time off – shop talk & hoping about Mom

While Eileen was at a brunch at the library, I went over to church and practiced organ.

My concentration had returned. Whew. I thought it probably would. In fact, I was so motivated that I not only worked on the music I will play today, I also resumed working on William Bolcom’s piece on “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

I quite like his organ settings and this will be the second one I will probably eventually use. The other was his setting of “Motherless Child” dedicate to Marvin Gaye who was killed by his own father.

I was inspired when I noticed that the new organist at Hope Church recently played this in a local recital. Hey, somebody besides me likes Bolcom or at least performs him. I also played through a couple of his piano rags yesterday.

Eileen and I couldn’t find a movie to go to. Our criteria is usually what looks like we could stand to sit through. I suggested a quick trip to the Meijers Gardens to the Butterfly House.

It’s a good thing we went as it only runs through the end of April. It was relaxing to walk around and look at butterflies and caterpillars. We also walked through the outside plant gardens. These interest Eileen especially because they provide dozens of plants that will survive in Michigan weather.

Deborah Butterfield’s amazing horse sculptures were also on display.

After a nice meal at the Gardens, Eileen drove me back to Holland. We stopped off to see my Mom. She was still acting pretty incoherent. She is very self absorbed and feels that her health is not good. In fact, it seems to be good, but she has bloating and is thinking an awful lot about her ability to go to the bathroom. She agreed that she was uncomfortable when I asked. Also that she was “blue.” I use this language because I think it’s how she thinks.

This month is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. Though she is probably not thinking of this consciously, I suspect it is not helping Mom at this juncture.  It’s hard to believe it was only in 2009 that Dad died. It seems long ago. Thanks to my brother for pointing this anniversary out to me. I now have it on my google page.

Paul Jenkins 1928 - 2009

When I was at church Friday I looked for the tone chimes. They didn’t seem to be around. Nor did the Hope College handbells. I emailed the children’s choir director about this. Last night around 11 PM she answered my inquiry that she has both of them and will “deliver them before this morning’s choir rehearsal.”  If indeed she walks in with them just before rehearsal, it’s tempting to not use them, since I usually plan this stuff pretty carefully and have thought out exactly which bells to use and have them ready with gloves. I could use them on the opening hymn (Puer Nobis) and the second communion hymn (O Filii et filiae).

In the first case there is actually an Orff instrument arrangement in the accompaniment edition of Hymnal 1982. In the second, I would be able to use a drone of a fifth.

The children’s choir director will probably have them there early enough for me to prepare. I was planning on one last rehearsal of today’s organ music before the choir rehearsal. It will probably all work out.

I am experiencing a lot of fatigue, both mental and physical.

I am planning my vacation in May and that helps. It is difficult to watch cognition and faculties diminishing once again in someone I love. It is a change of gears. In some ways its easier to assume that Mom needs caring for and can’t be held responsible for herself. Now the task is to make sure she is cared for and to hope and watch for signs of returning cognition.

Unfortunately, once again I find myself in the position of hoping with optimism.


Cadaver by Joumana Hadda – Words Without Borders

Fine poem by a Lebanese poet. I get updates from these people on Facebook.

Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese poet, translator and journalist, born in Beirut in 1970.


2 Guantánamo Bay Detainees Freed in El Salvador – NYTimes.com

Eileen and I were just discussing yesterday how complex this situation is.  I believe that leaders are not as able to act as they would like around complex issues. Not the least of the complexity is finding countries to accept the released detainees.


Beethoven’s Shadow (Kindle Single): Jonathan Biss: Amazon.com: Kindle Store

I have this on my possible read list for vacation. The cool thing is I can just purchase it, download it and read it when I decided I actually want to. I love this technology. The author is a pianist recording all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.


Polar Bears Did Not Descend From Brown Bears, DNA Study Indicates – NYTimes.com

This article points out that the archaeological evidence is meager because Polar Bears live and die on ice.


Teddy Charles, Jazz Musician Turned Sea Captain, Dies at 84 – NYTimes.com

Excellent quote from this musician/sailor: Speaking of sailing he said “It’s the same in art, not just jazz. There’s no way you can fake it.”


The Voice of Authority – NYTimes.com

This article points out that contemporary  journalists and politicians do not have the kind of power relationships that Stewart Alsop enjoyed with Lyndon Johnson.


A Lifelong Catholic Pays Tribute to the Nuns – NYTimes.com

Hopefully this will be my last link on this subject. It continues to trouble me as it does this eloquent letter writer.

Here’s the zinger from the letter:

How can there ever be too much focus on poverty and economic injustice? And how can the Vatican justly rebuke women busy selflessly carrying out Christ’s work caring for the least of our brethren for being silent on abortion and homosexuality, while for decades bishops were silent about grave sins against the innocent in their care?


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2 thoughts on “time off – shop talk & hoping about Mom

  1. I have avoided commenting on much of anything the last few months. My Father’s medical issues consumed me emotionally and physically with the multiple calls at all hours of the day and night. I was relieved when my Father passed away, but now am feeling the impact of him being gone. My remorse is that I should have done more. What made me comment was the reference to “What a friend we have in Jesus”. I selected this song for my Father’s funeral last week along with two other songs, “How Great Thou Art” and “Just as I am”. I did not go through the songs prior to the service and realized that “Just As I Am” was a difficult range for some people. Although, it was difficult to sing,it is a lovely, invitational song. We managed through it, thankfully. I actually was going to call you about the music, but it was just too much to contemplate. I still read every day.

  2. It is difficult to bury a family member. Your Dad was a great man. I understand being relieved and also remorse about what more could have been done. In the end we do the best we can. I’m sure you did what needed to be done. Hang in there.

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