know thyself

7 . July . 2007

cory’s mid-way through a book by eric douglas,
and he coerced (bullied?) me into a late night self-assessment.

i’m  lying there with a pillow over my eyes
to block the lamp light, practically begging him to come to bed
and he’s giddily pressing me with 32 awkwardly-presented questions
to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 – always describes me, 1 – never),
“i’m not very precise” and
“i’m not peaceful in my inner-self”
(love the double negative of giving the 2nd question a score of 2)

so he’s landed some really amazing conclusions
i mean, anyone who knows us
would never guess that
cory = ‘persuader-explorer’
i’m = ‘socializer-charmer’

way out, man. super insightful.

we stayed up an extra 1/2 hr for that?

nope, i’m not going home.
i want to go to the park & i won’t hear of anything else.
so i’m just going to sit down and cry.
right here.
a mere block from our house.

subway grime, nah, ‘historical charm’, says the times.
i like that.

(ps – am i going to get away with ‘giddily’? i think it works)

7 . July . 2007

we saw license to wed last night.
the office cast represents in the movie,
which was one of the better parts.

cartoon from

cartoon by dave walker

an anniversary hint for my loveydove (7.27.96)
love you, babe.

this tshirt is cracking us up, clever.
when you’re traveling, despite the language difference,
you can point to the object & then the question mark, and so forth.
but we can’t agree on what the number pad is.
(n thinks it’s a phone, but i think the phone is top-right-ish.
a bank?)


5 . July . 2007

“as parents, we desire to have
an attitude of ministry,
a sense of opportunity,
and a quest to be a part of what
God is doing in the lives of our children”
‘age of opportunity’, by paul david tripp

4th of july, a 3-act play:

morning. children’s parade behind the fire truck & picnic @ columbia
w/ the clementes, queeners & crosbys
[the firemen opened the hose at the end for the kids to run thru]
see cory cracking up in the middle shot?
a tourist group was coming through columbia
and they were delighted to see the children; taking their
pictures & even trying to pick betsy up. the kids think they’re
‘famous’ now after the photo shoot & even giving autographs.

afternoon. filming a short clip for the guys’ sketch show
nathan, henry & caroline, actors
(next thurs night@ ucb; way to go, cory cavin)
maybe we can get the edited segment up here at some point
evening. celebrating america’s bday
w/ the simmons, mrs. williams & chris w.

that abby love smith is so talented.
(carrie’s sister, of course)
abby’s dip book, and her wedding, too

carrie & cory clean up real good


3 . July . 2007

n: mom, mom, are you ready for Bible study?
m: wha? good morning, babe. what time is it?
n: runs upstairs to look at the oven clock, it’s 5:56
m turns to dad: seriously? seriously?
d, chuckling: it’s a good thing, babe. a good thing.

i managed to hold out in my snuggly bed
until 6:32am at which time i (rather cheerfully, i’d like to think)
hopped out and joined him on the stripey couch to
read psalm 33 together (his choice).

he had already memorized verses 20-22. (his choice, again)

the Lord is good.
and we do pray for you, nathan,
that the Word of God will bear fruit in your heart,
that it will penetrate quickly, deeply & exclusively;
His word is our life.

maybe it’ll be SIX:56am tomorrow, though.

no news is…

2 . July . 2007

not necessarily good news.

just wanted to update you
that there’s nothing to update you on
re: cory’s upcoming surgery.

still awaiting a final surgery date &
some signing-off between hospitals.

thanks for your patient encouragement
to us. thank you.

four on stone

2 . July . 2007

remember that game you have to play
when you’re sitting around the table
in the back yard?
keep all four of your chair legs on stone
so that you don’t sink right down into the mud?

[before shot]

we’re sorry to inform you that
we’ll have to find new games to play

love it.

160 lbs of concrete
15 watering cans full of water
3 trowels
2 packs of gum (thanks to lisa’s care pkg)
1 yankees game on the radio
6 hrs
3 young helpers to manage
1 betsy to distract (so she wouldn’t know what she was missing)
and voila!


all grown up

2 . July . 2007


sunday lunch adventure:
nathan went around the corner to
subway and brought home lunch to us
(11 minutes into the venture,
our home phone rang.
n: i’ve got the food and i’m heading home.
roger, babe. over & out)

caroline waited on the front step the
entire 13 minutes he was gone

it was a delicious lunch
and i have visions of starbucks & a times next saturday morning

(safety patrol note:
subway, starbucks & the newsstand are
all around the corner on our block.
you don’t have to cross any streets)

lower manhattan

30 . June . 2007

battery park today
to see the statue of liberty &
be grateful for the provisions for
the ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free’

[our subway stop, federal hall & the stock exchange]
[love that subway design]
[see the statue in the background?]


[clever advertisement for the new tiffany's next to the stock exhange]

ps – i popped into daffy’s for a moment
while cory & the kids were savoring some ice cream.
i saw possibly the most beautiful italian little girl’s
dresses i’ve ever laid eyes on.
il baule di elianne is the label.
oh, my. the fabric. the detail. the design.
if only i could find one on ebay…

weekend movie review

29 . June . 2007

ratatouille‘ – 5 thumbs way up

betsy’s may be up only because of the m&m’s
we had at the movie theatre
caroline’s may be up mostly because she got
to ride the escalator up and down & up and down
nathan, henry & i thought it was very clever

‘a mighty heart’ – see it or read the book; they’re
nearly  identical.
she’s a strong woman. such a tragedy.
and i think angelina pulled it off impressively;
her beauty blends into the character
but doesn’t overwhelm the screen.

cory & i are going out tonight,
so maybe we’ll add a 3rd movie to the list.

ps – lisa’s in hawaii


28 . June . 2007

yesterday was nathan’s last day of school.

the celebrating began today with a
walk down broadway,
apples & cider at the green market,
sauntering around the fountains at columbus circle,
straight into the heart of times square.
t o y s
u s

four children + the crush of times square + a massive toy store =
a cheerful, squabble-free outing

(the sweaty walk took a bit out of them, eh?)

9 wks of summertime glory to enjoy
before school begins.

n.jpg nnnnnnnnnnnn.jpg
after you, into the sprinkler;
uncle jacob comes for a visit

this baby wears them o u t

happy birthday, abby! the party was in strawberry fields.
betsy swipes a drink.

party envy

28 . June . 2007

sometimes as i’m working on citywrites
projects i develop a case of

parties in the hamptons,
an anniversary gala in a mountain house,
a wedding in a castle in australia,
or the 16th birthday party on a
rooftop garden in the village with a
band i’ve actually heard of.

the other night as i was writing this menu card
37 times (oye!), i got hungry.

“bibb lettuce with tomato and avocado,
proscuitto with green goddess dressing

chicken saltimbocca with lemon sauce
portobello mushroom lasagne
roasted asparagus

lemon chantilly cake
double chocolate cake”

those are for a surprise birthday in california
this weekend; she’s going to be one happy
birthday girl. vera wang paper (luscious),
unexpectedly surrounded by her family & friends, whew.

to keep me awake & focused,
cory was reading aloud to me.
first from utterance of the heart where
he was reading in an affected tone–i cannot
laugh or my handwriting goes wacko–and
intentionally butchering the greek words. nice.
so he switched to life together where he
was half reading, half commenting.
like to have drove me nutso, that boy.
with friends like that.

cookie mag’s list of favorite sites
whole foods gets it right

27 . June . 2007


nathan came home with this
tucked in his pocket today:

Dear Exxon mobil,

Is it true on march 24, 1989,
the Exxon Valdez crashed and
spilled if so in the future I myself
and all things that swim in the sea
ask you to make your tanks stronger.

Nathan Cates
8 years old
2nd grade”

shiny happy voices

23 . June . 2007

the cates’ boys are on a road trip.

first stop, the staten island yankees game last night.
then on to the hinzman’s beautiful house in
newport, rhode island.
a quick sleep & then off to pick up uncle jacob
n&h were practically screaming in the phone:
boogieboards!sandcastles!bowling!’kj’s cafe’!

a swell adventure, indeed.

thanks for the splendid loan of your minivan, simmons’.
a dvd player? automatic sliding doors on both sides of the back?
things have come a long way since our blue volvo station wagon.

[clever reversible doormat]

[i'm thinking these might change my kids' lives]

could have been worse

21 . June . 2007

big c on the mic – the original ‘big dr’, thank you very much …

a couple of notes – first it could have been worse, they could have done an endoscopic procedure, had trouble and inserted a tube that stuck out my nose for a couple of months in an attempt to flush the drain tubes, then those could have failed and then I would have needed the same surgery anyway – the mental picture of having a tube hanging out of my nose which required a syringe of fluid to be pumped down it every few hours is not attractive.

second – i guess this is not as big a surprise for me since i’ve been wrestling with the idea of requiring an invasive surgery for two months now – in some ways it is a relief because the thing i dreaded more than a surgery was an uncertain course of care which dragged out over month after month with no clear direction in site. i actually prefer that the doctors seem confident that i need surgery (even if it will knock me down a bit harder) rather than a lot of confusion and hypothetical scenarios and more trips to drink the nasty ‘berry smoothy’ flavored ct scan contrast.

over the last few months a theme has evolved for me through several scriptures – while in the hospital tim read psalm 37:4-7 to me which says we can trust in the Lord and he will act, but we need to be still and wait patiently for Him. After I got out of the hospital charlie read Isaiah 64:1-4 to me which ends with “no eye has seen a God besides you who acts for those who wait for him.” These timely words were a refrain of the end of my favorite Psalm (27) where it says, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” I always appreciated the repetition as if I was too slow to understand the first time (or more likely too proud to understand the first time)

The theme seems clear: we can trust with full confidence that God will act to restore health and justice but have to give up our demand for instant gratification or even scheduled gratification. I doubt you are getting the lesson to the same degree I have been recently – but I have utter confidence that the Lord will take action to make things right, and at the same time that I absolutely don’t deserve to dictate a timetable on his gracious actions.

I would be grateful if he could spare me the tube out of the nose thing – Amen

21 . June . 2007

big surgery
big scar

those are the main words i remember
from cory’s call to me a bit ago.

the big doctor called to let him know
that it’s kind of a worst case scenario.
the pseudocyst is full of debris.
(aka toothpaste)
bypass endoscopy-anything &
go for the gold.
(remove pseudocyst & gall bladder
in one fell swoop)
he said to expect 6 days in the hospital
and 3-4 weeks at home.

we’ll claim henry’s verse from ps 138,
‘though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life…
with your right hand,
you save me.’


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