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Jim's blog

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Location: Osterville, Massachusetts, United States

I am a professor at Cape Cod Community College and and a member of a Buddhist order. After a 30-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor I became a full-time professor in 2001. I am the author of the textbooks "The Elements of News Writing" and "The Elements of Academic Writing." I enjoy running, hiking and camping. I have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday in Asheville

We had breakfast at the motel, and then we headed for Ben and Wolf's apartment. We all decided to go to the Asheville Mass to look for a nice set of cookware for Ben and Wolf, since they were having trouble finding a saucepan they liked. We got as good set in Sears and had lunch at the food court at the mall. Then we went to Babies R Us to buy a huge box of paper diapers for Nathaniel. After that, we were all exhausted and took naps. Then Ben went off to the Inn to work and Brandon came back from work at the Inn. Brandon and I played Frisbee for a while, and then we did some grocery shopping and had dinner at Ben and Wolf's While Wolf put Nathaniel down to sleep, I took the rest of the clan to Sonic Drive in for ice cream. I hadn't been to a drive-in since the early 1960s. I wonder if it was the rise of McDonald's that caused the decline of old-fashioned drive-in restaurants. It was fun. The car hops at Sonic ride roller skates.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Quiet Saturday

We slept late and then all met for a leisurely breakfast at a Waffle House. I had a great time interacting with Nathaniel. Then we went back to Ben and Wolf's and just relaxed. After a fast-food lunch from Arby's, (actually I had a fruit salad), we split up. Ben went to work at the Inn, Wolf went to the movies, and Barbara and her mom stayed behind withn Nathaniel. I went to the motel, changed into my running clothes and ran for half an hour. Then I went for a swim in the hotel pool. I returned to Ben and Wolf's and took over babysitting. I fed Nathaniel a bottle of breast milk and rocked him to sleep. I loved rocking with him falling asleep in my arms. Brandon borrowed Ben's car to drive down and join us for the evening.
(Running: three miles)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Four-generation breakfast

Friday morning we all met at the Inn for breakfast. Barbara and Vee and I woke up at the Days inn and drove up there. Ben and Wolf and Nathaniel drove up from their apartment in Arden, and Brandon walked over from his employee housing. The dining room at the inn usually has a spectacular view, but it was rainy and foggy this morning. But the view of little Nathaniel with his mother and father, his uncle, his grandfather and grandmother and his great-grandmother, all sitting around the same table was beautiful. It almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. Everybody was happy. After breakfast Nathaniel went to the doctor for his eight-week check-up, and to get some inoculations. All is well. We met over at Ben and Wolf's later, and sat around quietly while Nathaniel and Wolf took naps.

In the afternoon, we went to a Chinese buffet for a late lunch and then drove to a shopping center to catch a shuttle bus into downtown Asheville to see their big annual street fair and festival, known as Bele Chere. (www.belechere.com) There were vendors, performers, street musicians and thousands and hundreds of thousands of people. Most of the main streets downtown were closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians. We walked all over and had a great time. Finally, around 9 p.m. we ended up at the marble slab creamery, where we got ice cream. Then we took the shuttle back to our cars and returned home, exhausted. Even though I am an experienced runner I was very tired. I can only imagine how tired my 87-year-old mother-in-law was.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Running with my son

Thursday in Asheville, North Carolina. We are visiting our two sons, both of whom work at the Mount Pisgah Inn, on the Blue Ridge Parkway 20 miles southwest of Asheville. It is also an opportunity to spend time with Ben's wife, Wolf, and their baby Nathaniel. Barbara and I brought her mother, Vee, so she could meet her first great-grandson. In the morning I inquired about other motel rooms, but all the nearby motels were booked solid because of a horse show at the nearby agricultural center. We had the free continental breakfast at our Days Inn and asked to move to a first-floor room, which was a little improvement. It will be fine. For lunch, we stopped by a nearby Subway and picked up subs for all six of us and ate them at a picnic table at Lake Louise Park. Then we took my younger son, Brandon, up to work at the Inn. That also gave his big brother, Ben, an opportunity to show his son, Nathaniel, to their colleagues at the Inn. In the afternoon Ben and I went to a nearby park in Fletcher, N.C., and jagged around the park pathways. We jagged together for a while and then I ran while he walked. After that we returned to our motel and took a swim in the pool. Then we returned to his house. He and Wolf and Nathaniel went to show the baby to their old birthing class, while Barbara, Vee and I went to an IHOP for dinner.
(Running: 3 miles)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Holding my grandson

Today we drove from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to Asheville, North Carolina. The drive was long and boring, although the scenery of the Shenandoah Valley was beautiful. But the highlight of the day without question occurred when we arrived in Asheville. There I got to see my two sons and daughter-in-law, and best of all, my grandson, Nathaniel. I held him for the first time, and it was a very emotional experience for me. He is seven weeks old, and -- of course -- is the most beautiful baby in the world. I find it hard to believe that I have a grandson, but now that I have held him, there is no denying it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cape Cod to Pennsylvania

Today we got up at 4 a.m. with the hope of getting on the road by 5. We actually hit the road at 4:45. We traveled a little more than 500 miles in about 10 hours. Lunch was at a Perkins in Wilkes Barre, Pa. When we arrived at the Days Inn in Chambersburg it was very hot -- about 90 degrees. Nevertheless I went for a run. I only ran for about half an hour, so I figure it was about three miles. I ran to a beautiful municipal park and back. The park had the largest swimming pool I have ever seen. When I got back to the motel I jumped into the motel's much smaller swimming pool. In the evening we went to a Pizza Hut for dinner and drove around Chambersburg.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Packing, laundry, banking, lawn-mowing -- we spent the day getting ready for our trip. We are leaving for Asheville tomorrow. Whew!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Tired but happy

Today we drove back form the wonderful celebration in New Hampshire. It took about five hours, including a stop for lunch. We had a fantastic time there, but I didn't get much sleep. It was the third night in a row of too little sleep, so I am exhausted. Nevertheless the regular Sunday evening Sangha went well. We had six people and a couple of good meditations. Tomorrow we pack for the trip to North Carolina.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A celebration of life and love

Our dear friends Matt Stone and Tabatha Smith invited us to "A Celebration of Life and Love." The invitation came months ago. Today was the big day. When they visited us this spring we discussed religion, spirituality, philosophy, marriage and commitment, and discovered we had very similar views. Matt and Tabatha asked me to conduct the ceremony at the celebration. It was a commitment ceremony, similar in many ways to a marriage, but without the legal trappings. It was the idea of commitment that meant the most to Matt and Tabatha, and the participation of family and friends.

I knew it was going to be held at a camping and recreation area, Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., and I assumed it would be a casual and relatively small affair. To my surprise, it was a huge celebration with about 150 people, all of whom had a wonderful time. About a third of the people were members of a warm and friendly extended family built around the descendants of a wonderful woman from central Massachusetts named Bessie Kenney. The oldest guest at the celebration was my mother-in-law, Vee Frye, who is her daughter. The youngest guest was Ruby Stone, who spent a lot of time at the party nursing at her mother's breast. Ruby is Bessie Kenney's great-great granddaughter. Matt Stone, our host, is Bessie Kenney's grandson and Ruby's uncle.

When we arrived at 1 p.m. and saw the huge tent sheltering 25 tables for six, I thought there must be another larger gathering planned for the same area, but soon I began to learn the scope of this joyous celebration. First people gathered under the tent for drinks and socialization while two violinists played background music. At 2:30 everyone strolled down to the opposite end of the recreation area, where Tabatha, Matt and I stood on the shore of Storrs Pond with 150 of their closest friends gathered in a semi-circle facing us. The ceremony mixed elements of Zen Buddhist, Tibetan Buddhist, Christian and Celtic elements, and included a loving-kindness meditation in which we all send loving kindness to everyone in the world. I asked all those gathered if they would support this couple in their committed relationship, and they answered as one with a loud, "We will." That made us all grin, as you can see in this photo.

After the ceremony, we strolled back to the tent area, and things got a little less formal. A disc jockey played recorded music while caterers served a huge meal with four kinds of meat, plus corn on the cob, veggie burgers, potato salad, pasta salad and lots more. There was plenty for everyone, (including vegetarians like Matt Tabatha and me.) The more we ate, the more the caterers grilled up on the big outdoor grills next to the tent. After that, a great live rock band took the stage and the younger members of the crowd started dancing. But others took advantage of the other recreational activities, including swimming, kyaking, volleyball, beach volleyball, whiffleball, Frisbee and lots more. Most of the guests had set up tents in the adjacent campground and people kept slipping off to change into bathing suits of other casual attire. Everyone was playing, laughing, dancing, singing or otherwise having a ball.

On one of the serving tables there was a typical wedding cake with a model of a bride and groom on top. Next to it was a blue box that was nicely gift-wrapped, then there was a basket of flowers and a lovely salt and pepper set. To everyone's astonishment, when it came time to cut the cake, the "gift," the "basket of flowers" and even the "salt-and-pepper set" were all cakes too. Not only were they so realistic that we could not believe they were cake, but they turned out to be absolutely delicious, right down to the edible flowers made of sugar.

Around sunset, after I had eaten a fantastic meal, played many games, talked to delightful people and gone for a swim, I went up to Tabatha to tell her that I couldn't remember ever having so much fun. That's when they started filling the hot-air balloon. Everyone got a chance to get a ride in the balloon, including the oldest (Vee) and the youngest (Ruby).

After dark, Tabatha said to follow the torches through the campground. The tiki torches led to a campfire area where the heartiest souls kept on partying late into the night. We sat in a circle around the fire socializing, singing songs, playing instruments and roasting marshmallows. I finally crawled into my tent around midnight, but I could hear folks singing and laughing until almost dawn.

It was, indeed, a celebration of life and love, and it was a joy to be a part of it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Lazy Friday

I could not sleep last night. I got up and worked on a crossword puzzle until 4 a.m. -- and I don't even like crossword puzzles! I finally rolled out of bed around 9. At 10 I got a call asking me to give a reference for a colleague. I was pleased to be able to recommend her enthusiastically.

In the afternoon we went to a small party at a friend's house. She has a beautiful home on a pond in Brewster. That was pleasant. The house was made from a log-cabin kit and later expanded. It made me think about building a similar log home in Asheville, if we can find some land with a good view.

This evening we have to pack for the trip to New Hampshire tomorrow. We are gathering with a lot of friends and family for a commitment ceremony for Matthew and Tabatha. They asked me to perform the ceremony, which is quite an honor. I am looking forward to the ceremony and to the party afterward. We will be camping in a campground on a lake in New Hampshire. That should be fun.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Great day!

Today was a great day. I suspect it is because I meditated, did yoga and went for a run. I also did some writing (if only an academic memo) and had a nice walk in the woods with a good friend.

In the morning I got up early and meditated. Then I had breakfast and got on my motorcycle to deliver some more paperwork to the lawyer handling our refinancing. Will the paperwork never end? Then I went into my office and took care of miscellaneous business, including a prospective student who wants to be exempted from taking journalism. I am trying to talk her into taking it. Then it was time for yoga class. It was very challenging. We did the fish pose, which I found quite intense. After yoga, Ann and I walked over to Subway for a sandwich and then walked back on a trail through the woods. We found a side trail that led around the perimeter of the college. It was very interesting. We managed to walk for nearly an hour altogether. We talked about walking through the woods when we were children, and how much we enjoyed it. After that I wrote a memo to the mat department about a program I heard about at Virginia Tech that I thought we might be able to use here. Then I rode the motorcycle back home again. It is always fun to take that 15-mile ride down the historic Old King's Highway through Cape Cod's historic district. Then Alison and I ran to Corporation Beach and Back. I went for a swim, but she only waded in to her knees. In any case it was a very enjoyable run. Then I kind of grazed for dinner -- mostly fruit and yogurt -- and watched a little TV. Then I took a bath before bed.

After my bath, Barbara showed me the slide show she created from our trip to California last week. It included a shot of me after running the wonderful trail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Since I recently figured out how easy it is to add photos to this blog, I decided to add it in to the posting titled "San Francisco" back on July 9.

All in all, that is what I consider a great day!

(Running: five miles)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another Beach Run

Even though it was in the high 80s today -- or perhaps because of it -- I ran to Corporation Beach, went for a swim and ran back. It is the most enjoyable way of running five miles I can imagine. It just feels great. I was very thirsty at the beach, so I stopped my the snack bar there and asked if they could spare a piece of ice. The nice girl behind the counter asked if I would like a cup of ice water, and I said that would be great. That really helped me a lot.

Earlier in the day we took the big van into the Ford dealer for repairs. They called back and said it is going to cost about $1,000 all together. Isn't it always like that with cars? Apparently it needs new upper and lower ball joints. I didn't even know it had upper and lower ball joints, but they need to be replaced. It is a 1991 model with more than 100,000 miles, so I should not be surprised at repair bills.

I also did some gardening. I weeded the veggie garden and harvested four summer squash and a big basket of green beans. They should be delicious.

(Running: five miles)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's not the heat, it's the humidity!

It was hot and steamy on Cape Cod today. Everybody was talking about it. The heat was only about 85, but the humidity was more like 98, so it felt very uncomfortable. We finally broke down and bought a small window air conditioner for our bedroom, where it has been too hot to sleep lately. Everyone says you don't need air conditioning on Cape Cod. They also say it never snows on Cape Cod. This proved both aphorisms wrong.

I went to yoga and did some work at my office today. I attended a union meeting to hear about the proposed new contract, and then -- as I said -- I went to Sears and bought an air conditioner.

Monday, July 18, 2005

35th anniversary

Today is our 35th wedding anniversary. Barbara and I were married on July 18, 1970, in her hometown of Sudbury, Mass. We were just a couple of naive hippies then. I am astonished that we knew enough to select mates who would still be together 35 years later.

Speaking of selecting mates, we celebrated out anniversary by going to see the wonderful film, "March of the Penguins." It is a beautiful, sensitive and moving documentary about the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica. It depicts their mating and child-bearing practices, which are astonishing. For one thing, the mother gives the egg to the father to keep warm and harsh while the mother goes off to find food. The photography was amazing. The cinematiographers spent months in the harsh Antarctic winter filming the hardships the penguins endure. It is a wonderful film.

We also went out to dinner at a nice local restaurant called the Marchside, and attended part of a free concert on teh Dennis Village Green. It was a fine day.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fresh garden veggies

Today we had a mid-day dinner with fresh green beans and summer squash from our garden. They were especially delicious because we had just picked the from the garden a few minutes before. We also had tuna casserole and fruit salad. It was delicious.

In the morning I went to a service at the Unity Church. It was very nice, and involved a lot of meditation. This afternoon is our regular Cape Sangha, so it will be a very spiritual day.

I have been tired all day, so I took a nap between 2 and 3.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Good Morning Routine

This morning I did what I should be doing every day. I woke up at 6 and meditated for 20 minutes. Then I did some exercises, had breakfast, went for a run and then took a shower. I only had time to run up to the park and back -- about two-and-a-half miles. When I follow this morning routine I always have a good day. Yesterday I was in a bad mood most of the day, and it was probably because I skipped my morning routine. The meditation and running make me much happier.

At 9 a.m. I met with Rob Conery, whose manuscript I edited. We had a very good talk. He sounded grateful for my suggestions. At my urging, he plans to add an element of conflict to his novel. He also paid me well for my work, which was a delight.

In the afternoon, Barbara and I worked on cleaning up the garage. We started breaking down all the old cardboard boxes we had in the garage, and there were plenty. Somehow we had about 15 in the main part of the garage, and another 15 stored up in the rafters. I don't know why we decided to save boxes from every piece of electronics we ever bought. We had the box from the TV we bought a year ago, and we also had the box form the one we bought before that, about 15 years ago. We got rid of all the boxes and the Styrofoam packing blocks too. That was great. I can finally find my workbench again.

After that I went with a run with my running buddy Alison. We ran to Corporation Beach, went into the water and than ran back again. At first she wasn't going to go in, but she finally gave in and jumped in too. She agreed it was lots of fun.

All in all, a great day!
(Running: seven-and-a-half miles)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Interfaith meeting

Today I attended a meeting of the Cape Cod Interfaith Council.
In the morning, I cleaned the rain gutters of our house, which was a nasty, hot and unpleasant job. But then I had a nice shower and got all cleaned up again. I rode my motorcycle into Hyannis for the monthly meeting of the Cape Cod Interfaith Council. We met the new rabbi at the Synagogue and worked on plans for a Sept. 11 interfaith prayer service. Things are going well. At dinner we are fresh green beans form our garden.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Back to Yoga

This morning I slept very late -- I must still be on Pacific time. Then I went to yoga class, had lunch and worked at my office for a while. In the afternoon I picked up my printer from the repair shop and then returned to my office to retrieve my cell phone. I was very tired after dinner. I must still have some jet lag from the trip


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Home again

It's nice to be home again. We took care of a lot of business, sorted mail, did laundry, went to the dump and things like that. In the evening I went to run with the regular Wednesday night running group at Barnstable High School. The trainer, Kevin, led us on some easy warm-up running around the school, and then we did speed work on teh track. Some of us are speedier than others. I was with the slow group. My friend Alison was in the fast group, and we both got a good workout. After the session, we went out to B2 Burritos Bistro for some fruit smoothies. They tasted great.

(Running: six miles)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Flying back home

This was a long day. We caught the 8 o'clock shuttle to the airport, and we got on a 10 o'clock flight to Minneapolis. Flying across South Dakota and western Minnesota, I was struck by the regular rectangles of the farms below. We had a meal in the Minneapolis airport and then caught a 6 p.m. flight that arrived in Providence at about 11 p.m. It would have been only 8 p.m. Pacific time, but the clocks got ahead of us flying east. It was 1 a.m. Eastern time by the time we got home again on Cape Cod, and we were exhausted.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pacific Coast Highway

Today was the day after the wedding. We slept a little late because we were all tired from the big party at the reception. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law caught flights back home in the morning. Then my wife and her mother and I picked up sandwiches at the deli behind the motel and took off on a driving adventure. We drove over to the coast and headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway. At first it was very foggy, and we could hardly see anything, but then the fog lifted. The scenery was spectacular. Sometimes the bluffs overlooking ocean are 300 feet high, and other times the highway dips down to sea level. By lunchtime we were at Santa Cruz, and I followed a sign to Natural Bridges State Park, where we found a beautiful picnic grove under a grove of eucalyptus trees overlooking the beach After lunch I took a short jog on the beach and looked at the natural bridge on the shore, which had lots of pelicans on it. Then, on the drive back up the coast, we stopped at a pick-your-own strawberry farm. The strawberries were the most delicious I have ever tasted. They are nothing like the tasteless strawberries we find in supermarkets. In the evening, we visited the home of Ed (the father of the bride), and had a lovely dinner of leftover wedding reception food. We got back to the motel about 11, much too late. We were all very tired but very happy.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Family wedding

Today was the day of the big wedding. That is why we flew from Cape Cod to San Francisco. And at the reception the whole family was up and dancing to the song, "We are a family." That's what it is all about. My wife's mother got to see all four of her children -- all over 50 -- together for the first time in about 10 years. That was nice.

It was her oldest son, Ed, whose daughter Nicole got married. Nicole looked beautiful, as did her twin sisters Natalie and Emily, who were the bridesmaids. The three girls are all very close, and they were radiant today. At the reception, they danced and danced and danced.

When you ask people what is important in life, most people say it is family, and we certainly felt that today. Even though this is a family I entered through marriage, I feel like I am a part of it, and I was thrilled to be a part of this family celebration today.

In the morning before the wedding I took another four-mile run along the Bay trail along the San Francisco Bay. After breakfast we took a drive out to Half Moon Bay on the Pacific Coast. It was very pretty.

(Running: four miles)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

San Francisco

A fantastic day in California!

In the morning, we drove up to Crissy Field, a park along the waterfront of San Francisco, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a running path there that was described in Runners World magazine, as one of the best urban running trails in the world. It lived up to that reputation completely. The path is smooth, even gravel and about 10 feet wide. It ollows the shoreline for miles and miles. To the north is nothing but beach, salt marsh and the San Francisco Bay. To the south is parkland, playing fields, gardens, and the whole city of San Francisco. While my family waited, I ran about two miles along the waterfront heading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I stopped just before the bridge and returned with the skyline of the whole city of San Francisco before me. The weather was mild, sunny and breezy, and it was a perfect day for running. the beautiful San Francisco Bay fog shrowded the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the sun kept peeking through the clouds. There were hundreds of other runners enjoying it just as much as me. Everyone was smiling -- which isn't always the case among runners. I felt like I played tennis at Winbledon or went skiing at Vail. It was a beautiful experience to run at such a beautiful place for runners. Here is a photo of me after the run.

Then we drove a few blocks to Ghiradelli Square, a collection of shops and restaurants built in an old Ghiradelli chocolate factory building. There are still a couple Ghiradelli chocolate shops there, so we naturally bought chocolate. We also had lunch at a diner there.

After lunch we drove across the bridge to Marin County, and went to Muir Woods. It is a national monument that preserves a spectacular valley containing an old-growth stand of coastal redwood trees. They are such magnificent creatures. Some are 300 feet tall and 900 years old. They are the tallest living creatures on earth. A ranger told us that the whole valley was almost forested and flooded, but a Mr. Knight, along with John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, preserved them for posterity. I felt honored to be in the company of such majestic living beings. They are so tall it is hard to comprehend just how big they are.

In the evening, we joined more relatives and members of the wedding party for a big dinner for 14 at an Italian restaurant called Il Tornaio. It was delicious. It was a wonderful day.

(Running: four miles)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bay Path

This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. and went for a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful five-mile run along the shore of San Franciso Bay in Burlingame. The city has preserved a nice strip of park along the shore. Later in the morning, we went to the airport and met Barbara's sister Jill, who flew in from Toronto. A little later we met her brother Steve, who flew in form Massachusetts. Finally my mother-in-law was reunited with all four of her children for the first time in about 15 years. We picked up some sandwiches at a deli in Millbrae and went to her brother Ed's house for lunch. It is Ed's daughter Nicole who is getting married Sunday.

running: five miles

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cape Cod to San Francisco in 15 hours

Today was a cross-country travel day. I don’t mean running through the countryside, I mean flying form the East Coast to the West Coast. We got up at 6, had breakfast and finished last-minute preparations. We left at 8:15 and drove to the airport in Providence, R.I., which took until about 10 a.m. We checked four bags and went through security and got aboard out first flight at 11:30. We landed in Chicago at 1:15, although my watch was still on Eastern Time so it seemed like 2:15 to me. We had arranged for a wheelchair for Mom. She is able to walk, but not the long distances involved in going from one terminal in Chicago to another. So a very nice woman wheeled her to approximately the right area and left us off in a room called “Special Services.” It is reserved for people needing special assistance. We hung out there for a while and had lunch frMcDonald'slds and a cheesecake stand. We had a couple hours to kill, so we just watched people waiting for the next flight, from Chicago to San Francisco.

Finally we took off from Chicago about 5:30, stopped in Las Vegas, and continued on to San Francisco. The scenery of the desert in Nevada was amazing. It looked like we were landing on the Moon. And it was so surprising to see the city of Las Vegas appear so suddenly out of the arid landscape. When we got to San Francisco about 9:30, we had been traveling for more than 15 hours. Fortunately the return trip will have better connections. Barbara’s brother Ed, and his family met us at the airport and (after a delay of about an hour locating our bags – which had come on an earlier flight – we got to our hotel. Whew!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Why are vacations so stressful?

We are leaving tomorrow morning for a vacation in San Francisco. The main purpose is to take my mother-in-law out to see the wedding of one of her granddaughters. As it turns out, all four of her children will be together there, so it will be a nice family reunion. I love San Francisco, so I am looking forward to it. Runners World said it is the best running city in the nation. I am planning to try a beautiful run from the Prisidio to Golden Gate Bridge.

But the preparation is stressful. Getting ready, packing, getting the house ready and all that stuff is a nightmare. I am exhausted. We have people housesitting and taking care of our pets -- one cat and one box turtle -- and we have to make all those preparations. I guess I should let go of all the feelings of stress and concentrate instead on how fortunate we are to be able to take a cross-country trip and see so many of my wife's relatives.

I don't know if I will be able to keep up this blog during the trip. I am taking my lapop, but I am not sure if there will be a connection at the hotel.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Back to yoga

My muscles are sore this morning from running and painting. I plan to rest today and go to yoga class. I hope that helps. I was supposed to have lunch with Marcia West, the director of Pastoral Care at Cape Cod Hospital, where I volunteer as a Buddhist chaplain. But Marcia had to cancel because she has family visiting. We will try to reschedule after I return from our San Francisco trip.

I found another runner's blog to which I can relate today; it is at http://mahinui.blogspot.com/ .

Yoga was refreshing and a little challenging. After that I worked at my college office and had a meeting with a dean. Later I picked up some things for a dinner with friends tonight. For dessert I bought a key lime pie from Montillio's Bakery. We had one last week, and it was delicious. I didn't know you could get an authentic key lime pie so far from the Keys, but this one was fantastic.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Interdependence Day!

My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, founded the Order of Interbeing, and he likes to remind us that we all "inter-are." ON Independence Day, I like to remember that we are all dependent on each other. As His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama says, I cannot be happy if the person next to me is unhappy. And she cannot be happy is the person next to her is unhappy. So it continues all around the globe. I hope the Internet will be the technology that helps the people of the world understand how interdependent we are.

Today was a wonderful day for me. In the morning I mowed the lawn and replaced our mailbox. (A woman in a big gold Cadillac ran into it while I was watching her on Friday. She bought us a new one, and I put it up today.) Barbara and I worked for seven hours painting the rest of the trim on our house, and now we are all done! Yippee! I celebrated by running to the beach again. This time it was definitely warm enough to jump in the water, which I did with enthusiasm. My legs are sore now, partly form running five days in a row, and partly from standing on ladders painting for three days in a row. In the evening I took Barbara and her mother to a concert on our village green. They had an old-fashioned big band playing old standards from the 1930s and 40s. After they played the Bing Crosby song, "Pennies From Heaven," the bandleader said, "Now we're going to slow things down a little bit." I laughed so hard i could hardly catch my breath. After the concert we went out to the local Italian restaurant, Village Pizza. Barbara and I were stuffed, but Mom asked if we could stop for ice cream on the way home. How could I deny an 87-year-old woman her request?

Running: 5 miles (with a swim in the middle)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Beautiful Day

Sunday dawned sunny, mild and beautiful. I couldn't decide whether to go to church or join my friends who run on Sunday morning at the same hour. Well, it turned out my friends were run running this morning. I had a long slow breakfast and read the paper until it was too late to make the 10 a.m. service at the Unity Church, so I ended up skipping both. It's after 10 now, and I hope to accomplish a lot today: more painting, some gardening, mowing the lawn, taking care of business and fixing our mailbox. I wonder how much of this I will actually get to
Stay tuned.
It is 8 p.m. now, and I did pretty well. I did some gardening, which was very rewarding. I have a small vegetable garden, about 10-by 20. It is doing well. The tomatoes, potatoes and squash all have flowers on them. I harvested some spinach, although it will probably be bitter, since the weather has been so warm. I also sawed off a few branches that were too close to the house. Finally we got to painting the trim again, and we worked for about three hours, getting most of the side of the house done. At 3:30 I cleaned up and went to the Buddhist meditation group I lead -- the Cape Sangha. There were only four of us today, but it was a nice, calming experience. After I returned home, I ran to the beach again. This time I did not go into the water because it was too chilly. It was still a nice run of about five miles. That's four days in a row I think.

(Running: 5 miles)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

What would Ben Franklin say?

I sent the following to the Cape Cod Times as a letter to the editor:

I thought it was interesting that two Cape Cod Times columnists choose independently to use a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin on the same day, Saturday, July 1.
On Page A15 columnist Lawrence Brown quoted Franklin as saying, “You have a republic – if you can keep it.” And on a column that begins on page C1 columnist Debbie Forman quotes Franklin as saying, “A democracy, if you can keep it.”

According to “Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations,” and several other sources, Franklin’s remark was first recorded by Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention. He wrote, “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” The rules of punctuation and capitalization have changed since McHenry wrote the passage in 1787.

What has not changed is that Franklin was right, and Brown and Forman are right. Our government – which can be described as a republic and as a democracy – requires vigilance and the active participation of its citizens. The free and independent mass media are an important part of this process. We must all keep informed in order to prevent the government from usurping the power that great leaders like Benjamin Franklin entrusted to the public.

Getting something accomplished

It is a beautiful day on Cape Cod. My wife Barbara and I finally got out to paint the trim on our house. We are using solid-color stain in a Boston brown color. The rest of the house is natural weathered cedar shingles, like most houses on Cape Cod. It is a big two-story gambrel house, so there is a lot of trim. We did about one-third of the house a couple of years ago, and it's about time we finished. She is doing the low areas, and I am climbing the ladder to get the high areas. If there were to be any theme to this blog, it would probably be my struggle to accomplish the things I think I should. At least today I am accomplishing a task that has been on my list for a couple of years.

After painting all day I was tired, but I still wanted to stretch my legs. So I put on my shorts and ran two-and-a-half miles to Corporation Beach, where I took off my shoes and shirt and waded into the water. Cape Cod Bay was cold but refreshing. After splaching in the water for a few minutes I got out and sat on the seawall for a while, brushing off my feet. Then I put my shoes and shirt back on and ran back home again. That felt wonderful. After dinner I took my wife and her mother out for ice cream cones at the Ice Cream Smuggler. Then we drove back to Corporation Beach and watched some fireworks. The biggest display was in Orleans, about 15 miles away, but there were lots of unofficial displays much closer, including some from right in the parking lot. It was fun, and there wasn't the terrible traffic jam that always follows going to see the official displays close-up.

(Running: five miles with a swim in the middle)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rainy First of July

We had been hoping to paint the trim on our house today, but it rained hard all morning, so that was out. I delivered to Hyannis a manuscript that I edited last week and stopped my college office to update my "to do list." In the afternoon I went for a nice easy run with Alison. We did the Playhouse Loop. It's about four miles and goes through the grounds of the Cape Playhouse. My sore ankle seems to have completely recovered. I guess it wasn't sprained after all. That's a big relief.
(Running: three miles)