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Friday, August 31, 2007

estival to autumnal F5

summer shapes sceneseasons change Friday 5 for today

A really fun casual Friday 5 from ReverendMother, who realizes...
It's Labor Day weekend here in the United States, also known as Summer's Last Hurrah. So let's say goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn. (People in other climes, feel free to adapt as needed.)
1. Share a highlight from this summer. (If you please, don't just say "our vacation to the Canadian Rockies." Give us a little detail or image. Help us live vicariously through you!)

None—you would not want to try this existence vicariously, but I know I need a life and I'm workin' on gettin' one, so maybe you'd like to join me a few months down the line?!

2. Are you glad to see this summer end? Why or why not?

I always love the longer, warmer days; summer 2003 was the first summer ever I was happy to have end, and this has been the 5th in a row, but in my usual rationalizing mode, maybe my strategies to recover some life that makes use of my education and background finally will happen on autumn 2007's watch.

3. Name one or two things you're looking forward to this fall.

Check out my response to #2; related to #4, rather than a last trip to the beach I'm looking forward to more beach times since the beaches won't be over-populated—in other words, life will be more of a beach. Despite my concerns about time and grace not having regenerated a place in community and friends who know where I live, related to my gettin' a life endeavor, I'm preparing some projects I hope will happen if I'm still living in this geographical area.

sea sky surf4. Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another? (Cleaning of house, putting away summer clothes, one last trip to the beach)

Switching out some clothes is routine prep; launder and iron all curtains; with each season I also change quilts and comforters on the beds.

5. I'll know fall is really here when

...we have our annual Reformation Sunday Talent Show & Ice Cream Social—in fact, fall will have been here for a month plus by 27 October.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

downtown

You Are Downtown

You're a funky spirit that requires freedom to live.
Your city girl persona needs adventure, diversity, and great pizza.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mocha Frappuccino

Thanks to Hot Cup Lutheran for this fun one.

Mocha Frappuccino

Hyper and driven, you'll take your caffeine any way you can get it. Frappuccinos are good, but you'd probably chew coffee beans in a crunch!

Spiritual Gifts from The Rock

It's all over the local media! This coming Sunday, 26 August (expressed on their site in terms of the secular rather than the liturgical calendar...) The Rock San Diego's new mega-auditorium will be opening; I discovered a very good Spiritual Gifts assessment when I went to their website, and here are the results from my 2nd and 1st taking--I'm not sure what the numbers refer to, but I do know I'm trying to make an impression with this chartreuse font:

2nd take:

1. 27 Mercy/Compassion
2. 25 Exhorter/Encourager
3. 23 Teacher
4. 23 Giver
5. 21 Prophet/Perceiver
6. 21 Leader/Administrator
7. 21 Server

1st take:

1. 29 Mercy/Compassion
2. 26 Exhorter/Encourager
3. 26 Teacher
4. 24 Server
5. 24 Giver
6. 23 Prophet/Perceiver
7. 17 Leader/Administrator

Monday, August 20, 2007

on Monday

Non-design, non-Friday Five post:

Next Monday we'll have another RevGalBookPals thread--Anne Lamott's Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. I read close to half the book yesterday, and in some ways it has been very good and even helpful so far (reserving more comments and opinions until next week, so I can blog something substantial on desert spirit's fire). Today has been another moonday, all day. I'm still thinking and trying to feel some, as well as considering changes, like moving East, for example.

This noontime I went down the hill to Pacific Beach so Linda could re-fashion my hair with basic color plus 40+ foil highlight wraps, 1" trim, and of course she waxed my eyebrows, though not as extremely as last time. I also found another Veer mini-catalog--"A Field Guide to People"--in my mailbox and I've figured out more details of what I'll be doing for my 3rd entry for St. Mark's UMC's digital liturgical graphics competition and exhibtion!

Tomorrow I need to go to the Linda Vista Church to practice for next Sunday's guest organ/piano gig, since they're there in the office only MTW (that guy has been PT Stated Supply forever)--one other time they gave me a key, but I prefer to constrain my practice by only doing it when someone else can let me in; Wednesday noon is "our" monthly FaithOrderWitness meeting and Wednesday evening Old Condo Shadows' choir/music program party I got invited to.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

English Room Salad Dressing

Not my original recipe, but a blast from the past, when I used to love feasting at the incredibly crowded, inexpensive and variety-laden English Room on Newbury Street in Boston. Sounds like another undergrad escapade, right? That's what is was.

Recipe Zaar Recipe #148910

30 min - 30 min prep

2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1/2 tsp orange rind, grated
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1. Mix together sugar, dry mustard, paprika, celery seed, and salt. Add onion and grated orange peel. Blend in honey.
2. Combine lemon juice, orange juice and red wine vinegar in separate bowl; blending well, then add to mixture.
3. Add salad oil in a slow stream, beating constantly with a hand mixer or whisk.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stress Bustin' Friday 5

Stress Bustin' Friday 5 from RevGal Blog Pals

Sally decided some mutual support and mutual instruction might be in order (stressed? us???), so she suggested this week's Friday Five, introducing it with:
I am off to spend a few days at the beach chilling out after a hectic few weeks and before I head off for Summer School...So with that in mind this weeks questions are looking at how you deal with the stress monster!!!???
celebrate the city1. First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff ?
*They* always insist the stock market is a psychological phenomenon...oh, without a doubt, the small stuff; like many people, I sail right through the big and major things.
2. Exercise or chocolate for stress busting (or maybe something else) ?
Please, please, NO chocolate! (I associate it strongly with migraines.) To answer in terms of doing something very local rather than escaping to other worlds for a few days or weeks, limited exercise can be helpful, but too much has me bouncing off the walls and onto the roof. Something else? Socializing, conversation, going to lunch. Slicing, dicing and chopping veggies in the kitchen can be helpfully relaxing, too.
3. What is your favourite music to chill out to?
Almost any music at any time, but when I've totally lost my perspective, listening to a Beethoven symphony, especially #2 or #7—#1 or #4—or a Beethoven piano concerto or playing a Beethoven piano sonata realigns my worldview and helps me find a reason to continue the journey.
4. Where do you go to chill?
Beach, window-shopping at the mall, reading graphic design or home decorating magazines--visual things that help me enter and describe a redeemed, renewed creation or re-creation.
5. Extrovert or introvert, do you relax at a party, or do you prefer a solitary walk?
sea brightParty, party, PARTY!!!!! But in the cooler weather when the beaches around here aren't over-populated, I love walking along Pacific Beach north or south.
Bonus - share your favourite stress busting tip!

Sketching out an idea for a new graphic design or illustration, or digitizing some of my old graphics—they remain projects in progress, and I still have a huge stack of analog art to scan, re-imagine and maybe re-purpose.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

anticipating Advent 2007

This evening I started a proposal for a 4- or 5-part adult Bible study series for Advent 2007; I'm thinking of doing (very definitely not an actual pericope study yet again!) something excitingly and excitedly topical, maybe following a yet-to-be discerned thread or theme through some of the texts beginning with Reign of Christ C through Advent 4 A. I also hope to get (non-tennis) doubles out of my preparation, with a group from one congregation on a weekday and the other on Sunday mornings.

In Year A the first lections all are from the pre-exilic 1st Isaiah...wonder what that can mean for us? Of course, I'm not convinced I'll still be living in this geographic area that many months from now, but as usual I'm planning for whatever future will be.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

doors.

garden gatePS posted a gorgeous photograph of a door and asked some questions I need to answer; I'm at a crossroads (hey, I do love the thrill of the chase, but...), seeking to find some alternative doors or maybe needing to open my eyes lots wider so I can see the doors way out there and even close to here. I've included a plain and a posterized version of one of my favorite pics I've ever taken: I love the way the gate allows you to enter and leave the garden and that you can see both out and in before you take another step in either direction. When I noticed the houses across the street were a little out of focus and asked if that was what I wanted I decided, yes, that's fine. I'm mainly answering PS's questions as part of my spiritual practice, so I want to be detailed without being agonizingly so to the extent it's over-edited and obscure. garden gate posterized PS's questions are in purple, my answers in plum.

Do we open doors?
I keep telling myself this next thing will work, this next thing will work--go for it! Put yourself out there! A few doors I've enthusiastically opened expecting something to be there have worked for a while, but then haven't; an astonishing number have yielded nothing whatsoever. On the other hand, I've opened my doors and invited countless people to share time, meals, conversation and my home, and unlike in the distant past, most times they've refused, so I'm trying to admit insanity in expecting different results from the same behaviors.

Do we close doors?
For me, the answer is "not often enough," since I've had a forever habit of being very persistent about everything and everyone even when words and actions clearly have told me the situation or relationship is over and will yield no more for any party.

Are door boundaries or invitations?
Sometimes doors are not only boundaries between here and there, but barriers to places some of us never will be truly welcome or fully included in the inner circle (but aren't we supposed to live on the margins, or even the very edge?); others both represent and become thin places we need to step through in trust with our hearts, minds, spirits and bodies, eventually to find ourselves completely embraced in a broad place on the other side.

Do doors embrace or exclude?
In the first apt. bldg. I lived in as a young undergrad in the North End of Boston, during the non-cold months everyone left their doors open when they were at home--not that you'd necessarily be visiting each other a lot, but I loved the way this announced your life was open to the community. I'll also reference my answer to the previous question and say doors can be exclusive barriers.

Do doors open the future or close the past?
About those futures, I'm thinking especially of doors that open for an interview for school or university, with Committees on Ministry or Search Committees for church or any kind of employment. Every one of these doors functionally can close off a past-time and open a future, but if the answer is "no" or "not yet," the same doors can leave us in the past or prompt our own search for new portals of entry. In these cases, doors form permanent markers between eras in our lives. I live in a city with the busiest international land border in the world; daily border crossings between places of employment and schools are routine, with the cultural borders between this First World Nation and that Third-World Country surprisingly porous, yet there still are thousands of illegal crossings every year, so people who manage to arrive and make a new life in alta california don't dare return to baja california, so they're stuck in a situation of near-permanent neither completely here nor fully there. I probably wrote that because of my own current psychological mindset..."Days of Future Passed"

Do we hesitate at doors?
From my recent experience, just lately maybe too much so. I've barged in so many times and despite imagining something may be behind that door for me soon, it hasn't been, so these days I hesitate.

Are our doors full of memories?
Probably, but this one's not huge for me.

Do we offer doors to people?
Yes, yes, and yes again! But then sometimes I tell them, "Don't come too close..."

Are some doors more important than other doors?
Despite my lifelong propensity for fence-riding (thinks of the Eagles' "Desperado"), there are times we need to make grave choices (who we'll marry or not, whether or not to become pregnant or continue PG) and as a result, doors necessarily slam shut forever behind us. We can try wistfully or gratefully looking back, but the deed has been done.

Do our doors open us to the Holy One?
Metaphorical doors, psychological doors and physically touchable entrances at least give us glimpses of the Divine, and despite the Bible's and Jesus' demonstrating the Wholly Other frequently encountered in the stranger, in suffering and in the cross, I'll boldly cite entryways to the grandeur and solemnity of churches, cathedrals and monasteries that open us wide to Sacred Presence and Possibilities.

Are our doors protective?
Both necessary protection and essential, maybe permeable borders of where and who we are in this place and at this time. Some of the RevGals have been blogging about boundaries, and that precious commodity (think exchange value, buying, selling, weighing and measuring) of time seems to be the most frequently violated boundary, but we humans often find it exceedingly difficult to know when God is calling us to give up that chunk of time we've reserved for something truly important to us and to society because right now, someone else truly needs us and "our" time.

Are our doors excuses?
On occasion they're excuses that hold nothing whatsoever, but often they're real reasons.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Post-Pilgrimage Friday 5

PPF5 from Rev Gal Blog Pals

Fresh from a pilgrimage to Iona, ReverendMother gave us five ways to imagine pilgrimaging:
Hello friends, I am just back from a lovely time of pilgrimage in the isle of Iona, "cradle of Scottish Christianity." It has provided much food for thought, to say the least, and so, to keep the pilgrim mojo going:
1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? (however you choose to define the term) Share a bit about it. If not, what's your reaction to the idea of pilgrimage?

Ramsey Canyon PreserveClearly RM isn't looking for the stock biblical answer that every moment of life is a time of pilgrimage. I've never been on a formally designated pilgrimage, but the pic I've posted is from Ramsey Canyon Preserve, one of my favorite places in the Tucson area. I love, love, love the desert, and being there even for a few hours strips me clean while refreshing me like almost nothing else. Right now I live in a coastal desert, and spending time on the beach, especially in winter when fewer people are there, revives and renews me in similar ways. About my reaction to the idea of a more typical pilgrimage, I'd want to go with someone else, whether or not it was new to them, so we could share reactions, experiences and surprises.

2. Share a place you've always wanted to visit on pilgrimage.

marienkircheI've been to several of them more than once, but today I'll name the Marienkirche in Lübeck, where Dietrich Buxtehude was organist and the destination of J.S. Bach's famous pilgrimage, where he stayed far longer than he'd announced he'd be staying (intentionally, or not). There are other tourist and related places I've wanted to go, have traveled to and hope to travel to in the future, and I consider my journeys to those buildings, cities, churches, museums and towns as sacred as any Wittenberg, Rome or Geneva.

3. What would you make sure to pack in your suitcase or backpack to make the pilgrimage more meaningful? Or does "stuff" just distract from the experience?

Always a new 70-page spiral bound, wide-ruled notebook for writing and notes as well as another book of almost any size for actual journaling. A few dozen sheets of unlined 8.5 x 11 white bond for sketching; HB pencils and a sharpener, an eraser and a collection of fine-tipped markers.

4. If you could make a pilgrimage with someone (living, dead or fictional) as your guide, who would it be? (I'm about this close to saying "Besides Jesus." Yes, we all know he was indispensable to those chaps heading to Emmaus, but it's too easy an answer)

In a previous Friday 5, someone answered "Martin Luther," almost taking his name right out of my mouth (don't recall who I picked for that play), so I'll choose Martin and Katie Luther and I'll be very, very curious to discover how they react to the state of the Church and the churches in this 21st century. Tree 3

5. Eventually the pilgrim must return home, but can you suggest any strategies for keeping that deep "mountaintop" perspective in the midst of everyday life? (don't mind me, I'll be over here taking notes)

I'm relatively adept at hanging on to memories, but I'll mention my sketches and whatever words I record in my notes and journaling that later may become part of something more substantial.

this far by faith: empty chair.

invitation to poetry icon

empty chairChristine of Abbey of the Arts posted this picture taken at a café in the Aran Isle of Inishmore and suggested people respond with poetry, prose or whatever their pleasure. At first I doubted I'd blog publicly, but then decided to leap onto the page, screen or whatever people consider the puter monitor to be.

More than anything, this empty chair reminds me of the fall Saturday two or three years ago I had to go downtown to Border's to get a copy of Jim Wallis' book, God's Politics, (now out in paperback) because the one I'd bought weeks earlier on eBay hadn't arrived and I was scheduled to facilitate the discussion of the next chapter at our next Faith, Order & Witness – FOW - meeting the next Wednesday. It was a chilly gray raw day, yet friends were happily interacting chatting, eating lunch and drinking chais, lattés and beers at the sidewalk cafés and sidewalk seating sections of indoor cafés. In both my virtual and real lives I've told people relatively little about the past dozen or so years because 1) the entire narrative takes hours; and 2) no matter how I try expressing any of it, every single person trivializes it, explains away all of it with a trite and untrue platitude, and manages at least one majorly offensive remark to which responses I could have made include things like: no, I do not remotely "have no education"; no, everyone in the world does not lose every one of the several dozen friends they'd expected to grow old(er) with; no, God does not laugh at our plans, but expects us to make plans and frequently transforms our preparation into something better and wilder than we could've imagined; no, I do not need "a pill" (try the full range of SSRI's and benzodiazepines); no, I do not need "a caring counselor" even being aware that "to reduce costs, a skilled clergyperson often is the best answer." What I do need is a life related to my many years of school and experience—a life that not just ideally but necessarily will result in new friends and to put it plainly, an adequate professional network. I know, I've been complaining about the way the church has become over-clericized and over-professionalized...

This is the style of chair where you find people sitting together in public; it makes me think of casual yet revealing conversations and making plans for the future, of people who've recently met and of people who've known each other forever. Is there an empty chair at someone's table for me? Even more to the point, if again I risk inviting someone to fill an empty chair at my table, will they agree, or will this time be like most of the others? Will I ever again have a social life beyond the church events I drag myself to?

A couple years ago I returned home on a Saturday afternoon just as a moving sale in one of the condos here was winding down. The only thing that interested me was a Hallmark ceramic tray in earth tones with a quote from Maya Angelou:
It was a time of such splendor—charming people, good food, laughter, and brave ideas—enough to entertain us for years.
The seller accepted my best offer of $5, and I went home with the prize. I'd been displaying it on the kitchen sideboard, but this morning I'm going to wash it and put it away until charming people, good food, laughter and brave ideas again become part of my world.