Opioid epidemic?
Climate change?
Health Care?

I'll add God, mother, and apple pie?

I have concerns about all of the above, but my concerns cannot be simplified to making a check mark in a box(look at the actual survey in the link above to see what I mean).

For example, I could check a box indicating that immigration issues are important to me.   But what would that mean?  

Could it be that:  (a) I am in favour of President Trump's wall building, or (b) that I believe that immigrants enrich our American life and that a simple and clear path to citizenship is wise and prudent?

With that in mind I refuse to respond to his survey.  It is simplistic to say the least, and to say more, it is an insult to the voters in his district who are quite capable of sophisticated and nuanced thinking about a wide range of national concerns, none of which can be reduced to making a check mark  ("tick" in the U.K.) on his bogus survey.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Cold,raw, rainy day in Sarasota.

Cold by south west Florida standards, never got higher than the low 50's F.

Cold rain all day (and we are not in the rainy season).

So raw  (yes I am getting wimpy by New England standards), so gloves, layers, and a woolen hat were called for.

No long walks with Mr. Zion, but enough for him to do his business.

BUT there was brightness on a grey day.

(1) Lamb and mixed vegetables, braised in Japanese Yum Yum sauce for my lunch.  Good meal to dispense gloom!


(2)  Lovely photo' of Jonathan and Andi Taylor. taken at St. David's Church, South Yarmouth MA  where Andi is the Rector  (she was formerly the loved and respected Asst. Rector at St. Boniface here in SRQ).

St. David's had just completed a great Annual Meeting. 

The smiles were for the joyous benefit of the Clerics who have been enthusiastic friends and admirers of the Revd. Andrea (Andi) S. Taylor along the way.  

(She has also been one of my teachers).