New year, old ramblings

We celebrated the Iranian/Afghan New Year, nawruz, at the Museum of Fine Arts, followed by a lovely dinner at Ariana, an Afghan restaurant on the outskirts of Boston, with our longtime friends and ex-colleagues. We have Afghanistan in common, among many other things. They are preparing for a trip to Holland and so we put all the celebrations together, spring, travel, happy retirement (they, not me), new year, crocuses and daffodils.

For the first time in months I pedaled to Quaker Meeting – with all the travel I miss a lot of Sundays and when I am home for a change we go to NH or Easthampton to see our kids and grand kids. Our silent worship was tested by a gentleman with a giant vacuum cleaner or polishing machine, which led to some interesting thoughts and messages about sucking sounds and what polishing (both of these) can do for our psyche.

Spring, a day early because of leap year, started with a snowstorm. It was a gentle one, at least for someone who didn’t need to get on the road. It left, possibly for the last time, everything around our house soft, white, round and silent. But it was all gone within days. The earth is warming, spring is coming.

I worked hard and fast on reviewing facilitation guides that badly needed some changes. It’s not my kind of work – attention to detail that stresses me out, but I had made the commitment both to myself and to others who had to deal with would-be facilitators being flummoxed. It’s done now and I rest my case.

Resting is what I need very badly right now, after only an hour of sleep on the plane ride to Japan. Still, I can’t complain – I was able to cash in one of my four upgrade certificates – Delta’s thank you for my frequent flying. I killed the time by listening to Joyce’s Ulysses while trying to master knitting two socks at the same time, and starting at the toes.  The two combined required serious concentration. The socks are practice socks, bright yellow cotton, just about Saffi’s size. Ulysses is read by a formidable actor which makes it worth my while, even though I couldn’t possibly say anything coherent about what I listened to for the last five hours.

Ulysses was the favorite book, and Joyce the favorite author, of one of my classmates in 11th grade. He was way too mature for us 16 year olds, talking about Joyce in a way I will never able to do. Both he and his sister became authors – the germs planted then, between the classics, read in their original languages, and the 100 year old willow tree that we circled around, talking about deep stuff, during our recess. Walking in ‘the hortus’ was a privilege for the older kids in our Latin School (Gymnasium), the younger ones circled around and around on what was essentially a parking lot.

It was under that tree that I was first exposed to someone rambling about Joyce. Reading (or listening to) Ulysses was on my bucket list. Now I understand the rambling, but still not what Ulysses is all about.

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