Wednesday, December 23, 2009

greetings all around

Merry Christmas, all, may your liturgies flow seamlessly to their conclusion, may your hearts be light and your parishes at peace!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Dear all, in haste between services, but I confronted a typo on Friday that I had honestly never seen before (having become INURED to "the Herald Angles" et al., right?) -- this was a splendid new hymn title: "Whole Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night"

Don't be messin' me up with no fragmentary shepherds, there, friends.

Wholeness to all you shepherds out there, this week and always.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Temperatures hereabouts rose today to a balmy -17 C, it felt WONDERFUL.
Sunday and Monday, however, were something else again. Saturday was quite cold -- I took the bus to work, caught a ride home with Wonder Assistant...
And Sunday...I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and looked out on a street full of thick, still, fog. Arctic fog. Polar fog.
I set the thermometer out in the mail-box on the front porch and checked it 15 minutes later. It's the dial type, so not desperately accurate, but the needle was sitting against the pin below the lowest number, which is -40 (the point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales coincide)- I feel fairly confident that it was at least "fifty below..." given that there was ICE on the inside of the windows half the height of the panes. Ice on the inside of the front door, ice on the lock, ice on the screws that attach the knocker...
I went out and tried to start the car. Gallant noises from under the hood; but no "catch." Came in again, called a cab company and ordered a car for 7 a.m. Got ready for work. Cab arrived about 7:20, not bad, and took me swiftly and warmly to the church.
Where, in the fullness of time, we baptized two adults and four babies, giving Wonder Curate his first hands-on experience. He did well with the adults, with whom he had the primary pastoral contact...and was charmingly awkward with the baby he baptized. He was all genned up on the "football hold"--in theory--but had not been prepared for what to do when the parents, um, "fumble the snap" as it were. (No, he didn't drop her, but he wound up with her head in the crook of his elbow...when his own wee one arrives in January, he'll have lots of practice in swapping little people end-for-end, we know.
Despite the ridiculously savage cold -- Prairie Metropolis was, allegedly, the coldest place in North America on Sunday -- we had a church FULL, and happy with it. Much joy. Pretty cake at the coffee-hour and they saved me a corner piece!
A ride home with offspring (offspring whose cars live in a heated garage, pshaw, I say).
Contemplated the plugging in of Harriet's block-heater. It occurred to me that three short blue extension cords end to end do not, probably constitute the most efficient method of transferring electric energy. Especially when at various times I've driven away dragging at least one of those blue cords -- with the result that its three prongs are all skewed...hard to get good contact that way.
SOOO... rationalized the arrangement of extensions cords and apparently achieved contact, because on Monday, oh hallelujah bananas, the car STARTED for me on the first try. (Granted, the weather had warmed just a bit as well.)
And I took advantage of mobility to get myself a new, dedicated, block-heater extension cord...which fits snugly to its connections at both ends. All is well.
And of such small beer is my life composed.
Ecumenical planning sessions...packing up office...Christmas communications...and other things, many of them pleasant!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

O Lord, lettest thou thy servant start her CAR, and her mouth shall show forth thy praise -- also great clouds of vapour.

Minus Thirty C this morning, friends, something colder than twenty-below F...great clouds of exhaust-mist in the streets and ice on the inside of the windows at home extending several inches above the sill.

To these expedients in measurement are we driven, after the windstorms of last fall blew the thermometer off the side of the house. (Getting into Al Sleet territory here, I figure -- you remember the "hippy-dippy weather man," God rest him?)

However, Harriet the Echo started after minimal preliminary groaning (mem to self, replace extension cords for plugging in block heater) and we are HERE at MH & U awaiting baptismal candidates for rehearsal at noon. Baptisms tomorrow, huzza!

Wonder Secketry very busy this week with Christmas prep and seasonal prep and the purchase of a new vehicle, the timing belt having "gone" on her car this week, and not quietly either, apparently in its death throes it flailed the snot out of the rest of the "works" -- I use these technical terms for the automotive engineers out there.

Dropped in on a dermatologist yesterday VERY early, oh-dark-thirty, to receive good news that the "place on my face" isn't anything and isn't going to be anything, but we'll just have it off anyway, a little liquid nitrogen clears us of this deed, so to I have a temporary and totally painless blister.

Which may preclude the determination of the Wardens to have a valedictory photograph taken (for the Wall of Rectors) before I depart at the end of the month...

And with the mercury where it is...I reach into the other end of the coat-closet for my Mom's mink coat, PETA be damned. My father loved my mother very much for over 70 years, and my mother did not want me to be cold in the winter of my years, and that, to my mind, is justification sufficient for this politically incorrect wardrobe choice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

feline helpfulness...

Today, this is the only image that does justice to my state of mind...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nope, hasn't happened here yet!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


EXACTLY as pictured!!!
When I came into MH & U this morning, I found on my computer a little Iso-Flex hand-exercising ball-thing--you know, like a small balloon filled with wee beads or sand or something--as recommended by my Dr. for the arthritic thumbs..

And with it a note, as follows: "Use it wisely, use it well; target carefully, & throw like hell".

Sometimes one does feel quite, quite loved.

blessedness is...

Doctor's appointment yesterday morning. The clock-radio came on just in time to tell me all about troop build-up in Afghanistan. I shut it off and went back to sleep and slept in until 2 minutes, 2 actual minutes, before I was due in the Doctor's office. She was running later than I was, so it wasn't critical. Summation of Doctor's assessment, I'm wonderfully healthy for the shape I'm in.

I also confirmed that Taize chants repeated under one's breath are more than equal to George, the auto-blood-pressure-reading-mechanism...

Went home with my medical paperwork in hand to elevate caffeine level, just in time to take phone call from opera-going friend with a most happy message: "I have two tickets for Emanuel Ax. Tonight. At Colourful University. Are you on?"

I'd seen the concert notice in the paper, thought wistfully, "Pretty snazzy concert, there, for Prairie Metropolis and one of the smaller venues...sigh" -- so I was definitely on.

He played Chopin, Schumann, and more Chopin. Plainly, it is time for the Rambler to know more and hear more Schumann (a blank spot in the collection till now).

Oh my goodness gracious. I think three times, maybe, in my life, I've been carried away by a live musical performance...once when a young clarinetist played Mozart for the University Women's Club after their annual banquet (and the wine may have had something to do with that); once when Leonard Rose played the Richard Strauss' Don Quixote Suite with Prairie Metropolis Symphony; and once, last night.

Reflecting this morning on the power of music to "decentre the self," as they say.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday again

...and potentially the Productive Day of the Week.

Marathon Vestry meeting last night -- 3 hours and 45 minutes -- which is a brutal absurdity, but the good news is that nobody shouted or pounded on the table or got up and went home mad. Or wept, or insulted anybody else. Just a LOT of stuff to get through, including a conundrum about supplementary funding for our African family which seemed to become ever more convoluted as we went on.

Also the budget in draft form for 2010, which had to do, in part, with lines for stipends for Wonder Curate, and Theoretical Interim Person, and New Rector. When we got to the budget, therefore, Wonder Curate and I rose up and adjourned (or maybe prorogued) into my office, out of earshot. And drank sherry in an impeccably Anglican manner.

After while they called us back. And we ground on towards adjournment.

Slept soundly, after finally getting home; up this morning and to a meeting for WOP4CU ("Week of Prayer for Christian Unity")with barely a quorum of other ecumaniacs ("Let's ask the Society of Friends representative to lead us in silence"); then flew past the diocesan office and dropped off my Official "I'm so outa here" Letter. But did not escape before being accosted by Diocesan Treasurer with the glad cry, "It'll be all right." There are few things I would rather hear from the Diocesan Treasurer, than "It'll be all right" -- even if I have no idea what "it" is. The "it" in this case is a project to do a bit of ecumenical and international travel in January, and to listen to Notable Persons at the destination point. Very exciting: details anon.

Back to MH & U for a meeting with the newly selected editor of the Parish Clarion (newsletter) and to review his ideas for the initial issue under his leadership, NOT a Christmas issue but a New Year and New Beginnings issue. Sounds very exciting.

On the phone...with this one and that one.

We did Lessons and Carols on Sunday night with our High and Smoky friends from downtown. It was sumptuous, as was the potluck supper that ensued. Although for anybody with a phobia about meatballs, the supper would have been a bit of a shock. I think there were eight varieties of meatballs on the buffet. (Little Old Lady: "I think I'll just have one of each...").

It has cooled off here, temperature oscillating back and forth across the frost line which keeps the streets and sidewalks INTERESTING.

back to filling out baptismal information forms. I think we may have at least another half-dozen candidates on the 13th. Happiness is.

Instructed Eucharist on the 6th, so no sermon...

Endless paperwork...