Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Five:Social Media

Kathrynzj says: "I had the joy of spending time with Songbird last weekend, someone I would have never met had it not been for the blogosphere. Now we keep in touch using a large variety of methods: blog (hers a lot, mine not so much lately), facebook, twitter, text messaging, chat and email. So far there has been no skype.It got me to thinking of the pros and cons of these relatively new means of communication and interconnecting and so I ask you the following:"
1) What have been the benefits for you of social networking (blog, twitter, facebook, etc...) Meeting a whole host of really great " lady pastor peeps" as my friend L calls my RevGal friends through blogging. Whether being able to enhance the connections IRL at the BEs, or the FoH, or simply connecting virtually these are sustaining relationships for me and have been through one of the most transformational, chaotic and liminal times of my life.

2) Which medium do you use the most? Or if you use them all, for what do you use each of them? My blog by far. I'm signed on to Twitter but I have yet to tweet. I post to and read entries on Facebook, but mostly it's where I go to play a couple games to clear my brain. Although I will say that I have "found" a couple people there with whom I had lost touch and reestablished some contact with them, which is a bonus. My Soul Sisters and I have been trying different forms of audio visual on-line communication like Skype and Googletalk as well as IMing since A moved down south for our weekly get togethers with various levels of success. But the blog is the connecting point still for me in many ways.

3) If you could invent a networking site (with no limits on your imagination), what would it provide? What would it not provide? I can't imagine what more there could be unless we get to the point of trnasporters that could bring my friends to me IRL anytime. Of course there would have to be some serious filters on that site to keep out unwanted guests!

4) Who have you met that you would not have met if it were not for the 'miracle' of social networking? Oh my goodness! If one includes the blog.....I have only to look at my sidebar and a whole host of faces come to mind. BE's 1 and 2 offered the chance to meet IRL a wonderful group of women who had been "virtual" before that.

5) Who do you secretly pray does not one day try to 'friend/follow' you? Well, it's always a little ooky when a client's name pops up wanting do that. I "ignore" but then we have to have the talk the next time I see them about the boundaries. There is also a local pastor who is waaaaaayyyy out there who keeps trying to friend the rest of us who are more moderate and mainstream. We keep ignoring him and he keeps trying. But I really don't want him to "be my friend."

BONUS: What was the most random/weird/unsettling/wonderful connection you made that would not have happened if it were not for the ease of which we can find each other in the computer realm? Well, technically I suppose we could have met another way, but when R's friend suggested he get in touch with me, she only had my e-mail, so that was our first contact. He e-mailed me asking if I'd be interested in getting together and giving me his number. I'd say that was a pretty wonderful connection!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five: Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Songbird says: "By the time you're reading this,
I'll be en route to a Great Big City to see my son in a play.
I'll go by car and bus and train and no doubt cab and maybe even subway. Thus, our Friday Five."

1) What was the mode of transit for your last trip? When trips around here are any fun they are taken in "Gladys" the Minicooper. Ours looks kind of like the picture only her roof and mirrors are white. Right now though, she is resting in the back garage. Gladys is a fair weather car. R says she does not like getting her skirts in the snow and the slush so much, so she gets a break when the weather is particularly nasty. We are both looking forward to the days when we can road trip in her again, but right now, our mode of transit is The Truck. He is much more practical and sturdy for getting us through the big drifts and holding his own on the icy roads. He took us up to R's home town last weekend for a family gathering, and unless the weather takes a turn for the much better, he will take us on our trips out of town for the next few months.

2) Have you ever traveled by train? My first big trip ever was at age three on the Empire Builder. We went from Iowa to Spokane, Washington to visit my Aunt and Uncle. I still have clear and vivid memories of that trip...sitting up in the vista car with my dad, looking waaaaaay down over the trestles, going through the dark tunnels, eating on the china plates in the dining car, sitting on the plush seats and coloring. I also took Amtrak from Minnesota to DC in 1979. Memories of that too. Not as nice nearly....but memorable none the less!

3) Do you live in a place with public transit, and if so, do you use it? We have public transit here. It used to be "call a bus" but now we have scheduled mini-buses. I have never used them but am so glad they are there for those who need them as I grew up in a family without a car and know the importance of having transit when you need it.

4) What's the most unusual vehicle in which you've ever traveled? I rode in a glass-bottomed boat once. In very clear water. That was very cool, I could see all the way to the bottom of the lake.

5) What's the next trip you're planning to take? Well, there are a bunch of those going here and going there kind of thingys, church meetings, family gatherings, and this and that, and in February we are consecrating our new Bishop. Hopefully the roads will be good and we can go in Gladys. As far as BIG trips....well, I guess that would be a honeymoon in Mexico. We won't be driving to that one!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Five: If

Jan says: "In EFM this week, our question was, 'If you were a color, what would you be?' So that's where this Friday Five comes from, at least its jumping off place.
1. If you were a color, what would you be? Purple of course! ...the color of the amethyst in my engagement ring, the prairie sky right before it turns to night, the lovely dresses my ladies are wearing in the wedding, the sweet little flowers that will (really, really they will) bloom unbidden all over my yard in the spring.
2. If you were a flower (or plant), what would you be? I'd like to say something wonderful and romantic....but really, I'd probably be a weed. A dandelion, or creeping charlie, even quackgrass. Just insisting on being there, hard to eradicate, not terribly flashy or attractive, but fitting in with the scenery overall and in the end causing the gardner to just sort of sigh and say, "well, there must be some point to her, God did create her after all!"
3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Something that lives where it is HOT and tropical, where I could lie in the sun the whole livelong day.
4. If you were a shoe, what type would you be? A lovely Teva sandal. I live in them in the summer and miss them in the winter. I may as well be them. Besides, they get to be where it is HOT. (Do we see a theme here?)
5. If you were a typeface, which font would you be? I am uncluttered and straightforward, what you see is what you get... Arial, Verdana.
Bonus: Anything connected with metaphors that you'd like to contribute. I am pretty metaphorical overall. I think and talk in them a lot. Was talking about my favorite God-metaphor with C last "wing" as in all tucked under....the comfort I find in that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Places and Times

I enjoyed reading the comments on my last post, and have continued my musings about the times and places of our lives and being shaped by them. I don't know if it really is just the January blahs and the tail end of sick, but I am feeling seriously less enchanted by life here than I have been at any point since my arrival. The darkness, the towering snowbanks, the routine of work, it all seems to be kind of grinding right now, and I find myself less patient and tolerant, more anxious and cranky. I had two dreams last night in succession in which things were closing around me to keep me in a place in which I did not want to be. Yeah, it does not take much to interpret that! In both dreams I had wandered innocently into something and gotten either lost or into trouble by doing something inadvertent to set off an alarm that started closing doors and gates.

I wonder sometimes if God goes to some warmer place in January. I always seem to have a harder time making contact this time of year. Seriously, I know it's me....not that I would blame God a bit. All those cruise adds are looking seriously tempting.

It will be Lent soon. Yep, it's one of those years. Ash Wednesday in the middle of February, a little over a month away. I think I'd better start thinking about it, Lent, that is. Or it too will slip away like Advent did. I'd like a Lent-y Lent this year I think. Need one to get my spiritual house in order. That place too impacts how we are, doesn't it?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wherever You Go.....

One of the community groups I sometimes attend is having a discussion tonight about the impact of where we live on our happiness. I won't be there. Not because of my usual reason--the time conflict with my yoga class, but because I'm sick. The crud that has been circulating caught me late last week and I have been laid low through the weekend and am still not up to par today. It's probably just as well that I am not going anyway. I would not be a cheerful influence right now. Where I live in the cold dark North is having an impact on me right now, and I don't think it's a particularly positive one. It's not just the virus, though that certainly doesn't help, but the whole package. January is just not my favorite month. Has not, is not, won't be. At least not here. Oh well. Enough of that whine.

It is an interesting thought, though. That idea of place and how it impacts us. It's one that has intrigued me for a long time. I know that it took me a while to adjust to flat when I moved out here. And to be fair, it's not really flat flat here. Not like some places I've been. It's more gentle, rolling a bit here and there, and in some spots broken by small glaciated hills. But compared to the river bluffs of my childhood...flat. There is no place to really get "up" and look at things from that vantage point, and I miss it still. My friend from the UP says something similar. Only for her it was the open space that was hard. She misses the enclosing sense of the trees there among other things.

My relocation here was my first experience of small town life, and I have written a fair amount here about how much I have enjoyed living in a place where people really do have names to go with their faces, and where almost everywhere I go I can see someone I recognize. I know people who do not like this facet of living here as much as I enjoy it, however, and find it sometimes stifles them, and causes them to act in ways that feel less than authentic to them.

I sometimes idly play with the notion of who and where I would be in life now if I had not come here. If I just simply kept moving forward with the life I was living in the Big City, trying fruitlessly to pay off impossible student loans because I was too afraid to take the risk of change and move here. Or if I had stuck to my guns once here and said no to the invitation to consider discernment for the ministry team, insisting on my "temp" status, that I was going to "serve and run" once my loan commitment was done, so what would be the point of the church, the community, in life here. There would be no priesthood, no R, no Soul circle of friends and web of community, virtual and IRL. There would of course be something else and I would not know there was no this. But I cannot help think how much poorer my life would be. In my mystical Celtic soul, the one that eschews all the rational modern notions of life, I know that I was meant to come here. That this, as I say in my sidebar, was the life that was waiting for me to find it. It was like falling down the rabbit hole and once here, it was home. I am intuiting now that the place may not be forever. Winter is wearing very thin for us and R and I are dreaming warm and beachy dreams for the not too distant future. And that place, wherever it may be, will shape us further into who we will become.

So how about you? What are your thoughts about this notion of sense of place and how it shapes us?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday Five: Dreams

Sophia says: "With the beginning of my college teaching semester I have been having some unusually intense and memorable dreams lately--especially related to my Women and Religion class. With the beginning of a new calendar year many of us are engaging with dreams of another kind: planning, brainstorming, setting intentions or resolutions, etc. And many churches will celebrate the baptism of Jesus this Sunday, reading the Gospel account of his vision of the Holy Spirit as a dove and the "beloved child" words of Godde that set him off on his mission sharing Godde's dream for the world. So let's take a few minutes on this (where I am at least) lovely snow-blanketed Friday morning and share about the many different dreams and visions in our lives."
1. Do you tend to daydream? In the long past I did. Then I stopped. Now I do again. It's a good thing.

2. Do you usually remember your night dreams? Do you find them symbolic and meaningful or just quirky? Sometimes I do remember them, and wonder "what was that about?" I had a strange one last night about a train and a coffee barrista who suddenly had me off the train and was driving me through a strange town. There were details in the dream which were oddly clear. I remember that had to go back for a second cup of coffee in the train's coffee shop because the first one leaked away. I can remember the sensation of train's movement as I walked (a long way it seemed) back to my seat with the coffee and clearly telling myself how well I was doing with the balance. When we were in the car "Chris" the barrista turned driver was driving on the right hand side (British car apparently). But why we were out of the train and driving, I have no clue, nor do I know who the other three people in the back seat were. I simply remember telling him I had to be back on that train because I needed to get to Columbus! And of course I woke up without ever knowing if I made it back!

3. Have you ever had a life changing dream which you'll never forget? Yes, my Jesus dream. He showed up one night shortly after I was ordained. Or at least there was this dream about some guy who looked like a shepherd, was very insistent that he had come to bring me abundant life, made me cry, and has never really left my head. I have posted about this in the past, but of course this morning I cannot find that post to link to it. It was amazing, it was powerful, and yes, it was life changing in ways that still unfold.

4. Share a long term dream for one or more aspects of your life and work. R and I have a dream to leave winter behind. It started out as the "five year plan." In the midst of our recent smack down of frigid temps and's getting shorter. We are looking at places in the South to move, somewhere not too far from water. I am thinking I might like to have a variation on my day job career, same but different somehow. It's all still unfolding. But we are dreaming together.

5. Share a dream for 2010....How can we support you in prayer on both the short and long term dreams? Well, 2010 is already full of dreams coming true for me. I'm pretty excited about the future right now. May 15, 2010 as a day of celebration of our love and commitment is shaping up nicely. For the larger world, I wish there could be more peace, more focus on what really matters. Please continue to pray for L. My dream for him is that he can move away with his girl D and find a fresh start when his jail time is finally up.

Bonus: a poem, song, artwork, etc. that deals with dreams in general or one of your dreams. This has always been a favorite.....

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


It's still cold...twenties below zero with wind chill, and it's snowing again. We have about four new inches on the ground, very fluffy stuff. More is predicted and the wind is supposed to pick up. The wind chills are supposed to be brutal by morning. I had a small tantrum about all of it today. Then like the rest of the state, I got up and went to work. The Epiphany service for tonight was cancelled. We are staying home and staying warm. The big event tonight was blowing out the driveway. That and making dinner about wears a person out. I really am not sure how many more of these winters I have in me.

Monday, January 04, 2010 far

Well what I can say about the new decade so far is that it is darn cold! In the twenties below zero in the early morning hours, rising ALL the way to single digits above in the heat of the day. This place is not for wimps. Or newer appliances apparently. My new washer froze up on Saturday. It's in the same place in the back porch laundry room where the old one lived happily these many years without a murmur. But the new one does not seem so hardy. The first clue was when the water did not come forth from the hoses. Got that solved after a little stint with a heater, but then the agitator didn't turn. That too eventually thawed....only to find that the drain hose had been frosted shut. That I don't think I can blame on the new washer. That I think, is just because it is blasted cold!!!! But bless R, man with a brain that he is....he helped solve that by putting some fans in the basement to move the warm air towards the pipe, and by evening, all was well in laundry land again.

In the midst of all of this artic blast, we baptized a baby yesterday. I told little M's folks that he would have the fame of being the kid baptized on the coldest day in memory at St. J's. What a cute little bundle he was, too. Slept right through the whole business, until C, who baptized him was carrying him down the aisle. Then he woke up and smiled at everyone.

I think I am suffering from brain freeze in the midst of all of this. R and I went in to church early yesterday to help C get set up and ready for the baptism. I was helping her copy and collate bulletins on our ancient and uncooperative copier, R had moved the font and was sitting innocently in a pew contemplating the stained glass (or something). The phone rang and it was C's mom saying their car would not start and they were not going to make it to service, so could someone please go start the coffee and make sure the goodies got put in to warm. C and I were both feeling a bit frazzled at this point as time was moving along, and the copier was being its usual balky self. So I said, "Oh, we can ask R, he's just sitting out there gathering dust." Well of course I meant woolgathering but it didn't occur to me what I'd said. The altar guild person who was in the office with us simply scurried on out to him and told him what I'd said. C looked at me a little funny and said, "do you always talk about him that way?" And I, thinking she was talking about teasing each other, said, "Sure, and he gives as good as he gets." It was literally hours later when some little synapse in my brain went "snick" and I went "OMG....what did I say?" And then of course I started laughing and made a big confession to him and we had a great laugh about it because he had no idea that I didn't mean to say that he wasn't collecting dust all along!!! Cold, apparently is not good for new appliances and older brains.

The weather man says it will be Saturday before there is any real relief. I shudder to think what kind of mayhem I may wreak by then. Maybe a nice warm hat would help?