Category Archives: Personal

Why I like church people

  • Church people know the value of face-to-face contact.
  • On average, church people tend to be more courteous, and more interested in others, than the general population.
  • Church people like books.
  • Church people know that showing up is crucially important.

All of the above are also true of synagogue people.

Twenty years? Huh.

Carol called me up today. She’s taking care of some business back in Massachusetts for a few weeks, and she told me how that’s going. I told her about some of things that are going on here in California. We didn’t talk about anything of great consequence, but it has long seemed to me that long-term relationships are based on those conversations about less consequential things.

“I just realized,” I said, “that we met twenty years ago.”

“Is it really twenty years?” said Carol.

“I think so,” I said. “I’m pretty sure….”

“1989,” Carol said. “C—- got married twenty years ago,” she went on, thinking out loud. “Did I have that bridesmaid dress when we met?…” We finally decided that yes, we had met twenty years ago.

“We’ll have to celebrate when I get back,” Carol said. And then our conversation drifted on to other less-than-momentous topics: “Today is nine-nine-oh-nine,” she said. “Wow,” I said. “And next year there will be ten-ten-ten,” she said….

Well. That was a suprise.

Monday night I had an attack of acute gastritis. Since I haven’t established my health insurance out here yet, I went to the ER at the local hospital, San Mateo Medical Center. The hardbitten triage nurse pretty much ignored me (you could almost hear her thinking, “Yeah, yeah, so what if you’re vomiting and in pain, there’s no gunshot wounds”) — until she tok my vital signs, and found my heart rate was 43 beats per minute. Although she kept chatting with her friend, her attitude changed: “Let’s get this guy in there right away, his hear rate’s down to 43, put him in T1.” That’s “T1” for Trauma Unit One.

So they put me on a heart monitor and immediately discovered that I have heart arrythmia, which I have had for as long as I can remember. I fuzzily tried to explain that it wasn’t serious, but I knew they were going to keep me in overnight. Sure enough, that’s what they did — attached a heart monitor to me and admitted me to the hospital about five o’clock.

A hospital is a terrible place to be ill. Mostly I just needed to sleep, but in the hospital they wake you up every couple of hours to draw blood, or take your vital signs, or maybe your IV runs dry and the insistent beeping on the IV machine wakes you up. Then, too, you’re somewhat at the mercy of your roommate. My roommate wasn’t as bad as some — he had the TV on until about 2 in the morning, he snored incredibly loudly, but he didn’t groan that much. In short, I could only sleep in short snatches.

As for the hospital food, the less said about it the better. When you’ve been puking your guts out, there are some alleged foodstuffs that you don’t even want to look at. In general, though, I can’t complain. Mostly I got excellent care. The doctors, nurses, and the various other people were kind and caring, and they were attentive and listened well.

They finally discharged me at 2:30 p.m., sending me home with meds for my stomach. Maybe I have an ulcer, they said. Carol heard one of the doctors say “mild hypertension.” I know what the real problem is: I have been overworking for the past four years, and it finally caught up with me. My name is Dan, and I’m a workaholic, and it’s time for me to get over being a workaholic.


We should be in Ohio right now, but we’re still in New Bedford. We ran into a little snag yesterday — there wasn’t enough room in our 8 x 8 x 16′ Pod. But the last time we moved, we didn’t even fill the Pod. How could we have accumulated so much stuff in four short years? Carol pointed out that she had a lot of stuff stored in her parents’ basement, and when her father moved into his new condo she had to take all that stuff.

We jammed all we could into the Pod, then we advertised on Craigslist, put stuff out for street shoppers (all gone now), mailed boxes to ourselves at the new address, donated some stuff the the local thrift shop. Carol moved books and merchandise to a friend’s store on Cape Cod, and her co-author’s house in Newton. It was incredibly muggy today, with relative humidity up around 100%, and warm enough that the slightest exertion left you drenched with sweat. I’m exhausted. But at last we’re done. Tomorrow, we’ll finish packing the car and start driving west….

The insanity of moving

Our apartment is filled with cardboard boxes — empty boxes, filled boxes, boxes waiting to be assembled. Our lives are filled with all the details of moving — renting the moving container, closing down accounts, arranging details.

With all the chaos and stress of moving, I find myself forgetting things — little things, mostly. I drove up to Ferry Beach Conference Center in Maine today, to lead a week-long workshop in small church religious education programs, and when I got here I realized that I had forgotten my cell phone. Forgetting my cell phone is a relatively small thing — I did remember to bring my laptop, which is my primary communication tool. But it’s annoying to forget things like that.

I’ll be glad when we have finished moving, and life settles down a little bit.

House-hunting, continued

We found three or four places where we wouldn’t mind living, at prices we can (more or less) afford. Just by chance, all the places we found are in San Mateo, within walking distance of the place we have been staying while we’ve been house-hunting.

Now we have to decide where we would like to live. As usual, one of us (me) is all ready to decide. As usual, one of us (Carol) wants to keep our options open. After nineteen years of shared decision-making, we know this state of affairs is normal. Out of this flux, a decision will evolve.

Correction: Because my blog is on Eastern Daylight Time, this originally appeared as a June 13th post, even though it was and is a June 12th post.

Goodbye, April. Hello, May.

The month of April was a little too full of events. Carol’s mom a month and a day ago, and we had her memorial service in early April. I resigned from the New Bedford church at the beginning of the month, in order to become the minister of religious education at the Palo Alto, Calif., church. I came down with a nasty gastro-intestinal virus from which it has taken me weeks to recover.

It is my firm belief that no month should contain more than one big life event. I’m looking forward to May, in the hope that it will contain no big life events.