Thursday, May 31, 2007

The mammogram cometh ....

I had my annual mammogram this morning. Thank God, it was OK.

This is a high-anxiety time for me, since I had the biopsy many years ago in 1991 (which was negative. Another big Thank God).

At the radiology practice I use, they understand this anxiety, so the doctor reads the x-ray right away and lets you know. They also have a computer that scans the x-ray and double-checks the doctor. That's a big plus in my book.

So I guess I'm good for another 12,000 miles. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tagged!! Thursday three-book meme

I've been tagged by Gabrielle for the "three-book meme." I, too, was an English major (how did we all end up in the blogosphere?), lo these many years ago, and, yes, this task is daunting! How to narrow down my selections .... Hm.

Generally, these days, I read nonfiction, and on specifically spiritual topics (how much I retain of what I read is another question!). This may be a reaction to having been immersed in belles-lettres forever.

So, here goes:

Nonfiction
Revelations of Divine Love / Blessed Julian of Norwich. Julian rocks my world!
The Cloister Walk / Kathleen Norris (also Dakota)
The Genesee Diary / Henri Nouwen

Fiction
The Return of the Native / Thomas Hardy. I reread this every couple of years. I, like Gabrielle, fixated on it at an early age. Last time I was in England, I went to Hardy's house, Max Gate, and although it was closed for the season, I sneaked around outside and looked in all the windows. I guess Hardy is kind of an obsession. I have all of his novels, even the ones I don't care much for.

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me / Javier Marias. A guy has a one-night stand, but the woman has a stroke and dies. The novel depicts all the tangled relationships that develop as the narrator becomes anonymously involved with the woman's family members.

Waterland / Graham Swift. A boy coming of age in the watery fen country of England, and a mysterious death.

Authors
Thomas Hardy
Javier Marias
Ursula Hegi
Graham Swift (I know that's four, but I'm cheating)

Three books that no-one should read
Hmmm ... um .... er ....I give up.

I'd like to tag Michael, Rachel, and my favorite seminarian!




Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's all coming apart ...

Times change, and I guess we change with them. Or we don't, at our peril.

At the library where I've worked since 1981, we are bowing to the pressures of technology. I have spent all day (actually I've spent a lot of time for a couple of years!) cancelling titles which are now available online. Lots of people go to the web first for their information now (and so do I, as a matter of fact), so libraries are cancelling lots of material in print, and subscribing to those materials electronically.

None of this is a surprise. Pundits in Libraryland have been forecasting the death of print format, and while I don't think print will be completely dead for quite awhile, I have to admit that they've been right so far. Our library dumpsters are all full of titles we labored to acquire, catalog, process, and shelve over the years. Our blogs testify to how easily lots of us have adapted to the cyber world.

What is surprising is how this feels, and how quickly it struck. As I was deleting records today, I noticed that I was deleting some of my records -- things I cataloged back in the 1980s and 1990s. Back when I was new in the field, and excited about it. Back when I had great expectations for myself, none of which ever came about (unless they call me right now to be Librarian of Congress, I mean. Time's passing! LOL!).

So it feels like little bits of me are going to that void where deleted records go when you push the button. I shouldn't be so maudlin; it's been a decent place to work, and a good living. But the handwriting is on the wall: downsizing is inevitable here -- it's going to happen. I'm eligible to retire when I turn 55, a mere 15 months from now, so I guess that's a safety net of sorts.

I have to believe that there will be something worthwhile out there for me to do when this job ends, one way or another. I know God has a plan. But I wish he would give me a clue.

Just a little hint, Lord ...c'mon!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lift-off!

Last night we celebrated Christ's Ascension with a 7:30 service. We went all-out: choir, bell-choir, a wonderful homily, and a nice reception to follow.

Too bad only 6 people came.

OK, it was a week-night. OK, it was threatening to rain.

But where was everyone?

In the chancel, it was beastly hot. Sweat ran down between my shoulder-blades. The Rector had declined, when asked, to turn on the air conditioning (I wish, for him, 15 minutes of menopause!). After I nearly dropped the big E bell because my hand was so moist, it occurred to me that I should have changed out of the jeans that had now molded themselves to my rump.

I guess Ascension seems like an anti-climax to some people. After Easter, attendance goes way down, as folks begin to open up their beach houses and dust off the golf clubs. Jesus has safely risen -- where's the sunscreen? We'll see you again when Sunday school starts up in the fall!

Oh well. These services are not for us, after all.

Jesus has ascended! Alleluia!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

JulianFest 2007

The merry band depicted at the left is the group of attendees at JulianFest 2007, which took place last weekend at the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary Conference Center in Waukesha, WI.

The attendees were Members Regular of the Order of Julian of Norwich, plus Oblates and Associates of the Order. For two days, we listened to speakers, worshiped together, enjoyed meals and social time in common, and did still prayer as a group. This was only my second JulianFest, but I cannot imagine missing it.

I guess the best part, as I told my uncomprehending husband, who cannot imagine going to church at all, much less going numerous times within a 48-hour period, is that at JulianFest I am surrounded by people who are much like me: who share my values, love worship and still prayer, enjoy chanting the psalms, and want to study Mother Julian's writings on a deeper level.

I don't stand out like a sore thumb among them, as I sometimes feel I do in my parish. The atmosphere is calm, accepting, and loving. Everyone belongs!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Excessive love of dogs


The goofy faces to the left belong to Amber and Max, our standard poodle puppies, who will have their first birthday on May 16th. Below is Shadow, our older standard poodle, born June 11, 1996 -- she's the boss! She's not very fond of the pups, and she tends to bully them a bit, though they're both bigger than she is. That's why she gets photographed separately.

I had a boyfriend once who said I had an excessive love of dogs. He was from Ireland, where (he said) dogs just lived outside. That he's not my husband now speaks volumes.

When I come home after work, there they are -- and so happy to see me! They're priceless to me, which is why I call them Woman's Best Friends. When my spirit has dried up like old shoe leather, when life seems like a barren spot surrounded by mountains, there they are, with their tongues hanging out, ready to go running in the woods.

Thank You, Lord, for dogs.

I'm not feeling very profound tonight, just grateful.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What I can learn from moonflowers

The unpromising little fellows on the right are moonflower plants, the first vines I have ever tried to grow. I chose moonflowers while fantasizing that they would grow up above the trellis onto my porch roof, making the porch look like a southern verandah or an English bower (with nods to Grandmere Mimi and to MadPriest, respectively). I chose them also because they open at night, and since I am still full-time in the rat-race, evening is the only time I get to sit on the porch.

I planted the seeds and was amazed that they germinated so quickly -- a matter of days -- and then two sizeable leaves popped out the top of each sprout. After about two more weeks, a slender tendril appeared at the top of each plant, extending upwards, seeking something to grasp.
I hurriedly got them into the pot, and helped them attach themselves to the trellis. Now that they have got a good grip, a row of new leaves is emerging.

Having been an English major is something of a curse (aside from the difficulty of finding employment). I find typos where no one else notices them. I found a misspelling in the Latin inscription of a stained-glass window at my church ("in memorium," which should have been "in memoriam." Groan! One of these days I'll fix it with a black magic marker!). I find fault with the grammar used on commercials! And where normal people see a plant, I see a metaphor in a pot.

It seems to me that my own spiritual growth has been not unlike the growth of the little moonflowers -- extending myself a little bit, learning new things, getting a grip, although a slippery one, on God. Wondering what He wants for me as I grow. Taking a new hold and putting out a leaf -- just a little one! -- and waiting to see where I end up. The moonflowers are growing quickly, upwards of an inch a day. If only my progress were as rapid!

Still, I'll keep putting out those tendrils, and see where they take me ...