Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Five: Characters for a Day

Courtesy of Paper Hangover, here's today's Friday Five...

What five characters would you switch places with for a day?  I initially read this to mean characters in books, but can use plays, movies, comic strips, cartoons, anything you'd like.  For bonus points, tell us WHY for each or some.

MaryBeth got me started with her  "Betsy" and reminded me of Understood Betsy (Dorothy Canfield Fisher) -- who went to live with country cousins, found family and found herself and her own competence.  A deeply, deeply satisfying story; I wouldn't object to being Betsy for a day!

When I was quite little, I used to try to go to sleep at night by putting together all the characters I knew into one story -- greatly puzzled that it just wouldn't work, even when they were all animals, like the Thornton W. Burgess critters and the immortal Uncle Wiggily.  A friend of mine -- her father was a publisher -- described how she and her siblings ignored Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg et al. whenever Howard W. Garis hove into view.

 The old rabbit gentleman was a bit too manic for me, but I would like to have been either the Fierce Pipsisewah or the Bad Skeezix for a day....
 My mother used to compare me to Zasu Pitts.  I'd never seen her, but I knew this was not complimentary.  Imagine my surprise when I first saw how lovely and charming she was (thanks, TCM!).  So I'd like to be Zasu Pitts for a day too.

And Lena Horne -- who wouldn't have wanted either those looks, or those pipes, or that spirit, for at least a day?  
 And who would NOT have wanted to be this gnaedige Frau, in at the very inception, and ultimately entrusted with the transcription and publication of that seminal work of military genius...Vom Kriege.  The epitaph she shares with her eminent Ehemann?  Amara Mors Amorem Non Separat.  Requiescant in pace.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Still My Refuge...

There is a page of notes here for a sermon; I have put away my little tote of groceries -- went out to retrieve jacket from a friend's house, remembered I needed MILK, got to the supermarket and found a lot of things I planned to buy on Monday already discounted, so I SCORED AGAIN -- I get absurd pleasure out of paying less than retail -- this time, about 17% on the total, with the total still big enough to earn a 5c/litre discount on gasoline on the next purchase.  Gas is 108.9 a litre at present  (4 litres to the gallon, approx.).

Not a bad day -- diocesan event at the cathedral this morning.  Diocesan synod coming up in October.  Delegates have been told they MUST attend a diocesan "Conversation on Human Sexuality" or they will not be permitted to attend.  (One might possibly discern a "win/win" choice, here -- but that would be sort of low and unworthy, alas.)

Survived the meeting, trying not to reflect that no house-cleaning was happening, nor was chutney being confected, nor cucumbers dilled, during the three hours we spent together.  The situation was mitigated by the presence of #2 Son Unit, in his role as  a delegate from Most Holy and Undivided.  We were in different Small Groups, but had time for a light lunch afterward during which we talked and talked and waved our arms at each other and agreed on a great many points.  This was deeply gratifying.

Then I decided to slide up to St. Curious Too in search of errant jacket, see paragraph above...not finding it, of course -- I did manage to remember where I'd left it, and then sloped along home by a new route, thereby managing to enjoy a small 'splore of the country-side, punctuated by a delicious and not over-priced ice cream cone.

Despite heavy clouds during the day, the sky is clear now, moon and stars prettily in evidence.  But it's not very warm.  In fact I was greeted upon awakening this morning by an unaccustomed voice -- "It is! It is! the furnace's opening roar" (with apologies to Lord Byron).

Tomorrow, basing the sermon on the Whole Armor of God.  Alternative Title: "If it weren't for the honour of the thing, I'd just as soon have Kevlar, thank you."  (Not really.)  I'm going to invite reflection on how we put on things, some of them material, some of them not, in order to be able to do what otherwise daunts us into paralysis -- or flight...what is protective, what confers responsibility, what motivates and focuses us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

something attempted, something done

Well, it's been kind of a fun day in the Interim Ministry department.  A lovely long confab with Marvelous Deacon filled the late morning hour...then Lunch and Lectionary with M Deacon and Fab Traveling Companion over Solomon, and the Temple, and the power of incense to knock clergy on their backs, and the status of "furriners'" prayers, and the whole armour of God, and the ever-lovin' bread of life YET AGAIN, and "Who you gonna call?" and all like that, all interspersed with munching on our own Desperately Healthy lunches.

Oh and during lunch -- phone calls.  St. Curious Too has more dang-nab phones -- land lines -- on the premises than any church I've ever entered.  So far I haven't found any phones in the washrooms, but EVERYWHERE else.  In consequence I had a fine conversation with a Victim Services lady in Herring-Choker Province, where they are fixing to incarcerate a young man found in possession of items stolen from the premises of St. Curious Too, back when (before my time).  Would we like to fill out a VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT prior to his sentencing?  So that has come, by email.  And then a call from a young man in search of a baptismal certificate.

Fortunately, I was able to tell him that it was on my desk and will be in the mail within 24 hours.  He and I had had previous conversations about the Catch-22 situation he was facing, and we with him: "We can't issue you a certificate because we do not have the baptismal register under our eye.  Nor can you be re-baptized, because we know you were baptized.  But we do not know that in a form or to a degree which permits us to issue a certificate.  But you can't be re-baptized, because" and a-la-main left, and around we go again.  

About the fourth circuit of the problem I bethought me of the old Book of Common Prayer, with its wise and pragmatic and pastoral provision for when the circumstances of a prior baptism are not clear enough to satisfy the priest.  Not its only liturgical recognition that STUFF HAPPENS, and the stuff that HAS happened, is quite likely to happen again, so let us have a nifty little ceremony, here, just to cover that eventuality.

The Book of Alternative Services sounds pretty raw by comparison -- coming out of an era when I guess we were still somewhat convinced that "nothing could go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong"  because we were all so clever and right-minded...

As it turned out, the Archives of Prairie Province had the register in question, and produced us a splendid document attesting to what is in the record, so our young man should be able to stand up and godfather his Roman Catholic friend's baby, and all's well all around.

And then, finally, a home communion visit with healing prayer for the couple who are filling my life with vegetables, after the manner of retired Prairie farmers of Slavic heritage.

Tomorrow -- day off -- will be a perfect ORGY of sugar, salt, vinegar, and Mason jars.  About six kinds of pickles, and chili sauce.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just a Bowl of...

Monday, and nominal Day Off – Vestry/Parish Council meeting tonight, however.  We have begun the transition process at St. Curious Too – the Rambler departing, fading gently out of sight like the Cheshire Cat, Fab New Rector arriving, all this happening in just about a month from now.

And then the Rambler has stipulated for a couple of weeks OFF.  A little awkward to negotiate vacation time from part-time appointment, but we’ve done it.
Time Off will probably coincide with … RENOS to Tether’s End.  The eventual response to the basement dampness;  it is just boring to be in such a panic every time it rains.  In the process there will be construction of two new “approaches” to the abode—an elevated deck on the east/kitchen side (at present I can if necessary exit the back door, but the first step is a doozie) …and a replacement to the original concrete front stoop.

This prospect all makes me very happy.

In the meantime I am spending the day in the kitchen.  Made a fine batch of cheesy baking-powder/sourdough biscuits…In lieu of buttermilk, I used a generous dollop of my new batch of yogurt, which is extremely tasty too.
And I’ve just pitted a generous four cups of local sour cherries (Nanking, possibly?), gift of a fruit-picking friend, with a PIE in view – double-crust type, for the freezer.

I have this relationship with cherries, and cherry pie, dating back to the winter 60+ years ago when my mother had included ONE CAN of cherry pie filling in her list of provisions for the winter.  It was all duly delivered, and midwinter she baked the cherry pie I had been drooling for for months.  She set it on a high shelf in the back entry to cool.  And the local red squirrel came and had a complete hey-day right in the middle of it, before she brought it in again.  Mom was not open to my suggestion that we eat all around the edges.  So we had no pie after all.  Oh, the bitterness.

Then after taking up residence here in Prairie Metropolis, I rejoiced in the availability of big black sweet cherries, in season, from Neighbouring Super, Natural Province.  I bought a cherry pitter -- the type where you push with your thumb, like a syringe.  And I pitted so many cherries for canning, that I pinched a nerve and numbed my hand and wrist (not to mention dying the whole appendage deep purple with cherry juice).

Onto this scene of Domestic Martyrdom (temporary) arrived one of the Spousal Cousins, with Wife.  Wife sympathized: "Oh, I had exactly the same problem from working the slot machines when we went to Tahoe last winter."

Never did manage to find points of commonality with that woman.   But I did go and buy a heavy-duty pitter, and have avoided further injury.

Trying to get space re-organized in the fridge to accommodate the provender I have acquired with a view to PICKLES.  It's time to go downstairs and inventory JARS, lids, etc.

There are two kinds of people in this world -- this is the polarity that cuts across generations, ethnicities, language, class -- there are those who know what a Mason jar is, and those who don't.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

starting over...

It's been a while.  Not sure I like the new format here into which I am supposed to insert my deathless prose, but here goes.

Some weeks, or months, back when, I fell asleep on the sofa after supper -- a habit I've tried to break -- and when I woke up in the small hours the television (still running) was about to show us the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Celebration from St. Paul's Cathedral.

So having had several hours sleep, after all, I decided to assume a more upright position and watch the proceedings.  You probably watched them too, or excerpts thereof.  Nice music.  Nondescript weather.  Pretty fair sermon.

But what got to me was the sight of the Queen -- lady in waiting having evaporated somehow as they got out of the Bentley in front of the Cathedral -- stumping up the long stairs behind the Lord Mayor... because what I could see was an 86 year old woman going to church all by herself, after all those long years, because "the old man" was in hospital and too sick to come to church with her.  How many dozens of them have I encountered since I began my ministry?

So I was feeling quite sentimental about Ma'am, and thinking about the infamous BOXES which she attends to every day, filled with state papers.

And it occurred to me that if she could do it, I could do it.  So I unearthed a suitably sturdy cardboard box; not having any red baize, or morocco leather, on the premises, I found a big scrap of the most horribly 60's citrus-coloured terry-cloth from a long long ago sewing project, and with a stapler and a glue stick I covered the box in this ugly, ugly (but serviceable!) fabric.  Eventually I found two surplus metal buttons, the kind on stalks, and attached them to the flaps that close the box, with a loop of elastic to hold them closed.

And this is how I deal with the mail, and the bills, and the flyers, and the great BLEAGGHHHH mass of loose bits of paper that infest and disfigure my life and my abode.

I hurled the whole works into the Royal Box.  And regularly, I tackle it.  The aim of course is to "handle each piece just once and be done with it"... you know the drill.

And tonight... I got to the bottom of the box.  Tomorrow will be a fresh start.  Hallelujah bananas, and God Save the Queen.