Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lewis and Hathaway

I have written a few times about my love of BBC mystery series. They have gotten us through many a long, cold winter with their fine acting and clever stories. Well, this summer we did not take a hiatus from them, but continued during the warmer months and we are enjoying them just as much as we do in January!

To that end, this week we finished the 6th season of "Inspector Lewis" one of our favorites by far. The setting is at Oxford University and town and Lewis, once the young sergeant for the Detective Morse series, is the lead detective who manages to shuffle through the dozen suspicious characters for each murder case to find the real culprit! Yes, there is always a murder and even an autopsy, but we are spared graphic visuals!

But, it's his asst. who is my favorite, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, a former seminarian, turned sleuth. Perhaps because of James's back story or because it's in Oxford, whatever, there is more than the usual amount of religious themes in the Lewis stories, which gives it an extra dimension for us.

If this is all new to you, I encourage you to check out your local library or Acorn Films and see what you think of Lewis. Seeing them in order is not really necessary, but there is some character development through the years, so you get something extra if you do them first to last.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Flood, drought and a lake

These two stories came across our news all week: flood waters in West Virginia and in other creeks; destructive wildfires from long standing droughts throughout the far west. Both of these "natural disasters" were part of our Offertory Petitions this Sunday, as the needs of the people in the country having hard times always are.

However, here at home we are not suffering from either of these. Our week has indeed been hot and sunny. We locals are in our usual overwhelming happiness with the warm summer weather. It takes 8-9 months, you see, to "recover" from the 100" of snow we got this past winter, and we are so grateful for the change!

If you don't live near a large body of water as we do or have not recently had lovely summer days--here: share ours!

Here's the view from the South Pier, across the channel to the North Pier on Presque Isle. The channel lighthouse stands at the end of a long line of people fishing.

Here's a closeup of the lighthouse with a lake barge coming in or just having left our docks.

Birds galore fill the reeds on the ponds that border the pier.

Blue heron are smart! They "hang out" very close to all the people fishing, hoping to get some castoffs!

You can get pretty close before they fly away. 

(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Multiple dimensions

There are multiple sides to monastic life and to all life. Finding this old fashioned lamp post alive with morning glories this week is the "ahhhhhh" side of the day.

And finding this is the laugh-right-out-loud side of the same day. (Hint: all of our cars are numbered, as are the parking spots, so that each car can be placed in its proper place each evening.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Post-retreat mellowness

What a marvelous week of retreat we had this year! Our director was Mauritius Wilde, OSB from Schuyler, Nebraska. His sharings on the RB and on the various aspects of monastic life were creative, honest, personal and very favorably received by all. He is an author and prior of his small but highly regarded monastery. You can see a little about him and the community and congregation to which he belongs here.

As most of us are pretty "mellowed out" after a week such as this, Sunday afternoon was spent, I suspect, in transition mode as Monday morning loomed as a reality. But....there was one more thing to attend to: cheering for our favorite sports...and there were two big ones Sunday. First, the US Open, one of the four majors in the world of professional golf. This year's tournament was played in nearby Pittsburgh and found a popular player who had finished in the runner-up spot many, many times, finally break through and win his first major tournament. It was an exciting finish Sunday at about 8:10 pm Eastern Time....which, put it 10 minutes into the second sports extravaganza: the final, final, final game of the unending NBA season, which starts sometime in the fall and seems to go on forever!

But this year, the final, Best of Seven, boiled down to a seventh game between the Golden State (California) Warriors (the 2015 champs) and our own Cleveland Cavaliers (lead by the all-universe star player LeBron James).

When I passed through the community room (and its large TV screen) there were 12 sisters cheering and the score was tied. Most of those sisters have formed a loyal and faithful fan base that has followed their beloved Cavaliers all season. Here's hoping that the NBA championship goes their way tonight!

And a final note: here in the Nature World of Harborcreek sightings this week included: a young blue heron with its mother traveling up creek, a small eagle and mother flying along the shoreline, a very small fawn and its mother near Hermitage #1 and these goslings...more adolescents now, with their parents and assorted aunts and uncles, floating along in Lake Erie right off our beach. Happy first day of summer to all.

Final score: Cavs 93- Warriors-89

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Retreat week

We're on retreat this week--so, what does that really mean? The first thing to mention is our retreat director: a Benedictine monk from the Midwest. He is quite good--fine insights, a little humor and enjoyable stories, definite sincerity, and obvious dedication and love for the monastic life.

Retreat week also brings "lingering." We are having special prayer and, since we don't have to run out for some daily obligation, we can linger--there's no rush, we can take our time. At prayer. At meals. Everywhere. Time is not ruling the days! We can linger.

Some things we do are out of the ordinary, at least for me. I can sleep in. I can take a nap. I'm reading and reading and reading. And I'm outdoors, a lot. Sitting, walking, looking around. And when I was walking yesterday--slowly--I saw things that I might not usually take time to notice. That is definitely a retreat week "sign."

Here are two of my favorite "finds" from my leisurely, quiet walk---right on our grounds.

The rhododendron bushes in the backyard near the cross are still hanging in there. 

I noticed these two because they were making so much noise: clicking and kind of snorting or grunting as they chased around and around the trees at Benetwood. Very cute!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rose Red and white and pink and yellow

It is rose blooming time in Erie this least the first go around of them. Here's a cluster right at our front door. You can see four stages of these pink ones---all on the same bush.

Our Sunday Mass was outstanding this weekend. The planners interwove statements from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' on the care for our earthly home, which celebrates its first anniversary this week. Additionally, we had two young women doing a bit of liturgical movement highlighting the four basic elements of life: water, fire, earth and air, which were all part of the environment at the center of chapel. Lovely.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Is the movie as good as the book?

Our humble medium-sized county library system holds a fabulous collection of materials. One of those collections is its movies (both from theater films and TV). To that end I "found" a treasure that I had missed entirely. I subsequently read that this film had been released on Canadian TV and I don't think it has been shown in the USA....yet.

It's the first book of Louise Penny's marvelous mysteries starring the brilliant detective Armand Gamache and his adventures in the little village in eastern Quebec, Three Pines. The first book, and hopefully only the first of many films, is Still Life. Two or three trailers are available on youtube, so you can get a good idea of what the 90-minute film offers. It's wonderful and, yes, it is as good as the book....well, almost!

The complete Three Pines/Armand Gamache series is:

Still Life
A Fatal Grace
The Cruelest Month
The Murder Stone
The Brutal Telling
Bury Your Dead
A Trick of the Light
The Beautiful Mystery
How the Light Gets In
The Long Way Home
The Nature of the Beast
A Great Reckoning (August 2016)

Monday, June 6, 2016


This weekend I attended, as I do most years, the graduation ceremony of my high school--this year its 123rd. It is not only my high school, it is also the place where I taught and served in administration for 23 years after the four years of schooling. It's the place where I changed from a shy 20 year old just starting out in a career, to a confident, and, hopefully, capable teacher / administrator.

This yearly event never fails to wash over me with such fond memories, nostalgia and gratitude.

If the graduate's mother is an alum they announce her name with the new graduate's. I heard the names of many women who were to me sweet 16 year olds--now proud parents of their own. Surreal! I also met a favorite student, now an attorney in a local law firm. More surreal!

As part of the graduation the school acknowledges the golden anniversary graduates. Here's the "gang" from last year--at least some of the 150 girls who were in town and able to attend.

Thank you Villa.....for so many memorable experiences--during those special formative high school days and for those wonderful youthful years of teaching, coaching and involvement in the lives of so many wonderful people.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Saturday mornings

What do you do on Saturday mornings? Is it part of your work week? Is it carefree time? Is it scheduled or "free"?

For one of our sisters (and anyone else she cajoles into going along) it's ritual....May through September: garage saling, sale-ing? ! (not quite sure if that's a word), but it's a relaxing and fun-filled activity that she often shares with anyone who will listen when she returns.

Flash forward: we celebrate our sisters on their birthday by putting out a present and, often, a little display or environment with it.

This week one of our sisters went wild.....why? the sister's name she had for a birthday remembrance was our #1 garage saler (again with the word/spelling?!?!?) and look what she came up with:

Congratulations to both the displayer and the garage sale hunter! We loved it!

Here's a tamer display that also came out this week: Japanese irises--right at the front door-- and they are lovely.