Sunday, February 25, 2007

Snowy Days and Sundays Always Get Me Down

Here I sit in Your Nation's Capitol, safe and sound in my little townhouse with a warm laptop on my lap, a warm cat on my legs, and the all-news, all-traffic, all-weather, all-cancellations station on the radio (why, I don't know - I should switch to the all-classical-music station, now that t has been resurrected from the dead). I went to my home church this morning, about 9 miles away, because I was scheduled to do the Adult Forum on my trip to Qatar today. It was a scary ride there, because we are having a Weather Event (ice and snow). I left quite early, so I attended the 9 a.m. Eucharist and then did the Adult Forum. It was surprisingly well-attended given the weather. I wore a traditional djellabiya (similar to the one at right). An odd dissonance between wearing something from the land of sun and sand in the midst of a snowstorm. Folks asked good questions and seemed to appreciate the talk.
Then - home again. By then, the snow and ice was much scarier. I was driving PH's Volvo, which is usually quite good in winter weather, but it was still very slippery. Of course, people were not always driving sensibly. Accidents all over the place. I got to a half-mile from home, and there was a twenty-car pileup on the road. I managed to get around it and to the house. Thank you, Jesus! It was exhausting.
I had some lunch and sat down on the couch, where I promptly fell asleep. I've been very sleepy for the past week or so. I don't know what that's about - hopefully just the winter blahs - but I do need to get some studying and writing done, so I wish I could snap out of it.
PH is in the Windy City for his dad's big birthday party. He was supposed to fly back this afternoon but his flight was cancelled. Not rebooked until tomorrow afternoon. I miss him...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Lovely Bit of News on Ash Wednesday

My paper on the January term in Qatar awaited me in my box this morning. My advising professor was quite pleased with my work, had some wonderful and thought-provoking comments on the paper, and suggested I condense it for submission to a scholarly journal. After the past three weeks of feeling like I'm just sort of doggy-paddling along with my nose above the water line, it was nice to get an attagirl saying I do good work. Maybe my whole head is up above the water line (at least for this week).

Thanks, Holy Spirit!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

15 seconds of fame

This weekend was the Conference on Ministry at Big Old Seminary. A whole lotta folks from around the country and the world came to see if our place would be the right place for seminary for them. I was co-chair of the off-campus housing tours, which showed about 40 folks the usual options for those who for one reason or another don't want or can't live in dorms. All went well with our little fleet of volunteer drivers and tour guides...except for moi. Leaving our last stop, I got my car stuck on a hump of ice sitting on a speed bump. The two front tires were suspended in the air - no traction at all. Mortifying for someone who lived in New england for twenty-five years. I just didn't get enough momentum up in a car filled with people to get it up and over. Fortunately, a classmate ran my folks back to the seminary, and PH and the classmate then chipped the ice out from under my car and freed it. A little humiliation is good for the soul.

Last night we had our Variety Show...various and sundry acts, including a 10-year-old doing Seinfeld's Halloween bit impeccably, a two-year old dressed up in a band major's costume marching across the stage and then melting down, a movie about General Ordination Exams called "The End Times," and a couple of very funny skits. I sang a song about Hebrew class, to the tune of "If I Loved You," from the musical Carousel:

Aleph Beth Gimmel Dalt, He and Yod and Chet
Don't forget Vav but Mark insists it's waw.
Vocabulary lists are longer every week
Ayin aleph, kaph and qof, tet and taw.
Hebrew Studies! I don't think I'll get through BL102.

Hebrew Studies. Day after day I memorize all they want me to know.
Hebrew studies, strong dagesh, chain constructs, Hithpael, BDB is just hell.

I try to read aloud, afraid and shy.
I know the quiz is coming; Why oh why
Did I take it? Wouldn't the Greek have been much more fun?
Now I never will know. Hebrew Studies; Hebrew Studies.

Hebrew Studies. I conjugate verbs in a tongue No one speaks anymore.
Tense or aspect; chattering on 'bout poetic forms, I've become a Hebrew bore!

I want to exegete by reading verse In the original language - what is worse
Is, I love it. Hard as it is, I wouldn't trade Hours spent parsing those words.
I'm in love with Hebrew Studies.

No one threw rotten tomatoes or catcalled, so I guess I survived. Wasn't as difficult as getting the car off the ice.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I know that Oscar Wilde said that conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative, but here in Your Nation's Capital, we are in the midst of a highly unimaginative conversation. It beats the more imaginative but also more depressing conversation about politics and the war.

We got a wee bit of snow, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch, but now freezing rain and ice have been forecast for the evening and night, into tomorrow morning. The seminary, which NEVER closes (when most of the students and all the faculty are right on campus, why close?) has shut down. I don't know if we will have classes in the morning since there may be a good inch of ice on the roads.

A seminary classmate mentioned at lunch how, on a gray day like today, she just wanted to go home and take a nap. I must be very suggestible, because I came home with grand intentions of getting a lot of reading done, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch with one of my books open in my hands. Serves me right putting my feet up on the couch while reading.

PH is seeing clients downtown, and will have a nasty 8-mile commute home later this evening. He's an excellent driver, but I still worry.

I hate driving in bad weather, especially on ice. I'm glad I'm home, with a nice warm laptop computer and fuzzy slippers on my feet, and a pot of chili on the stove.

It's been a good week at school. I did well on my scary Hebrew quiz yesterday, and I think I also did well on the infamous OT map quiz this morning. Several papers are coming due fairly quickly, I'm doing a presentation at my home church about the trip to Qatar in two weeks, I'm doing a presentation on icons as a spiritual practice at RM's place in three weeks, and there are not enough hours in the day. This weekend is Big Old Seminary's Conference on Ministry. I'm co-chairing the Off-Campus Housing Tours, hosting a dinner for some of our guests, and doing two acts in the Talent Show.

I should be exhausted. I AM in fact exhausted. Why, then, am I so darned happy?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Five: American Idol Version

1) If I could sing like anyone, it would be soprano Anna Netrebko.
2) I would love to sing Anne Truelove's "No Word from Tom" aria from Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress," but that requires reliable high C's, and my days of reliable high C's ...well, they never were...Give me a B flat, however, and I'm your gal.
3) It would be really cool to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. Not La Scala. La Scala operagoers are too mean.
4) If I could sing a dream duet it would be with baritone Bryn Terfel. (sigh....)
5) If I could sing on a TV or radio show, it would be the Saturday afternoon Met broadcast.

Yes, yes, I'm an opera junkie. I admit that I am powerless over it.

Hat Tip: RM

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Back in the Semi-real World

I've pretty much processed being back in the States, and being back in Eastern Standard Time.

Getting back into the rhythm of seminary life, however, is a different thing entirely.

True to form, our profs have assigned several hundred pages of reading for this week (yes, I know, it's only bad if I try to read it all). I've just come back from 24 hours away in the woods for the Junior Class retreat, so I'm feeling a compulsion to get a ton of reading done tonight.

Here's what I've learned.

1) Read the assigned Scripture. Make notes on the readings on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

2) Skim the other articles and see if anything leaps out. Otherwise, don't worry about them.

3) Start outlining written assignments as soon as I get them, knowing that the prof will undoubtedly give further guidance that will modify the outline later on in the game.

4) Do the work, but trust that the Holy spirit will descend at the appropriate time to fill in the gaps.

5) Know that this is not a measure of my worthiness for the priesthood, it is simply equipping myself for the work.

6) Pray.
I'm working to live into this.

The retreat was a wonderful break of thoughtful quiet time and fun friendship with my classmates. It was deep in the woods and I was crabby getting there, because it was so far away, but I was glad we had gone there this morning as we saw a pair of bald eagles looping above us on thermal drafts. Of course, the younger crew stayed up way late. I, being an old fart and a morning person, crashed a little after 10 p.m. Just as well, since then I could awaken at 5:30 and watch the sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay.

Good news on the various and sundry practica: I got accepted into my first choice for Clinical Pastoral Ed (chaplaincy training at a local hospital) as well as my first choice for Field Ed (working in a parish). Feels good to get those settled. I'll be doing CPE at the Children's Hospital in DC and Field Ed at a new church plant about 35 miles away.

I'm about a third of the way through my paper for the Qatar experience. It's going slower than I'd like, and I'm worried I'll get swamped by the other classes before it is done. I can tie myself into knots better than anyone I know...

And PH is downstairs crowing because his beloved Chicago Bears have returned the opening kickoff with a TD. It's going to be a long night (and that's before I start working on our taxes).