Paul’s Perambulations

January 3, 2011

A sustainable marriage (NYTimes 12/31/10)

Filed under: Family,Love,Peace — admin @ 6:21 pm

This NYTimes article focuses on what makes a sustainable marriage. The author proposes that relationships succeed when they develop “self-expansion” via a mutual contribution to increased knowledge and new experiences. The concept is interesting and speaks to the relationship between Fran and me. I took their “quiz,” although I don’t put that much credence in it. What I found most interesting were the comments that ensued. You can see them for yourself online, and I have copied my four comments at the end of this post (#s 69, 159, 174, 207 for NYTimes article).

As a Quaker, I am particularly led by two testimonies focusing on 1) Inner (personal) peace and 2) Outward (world) peace. These two are closely related, and while my comments on this NYTimes article relate particularly to the first sense of peace, it is true that with more of this first type, we would also have much more of the latter type (and vice versa).     (more…)

December 20, 2010

My Crèche Tableau

Filed under: Family,Peace,Religion — admin @ 1:30 pm

Why do I value the crèche that I set up every Christmastime?  I do not take, nor am I particularly concerned with,  a strictly literal interpretation of the scene depicted (even the bible tells the story differently).  So what does it represent?  (more…)

September 8, 2010

Mass Bay Colony, Quakers, Witches, Harvard…and how Fran’s relatives were directly involved.

Filed under: Family — admin @ 4:16 pm

Fran’s great-grandfather (if you go back an additional eleven generations) was Governor Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  I sometimes joke about Fran’s family hanging Quakers and witches, so I felt it was time to get some of this straight. Turns out that there is something to these stories, but not as written above. (more…)

June 7, 2010

Costs or Benefits of the Technology Age? (NYTimes Comment)

Filed under: Education,Family — admin @ 7:52 am

This article illustrates an extreme example of technology ruling our lives, but many of us experience the conflict between technology and “real” (human) interaction. (more…)

September 22, 2009

Another of Fran’s childhood adventures

Filed under: Family,General — admin @ 9:31 pm

Fran recently told me the following childhood tale from when she was eight and lived in Albuquerque, NM. She (then known as Dixie, for Dixwell) had gone on a trip with some childhood friends to a Campfire Girls’ event in the mountains. Getting bored in the afternoon, she enlisted a small group of the girls to go with her on a hike. Seven or eight started out, following her up the mountain, with Dixie promising a good view of the campground from the heights above. However the trail grew progressively smaller and smaller until it was little more than a ledge. A couple of the girls turned back, and then a couple more, but Dixie pushed on with two friends following. They finally got to a height where they could indeed look down on the camp and could also hear people calling for them. Dixie had reached her intended lookout, and so she led the little contingent back down the mountain. Turns out that the girls who first returned had reported incorrectly that the group was lost, and a rescue effort was being mounted. Dixie, of course, was quite ho-hum about all the commotion when she returned. Some things never change.

Fran believes that you are never lost unless you think you are lost. She is never lost. Ask her about this. My view is that we’ve been lost so often that I’ve lost count, and so it doesn’t really matter anyhow. Is there a difference here?

Fran thinks that this is just an excuse for MY story of the time it was 10 below and I got lost on the mountain and returned just as the ski patrol was sending out a search party. Our parents do tend to worry for nothing.

August 15, 2009

Homesteading musings

Filed under: Family,General,Peace,Politics — admin @ 8:32 pm

I was looking at my dog-eared copies of Living the Good Life (Helen and Scott Nearing) and The Complete Homesteading Book. And thinking “what ifs.”  I was doing this as a musing only, because we get one life to live and not multiples and we can’t go back anyhow.  But nonetheless, “what if” Fran and I had met earlier, say in the early 70’s when we were each dissatisfied with current relationships? It’s an interesting mind game for us – who needs Sim City? (more…)

February 28, 2009

History of the early Nazi period — personal and general.

Filed under: Family,Peace,Politics — admin @ 2:30 pm

 My father had a keen sense of history, and when my parents were in Germany in the early 1930s (he had a graduate travel fellowship at the University of Berlin), he was aware of (and peripherally involved in…another story) history in the making.  He also was something of a perfectionist, and carried not only his 16-mm Kodak but also a tripod and light meter all over Europe and the Middle East.  I am the repository for his 1930s films, all on highly flammable nitro-based celluloid.  When my parents returned to the states, he used these films and other historical material (some interesting items) for public lectures.  By the time I came along, I would occasionally set up the projector so that I could show my friends our home movies of Stalin in Red Square on May Day and Hitler in his open Mercedes. I burned up much of the Hitler sequence by stopping the projector to see things better, and then Hitler would curl up before our eyes in wisps of acrid smoke.  My father intended to get the “Big Three” on film, but Mussolini was out of the country when my parents were in Italy, and so we have a very nice sequence of the Italian square and balcony from which Mussolini used to deliver his harangues to the people (apparently the best possible shot available under the circumstances).

(more…)

July 19, 2007

Risk Taking, Not Thrill Seeking (re Backpacking Donut Hole Trail)

Filed under: Family,Recreation — admin @ 6:18 pm

The phrase above is how Fran described herself in her response to my ad on match.com five years ago (see Comment below).   Sounds good, although I may not have fully understood what I was letting myself in for.  I could hardly have preferred it the other way –Thrill Seeing But Not Risk Taking.  That might be eating cotton candy on the boardwalk and riding the roller coaster.  Blaaaa. 

Monday evening we returned from a three-day backpacking trip on the Donut Hole Trail in Sproul State Forest.  I got my dose of “Risk Taking, Not Thrill Seeking.”  The area where we hiked, and the Donut Hole Trail in particular, are described as follows:  “North-central Pennsylvania features the most isolated and expansive forest lands between New York City and Chicago. The experienced backpacker looking for an isolated trail will appreciate the lonely Donut Hole Trail…maintenance may be a problem…with inconsistent blazing…stinging nettles…expansive isolation, deepwoods experience, and the opportunity to witness wildlife” (quoting from Backpacking Pennsylvania, by Mitchell — the backpackers’ bible).  We can confirm that Mitchell speaks the truth.  We were lost twice and (more…)

July 2, 2007

Eating off the land

Filed under: Family,Recreation — admin @ 11:12 pm

Yesterday we went for a walk along Darby Creek near our house, looking for dinner. We found it in the form of such plants as nettles, plantain, daylilies, spicebush, etc. Although these items are usually described as weeds and wild flowers rather than food sources, they are in fact edible if correctly selected and prepared. See the dinner that resulted. (more…)

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