Friday, July 27, 2007

The Shape of a Day

Yesterday, my kids spent the day with me. They got to my place at 7am, and we sat and chatted for a little while. Then Robbie noticed the four boxes of new furniture from Ikea that hadn't been put together, and he asked if he could work on them. (Oh yeah, teenaged son. Like I'm going to say you can't help me with something!) So he and I put together one of the two end tables, and then he got to work on the new (and much more complicated) dresser for his room. Becca did a couple things to help at the beginning, and I supported him on a couple of other small things, but Robbie can take credit for putting together that dresser himself. And he did a great job of it. Meanwhile, Becca and I got the other end table put together.

Robbie finished just before 11, so we went for a stroll around the lake before returning to lunch on hot dogs and cheese curls (Wise Cheez Doodles being the only acceptable variety in my home). Then we relaxed for a little bit before Robbie and I decided we really wanted to put together the coffee table. It looks awesome. We all changed into our swimsuits and went for a dip in the pool, which is right next to the lake. Of course, my shoulder tires quickly, but it lasted longer yesterday than it has before, so I left the kids to their play after about ten minutes. They returned shortly after, took showers and changed, and then we settled in to watch a cheesy adventure movie until their dad came to pick them up.

Then I settled in to copy some music that I'd written in eleventh grade. It's a flute sonatina that had one page get chewed by puppies, and I wanted to get that part reconstructed. I was chuffed to find that not as much had been lost as I'd thought, and that it was easy to reconstruct most of it. Now I'm only missing a couple of bars in the piano part and another chord or two in the left hand. Then I got it all scanned, because I have a good friend who has a really good notation application and is going to get the whole thing entered for me. And then we can hear those reconstructed bars on the computer and make sure they're right. So maybe someday, this piece will be played again. It was performed once in its entirety, in a student recital at the arts school I attended, and then the slow movement was performed at my church one summer Sunday. I'm pretty excited. I recently found sketches for some other music that sounded pretty cool, and I'd like to get them written. But I'm lusting over the notation packages out there, though I can't justify the cost to myself.

I was in bed around 9 or 9:30 last night, read a few more chapters of Harry Potter, and then went to sleep.

It was a good day. Not the kind that makes for exciting stories, but a good one. There was laughter, fun, togetherness, affection. Time to get stuff done, and time to relax and enjoy each other. On a summer day, I can't think of much better than that. Thanks be to God.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Morning Prayer

So, as mentioned previously, I prayed Morning Prayer this morning. There was a reading from 1 Samuel and one from Acts, psalms 110 to 113 (I do the 30-day rotation), and the canticles Ecce, Deus and Magna et Mirabilia. I was glad to start with those two, because they're pretty good. The Cantemus Domino - Miriam's song from the far bank of the Red Sea, after watching Pharoah's army drown - is one I struggle with when it comes up every Thursday. My favorite of the canticles is the Surge, Illuminare, which makes my voice smile whenever I pray it.

Yesterday, in preparation, I gathered my bible (Harper-Collins Study Bible, in case you're interested - an NRSV study bible with the apocrypha), the comfortable and well worn BCP that I was given at confirmation, and my psalter. I got the right page marked in the daily office lectionary and marked the readings for this morning in my bible. And then, in a fit of geekiness, started leafing through the BCP psalter and my chant psalter, and marking each psalm in the psalter with which day it falls on and whether it is prayed in morning or evening. I got partway through 119 before running out of time.

And why, oh why, did I start praying Morning Prayer before getting to 119 in the rotation? It seems to go on forever!

So this morning, I got a candle to light while I prayed, and I sat at my table with my books. And I realized, I don't have anything to light this candle with! So I shrugged (with my left shoulder, anyway) and began the Office. It was good. Comfortable. Like slipping into your favorite bathrobe and slippers on the first really chilly day of autumn. Like snuggling into freshly washed sheets and burrowing under the covers. Like drinking a tall glass of cold lemonade after mowing the lawn in August.

God is good.

P.S. Hey, mompriest! I had thought about ordering the Contemporary Daily Office book, or also about putting my name on the list for the combo BCP/NRSV book. But yesterday, book lust combined with music lust to get the better of me, and I ordered not one but three copies of this instead. I don't need three of them - two are gifts - but I can't wait to try out some of those descants on my flute! Especially the ones described as "reflective and quiet" - YUM!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The quiet moments

At the end of their elementary school journey, all students at Old Donation Center write autobiographies. In these, each child tells his or her story from birth to the present, includes quotations and poems, gathers book reviews from friends and family, and looks forward into the future. The teachers have the books bound, and with self-portraits drawn in art class, they are presented on the students' graduation day.

When my son was gathering ideas for his autobiography, it was pretty easy to pick out the high points of his life, the ones he was excited to write about. And these high points - as well as the dramatically low ones - do shape us and make us the people we are. They are a dramatic landscape, high cliffs, deep oceans. But what really form us and feed us are the quiet moments, the times that do not stand out as spectacular memories. These are the everyday landscape of our lives, the rolling hills, the valley meadows, the creek through the woods, the gentle farmland. So I recommended to him that he think about some of those quieter times to write about, and that when he chose a couple, to be sure to take advantage of all his senses when he wrote about them, to really immerse himself and his readers into the moment.

He wrote one short piece about his grandfather. Whenever we visited his grandparents' house, Grandpa would jump up from his chair to greet us at the door, and to enfold each of us in a big hug. Then he would spend the entire visit slipping the children treats - cookies, candy. And when we got ready to say good-bye, he would give each child a little baggie full of candy, usually caramels, as if they hadn't already had plenty! And Robbie wrote that hugs from his Grandpa were like soaking in a warm bath when you are tired. The next story in his autobiography was about his Grandpa's death in June 2002, and it was even more powerful for being told after those small, sweet, quiet memories about hugs and caramels.

In the sermon we heard this morning, our rector made a very similar observation:

This is part of why, on our J2A pilgrimage, the times almost everyone recorded as the best of times were the quieter times. Rather than the busy tours of Westminster Abbey or Edinburgh Castle, the best times were more likely to be on the shore of Loch Ness, surveying God's raw beauty; by ourselves in a castle on the Loch near midnight; or just talking honestly in a park in Mull. Or journalling at the holy abbey of Iona; or when a priest in Drumnadrochit welcomed us into her tiny church, listened to who we were, and shared with us about the spirituality of Scottish people. We valued those smaller, quieter times, when we were able to pay attention to God's presence, in the place, and in each other.

There is a moment in the movie The Parent Trap that always stands out for me. The girls have switched places, and the California twin (please don't make me remember which is which! - plus, Disney changed their names when they remade it) is just meeting her grandfather in England for the first time. She leans close to him and inhales deeply, and he asks her what she's doing. "I'm making a memory," she says. "All my life, when I'm quite grown up, I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of tobacco and peppermint." While flying to another country and meeting her mother and grandparents for the first time she could remember were huge, life-changing events in her life, this girl knew that this quiet little memory would be far more important than the rest of her adventure.

I have been striving to remember and record these small, quiet moments. The hundreds of little stories that have done more to make me me than all the high-flying (or darkness-dwelling) adventures and experiences put together. And I know that God is very much in these quiet moments. When we notice, in the everyday homeliness of our lives - really look and listen and notice - what's happening around us and to us and by us and with us, we are open to that breathy whisper of the Holy Spirit. And we become ourselves.

Update: Sunday's sermon text is now hot-linked, as promised.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Adding some shape to my days

Now that I've gotten through the first week (well, workweek, not that I've been working, but still) after my surgery, I have another five or six weeks here at home stretching out in front of me. And I'd like to add more shape to my days, some discipline. For one thing, my doctor's order yesterday was to go down to the pool every day, get in the water, let the water buoy my arm up, and then move it around gently. This sounds like real torture to me - spending part of every day in the summer in the swimming pool. :-) Actually, getting the swimsuit on every day will be fun...

So that's one little piece to add shape to my days. I'm thinking about getting serious about praying the daily office again - at least Morning Prayer, since I pray Compline every night. Beginning and ending the day with prayer (and psalms!) would really help give me form and shape. And I remember constantly being moved and inspired by the smallest little snippets of prayer or scripture when I was regularly praying the office. I miss the shape that the office gave my life during those years, but it's funny how inertia takes over. Especially when one has to juggle prayer book and bible, and if one is as geeky as me, chant psalter and pitchpipe, too.

I want to spend some part of every day writing, as well. I'm actually not doing too badly at this right now, trying to keep up with posts on two blogs (have you seen The Taleswappers' Porch yet?), but an intentional practice of daily writing is one I really want (probably: need) to sustain. Writing is how I process the world, process my life, come to terms with what is happening to me and around me. So even if it never becomes anything publishable (HA!), it's important for me to keep writing.

Some years ago, when I was unemployed for almost a year, I started work on a book. It was to be personal reflections on a selection of psalms. I had several of them written, in draft form, and had planned out several more. I was learning about how nonfiction is published - which is very different from fiction or poetry - and eager to start getting a book proposal together to submit. And then, I got a job, and I no longer had the time or energy to work on my book any more. I pulled out those reflections a few months ago and was surprised to see that they're actually pretty good. So maybe, after immersing myself in psalms and scripture again by praying the office, maybe I'll be able to work on that book again someday. That would be good.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Today's Poetry Thursday entry comes from my anesthesia- and percoset- and pain-addled brain, following rotator cuff surgery on Monday. Actually, it's not quite so bad as I make it sound, but I'm sure not working on financial analyses or revenue forecasting right now! (Note: typing left-handed, so no more capital letters going forward - forgive me!)


"this will be a little pinch"
liar! - it was a big pinch!
i lay with my eyes closed
silently praying
waiting for the darkness to descend
"it's all finished now, dear"
they didn't tell me
they were ready to make me sleep
what time is it?
where am i?
why is it so hot?
soft purple prayer shawl
under my left hand
pins and needles in my right

open my front door
deliberately move to my couch
take a seat
kitty jumps into my lap
we snooze there
for an hour or so
while mom
watches over us

church ladies call
bring food
nothing that has to be cut -
i have only one hand

under my sling
is a pillow
it's a girl sling
not a boy sling
you can tell by the cutout
for a boob

heavenly shower
but couldn't get
my underarm washed
just yet
maybe today
because getting better
is one of those blasted
one day at a time
and even i can't
to the end.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

typing one-handed

Hey! get your mind out of the gutter, you! my (dominant) right arm is in a sling after surgery, which went better than expected, though i can take it (and the dressing) off tomorrow to shower. i've been wearing ice packs full-time and taking double-strength percoset. best of all is having permission to not wear a bra for weeks. :-)

as always, thank you for your prayers and support. they are sustaining, and i feel warmed and loved.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Best sermon line EVER

We are very blessed at Old Donation to have our new Assistant. She has many skills and graces, one of which being absolutely amazing preaching. This morning, while preaching on this gospel text, the familiar Good Samaritan story, she delivered the best, most wonderful, most incredible line I've ever heard in a sermon anywhere ever. And it was...

We have been commanded by God to love ourselves.

Doesn't that absolutely give you the shivers? Because you know what? It's true.

So go. Get out there and love yourself. You deserve love, you know. You deserve all the love the universe can shower on you. Yes, you there, browsing the internet at 2am in your boxers. You know who you are. And you, my friend, are loved.

Update: The whole of this wonderful sermon text is now online. Go, read it!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Five: The Muggle Version

This week, the RevGals have two different Friday Fives for us, and I'm playing them both. This one is the muggle version, with no HP content at all.

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.

I am partial to the portulaca, or moss rose. Moss roses are bedding plants, annuals, and I see them a lot around southeastern Virginia in the summertime. What I love so much about them is that they are low to the ground and not usually noticed, but when you look closely at them, they are beautiful.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.

You know, I've already done some pretty zany stuff this year, if you ask people who know me. I asked for a separation, I adopted a hedgehog, I moved into my own apartment, I went on two retreats, and I took a road trip to Canada and back on my own. I changed my church home, joined the choir, and volunteered to take the eucharist to parishioners who can't get to church because they are homebound, hospitalized, or in a nursing home. I got personalized license plates for my car. I know that none of this stuff is really out there, but it's all outside my normal comfort zone (to varying degrees, obviously). I'm sure there will be more as the year goes on, but right now, I'm pretty proud of myself.

On a zanier note, a couple years ago, I'd planned to reward myself when I reached 50 pounds of weight loss with a tattoo of a dragonfly on my right breast. Then I plateaued at 45 pounds and eventually quit Weight Watchers. Since 2007 began, I've lost almost 30 pounds, and I'm about to cross a major milestone. But I'm just not prepared to tattoo myself now. Oh well - I'll need a different zany reward!

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one?

No and no.

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?

A collection of Celine Dion CDs.
My ISO 9001 (1994) internal auditors' guide.

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?

You know what - I just can't answer this one right now! I'm vacillating, mostly leaning toward no, but I can't verbalize why. I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm cranky, and I'm ready for a really long week to end... knowing that I have a full weekend of volunteering, chores, and other preparations ahead of me. So: sorry!

Friday Five: Harry Potter!

This week, the RevGals have two different Friday Fives for us, and I'm going to play them both. First, the wonderful magical Harry Potter edition!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?

My favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm not sure exactly why. It was shorter, and I think better written than the fourth and fifth books. And Harry annoyed the bejeebers out of me in Order of the Phoenix with his whininess. He reminded me very much of Luke in Star Wars (Episode 4) - complaining about his fate. I know there's a place for complaining, but sheesh - enough already! I did love the animagi, and Harry's conjuring of a Patronus, plus his realization that he had conjured it and not his father. That was powerful stuff.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?

Hrmph. I'm probably either a Professor McGonagall or Hermione Grainger. I was always good in school, and while I have a deep faith in the chain of command and in the way things should be done, I also can be mistrustful of authority, especially arbitrary authority. But I tend to be the one who answers all of the teacher's questions, and yes, I'm guilty of being the annoying student who corrects the professor (though I try not to do this too often).

I think I would really enjoy sitting down for tea with Mr. & Mrs. Weasley. Their home is wonderfully chaotic, but loving and homey. And Molly and Arthur have a gift for making guests feel welcome. And I'm sure they have wonderful family stories to tell.

3. How careful are you about spoilers?
a) bring 'em on--even if I know the destination, the journey's still good
b) eh, I'd rather not know what happens, but I'm not going to commit Avada Kedavra if someone makes a slip
c) I will sequester myself in a geodesic dome to avoid finding anything out

I'm a (b). I'd prefer to enjoy the surprises. If someone spoils them, though, I'll just give them a hard time and never let them forget how they ruined Harry Potter for me. :-)

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.

I think Dumbledore pulled an Obi-Wan. I also doubt that the question, "So is Snape really good or bad?" will be answered in a clear-cut fashion. As satisfying as an clear answer would be, I find myself really savoring the mystery surrounding Snape.

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?

I'd like to know more about Snape's past, more about how he was associated with Voldemort, and what he was doing for the good guys. Dumbledore clearly trusts him completely, and I know there's a reason for this.

I'd also like to know more about the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest, and maybe some of the other beasties as well.

I can't wait for my new book to arrive! I'd been hoping to be at the bookstore at midnight with my daughter to buy this one, but I'll be at home in my sling recovering from my rotator cuff surgery. Mine will arrive from Amazon on Saturday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Poetry Thursday - Need

I have something a little introspective for you this Poetry Thursday. I worked from home yesterday, after working late the night before and being really tired as a result. I left my home a couple times, but mostly stayed here. Other than work, I did a few things around the place, but not the ones I've been putting off for days. (I hate filing! I love to create filing systems, but I hate filing once the system is set up. Weird of me, I know.) And though I was tired when I wrote this, I was not yet sleepy, so I was trying to slow down and settle in for the night when this bit of introspective fancy hit me.

I need song!

Where is graceful melody
making my voice soar
my shoulders sway
transporting me to heaven?

I need music!
Where is beautiful sound
to fill my ears, my mind,
to make my fingers dance
to take me to another land?

I need verse!
Where are beautiful phrases
making my heart leap
my thoughts race
sending me to new directions?

I need story!
Where is the narrative
revealing your history
spelling out my own
showing us we're the same?

I need gospel!
Where is the good news
telling us we are special
letting us know we are loved
gathering each of us in?

I need love!
Where is my family
teasing me tenderly
supporting my weakness
standing firmly with me?

I need you!
Where are you now
reading this poem
nodding head silently
knowing these feelings?

What do you need?
I am here with you
singing my songs, speaking my words
telling our stories, sharing some hope
offering friendship and love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A peek under the surface

Those of you who know me have undoubtedly seen that I like to present myself as a pretty together person. I like my outward appearance to look confident, capable, intelligent, strong, independent. In this place, this blog, I admit to a lot of the stuff that bubbles away under that surface - hopes, fears, sadness, anger, joy, delight, love, uncertainty - but I usually try to keep that outward appearance intact, neatly wrapping up whatever it is I'm feeling by the end of a post. Those of you who are perceptive, especially those of you who have been through some of the neighborhoods I'm visiting these days, have most likely figured out that even though the blog post is neatly wrapped up, my feelings under the surface are not.

Right now, it is night. It is dark. There is a lovely thunderstorm outside, and though the breathtaking lightning and dramatic thunder have subsided, I still hear the soft patter of the raindrops outside my window. I worked from home today, and other than a trip to the grocery store, have had little face-to-face human interaction. There were two things I really wanted to accomplish before I went to bed tonight, but I'm too tired to take care of either now, though I'm not yet sleepy. The kitty is still hanging out in another room, but soon she'll come in and tell me it's time to get into bed.

I recognize my tired thoughts, particularly because I had them earlier today when I desperately needed a quick rest. I am feeling very unsettled tonight, fearful even. I don't like general anesthesia. I don't react badly to it, but I'm very afraid of not waking back up after. I don't like being unable to care for myself in basic ways. (How the heck am I going to take care of going potty? I don't even want to think about this one, but I have no idea! I do not want my mother helping me in the potty at age 35!) I fear placing myself into other people's hands, into strangers' hands. I trust easily with most things, but these are so basic, so primal.

I know that there is a holiness in giving oneself over into someone else's care. That is why The Servant Song has the lines

Pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant, too.

I have felt this most keenly in both physical therapy and in massage therapy. It can be very hard to accept another's undivided attention to your care. This surrender is very much like the surrender to God, which I've never been able to completely accomplish, either. My guess is that this is part of the human condition. We want to believe we're in control, and we cling so tightly to that control, especially when we feel we are losing it. I am terrified of being completely out of control of my life, of my body, of my basic physical needs and how to care for them.

I wish I wasn't going to be alone here Sunday night. There is no question about me sleeping in my home that night, before my surgery. But... I wish it didn't have to be alone. Our assistant priest offered to bring me eucharist here the night before, and do the prayers and anointing at that time, with the idea that it may help me sleep. I said I would prefer that at the surgery center in the morning. But I would really like someone to just sit next to me, occasionally reach out and touch my hair or my shoulder, and smile to remind me that it will be all right. Or maybe, to sing me the third verse of that song:

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

In a few minutes, I will log off and shut down this computer. I will change into my pajamas, slip into my bed, and begin to pray Compline. This is one of my favorite parts of the day - the dark silence, reaching out to God and knowing that God is with me, surrounding me, caring for me, loving me. Psalm 4 is absolutely beautiful - I call it God's Bedtime Story - and I adore this prayer...

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

... as well as the antiphon for the Nunc dimittis ...

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

It is all pure poetry. And since I seem to be writing this blog post to comfort myself, I will end with the words to a song I learned in children's choir a long time ago. I tried to find information on it, but have only found one other link from a google search, and it is on another blog, from another lady who learned it as a child as well. So here is the lullaby, the prayer I sing for myself tonight. And just maybe, if you are unsettled or fearful or sad or angry tonight, for you, too.

Good night, my father
Put thoughts of Jesus in my head
Holy Spirit comfort me
Put angels all around my bed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Quick Update

Just a quick note, since I don't want to repeat all of this. I had my pre-op visits this morning for my surgery next Monday. Thinking about my daughter's surgeries last winter, I remembered a wonderful web site that was great for keeping loved ones updated on how she was doing. Today I set up a site for updates after my shoulder operation, so that I don't have to email and call a bajillion people (or more to the point: so my mom doesn't have to). :-)

There is a link on the right to Caring Bridge, or you can click on these words right here - yes, these! - to go there. It will ask you to register an email address before you view the site, but I've never gotten any kind of spam or unwelcome email from them.

I'm going to have my mom post updates Monday and maybe Tuesday, and hopefully after that I'll be able to log in and give you all the gruesome details myself. Meanwhile, your prayers and warm thoughts are most welcome. Thank you all!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog!

Good morning, dear ones! It is Monday morning, and I am back at my desk in my office again, after being away for two weeks. The office is quiet; so far there are only four of us here, scattered throughout the suite. I don't think any of us is within about 40 feet of the next closest coworker. My officemate is not here today, and her desk is very, very clean. I wonder if her Reserve duty started this week instead of next. I have my halogen lamps on rather than the fluorescent overheads, so my desk is lit softly, and I have my "Soothing Sacred" playlist accompanying my typing. I look around this room, at the things on my desk, and I know that I only have five days in this space before I'm away for six weeks, maybe more. I've intentionally decorated my desk with touches of family, of faith, of humor, of beauty. I'm working on decorating my apartment with similar touches, and it is very satisfying to have it develop from a rented apartment into a home.

I got home about 10:45pm Friday night, after driving through Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, then crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel into Virginia Beach. I hadn't headed south on the Bridge-Tunnel since the new trestles had been added in the 90s, so that was cool. In fact, the portion of the trip from Philadelphia south is a trip I'd ridden many times, but never driven, so that was a small thrill.

So on this trip, I got to see

I'd had my mail held while I was away, so Saturday afternoon I got a great big pile of stuff. In it was my new voter registration card, my first New Scientist magazine, assorted "we have changed your address" notices, and the new license plates in this picture. After doing piles and piles of laundry, I spent Saturday and Sunday picking up stuff for the new place and getting it situated. I didn't have any food yet - after moving in, and four days later going on a ten-day trip - so I made a $300 trip to the grocery store that completely filled up my trunk. So now I have salt and pepper to go into the shakers I bought a few weeks ago. And food I can actually eat in my own home, without having to call out - yay! I also got a water cooler, since the water in Virginia Beach tastes terrible. And assorted other linens and household things. It adds up so incredibly quickly. My credit card is starting to feel a little floppy now.

I am rather bummed, though, because while I was away, my soon-to-be-ex decided that he and the kids would take a weeklong trip to visit his sister in Texas. They left Friday evening, while I was still on the Delmarva Peninsula, and won't be back until this coming Sunday, in the evening. So I haven't seen my munchkins since June 24, and I won't see them again until after my surgery. If I'd known this before I'd left, it wouldn't bother me so much, but I wasn't successful at shifting my expectations, so now I really really miss them. Especially when I go over to their house to feed the dogs. That's kind of hard, too, because the house has nothing of me left in it. It was my home for eight years, and now it is... not. But my new space has rapidly become home for me, and I'm glad of that. Of course, I've been working on that intentionally, trying to make it homey as quickly as possible before the surgery, because I will really need a safe refuge then.

But I'm glad to be home, glad to see my kitty and my hedgehog again - I'll have to get some pictures of them in their new digs! - and even glad to be in the office. (Hee hee - especially since I'll only be in the office for a week before leaving again!) I'm glad to be on my own, testing my wings, finding my strength and confidence while also having this very potent lesson in interdependence next week. I'm glad to know myself as lovable in the face of what's happening in my life, and I'm glad for all the friends who surround me. Thank you, Friends! :-)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Checking in from the road

Well, I'm not actually on the road right now, which is a good thing, because emailing while driving is rather a bad idea. Instead, I'm sitting at the desk in my hotel room in an Ontario town, relaxing after a couple days of busy-ness.

Friday morning, I left Herndon, Virginia to head west to Harper's Ferry. I was only there for about an hour to soak in that gorgeous river confluence before heading north and west into the Alleghanies in Pennsylvania. Since it is summer in Pennsylvania, for every mile of clear highway there was at least a mile of highway under construction. I got up to Jamestown, New York, found my hotel, and then wandered to the Chautauqua Institution to take in a concert by The Kingston Trio and The Smothers Brothers. It was wonderful. The Kingston Trio made a joke about the ages of the people in the crowd, observing that folks over about 50 learned the songs from the original records, and everyone under 50 learned them at camp. I pouted, because I listened to all those original records growing up.
When I told my daughter about the concert, she said, "They sound old." When I told her how long they'd been around, she said, "Wow, they're prehistoric!" Of course, this is the same child who was astonished to learn recently that there were color cartoons on television when I was growing up... in the 70s and 80s. Harrumph.

Saturday I headed up to Cape Vincent, New York, to take twin ferries into Ontario. Sadly, this is when the sky opened up, so what I saw of Lake Ontario can be summed up in two words: wet and grey. Then I headed west to Gananoque to drive along the Thousand Islands Parkway before turning north to Ottawa. I spent the Canada Day holiday weekend in Ottawa, and got to see Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, the Rideau Canal (newly recognized as a UN World Heritage Site), the Museum of Civilization, and many gorgeous views of the Canal and the Ottawa River. Ottawa is an incredibly lovely city, and I'm so glad I got to explore it, even a little bit. I am hoping I get back to Gatineau, across the river in Quebec, because there is a park that looks to be breathtakingly beautiful.

Today, I am resting. I'm catching up on email, at least the ones that aren't contentious and stressful, journalling, reading some poetry, maybe writing some, watching a movie or two, and basically just hanging out and relaxing. It's been a great trip so far, and I am already feeling very much recharged and refreshed. Since I hadn't had a real vacation since June 2005, I really needed this. And it's been good. Thanks be to God.