Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

I'm in New York again for the Thanksgiving holiday. I left Gettysburg on Tuesday evening. I would have left at noontime but I had to wait for the plumber to arrive for a problem I was having. I missed the rush hour in Harrisburg as well as the rush hour in New York. The only problem I had was finding a parking space in Brooklyn...After circling for 30 minutes, I found a spot.

On Thanksgiving day, I preached and presided at Epiphany Lutheran. It is always a pleasure to return to my home congregation. Afterward I stopped at Jesus Joy where the congregation was feeding people from the community. They advertise throughout the community. What an outreach!

In the latter part of the afternoon, we had dinner with my Aunt Dot at her home. We had a good time talking and laughing. Afterward, we (Jeanie, Robert and I) went to Ricky and Terri (my cousin and his wife) just to visit. It was good to see their young adult sons (Martez and Marric) who are both in college.

Thanksgiving now, is not like the Thanksgiving days when our grandparents were alive and the whole family gathered in their home, however, we continue to keep in touch and talk to one another. I am certainly thankful for family, good friends, and another year of life.

Catching up!

I have neglected to post for quite some time.

I returned from France last Thursday, 29 September 2016. It was a good visit. My primary reason for going there was to test the dialysis treatments in France and whether I could continue to travel there. This was my first trip abroad following bypass surgery and the routine of dialysis. I think the trip was successful on that account. I had two dialysis treatments. The staff in Littlestown were very helpful in getting through the required blood tests. The staff at Hôpital Américain à Paris was very good. I experienced the difference between the two cultures. I was asked whether I wanted to eat and soon we were all given a tray with croissants and rolls, yogurt, juice, hot water for tea/coffee. We were all given blankets if we wanted them. With the dialysis procedure, they use a different method in France. I was given needles that were plastic and not metal. In addition I was given a numbing spray for my arm. I barely felt anything with the insertion of the needles.

I went to a soiree on Sunday the 25th as well as Notre Dame to worship that Sunday evening. During the soirée I met a musician from the US who knew my cousins, Andrei and Ricardo. It is a small world.  In addition, I met Catherine Ferguson, who is a retired U.S. citizen who in her 70s moved to Paris in this past August. She is a retired academic (Ph.D. in French literature) and media personality. We have a mutual friend in Gettysburg who helped us to connect. We spent three hours in a French café talking about French life and culture. She intends to become a French citizen. The other interesting piece about this conversation was the fact that she did her undergraduate work at Hunter College where I did my work as well.

On Monday, 26 September, I went to dialysis. As I stated above, it was a good experience and the communte was very easy from my studio, a short metro ride and the #82 bus.

Tuesday, 27 September, I took a the Eurostar to London and met Jeanie and Robert for breakfast in London. This was the first time that we were in Europe at the same time. After breakfast, we took a short walk and then took the tube to Selfridge. It was nice to be in the department store after viewing "Mr. Selfridge" on PBS. We walked around there and saw that it was certainly an upscale store...we had soft drinks in the restaurant.  We left from there and went to the Tube. They had a dinner engagement in London and I had a dinner engagement with Yves in Paris. I arrived at Léon Bruxelles about 3 minutes ahead of Yves...I couldn't have planned it better.

Wednesday was my last full day in Paris. I had a taste for Couscous and went to my favorite Morocan restaurant one block from my apartment for lunch. It was delicious as I remembered the last time I was there. Afterward I ventured a few blocks away from my apartment to take pictures of 19 rue Madamoiselle. This is the building where Madame Woolsey (Danielle Garber's mother) was born and lived in her childhood years. I took several pictures of the building and the street to give to Madame upon my return. I think she was moved by the pictures.

On Thursday, 29 September, I left the apartment and took the metro to Charles de Gaulle airport for my return to the States. As always, I was sad to leave France but thankful that I was able to make the trip and look forward to another stay in the City of Light.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Getting into Spring?

It is hard to believe that we are in the midst of the spring season. It has been cooler than usual and now that it is May, we are getting the April showers. But alas, we don't have control of the weather.

Yesterday, I attended the gradation ceremonies of Bergen Community College held at the Meadowlands Met Life stadium in New Jersey. My sister (Dr. Jeanie Payne) was the Grand Marshal for the event. It was her last responsibility as professor of microbiology at the college...She is now officially retired. I can't help thinking that we have lived parallel professional lives in the academic world. We both retired as full professors and both worked at our respective institutions for 26 years. I continue to reflect on our parents who were very deliberate in stressing education and the professional life. Now we both can reflect on our working years.

I continue to reflect on the aging process. So many of my friends are having regular visits to the doctor. No, not doctor, but, doctors. There are so many specialists we have to see. I don't think the visits decrease as we get older. Our discussions always include the most recent doctor's appointment and the dosage of medication we are taking. We heard our grandparents talking that way.

Last Friday, 13 May 2016 was graduation from the seminary. What made it truly a great experience was the presence of Mbele Maipopo. He had received an STM degree from Gettysburg Seminary in 1994. He was a good student and his election to the office of Bishop in Tanzania is well deserved.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Catching up!

Please note - This post was written two days before Ash Wednesday

I can't believe that it is just a few days before Ash Wednesday and I haven't written since the Advent season. Christmas in Brooklyn was good even with the added diversion of dialysis. The beginning of the New Year was pleasant which included a New Year's day luncheon with friends in Arlington, Virginia and the following Sunday another luncheon with friends who had recently adopted their son from China.

I continue to reflect on the fragility of life. My graft for dialysis clogged and I had to have a temporary catheter inserted. I then had the graft flushed at York Hospital. So far it is working and I had the catheter removed on yesterday, 5 February.

I finished the second term of Difficulté du français at the Alliance Française. It is challenging and invigorating. Véronique is an excellent instructor. I also enjoy the people in the class who come from a variety of vocations. In addition to the class and students, I enjoy the eating lunch at Bistro du Coin, a French restaurant which is on my way to the Dupont Circle metro station. By the way, I am registered for the Spring term. I continue to be fascinated by the French language.

A year later

Yesterday, 24 February, marked one year since I had my heart attack and was hospitalized at York Hospital. I am feeling very thankful for all the support I had and continue to have following my by-pass surgery. Family and friends continue to give me support. Although dialysis keeps me on schedule for Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I am still able to get around...I just have to plan more carefully.

To change my Gettysburg routine, I enrolled again for a workshop at the Alliance Française (Difficulté du Français). Half of the class are from the winter term. The first session was today. It is enjoyable to be with other Francophiles.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent 2

Today is a mild November day. It is a great time to venture out but after church, I just feel like staying at home and catching up with my least that was the plan. A lot has happened since my last post a few months ago.

For the first time in over 26 years, I attended the Gettysburg College Christmas Concert on Saturday evening (December 7). It was great music. I heard Ralph Vaughn Williams', "Hodie" for the first time (in my memory). I am definitely going to purchase a recording of the work. I'm glad that Tom Jolin e-mailed and asked me to go along with him and his wife. Unfortunately, she was on call for several births and decided remain home. This afternoon I attended, for the first time, the Gettysburg Civic Chorus Christmas concert. It was a good concert, however, I could not help but look at the audience. Most of the people were senior citizens. Will there be music lovers in numbers to attend such concerts in this season or any other time of the year? While I enjoy the traditional carols, it was good to hear pieces composed in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Last weekend at this time I was on my way from New York. More precisely I was in Alexandria having lunch with Patricia Pasqual with whom I drove from NY. This has become a holiday travel tradition. I pick her up from her family home in Jamaica, Queens and we venture on I-95. This past trip was uneventful (we beat the traffic).

Last Saturday, November 28, was my birthday. With Jeanie, Robert, and Pat, my birthday treat was dinner at Caffè Taci, on E. 54th Street in Manhattan with the Opera Nights at Papillon Restaurant. There were great singers and arias for us diners. With dessert came the singing of "Happy Birthday." I remembered that I had my iPhone and recorded it. What a great 68th birthday!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A good weekend

It was a great weekend with installation of Bishop Matthew Riegel of the West Virginia/Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America a former student at Gettysburg Seminary. I left Friday afternoon with Dr. Crump and Pr. Herr (that is another story). That evening, Bill Ridenhour arranged the dinner at a local restaurant with great conversation and good food. At the installation, it was interesting to see so many former students participating....the years go by so quickly.
This morning's guest preacher at St. James (Gettysburg) was the Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann. Excellent as well as passionate sermon!...This evening was "A Dylan Thomas Evening" with the poet Tony Curtis of Wales. In addition, the Gettysburg College Camerata/the Sunderman Woodwind Quintet/Elizabeth Asmus performed. A marvelous cultural evening!!!!