Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pentecost 20C -- got faith?

The point -- if there was a point of this sermon (notes below) was that the miracle done by faith is NOT the miracle of the spontaneously supernaturally uprooted mulberry tree.  The miracle is not moving the mulberry tree but moving the disciple[s].  The folks seemed to be happy with that -- and then we had a great potluck lunch.  There were little kids and even a three week old baby to cuddle...

Pentecost 20, preached at  St Swithin’s in the Swamp, October 6, 2013.

I speak with you this morning in the presence of God.  AMEN.
All summer and into the fall we have been reading in the gospel of Luke; and if we were going to put a title on what we’ve been reading, it might well be, “Things we wish Jesus hadn’t said.”  More formally, we might call them “The Hard Sayings…” – not necessarily hard in the sense tht we don’t understand what he means – sometimes hard in the sense that we are afraid we DO understand what he means, and we’re not sure we like it.  At the very least, Jesus upsets the disciples’ expectations, and our expectations as well. //a signal to pay attention//
This morning’s reading from the gospel is one of these passages.  Look with me for a few minutes at what happens.  The disciples ask to be given more faith.  What a natural, innocent, harmless, blameless request – the kind of thing one might well say in hard or challenging circumstances//lamentations//. 
But how does Jesus respond – does he say, “Why, sure, I thought you’d never ask” and comply with this Perfectly Reasonable Request?  Not a bit of it.  He is quite rude about their request, in fact.  He tells them they don’t have any faith at all (you can almost hear the “Huh”) and then he says something quite wild about a mulberry tree, and wraps up with a gratuitous scolding about something else entirely.
What on earth is going on here?  Something seems to have been wrong with the request!  1. What did they really want? 2. And why didn’t Jesus give it to them?
1.    He’s just told them about the obligation to forgive – and it’s a hard one.  So before they start in forgiving, they say, “if you give us enough faith, we’ll do it” – or, more likely, “if you don’t give us more faith, we’re not even going to try.”  “Increase our faith” turns out to mean, “give us more strength, more power ~~ make this task easier ~~ and then we’ll do it.”  “FAITH” is a kind of magic, a kind of superpower, that will keep the life of a disciple from costing us anything, including failure.
2.   And Jesus doesn’t give it to them; in fact he mocks their desire to do what they – and we – must do by supernatural means.  God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves.  That mulberry tree is there to demonstrate this.  If we want that mulberry tree flung into the sea, we can manage it without divine intervention, without extraordinary spiritual power… //lady evangelist story about new Christians wanting spiritual power – wouldn’t exercise what they already had//
3.   The word “exercise” takes us deeper into Jesus’ program here.  The disciples do need more faith (and often, so do we); and faith is a gift from God; but it is a gift like the other gifts we are given, such as a talent for music, or a capacity for athletic accomplishment.  None of these gifts comes as a wrapped-up, ribbon-tied accomplishment – every such gift is a gift of “potential” – not the finished expertise, or virtue, but something like “a kit” – some assembly is required; some exercise is required; some practice is required )Carnegie Hall story). Such gifts  never mere luxuries or mere ornaments, always given in response to need – courage, patience, only present where they are needed (in great fear, in great frustration)…  They don’t “make things easy” – they make us willing to confront what is hard.
4.   When we want to have the spiritual gift, such as faith, in its perfect form before we undertake the tasks that are set before us, we get the process backwards.  We have been given enough faith to start to be obedient in some small things – and by our obedience we find a) the limits of our faith[fulness] and b) the faithfulness of God toward us c)the increase in faith that we have desired – not in our own spiritual “easiness,” but in our capacity to be a blessing to other people, to our community, and to our world…

Thing One and Thing Two

In my most recent post I mentioned the Granddaughters (Thing One and Thing Two) and then thought, GOOD HEAVENS, it's time for up to date pictures.  So here they are: Annie at 19 months (nearly), and Lena at 10 months (just barely)... What's that zinger about "the lines have fallen unto me in very pleasant places?"  Yes.  And among very lovely creatures, too.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday Five (okay, okay...)

3dogmom has given us this prompt, for this week's Friday Five:
I’ve just returned from an extended road trip, a portion of which included travel through ancestral homelands. While I was gone our son’s first child, Hunter, was born, making me mindful of the gift that our roots can offer to us as we venture through life.  That juxtaposition inspires today’s Friday Five.
At a baby shower honoring Hunter guests filled out a card full of hopes and wishes for his life. Thinking about whatever new life may be touching yours (the birth of a child, a marriage, a new call…), choose five wishes from the following and do the same. (For instance, I wrote for Hunter, “I hope you laugh at your grandfather’s jokes.)
I hope you: learn, grow, remember, laugh, get, follow, aren’t afraid, love, respect, try to, never forget, become, experience.
Bonus: what hopes did someone in your life offer to you that have stayed with and inspired you?
Let us know in the comments if you play. You can leave a link old school if you want to be fancy, or you can simply cut and paste the URL, because that works on WordPress.

My wishes and hopes are for Thing One and Thing Two (the 2012 vintage granddaughters) -- but how do I keep it down to five? All right, here goes.

I hope you learn and go on learning as long as you live.
I hope you laugh whenever you can (and only cry when you must).
I hope you respect yourselves, and each other (and if there's any left over for Grandma that would be all right too).
I hope you never forget that you are tremendously loved, and tremendously loveable (because your RevGalBlogAunties can tell you, those are SUPERPOWERS).
I hope you aren't afraid of the world or the people in it.

There.  That's about it!
And I love you very much.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Back again...

Don't look now, but I'm blogging again.  Up at 5, blanched and peeled peaches (big BC freestone-type -- the stones may be "free" but oh boy, the peel wasn't) and put together a Dutch oven full of ingredients and made six pint jars of Peach and Raisin Chutney.  The jars all sealed.  There was a spoonful left over for me to enjoy with my lunch.  Jars are cooling on a rack in the kitchen.  Contentment.

I bought a half-case (allegedly, 10 pounds, but I think the fruit merchant was a bit generous in his measures) while I was at the downtown market in Prairie Metropolis on Saturday.  A full case was beyond me, I knew, in part because I was coming and going by bus.  As it was, I "blessed" the ones I had purchased before I finished wrastling them home.  I've eaten several "in the hand" -- and there's enough left still for at least a generous peach pie and something else, not sure what.

I'm in the "crack" between two ministerial assignments -- finished my happy summer stint with the parishioners in Intensely Orange -- Sundays only, one service, a 400 km round-trip drive through prime agricultural country as well as a small national park, so I had at least a glimpse of Bison bison athabascae  once a week -- and on the last Sunday at different points along the way I saw FIVE moose -- and at least three vast flocks of snow geese resting and fuelling up for migration among the stubble.  I'd seen snow geese before, back East on the St. Lawrence, but never on the western flyway. 

Pretty rich stubble this season too.  My summer congregation were, um, agriculturalists, and as we got on from August into September they began to smile very, very cautiously and mutter, "she...doesn't look too bad, this year..."  This unemphatic perspective translates into newspaper headlines about "Best Yields EVER"... wheat, barley, and canola...   I kept saying to myself, "There IS corn in Egypt yet..."  Must be irretrievably carnal-minded, I guess, but nothing improves a vista like the visible presence of (potential) GRUB spread over it.

So now it's time to get dug into St. Leroy's, here in town, half-time, while their Rector has parental leave.  The trick will be giving an honest half-time's worth of work AND NO MORE.  Still juggling that in my own head.  I'll see what the lay leadership thinks about priorities and necessities.

All this--and reading, and reading, and reading.  Working on understanding my OWN priorities and necessities.  I seem to have been doing that for a very very long time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sermon time again, with some very obtuse angles among the lections.

Isaiah here turns to a second “mode” of announcing God’s message to the people of Israel/holding up a mirror to the people of Israel (two-part process).  Here he chooses to sing them a kind of parody of a grape-harvest song.  You know the sorts of hymns we sing at Thanksgiving, “Bringing in the Sheaves” – what if we wrote a hymn about a harvest that failed?  What a shock it would be.  This is what Isaiah gives us here – the harvest God planned and planted for has failed.  He planted good stuff (very fancy grapes indeed) – he planned and planted for justice, and righteousness, “peace and plenty” – and what he has found instead are bloodshed and wailing and crying – very sour little mean grapes indeed.  So what happens now?  What will God do when his vineyard betrays him, lets him down, disappoints him? What is the plan now?
We hear that plan – and we hear it again from a different angle in the Psalm – now we hear the cry OF the spoiled vineyard, a cry for relief and repair and restoration.
I suggest to you that the two readings are like what we see with our two eyes – now we have something like 3-D view of the problem; we cry out for help for our own harm; and the harm that we have done or allowed to happen also cries out for help – for healing and repair.  We have met the enemy as Pogo said, and he is us – we are in trouble and we ARE trouble.  So mending the vineyard is not going to be a swift or simple business…messy, and painful, and a long chain of catastrophes and grief.
Now the writer of Hebrews takes a different approach (a thematic approach) to what we call “the history of salvation” – his attention is on the common element of faith/fulness in the characters of this history (far more than are mentioned here but so it is)… and therefore he focuses more on the activity of those who are in and of the vineyard, the people of Israel, those who have had faith in God.  We get a summary of the long struggle with the vineyard, but now we consider people, biographies, careers.  And the paradox of their struggle to bear good fruit, not to be obliterated by (all that preys upon the vineyard) is not resolved.  The job isn’t finished, in their lifetimes. 
Now all the way along, I think we are nudged to think, as we are reading, or hearing, “Oh this is about us.  This must mean us.”  And that can be pretty presumptuous, but there is a sense in which it is one of the right responses to Scripture.  Here in many ways we do see a predicament we recognize…we long for happy endings.  We want to see the problem solved, the answers complete, the wounds healed, the battles won, the treasure found…(maybe especially difficult in our time because we have been given lots of drill in being discontented)…and we don’t see that complete resolution (even though there are moments of great joy and great satisfaction).
And yet, says the writer of Hebrews, the promise remains, and remains trustworthy; the vineyard plan was, and remains, the good plain, the “best idea ever.” 
And the question comes back – how do we LIVE in the spoiled vineyard—we live in it in FAITH.  That means living among witnesses – all these characters who are our companions in faith – and our models of faith – and often our reasons to have faith.  In their company, we persevere.  We run our race…I think the image here is of something like a rely race, we carry forward what we have been given, without expecting tht we’re the “last leg,” that we’re going to make it all the way to the tape – what we have to do is take the good news of the kingdom of God, the promise from those who gave it to us, and pass it along; wht we’re not allowed to do is to head off cross-country, or decide to do shot-put instead, or quit.  This relay is like the labyrinth (ask the question????) – not a maze – but a confusing course where the only failure is to stop running, to stop walking, to stop trying to bring about what we will not live to see (olives)…
Our work is repairing the vineyard – but not alone, not all on our own – and therefore it is noisy, and divisive, and full of conflict.  That conflict, that setting us at odds with each other, is not the purpose of Jesus’ coming, but the inevitable result…how we respond to his coming IS judgement, not on him but on us…prayer of poor/rich in contrast.  And the conflicts that tear us are the human response to the nearness of the kingdom and the power of the promise, the vision of the kingdom…portents – blips on the radar – that are reasons to be more faithful, more courageous, more gentle, more hopeful…

Friday, June 28, 2013

Most of the time, thank you,

I may get to the Friday Five later on.  For now, taking a brief break from the battle with domestic ENTROPY and chaos-come-again.

Spurred by RAGE and weariness in wet-vacuuming something like 300 litres of rainwater out of my permeable basement this week -- recognizing that chore would at least be made much easier if it weren't so overfull of STUFF -- I have put THAT DAMN BASEMENT in a permanent position at the top of the daily to-do list.

Applying the principle of DO THE WORST FIRST...and the 90-MINUTE MAX principle...and any other of the current buzzwords that seem applicable.

In broad general terms.  I have work-space[s].  And I have storage space[s].  And storage keeps encroaching upon and taking over work-space.  Until there is nothing but storage, and I am walking sideways through it.  

So just at present I am fighting the Battle of Jars.  Not on the Plain of Jars ("megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos" thank you, Wikipersons), but in the Basement of Jars.  Although come to think of it, "megalithic archaeological landscape" is not altogether unfitting...

By "jars," of course, I mean CANNING JARS.  ("When I say religion, I mean the Christian religion..." etc.)  Or Mason jars.  Or whatever you call them in your tradition.

There are two kinds of people in this world, including in Canada, and they are those who know what a Mason jar is, and those who do not.  And between them there is a great gulf fixed, take it from me.

But there are also Usefully Huge jars which formerly contained mayo or peanut butter or pickles.  And are just too...imposingly throw out.  And there are other commercial jars that are Efficiently Tall and Slim for storing bit of things in the fridge (speaking of megalithic archaeological landscapes).

And there are those Evil Devious jars formerly full of purchased pasta sauce, which despite their one-piece lids are, in fact, actual Mason jars complete with cute designs in the glass and volume-markers up the side.

I don't want to talk about the baby-food jars.  I just don't.

I think my problem is that when my conscience was in a particularly unset state, perhaps, somebody came and left a big fat footprint in it, in the shape of a comment about how wasteful and cavalier 20th century North Americans are with CONTAINERS.  The idea being that if we had had to gnaw that peanut butter jar, and its lid, out of the primal soapstone with our own front teeth, we wouldn't be tossing it into the landfill with a blithe tra la la, the way we do.  So I have a COMPUNCTION, nasty thing, whenever I do.

In spite of all this dithering and casuistry, I have accumulated one Big Blue Bag of glassware and lids for the recycle pickup next week.  So Tether's End will be roomier by that much volume, at least.

back at it...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Annie's breakfast face...

"Dear Grandma, please make more yogurt.  Thank you."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just a minute, has anybody seen Wednesday anywhere?

 Well, this was fun, sort of... the day started out clear and bright and warm -- I admired it carefully through the window and then  flattened out again on the couch and, basically, slept all day.  Tottered out in the evening to hear a presentation on things Franciscan...which was stimulating and fun and interesting.  Not everybody among those attending altogether oriented toward what was being discussed or how it was being discussed.  There's a distinction, for sure, between, "open to learning more about" and "determined to get to the bottom of" -- and those who are fielding the questions are clearly aware of the difference.

Then I came home, pausing only at them there Arches to pick up a "meal," using the term loosely.  There are just times when nothing but fat, salt, and phosphoric acid will do the trick.

I think, I hope, I pray, that the "Ask the Matriarch" is recognizably posted for the morning... and so to bed, tomorrow being also a day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A busy sort of lovely day.

After a pretty good night's the living room in response to a strange proliferation of CHEERIOS hither and thither... Then got the kitchen counters cleaned, the dishwasher loaded, and headed off to the dentist for the second instalment of a three-stage cleaning.  My dentist has been my dentist for just under 40 years.  He is sidling into retirement...has taken on a new young partner and a bevy of new hygienists.  The receptionist remains the same, with a wonderful whooping laugh like a troop of cavalry crossing a tin bridge...
I dislike the tooth-cleaning routine but I have techniques for coping.  Two Tylenol (about 1/2 an hour before my appointment) seem to help.  And I tell the hygienist how gentle she has been, and how much I appreciate it.
Then home, a little, a very little, lunch (tooth-cleaning always makes me think, maybe intravenous is the way I want to go from here on), and then LAWN MOWING.  Brief frustration at trying to find the keys to the shed (the shed which contains the mower), but we managed that, and I was happy to use my NEW and very flexible 100-foot extension cord (electric mower)...It took me three or four sessions, with iced tea in between, but the front yard looks, if not good, at least INTENTIONAL.  And not so much as if "some kind o' widder-woman" lives here (my grandmother's label for a certain state of dilapidation and neglect).
And then got myself cleaned up and away to a wonderful dinner and glorious spiraling conversation with one-two-three charming gentlemen--life and art and dance and theatre and The Church and The Faith and national identity and lovely never-exhausted topics like that.
I have put the garbage out.  I am going to bed with some good reading.  Tomorrow is also a day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday all day long

It's late, and I'm about to fold myself toward bed, I think.  Yesterday was "plenty" -- preached three times, one sermon at the early service and a second sermon (different readings) at the second and third services.  And I cut cake world-without-end...after the services.  Very kind things were said, and there are roses...and then Ace Brother, who had been waiting altogether patiently, whisked me away "whisk" to our favourite Sunday-brunch place, and we ate eggs with pleasant accompaniments and then reformed the constitution, the church, the nation, etc. and so forth until, in effect, they threw us out.  Back to the erstwhile workplace to pick up my own vehicle and then home through the least credible entanglement of traffic barricades and obstructions and constructions and detours...

Fell down on the couch with a blanket and slept hard for five solid hours.  Got up and "went to bed properly" and slept for another seven.

So today has been pretty productive...suffice it to say two vacuum cleaners came into play.

Number One granddaughter arrived with her accoutrements just after three o'clock.  We had a long walk all around the neighbourhood in the pleasant sunshine.  I put her hat on for her.  She took it off.  I put her hat on.  She took it off.  There was kind of a RHYTHM to it...and then on the way home we went to the PLAYGROUND, where there are SWINGS and SLIDES...she laughs aloud at the sight of them (she's not quite 15 months old) and is overjoyed to "be swung"...and fearless about coming down the slide by herself.  

What else is in the playground?  A lot of very little people...and their we compared notes, bragged, etc.

Came home (enjoying most of a rice cake in fragments as we went along) and then she was definitely hungry.  She practically inhaled a banana...I have never seen such an appetite in one so little... and we played.  I have a number of oversized stuffed animals, and these hit the spot... good to know!  Great hugging and cuddling and patting ... then it was supper time, with the nice things her Mama had brought for her...and her Mama arrived and was able to snatch a little supper for herself before inserting Granddaughter into her jammies and away they went home.

Absolute bliss, but oh! boy! there are reasons why we don't have babies in our sixties, and my muscles are reciting them all tonight!!!  

Tomorrow will be grass-cutting day here, weather permitting -- and a quick trip to the dentist -- and a bunch of little fiddly errands -- and then a dinner party "out."

I am in between appointments for almost the first time in three and a half years...and enjoying the freedom.  Lots and lots of projects to do but everything takes longer than it used to, and a "clear week" before me seems like inconceivable luxury.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If this is Wednesday, it must be...Wednesday.

It's morning, I'm up, I'm washed, I'm dressed, I'm reasonably groomed, I've taken my meds, I am having a pretty good skim milk latte (having made a pot of espresso earlier) and anticipating some Enhanced Oatmeal.  Decided oatmeal-every-morning would obviate weary choice-making.  But it definitely needs help/work/thought etc.  Pretty sure I want to carry on with the additional sesame seed flax seed wheat germ wheat bran cracked wheat sunflower seeds* possibly unsweetened coconut raisins or even craisins cinnamon cloves and of course salt.  The Tabasco was an interesting experiment, but.  Thinking now along the lines of crumbs of dried lemon or orange zest. Artificial bacon bits, for now, no.

"The policy here" is to assemble all these good things, plus water, in the teeny-tiny oatmeal saucepan in the evening, and apply heat upon rising.  So dried enhancements, like the lemon and orange peel, have leisure to reconstitute themselves overnight.  Thinking further on this weighty matter.

*The theme of this cereal is "let's be moving right along here," as you see. 

In other news, coming to the end of my third part-time interim post-retirement appointment, and facing forward as confidently as possible.  Meantime, granddaughters continue shedding joy in all directions...and Beloved Famblies are all well.

Wrangling together a sermon on the Dedication of the Temple and the Faithful Centurion and the Astonishing Galatians.

Friday, February 22, 2013

FRIDAY, Friday, fridayfridayfriday...

Hello all from the bowels of the Public Library.  I am a bit distracted, there is a gentleman even older than I am at the next computer over, being instructed in Twitter by a Library person, it is funnier than the circus.  "GO, OLD COOTS (AND COOTESSES)!!!" I say.

I have a solemn promise from my Personal IT Wizard that I shall have a computer all working and re-stocked with files etc. by sundown tomorrow.  It has been revelatory, confining my pointless self-distraction Earnest Inter-Webs Labours to an hour a day, in the meantime.  An instance of Involuntary Simplicity.  Beneficial, too, I think.

Reading Doris Goodwin's book on Eleanor and Franklin and "the Home Front" -- it is hefty, slow going, but interesting--gave me a running start on the NYRB review of Oliver Stone et al., The Untold History of ...  I didn't know anything about Henry Wallace.  Now I do (I think).

Re-reading The Virginian, which I love.  "A middlin' doctor is a pore thing," etc.  Words to be going on with.

Off to do some banking and make some appointments and then home again and consider the rest of the day.  I did some mending the other day -- I have a very nice cozy pair of Haflinger (sp?) slippers but I have worn a fuzzy hole in the toe of one of them.  The design is of a sheep, so I mended the hole with green embroidery floss and then added some more embroidered "grass" for the sheep to be eating.  If I can remember how to do the lazy daisy stitch I may include a few flowers.  The result is not unsightly.  Not as unsightly as the hole, at least.

Did some housework yesterday and it must have made a difference as I had to empty the "big" vacuum cleaner three times before I was done!

And so it goes...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day

It is "Family Day," soi-disant, in Prairie Province -- cynics see it as "we needed a Monday off in February" and/or "Previous political figures attempted to compensate for inadequate parenting they provided by proclaiming a holiday in honour of families."  Whatever.  It is nice to have a Monday off particularly when the weather is not outstandingly horrid.

As it is a provincial holiday, not a federal one, the Post Office works, and we GET REAL MAIL.  Including some reading matter -- Jen Hatmaker's 7, or is it SEVEN?, and various magazines.  Also donation receipts to attach to the tax return.

Cleaning house, focussing on small areas i.e. about 18" square.  As long as I can see results heading to the curb on garbage pick-up day, I'm happy.

And doing some cookery -- made bread this morning from the sourdough basic recipe, with many modifications; the usual yield is two medium loaves, but this morning I made one loaf and a speculative quantity of long rolls suitable for hot dogs etc.  Came up with 10, of varying sizes, and I think 12 would be feasible.  This is basically white bread but it is mightily enriched with veg. oil, skim milk powder, wheat germ, wheat bran, cracked wheat, and quick (small-flake) oatmeal.  Sometimes sesame seed on the bottom also.  I'm well pleased with the result.  Makes good sandwiches, makes good toast, makes good French toast, and eventually makes great croutons and/or crumbs too.

Yogurt (home made) and granola (home made) for breakfast, very tasty.  I'll take a large jar of yogurt to #1 Granddaughter tomorrow, she consumes it at a great rate which is good for Grandma's ego.

Still computing courtesy of the public library (also open, this afternoon, predictably full of young'uns)...

Did not preach or officiate or do anything liturgical this last Sunday except to garb up and adorn the chancel.  Having worn out my alb to the "borderline disgraceful" stage, I regularly wear cassock and surplice.  Turns out this suits the African constituency in the parish just fine.  A delegation informed my Excellent Boss recently that "THAT one" (i.e. me) "is PROPERLY dressed"...which he found very funny, fortunately.

Reading Umberto Eco, a slim collection of essays entitled five moral pieces.  I acquired it for the sake of the essay titled "Ur-Fascism"; in other translations it appears as "Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," which is wittier.  But there is also a gorgeous little essay in the form of a letter to Cardinal Martini of Milan -- title approximately, "When the Other Makes an Appearance."  Wow, can this man THINK.  (So can Cardinal Martini -- not surprising that their public dialogues were a very "hot ticket" in Milan.)

I'd better make a break for home at this point, company coming for supper...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Faint, but pursuing...

A very fast post here to say, "Still alive" but not reliably connected to the internet in ANY WAY except when I can get to the public library...for a once-a-day 60-minute free session on the computers here.

It is SOME tedious, but OTOH lots of opportunity to do all those things that normally are deferred until after I've "just checked what's on Facebook etc. etc. etc." --

Lent has begun well and quietly -- renewing some resolves and taking steps to make them easier to keep.  Considering installing bear-traps all over the couch so as to preclude the "I'll just lie down here for a minute" gumption-sink.

Managed to inventory both the little freezer upstairs and the big one downstairs -- my neighbour came over to retrieve his "turducken" which he had stored with me for lack of space at his house.  Of course it had migrated to the bottom of my freezer so it could go wibble-wobble in company with my (two!? how did that happen) "famine turkeys" the time we had made our way down to it, there was so much food spread out around the freezer that listing it right then and there was the beloved line of least resistance.

Now to make some sensible meal plans.  Came home from the BE with all my baggage PLUS an "airplance cold."  It's gone away now, but while I was laid low the things I had cooked and frozen in January were mighty welcome.

Reading various things, Tzeporah Berman on environmental activism, some William Styron (I don't get it, or I don't get it YET), and The Best Spiritual Writing 2013, including the New Yorker article on the "C Street House" -- whoo.

Granddaughters flourish, and the eleven-month-old has learned to blow kisses.  This makes conversation with Grandma quite smacky.

OK, library time is nearly up, time to pack up here and mount an assault on the supermarket.

Peace, all.

Monday, January 14, 2013 Frolocken...

It's snowing here this afternoon -- fat fluffy flakes; earlier in the day, they were smaller, and there was just enough of a breeze to toss them about in Brownian motion between our house and the house next door.  But now they're just enough heavier that they're falling almost straight down.  I'll have to shovel out tonight before I go to bed.  But it's all right -- it's not what the friends-who-are-nurses call "cardiac snow."

Shortly, however, I'm on my way to spend the evening with Delightful Grandbaby.  She is 10 months old today (less the five weeks she missed in utero).  She can sit herself up; she can crawl, she makes wonderful games out of clapping and waving and uttering funny noises.  Last Monday  we had a game with hiccups.  I patted her back; she hicc'ed.  When she hicc'ed -- I hicc'ed, just to demonstrate solidarity.  She looked at me dubiously -- she seemed to detect a certain lack of depth and authenticity about my performance.  But after half a dozen or so, she solemnly reached up and patted me on the chest.  "You pat me, Grandma, I'll pat you, we'll get the upper hand of these darn hiccups somehow."

Spent yesterday afternoon in a special kind of study on Romans 8, guided by the old Fifth Evangelist, there, at the head of the the motet "Jesu meine Freude".  Singers comprising friends of my children and children of my friends -- or both.  Conductor: the Poppa of Delightful Grandbaby.   We are a very BACH family.

Does anybody else listen to Bach for the WORDS?  My gain yesterday was Frolocken.  I know that in standard orthography it's Frohlocken.  But without the "h" somehow -- it's more FROLICSOME.  And I love it.  Frolocken forever.  And more of the style of devotion, of thinking and feeling, that invites that rejoicing.

Bach does me good.  Thanks be to God and thanks be to the old Kapellmeister -- and to the young one, and to all his Musikant friends, too.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And so we go on...

Here it is Thursday and there should be an Ask the Matriarch post up already -- and there isn't -- haven't found the exactly right kind of cyber-trowel to spoon it into the RGBP slot.  EVERYBODY BE PATIENT...especially me.

Still dark out -- in another hour we may begin to see some intimations of dawn, and the sun will skulk and scuttle around the Eastern-Southern-Western horizon until between 4 and 5 this afternoon.  Meantime, though, it is MILD -- -3 C for people who do metric, or about 26 F.  We can expect some thawing later on. 

So it might be a day to do an outdoor task -- given that one could, today, stand still for ten minutes or so without freezing solid.

I can shovel the snow off my new deck -- I can clear a bit of a path to the compost bin -- I can even ambitiously dig out access to the SHED.  And retrieve therefrom the emergency shovel, which I'm supposed to have in the trunk of the car (I know, I know, I know). 

And when I've done all those fun gross motor things -- I can figure out how to instal the outdoors component of my fancy tell-all thermometer.  Preferably, on one of the supporting posts in the shade of the new back deck.  Nothing like a little power-tool work to make a person feel competent.

And "competent" would be a good feeling about now.

Heading back into work mid-morning (for "work", read "employment" !!); continuing interim, part-time, on a day-to-day basis -- like a hockey-player on the injured list... (what, by the way, is a "groin-pull," and how exactly does one get... oh, never mind)

There is a noon Eucharist, for which we can anticipate a congregation of six at most.  Today, complicating matters, there is a BIG memorial service at two.  BIG as in Major Civic Philanthropist.  So it will behoove us to "euch" with brisk efficiency, minimizing the pauses for silent reflection, and scoot out from under the chariot wheels of the funeral director's staff.  Our HOS is on vacation.  The memorial service is in the hands of senior diocesan clergy, not including the Rambler, who can come righteously home and get on with the installation of thermometers, etc., before heading out for supper.