Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rules To Dye For

I think that it is safe to say that we survived graduation, my dad's visit, and the graduation party. We can now get down to the business of summer vacation and, for Brooke, living as an adult. She is not yet 18 but high school graduation does bring with it the expectation that one will act a little older and a little more responsibly.

Today Brooke took her first big step as one who is free of school rules. She survived twelve years of private school dress code - plaid skirts and white blouses were really not her thing. She did OK with the public school rules, and she even wore :"proper" shoes for graduation. All and all, I consider these things marks of success. But, it is all over now.

I promised a picture of "my angel" as she appeared in The Laramie Project. The angels appeared in the scene where Fred Phelps,the conservative preacher, is protesting at Matthew Shephard's funeral. The angels encircle him as a peaceful protest to his message.

A picture perfect angel, don't you think? Oh come on, humor me just this once! Notice the long cherubic curls.

Well, the long curls are gone. After hating the haircut that she had when she was two because "it was so short it made me look like a boy" (She was bald until that point so any haircut was an accomplishment.), Brooke chose to get her hair cut really short.

This is what whacked off naturally curly hair looks like. I think it is a pretty good look for a college freshman. When she rolls out of bed at 7:55 for an 8:00 class, the fact that her hair always looks like she just rose from a three day nap will not give away the fact that she has only been conscious for five minutes. Really, I do think it is cute.

Then there is the front. This is the part that harkens back to having followed the rules long enough.

No, the various colors are not the result of bad lighting for this picture. They were carefully chosen - the miracle of modern hair dye! School rules said that a child's hair must remain a natural color. It did not have to be their natural color, just a natural color. Unless clown wigs are considered natural, this definitely would not have passed the test! But, school is over and hey, it is just hair anyway. In six weeks the color will have faded and it will be time to try something different. It is summertime, time to have a little fun and show a little whimsy - the whimsy is a big step for Brooke. Though she is way out there on the inside, this side of her rarely makes it to the outside.

So, Brooke's first major decision as an adult is to dye her hair. This is the future of our country. Are you scared? This is the brightest of the brightest. Are you scared now? As salutatorian, she was interviewed by the newspaper. They asked her what advice for success she would share with upcoming high school students. She said, do your homework, don't do drugs, and learn to drink coffee. Not such bad advice. Do you feel a little better about the future?

This is the face of a happy kid, one from whom I expect great things. She plans to major in neuroscience. I have to believe that one who is willing to think outside the box personally will do the same professionally. It is those that are willing to take such risks that accomplish greatness in terms of research. Only time will tell . . .

The only person who does not like it is Erin. She seems to be embarrassed by her rainbow-headed sister. I keep telling Erin that Brooke will be gone in a few months. She will not be a source of embarrassment for much longer. Come September, someone else will have to fret over her hair - and the tattoo that Brooke is threatening to get when she turns eighteen

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not A Party Animal

I have finally managed to roll to the computer after eating way too much great food last night. We had a graduation party for Brooke although she is not the party type and probably would have rather had a quiet night with a season of CSI or Bones. I felt like I should do something for her and an opportunity to gather friends should not be passed over.

The guest list was a mix of my friends, and a few each of Brooke's and Erin's. To clarify how not a social butterfly Brooke is, as one of the girls was leaving, one who Brooke has played soccer with since first grade, she said, "I am glad that I finally got to see your house." Sad, but true.

We had fajitas for dinner. If any of you are ever looking for a great meal for a large group of people with dietary likes, dislikes and restrictions that run the gamut and then some, I recommend fajitas.
VEGANS - tortillas filled with grilled veggies
VEGETARIANS - add a little cheese and sour cream to the above
CARNIVORES - skip the veggies, just meat please
WELL ROUNDED EATERS - pile it all on
Add some tasty salsa, homemade tortilla chips, pinto beans, fruit and a cooler full of sangria (adults only) and you have the perfect party meal. It is even better if you have people who love you enough to bring the hot off the skillet tortillas.

Brooke really did not like being the guest of honor. Throughout this whole graduation process, she has not wanted to have a big deal made over her. She tried to get out of going to the senior awards assembly and the district wide recognition program. She was not successful. It looks bad when the salutatorian is a no show. Unfortunately she was not safe in her own home either. Lucky for her, the only chore she had to do as the honoree was to open her gifts - not a bad job.

She was most appreciative of the generosity that was shown her. Interestingly though, she did not expect gifts. I know kids who ordered a bunch of graduation announcements just they could send them all out hoping to rake in the gifts that each should inspire. Brooke did not send out her announcements. The main reason for this was because her name was misspelled on the calling cards that were to be included. It looks bad when the top of the class can't even spell their own name correctly! I offered to have them reprinted; she said she did not care. She did not think that she was owed gifts. For this, I am proud of her. Nonetheless, she did get a bunch of cool stuff -
  • Batman Lego from her sister. Every college freshman needs some Lego to remind them of those early years. I hope she leaves some of those little pieces on her dorm room floor to keep out unwanted guests.
  • A fleece blanket in University of Chicago colors - someone else knows that she is going to freeze her butt off next year even if she has not taken delivery on that little fact yet.
  • A flash drive so that she can take all the pictures, in a compact and concise format, of her beloved family with her to school, and proudly share them with all of her friends
  • A nice pen so that she can hand write a letter to me each evening
  • A Harley Davidson T-Shirt from the Temple, Texas shop, which she can wear as a sign of how proud she is of her Texas roots.
  • The Book of Useless Knowledge so she can look up all those things that I have told her over the past 17 years and see if it all really is useless information.
  • Cash that she can put in her savings account and save so that she can care for me in my old age.

Yep! A nice selection of stuff.

In all seriousness, it was a fun evening. Brooke was not overflowing with enthusiasm or social grace, but I do think that she appreciated all that was done for her. She, like me, has a hard time being in the spotlight. Rest easy, Brooke; it will not be your turn again for a while!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It Really Does Take A Village

"It takes a village to raise a child" is thought to be am Africam proverb. Most of us are more familiar with it as the title of Hillary Clinton's book. I do believe that it takes a village to raise a child, but I believe it also takes a village to raise an adult, a family, a community, a nation, a world. Nobody can walk the path of life alone. By nature, we are communal beings. I will be the first to admit that I like to think that I can do it on my own, but truthfully, I know I can't.

Today's New Testament reading is from 1 Corinthians. It reads as follows:

1 Corinthians 12:4-13
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

The simplest reading of this passage assures us that we all have gifts and that in the eyes of God, all these gifts are equal because they are all given by the same God. To me, this is the "warm and fuzzy" reading. I think that there is a deeper, and perhaps more demanding, interpretation of this passage.

Rather than see it as saying that our personal gifts are what is valuable, the more important message is that the gifts of all those around us are just as valuable as ours, and are just as necessary for us all to live happily Why make this distinction? As much as we hate to hear it, human beings are self-centered. We like to think that we are the best at whatever we need to be the best at at any given time. It takes humility to admit that someone else may have the needed gift, not me..

We concluded the run of The Laramie Project today. For many reasons, working on this show was an awesome experience. As the cast and crew gathered for our final circle together before the performance this afternoon, much was said about the community that grew up amongst us all. The cast was gracious to the crew, acknowledging that though we were not the ones on stage, the gifts that we brought to the overall production were as necessary as those of the actors. The show would not have happened without lights, sound, costumes, props, and actors. Any error or oversight by anybody would affect the entire group. I guess that this is a manifestation of the butterfly effect. In addition to a big dose of humility, trust is also an integral factor within any "village." We must admit that others have valuable gifts and that we trust them to share so that all shall benefit. This is easy to say and hard to do.

A little closer to home, while I was at the theatre this afternoon for the show and then strike, BK was at my house preparing for the graduation party that we are having for Brooke tomorrow. She did all of the food prep that could be done in advance. Mike made a last minute run to the grocery store. Except for buying regular tofu instead of silken, he did his part as well. John fixed the sticking flap in the toilet and my dad played frisbee with the dogs. We were all doing what we needed to be doing at the time.

Sometimes it is the little things and at other times it is the big things in life that make all the difference. Sometimes we are called upon to share our gifts and sometimes it is our friend or a stranger who is called. And sometimes, the greatest gift that we can give is that of humility and trust. Be aware of the call that you are being given: offer what you are called to give not what you want to give. More often than not, there is a difference.

Our Families, communities, nations, and the world would be a much happier place if we could see the value of every human being and respect one another.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Graduation Day

I barely remember my own high school graduation. I barely remember high school - period. This is partially because it was a long time ago and, frankly, not much memorable happened. I think that the high school experience that kids have now is much different than that of nearly 30 years ago. I know, that sounds ridiculous. Of course it is different. Kids, however, are really not that different. Society is different. Today's kids still have friends, still want their own cars (except for mine who has no desire at all to drive), they still like to have fun, and they still have dreams. Graduation is about those dreams.

As I looked down into the sea of red caps and gowns tonight, I thought about all those graduating for whom this very moment was their biggest dream come true. For some it was beating the impossible that allowed them to reach this moment. For some, they are the first in their family to graduate from high school. And for others, this is only the beginning. Wherever each of these graduates found themselves, this night was about them. Though their were nearly 500 seniors in this class, when their name was called and they received that diploma, they were the only one that mattered. It was their brief moment.

In this crowd, every parent, grandparent, sibling and friend could find the one person that they came to see participate in this milestone.
Brooke graduated as salutatorian. However, no speech was required because her class had co-valedictorians. She only had to read the names of the honored teachers. She is not afraid to speak in public, but sharing her thoughts is a different story. No speech was a dream come true for her. Because the whole thing was rather low stress, today, before the 5 pm commencement exercises was rather low key at our house.


9:00 am Rise slowly
10:00 Do New York Times Crossword puzzle with grandfather
10:30 Read cookbooks
11:30 Play Marvel Ultimate Alliance
1:30 Watch a movie with a little senseless violence
2:15 Begin to think about getting dressed
2:30 Think about getting dressed
2:45 Begin to get dressed
3:30 Panic because she can not find her National Honor Society stole (because she left it in the car instead of bringing it in and putting it with the rest of her regalia)
3:35 Leave the house
4:00 Graduates meet to line up (hoping they remember who was in front of them and who was behind them at rehearsal and that neither of these people failed an exam yesterday)
5:00 Graduation
6:15 We are out of there
6:30 Time for a little food at our favorite local diner
7:30 Change clothes and get to the theatre just in time for the curtain. (fortunately neither of us has any responsibilities before the end of act I)
10:00 Leave the theatre for a large cup of Jupiter Nectar ( a drink from a local coffee shop that consists of more than the legal limit of both sugar and caffeine. Brooke needed this to keep her awake all night at Grad Night)
11:30 Leave school for Grad Night, an all-night celebration at Dave and Buster's. This is a good deal. The kids are bused on school buses, lest they not forget too quickly, and bused back to school at 6am. They can't leave and they are well supervised. Parents don't have to worry about the wrong kind of graduation party.

All and all, this was a pretty good day. Even the part about Brooke and her shoes. There was much concern amongst the faculty about what Brooke would wear for graduation, especially on her feet. For four years she has worn nothing but black, jeans, and tennis shoes. Jeans and tennis shoes were not permitted at graduation. I convinced her yesterday to go shopping for something to wear. She agreed, but only if it could be accomplished in a half hour or less. We were successful. Then the question of shoes. She did not want to shop for foot coverings. "I'll just wear some of Erin's shoes." To which I reminded her that Erin has a wide foot and she wears a AA. Brooke didn't care. She said that she would not have the shoes on that long.

Notice the shoes in this picture.

Even more shocking is the dress. She looks great in dresses but she does not feel great in them so I don't force them very often. She seemed pretty happy with this one. She still, however, does not like pictures so her sister had to drag her in front of the camera.
They clean up pretty nice, huh?

As soon as she could after graduation, Brooke shed the shoes. Black Adidas were a fine second choice with the dress. Brooke was then back to herself when she dressed for the show. Fortunately, her character dresses just like she does (no costuming required here).

Brooke as a reporter in the Laramie Project. (I'll save the picture of her as an angel for later!)

More dreams begin today. Even though I am way past high school, I still dream with that child-like naivete sometimes. I hope I never lose that.

Dream on everyone!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Missing Ingredient

Today was the last day of school (or as I said to the child who is graduating, the last day of free education.) I am not one of those parents who dreads summer vacation. I love having my kids at home; and for some strange reason, they like to be at home. Brooke does not start school in Chicago until the middle of September and the Texas public schools have changed their calendar so Erin will not start until the end of August, maybe even after labor day. I have not looked carefully at next year's calendar yet. So, we have nearly four months at home together. This is time that I will treasure since it could be Brooke's last long stretch of time at home - unless she is unemployable after she graduates from college.

Though graduation exercises are not until tomorrow, the girls are done with school. They decided, separate from one another, that cooking was a great way to celebrate. This is not surprising where Brooke is concerned, but Erin is culinary challenged. As her sister says, "When you can burn Bagel Bites in the microwave, you definitely should give up kitchen activities!" Nonetheless, Erin, who is not one to give up easily, decided to make brownies - from scratch, not from a box. She tried this the other night with the recipe I use all the time, from the Mousewood Cooking at Home cookbook, but she was less than successful. Something was quite strange with those brownies. The sad part was that I could not figure out where she went wrong. We went over the ingredient list - Are you sure you put in 2 eggs, etc. I asked about the mixing process - Did you put the eggs in while the chocolate mixture was still boiling? Assuming that she really remembered everything that she did, or did not do, nothing should have caused her baking disaster.

So tonight, while Brooke and I were at the theatre, Erin tried again, with a different recipe and her daddy as a coach. (I am glad I was not at home!) When I arrived home, I was met by the aroma of hot brownies. They smelled wonderful and they looked better than the last batch. After a few more minutes of cooling, I was offered one. Excellent! I congratulated her on a successful batch of scratch brownies, and then I heard the true story of how the brownies were made. Many questions were asked; What is shortening? Do I have to keep all of the measuring spoons attached? It seems stupid to wash them all when I only used one. Can I add the flour after I have already put the batter in the greased pan?

Leaving out the flour was her biggest mistake but she noticed it before the point of no return. We all enjoyed our brownies (except Brooke, the vegan). I am glad that Erin has overcome her title of Loser in the Kitchen.

On the way home from the show, Brooke announced that she was going to make peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies when we got home. I said that that sounded like a good idea to me since she owed me cookies to replace the ones that the dog ate on Mother's Day. Once it had been established that Erin did not use all of the sugar, Brooke began mixing her batter. All was good until the last ingredient - the chocolate chips. It is not that we did not have any chocolate chips, it was that we did not have any vegan chocolate chips. Leaving the chips out causes a real problem with peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies. We checked the pantry for any other kind of chip (vegan) that might be lurking. No luck. You would be surprised how many different types of chips contain milk products. I found a bag of peanut butter chips but they contained milk or some remnant of milk in a former life. Ghiradelli chips are the best vegan chips we have found.

So, here she stood with the six quart mixer bowl full of cookie dough. The options are:
  • Screw the cookies. Enjoy the cookie dough.
  • Wake the daddy figure up at almost midnight and ask him to go to the grocery store for the chips. (not recommended)
  • Put the dough in the refrigerator and send the daddy figure to the store, for the right chips, in the morning.

What a disappointment that Brooke did not get the cookies that she wanted as a celebration. She decided that sending her dad to the grocery store in the morning was the best answer to the whole situation.

All of this late night cooking is the beginning of Brooke establishing her summer routine, a routine that centers around sleeping all day long and taking over the kitchen at night. The only problem with this is, I hate to go to bed at night with the kitchen clean, and wake up in the morning with the proof that the elves have been cooking, cooking, cooking, in my kitchen all night long! If it weren't for the mess left behind, my elves would be almost perfect. Do the Keebler elves leave messes behind for you - anyone)

Life over the summer will probably be a mix of the super dense, underdone brownies with the peculiar texture and the vegan cookies that will not have chocolate chips until tomorrow. The lessons here: If at first you don't succeed, keep on trying - especially if the outcome involves chocolate. And patience is a virtue. Eating the incomplete, uncooked dough is simply fabulous. All in all, I expect great things for this long summer vacation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Picture Is Worth A Lot of Words.

I was honored tonight to have been asked to take the action shots of the Laramie Project. What a responsibility it is to take the only photographs of this run of the show. I took nearly 250 pictures, Most of them appear to be good pictures. I will have to delete some because of closed eyes and open mouths. But all and all, there are more good pictures than there deserve to be. I am not complaining.

I have included here a few shots - not a representative sampling and not in chronological order. Many of the captions that I have included are the actual lines from the script at the point the picture was taken. Those of you who live in Denton need to come see the show. It is awesome!


"In the first week, vigils were held across the country."

"Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe you are supposed to separate the precious from the vile? . . . .two times for every verse that it talks about God's love, it talks about God's hate."

More hatred.

"So our idea is to dress up like angels and encircle Fred Phelps.

From the homecoming parade which turned into a rally in support of Matthew, his family, and hate crime legislation.

"You are responsible for this."

Matthew did not die alone. "There were his lifelong friends with him. You're probably wondering who these friends are. First, he had the beautiful night sky and the same stars and moon that we used to see through a telescope."

Monday, May 21, 2007


When Brooke was two or so, she was sitting in the middle of the floor staring into space. I asked her what she was doing and she responded, "I am procrastinating." It was hilarious at the time because she did indeed know what the word meant. I am not sure what she was avoiding in her moment of procrastination, but I have no doubt that if she said she was procrastinating, that is exactly what she was doing.

Fifteen years later, she still procrastinates, the only difference is that she is not as willing to admit to it now. I ask myself if her fondness for procrastination is a product of nature or nurture. Is there an "I'll do it later" gene? Or, is it my fault. Did I raise her to be this way? I have to step back and consider for myself how much I procrastinate.

I am not a procrastinator when it comes to big projects. I will not let something that is so big pull me under at the end. I usually have a plan and most often, I stick to it. It is in trivial little things that I find myself saying that I will do it tomorrow. Just like the little things that compounded yesterday to make for a poor day, so can all the little things that we put off compound and make us feel overwhelmed. Most of the tasks that I put off can be accomplished in only a few minutes. Here is a list of my favorite things to do later.
  • change a light bulb
  • renew subscriptions
  • change the cat box
  • put the laundry away after it is folded
  • water the houseplants
  • sweep the kitchen
  • put the toilet paper actually on the roller
  • shelve books in the "right" place
  • throw away dated magazines and catalogs
  • make my bed
  • wash the "reds" load

I have no explanation as to why I just don't do these things when they first cross my mind. I am not sure what I am waiting for. It sure as heck isn't for someone else around here to do it for me! Even though I make the choice not to do something, I am perturbed the next day when it still is not done. The obvious solution here is as Nike says, "Just do it!"

So, as I begin the real summer break, I am going to make an attempt at breaking my habit of procrastinating when it comes to the small things. They say that it takes 28 days to form a new habit. Let's see if that is true. As a start, I accomplished almost every item on the above list today;however, there are still more bulbs to be changed and laundry to be put away.

As for Brooke, she has not picked up her Honor Society stole for graduation, which is Friday, or talked to the people in charge about what her role in the commencement exercises is. The big stuff waits. And she does not sweat the small stuff. It may be years before she even notices that the light bulb is burned out and years before she replaces it. I do believe their is an "I'll do it later" gene. I refuse to believe that this is all nurture.

I'll let you know how this all works out . . .later.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

True Colors

Today has been one of those days where nothing seems to have gone right. Nothing too serious has gone wrong. It is just many small things, when taken all together, that make the day, well, bad. I don't like days like this. I feel guilty for being unhappy, yet to act any other way would be a lie. So for today, Eeyore I will be.

If you are wondering what is so bad (remember I said it is no one thing), here is the list:
  • Though I have had my choir vestments at home for nearly two weeks, I forgot to wash them. (Do I get credit for washing every single throw rug in the house because the puppy thinks they are grass?) This morning my vestments got an all expense paid trip to the dryer with the finest of dryer sheets to remove the wrinkles that resulted from being wadded up on the counter for said two weeks and to minimize the sweaty odor from our last concert where it was 350 degrees by actual count!
  • The ice maker on the fridge has ceased to work. This is tough for one who thinks that iced tea is gasoline for the human body.
  • I am exhausted.
  • The dogs ate the entire container of Parmesan cheese that was intended to put the gourmet touch on the sauteed vegetables and spaghetti that we had for dinner.
  • The float on the toilet is sticking making it necessary to remove the lid and manually adjust it each time you flush. (Without iced tea this is not as often as it could be!)
  • And the dogs, in a moment of true dogginess that involved chasing one another through the house (this is a definite disadvantage to a round house) knocked over and broke a two foot statue of St. Francis. Though still in its bubble wrap, it is is too many pieces even for super glue.

That's all.

While wandering around feeling sorry for myself, I spied a hank of yarn on the table in the playroom.Yesterday the Accidental Knitter and the Knitting Fairy came to visit. The Accidental Knitter brought newly dyed yarn for us to name - always a fun time. When this particular hank made its way out of the bag, everyone said that it looked like me, not that it really lookedi like me (that would be the undyed stuff) But that it looked like something I would like. I did and I handed over the cash immediately!But, there were three more hanks just like it that still needed a name. I was too busy drooling over the colors, imagining how they would look when they were knit into a fabulous sock, to engage in the naming process. When I finally came back to the party, they had named it Primarily Kris. A perfect name, don't you think? Here it is.

Awesome, huh? Don't you just love all the blues? I really should have just left it alone for now, but I had the urge to put it on the swift and wind it into a ball - making it one step closer to knitability. I really don't have anything in particular that I want to be knitting right now. I did finish a pair of socks the other night during the show. Never mind the fact that I started them before Christmas. To the swift I went. Though I should be doing laundry or the dinner dishes that are still on the counter, I am winding my yarn. We have another weekend of the show's run. I should be able to get a good start on a pair of socks!

Here is the wound ball.

This will be a great pair of sock made from a yarn with a cool name. I love my friends. Did I mention the cinnamon buns and the chocolate chip cookies that they also brought? True calories to go with my true colors! Life is looking up.

What Is Hate?

The Denton Community Theatre's production of The Laramie Project opened last night to a small but appreciative audience. Tonight was a larger audience-possibly because the performance was to be followed by a "talk back" on the question, "What would Denton do if a similar incident were to occur in our town?' The discussion was facilitated by a three-member panel consisting of a psychologist who specializes in post traumatic stress, a social worker who happens to be a gay man, and a faculty member form the university who works in the field of diversity. Further participants were members of the cast and crew and any members of the audience who wished to stay. The discussion began with a rather academic definition of what post traumatic stress is and how it impacts individuals and communities. Next was a description of what diversity really means and what equality, ideally, is. Then the floor was opened to comments from the audience.

The first person to speak gave a positive review of the night's performance and stated how proud he was to live in a community that was willing to engage in a production that highlights a controversial topic. This sentiment was echoed by one or two others. Then a gay man who is involved with a local GLTB group spoke. He talked about times where he had been victimized in Denton. Though I think that at the outset, people were sympathetic to his cause, he had a chip on his shoulder and wanted a forum for his complaints rather than to offer any insight into how he might play a role in making Denton a place where a crime such as the murder of Matthew Shepard would be most unlikely.

Then came the one person that we all knew would be there but hoped would not. It is not a particular named person, but the one who would be on "the other side". This man began by asking, "By what standard do you define hate?" Several people responded with such things as the laws of our land, personal morals, anything that promotes inequality through race, gender, disability, sexuality. He was not satisfied by any of the answers to his question. He concluded that there really is no standard by which hate can be defined. He then asked, "Is there such a thing as absolute truth?" Unsure how to respond, one of the panel members returned his question to him. He said, "Yes, I do believe there is an absolute truth." He would not, however, clarify what he believed that absolute truth to be. A fascinating circular discussion ensued.

I believe that he wanted someone to say that absolute truth was defined by the Bible. And if we believed this then, according the Bible (or his reading of the Bible) homosexuality is wrong. Thus, what happened to Matthew Shepard, and other victims of "hate crimes" was not hate. It was the way the world should be as defined by holy scripture. Fortunately, no one took his bait and he never had the opportunity to make his point.

He wanted to make a scene. The others taking part, obviously a liberal majority, took to heart the message of The Laramie Project. By not engaging in hurtful language or dialogue, we took the first step to erasing hate, to creating an atmosphere of hope.

Though I know I would not agree with much of what this man wanted to say, he did pose an interesting question. What is hate? How would you personally define it? How do we as a society define hate?

I believe that hate is a response to a feeling of intense fear, fear of someone or something that is so different from what we know that we are unable and unwilling to try to understand it. Human beings have at the top of their "To Do" list, self preservation. Fear rises up when we are threatened. The question becomes why are we so fearful? Why do we feel threatened by homosexuals, African Americans, Hispanics, disabled persons, old people, young people. The key to diminishing hate in our society is diminishing fear. How can this be accomplished?

I believe that dialogues such as the one that happened this evening is a start. Unfortunately, time was not on our side. The show ended about 10:15 and it was nearly 10:30 before we got started. And, it was 11:15 before we really got started with the meat of the discussion. It was late and we had to come to abrupt stop. We did, however, have a start.

St. Francis had an intense dislike for lepers. It was confronting his fear of lepers that led to his conversion and his lifelong relationship with God. He was able to overcome his fear of these person he saw as disgusting. We all have "lepers" in our lives. Like St. Francis, we must confront them and work to overcome our fear of them. This is the only way that we, as individuals and a society, can rid ourselves of hatred.

As you consider who the lepers are in your own life, remember too that you are probably a leper in the life of another. Consider both sides of the issue.

What is hate?

Friday, May 18, 2007

And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon

At our house, everyone likes to eat and a couple of us like to cook. (Erin has even taken up the mixing bowl and spoon!) The upshot of these two things, cooking and eating, is dishes, dirty ones and lots of them! You would think that dirty dishes would not be a problem given that almost every household has a beloved dishwasher. I mean the mechanical kind not the by-hand kind.

This morning I rose to the kitchen for what seems like the first time all week. With the end of school activities and late night rehearsals, I have not cooked much in the last week, maybe two, it could even be be three . . .So why was I greeted by a sink and counter full of dishes? I did make the girls return all of the cutlery and glasses from their rooms; that accounted for some. I think that Erin has been living on cereal the last week so there were many spoons and bowls. Brooke has had a few late night soirees in the kitchen while studying for AP exams. As I stare at this sculpture of stoneware and metal, I wonder what is wrong with the dishwasher. I discovered, thankfully, nothing! The question then becomes, what is wrong with these kids? I do not understand why it is so difficult to open the door and place the dishes IN the dishwasher rather than on the counter right above it. So close, yet so far.

I started thinking that it seems that every thing these days is marketed toward children and youth. Maybe dishwasher manufacturers need to follow this trend. What could they do to make this basic kitchen appliance more appealing to children?
  • Place a sign on it that says "Feed Me, I'm Yours" It's a learning tool. If you can't "feed" the dishwasher, how can you possibly take care of that puppy, kitten, goldfish, or boa constrictor that you want?
  • Create a Maytag Mania video game. Points are earned by seeing how many dishes you can get into your virtual dishwasher in the shortest amount of time.
  • Perhaps some entrepreneur could manufacture a kitchen cabinet that requires you to deposit a quarter to remove a bowl or plate and another quarter for cutlery, both to be refunded by the dishwasher once these items are placed in it for washing.
  • Maybe a talking dishwasher - "Open, Open, Open!"

There has to be a solution. Just saying, "Would you PLEASE put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher" seems to have little appeal or impact.

This musing came to me while I wash hand washing the dishes that were left after I had crammed the dishwasher as full as possible while still having some hope that everything would come out clean. Thankfully, there is something calming in washing dishes by hand. Perhaps it has to do with if my hands are occupied by warm water and suds, I can't wring their necks!

I am sure that I will continue to be amazed by the endless possibilities in the "installation kitchen art" that I find on the counter. I am also confident that the "cereal killers" will continue to do nothing to hide the evidence. So, i will try to not get angry and hope that washing by hand continues to keep me calm!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shelf Life

This is the first full week of summer vacation for me. I should be relaxing and figuring out how I will spend the endless summer days - how late can I sleep? What books will I read? What knitting projects will I work on? How late will I sleep? What new recipes can I try? Did I mention, How late can I sleep? Unfortunately, this is fantasy land. Instead, I am frantically trying to make my house sanitary before my dad comes for Brooke's graduation. And then there is all the stuff surrounding graduation - senior awards night (Brooke received several honors, one of which was "Outstanding Biology Student". I told her that I assumed that this meant that she now knows where babies come from and she won't be having one any time soon!) Tomorrow night, the school district is honoring the top five from the graduating class of each of the three high schools. It is nice to be recognized, but does it have to be right now! Oh, if you read a few weeks ago, I said that Brooke had worked very hard not to be valedictorian or salutatorian because she did not want to give a speech. Well, she is salutatorian. But, there are co-valedictorians so she will not have to speak. Lucky her - she gets to have her cake and it it too! (Yikes, a cliche. I hate it when I do that!)

On top of all this, Laramie Project opens this weekend. My head spinning is the only energy I have right now!

The Biggest sanitation effort that I have accomplished this week is in my office. The drafts of the most recent issue of Spirit of Knitting have made their way to the recycle bin, this semester's handouts, etc. have been filed, my desk has been cleared. Perhaps the most overwhelming part of all this was addressing the huge stacks of books piled on the floor, the likes of which could have buried Harley alive! They were stacked on the floor because the shelves were already double stacked. Clearing the floor meant a firsthand encounter with the shelf life..

SOme of the species would have to go. This was surprisingly easy. I started with the shelf labeled "brain candy". The murder mysteries that I have already read went first. One shelf gained. With BK's help, I made my way across several more shelves, filling nine boxes (all that I had) before quitting. Don't applaud yet; the job is not completely done. It is, however, done enough to get all the books off the floor with room to spare.

Most of the books that I parted with fall into the broad category of "spirituality". Many of them I bought in preparation for teaching specific Christian Ed classes. I now have taught the classes and have the notes. The books can go. Others I have read and will not reread. And then there were the "what were you thinking" books. With some of these books, I read the title (Hmmm), read the jacket description (and this is interesting because . . ), and tossed it in the "to go" box. I honestly wonder what I was thinking when I bought them. The funny thing is that of all the books that fell in this category, I don't even remember buying most of them. Scary thought. It does suggest that I should exercise a bit more restraint when I visit the bookstore.

Seriously, I did step back and ask myself why I was ready to part with so many books on spirituality. Many of them focused on building a better spiritual life through . . .(insert topic of choice here). What I came to realize is that over time I have amassed a rather extensive arsenal of tools for getting to know God. Now, I need to use them. One can have all the resources in the world but if they sit quietly in the closet of our mind, they are useless. I think that this is where I find myself right now.

Much of the newly acquired space on the shelves was filled with poetry books that have been residing, not so comfortably, on the floor. I love poetry. I think reading poetry is one of the most spiritual acts in which one, I, can engage. I don't want all the how-to books anymore; I want the real thing. And, I have it at my fingertips - literally. I can see and find whichever book I want because my office is now sanitary! All this has led me into a brief foray into summer fantasy land - I now know that I will read lots of poetry as soon as all the craziness has passed!

The books that have been weeded will be taken to the recycled bookstore. I don't even want to think about the amount of money I spent on them. I also don't want to think about how little of it I will get back from the bookstore. Oh well, anything is better than nothing in this case. Hopefully someone will enjoy and benefit from them. I have to trust that eventually they will end up in the right hands.

Onward I go in the cleaning process. I think that I probably should change the linens on the guest bed. The mounds of cat hair on the pillow shams are probably not terribly inviting. And, the muddy footprints from the dog who went swimming in the stock pond and then continued his water recreation in the bathtub should also probably disappear.

I have many chores to go before I sleep, but I will keep my promise to myself to read more poetry this summer!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day. I think that this is supposed to be one of those sentimental days - one where people buy the real Hallmark cards with the pretty pictures rather than Shoebox or Maxine. I must confess that I am not the sentimental type, especially about Mother's Day. Don't get me wrong; I love my kids and I love being a mother, but those things happen every day, not just on Mother's Day.

I don't have a very good track record for Mother's Day celebrations. Last year I spent the day in bed with a stomach virus. The year before that I spent in the ER with Mike because he had a kidney stone. This year was was not so bad - I cleaned my bathroom. Really cleaned - cleared everything off the counters and scrubbed, disinfected the shower, scrubbed the grout with a toothbrush, washed all the towels and rugs. I love being a mother! Actually, I love it when everything is clean. This is a real treat because it happens so infrequently. It was my gift to myself. Now that the tub is clean I could have a nice soak in the jacuzzi tub. Hmmm . . .

What did my kids give me for Mother's Day? Well, they too cleaned their rooms. Another great gift. I like it when I can walk into their rooms and not trip over a week's worth of dirty laundry or be overcome by the smell of said laundry. Also, all the glasses have been returned to the kitchen! I can have friends over and we do not each have to have a straw and share the same glass. It really is the simple things in life that make me happy. Well, and cookies.

Brooke made me vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They are REALLY good. Don't let the vegan part worry you. If I didn't tell you they were vegan, you would never know. I promise. I had a few while taking breaks from the scrubbing bubbles. I could probably eat a whole batch but I was good.

Tonight, after finishing folding the laundry, I came for one last cookie. There were only two left. OK, I know that I did not eat more than two or three. I asked Brooke where she had put the rest. We came to the conclusion that Adidas had helped himself. Two problems here: chocolate is bad for dogs and HE ATE MY COOKIES. I guess no one told him it was Mother's Day and he should be nice to me! He seems to have no ill effects from the chocolate.

And the other half of the parental unit? He is in South Africa. The lengths some people will go to to get out of buying a gift. I could just buy my own. Nah, shopping is too much trouble. I'll just buy Brooke some brown sugar so she can make me more cookies. Then I will eat them all before the dog gets to them. Fat and happy - that should work.

On this Mother's Day, I wish you all clean bathrooms and lots of cookies!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This Is Your Brain On Education

I came home from rehearsal last night to find Brooke in front of my computer just staring. It was nearly 11 pm on a Friday night so I was fairly sure it was not the beginning of an all-nighter to finish some paper that "she forgot about." I bravely asked, "What are you doing?" In a most enthusiastic voice she responded, "The University of Chicago Scav Hunt is going on. They have posted pictures and I am looking at this year's list!"

What is the UC Scav Hunt you ask. It is the reason that Brooke is going to Chicago. (During our visit to campus they said in passing that the vegan team had won the hunt a few years previous. That was enough to sell her.) Seriously, the Scav Hunt is probably the most famous UC tradition - it has its own Wikipedia entry. This is not your average scavenger hunt. It is a list of about 300 things compiled by a group of people with some brilliant but very sick minds!

This year's list includes things such as the worst hair on campus, the most disgusting ice cream flavor on earth, proof of your (or some team member's) royal heritage, a prosthetic limb that goes beyond the call of duty, and "Carhenge". These are the easy things. No discipline or hobby is left untouched. This is true for those of us who are fiber artists. We are charged with hyperbolic crocheting and spinning a yarn. To view a complete copy of this year's list and the rules look here. I was hard -pressed to figure out where to begin the search for some of these things.

Doesn't this sound like fun! This is truly a way to fully engage the mind. Yes, it is a sick, twisted, bizarre, mind, but they need exercise too! I would love to have had an educational experience where this was part of the curriculum. How much is learned from such an adventure? OK, some of it may even be useful information! I admire an institution of higher learning that takes pride in such antics rather than trying to hide them.

This time next year, Brooke will be taking part in her first Scav Hunt. What a thing to have to look forward to. As for me, I get to look forward to paying her tuition! Oh well, hopefully it will be a good investment. Where else can I find someone who can get me a tooth fairy carved from a tooth or a chainsaw carving of a chainsaw? The stock market has nothing on the return I will get from my investment in this kid's education!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reality Check

I am one of those people that has no trouble separating fact from fiction. I don't watch super hero movies and think that I could be one, I don't watch CSI and think "I could so do that and not get caught!", and I don't read romance novels and believe that crap really happens. I am a realist. I am.

Today this conviction of mine was shaken. I am the prop mistress for the Denton Community Theatre's production of The Laramie Project, the story of the violent murder of Matthew Shepherd, a gay student in Laramie, Wyoming - a horrific true story. Though I am overly busy right now, I really wanted to work on this show. I can't articulate why. I just did.

Props for this show are relatively uninvolved - some notebooks and tape recorders for the reporters, a few beer bottles, a telephone, some stage cigarettes. Most of these things are easy to come by. The only things that I had to make were signs that are carried during a scene where a conservative preacher stages a protest during the funeral of the murdered Matthew Shepherd. This scene illustrates just how much hate there is in this world. Remember, this is a true story. The scenes are conversations and events that actually happened and the sentiments on the protest signs were carried in a public display. They read, "DEATH TO GAYS", "AIDS CURES FAGS", "MATTHEW IS IN HELL", "GOD HATES GAYS". I had to make these signs - constantly reminding myself that they are only props.

I guess the notion of creating something, whether it be drawing a picture, writing a poem, or making a prop, is sacred to me. I honestly believe that a spark of the divine is emitted from us each time we create something. I was having a hard time reconciling this belief while making these signs.

I wrote out each phrase so that I could count the number of each alphabet letter that I needed. I must confess that I used purchased stick-on letters so at least I did not have to write and color these words. That was little consolation. In to Michael's I go clutching my list of phrases and the accompanying tally of needed letters. All I could think of was, 'What if someone sees what I have written on this page!" I bought my 6" letters, in black, red and white, and some red, black, yellow, and blue foam core board and headed back to the theatre. I had put this chore of as long as I could. It was now time to make the signs. The show opens next week and the actors would love to have all of their props!

Erin and our favorite queen, Gerald, helped me make the signs. The fact that a gay friend was helping me made this whole experience even weirder. How did he feel knowing that these sentiments were being fired at him? We carefully placed the letters on each board. On the sign that said MATTHEW IS IN HELL, we painted the fires of hell all around the word hell. It is awful looking.

I don't understand how people can live with so much hate inside them. I understand dislike, fear, even disapproval, but not hate. I will probably never be able to comprehend such a deep seeded disdain for another human being. I guess an attempt at fostering understanding is the purpose of the show. It asks us all to look at how we feel about and treat our fellow man. Because we are all human. we all have certain people "for whom we do not have a fondness." It may not be gays and lesbians, but face it, there is somebody. As the song in Avenue Q says, "everyone is a little bit racist." The key here may be in the words "a little bit." A little bit I don't think translates to hate. And, it sure doesn't mean that you murder someone and leave them to die tied to a fence, alone.

The fact that I have had such a visceral reaction to making these props probably mean that the members of the Techtonic Theatre Group were successful in their mission for creating this show. They have made me, and hopefully everyone who has seen and will see The Laramie Project, stare in to the eyes of hate. It is heart wrenching experience.

The redemption in all of this is that I have one last prop to make - a three foot parade banner that is to read, ERASE HATE. Ah, I am grateful that there are two sides to everything. And in this case, both sides are visible. So, tomorrow I will make this banner. And tomorrow, the protest signs will be used on stage for the first time. I am not sure how I will feel the first (or the second, or the third . . . .time) I see them under the lights. I guess that I will live in the hope that because physically the ERASE HATE banner is bigger than the hate posters, so too will its message be bigger.

Oh to live in a world where hate, all hate, was erased. Just think how big that metaphoric pink pearl eraser would have to be! We can all make a start with the little eraser at the end of our Ticonderogas. Each small erasure will help to remove unwanted marks on our world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Make A Wish

This picture was taken by Erin this afternoon - using my camera. It is always a pleasant surprise to sit down at my computer and see what pictures she has left for me. I think we have a pretty good deal - I share my camera and she shares her eye on the world.
May all of today's wishes come true for you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Rose

I can see desire in your eyes-
For a white rose
With its unfurled petals
Gently reaching for you.

This flower's fragrance
Is a wandering agent of seduction
And its stem
Thrusts life toward you.
Your hand reaches,
Not with grace, but desperation,
As if you fear it will soon disappear.

Your fingers blindly dance around its thorns
Pulling the bloom close to you.
Suddenly ecstasy fades and disappointment rages.
The blossom is not really white, not pure,
But yellow and imperfect.
Your heart sinks. How can this be?
Fantasy is pruned by reality.

No longer do you find life in its stem,
Beauty in its petals,
Safety in its wholeness.
Your warm breath of passion
Has turned to a cold wind of death.

The rose withers and dies,
But only in your mind.


Monday, May 7, 2007

What Do You Remember?

This is the last week of school. Because I teach sophomores at the junior college level, most of them have applied to four year colleges and will move on at the end of this week. Music theory is a core course for all music majors. The skills and information that I have given them will be the backbone of all of their upper level courses. As I grade final exams, panic sometimes overcomes me. Did I teach them all that they need to know? Will they remember what we did long enough to pass a placement test in another school? Did we cover the "right" pieces? Will they thank me or curse me a few years down the road? Who knows?

Sometimes I wonder for what I will be remembered. What will my students remember about me? What will my kids remember about me? What will my friends remember? There are those who want finite answers to these questions so they write their own memoirs. Though they may be interesting, are personal memoir and autobiographies really the most accurate representations of ourselves? Wouldn't it be nice if we could all leave an autobiography. Only those things we want to be remembered would be included. We would have the freedom to "edit" our stories, even fictionalize our lives. Maybe something along the lines of an historical novel.

Most of us will not leave behind a great work of art, or literature, or music. Nothing that will forever have our name on it. Maybe there will be photographs-unless you are like me and are always the one behind the camera. I am willing to bet that the photographer, in the majority of cases, is not remembered by the photos he takes. Only the subjects on the printed page are preserved.

Maybe I will live on in something I have knit - an afghan, a sweater, a stuffed animal. Although, the thrift stores are laden with such handmade items. Stacks and stacks of knitted and crocheted baby blankets. It is obvious to me that these were hand-made. As they wait to be bought for a dollar or two, another person is forgotten. The mother, or aunt, or grandmother who lovingly made these blankets no longer has a name or a face. The new owner can only wonder, at best, who stitched the work and for whom it might have been made.

Just as I believe that autobiography may lead to unauthentic memories, so can living our lives trying to force who we are and for what we will be remembered. If every moment of our life is spent trying to "make a mark" through which we will reign eternal, rather than living the life to which we are truly called, we are again met with a false picture of who we are. Why are so many of us afraid to be who we really are? Whose judgement do we fear?

As I ponder these questions for myself, I come to the realization that I would be happy if I were remembered for nothing other than being one who lived truthfully, authentically, simply - where what you see is truly what you get. Can I do this? I don't know. I guess that trying honestly may be as close as I can come.

Friday, May 4, 2007

If The Shoe Fits . . .

Details are peculiar things; and, my relationship with them goes far beyond the peculiar. Details can be defined as an individual part of an item, particulars considered individually and in relation to a whole, and as a minor or inconsequential item or aspect. People who are detail oriented, which I am sometimes and only with regard to some things, are considered anal, obsessive-compulsive, perfectionists, and all-together pains in the ass. Yep, if the shoe fits . . .

Seriously, sometimes details are important and sometimes they are not. If you are making cookies and you miss one little detail like the baking soda, it is a big deal. If, on the other hand, the recipe calls for walnuts and you use pecans, probably not a big deal. If Friday is laundry day and you wait until Saturday to finish it, probably not a big deal- unless you have to wear red underwear under white pants or, no underwear at all. Then, the details surrounding laundry day are important.

Today has been a day of details for me. I have been finishing the last bit of editing on this issue of Spirit of Knitting. This is the kind of day where my penchant for being anal, obsessive, a perfectionist, and a pain in the ass definitely has its pluses. In SOK it is most important that all the pattern instructions be clear and correct. (I would prefer to say perfect, but I will settle for correct.) We don't want letters from readers that say, "Why does my sweater only have one sleeve? " Oh, did we leave out the part that says, Make 2? Sorry! Or," I tried to make that felted purse but for some reason it did not work with my Red Heart yarn!" Wool, did we forget to mention wool? You see, details are important here.

Then there are cases where I am not so sure that the details matter one iota. Yesterday Erin came home from school saying that one of the teachers who is a mover and shaker with the high school graduation exercises is terrified that Brooke is going to wear hi-top converse tennis shoes with her cap and gown to graduation. The horror! She probably will - unless someone tells her this is not acceptable. If the seniors are given a specific dress code, she will follow the rules; if left to her own devices, she will wear the red and black hi-tops with "veritas" embroidered down the back. Maybe they think that is a dirty word.

Their concern arises from the fact that she is graduating in the top twelve in her class and will have to sit on stage during the commencement exercises. As far as I know, she is number three and will not have to give a speech. (she has worked very hard not to graduate as valedictorian or salutatorian for this very reason.) But, she (and her feet) will be visible to everybody present. I am fairly convinced that footwear is not the true indicator of one's talents and abilities. Okay, maybe those people, women or men, who wear six inch stilettos are stupid! But Converse? Come on! I am fairly sure that she wore those hi-tops when she took her SAT's and scored a perfect score, when she went to class and earned her ranking in the top twelve, when she took the PSAT and scored well enough to be named a National Merit Scholar, and when she wrote her admissions essay to the University of Chicago. They seemed to have served her well in each of these instances. I don't think that wearing converse to commencement will deem her unfit to graduate. If shoes are the most significant attribute that teachers can see in their students, it becomes obvious why our education system is in so much trouble.

The thing that makes this all so funny to me is that the school does not seem to pay attention to some important details - like the correct spelling of students' names. She received several awards, with accompanying certificates, at the academic banquet earlier this week. Her name (Elliott with one "t" instead of two) was spelled incorrectly in every case. You would think after four years they could get her name right. I am sure that it will be misspelled in the graduation program and on her diploma. I guess that is OK. I picked up her graduation announcements with their calling cards and they too had her name wrong. In this case, I filled out the original order form and know that her name was spelled properly. The error can not even be blamed on illegible teen-aged penmanship.

I do believe that spelling one's name correctly is a more important detail than what shoes a person wears. Perhaps I will wear my black hi-top converse with "Peace"written all over them in different languages to graduation. Brooke gave them to me for my birthday last year. Or, maybe my lavender ones would go better with my outfit . . .

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I'm A Big Dog Now!

Harley was primed and ready to pose for the camera today. She was outside chasing bugs and butterflies in the grass (that needs to be mowed) this afternoon. She did not catch a butterfly, but she had a tasty cricket as an after school snack.

She loves to sunbathe. She's got that long, lean bikini body.

"You said lift your chin a little!"

"Take the picture already. I have other things to do this afternoon. I am expecting a call from my agent."
Actually, I was taking more pictures for Spirit of Knitting. Watch for Harley's debut as a model in the upcoming issue!
Harley is doing really well. She probably weighs about 10lbs. now though she thinks she is at least as big as Adidas' 70lbs. She loves to be out and about - as long as she is carried. She might get her paws dirty, you know. Harley went to Jazz Fest with us last weekend. She started to build quite a fan base. She had complete strangers stopping to share their chicken on a stick with her!

She's a fun little pup. We are blessed to have found her.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's All In The Hands

We are in the final stages of editing the about to be current issue of Spirit of Knitting. All of the patterns are written and the samples knit. Today was the day for pictures. We have two baby items - an infant girl's sundress and a toddler boy's cardigan. We headed for a local pre-school. (We have connections; we don't stalk appropriately sized children.)

I do not claim to be "a photographer". I simply enjoy taking pictures. I especially like to take candid shots. Even though we need to portray certain aspects of the knitted garments, babies and toddlers do not understand posed pictures. So, you get what you get. For me, that is the fun part. I just pray we get what we need.

I did get some good shots of a 7 month old little girl in the sundress. The pictures of the sweater are probably not as good; however, I was struck by some of the pictures of the little boy. He is a precious little thing with a sweet face but, it was not his facial expression but the animation in his hands that really grabbed my attention. He was saying so much with his tiny hands.

In this first pictures, it looks like he playing an "air guitar." I don't know what song he is playing; it looks to be something on the serious side.

Here he is working a complex mathematical equation - one of those where each finger is not simply "one." There is no doubt that his little fingers will serve him better than any fancy calculator.

After the stress of higher math, it is time for a round of "Eensy Weensy Spider."

This is my favorite. His hands seemed to be posed as if they were about to receive communion. This is not really a position that our hands naturally find themselves. Yet, his look so comfortable. I do wonder what he is thinking about.

As a knitter and musician, I am fascinated by what can be made with our hands - beautiful music and sweaters as a start. But in these cases, our hands are simply a tool, a means to an end. In these pictures, his hands need be accompanied by nothing else. They are the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. The movement and expression present draw me in. I am not even sure why.

I have a T-shirt with a picture of one of those spiral hands. (I think it may be a Reiki symbol.) The picture is accompanied by the following: