Thursday, January 29, 2009


The parishioner I think of as "The Breadman" dropped by again this morning. Previously I asked him, as tactfully as I could, if he wouldn't mind bringing just a single loaf when he drops off our bread (this is an every-few-weeks largesse that simply expresses his entire joy in the shape of his life, right?), because the Rambler can't keep up with two loaves at a time.

So this morning, voila, there is the bread-bag again in my in-tray.

And Wonder Secketry reports, "he said he tried to get you just one loaf, but it was a pregnant one, so there are three buns in that bag as well..."

Words fail me!

more ornithology

I'm not perfectly sure, but I believe I saw a Great Grey Owl on my way home yesterday afternoon. I was in motion and so was it, so there was just one glimpse, but it was big, it was grey, it had blunt wings, and it was very rounded at the front end...
It's not uncommon to see Snowy Owls here in the wintertime, especially in the open fields near the airport, but I don't think I ever saw a Great Grey here before.

It's actually quite funny. I'm not really a birdwatcher; that is, by birdwatchers I'm not a birdwatcher. I wanted to be, when I was a kid -- earnestly equipping myself with a pair of binoculars bought from an ad on the back page of the Star Weekly (I leave the rest to your imagination), and a book-club edition of Audubon's Birds of America. NOTE: if anyone out there is thinking of providing Audubon as a field guide for use by a myopic eight-year-old -- PLEASE DON'T.

But I like birds. I'm glad when I see one. And I'm extra glad when I see one I haven't seen before.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

apocalyptic musings

For some time, #2 Son and I have referred to the Three Horsemen of the (Domestic) Apocalypse; in other words, the factors that could precipitate the total implosion of Tether's End as an abidable abode. They are identified as "Dirty," "Dark," and "Broken."
The missing fourth has irritated me. Last night I realized it has to be "Can't Be Bothered."
So now I have the complete set. It's good to be clear. Even if only about the nature of the foe.

And in celebration...last night, having finished all the ironing, I sat in my new (to me) platform/glider rocking chair, purchased at the parish silent auction on Saturday, and rocked to and fro, eek eek eek eek, until I was too drowsy to sit up any longer, and then I turned off the television and WENT TO BED properly-- and did not lie down on the couch instead. That's ONCE. "The journey of a thousand miles..." etc.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I caught sight of an actual RAVEN on the way in to work this was strutting about in a parking lot, taking jabs at some frozen lump of Nameless Gurry or other. I thought I had heard a raven the other day -- it may have been the same one. I don't remember seeing them hereabouts in the winter before...maybe an effect of climate change?

We have lots of other Corvidae: magpies all year 'round, and crows in summer; more remotely, blue jays, of course. We also have several breeding colonies of leukanistic magpies...which I've never found mentioned in any of the standard bird books -- have you? They're pale -- not albino -- but all the parts that are black on a regular magpie are pale bluish-grey. Very handsome and unusual.

Feeling a wee bit jaded after a very late night sifting through accumulated piles of PAPER back at Tether's End. The Rambler got a letter from Her Majesty last week, saying, in short, "whisky tango foxtrot, Rambler, we have not received an income-tax return from you for 2007, and We Are Not Amused."

So I spent a long evening excavating for the utility bills of the last two years, which are a factor in what I can claim for housing allowance in lieu of a rectory. (For non-Anglicans, Rectors live in the Rectory; Incumbents live in the Incumbrance.)

"The way of the slothful -- also the disorganized -- is as an hedge of thorns," but by the grace of God, ALL the pertinent forms were found, and that means, oh HUZZA, that the Rambler now has a running start on her tax-return for 2008 as well.

Also trying to write the Annual Report, as fodder for the Annual General Meeting in a couple of weeks. A loathsome task, aggravated by the fear of omitting some worthy volunteer from the long,long list of those-for-whom-we-are-thankful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I made a late start on the day because I turned on the television and was instantly transfixed by the run-up to the inauguration.
Nonetheless...written most of the Annual Report, not ever a favourite chore, but the bulk of it is done; I have one chapter of a book to read for an evening course I'm teaching in two hours (!!!) -- I like my material to be FRESH, I keep telling myself -- and about 15 phone calls to make about a meeting tomorrow.
After that meeting the week should, should, could, MAY slack off just a little bit.

Sunday was a glory day. I need to post this. As one of Kipling's characters said, "I gloat! Hear me!" I returned to Other Beautiful Church In Town,where for four years I had been curate/Clergy Assistant. I was deaconed and priested while I was there, after a very long process that several times took me out to the edge of despair and even, like Wiley Coyote, a little beyond.

Other Beautiful C.I.T. is celebrating its centennial this year (I helped celebrate the 90th anniversary while I was there), and is inviting back all the "extant" former clergy to preach. Sunday was my turn. I didn't realize I was "opening the ball," but I did. New clergy, but at least half the parish were folks I had known.

Got there early (they kick off at eight, about half an hour before MH&U, so I was anxious about over-sleeping)...and the first person through the front doors behind me was the kind of dapper, elderly, reserved, taciturn gentleman who is the mainstay of an early service. Not a crony or a buddy-buddy of min during my time there; but his first words to me were, "Well, welcome HOME." And that just kicked off a 5 hour kissy-fest.

It was a joy and a grace to be able to preach on "call" and on the unexpected things that other people contribute to "putting the call through"...I told stories about how members of the parish had stick-handled me out of my Utter Ineptitude as a curate ...and they laughed and they cried and they shook their heads and then they like to hugged me to death.

And I wondered, by the time I tottered away to my car with a cheque in my pocket and my arms full of flowers -- what if I could carry this BELOVED state of mind back into the purlieus of MH&U? What would happen if I ministered in this "midst" like a loved daughter, instead of like somebody dodging sniper fire?

And answer came there none. Not yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

let it snow...

... and it is! My mother used to say that was the first song I ever sang.

A day anchored by an ecumenical lunch meeting today. Difference of opinion with High End Local Supermarket over whether the Rambler specified a 12 inch sandwich platter (suitable for 6 people) or an 18 inch one (oh come ON!!!). Needless to say they had put together the larger one. A reasonable "retail assistant" adjusted the price. We are content (and very well supplied with sandwiches).

Wonder Secketry is still off work for medical reasons, and I am not at all quiet in my mind about her wellbeing.

A small gathering last night to plan a Christian Education project between now and Holy Week, on the Seven Deadlies and some monastic-origin tools to combat them -- using Mary Margaret Funk, Thoughts Matter and Dante's Purgatorio and some ancillary texts like Kathleen Norris on Acedia and Ann Ulanov on Envy (Cinderella and her Sisters).

Now I have to make a kick-a** little flyer for this series.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Apologies for the long blog-hiatus. I Rambled myself onto the livingroom couch right after Christmas and spent many hours there in a TV-enhanced coma...

Although there is still a bit of a graveyard cough from time to time, I think I'm healthy again basically. And it isn't quite as dark as it was...and we've had a few mild days' respite from the twenty- to forty-below temperatures. And the willows along the edge of the University Farm are showing colour in their stems; it isn't spring, but it WILL BE spring.

The sole prospective candidate for baptism yesterday on the "feast of" bailed out on us last week, which left me seriously gravelled for a topic for children's focus. And then I remembered...I'm in my "nothing to lose now" year, so why not encourage the children to ASPERSE the adult congregation, by way of reminding them of their own baptism, all very healthy and wholesome??? Please note this was to be "yer actual with-water aspersion" -- other kinds of aspersions we have plenty of already, alas alas.

Now the last time I saw this done, in another parish long ago and far away, the younger contingent were provided with bunches of parsley for their aspersing, and entered into the exercise with vast glee and energy, much to the outrage of the rest of the congregation and the ill-concealed glee of the priest (not the Rambler, on that occasion).

Not so the offspring of MH & U. Careful dabbling of fingers in the baptismal basin (carried by the Rambler)...and very gentle moistening of foreheads up and down the centre aisle, murmuring, "Remember you are God's sons and daughters". And THIS congregation was thrilled and moved.

Which was a fine thing too. But some days you can't get a good outrage off the ground for love nor money...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Sitting all quietly in my office at MH & U, waiting to see whether anybody (else) shows up for the 10 a.m. Holy Communion... I rather suspect NOT, but the service wasn't officially cancelled, so the door is unlocked and the sign is out and the lights are on.

Frankly this morning I'd be not at all disappointed to say the Ante-Communion fairly rapidly and then skibble homeward and back into the Rambler Nest on the living-room couch.

Last night I think I found the perfect televisual accompaniment to dozing off and rousing up with a thick cold -- all three sections of That's Entertainment on Turner Classic Movies. Something very soporific about the rattle of tap shoes; and no problems with loss of continuity during periods of unconsciousness!

OK. I just heard somebody sneeze in the church. Best I go set the altar!