Saturday, October 24, 2009


I cannot say enough good things about LSS hospice. They have been so kind and so helpful to my mother. Until we came to the final stage of her cruel dementia, I had not even realized that Hospice was an OPTION for dementia care. My mother had become dramatically more lethargic over the summer. That wonderful Alzheimer's "Zen" sense of being relational in the moment where you could hug and be hugged or laugh and be laughed with even though you know that she might not know who you are or what the joke was had gone.

We knew her interest in eating had gone when I found a bar of chocolate in my purse and tried to share it with her. Even six months before she had been sneaking into the pantry to steal chocolate chip cookies, eating her dessert first. When I saw she could not register "chocolate" I knew that this horrible disease had robbed her of everything at last.

But I did not know that Alzheimer's patients are eligible for hospice. Our nurse talks to me every time there is a "change." The intake worker was very helpful and explained to me what is covered and what is not covered. I was amazed by how many things can be treated under the heading "comfort." Flu shots, for example, because having the flu is so unpleasant. Broken bones, for example, can be set. The difference, as I understand it, is if a hospice patient falls and breaks a hip, they will go to the ER and get stabilized but they probably will not get some prosthetic device involving titanium or whatever... Antibiotics for a respiratory infection will happen, ICU on a vent will not. Their goal is to make her last weeks comfortable.

I didn't realize that you can "renew" your eligibility for hospice. I suppose there are people who have miraculous cures and cease to be eligible. But sometimes people who seem to their MD's to have less than six months to live surprise their doctors but if the MD still thinks it likely that they will die in six months, they get an extension.

In our case, however, we are looking at weeks not months. I have felt amazingly well cared for by LSS and think that N. has been well cared for, too. And the staff of Meramec Bluffs have been lovely, too. They gently introduced the idea that it might be hospice time. They have kept me up to date on her condition the whole time. And they have been very sweet when we have been there, knowing that we are skating on the thin ice between normalcy and grief.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dolce Via is Back

The Dolce Via is BACK and JUST AS GOOD as I remembered it. It has only been closed for two months but they seemed very long.

The website shows the restaurant before they spent two months working on it. It is less cluttered now but just as funky looking and the prices appear to be unchanged. The egg scrambles and deliciously spicy little cubes of potato hash are still fantastic. The blackberry raspberry fruit scones which first lured us the the bakery cafe are still absolutely perfect. They have lost the vintage kitchen table but the cafe still has an eclectic look. The chairs are still kinda dingy and not all that comfortable but adequate. There is still a play area for kids and a big cooler for looking at cakes. And the people who wait on you are still perfectly charming. On Sunday there seemed to be many many babies and small children which was lovely. It is come as you are, whoever you are, as long as you are willing to pay what it costs for the best ingredients carefully prepared and presented. It is at Taylor and Arco.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I promised to blog about the MDG's as part of this day of prayer and fasting for the MDG's while the UN confers about them at the General Assembly. I spent most of the day at the Lutheran School of Theology's workshop on communion between the Methodists and the Lutherans and our interim eucharistic sharing with the UMC. We focused on the document This Holy Mystery, a kind of guide to UMC understanding of th eucharist. The document speaks about how the eucharist should drive us to care of the needs of the poor and to be missional in some other ways. It is distressing that the General Assembly is being overshadowed by the meltdown in the US economy and its threat to the global economy. The poorer we all feel iln the "first world" the less likely we are to be generous to those in other parts of the world.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hospital art

So Thursday I went to the emergency room of St Alexius Hospital. I walked there from the main hospital entrance on Broadway. And this involves going along a hallway which has a series of roughly carved wooden panels with figures on them, people holding and touching other people. I thought at first that they were stations of the cross. They looked a lot like examples of "contemporary" stations I've seen. But they were not: each one represented the ways in which over the history of humanity people have helped people to resume breathing. One should a man holding another man upside down, another showed a man rolling another over a barrel so that the barrel would put pressure on the chest and force him to breathe out, another showed a man stepping down on the patient's chest and so on. Each one had a brief description of the procedure depicted and its technique and purpose. It was a surprising display, donated by some patron of the hospital. One of many interesting diversions in a busy day.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's new in the Parish Hall

So this past Sunday we had a special parish meeting to let people know what is up with the various property projects. It was the debut appearance of our new projector and screen and sound system. Our senior warden did a great job of putting a power point presentation together and offering a lively and humorous and informative narration along with it.

Meanwhile, the property changes were all around us: the painters were due on Monday and so our secretary had moved everything into the Parish
Hall and on Friday and Saturday people pitched in to move books and other stuff out of the rector's office. It looks as if the offices are almost done except for the trim and the parish hall is almost done. So gradually we will put things back. In my case, we will be trying to get things better than normal, since I have quite an accumulation of papers which probably need to be weeded out: every conference and workshop I have attended, every diocesan convention, that kind of stuff. Louis, our roving photographer, took some pix of people at the meeting (note Ruth Proehl on the screen) as well as some pictures of the offices empty and waiting for their paint job.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So, the C of E has voted for women bishops, by a pretty impressive majority. And they have declined to offer any elaborate "flying bishops" scheme to respect the consciences of those who can't possibly cope with having woman bishop. It is actually pretty amazing. You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile Tuesday a.m. on Morning Edition, Renee Montagne was talking to our man in London Rob Gifford about the threat of schism in the C of E and then she asked the British commentator if this controversy had anything to do with the split over homosexuality. And I wanted to yell into the radio OF COURSE IT DOES. The commentator thought that the gay issue is more contentious but that is because he was probably still in grade school when women were ordained in the Episcopal Church and doesn't remember. (And speaking of great "church destroying" cataclysms of the past, we were talking at lectionary group about the General Convention Special Program which caused a huge brouhaha that some people in the Episcopal Church are STILL not over... ) And he thought the homosexuality conversation was a bigger deal because it was about morality.

But here is what I think: opposition to women's ordination and opposition to gay bishops (by which people mean openly gay partnered bishops) is about fear of women and fear of sexual impulses and feelings. Remember in the bad old days before we ordained women in ECUSA how men would say things like "a woman at the altar would just be too distracting", meaning perhaps that she would cause (straight) men to be distracted by sexual fantasies. And an awful lot of the abusive language directed against gay men throughtout the centuries has been about how "feminine" they are. They either don't act like "real men" or they inspire in "real men" feelings of attraction which are distressing and shameful to them. In other words: women remind men of sex, gay men remind men of women and of sex. Homophobia and misogyny are closely linked. (And for the most part, people forget Lesbians even exist in these conversations, I guess because whether they are straight or lesbian women are mainly defined, certainly for much of Christian tradition, as not "real men.") I don't understand why women (or men who fail the "real man" test in some way) are so scary to the dominant white male culture. I don't understand why people feel that God needs to be protected from women, from GLBT people and from conflict of any kind. I don't understand why those who are not persuaded that ordaining GLBT people or women (L or T or straight) to the pr0iesthood and the episcopate feel they must elevate this issue to evidence of general all round heterodoxy.

But I'm getting tired of reading about it. I feel especially tired when I hear and read Bishop Wright, saying of Gafcon (who thought THAT was an attractive acronym for anything) that while AMERICANS deserve censure and external control "the situation in England is quite different."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Episcopalians at Pride 2008

A little band of St Markans walked in the Pride Parade on Sunday and with others staffed the booth for a couple of hours, handing out flyers and stickers and sharing the good news of the Episcopal Church's welcome for all. There were lots of people from Trinity and from St John's and from Holy Communion and from Transfiguration Lake St Louis and from Advent and from the Cathedral. It is amazing to be at the booth and to hear people come up and say, "I wish MY church were here" or "Thank you for being here, it is great to see mainline churches here." In my judgement, St Mark's isn't quite ready to cancel 10 a.m. church and all go to "Mass in the Grass" in the park at 10:30 on Sunday, but some St Markans were there and so were about 150 other people and one heckler and everything went very well. We dashed up there following our service.

The slideshow is of the parade. We walked behind a fabulous team of drag cheerleaders which had very perky music. The clergy got to ride in a great car belonging to a St John's member. Despite our best efforts the reviewing stand announced us as the Metropolitan Community Church. It also poured with rain for a few critical moments but then reverted to being amazingly warm again. Becket Clark walked up front with the banner and synchronized thurifers, doing a very complicated dance as we marched along.