Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In No Particular Order
Things I Want To Do Sometime or Soon
Play keyboards for Bob Seger
(wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then)
Ride the palomino in the Lilac Armed Forces Torchlight Parade
(the one with the silver saddle)
Be a gardener in Manito Park perennial garden
(the one that drives the flat bed golf cart barefoot, wearing a tank top and seafarers, with the dog with a bandana)
Midnight Mass at the Vatican
Drive the Gulf Coast across Mississippi and Alabama
Hunt North Georgia for folk artists
Go back to South Dakota and hang out
Make a bike at Orange County Choppers
(with Vinnie, Paul Jr., Ralph and Ric)
the caves at Lascaux
the Hermes factory at Lyon
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction
Moab, Utah
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Live in a house with a real library, where the books line the room up and down
(that observes the absolute quite rule)
Try dresses on at Chanel in Paris
(what the hell? just once)
The 'Kan EWA

Sunday, February 26, 2006

So Sunday night was the birthday party. The location was Cucina de Pesci, 2nd and 4th in the Village. Our friends came, his friends came, we united in a party effort that the two birthday boys will always remember. Toasts, party hats, German Chocolate from Magnolia Bakery, red wine, white wine, red wine, and friends. The best friends you could ever want, the friends of a lifetime.

I remember the birthdays with little boys on treasure hunts all over the house, steak and really good red wine with our friends in the dining room, and everything and nothing in between. So much falls away when I try to remember the past twenty years, year by year, but so many new layers appear and reappear, creating a crazy patchwork of quilt that wraps its warm and soft arms around and about me. Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence. St. Augustine. Imagine a poor Presbyterian like me getting this stuff for free.

The 'Kan EWA

Saturday, February 25, 2006

you shall above all things be glad and young

e.e. cummings

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you're young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever's living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man's
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation's dead undoom.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

~For Greg, courage

The 'Kan EWA

Friday, February 24, 2006

Steamed dumplings in Chinatown, wonderful shoes cheap at Century 21, a long crisp walk in the bright winter air---our first day in New York was a whole menu of only-in-New-York experiences. Mostly, I like to walk along the sidewalks with the people as they scurry around, dispatching their day's duties. New York is an international city, full of the world's people and as an American, I am always struck by the privilege of being in this full evolved Dutch/English outpost. Who knew.

I'm from North Idaho, where I think we have a certain academic understanding of freedom. So much of our life here is doing what we want, by virtue of the large amounts of heretofore available land and opportunities. We come and go exactly as we please and that makes the idea of freedom somewhat vague, if largely undefined, to many of us here. We cannot feature a life where you can't attend the church you want or assemble freely or bear the particular arms you desire or express yourself fully, if you are so inclined. Because of the limited infrastructure here, we survive on our own much of the time, are highly self-reliant and endorse utilitarianism, the great American philosophy.

So the loss of freedom we have experienced since 9/11 always hits me hard when I visit New York City. Can't go up in Lady Liberty anymore, my absolute favorite American icon. Big, intimidating concrete tank barriers around all federal buildings and entire streets still blocked off. Can't stroll along Wall Street and forget about wandering in to the stock exchange. The world's flags no longer fly in front of the UN. Two lane streets in front of synogogues and temples suddenly are one lane, for the concrete barriers placed in the street to protect the buildings. And the people who might be inside. During the Republican convention there were gunnery boats with multiple mounted guns on the East River. Don't see those these days but do see many, many guards everywhere with guns and gas masks.

Went to Ground Zero to pay our respects again; can't say too many prayers for the innocent, unarmed victims of war who were murdered there and so it was very difficult to have a protest show up. Group of folks came with signs and chants claiming that 9/11 was a Black Ops campaign, carried out by the US military. They made much noise and handed out pamphlets and were actually hurt and offended when I told them, quietly, to get the hell out of there. I was so viciously and bitterly angry. The new Building 7 is just about finished and the site of Towers 1 and 2 has been largely sanitized now, with all the tangible remains of destruction removed to storage. I still grieve and cannot come to terms with the unfinished days of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters that died on that beautiful September morning. A loss that will never be fully defined.

And so this is what it is to be an American these days. No real answers here, only sadness. But gladness, too, for the tough, brittle, beautiful New Yorkers, who welcome one and all. Who go about the business of living and taking care of their families with strength and ambition, humor and resolve. It's all been said before and maybe my favorite comes from a native New Yorker, Sarah Jessica Parker: “They say life's what happens when you're busy making other plans. But sometimes in New York, life is what happens when you're waiting for a table.”

The 'Kan EWA

Thursday, February 23, 2006

New York, New York. These days I have a love/hate relationship with my adopted hometown because I know that as soon as the plane touches down in the city, county and state of New York, I will say goodbye to my beloved youngest child, again. Just how many times do you have to relive a terrible moment? Anyway, that's how it is. So we land at JFK on the redeye out of Seattle and struggle to the cabstand where we enlist the services of one foreign cab driver, who, God is good, has bathed recently and eats food that is not highly spiced. Apparently.

We drive through Queens in the morning traffic and he talks incessantly on his cell phone, jabba, jabba, jabbba, fawhoosh, fawhoosh, fawhoosh, skink, skink, skink. Until at a point, he says emphastically as he stabs the air, NAY, NAY, NAY; YOU DO THIS TODAY OR I SEND YOU BACK TO IRAQ TOMORROW. In perfect English.

Welcome to Noo York Citty.

Of course, our room is not ready so we stash our bags with the bell captain and wander out the front door to Starbucks. The phone starts ringing as they all bid us welcome; we are rich in friends and lucky in children and the day is deep and the sun is high before we know it. We look up and we have showered, changed, caught the 9 down to the financial district, and we meet our dearest friends at the Federal Reserve Bank. They have arranged a private tour. This is New York. A city about the size of Rathdrum. You can get a private tour of the vault that holds 353 billion US$ in gold buillion if you know the right people. Outside the front door, we talk to the security guard; former CIA, Secret Service. He has a black nylon box strapped to his left leg. I ask him if it isn't hard to run in that and he says it's not hard, it just took him a few weeks to get used to it. I ask him, if it isn't classified, if he could tell me what's in the box. He gives me a split-second look of benevolent pity, then replies matter of factly, if softly, "It's a gas mask. They're standard issue now."

Welcome to New York indeed.

The 'Kan EWA

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Well, there's a bit of grumbling out there in Club Chow this morning. The Chow Nation doesn't exactly endorse Rufus as Best in Show of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, just ended in Noo York Citty. First of all, they say the Chow, La Belle Monique got screwed with the usual stereotype that's really harmful to Chows, that being that " Martha Stewart owns Chows". Everytime the announcer would say that, there was a collective snort that rumbled the room. Peet says there is alot more to being a Chow than just being Martha Stewart's dog. (Peet says to go to non-sporting and select Chow Chow.) While he doesn't think any Chow could ever be a candyass, he definitely thinks that if a Chow could be a candyass, they would live in Connecticut and get groomed regularly and use the same address as Martha Stewart. Do' says there's no way a Chow could ever be a candyass. But she definitely agrees that overgrooming, say more than once a year, is an image problem for all Chows.

Cleo says he knows this Rufus from poker and that the guy can't bluff worth a darn. He plays his game right on his sleeve and he is luuuuucky. Cle says he shows up, looking good, gets the best cards of the night, then takes the money. Then retreats to his handler. Cleo wonders just what the hell kind of life it is when you let someone handle you. All the Chows shake their heads when that comes up.

Sylvie Ruth says they missed another big opportunity to party--in the Big Apple--and vows that next year really will be different. She says they are going to go to Noo York Citty for the show, party at the private clubs in Soho just like Uncle Jonny, and rock the Garden from the stands with their impromtu version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. (weeeeeee rrrr tha champ-yuns...) She says the Chow Nation doesn't need no stinking contest to show off and to know that they are flat the best and beloved by all.

And I quite agree.

The 'Kan EWA

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

To My Valentine

i carry your heart with me


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
The 'Kan EWA

Saturday, February 11, 2006

He was born during a blizzard the morning of February 11, 1986. Jonathan came into our lives that white, snowy winter day and changed things forever. His brother and sister had heart-shaped sugar cookies that I had baked , frozen and then frosted blue and decorated with his initials the afternoon he was born to take to school to announce the birth of their baby brother. His father was completely unsure he could get the Honda car up the hill from Sacred Heart in the storm still raging when it came time to take him home to 26th Avenue the next day. Truth be told, it was a time of uncertainty for us all, because we were so clear that we had been given a magnificent gift, and none of us felt particularly confident that we were worthy. Jonathan was always celebrated, cherished, and adored.

We like to say he never had a good cry until he was 4 or 5 because somebody was always willing to hold him, sooth him, love him the very second he peeped. His main discomfort as a baby was being hungry and our job was to keep him full. Not an easy task. But he was a wonderful baby, if a huge armful, and quickly turned into a darling little boy, happy and joyful at all things, and with a smile that lit up the room.

He was the one who showed great compassion and concern for his colleagues in the sandbox, when they asserted they did not believe in God. At age 4, he was telling his friends that their faith was the most important thing in their life and that they shouldn't neglect to pay attention to it. When he as 6, he told them with equal matter-of-factness that all his clothes came from the GAP because the clothes were good-looking and well-made. He always has enjoyed looking good, although we had a terrible time at about this age getting him to wear matching socks, because he though one each of green, blue, red, yellow, or orange was a better look than two matching. Jon has always known his own mind.

He loved to run and jump, but as a small child was not particularly athletic; a bitter disappointment was getting cut from his sister's soccer club, but in true Jon fashion, he turned his attention to other things he was curious about and in no time, became deeply involved in Boy Scouts, which would change his life forever. Service, faith and devotion became his watchword.

Middle school football changed his athletic reputation and destiny and his award as Lineman of The Year in 8th grade launched his high school atheltic career, one which included many achievements and awards, including those of a state wrestling champion. By this time, he was Silver Palm Eagle Scout, fully versed in the outdoors and leadership, and spear-headed ambitious community service projects for his school, his church, and his community. Jon was fully formed and on the threshold of his amibtions and values.

He now calls from many miles away, full of the week's opportunities and observations. He studies hard, in preparation for what lies ahead. He spends many hours a week volunteering in service to those sick and in need of help. He still lights our hearts and our world with that million-watt smile and holds his faith proudly up front, so anyone can see. He is a beacon, who now comforts and soothes us as we try to keep ourselves full with the things that bless and give our lives meaning. His light is firmly in the world these days and will disperse itself further, before it comes back to focus on where it all began 20 years ago today.

He is a magnificent gift, still.

The 'Kan EWA

Friday, February 10, 2006

As it turns out, The Christ Child is moving to London sometime late summer. That's a fine how-do-you-do. He'll be unavailable for a big birthday he's having next year. His father is having a big birthday in a week or so; the Chows and I decided there's nothing else to do but hop the red eye out of Seattle go to New York for a long week to drink, eat, run around, music up, laugh and ponder our fates as human beings who love and long for intimacy. But not at the expense of any shopping opportunities that might present themselves.

Nobody really understands JBelle's love affair with New York. JBelle, they say, are ya outta yer mind? Ya were born in CdA on Penn Ave, ya ran up and down the hills around the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River like it was Foster Avenue in June, ya fished the Joe, swam the CdA city beach and rode yer bike to Hayden with no fear when you were 8 years old! Yer one of North Idaho's proudest daughters! How can ya even unnerstand what them Porta Ricans are sayin'?

Well, folks, I'll tell ya. Simple. I loves New York. I do. First, it just isn't that much different that the woods of North Idaho, with beauty everywhere. In the eyes of the people who ride the train, in the chirps of the birds in the trees in front of the brownstones along 22nd Avenue, in the scrolly ironwork of the fire escapes that lace through Soho, in the morning light on the running trail along the East River, in the ruddy cheeks of the guys who work in the Kosher delis, in the pride of people who are determinedly trying to make it as they scurry through the day, dispatching the tasks of living in the city. It's so beautiful.

Yeah, but there's so much crime and danger! They'll kill ya as soon as look at ya! Them people are crazy! Folks, folks, folks. I'm from North Idaho; crazier than that? I have walked home from the theatre on Broadway 60-70 blocks at 12:30 am many times. Never was scared once. Had many more anxious moments riding my bike out 15th in Coeur d'Alene to Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden. I have been accosted by street kids on the streets of Spokane at 8:45 pm at night, 3 blocks from my office, in a manner that frightened me and left me angry. And you know JBelle just isn't scared of too many things....I have never once had a bad experience in the city nor the woods; I just loves 'em both. They love me back.

Still, people have persisted--so JBelle has had no choice but to just show 'em herself--her own New York; now some of 'em even have moved to New York and others say, feel like taking me to New York sometime soon?

JBelle is always in a New York State of Mind as she is always ready to ride the Hiawatha or the Coeur d'Alenes. Her heart sings and her soul soars as the beauty and the wonder fold in, around, under and completely over her. La vie est Belle.

The 'Kan EWA

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Well, the Chows are busy, busy, busy taking care of business. They have a lot going, including filing their tax return. To tell the truth, they have been cranky with each other. Seems there are missing receipts and such and there is a big disagreement over who is to blame. Peet says he had no idea all those lunches down at Manito Park were ordinary and necessary business expenses and if he hadda known, he never would have chewed up the sandwich bag with the receipt in it. Do' says she told him a million times. Do' is also really upset with Sylvie who is trying to depreciate both the dinner dishes and the tennis balls. Sylvie says when you are as successful as she is, you need every deduction you can find. Cleo read something about a stepped up basis and is trying to find a way to step up the basis for playing more ball. And Uncle Bob just plods along, keeping an eye open for what's in it for him. He says he doesn't care how any of it is handled, as long as Sylvie makes his SEP-IRA contribution. He says he would like to retire sometime soon so he hopes those Chows get everything all sorted out and filed.

It's a beautiful day here in The 'Kan and Bellemaison sparkles with winter serenity and quiet. The garden is still save for the comings and goings of both the squirrels and the Chows as well as the birds, chirping over the frozen ice in their birdbath. It's a bright, sunny moment that calendar pictures are made of but a moment that properly resides in my heart, stored for another time, when the dark will not go away....

The 'Kan EWA

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Chows tell me that they are really looking forward to Valentine's Day because they are such sweeties. Chows, I tell them, who wouldn't want to be your Valentine? The Chows are back sleeping outside because it's a little warmer and because that where they really like it. Cleo says he watches way too much late-night when they sleep in the den and besides, the fresh air really keeps him fresh. Cleo is a card. Spring is coming to Bellemaison.

The 'Kan EWA

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Season

Each day melts into the next,forming a long icicle that hangs silently in the front window. The quiet rhythm of long hours and tedious tasks is broken only by a loud SNAP as the icicle goes to the tulips, who have been waiting patiently; clearing the eaves of the front porch where I live,
announcing the arrival of spring.

The 'Kan EWA