Pandemic Diaries: Waste Not, Want Not or, the Return of Cloth Napkins

He lifted it high over his head, as he would the Stanley Cup if he were one of his beloved Boston Bruins celebrating victory, it being a 6-pack of cheap paper towels. Clapping my hands in excitement, visions of all the many spills wiped and cleanings achieved with such treasure danced in my head. But …

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Pandemic Diaries: The Devil’s Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic is a concept found on both sides of World War II's concentration camps; for the meaning to the interned, see the book of the same title by Jane Yolen. For the Nazis, it was a careful calculation of how little prisoners could be fed, clothed, and housed before they died of starvation …

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Pandemic Diaries: I Need a Schedule

Last week we were meant to be on holiday, so our Social Distancing was more of a long, lazy West Wing binge, with intermittent movies thrown in. Staying in and watching movies, walks, working jigsaw puzzles, and reading is pretty much our jam but it is remarkable how readily we slide into abject sloth. Or …

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Pandemic Diaries: Social Distancing Week One

We were supposed to be in Napa, then San Francisco. We would have been in the airport right now and then boarding a steel tube likely filled with COVID-19, having passed through two of the busiest airports in the country, also probably simmering in virus. Fortunately we paid attention to the first stories and followed …

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A Bumper Sticker Wants to Make Me Cry. Again.

Bumper stickers: I love them, and am always buying them though seldom affixing them to the actual bumper of a car. Rather, a succession of ironic, witty, or just plain weird stickers have adorned cork boards in various offices and cubicles, excepting of course the years of obligatory Honor Student stickers, followed by, "My Daughter …

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Hair Time

"Avert your eyes. I'm not here. You're not seeing this," I hollered at Paul, still in the shower, as I sat on the edge of the tub, lathering my legs from the travel-size can of Barbasol my daughter left here last Christmas. Starting with the right leg I continued, "This is on the same continuum …

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First Love

He was the first boy I ever loved, my cousin Randy. Our mothers were sisters and close, and we'd been close since I don't even remember, since I was born. I can still see us in the pool one hot California summer day, I was maybe seven, he nine years old when Randy said he'd …

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Juneteenth

One Sunday morning it was June 19th, or Juneteenth, and Mother Freda Marie, a brilliant African-American woman and the assisting priest at my parish, asked us if we knew why the day was special, other than it being Sunday? Mine was the lone hand raised. This particular bit of history was specific to Texas, and …

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Happy Maternity Day

It's a tricky one, Mother's Day. It means well. It started out well and then, well, it met Capitalism and kind of lost it's way. In recent years some brave voices have quietly reminded us that all this in-your-face motherly fantasy, every May, does not bring unmitigated joy to all. I confess to being sometimes …

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Lent in the Wilderness

It's been a wilderness-y Lent. For the first time in maybe twenty years I am not affiliated with a parish and thus not busy with Wednesday Lenten Soup Suppers, programs, or public outreach projects, all the things that an Episcopal parish does during Lent, all the preparations I would normally be knee deep in heading …

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