Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The church music director had assumed coordinator responsibility when the associate pastor got her own church down south. He probably has enough to do and doesn't seem interested in facilitating the group. He's gotten two former participants to cover for him.
The group meets for 34 weeks, for 2.5 hours. There's homework every day and it promises to cover either 70% or 90% of the Bible, I can't remember which. I would think 70%.
The materials are available at Cokesbury, a workbook and a recommended but bland-sounding study edition of the Bible. I've seen that version in bookstores and was never once inclined to peruse it.
I begged off and gave my sincere intention to consider "Disciple" again in 2011. However, I might order the materials just to have them. Maybe I'll have time to look them over. But, you know, I'm getting a little sick and tired of these introductory programs and I would probably only participate for the fellowship.
On the way home, I passed St. Greg's in Hamilton Square. The lights were on so I went inside maybe to pray. The choir was practicing. A very intimate group of five or six. Their voices filled the huge church. They were practicing the responsorial psalm. And then I'm pretty sure they practiced this song with such a haunting melody, "Camberwell." I'm not sure how focused my prayer was ... I seemed to be doing more listening than mumbling intentions.
Am I better? I don't know. I'm not as tired as I was. The numbness in my hands and feet has subsided a bit. The joints hurt a little less. The mind has cleared up somewhat. I had a dizzy spell last night and feel mildly dizzy today. So that's not good considering I've quit everything long time. Otherwise, I won't really know for sure how I am until I get back to the fall schedule. The dead of winter is usually my worst time physically because the house is so cold.
Perhaps providentially, my favorite caffeinated drink has redesigned its label. Thankfully, it doesn't even catch my eye anymore. I have no cravings for caffeine but still like carbonated drinks. So I have several bottles of Perrier on hand. And this week I picked up some of this, but it was so refreshing that I've already drank too many. I just figured it was a good substitute to this which I had been drinking even though it upsets my stomach.
I was driving back from, well, that bit doesn't matter and tuned in to the Open Forum. In response to a previous question, a caller asked about the supposed dangers of the King James Study Bible. It seems that Camping had taken a stand against study Bibles with notes at the bottom of the page because a reader could mistakenly recall someone's opinion about the text as "something read in the Bible."
He's got nothing against commentaries, as some Bible readers might, so long as the notes are contained in a distinct book and not on the sacred page. Cross-references - linking God's word to God's word - are alright, despite the fact that any such connections are the result of someone's insight.
Usually, editors take effort to distinguish the biblical text from study helps with headings, text boxes, font size and boundary lines. Getting familiar and comfortable with the layout of a study Bible's page doesn't take much.
Monday, August 30, 2010
This week's first reading and the Gospel are clearly in the wisdom tradition but my skeptical side always ponders just how wise the advice really is.
Take Sirach 3:18 -
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,If I must ask myself whether I'm great then I'm obviously not and, so, am off the hook!
and you will find favor with God.
Certainly the next verse resonates with me, loud and clear -
What is too sublime for you, seek not,But the next verse appears to be some sort of built in protection against criticism -
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,I don't always appreciate proverbs, therefore I'm not a sage? Who'd be happy with that assessment? Better to pretend to appreciate proverbs?
The Gospel reading applies Sirach's advice in a real-life setting, dinner with one of the leading Pharisees. Kenny recognized the Scripture from the handful of parables covered in VBS this summer. Good for him.
Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’On the other hand, if you're like me and habitually arrive late (and last), just take whatever seat is available, if any.
But is the proper motivation for humbling oneself the hope of promotion? I mean, come on. Does this passage actually encourage ulterior motives? And so, if I reject the ethic of this passage - refuse to affix hope of promotion on the virtue of debasing myself in social settings, am I not living according to biblical teaching?
I prefer Sirach whose focus is on finding favor with God because there's no mention of pleasing God in the passage from Luke until, perhaps, the final verse -
Blessed indeed will you be ... For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.The part about feeding people who can't repay you reminded me of the scene from the original Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) after the desperate farmer tries to shoot Deeds and Deeds gives him a meal.
The second reading gives a compelling contrast between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion which may be only vaguely related to (Christian) wisdom literature, in the idea that there are "two paths" (Deut. 30:19; Prov. 9). I was reminded that Pilgrim's Progress makes use of those symbols, Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion, for law and grace.1
1 Pilgrim's Progress - Wiki
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I went out Monday but paid cash everywhere. I didn't go out yesterday. This morning we had plans to drive to the shore and I needed to fill up the gas tank. I couldn't find my credit card and, by this time, I had conscientiously returned Tim's wallet to its proper place for safekeeping. So I got $20 worth and, when I got home, asked Jeff to remind me again where he had placed my credit card.
"In your wallet."Now, 'round here, people use different terms than we did growing up for purse, wallet, pocketbook. And I knew that my wallet wasn't in the car. I'd forgotten that Tim's had been. But I had enough cash to get through a few hours at the shore, so I didn't sweat it. Much. In the back of my mind, I still worried where my credit card could be.
When we got home from the shore, I checked all my pants pockets, clean and soiled clothes. I checked under seat cushions of favorite chairs. I checked the floor of my car. I asked the baby sitter whether it was in the folded cash I'd given her Monday. I returned to the restaurant we'd eaten at Monday. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Not until Jeff got home tonight and we had a chance to compare notes:
"I put it in your wallet. The strange thing about your wallet is that there were so many empty slots. Did you have someone else's wallet in your car?"Then we walked together to where Tim keeps his wallet and Jeff pulled out my credit card.
"I couldn't figure out why you had one of my old, expired ACM membership cards in there, either!"
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
She waited outside the secretary's office. Sure I hadn't succeeded in wiping away my puzzled look, I gave her an as-generous-as-possible, "Good morning" and headed up the stairs.
I can never remember what week it is, but Father came out in white so I turned to the back of my missal where the feasts and memorials are arranged according to the calendar. Father opted for the European pronunciation of St. Bernard1. Having seen a dog in church only moments before, this tasteful touch wasn't lost on me. Lest anyone think we're invoking the intercession of a dog, however conscientious the breed about helping people. 'Though the pronunciation sounded strained.
He said that the vision in Ezekiel 37 isn't about resurrection but about the people returning from exile. And I was glad that he said that. I don't think it's necessary to stop there, with the original audience's interpretation. But too often it's a step that is skipped altogether. The vision is a little more beautiful when taken figuratively, in a way. But then could anything be more beautiful than resurrection?
The twentieth week, the twentieth day. Yes, I like that sort of thing.
1 bur-NAHRD (US), BER-nəd (UK) - Wiki
Monday, August 23, 2010
"The truth of the story is not at all affected by the fact that the evangelists relate the words and deeds of the Lord in a different order and express his sayings not literally but differently, while preserving (their) sense."And I just wondered that if it doesn't matter in the Scripture, why should it matter so much in the liturgy1.
1 "the need to be as true as possible to the original languages in which the prayers were first written"
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I was assured that all the needed parts were in stock and the car would be ready later that day. Then when I was about to leave to pick it up, the shop called to say the car would be ready early Friday. Not everything was in stock. Inventory showed more than the parts people could locate on the shelves. I thought to myself that if a repair shop is going to push superfluous repairs, at least have the parts available.
The next day I went to pick up the car. And as I walked into the garage area, I overheard the guy, Andy, who handled my car, on the phone explaining to another customer that their transmission fluid is black. Oh, sounds like a special on black transmission fluid this week.
Jeff's told me I gotta find another place to take the car. I don't think he'd buy me another of the same brand if I can't get it serviced reliably. And I want to call the Better Business Bureau about these guys. When I dropped off the car, I remember now, Andy was expressing concern to a co-worker about still having a job and the service shop still being in business. He sounded desperate but shady deals aren't the solution.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I took Chris to the birthday party at the house of twins from his group at summer camp. Chatting with the mother, she asked about the upcoming parents' BBQ and the forecasted threat of rain:
"What do they do if it rains?"It's never happened.
"But they are predicting a terrible thunderstorm during the time of the picnic"The camp owner has it all worked out with the Guy who arranges the weather. Graduations, picnics, field days - never rained. I also told her that I present the counselors' tips to them at the picnic. Whether it rains or not, I'm going for that reason, at least.
"Do you follow the tipping guidelines?"Yes (and then some).
"Well, I have it times two!And I have it times three.1 I bet mothers of twins trot out that line often among their friends.
I'd gone to the bank in Monroe for the tip money. The sky was dark and even light sprinkles hit the windshield. But when I got home, only a distance of a few miles, the sky to the south was sunny. I had nothing to lose by taking the kids over there but I made sure they wore sneakers instead of flip-flops, in case a thunderstorm necessitated a mad dash for the car! As we parked and got our things together, we heard thunder. Still parents' cars kept pouring in. Jeff called for status on the picnic because he had just driven through hail in North Jersey. I told him:
"I'm standing on the basketball courts and there's a line in the sky: to the north, dark clouds, to the south, sunshine. Come over, it's 'game on!'"Lots of times the warnings of severe weather are for the City and stay just north of us. Only in hindsight does one realize that the projections were more or less accurate. Despite being spared rain, or maybe due to being spared, it was incredibly humid but the kids had fun. Chris climbed the rock wall to the zip line across the lake.
I wish I'd gotten that on video. He said he was shivering when he got to the top because he was scared. But he did it anyway!2
1 Except this year, Tim has a main counselor, two assistant counselors and one "Counselor In Training (CIT)." I was one envelop short last night because the CIT's existence, much less his name, was never communicated to me. The kid always wears a golden rosary necklace, how can I not tip him?
2 He did zipline again tonight during the upper camp picnic but I didn't see him. Jeff rode the parallel line with him simultaneously.
Friday, August 13, 2010
I went to Walmart, which I've learned very much to loathe in recent years, out of necessity. Flickr prints there now instead of at Target and I wanted Tim to send some summer pictures to his second grade teacher. I won't turn this into a rant against Walmart but the sound of jackhammering that wafted into the store from the loading dock area was constant and intolerable. No wonder kids were shrieking and carrying on. Even my nerves got a little on edge from it. Jackhammering is bloody loud.
On our way out, we ran into Ella's former teacher. It was very nice to see her but Ella was shy and certainly didn't want to hug her. I think my kids get embarrassed by their own strong feelings.
I didn't find everything at Walmart, surprise. So I was on the way to Target when I saw Michaels and decided to try there for an art smock for Tim. They've never had them in the past so I've no idea why I expected that to change. Instead, Chris was offering me a tantrum and didn't want to leave the car. I eventually made a game out of putting his socks on - I teased him about his big feet and, oh, would I be able to even get his tiny socks on?! I bet 'no' and he was determined to prove me wrong! He's pretty easy to win over and that bit worked on him.
However, in the store, he kept badgering me about buying him some sort of toy and berating me for never doing it. I found something that I wanted to buy quite a few of, so I went back a few aisles for a shopping cart. I picked one with squeaky wheels and between that and my own squeaky wheel, it was too much, so I exchanged the one I could and resumed shopping. But for the life of me, I could not remember the reason I'd entered the store. What had I gone in there for? I had only Chris's words playing over and over in my head, "You always say 'no;' you never buy me anything good except food."1 And as I stood motionless in the center of the aisle, I confessed to Chris that I couldn't remember what I wanted to buy because I was so affected by his words, he asserted, "That's what I wanted to happen."
Now it's ridiculous how slow I am, but this type of belligerency is always (really, always) an indication that Chris needs to use a restroom. Seriously. But since I had offered him such an opportunity at Walmart twenty minutes earlier I wasn't in the mood to offer again. When we returned to the car, Ella asked as she often does, "Where we going?" and Chris blurted, "Home!" It was going on 3 and I hadn't had lunch yet, so skipping Target and going home sounded good to me, too.
But first I went 'round the corner to Fred & Murry's Kosher Deli and got a junior sloppy joe. I persuaded Chris to use their restroom and, incredibly (but not surprising) his attitude completely improved! To my great joy, the $10 sandwich was out of this world. And it was only a sandwich, on rye. The homemade pickles were awesome, too. Only a little soggy. I also bought a lb. of macaroni salad and had some for dinner. I need to find the recipe because it's so sweet. I don't know what the dressing it. Maybe it's made with pareve Miracle Whip.
1 Four hours later it came back to me: an art smock for Tim. But the memory was only triggered by catching a glimpse of the school supply list in my purse when I opened it to pull out the packet of prints.
Monday, August 09, 2010
I read it against the backdrop, in my own mind, of those three killed in a car crash. How could I not? It's fresh pain on my mind. Twain's writing is so true to life:
Then quite a group of boys and girls - playmates of Tom's and Joe's - came by, and stood looking over the paling fence and talking in reverent tones of how Tom did so-and-so, the last time they saw him, and how Joe said this and that small trifle (pregnant with awful prophecy, as they could easily see now!) - and each speaker pointed out the exact spot where the lost lads stood at the time, and then added something like "and I was a-standing just so - just as I am now, and as if you was him - I was as close as that - and he smiled, just this way - and then something seemed to go all over me, like - awful, you know - and I never thought what it meant, of course, but I can see now!"And, of course, they bust in upon their own funeral, as you remember. But superstition isn't reserved for the boys and girls, no. Most of the adults are steeped in it too. Kenny nearly fell off the bed laughing when I read Tom describing his "dream" to Aunt Polly, in the next chapter:
Then there was a dispute about who saw the dead boys last in life, and many claimed that dismal distinction, and offered evidences, more or less tampered with by the witness; and when it was ultimately decided who did see the departed last, and exchanged the last words with them, the lucky parties took upon themselves a sort of sacred importance, and were gaped at and envied by all the rest. One poor chap, who had no other grandeur to offer, said with tolerably manifest pride in the remembrance:
"Well, Tom Sawyer he licked me once."
But that bid for glory was a failure. Most of the boys could say that, and so that cheapened the distinction too much.
"Why, Wednesday night I dreamt that you was sitting over there by the bed, and Sid was sitting by the woodbox, and Mary next to him."Kenny remarked that the characters in this book seem to be so very religious and he speculated that people were most religious "in those days." Well, the book contains way more descriptions of people being superstitious than of being religious. I think there's still a good mix of both with us today but we just have this chronological snobbery that blinds us to it all around us (and in us). Here's Polly's prayer that got Kenny's reaction:
"Well, so we did. So we always do. I'm glad your dreams could take even that much trouble about us."
"And I dreamt that Joe Harper's mother was here."
"Why, she was here! Did you dream any more?"
"Oh, lots. But it's so dim, now."
"Well, try to recollect - can't you?"
"Oh, it's all getting just as bright as day, now. Next you said I warn't bad, only mischeevous and harum-scarum, and not any more responsible than - than - I think it was a colt, or something."
"And so it was! Well, goodness gracious! [...] Well, for the land's sake! I never heard the beat of that in all my days! Don't tell me there ain't anything in dreams, any more. Sereny Harper shall know of this before I'm an hour older. I'd like to see her get around this with her rubbage 'bout superstition. Go on, Tom!"
"I'm thankful to the good God and Father of us all I've got you back, that's long-suffering and merciful to them that believe on Him and keep His word, though goodness knows I'm unworthy of it, but if only the worthy ones got His blessings and had His hand to help them over the rough places, there's few enough would smile here or ever enter into His rest when the long night comes."I think I could say "Amen" to that.
The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Wednesday was awful with an upset stomach. I ate two meals on Wednesday, a bowl of Mini Wheats in the morning and again in the evening. On Thursday, I got a taste again for caffeinated soda, so I poured my remaining soda bottles down the drain. I went grocery shopping on Friday and didn't even go down the soda aisle.
I've been drinking lots more water, most because of the bad symptoms I had. I wanted to flush out the diphenhydramine too, which I think I've largely done. I'm still a little dizzy, mostly at night. I came home last night and threw my head back to look at the stars and nearly fell over. Since diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, I lost whatever benefit that gave to my urticaria. I've gone back to the prescription topical ointment but the itching keeps me up at night.
I'm reading labels scrupulously. Chris and I went out for pizza after the beach on Friday evening and he got an Orange Crush to share. I checked the label - "caffeine free." But Jeff offered to buy me an orange or grape soda - I'm still craving sugary drinks - and found Sunkist has caffeine. So, hankering for something sweet, I had a glass of chocolate milk. We keep chocolate milk around for our daughter who prefers it to regular milk. I remembered the caffeine in chocolate but hoped there isn't much and kept drinking.
Can I blame years of nursing? Can I blame children who get up at all hours of the night for my poor sleep habits? I don't know. I ought to be over that by now. Chris still tends to get up a few nights a week1 and needs help in the bathroom.
I read somewhere online it's three weeks to get over caffeine addition. Well, it's a lot easier to do when you feel miserable. I'm yawning a lot more now, for sure. And I think I'm coming down with a cold, as well ...
1 I'm writing this at 1 o'clock and he just got up and I helped him.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Jeff's brother just happens to be up there for the onion festival, like he does every year. I've never been.
Now the festival let up last night at 11 and the crash was after 1:30. Here are a couple of pictures, on Albion Rd., south of Lockport Rd.
I don't really remember the area even though I used to ride my bike that way several times a summer to visit my friend whose family took a house (and old church, actually) on East Shelby Rd., at the intersection with Barber and Posson1. Down the road from their church/house, I remember a cemetery, probably this one. We would often visit to read the names and marvel at the dates.
The XC team took runs out Albion, too, in my time, I think but it must have been simply out & back because I can't see a reasonable loop or circuit. The time my friend got bit by a dog when we were riding bikes, we had gone Albion all around to Fisher and the dog got her almost at 262. I was able to take her to a friend's house, whose father taught at the high school, right along 262, for help. She got stitches and rabies shots and had a scar or two. Very memorable. We had been singing Beatles songs during the ride to pass the time, I remember, "The Long and Winding Road" seemed apt. There were two other friends with us but they had fallen behind.
The summer I worked at the Muck, probably '87, I drove Lockport Rd to 98 to the farm.
Years later, my brother bought a house on Eagle Harbor in Medina, which he has since sold, but I drove Albion to visit him on a few occasions. At the intersection with Fisher Rd. and through the hamlet of West Barre, there are some tricky spots but the turns coming into town where this crash occurred are smooth.
The girl was underage but the boys were not. The driver had just turned 21 last week.
UPDATED: Empty Beer Bottles Found In Oakfield Car Crash, WKBW News 7, Buffalo.
1 "Posson" isn't from memory, it's from a map and it doesn't sound familiar. The other roads do and the "path" or course of Posson is familiar.
Friday, August 06, 2010
The summer liturgical calendar is usually pretty bland. I don't know it by heart1 but after John the Baptist and Sts. Peter and Paul, nothing really sticks out until Assumption. For most people. There are exceptions; everyone has their personal favorites and it's a question of degree not kind.
But, as I alluded, there are surprises and I've been surprised too many times by the calendar to dash out in that split-second without glancing at it first. And, you know, it's a significant day, so the question was which missal to take. Which missal would have the texts for the Transfiguration in it. And since this is one of those feasts that, if it falls on Sunday, replaces the Sunday, the texts were found in the Sunday missal.2 Whew, because my weekday missal is single volume, fat.
The cardboard lawn sign reminded me that the parish's VBS finishes up this morning. I was trying to figure how those volunteers who attend mass would get out in time. Rather than move a ribbon to the place in the back of the Sunday missal, I just stuffed my finger in between the pages and walked up the back stairs. Volunteers were already in the hall setting up but I could also hear someone reading upstairs so I hurried.
Jean was already on the psalm and I figured the volunteers would be on time only if mass started a little early. Technically I was late. And I have it in my mind that formalities are only that when you're late: I slipped in the back without genuflecting. I was already self-conscious so why exacerbate it with showiness. Anyway, I was pleased I could open the missal quickly and quietly to catch up. I took the first few minutes of the homily (tinged with self-help, ugh) to skim the first reading, Daniel 7; it's a very familiar one to anyone who's studied with dispensationalists.
Afterwards, the parking lot was a little busier than usual. I should have parked in a way so that I didn't need to back up. I was afraid I'd run over a kid or something. And on the way home I heard this neat song that sounded like Cat Stevens/James Taylor/Alison Krauss/O Brother, Where Art Thou? I expected her to belt out "go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend" at any moment. But she didn't. I might be predisposed to liking it; I remember liking "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" and my sister was crazy about "Lay Down".
Now, First Friday someplace would make a nice bookend tonight but we're going to the beach instead.
1 Huh, never seen this before, but it's handy.
2 My old St. Joseph's missal lists about a dozen feasts in the front, my newer Daughters of St. Paul missals less than ten. But I think the lists are in effect the same.