Archive - Sep 2005

September 30th

Human Services Conference

Today, I entertained for a conference of human services workers in Thief River Falls. The situation was good--social workers have a pretty good sense of humor. I played and sang.

My piano playing was off. I haven't screwed up Maple Leaf Rag in years, but I managed today. Several times I found myself looking at my hands now knowing where I was. That's the sort of thing you can't do anything about but plow forward and try to forget what happened a second or two ago.


When people start worrying about an inheritance before it happens, nothing but evil can result. Families stop speaking to each other. A bunch of people spend time fantasizing about the great day when their loved one finally croaks. They start thinking they deserve the free money because of childhood hardships, or some other imagined injustice they should have long gotten over.

Their thinking about the person with the money becomes tainted by self-interest. Care decisions with preservation of the nest egg as the priority rather than what is best for the older person.

September 29th

Chilly, long day

It didn't freeze last night, although it was mighty cold and froze in other parts of the state. The flowers were still standing tall at noon today here, and it appears that we're out of the woods for a while as it is supposed to warm up.

I called Aunt Olla after realizing that yesterday was her 94th birthday--and I forgot. I knew she was going to celebrate with her reflexologist, so I didn't plan anything. I could have called, though, although that would have been out of character. I rarely remember birthdays until it is too late.

September 28th


The next three days are going to be busy--tomorrow, I sing for a funeral in town. One song, "One Day at a Time," I have never sung before. The other, "Just as I Am," I know pretty well.

I enjoy singing at funerals. People appreciate it, and you have a chance to do something meaningful for people who you otherwise might only say hi to on the street. I never get too worried about how it will go because people's minds are on other things--the last thing they are worried about is the soloist.

More wood cutting

A great day for cutting wood. Today, I went over to the farm of friends Garth and Colleen to cut up a couple of oak trees that had fallen. Got two pickup loads out of there with more to go.

Fallen oak make me nervous. I am still learning which branches to cut first to avoid the dreaded unpredicted twist of a large limb. Usually if you are perceptive as you finish your cut you can sense where things are going to fall, or if there is undue pressure somewhere you can back away and reassess the situation. But you can't cover every base.


Lots of talk in the baseball world about whether Johan Santana deserves another Cy Young award. He has pitched well again this year, leading the league in strikeouts and tied for the lead in ERA (the average runs given up per game, regarded as the most accurate and fair measure of a pitcher's performance). However, Bartolo Colon of the Los Angeles Angels has a won/loss mark of 20-8, while Santana is 15-7. To get wins, your team has to score runs. A pitcher has no control over that. Yet, the win total has always been what the voters for the Cy Young award have used as their benchmark.

Prisoner abuse

This letter from a military officer once in charge of soldiers who were watching detainees in Iraq is about the clearest statement yet why we should not allow our soldiers to mistreat those in their custody, no matter how bad those prisoners may be. Now we see pictures the hapless Pvt. England in cuffs, ready to go to jail for crimes which had the approval of the highest commanders in the military chain of command. Her crime, apparently, was that she was caught and exposed in the world media.

September 26th

Defiant amaranthus

Monarch on fountain grass

More gardens photos

I spent some time in the gardens this afternoon taking about seventy photos. Got home and realized the camera had no memory chip in it--so just to be stubborn, I went back and took them over. The sun was different the second time--perhaps better than the first.

Caught one of the skittish yellow butterflies on a heliotrope, a favorite of butterflies. A head of fountain grass is in the background.