Monday, May 24, 2010


We decided to do an experiment on the wedding cake. There were several questions requiring investigation. We have, after all, never experienced a rice Krispies wedding cake before, and the big day will be only a memory in less than eight weeks. With pressure mounting, we needed to know the quantities of supplies required, the most desirable consistency of the final product, the feasibility of removing the cake from the pan.
In a display of true father-of-the-bride devotion, David got out a calculator, pen and paper, parchment, Rice Krispies, marshmallows and butter, bowls and mixing spoons, and our shiny new four-tiered industry quality baker’s pans designed for cakes other than these.
By the time he had finished drawing, trimming parchment, measuring, melting, stirring, revising the recipe, packing and removing he had produced the second-to-the-smallest tier, approximately 13% of the total cake mass- an 8-inch square, 3-inch deep Rice Krispies block. We admired it, and waited for more observers to arrive.
The future bride and groom came to dinner. Together we gazed lovingly at the cake. They are, to be sure, in a loving mood these days, surprisingly easy to please. Still, even by exacting standards, early evening indicators pointed to experimental success.
Yet, one vital question hung unanswered in the air. “Who,” we wondered, “will eat all that cake?”
Exhausted from a long day’s science, we left the answer to chance, turning our attention to other pursuits. The evening passed pleasantly. We ate dinner. We walked in the park. Six of us sat for a few hours, engrossed in a game of cards, each of us tensely wondering who the winner would be.
Here are the results. Lawrence won the game, but not before 13% of the total future cake mass had disappeared, and all the questions had been answered—except for one.
“Who,” we wondered, “ate the most?”

Friday, May 21, 2010


Finding oneself is not as safe as it used to be. At one time teen-agers left home and wandered the globe, seeking an individual identity. “I’m finding myself,” they’d say, when you wondered why they hadn’t made it home for dinner. How simple life was back then.
But now it’s so much easier to find yourself, and so much harder to escape from the self you find. Today I searched for myself—on line. I was looking to see what others would see if they searched for me. Lo and behold, I was there. Not only was I there, but on one website,
Westwood Unitarian Audio Archive
I discovered that I had been recorded giving what they called a “sermon”.
“Oh dear,” I thought. “I don’t give sermons.”
I suppose I was hanging on a technicality. I give presentations, occasionally at churches, some of them on Sunday mornings. And I couldn’t deny having given this one, though I wouldn’t have called it a sermon. What would my Granny have said?
Maybe I should have known better than to click that link. It was me all right, and I shuddered when I heard myself. In a feeble attempt at redemption, I apologized in advance to all those future clickers who click that link expecting a real sermon. And as a protective measure, I almost took a vow of silence.
But then I got to wondering why it is that recordings of me never sound like the person I hear when I speak, even though I always think that recordings of other people sound like those people sound to my ears. And then I got to wondering if movie stars hate to watch themselves in the movies. And I got so distracted that I forgot to take the vow of silence. I wonder if I’ll remember next time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Hanna Sinclair left a comment for THE HOPE LADY Blog. I saw in shortly after 6;00 AM. It was a comment addressed to a post posted 9 months ago, a story about a junior high teacher I remember, Eric Cardinall.
Hanna is his granddaughter. She writes: ”Thank you for the lovely words about my grandfather (or "Grumps" as he nicknamed himself) Eric Cardinall. While this took place years before
I was born, and in a setting different to the ones I knew him in, your anecdotes describe the man I knew. I am so glad to hear he had an effect on his
students, and that he is remembered by some of them so many years later.”
We live in a connected world. There are drawbacks, to be sure. But waking up to discover that I have inadvertently added a puzzle piece in Hanna’s history makes me grateful to be here.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Something diffrent to read—a book about the real work of firefighting

Funny how little we know about the work others do!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I like robins
Because they are complicated.

Robins have bad judgment.
I like the way they arrive too early to miss the Alberta snow.

Robins do impossible things.
I like the way they start singing around 3:30 (who among us can get out of bed after a good sleep and start singing at 3:30?)

Robins have nerve.
I like the way they start a nest right beside the veranda table we sit at every day and then dare us to move.

Robins know how to compromise.
I like the way they decide to keep their nest in place when they notice that we’re still going to sit there every day.

Robins cheer me up.
Even when I don’t want to be cheered up, I like that.

Robins surprise me.
And it could just be that my very favourite thing about robins
Happened yesterday, when I was listening
To a recording of a counselling session
Made here at Hope House the day before.

Outside my window a robin sang.
On the recording that same robin sang.
Background music
Robin in stereo.
What finer music has there ever been?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Mornings fine me taking the train across to the river to work. Sometimes, though rarely, I come upon Rachel, leaving the station and we walk the final block together. Usually, if it happens at all, it happens in the moment that we leave the train, but this morning she was waiting for me at the top of the escalator.
Had she noticed me? No. A stranger had stopped her and reported having sighted me leaving the train.
And herein lies the opportunity for multiple perspectives. Will it be sympathy for poor Rachel, deprived of the right to walk to work alone? Will it be creepiness at realization that one’s routine comings and goings are not, after all, of no interest to strangers? Or will it be gratitude at the kindness shown by others in a world where it’s easy enough to gather evidence of social indifference?
What would a hopeful person think?