by Bil Aulenbach

Daily living

Skiing in Heaven

I do not believe in heaven and hell as places but as states of being.

Monday mornings are my idea of hell—too many challenges. I go to my spin class reluctantly, but by the time it ends, I’m in heaven—positive, upbeat, and raring to go.

Skiing is even better. My wife, Annie, and I (at eighty-two and eighty-eight, respectively) think fair-weather skiing is heaven.… Read more >

And the Oscar Winner Is—Violence

When Annie and I go to Lake Tahoe, we ski during the week, but on the weekends, we avoid the crowded slopes and either go to a movie or hang around the art galleries. One of our favorite galleries is owned by a Korean couple, both of whom are artists.

On our most recent trip, only the wife was at the gallery.… Read more >

Violence, Violence, and More Violence

Annie and I recently returned from a trip to Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland—the lands of our ancestors.

In Dublin, I read a news article that is almost unbelievable yet ever so believable in today’s world.

About two years ago, two thirteen-year-old boys brutally raped and murdered a fourteen-year-old girl. All were from wholesome families and seemed to lead normal lives.… Read more >

The Power of Quietude

In 1922, the grandparents of my wife, Annie, bought a cabin without indoor plumbing, electricity, or refrigeration located above Bass Lake in the Sierra Nevada in California. The cabin has stayed in Annie’s family ever since.

In late September 2019, Annie and I drove more than six hours from Irvine to the cabin to reminisce about all the wonderful summers Annie spent there since 1942.… Read more >

Don’t Split—Educate

When I grew up during the 1930s and 1940s, I had no understanding of the terms lesbian, nonbinary, transgender, gay (back then, it meant “happy”), bisexual, or undecided (pertaining to sexuality). I did know the words homo, fag, and queer.

I don’t think I knew anyone who was any of the above, and I only used those words in a pejorative way.… Read more >

My Pal, Pastor Paul

In 2008, Annie and I decided to leave the Episcopal church in southern California, which was most unwelcoming. We returned to the more welcoming St. Mattress.

One day, I was talking with a United Congregational pastor friend, and he asked what church I served. I answered, “St. Mattress.” He smiled but suggested that when Annie and I got too many bedsores, we might try Irvine United Congregational Church.… Read more >

Come See John’s Heart

I was reading the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, April 7, 2019, and this article caught my eye: “150-Year-Old Priestly Heart Tours the U.S.” I had to read the title again. Yes, that’s what it said.

Unbelievable!

It seems the real heart of a Roman Catholic priest, John Vianney, has been set in a little glass box with a cross on top and is touring the United States.… Read more >

My Ski Retreats

Annie and I recently went to Big Bear Lake, California, for three days of skiing. The conditions were idyllic: sunny blue sky, forty degrees, six feet of snow pack, well-groomed trails, and not many people.

In 1975, after living in Hawai’i for twenty years, Annie and I moved to southern California.… Read more >