Monday, September 27, 2004

Not think:
Was, will be;
Behind, before;
Only freedom
At the middle point.
-- Taisen Deshimaru

I had a wonderful moment with my boys yesterday at the Alexandria, LA, McDonalds. Five-year-old Adam spent most of his time climbing around inside the play structure. Seven-year-old Toby, on the other hand, ate a couple of boxes of French fries, then started walking around in an open area, looking out the window and wanting to go out to the car. I walked up to Toby and started a little game. I would say the first syllable of a two-syllable word. He would say the second syllable, and I would then throw him up into the air. His speech has had me concerned the past few weeks, so this was a nice little test. We did the following words:

AD-AM (or as T. says, "Abam")
AN-CREW (Andrew is his roommate)

Adam eventually saw me tossing his brother up into the air, and he slid down the slide laughing. He held up his arms, so I took him and tossed him too. A couple of other little boys noticed me being silly. Fortunately, neither of them wanted to be thrown into the air, but one of them dropped on all fours and growled at me like a big cat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Yikes! The sign outside the Immanuel Baptist Church -- down the road from my house -- says "American Judges at War with Christianity." I had to wonder this morning how I could come into work, knowing that my employer is fighting against the Almighty. However, I had to ask: "If the Baptists are right, then shouldn't New Orleans have been hit by the hurricane last week?" I mean, here we are, in the seat of a Federal appellate court, and we haven't been struck by a major hurricane since 1965. Yet last week, we had a category five storm bearing down on us before it turned and caused incredible damage to the Alabama and Florida gulf coast. Could it be that righteous living spared New Orleans from the wrath of Ivan? Maybe this city has a double life -- it appears to be seething with sin but is in fact the proverbial shining city on a hill.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

We unevacuated from Starkville, Mississippi, as Ivan began to hit that town. Starkville is okay for an evacuation, but I don't think I'd really want to be there otherwise. A. went bonkers because nothing was as it should be to him -- even the maroon color of my new M.S.U. ballcap set him off. The ballcap I usually wear is gray with a Cleveland Indians emblem on it. A. did enjoy his time with me in the hotel pool. I really can't complain about my own experience, in light of the pictures I've seen of Pensacola and Gulf Shores. Those pictures really hit home because I've spent some time in that area, as have most New Orleanians. Ivan was devastating, even more so than I would have thought.

I had dreams about T. on consecutive nights this week. The first dream was the more interesting of the two. Somebody came up with a machine to project the images dreamed by autistic children onto clear, acrylic screens (kind of like those screens in Minority Report). T.'s images of Dw and me were disturbing -- we appeared rather monstrous. His thoughts were written on other acrylic screens, but they were in Hebrew and I couldn't read them. In the second dream, I'm walking hand in hand with T. at a carnival. He is able to explain to others in perfect English how he has progressed at the St. Mary's school. He also declines some treat or other (for some reason, I think of cotton candy) and to do so very politely. Does anybody else have dreams about their kids?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Harumph! New Orleans is in the midst of hurricane hysteria today. We entered the "cone" of probability yesterday, and now we're listed as having a 16% chance of getting hit. The National Hurricane Center's discussions still suggest that Hurricane Ivan will veer off to the right and hit the Florida Panhandle. However, discretion being the better part of valor, I made a hotel reservation in Alexandria, LA, through at 5:30 a.m. today -- or so I thought. I called the hotel directly around noon today, only to find that the hotel had no rooms at all and hadn't received my stuff from Expedia anyway. I spent the better part of the afternoon on the web trying to find another hotel, and it looks like we will be spending a couple of days in Starkville, MS, home of Mississippi State University. It beats sitting in a dark house with no air conditioning and a pine tree sticking through the roof.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Well, that was certainly a bizarre dream. Former President Clinton was living in a smallish red-brick house much like the one I grew up in. Actually, it was my childhood house. Clinton had a set-up outside the bedroom window (my parents' bedroom -- ewww!) with three fences forming a square enclosure. He did this so that women could jump the fences and climb in and out of the window to keep him supplied with sex partners in perpetuity, without the women having to see each other as they came and went. The front and back fences were cedar, while the side fence was a cyclone fence with barbed wire atop it. Anyhow, Monica Lewinsky poked her head up over the top fence, only to see a gorgeous, shapely babe climb out of the window and get a big kiss from Clinton. The babe laughed at Monica and executed a perfect gymnastic flip over the side fence. Clinton -- the flabby presidential model, not the svelte new one -- attempted to follow the babe by flipping over the fence. He impaled himself on the barbed wire atop the fence. I woke up laughing hard, at 4:00 a.m.

I have no idea what any of this meant, but man was it funny!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

From medieval China:

Do away with your
Throat and lips,
And let me hear
What you can say.

- Shih-tou (700-790)

Wazzup with that?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Whew! What a weekend!

I drove to Alexandria, LA, on Friday to pick up T. for the weekend. He had been confined to the school clinic for a few days, so he was really happy to see me and to come home -- so happy that he only made me stop twice for French fries. Friday night, I removed the water-play area from the backyard due to T.'s boils, which I didn't want to become infected. A. was extremely displeased to see no hose, pool, or tarp out back on Saturday morning, so he threw a major tantrum. He threw a few more tantrums on Saturday to get my attention away from T. However, A. loved having T. home for the weekend, for the first time since T. went off to boarding school. They even played together on the teeter-totter at the park. A. didn't mind at all when T. got a little rough on his end, making it look as if he was trying to launch his little brother into orbit. My kids are tougher than other kids, what can I say? We went to the park a few times, to the McD's playland, to Target, and to the railyard together on Saturday and Sunday. T. dragged me out of bed at 2:00 a.m. yesterday, and A. soon followed. The three of us sat up eating Froot Loops and watching Thomas the Tank Engine; horsing around; and playing on the computer. Finally, we drove T. back to Alexandria, returned home, and fell into bed.

I was touched by a couple of the other boys in T.'s dorm yesterday. One of them, who is tiny for his age, insisted that I pick him up, then he wrapped himself around me like an anaconda. A second, older boy saw that and he came over for a hug too. The children at that school get plenty of affection and hugs from the trainers, teachers, and nuns, but most of those people are women. I had to wonder if those two boys have any adult men in their lives. OTOH, many of the boys in T.'s dorm are naturally affectionate and hug anybody who comes along.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Food for thought:

We live in illusion and the appearance of things.
We live in the world of concepts.
There is a reality; we are that reality.
When we understand this, we see we are nothing.
And being nothing, we are everything. That is all.

-- Kalu Rinpoche