Being mindful of what’s right in front of us can always be a challenge. Here are 10 new items from my end.


  1. Hard to think Christmas is so near. It’s just not in the air, at least for me, despite the bell ringers and carols around the stores. But then I’m often off on another planet.
  2. I always intend to put up our outdoor Christmas lights while it’s still warm. Rather than freezing my fingers.
  3. I’ve long said if she would only dance, she’d be perfect. OK, there are few other details I’d add, all these years later. Learning to read music, for one.
  4. Another old fear? If you get to know me, you won’t like me. Or maybe: You won’t like what you find. (That muscular reaction when someone gets too physically close in a conversation.
  5. I seldom I feel myself fitting in – in a crowd, an audience, a group, a family.
  6. NOT THE USUAL … one of my strictures in my desire not to repeat myself in blogging. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Not that I usually remember.
  7. I miss being able to get the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on local radio. These days I have to listen on my laptop or cell phone. Just ain’t the same.
  8. In a depression.: Do I really LIKE anyone? Being with them? Am I having ANY fun?
  9. Well, I am drinking Virgin Marys during Advent. (Cheers in the morning!)
  10. You were supposed to save me.


Yes, light snow counts.
Yes, light snow counts. We know what just might be really ahead.


Just a taste of what’s popping up. In case you were looking for a prompt.


  1. My wife can’t resist an opportunity to make a holiday feast, and that means planning ahead. (Somehow the menu keeps growing, enough to feed twice as many guests as we have.) I’m impressed by the checklists she makes, too, to keep herself on track. Three days ahead – or more – the work actually begins. And then there’s the last-minute shopping for anything she wants to be fresh.
  2. Juncos and jays. Rituals and routines. Manners and mores.
  3. No matter my affinity, I never would have been comfortable in the Society of Friends in any of the earlier eras. I always would have chafed at the limitations and discipline. Nor, for that matter, do I see anywhere I would have fit in neatly. (We could start with my interior “fort” surrounding my emotions, despite my public interactions. Or my Aquarian/contrarian nature.) Well, the Mavericks have roots in Boston Harbor. Look ’em up. Doubt I’d fit in there, either.
  4. Opening my car door at the Nubble Lighthouse, I’m nearly knocked over by cold wind. Sustained, more than gusting. Barely a mile inland, only a mild breeze. This strange sensation of having my nostrils blown shut (or at least constrained): to breathe, I have to turn my back to the wind, a first in my experience. Make you wonder about sailors at sea?
  5. In Eastern Orthodox tradition, Mary is a temple of God that surpasses the one in Jerusalem. Within her, the Light or Logos becomes incarnate. The nuances are quite different from what I’ve heard in Western Christian teaching. How much else have I missed? I’m certainly invigorated by the sharp contrast to our austere Quaker aesthetic. I love the extremes.
  6. Launching this blog, as the horoscope said, came in my year to come out of hiding.
  7. In contrast to any sense of guilt or some shame or impoverishment: LOOK AT ALL THESE RICHES! Even the matters of what’s unfinished or undone, now turned to opportunity.
  8. A sense of progress, too.
  9. What do I really want? To be accepted and loved, without feeling pain? Certainly there’s more.
  10. What holds your life together?


I really should bring our bay trees and pots of rosemary indoors any day now. Yes, they can stand light snow or frost, but deep cold's another matter altogether. And we do like having fresh herbs at hand all winter.
I really should bring our bay trees and pots of rosemary indoors any day now. Yes, they can stand light snow or frost, but deep cold’s another matter altogether. And we do like having fresh herbs at hand all winter.


stack neatly three cords of stove wood for kitchen heating (ache, diddly ache) with no idea how much they’ll need for winter learn to use a variable-speed screwdriver, far from expertly, while hanging drywall and doors (ache, diddly ache) the plumbers finally show for a day installing a new boiler just before the season’s first […]


Thousands of lights.
Thousands of lights.

Each year the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, commemorates its gratitude for relief Boston extended in the aftermath of a deadly harbor explosion in 1917. The Canadians deliver a large Christmas tree, which is then erected and decorated in the heart of Boston.

The lighting itself is quite an extravaganza, as I learned the first time my choir participated in the event at historic Quincy Market. Imagine seeing yourself on the Jumbotron while you sing.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

A perfect combination.
A perfect combination.