Friday, January 27, 2006

Snow it is...

This quiz just in from my sister-bloggers...
I'm not sure about the serenity part, but I think people can get sick of me pretty quickly...

You Are Snow

Magical yet potentially destructive
You are well known as fun to play with
People anticipate your arrival but then are quickly sick of you
You are best known for: your serenity
Your dominant state: reflecting

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


My last post was such an AweWakening for me. (For those of you who don't recognize that term, it's the title of our community's newsletter.) There I was, just writing one of my typical "what-a-dingbat-I-am" posts… and fell prey to my too occasional need to spout in four letter words my frustration/anger/surprise (you fill in any other blanks that come to mind). I used to swear a lot. I swear less these days. My best record is with driving… I always swore at stupid drivers. Now I say "hello!" every time some jerk cuts me off or doesn't use his blinkers.

But… I forget that people I don't know sometimes read my blog. Our technology has spawned this crossbreed between a private journal and a newspaper's headlines. Like video games, blogging can be seductive, sometimes addictive. Some bloggers set up elaborate counting methods to report how many hits they get every day. Even counts how many people read your profile. I noticed my numbers doubled when Mark Mossa featured me in his blog. (My toolbar doesn't have a link button… but his blog is You Duped Me Lord at and the numbers increased again when I joined Sister-Bloggers, a blog ring. It's cool to know more people read what I have to say. Probably for me, not so cool. Too easy to get a swelled head… So, when I was taken to task for swearing in my blog, what happened?

Well of course there was my immediate righteous indignation. I'm old enough to be that child's grandmother, for heaven's sake. Who is she to tell me what I can and cannot do? That attitude shifted pretty quickly as I was reminded that "out of the mouths of babes" comes great wisdom, and I was shoved back into a more suitable place of humility. Look at it this way: this young woman wants to be a nun when she grows up. Her religion has given her specific parameters for how she should act in this capacity. Who am I to shatter her illusions? She will have plenty of time to discern in her own journey that nobody's perfect, especially not those in habits.

But wait, there's more. (Anyone besides me remember the gingko knife advertisements?) So I worked through my initial upset that I had been flamed on my own blog, but my loyal fans did not. Whoa Nellie! I don't remember having this many comments on many other posts. Maybe I should swear more often. Seriously, some of you I don't even know who you are, but you wrote such loving things about me. I'm awestruck. (That's similar to AweWakened.) And humbled even more. God uses everything. Amazing Grace.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I had what I would term a "mother-in-law scare" this past week (one of those cases where all the available clues lead to worst case scenario to the 12th power). I received a belated birthday package from my older son and his wife with a strange return address in his handwriting. No note inside… just a collection of assorted wonderful and thoughtful gifts (I always credit my daughter-in-law with the taste for these selections, even though I've been wrong about that in the past.) Call me sexist. I admit it. I believe that women (in general) have an inborn knack for choosing gifts. But I had sent her a birthday package earlier in the month and had had no response. So… address change, no note, no response to earlier emails, what the f*ck, over! I emailed them both. What's up? No response. Then I emailed her on her birthday and it bounced back… no such recipient. Uh oh. My son has bi-polar disorder. She has been a Godsend as far as helping him stay on his meds. They have split up in the past. I put two and two together and freaked. Sooooo. I played Jewel Quest for an hour on my computer while I revved up the courage to call them. I called her cel number, figuring she would be more likely to spill any beans. But my son answered. Hello. I heard her voice in the background too. (Huge sigh of relief as well as huge embarrassment over my once again jumping to totally inaccurate conclusions.) Do you suppose they'll forgive me since it was only because I care about them so much? Nah…

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hell and High water

A friend of mine, who started out as my partner in crime in this community, (we were postulants together) was just received by the Order of St. Helena on Wednesday. I was supposed to be there. It was supposed to be a surprise. I even had a gift for her and everything.

But as the saying goes, all hell broke loose on Wednesday morning. A baby duck was injured by our sometimes duck-eating dog, the power went out during Morning prayer, a tree limb blew down in the school driveway, we had to clear the debris in a torrential rainstorm before the school was evacuated, frozen food had to be ferried to an operating freezer in another building. Only one vehicle was available since the windshield wipers went out on the other one… you get the picture.

I had just finished reading The Alchemist so was looking at these events with a new understanding of omens. Just too many to count for one morning. I used Sister's cel phone (our phones were out too) to call the convent and tell them I wouldn't be able to make it. I was aware of an odd mixture of disappointment and resignation, and noticed how different this reaction was to how I might have behaved even a couple of years ago. I thought of my mom, and how she would say I was a "determined cuss" with a mixture of pride and exasperation. There was a time when neither hell nor high water would stop me in my tracks. That changed somewhere along the way. So the question arises… at what price did I learn to let what is be okay? Maybe that's not even the right question.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday meme

Susan Rose, one of my sister bloggers tagged just about everyone who reads her posts. Good enough excuse to do another meme thingy… Fours are the theme today:

Four Jobs I've had in my life:
1. Navy photographer
2. Bookkeeper
3. Computer graphics animator
4. Magazine art director

Four Movies I could watch over and over (and have):
1. Last of the Mohicans
2. Bram Stoker's Dracula
3. Steel Magnolias
4. Working Girl

Four Places I have lived:
1. Portland, Maine
2. Jacksonville, Florida
3. Newport, Rhode Island
4. Charlotte, North Carolina

Four TV Shows I Lov(ed) to Watch:
1. Stargate SG1
2. West Wing
3. Friends
4. Joan of Arcadia

Four Places I have been on Vacation:
1. Ireland
2. Hawaii
3. Wales
4. Newport, Rhode Island

Four Websites I visit Daily:
1. Baking Sheet
2. my sister bloggers
3. mediabistro
4. my daughter-in-law's blog

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Enchiladas
2. Pizza (with anchovies)
3. Steamed clams
4. Indian food

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
1. The beach
2. The beach
3. The beach
4. Ireland

Four People I Tag for this Meme:
CG, LA, my daughter-in-law, and anyone else who wants to play

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Do you suppose I'm depressed?

As I've mentioned before, I'm taking an online course called "The Universe Story." The purpose of the course is to inspire the student to revere the Universe itself as a living, self-organizing, sacred creation. The subtitle of the main book (also called The Universe Story) for the course says: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era, A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos. This goes beyond ecology-mindedness and tree-hugging. It requires a leap from thinking about the universe as a place, and understanding it as a Being. I have to admit I'm still not there. I do get it's not a place, any more than my body is a place for the red blood cells that travel through it, that each is a part of a larger more complex identity. But then I go: so what?

For one thing, all the scientific data compiled to strike awe into my soul has done just the opposite; it leaves me depressed. Back in the bacteria/single-celled days of our ancestry we learned how to eat each other. Aggression ruled. Some cells survived because other cells allowed themselves to be consumed. Another book called Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond gives an early example of the Maori overtaking the Moriori and killing them all off. The Moriori had adopted a way of life that was peaceful and simple. They were no match for the warlike Maori who apparently felt no remorse for the slaughter. Agression ruled again.

What's so different today? Jesus said: Love your enemy. Do good to those who hate you. But from the beginning of time those who believe this have been the ones who have sacrificed (or been sacrificed) so the aggressive could live. What's wrong with this picture? Jesus also said: The meek will inherit the earth. But it looks like that won't happen until after the rest of us have ruined it for all human habitation. They'll inherit a dump. Wahoo.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Only Child

two of my ring-sisters took this test. I may be the first to actually wind up in the ballpark. (I am an only child.)

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.
In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My first "review"

At the suggestion of a friend (who earlier had tuned me in to Joan of Arcadia) I requested that last night we watch the pilot for the new series "Book of Daniel".

Good grief! What can I say? Monty Python goes to church? I am so confused about what this series is trying to do… could it be: collect all stereotypical symbols available to the western world and splash them around the screen in a sit-com? If so, it was funny only because (about a third of the way through) we started asking "what haven't they covered?" There was substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, racism, the gay issue, stealing,embezzlementt, drug dealing, alzheimers, power plays and Jesus Christ Himself as a very non-Jewish stand-up comic. I'm sure I've left something out…

The English seem to be able to mock themselves with more success than we do. Case in point: The Vicar of Dibley series. We bungled it big time. What surprises me, is that Aidan Quinn and Ellen Burstyn, both excellent actors, allowed themselves to appear as part of the charade. The Episcopal Church-bashing didn't bother me: I'm used to poking fun at myself, and there were enough Catholic innuendos to offset anyone thinking this was about our church only.

Surely this can't be a hit?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Feast of the Epiphany

One left his business—
a profitable trade in spice.
The next kissed his wife goodbye.
How long will you be gone?
…Uh, not sure exactly, a while.
The last, with more money than brains,
was the ringleader: Hey, it will be
an adventure. A road trip. A Quest.
So off they went. It was a guy thing.

They had knowledge,
they wanted wisdom.
They had wealth,
they wanted treasure.
They had the answers,
they wanted the truth.

And what did they find?
Indeed, a child had been born.
Oh, and a corrupt monarch
was happy to kill the competition.
They dropped off their gifts
and took the back roads home—
(best to keep a low profile
with other people’s politics.)

Journey over, quest closed,
back to work, home, life.
well, that’s one version…

—Epiphany 2005

Monday, January 02, 2006


I love beginnings. A new year, a new month, a new moon… each one thrills me in its own way. I look around, take stock, see possibilities, and more importantly, see what's unfinished, holding me back from what could be.

Yesterday, even though it was the new year and the first day of the month (double whammy), I couldn't get motivated. Today is different. A day late is not necessarily a dollar short. This morning I was up early and made a list. I haven't made a list in ages… they work for me. The downside is I sometimes end up serving the list instead of it serving me. I fudge items so it looks like I did more than I actually did. (Will keep that in mind this year.)

Once I made resolutions for the month, not the whole year. That was easier to handle. Chunking down I think it's called. Taking stock means looking at what works and trying to do more of it, looking at what doesn't and trying to do less. Not easy to do less of what doesn't work, but still a noble goal for 2006.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Well, actually…

Sr. Catherine Grace's New Year's Eve blog was the inspiration for two of us to make party hats. We also played charades last night. I don't especially like charades. I'm not good at games.

Yet at my advanced age I've lost all sense of pride, so… when it was my turn to act out my phrase I launched into the effort with abandon. Sounds like… hair! The group went through the entire alphabet but never came up with "They're". Okay, second word: Sounds like… bust! And yes, I was pointing to my chest and other words surfaced before they got it. But nobody could come up with "just". Third word: second syllable… lines! First syllable… sounds like… hide. Nobody could think of "guide." Frustrated and laughing so hard I was about to wet my pants, I turned my party hat around so it drooped down over my eye and grabbed Simon's bone and did my best imitation of a swashbuckling pirate. Suddenly the group came alive. Pirates! Johnny Depp! "They're just guidelines!"

"Well actually, they're just guidelines" was one of the phrases from the first Pirates of the Caribbean that was a standard response from my Novice Guardian my first year in community. We were experimenting with the whole formation process and I was one of the guinea pigs. Every time something would contradict something else we'd been taught, out would come the stock phrase. It was as frustrating then to hear it as it was to act out last night.

But that first year I learned flexibility in a way I'd never experienced before. As irritable as I would get over what I perceived as glaring inconsistencies in what was expected of me, I softened and mellowed and surrendered to the inevitable response. "Well, actually, they're just guidelines." How fitting I would draw that one from the hat.