Just a half a mile from the railroad track...

Tell me if anyone else sees a resemblance between these two things:

I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall toask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'msittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women,kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me andsaid, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprintsoff to Washington." -Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant.


Gen. Peter Pace ignited controversy during a hearing Wednesday when he firmly reiterated his opinion that gay sex is depraved and should not be encouraged by the military. .. "We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it." he continued. "And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law." -Anne Flaherty, AP

I'm just sayin'.


New Meme: Stuffies!

OK, y'all. I noticed a little bit of a theme when we were doing the De-Cluttering Friday Five:

Many of us have friends who are Real.

I think we should post them! C'mon, start making introductions! I think I'm going to try to tag people, but if you want to play, post a link in my comments!

Friends, meet Bear. He used to be my mom's, but we traded animals when I left home. Bear's been with me ever since.


Congrats to Us!

Happy Anniversary to Mr. M and I! 3 years today. Mr. M sent me flowers at work (I LOVE getting flowers), and even better, they're a replica of my wedding bouquet.

We're going away this weekend, and it's been Too Long since we've taken a trip together. We both wagging our little bums off in anticipation.

One of my favorite wedding memories is our recession: all our guests (and our funny, feisty organist) sang us out to Ode to Joy.

Thanks, Mr. M. You're my favorite.


Squirrelly in the Afternoon

I can be a morning person (in the sense that I do manage to enjoy them once I finally become coherent), or a night person, but during the afternoon I'm completely useless. I get a ton done before lunch, squeak out a little right after lunch, but by this time (4pm) I can't do a blessed thing. My brain is shot.

And I get a little nutty. Today is no exception, and, as you can imagine, it is indeed worse on Fridays.

But, I'm very comfortable with this, because squirrels are, hands down, my favorite animals. Love 'em. Have you ever just sat down and watched the little guys? They're hysterical. This is one species that really has mastered frolicking. They chase each other in circles around trees, they leap from branch to branch. But, they're also disciplined-- consider the "squirrelling away" of resources they do every year. (We'll leave out my desire to hybernate for a moment.)

One of my favorite memories of my mom and I when I was a teenager is of watching squirrels. We were in a fast-food parking lot, and we watched the french-fry-stealing machinations and manipulations of different little furry friends. We laughed so hard we cried. Later, in a hotel during a college road trip, I showed a good friend my impression of the squirrel who went flat to when he was startled. It was a perfect way to lighten what had been a very tense day.

They're marvelous little creatures. So, if I'm a little squirrelly
this afternoon, I can live with that.
And I have a tee shirt to back me up.

Friday Five: Decluttering Edition

Revgal Sally offers us this Friday Five:

With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5;

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
There is no question at all that I'm a minimalist. We moved all the time when I was growing up. Now, I look at something and think, "Would I want to pack that?"

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.
I honestly can't think of anything. Well, maybe Bear. Because he's Real at this point.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???
Right this minute, I'm wearing brown cowboy boots that I bought when I was 14. I still wear a lot of stuff from high school in general (I've always had fairly classic -boring- taste). But each year when I swap out summer and winter clothes, I get rid of things that I didn't wear at all that season.

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?
Hate 'em. I don't want your crap, and I don't want the hassle of selling you mine. Everything gets boxed up for the Salvation Army or womens' shelters.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.
We're already really good about recylcing. Maybe more paper, we do get a lot of junk mail.



I have a beautiful friend who believes that whether or not a relationship will work out often depends largely on timing.

I wonder if the same is true of one's relationship with the church.

5 months ago I met with my Commission on Ministry to request Postulancy. I was told at the time that they were recommending that it be granted. I didn't get a letter confirming Postulancy, however, until yesterday (has to be a form letter, flattest thing I've ever read). Said letter, of course, points out that I need to begin writing Ember Day letters.

We are right in the middle of an Ember Week. I got the darn letter on an Ember Day.

PS-- Because I sometimes forget that we don't all speak Anglican:
Per wikipedia:In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week - specifically, the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that were formerly set aside for fasting and prayer. These days set apart for special prayer and fasting, were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy.
For our purposes, per www.ecusa.anglican.org:Every postulant or candidate for holy orders in the Episcopal Church is required by canon to report to the bishop four times a year, during the Ember Weeks. The report must be made in person or by letter, and must include reflection on the person's academic experience as well as personal and spiritual development.

PPS-- I still just cannot get over the extent to which the process has quenched any urge I might have to treat being granted postulancy as something worth celebrating. It honestly just breaks my heart.


Knotted Knickers

Sometimes, it really is the principle of the thing.

I got my invitation to my alma mater's Homecoming festivities last week. Addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Husbandsfirstname M." Which I don't like to start with, but find particularly offensive given that he's not an alumus of this particular institution, and that I'm still sending them checks, both tuition and donations.

So I sent the following email, which seemed reasonable:
Good afternoon,

I very much enjoyed receiving my invitation to this year’s Homecoming events. However, I was puzzled by the address on it. My invitation had been sent to Mr. and Mrs. Husbandsfirstname M. My husband is not a Denison alumnus, and I’m baffled by why my invitation would have come in his name. In the future, I would prefer that my name be used.

Thank you very much,

Myfirstname (Mymaidenname) M, Denison Class of 2001

Today, I finally got the response:
The e-mail you sent to Alumni Affairs regarding your Homecoming brochure was forwarded to me. I just wanted to let you know that when Denison sends mailings meant to be for both you and your spouse to attend, they will include your husbands' name. There are times when only your name will appear: as Mrs. Yourfirstname M.

Let me know if you need anything further. Hope that all is going well for you."

No, actually, that does not resolve my problem. I am ashamed to say I got a little huffy:
It's good to hear from you, I hope you're doing well. I'm glad to have my husband included on my invitations, but I would like to be included as well. I would strongly prefer for the university I attended and still support use my name, and not "Mrs. Hisfirstname."

Thanks for your help.

Does anyone else get irritated by being Mrs. Husband?!?


Great Weekend

I had a fantastic weekend. It was the most relaxing 2 days I've spent in I don't know how long. The weather was gorgeous, the company was good, and the pace was slow. And the clouds-- the clouds were magnificent!



Please pop over and check on Kate's interview and ordinary girl's, too! They might not have answers up yet, but keep an eye out for what these ladies will share!

Because it seems interesting,

Behold Mr. M's Flame Boots:This was taken when we were dating, at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The arm he has beside me has a business-length sleeve, as you can see in this pic:
Despite the flame boots and tattoo, he is the most gentle, easy-going man you'd ever want to meet. He's also shockingly rule-bound. All the wild decorations were a startling aberration, and I can't explain them. He is painfully well-behaved and unassuming.

Friday Five: Meetings, Meetings

I'm laughing at ReverendMother's Friday Five today, because I'm doing mine between two meetings!

Here we go, speedy edition:

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.
I'm going with option a on this one-- I love a meeting where the sharing of ideas really gets things done. Having said that, there are a lot of awful meetings to get through...

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
If you want to chat before or after the meeting (and I usually do), knock yourself out. Otherwise, I think it can be disrespectful of people's time to lolligag when there are things that need to be taken care of.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
I am very comfortable leading meetings. I think I'm pretty good at it-- I make it a point to encourage the people who want to be heard, to try to get everyone to at least understand what's being said (agreement is out of my hands), and I keep everyone on task very well. Having said that, I'm sure there might be people who feel that leaving chattiness out of the meeting time was a weakness.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I've been in on several conference calls, and my experience is that people tend to screw around. I don't particularly care for them, if there's an alternative.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
When I started facilitating our Christian Formation department meetings, I realized that my leadership skills were a lot stronger than I realized. It was a fantastic feeling. I learned that I was patient and a good listener, but also able to steer the meetings effectively. There's not one meeting that stands out, though I know we did good things that year. It was a good time to learn about myself.


Woo-hoo- Interview!

I'm wagging a little, I love this meme. RevDrKate was gracious enough to interview me. Thanks, Kate!!! (Go read about all the amazing stuff she's doing right now. I can't imagine how it can all happen at once, but we're talking some cool stuff.)

Here we go:
1. You say that your spiritual background is eclectic. How did you find your way to the Episcopal church? What are some of the “best things about being Episcopalian” for you?
When I first moved to this fairly rural area, I didn't know anyone at all. The first order of business for me was to find a church. I worshipped with a little American Baptist congregation for a while, and they were a neat little community. The pastor was a great preacher, but I got spooked when I went to lunch with a girl my age who told me that Jerry Falwell was a little too liberal for her. I tried the Episcopalians down the street from the Baptists next, and met a tiny, round, bearded Englishman who took me under his wing and taught me the glories of Anglicanism. I love the language (though I'm willing to be flexible with trying new liturgy, because I think ours can be educationally exclusive), I love the way we worship with all of our senses (eyes: liturgical art, ears: bells and choirs, nose: incense, taste: Eucharist, touch: kneelers, passing peace), I love the way everyone participates in worship, rather than just receiving it. I love most of all the Via Media, and the way we try to worship with everyone, without all have to be alike.

2. I know that you are currently a postulant for the priesthood (and am sorry to hear it’s been “institutionally frustrating” at times). When did you first feel called to the priest hood and what has keep calling you back through the challenges you have faced to date?
On my birthday three and a half years ago, I said for the first time to my priest that I wasn't satisfied with what I was doing vocationally. I felt the sort of restlessness that accompanies seeking. I can see pieces of call much earlier than that, though. In college, I wanted to merge my English major with a concentration on religion in American Lit. My mom thought I would be a pastor long before the idea of women clergy was acceptable to me. And maybe most powerful to me has been that people tend to seek me out and share. I can't tell you how many times people have just say down and shared deep, hard parts of their hearts with me. Strangers, sometimes, will share and let me pray with them. It's awesome to me to be present for that.

3. As you look back on your life, what “watershed” or crossroads event(s) do you identify as having been life changing or course altering for you, especially in terms of your faith journey?
I think right now is a crossroads time for me. I've discovered that my golden times, the times where my deepest self is strong, are the times when I'm finally able to let go of the things that overwhelm me. The ordination process has felt like such a struggle, and I've muffled important parts of myself to get through it. This summer, I've decided that if I have a choice between being whole and being ordained, I'd rather be whole. That doesn't rule out ordination, but it does realign my priorities. I'm now able to envision alternative futures for myself that could be satisfying, too, and I'm wrapping myself in the hope that gives.

4. How did you meet Mr. M?
We worked together in a high school. My first few weeks there, I thought he was one of the students (even though he's 5 years older than I am!) because he had a ridiculous ponytail and Doc Marten's with flames on them!

5. Oh do please tell us about your Inner Crusader Rabbit!
Hee hee. Thanks for asking.
Crusader Rabbit was a very early cartoon, one of the first. The premise behind it was that the hero was very unlikely: a tiny little rabbit who saves the day.
I am about 5'3". Though I'm a little curvy, I have to really fight to keep from being underweight. I love fuzzy sweaters and high heels, and I laugh a lot. I am usually extremely tactful. Sounds harmless, yes?
HOWEVER, I almost never keep my mouth shut when someone who isn't in a position to defend themselves is being mistreated. I have gotten myself in trouble for this more than once, and I'm OK with that.

Thanks for giving me the pleasure of being interviewed. I really enjoyed it, and I would love to pass on the fun. Don't be shy, leave a request in my comments!
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


A Crisp Gust of the Obvious

I think I've mentioned that I've been getting a little broody every now and then, looking at onesies and baby slings, thinking that a little ankle-biter might be a nice idea.

Lately, though, I've also had a good strong dose of the opposite, a case of, "Omigod, someday I'm going to have babies and I'll NEVER HAVE HAD ANY FUN AT ALL and I will have LOST MY CHANCE and I will just be TIED DOWN AND MISERABLE."

This is not a fun feeling, let me tell you.

Part of the broodiness and the concentration on onesies stems from the fact that Mr. M is about 5 years older than I am, and he doesn't want to be hobbling around when the little varmits are in kindergarten.

But here's my nor'easter of wisdom today: it's ok to wait a little longer than planned. It's OK to savor a bit more freedom. Him being a few years older than planned is not the end of the world, and it might be a small price for my sanity.


Friday Five: We Shall Overcome Edition

Sally brings us this thoughtful Friday Five. While I'm thinking about it, please keep her in your prayers today-- a near and dear one will be in the hospital today.

1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
Confession time, here's my deep dark secret: I was academically suspended for a semester in college. (No, I hadn't been drinking or partying or carousing... I had just been displaying my more extroverted tendancies, learning from my fascinating peers more than my books.) It shouldn't have been a surprise when I was suspended, but I was shocked and terrified. I spent the semester living with my mom, working and going to a community college full-time. Somehow, the whole time I was trying to work my way back into my beloved alma mater (see below), I knew that whatever happened, I would be OK. I desperately wanted to go back (and I did), but I had more trust that God was with me then than I have before or since.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
I think I'm coming out of one now, and I think that trusting my own abilities to hear God again gets me through. When I relinquish my own power to hear and know God to others, I'm completely unable to sense God's presense.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?
I'm a huge fan of "How Great Thou Art," actually.

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Absolutely. I don't have an answer, but it's a question that comes from deep within us, and I think we need to feel free to ask honest questions.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?
With a night on the town with my girlfriends. Which would, of course, mean they'd all have to gather in the same state.


Joni Mitchell Surplus

It's either the gray day, Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now," or a recent unexpected milestone, but I'm feeling pretty wistful. I'm happy with where I am-- really, much more so than I've been in a long time. But there are still lovely could-have-beens that float around, and silvery-gray wisps of where'd-they-go that are making me reach out to people I've loved in other times. Making me think of songs not attributed to Ms. Mitchell.

When from the fold we far shall stray
With souls forever young
We'll ne'er forget our college days
These happy scenes among
And when our steps have feeble grown
Our journey almost done
E'en then with fleeting breath we'll praise
Our dear old Denison.

PS-Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Since I'm planning on some good musical wallowing today, give me suggestions for good gray day remembrance songs.
PPS- Holy @#$%! Has anyone else listened to the lyrics of "Come In From the Cold"?!? That's a whole different kind of brooding!!!! Seriously slinky stuff here.


Time Flies

I finally did it. I finally broke down and bought a watch. I couldn't take it anymore-- I felt ridiculous pulling out my cell phone to see the time. (For one thing, there's just no way to do that discretely).

And, since I was going give in anyway, I decided that it was time to buy a grown-up watch. The $8.00 Target model that I started out with did not hold up well. So, my friends, here we are:

A grown-up watch. I'd really like to offset the maturity with these shoes:

Neuralgia or Nostalgia?

I started college ten years ago this week. Made great friends, people I love dearly. (Met other people who still make me cringe when I think about them.)

We're not heading back for homecoming in October (I'm not going to be able to get the time off, and no one seems to be going this year, anyway), but I'm feeling really nostalgic. I just emailed a friend that I don't talk to very often, and I may well haul off and touch base with a few others.

When I realize that college started ten years ago, and I'm still pretty young, I'm finally able to offer myself a little grace about dubious decisions that I made. It's a bit of a relief. My spiritual director is fan-tastic, and she once made the observations that the lotus, lovely as it is, gets its nutrients from the muck of stagnant water. The muck is part of who we are, but there's loveliness that comes with it.