Thursday, December 27, 2007


It is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of the ungodly, or we are told, at least, not so?

And so this evening (I didn't manage to make good my escape from the office in time) I AM the doorkeeper, in charge of jumping up when the buzzer sounds, to admit a whole retinue of young singers -- well, young = twenty-somethings mostly. They are here to rehearse.

Every year on New Year's Eve, Most Holy and Undivided hosts a very special concert...the group assembled first ten years ago in support of a doctoral candidate in choral music who was specializing in the music of Pierre de la Rue. (The fun part of advanced work in choral music, as I've come to see, is that one needs collaborators!!!)

In the succeeding years although the members of the group have scattered hither and yon around the planet in the manner of their generation, they somehow manage to reassemble in Prairie Metropolis around about Christmas...and as they're all here anyway...why not have another concert?

The music is generally speaking either "early" or "contemporary" -- a cappella -- there is champagne and Ghirardelli chocolate in the intermission... and over the last six or seven years this has become a very hot New Year's Eve ticket indeed, in these parts.

They're all in the nave, not far from where I sit, getting properly "tore in" on a Kyrie. And they will rehearse intensively from now until Monday evening, when the place will be packed to the doors. Their concert always ends with an audience-participation version of "Auld Lang Syne."
I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Good morning to all!
A very Merry and blessed Christmas to everybody!
God bless us, every one!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

here we go

Driving in to work this morning under a BIG, FAT, FULL moon...casting great shadows in our yard in spite of "city lights" all around us. Pretty excellent stars, also. We had a tactful dusting of soft snow overnight... Number-One Son shovelled the walks in the wee small hours...
The faintest promise of daylight in the southeastern sky.
I think we're ready.
Field Marshal Viscount Slim ("Slim of Burma" if any WW2 aficionados are reading) used to say that all engagements with the enemy were fought uphill, in the rain, at the point where two or more maps joined. Christmas is a bit like that: uphill, in the snow and ice (at least in this hemisphere), and at the point where two CALENDARS join, just to remind us that life is real and life is earnest and we weren't put here to enjoy ourselves; or at least, not MERELY to enjoy ourselves.
May you all have the right calendar in hand when needed over the next two weeks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


I'm thrilled.
The national pension and continuing education office exerted themselves and yesterday in the mail, among the Christmas cards, was a cheque representing reimbursement for a summer course I took two years ago. In Rome. Which is partly why it took me so long to send in my claim. Like...SURE this was continuing education. Not a holiday. Nope. Education all the way, yup.
Anyhow, blessings be upon our much-maligned bureaucrats down there in National Hindquarters, Christmas is now FULLY FUNDED, folks -- or as my beloved Dad used to say,
"Throw the cat another canary, the heck with the expense!" (Not just the cost of the course, but the plane fare also...huzza!)
I sally forth this afternoon to find mildly staggering gifts for the offsprings. Cuz they're first-rate offsprings.

Friday, December 21, 2007

turning it around

A week or so back I decided it was time to be deliberate in taking vitamin supplements daily, bought myself one of those little weekly seven-compartment boxes (which the Daughter Unit mocks mercilessly as a sign of senescence)...I don't know what set this in motion, perhaps consulting with the optometrist about nutrition and vision. His advice was very common-sensical.

It's too soon to be confident about this, but yesterday I was aware of there being a LOT more energy at my disposal than has been the case for a long time. Usually when I get home ... everything falls off the to-do list except "the couch" and "the remote" and promptly lapsing into a kind of coma.

But not so last night -- I made a foray to the supermarket, bought a huge order of groceries, got them all out of the car (except the two frozen turkeys in the trunk, which are coming to NO HARM where they are -- it's ten below again) and into the house, cleared space in the fridge, got the perishables put away, loaded and ran the dishwasher, DEALT with a great pile of paper.

Maybe I've turned some kind of corner here. I did realize this morning that I had gone down to the front door and fetched in the paper and the milk without stopping to think about navigating the stairs! H'm! And I've got through 24 hours without outraging ankle, knee, or hip.

Or maybe it's just thinking about what holiday baking I could, realistically, do this week and next, that has improved morale.

Bright sunshine today in the bitter cold -- at the winter solstice here the sun gets no more than 15 degrees above the southern horizon. I'm not even sure of that number, it may be 11 degrees. Ah, but starting tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Favourite Things

I have been tagged for this by I am Chorus. So here goes...

1. Reading...I am a print addict.
2. Writing letters and receiving them.
3. Fresh clean bed-linen.
4. Long soaky baths that smell good.
5. Driving across the country -- it's hermitage-time.
6. The mountains, especially in the East Kootenays, especially Radium Hot Springs.
7. Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles (they all have SOLUTIONS!).
8. Sleeping in -- AND staying up irresponsibly late -- and waking up very, very early.
9. Prairie skies.
10. Baking bread (and eating it).
11. Making soup (and eating it).
12. My kids -- and their spouses!
13. My honorary grandson.
14. My six nephews and four nieces.
15. "A fine Episcopal mass in a modest and sunny sanctuary..."
16. "The St. Matthew Passion and a big choir leaning into it like sled dogs on the tundra."
[the last two I cribbed from Garrison Keillor, upon whom be peace]
Peace be upon you all, too.
I tag Yearning for God, Rev. Dr. Mom, and seeking authentic voice.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Home Stretch

Some more fun from Dave Walker, blessed be he. Find more cartoons you can re-use on your blog from

I stayed home yesterday, horizontal too, most of the day; I am still feeling the after-effects of the late-September sprained ankle, and Sunday those effects settled in the knee, the point I had to go and filch a stick out of the Sunday School costume cupboard just to be able to get about in the chancel at all.
A parishioner caught up with me in the evening at the annual Choir Party, and lent me the very stylish walking stick her son had made for her, during some bygone incapacitation. Her take on the situation I like: "if we have to be in pain, we can at least be elegant."
So with everybody's urgings ringing in my ears, in four-part harmony, I took Monday off. Our office is closed on Mondays too, nobody picking up phone messages; I had stuffed my pager in the bottom of my bag; and last night at midnight #1 Son said, "Mom, I think your purse is vibrating..."
Oh help. Four ignored messages. Today is catch-up-and-apologize time.
The day's bed-rest was very helpful; and leaving the house this morning I "stepped funny" again and twinged the knee once more...this is so very boring!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Parish Christmas Letter

Grace and peace to you all in this Advent season!

Someone has just sent me an email complaint from a mother who felt that she had become invisible to her children and her husband. They seemed to see, not a person, but a source of food, clean clothes, and assorted help: “Can you fix this?” “Can you tie this?” “Can you open this?” At other times she felt like a mere clock, a car, or a TV guide. The sense of “no one seeing” afflicts more than just busy mothers. You may remember the climactic scene in the movie Joy Luck Club when the dutiful daughter finally cries out to her mother, “You never SEE me.” And that same “no one seeing” is what drives the belief – we learn it young -- that even negative attention is better than none.
This sense of invisibility is especially trying in a community of faith: hard when we feel our individual efforts have no effect, harder when we fear that our collective witness as disciples of Jesus Christ is invisible to the world, and perhaps even to God.
The troubled Mom in my email is comforted when a friend gives her a beautiful book about European cathedrals, “with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.” The book reminds her that builders were often anonymous, and few lived to see their work finished, but they worked with passion because they believed that God saw – what even generations of worshipers would not and could not see, tiny details of carving, detailed mosaics, far over anyone’s head. “Why do you take the trouble over something no one will ever see?” “Because God sees.”
Part of the joy of this season, part of the blessing of the birth of Christ, is its assurance to us that “God sees”; like the mother in Joy Luck Club, who proves to her daughter that she DOES see, God sees us, and is delighted to see us—not peering anxiously to catch us doing wrong, but noting graciously all our fumbling attempts to want to be the people he created; all our stumbling choices for life over death, for faith over fear, for hope, for peace, for joy, for love. God, we may be sure, hangs around to see how it all turns out. God has the patience for outcomes beyond our imaginings.
So let us hope, make peace, rejoice, and love one another with confidence in the sight of God, walking forward steadily together into the New Year.

In this season, I wish you all joy and peace in believing!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh Christmas Three, Oh Christmas Three

I was tagged for this by Yearning for God -- so here goes:

What are your three favorite Christmas songs and who sings them?
"Let It Snow" was the first song I ever sang, according to my mother...
"Once in Royal David's City" -- whoever sings it (not me, cuz I'll be crying) -- a nice English boy treble is good, though!
"Of the Father's Love Begotten" --sung by any good choir

What are your three favorite Christmas foods?
Marzipan on or off fruitcake
Plum pudding and hard sauce
The whole nine-yards Christmas dinner thing -- turkey and stuffing and spuds and gravy and sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts and tomato aspic and whatever else can find room on the table!
OR Canadian pea-meal back bacon, cut thick, for Christmas breakfast.

What are your three favorite Christmas movies?
Miracle on 34th Street--the original version
A Christmas Story
When we lived up north, the mining company brought in a movie to show as a treat after the school Christmas concert, which was short; total enrolment in the school = six of us. And what they chose was a kind of musical hodgepodge called Carnegie Hall. It had a plot, which was unnecessary and foolish, but it also had wonderful cameo appearances by Lily Pons, Rosa Ponselle, Jose Iturbi, Artur Rubinstein, and who-all else. For a very long time I thought that was about the acme of cinematic art.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Let us now praise famous men

We had a memorial service this afternoon, only about 20 people at it, nearly all family or very near friends of an elderly man whose father had been Rector here in this parish before WW2. There were two sons and a daughter in that family; only the daughter is left. Their father was apparently the very model of the Muscular Christian ...brilliant, athletic, active, devout, vital...and shattered utterly by his experience in the trenches of the first World War. It is sobering to think that when he died in 1941 he was considerably younger than I am now.
We buried the younger son a few months ago. In a way I think his relationship with the church was always entangled with memories of his father in a way that wasn't totally helpful... his attitude was proprietary, certainly, but at the same time ironic and jokey. Or maybe he just didn't like ordained women.
The elder son I never met, but I've met HIS sons, and we got on very well. This man spent his working life in research on behalf of Major Mining Corporation, inventing all sorts of things that improved productivity and miners' safety. His relationship to the church seems to have been much more positive and straightforwardly devout.
SO interesting to contemplate.
We had a nice service with Holy Communion, 3 classic hymns AND the Nunc Dimittis--with the discreet and tuneful help of the Director of Music/Organist, I managed to sing it, to the chant by Joseph Barnby, which is just about the most basic, generic sample of Anglican Chant (which rocks) that heart could desire.
The readings were the Eucharistic readings for today -- Isaiah "on eagles' wings" and the Comfy Words out of Matthew 11. Lovely and consoling and Advent-itious all at once.
And the family have been generous. We ask for a donation to the parish for funerals/memorials, out of which we pay the musician[s] a decent honorarium. There is no "stole fee" for the clergy, funerals not being an elective procedure in the way weddings are...clergy do collect a fee from the specified donation for a wedding. So usually families then make a "gift" to the clergy.
And I admit it does come in very handy at times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

very much joy

On Sundays here we have two services, like many parishes of this persuasion -- paid organist, choir, modern liturgy at the later service; and at the early service the old Prayer Book, no choir...but, most unusually, a volunteer organist of very long service, over twenty-five years.
Each week he picks two hymns, one for an Offertory and one for a Recessional. He plays some hymn tunes by way of prelude; accompanies the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei, and plays during communion and during the ablutions. Most Sundays -- it's a nice example of "tacit bargaining" -- he and I come to the end of the ablutions neck and neck: he finds the tonic chord just as I set the burse back on top of the Sacred Stack.
And his music is GOOD: the offertory hymn is often an effective precis of what the sermon was supposed to be...his accompaniments are sensitive and restrained...his selections always seasonally apt.
Unfortunately, his health is NOT good: arthritis, asthma, diabetes...and what with ongoing physical discomfort, and plenty of practice, his outlook is usually of such gloom that Eeyore is a Mexican Jumping Bean in comparison.
Matters came to a head about a month ago; he was too ill to come in and play for us one Sunday, and later that week I had a carefully typed letter from him resigning his post as of December 30th, Advent and Christmas being his very favourite seasons, hymnodically speaking.
But last week he asked whether he could prepare a Processional Hymn for December 30th, as well as the usual two; and this afternoon he met me in the hallway and said, "You know that letter I sent you? Could I ... have it back?"
I said I thought he could; we both had recourse to our handkerchiefs; and then he went and practised on the organ, and if ever I heard happiness in music, that was it.
God is entirely good, and the people of God have their moments too.

edifying in the edifice

"The guys" who look after the building -- male parishioners in their mid-years and upwards -- are here in force this morning, charging about, putting various little maintenance and security thingies to rights. In the meantime they are bonding and fellowshipping and all that good kind of stuff. Serious technical discussion going on about the replacement of very high-up light-bulbs in the chancel arch--this is BIG LADDER work.
Presently the feminine counterparts will arrive, and knit, much to the same effect.
I've been asked this morning to help someone trace a private adoption from about 40 years back -- an adoption that may have been arranged through this parish. This is going to involve some very discreet consultation...
It's relatively mild today, no need to plug in block-heaters. Tomorrow we may get close to a thaw.
Arrangements are in place for tomorrow's memorial service, for the son of a former Rector (1927-1941); it should be quite small, mainly family members still living in Prairie Metropolis...but they've asked for 3 rousing hymns AND the Nunc Dimittis sung, so here's hoping the organist and I are in voice tomorrow afternoon!
Lots of paperwork still besetting us...

Monday, December 10, 2007

The week begins

A miscellanea, today.
~ first of all, it's milder -- ten above, Fahrenheit, this morning -- a long way from a thaw, mind you, but so much easier on people, and vehicles, than the below-zero of the past week. Some new snow also. Rabbit tracks in the front yard, but not in the back.
~ I took the first part of the morning for some domesticity: ironing, reloading the dishwasher, sorting bills to be paid, feeding the recycle bin and the shredder, cleaning the litter-box.
~ the old cat, as seen above, appears to be holding her own; we're not sure that her eyes respond to changes in light-levels quite as thoroughly as when she was younger; sometimes her pupils seem to be "stuck on fully dilated."
~ and the business of the church goes on. First of all, consultation with the music director and the band leader on microphones and sound board. Firm, clear, e-mail composed by music director for distribution to lectors and intercessors to leave the lectern microphone strictly alone...even though they pride themselves on their diction and their projection (and therefore turn the mike off, or point it the other way, or mess with it generally).
~ then the phone -- message about one of the parish teenagers who has been ailing for a month, nobody knows why, can we add her name to the prayer list. Message from a prospective bride asking for information. Message from a parishioner announcing we are sold out of international-aid Christmas cards, and do we have his correct financial information?
~ live phone call from elderly parishioner asking to have another parishioner's sister added to the prayer list as she starts treatment for colon cancer.
~ live phone call from elderly parishioner reporting that she has had a hard day: she attended the funeral of one of her bridesmaids this morning, when she went to put her glasses on one lens fell out ("and there I was, as blind as a mouse"), she went and got her groceries and took a taxi home, and why hasn't she received her offering envelopes for next year? (that one was easy, they haven't come in yet)
~ live phone call from another prospective bride planning a September wedding. E-mailed her our wedding policy brochure.
~ checked on activity on Facebook and in the blogosphere.

~ letters to write and a half-dozen phone calls to make, and some excavating of the top of my desk...clearing the decks for the week ahead.
~ there is also HEAT in my office, hurray, a respectable and livable 68. I was getting a little bored with 55...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Advent Two...

I don't think this shot is going to give away any identities; but this is my mother, and me, probably in the spring of '45. NINETEEN forty-five, that is, not 1845...

A good couple of services this morning, some new folks checking us out, some young people looking for a wedding venue...I always feel encouraged when they come and worship FIRST, instead of phoning to ask when the church might be "open." "Well, how about Sunday morning?" I ask...and have had them hang up in my ear, right then and there. Good rollicking Advent hymns; and St. Nicholas arrived betimes, and distributed chocolate coins to the good, and dog-biscuits to the "faulty" -- in this case a representative of the heating system in the building, and the tenor section in the choir. Much mirth.

Our new honorary assistant celebrated, leaving me "nothing to do but preach"...and that was sufficient...he does good liturgy and is a quick study of the local anomalies in how things are done.

Fun of the morning was the long-experienced lay assistant, reading the Intercessory Prayer from the prayer book at the early service, who besought the Almighty that all Bishops, Priests and Deacons might "rightly and DULLY administer thy holy Sacraments." Duly, you goober, the word is DULY. sigh...

We have survived the panic over WHY THERE IS NO HOT WATER; and the panic over WHERE ARE THE LEAVES FOR THE FANCY TABLE IN THE UPPER HALL; so I think I'll go home. The ladies of the parish celebrate WINE'N'CHEESE this evening, aka "whining and cheesiness" at which I had better make at least a token appearance...

and tomorrow is also a day!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

noises off

Today would have been my mother's 92nd birthday. These are some of the flowers that we put in the church in thanksgiving to God for her life.
At my desk in the afternoon of what has been a brightly sunny day, with a little more moderate temperatures.
A string orchestra of young people is at this very moment playing a concert in the nave...with considerable verve, if not perfect intonation. We have become a favoured venue for recitals and small concerts, especially since the new grand piano arrived a couple of years ago...a thank-offering from one of our couples to the glory of God and in gratitude for 50 years of a happy marriage.
(Ah, they seem to have got the pizzicato part all together, excellent!)
Heaps of work to do both here and at home before bedtime.
The banquet last night was fun, plenty of nice food...and there was a little three-piece band (with recorded rhythm tracks) for dancing afterward. It's a long time since I was asked to dance...I was flattered, but declined as gracefully as possible (having had hot packs on knee and ankle all afternoon).
The management of the housing agency begs ~~or cadges~~gifts from local merchants, enough for each of the attendees: gift certificates from the supermarket, vouchers from restaurants and cafes, little luxuries from the drugstore. Much hilarity when these are given out.
Tomorrow being the 2nd of Advent -- there will be a special visitor at the end of the later service; one of the tenors in our choir will impersonate the bishop of general mirth...
And the orchestra has finished up triumphantly with a truncated version of the William Tell Overture, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF WHICH a woman phoned to ask whether she could be baptized without actually, like, y'know, joining the church, "because like I'm not sure I would want to join a CHURCH, I just hafta be baptized..."

Friday, December 7, 2007

I can see CLEARLY now...

Decided to take today as a really-and-truly day off ... so I launched myself into the morning traffic about 7 a.m., aiming for the physiotherapist at the far corner of the city. Having a choice of routes to the most convenient east-west artery, I opted for the one WITHOUT the level crossing...we have monstrously long freight trains in this part of the country, and I was already a bit behind schedule...I was only about a dozen blocks north of home, when I saw red and blue (police) lights strobing away in the dark ahead of me. (Prairie Metropolis is basically organized on a nice numbered GRID -- avenues run east and west, streets run north and south.) With my fellow motorists I executed a number of lane changes before we all realized this wasn't just a "squeeze left" or "squeeze right" situation -- the street was CLOSED. So we all detoured impromptu through the residential neighbourhood to the east, and eventually back to a major road. Before I got to my appointment the AM Golden-Oldies station had announced: not a traffic accident, but a homicide in the small hours of the morning, passenger in one car shot from another car, after an altercation outside a nightclub at Too-Big Mall. Grim and sad and frightening. And becoming all too frequent hereabouts.

After physio, seniors' early-bird breakfast at the department-store diner...and then back across town to pick up new eyeglasses. A big improvement, although the floor, and the computer keyboard, and my lunch (and my hands and feet!) all look rather bigger than I'm used to.

The optometrist is in the art-gallery end of town, so I used up the last half hour on my parking meter wandering in and out of galleries, looking at paintings...just LOVELY...and refreshing to the spirit.

Popped into the church office to check messages, emails, Facebook, blogs...and "the breadman" came by while I was here: a parishioner in his early seventies who married his childhood sweetheart about a year ago, en secondes noces, and has been incandescent with happiness ever since. He expresses this by giving people things...especially wonderful artisanal bread from the bakeries he and his new wife frequent. Bless their hearts. I have two huge beautiful round loaves to take home with fuel a little sermon-work this afternoon (interspersed with ironing). I have a "Christmas" banquet to go to later on this evening -- residents of three seniors' apartment buildings, staff and Board members. That should be pleasant and undemanding!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Celebrated St. Nicholas this morning with my minimum Thursday morning congregation. One of whom said, as she often does, "I do wish a lot more people would come to this service" but then she went on "But isn't it NICE when it's just us?"
And this was a morning when "nice" was at a premium, I admit. I'd just opened an email from a parishioner who went AWOL some time ago, without explanation; in response to my enquiry as to where and how she is, I got a tirade. In the interests of not whining, I'll omit the details -- other than that I'm accused of "grimacing" when, at a recent Bible study, she launched into a disquisition on auras, and people who are gifted and can see them etc. etc. Apparently my facial expression convicted me of being "ignorant and closed-minded."
I hurt. And I was glad of some "nice."
And I'm glad of blogging friends too. (If any of you are into auras, I apologize! and I assure you I'm holding my face very straight! Nary a twitch!)
We are promised a break in the weather by Sunday, it will be welcome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


A phone message last night that my new glasses are ready to be picked up. I think I'll go get them on Friday, the Official Day Off.
It is still cold, and it goes on snowing (TIDDLY POM), just a little, just enough to make the roads surprising all over again every morning.
Vagaries of the postal system -- I've had three successive issues of the Times Literary Supplement all in the last couple of days. The TLS is favourite in-bed reading -- nice and light, so if I fall asleep and drop it, it won't hurt me (unlike, say, the Larousse Gastronomique--ouf!)
In the most recent of the newly-arrived issues is a very good review by John Polkinghorne of books by John Cornwell and John Humphrys -- I like Polkinghorne's mind (hey! I agree with him, but that's not the whole story) and frankly at this point it is a comfort to find anybody on either side of the New Atheism debate with any detectable mind at all. Somebody pointed out -- maybe it was Terry Eagleton? -- that while the statements about religious faith and about Christianity made by people like Dawkins and Hitchens cause serious, careful, responsible Christian thinkers to clutch their heads in does the thinking, not to mention the behaviour, of a great many Christians...
I remember one of my students at Local University who said he couldn't understand why I was going to be ordained, when "everybody knew" that "anybody who has anything to do with religion, and, like, churches, is, sort of...well...DUMB." And he seemed quite intrigued by the notion that there was anything to LEARN or to THINK ABOUT in religious belief, at all--although flatteringly willing to take my word for it, when I assured him that if he ever really wanted to give his brains a work-out, I could introduce him to a couple of fellows named Rahner and von Balthasar, just to name two.
Now I have to write a letter to a dear elderly parishioner who is HONING to donate a stained glass window in memory of her late husband, and has set aside what she feels is quite a munificent sum, so to do -- and it is; but it would buy a stained glass window about the size of a cat-flap, and it's my job to point this out to her, gently and lovingly. Who's the patron saint of tact, does anybody know???

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

so what else is new?

Much encouraged by other bloggers, yesterday I declared a "SNOW MORNING" and didn't come to work until noon...I had time to read the Sunday papers (including the coloured funnies), sort some laundry, tidy up a bit in the kitchen, and drive #1 Son to campus on my way into the church.
Sunday evening was intense -- great turn-out for the Lessons & Carols, crackling good reading and roof-raising singing -- and then an absolute MOB for the potluck. We had set tables for 110, and had to find two more tables before everyone could be seated...AND there was food left over.
To my great joy, the folks from St. Fearfully High attended in large numbers and STAYED in large numbers, and indeed looked comfortable and happy and well-fed. It was most gratifying. These folks have tended to be more than a little isolated from the rest of the diocese for a number of's good to feel that we've broken that down just a little. Of course we didn't pose them any specific liturgical problems such as female celebrants, either. But it is good to know that we can do together, what we can do together!
And our friends from the Mothers-Against-Drunk-Driving had left us a couple of dozen white roses so we had flowers to give away to the kitchen volunteers at the end of the evening as well!

so this morning I tried the Spice Quiz, results below. I suppose "salt" is what I'm SUPPOSED to be, after all. Darn. I was hoping for "FENUGREEK" or something a little jazzier... Maybe all that 50%-50% is a reflection of the ever-lovin' via media too...maybe?

Your Score: Salt

You scored 50% intoxication, 50% hotness, 50% complexity, and 50% craziness!

You are Salt!

You may be bland, but life just wouldn't be the same without you. You're plentiful and you come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. You bring out the flavour in whatever you touch and have been the world's best preservative for millennia. You rock.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Sunday, December 2, 2007

colder than fludgeons, I don't know what a fludgeon is, or indeed whether they come singly! But I am given to believe that fludgeons represent a certain standard of coldness.
My mother used to say -- but only of a living thing, such as a child -- "Oh, you're as cold as a FROG." So I felt I was in familiar territory when I came to read Robert Herrick's grace,

"Here a little child I stand,
heaving up my either hand;
cold as paddocks [=frogs] though they be,
here I heave them up to thee;
that a benison may fall,
on our meat and on us all."

My sassy aunt used to say, "Colder than a witch's...ankles" -- and I was all grown up before it occurred to me that she had emended that phrase to make it suitable for family use.

It was TWENTY BELOW Fahrenheit outside my house this morning. And inside my car. And also inside my shoes, which had been in my shoe bag IN my car overnight. Very refreshing to put on when I got to church, wow.

At this point we are three services down and one more to go. Two Eucharists this morning. The Mothers-Against-Drunk-Driving Candlelight service this afternoon. My plan to make them think it was time to move to another church, next year, failed. "Oh, you always give us such nice words," they said. I was hoping for something more on the lines of "Skleros ho logos," but no. So I SUPPOSE we'll book them for the first Sunday in December again next year, sigh. Besides -- on what other occasion am I escorted to my prayer desk by an honor guard of police officers, including Mounties in full red serge and all? (Also "packing heat" but I try not to think about that.)

Speaking of heat, I do WISH these groups would not prop the back doors open (at twenty below) while they carry in their paraphernalia. And while they stand in the parking lot discussing who will carry in which paraphernalia. It makes me testy.

And now the final practice is underway for the Advent Lessons and Carols...the choirs of Most Holy and Undivided, and St. Fearfully High...
The lectern Bible is all marked with the seven lessons. We have readers, for all seven lessons. We have come to a consensus on how many verses there are to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."
There is no sermon, homily, address, or reflection, THANKS BE TO GOD.
And then we go downstairs and EAT, huzza. My orrechiette'n'shrimp'n'vodka-sauce casserole is warming up. I opted not to make the shrimp salad. Too chilly...and fludgeon-like.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advent it is...

I spent morning and early afternoon at a Quiet Day at a small parish in the outer 'burbs; about a dozen people, which meant everybody could find a hidey-hole of his/her own for the quiet times. Nice visiting over lunch; nice lunch too of the soup'n'sandwich sort. Morning prayer to start off, Eucharist to end the morning. In the quiet times I pounded a bit on tomorrow's two sermons... and excused myself mid-afternoon to come back to Most Holy and Undivided to get some things typed up in readiness for the morning.
Advent One is always somewhat fraught, because in addition to the two morning services, and the Advent (NOT Christmas!) Lessons and Carols in the late afternoon, we have become the preferred venue for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (known around here with moderate affection as the MADD Mothers). Their service is a kind of wake for the victims of drunk drivers...attended by police, EMTs, firefighters, correctional-service personnel (that's "jail guards," in case you wondered) and sometimes civic politicians. There is a lot of weeping and candle-lighting and usually some music, of a sort, and the clergy (that'd be moi) are asked to "say something spiritual." This may be the year I reflect on the place of PULLING ONESELF TOGETHER, FOR PITY'S SAKE, in the grieving process.
Time to go home and make my all-purpose, fills all gaps in the menu, special potluck supper salad: Curried Shrimp and Rice (with peas and raisins) Salad. "It's protein! it's carbs! it's vegetables! it's cold, so it must be salad!" If I were to put chocolate chips in it, it'd be dessert also. We have a major potluck supper following the Lessons & Carols...and I have night-before nerves that we might run short on some component thereof.
I found a message on the answering machine from a pleasant-voiced lady named Doris (not a parishioner), who was under the vague impression there was some sort of a concert here tomorrow. Called her back, explained about Lessons & Carols, pointed out there was a potluck, told her to bring scalloped potatoes. She sounded a bit nonplussed, but I figure sometimes you save time just by being flat-out DIRECTIVE in these situations.
Last night we were all at the cathedral for our bishop's final eucharist and leave-taking. Four months from now, God willing, we should have a new one. Or at least, know who the new one will be. It's a might interesting process, and not entirely free of politicking (yes, in the church).