Saturday, January 24, 2004

Saturday, Saturday

Walk. Mass. Part of Office.

Breakfast at Rollo's. New menu item: tamales. At last something that doesn't have sugar, eggs, or cheese. And they only cost $1.50 each. Rollo's doughnuts are the best I have ever eaten, but I've got to stay away from those doughnuts. I visited at one of Rollo's tiny booths with three of the over 70 year old women that go to Holy Cross. I am amazed at how young 70+ can look. When I was a child, I got the impression that death comes in your 60s. Now I think it comes in your 60s mostly if you are overweight and drink and smoke.

These women are not overweight, do not drink or smoke. At Rollo's, they have coffee only. They eat at home to save money. The coffee is for companionship sake. One of the Roses, who has scoliosis, also has a nice big thick head of white hair and dresses fashionably. She keeps fit by walking about 18 blocks to church most days. She is acerbic, but friendly. She told a couple of stories. First she asked me if I noticed that in the yard of one house on Jackson and 16th, the owner has a statue of the Blessed Virgin. Rose told me that she always says, "Good morning, Mother. I love you" as she walks by. One day last week Rose said that same thing to the statue, and a voice replied, "Good morning" right at her elbow. She threw up her arms and thought, "Oh now it's talking back to me." But it was a neighborhood woman who was walking behind her and had just caught up to her.

She also said that her husband has been dead about 32 years now. A few weeks before he died, they went to a dance at the church, and (typically) she found fault with the whole affair. She told us that she kind of regrets saying to her husband as they were leaving, "That's the last dance you and I are ever going to."

They loaned me an umbrella because it had been drizzling when I first came out of church. By the time we left Rollo's though, it was clear, and I didn't neeed the umbrella after all. At home, I downloaded and filled out the Apple rebate form, cut out the UPC labels off the boxes, printed out the order from the website and put it all in an envelope to get $100 back.

And it hardly seemed like I got to anything else except a little laundry before it was time to prepare for tutoring.

When Carolyn and Christina came, Christina disappeared into the office to work on her online traffic school. Carolyn and I sat at the dining room table, as usual. She glued in her notes from last week from when she forgot her notebook. We read together from the text book and discussed the topics enough so she could fill in her worksheet for this week's homework. We did a little map work. We're learning about the battles at Concord and Lexington and the famous speech by Patrick Henry in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and parts of two poems, one by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about Paul Revere, and the other by Ralph Waldo Emerson about Patrick Henry's speech. I also taught her about the kid's poem: "You're a poet. You don't know it. Your feet show it. They're Longfellows."

When the hour was up, we moved to the kitchen table where we drew an outline of the state of Virginia so that Carolyn could cut it out, pad it with cotton balls, and create a stuffed state. Last week she thought she was creating a stuffed state of California, but she unwittingly created an outline that looked remarkably like the outline of Minnesota. This was an unplanned project that all started when she asked me what paste was, and I told her I'd show her how to make it out of flour and water. Cutting out shapes and stuffing them with cotton balls kind of just evolved.

Liberty came in to help because Christina was trying to play a video for me that she made when I was at their house after dinner last week. In the video Ryan was demonstrating martial arts and we were singing and goofing off. When Liberty came in I quoted, "Give me Liberty or give me death," but he was not amused. He couldn't get the DVD to play, either in the television or in either of our laptops.

I enjoy being part of that family's life. And it's fun to review American history.

I did some more work on preparing Morning Prayer at the Institute for Leadership in Ministry for a week from today. It is proving very difficult to get people to contribute or to cooperate. You have no idea. And it is very time consuming.

Called Annette. They sold the house and are moving about one and one half hours away to the south near Modesto where they are using the proceeds from Annette's house to put downpayments on two houses for her two married children side by side. Looks like the hard knock of almost losing the house may turn out to be a blessing. Annette seems to be recovering well from her heart surgery, but her foot still has a hole and infection in it. She has diabetes, so her feet get sores easily and they don't heal for years. She almost had a foot amputated a few years ago.

I had made an eggplant potatoe tomatoe stew Friday and so I had some of the leftovers for lunch. Around 5 , I made cole slaw (with lemon/oil dressing instead of mayonnaise), beets, boiled potatoes, and fried cod. Liberty joined me for dinner, and we watched Spellbound. I get a big kick out of documentaries like that one that are windows into other people's lives. The film started at the homes of some of the contestants in the National Spelling bee, in Texas, CA, Michigan, Washington D.C, and other places, before these children went to Washington to compete for the $10,000 prize. They and their families sat in their living rooms and their kitchens and bedrooms and showed the filmmakers how the students prepared. The most excessively thorough preparation was by a prosperous Indian family in San Clemente (I think) who tutored their son full time. During the day of the bee the grandfather back in India paid 1000 people to chant. If the boy won, the grandfather was prepared to feed 5,000 people in celebration. The boy didn't win . . . Liberty and I were routing for a darling little black girl from D.C., who didn't win either.

As usual, I fell asleep (this time while we were watching the special features on the DVD). Lib helped me up from the weird angle of the futon couch. After a stop in the bathroom, I went to bed.
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