Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slowly, slowly

I'm feeling a little better. I reduced the dose of the prednisone slightly and spread the dosing. I'm not feeling so sick and weepy, just very tired. I read a couple of pages, then sleep for a half hour. I started working on next week's sermon (an important one) and got a page in on the first draft, then had to crash.

PH is out at a church thing,but he left me some supper. I was able to reheat and eat it. Shockingly, that's an accomplishment.

In the grand scheme of things, there are many people who are much sicker than I am. Still, this is hard and worrisome, and difficult for PH and the kids. There is so much that I feel that God wants me to do, but I have to get better to do it.

In the meantime, I pray, and ask for patience and understanding.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Still Here

Still on the couch. The steroids have turned me into a blubbering, dizzy, nauseous ick-ball. Poor PH has been so good about putting up with me.

I did feel well enough to go out for dinner with PH last night - ate very lightly, then got home and crashed. I managed to sleep without Ambien, which is pretty remarkable given the prednisone. I'm hoping this awful feeling will abate so I can do something other than sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself.

The very good news in the midst of all this is that StrongOpinions got accepted to Ivy League University in the Big Apple as a transfer student. She had thought the interview didn't go well, but she apparently did brilliantly. It will be good to have her on the East Coast, in a program that will push her to use her writing talents to the utmost (did I tell you she was recently published in a small literary magazine?), in a city that is very dear to my heart since I grew up just across the river...God is good!

For those of you who did the Black Friday shopping thing this morning, I wish you an afternoon of rest and leftovers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Well, the plan for the cold to go away didn't work very well.

I woke up late Sunday night with severe shaking, and a recurrence in the drop of platelets that put me in the hospital last February. When I went to bed, it was a cold. When I woke up, I had the little pinpoint bleeds under my skin called petechiae, and blood blisters on the side of my tongue, and that nonstop violent shaking. So we went to the hospital, where it turned out that my platelet count was one. Normal is 150-450. A problem. So they threw some very heavy duty drugs at me, and the count crept back up to 35. I got to leave the hospital yesterday afternoon, and am resting at home. PH will take me out for dinner in a little while, which I'm really looking forward to.

The big question in all this, of course, is where to go next with this problem. This was a much more rapid onset and a worse drop than in the past. I cannot imagine a life where every time I get a cold I end up in the hospital with twenty-five grand worth of drugs being pumped into me.

One option that I had avoided in earlier bouts is a splenectomy, removing the spleen, which is the organ that kills off my platelets and leaves me open to spontaneous bleeds. Folks can live without spleens, although spleens do other things to fight infections. Still, it's surgery. Other options are not very pleasant either, like a cancer drug that is experimental for treatment of ITP and has difficult side effects, or going on doses of steroids indefinitely with their difficult side effects. We'll see what the doctor says when I go on Monday.

For now, I'm grateful that I'm home, that this was treatable and didn't kill me this time although it might very well have done so, that we have good insurance, that there are options.

Please keep me in your prayers as we discern what next steps we will take.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday, Sneezy Sunday

Yes, the cold has taken over, like a nasty alien. Fortunately, it's mostly sneezing at this point. I spent all of yesterday stretched out like a sloth on the couch, doing a little homework and a lot of watching of vidoes on

The sore throat has abated and I survived church with no problem. I'm praying this will all be gone by next Sunday, when the Bishop comes for confirmation and I get to serve as Bishop's Chaplain. I don't think sneezing into the miter would be appropriate, nor sneezing into the Bp.'s face while I hold his prayer book. Zicam, do your stuff!

I'm wading through the various papers, am a bit behind the curve right now on the thesis, but am not worried about it, and am thinking I should finish my CDO (Church Deployment Office) profile - an online database that will tell prospective employers All About Mibi. I think that will be a project for the coming weekend.

Thanksgiving will be quiet. Just PH and I. We made reservations at a little French restaurant we love, and will probably just hang out and do as little as possible for a few days. Refreshing!

Christmas is still up in the air. Don't know which children will be here, and on what days. Don't know what I will be expected to do vis-a-vis Saint Middle School after Christmas Eve (except that I'm already committed to be supply preacher at Very Hip Presby Church the Sunday after Christmas - always a fun gig). I'm looking forward to meeting with the rector of our mother church (we're a mission plant) who will be my supervisor in the spring semester, to figure out what exactly I will be responsible for. My primary focus at that point will be the GOEs, sorting through notes and books to get ready, so there's no point in stressing out.

And spring will be a gas!

But in the meantime, time for more Zicam.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter is Here

It is cold - a brutal 35 deg F. A week and a half ago, it was in the 60's. No wonder I have a cold. I skipped icon writing today in hopes of knocking the bug out of my system, and am wrapped up in a wool blanket with my sweatshirt hood over my head, sitting on the couch and zworking on various and sundry papers for school.

Last night was the fall "talent show" at Big Old Seminary with some very funny skits and some so-so music. Some fun conversations and okay food. I participated in several of the senior class vignettes. For the second time in seminary, I've played a pregnant woman. Why are they asking a post-menopausal woman to play a pregnant woman? Because I'm the only person silly enough to agree to it, I guess. Fool for Christ, that's me.

There is a long list of "shoulds" - I should straighten up the house, I should do some laundry, I should finish off the three papers that are pending, I should do some more work on the thesis, I should write up more field notes for the research project...but I think I'm just going to stay on the couch for the time being.

The excitement of the morning was a bird in the house. First I noticed the cats behaving oddly - one even jumped up on the kitchen counter, which is something she wouldn't normally do - and then the bird started flying between the kitchen and the living room. Heaven knows how it got in. I didn't notice it when PH came home from the Farmers' Market, but I was pretty drowsy at that point. Such an odd thing, the little bird zinging back and forth, trying to figure out how to get outdoors again, at one point banging against the kitchen window. We opened the front door and urged it out. I hope it wasn't too traumatized by it. Remarkably, there is no bird poop anywhere in the house.

The sun is shining. I'm hoping I feel better soon. I will be off to Saint Middle School tomorrow. Only four more weeks with my supervisor there. Time is moving very quickly indeed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mr Toad's Wild Ride

It might also be called Ms Mibi's wild ride. This has turned into a wickedly busy week, and I am looking forward with great joy to next week, and having Wednesday through Saturday off. I will spend much of it playing catch-up on writing papers, working on the thesis and such, but I'm in not-so-bad shape as the semester starts the race to the finish line. The good news is that I'll only have two exams to take in mid-December. I do have three papers due. One is almost done (needs another day or so to wrap up) and the other two are quite manageable, since one is for a pass-fail class and the other is very well-defined. I've got a sermon to write on Isaiah 40 and Psalm 85 for 2 Advent, but the concept is in my head. I just need to get it down on paper. Various and sundry other things are in the queue, but they are longer range.

I survived a four hour vestry meeting last night. It was four good hours as Saint Middle School proceeds towards the departure of their beloved present vicar and looks ahead to the future. Still, it was four hours, plus 45 minutes commute in each direction.

Oh, and the very, very good news is that I only need to take 4.5 credits in the spring semester, three of which are the thesis. Maybe I will find time to find a job...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yesssss! Random Dots of Monday Joy

  • I chanted the Litany for Ordination yesterday evening at my friend L's ordination to the diaconate. In the midst of masses of incense - it was the highest-church ordination in this diocese ever - and in front of our new Bishop Coadjutor, who is a trained musician, and I didn't cough, choke, or make any major gaffes. Thanks be to God.
  • I did my first ethnographic study of a church with my prof for her research project. Way cool. Now I need to write up the field notes.
  • The Commission on Ministry FINALLY approved my plan for Field Ed. You know, the one where I don't take Field Ed for credit in the spring, use the rector of our mother church as an informal supervisor, and I don't have to do any sort of independent study. Sweet! Maximum flexibility, minimum extraneous paperwork. What's not to like?
  • Today I get to meet with the Deployment Officer and the Ordination Coordinator to talk about next figuring out how to find a job, and the various pieces of paperwork that need to be filled out so we actually can get ordained.
  • In Anglican Thought class tonight, we talk about the wonderful William Temple, one of my favorite Anglican thinkers.

I guess I've procrastinated enough. Time to go write field notes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Feeling sort of sick-ish.

I don't know whether I've got a cold coming on or if this is the result of not enough sleep. I had class last night until 10 pm and then came home to deal with StrongOpinions trying to get back from the Big Apple to Hippy-DippyTown by the Flatiron Range. Her flight to Minneapolis was late, so she missed the connection to Mile-High City. The airlines wouldn't give her a hotel voucher. Fortunately, she had a friend who lives in Minn., so she crashed with the friend and got to the airport this morning.

All of these logistics required several very late night phone calls, the last of which was at 1 am. I had an 8 am class today, so I'm dragging.

This quarter I have three night classes. Not a good thing.

On the other hand, this week I delivered 24 more pages to my thesis advisor. I'm meeting with her tomorrow. I've begun the next phase of the work and am making good progress.

Thus I feel no guilt about being stretched out on the couch right now in my jammies and polarfleece robe, doing very little indeed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Remembering those who have served our country in military service, including my own parents. Whether I thought the war was just or not (whatever just means to those on either side of the conflict), whether we won or not (whatever winning means in war), just remembering with gratitude those who have served, and especially those who have been wounded or who have died.

Many thanks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Dots of Monday

  • The first phase of the thesis is done. Forty-four pages. With the Intro section, that's just shy of fifty pages. Of course, since I've got two more phases of this thing, much of what I've written will be edited out. Not to worry. There's more blarney where that came from.
  • I'm busily exegeting so I can write my OT sermon for Dec 7th and for the preaching competition. 2 Advent has Psalm 85 and the beginning of Isaiah 40. Almost too much good stuff to work with there. Once again, I'll be editing down...the story of my life.
  • This week was supposed to be easier. Wrong. I suspect this whole quarter will be slam-o-rama. Ish.
  • The good news is that I worked out this morning. The bad news is what the scale said. No surprise given what I ate over the past few days. Thank God for spandex.
  • Still waiting for final word on my field ed situation for next semester. The great thing about being part of a large diocese is that they are very organized and have systems for everything. The less than great part is when you need them to be a little bit flexible, it requires turning around the whole darned battleship. It's a good lesson in patience, I suppose, but I've never been particularly good at that.

I think that's more than enough for today. Please keep StrongOpinions in your prayers. She is in the Big Apple this week, looking at schools to which she would like to transfer. May it be so, and may the stock market go up a bit so we can afford for her to do that.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I filled up the car with gas yesterday for $2.17 a gallon. Columbia, MD, Citgo station.

This morning I got a piping-hot fresh Krispy Kreme and a cup of coffee for about the same price. However, instead of getting 15 gallons, I limited myself to one of each. Sigh...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Five: The Funny Papers

At the RevGalsBlogPals page, Presbyterian Gal served up a fun Friday Five:

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!

1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?
Probably Peanuts, although for a while I had a serious Mary Worth jones.

2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?
Get Fuzzy is usually the best, with Candorville and Zits competing for second.

3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?
I have my Lucy moments, but mostly I'm more of a Sally. Slightly worried, slightly clueless, trying to move those around her to what she thinks they should be doing, usually unsuccessfully, short. Yeah, I'm Sally.

4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?
Some seem to put forth a philosophical worldview, but most are simply an entertainment. And that's just fine.

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?
Frankly, none of those old strips do anything for me. Will Jeffy never grow up? Will Dagwood never gain weight from all that good food Blondie makes? Will Mr. Wilson never get a colonoscopy (heaven knows he seems to need one)? I just don't care anymore.

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?
Boondocks. It was brilliant. Come back, Boondocks, come back!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


We did have a lot of adorable little people in wonderful costumes. We asked one little girl if she was a princess and she said, "No. A QUEEN!" Role inflation.

They are so serious when they explain what their costumes are..and often I still can't understand who they are, since I'm so out of touch with kid culture these days. But they were wonderful.

I'm not quite so crazy about the teenagers who came later in the evening, who didn't even make the effort to put on a costume. They just showed up with backpacks strapped to their fronts, and were filling up said packs with candy. Somehow that doesn't seem right to me. On the other hand, it was good to get rid of the candy. Even though I don't particularly like, I tend to eat it if it's hanging around.

Hard to believe it's only eight weeks to Christmas, and (gulp!) ten weeks to General Ordination exams.

Icon Update

You saw the icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God last week with its gilded halo and most of the lines of the drawing in black. This is what it looks like now, with the base coat of the colors. Sure, there's lots of red there. But Sophia, not being human but a representation of God's wisdom, has red skin. (Normally the base coat for skin is a deep olive made primarily with yellow ochre.) The skin, wings and gown will eventually look very different as the subsequent layers of color are added. The skin will have grey-ish overtones, the wings some orange, and the gown blue. Watch this spot over the next couple of months to see the changes. Nothing next week, though - my teacher is away on retreat and I am at a conference in Charm City.