Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thankfulness

I realize it's a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, but this morning I had a real moment of thankfulness. In lieu of anything else to blog about at the moment (that you don't already know-applications, applications, ummm...is there anything else right now?) I figured I would write about this.

I work about 56 miles away from where I live. The commute is about 1:25 each way, which could be worse. Luckily it's a pretty drive and it gives me time to pray in the mornings (although I would still love to have a 15 minute commute and just pray NOT in a car). As this is my first year in this job, we're still figuring out how winter is going to work-especially now that winter has really just gotten here. Today was the first test case of how this might roll.

Yesterday the weather was calling for a winter weather advisory-not so bad and something I could reasonably get to work in. The plan was to get up around 5, check the weather, shovel whatever snow there was, and get on the road by 6:30ish in time for the 9 AM staff meeting. My "boss" is overly cautious about me going in on bad weather days, but I really do want to be there unless it's really bad, especially for staff meetings. So this morning I got up at 5:10, rolled over, checked my handy dandy iPhone, and it had changed to a winter storm warning. I looked at the weather report, emailed the office administrator, and tried to go back to sleep (although I was kind of awake by then but eventually got back to sleep). R, however, was not so lucky. He doesn't have the choice, really, to stay home when the weather's bad. I mean, he could stay home but that would involve using vacation, sick, or personal time-and he doesn't have much of that, especially in December. For him it's a matter of "do I take the train-which costs time and money-or do I drive-which costs concentration and more time." He tends to drive (I would take the train, but that's just me).

I realized just how thankful I am to be in a compassionate working environment. This isn't to say that R's place of work isn't full of nice people-it is-he just has a more traditional work setting that requires you to be there and if you're not, it costs you. I keep thinking of ways this could be better. I mean, seriously, in urban environments where people have long commutes (R's is about 1:30 each way), when the weather is bad they spend a good deal of their concentration on the morning commute and would likely go into work mentally worn out-and it's only 9 AM! There has to be a better way around this. Ideally it would be not living so far away from one's place of employment, but that's not a possibility in this case.

So anyway, I'm thankful for having a place to work, particularly one that doesn't make me drive in when the weather is crazy.

In other news, I'm planning a beer post sometime soon. And I finished a couple of books. And my applications are almost halfway done. And Christmas is on the way! And Advent is definitely here. : )

The kittens are going insane so I'd better go. Cheers, everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best. Thing. Ever.

OK I know I've posted lots of videos lately and not anything of substance, but I plan to change that in the near future. However, tomorrow's Sunday and I have a long and full day so I'll put off my entry (that and my first PhD app is due on Tuesday).

So here's something for you. You've probably already seen it, but I've seen it at least 5 times in the last three days and it only gets better. AND R just showed me the original Queen video and it's even better having seen that now!

Enjoy. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I Want for Christmas



With the expansion pack, please.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dag nab it.

I just took a moment to total up the costs for my PhD applications this year. Kinda ridiculous...

Transcripts: 171.00
GRE Score reports: 180.00
Application fees: 655.00
For a grand total of...1006.00

Good thing I already set aside the money for this, otherwise I might be freaking out at this point. What makes this a tough pill to swallow is that nothing is guaranteed, and like last year I could spend money on apps (although last year I only applied to 3 places) and not get in anywhere.

For a variety of reasons, I pray pray PRAY that doesn't happen this time.

Nope...

...I haven't forgotten you all or my blogging! I'm just in the midst of trying to get some crazy PhD application stuff done. I've spent the past two days getting everything ready to send to my recommenders, which has involved an inordinate amount of time checking every application deadline and how the rec's are done for each application. Since I'm applying to nine places, that's quite alot of website checking. And it's annoying. But that's done, and the CV is basically updated (although more and more I look at it and feel like it needs to be reconfigured but I don't really have the time or energy to do so right now-the pertinent information is on there and that's what counts). My current dilemma is that the YDS journal I was published in never sent me a hard copy, and I can't figure out who the official publisher was. I think that information was emailed to me at some point, but it was mailed to my Yale account which no longer exists; thus, I'm stuck and don't know how to list that publication but really really want to because it would look good in the applications! Arg. Frustration to the max. I also need to add up costs, but they're not going to be fun. The GRE scores will cost 180.00 to forward, and transcripts will probably come close to 80-90 (but hopefully less, some are stupid cheap and some are expensive-Yale is expensive, Harvard is cheap, WKU is in the middle. Weird).

My next project is to get my writing sample up to snuff. I have three options at this point, and am torn about which to go with. My Herbert paper is in final form (that's the one that was published) and should be ready to go, but I think it's the least historically-oriented paper I've got. My BCP paper, which is the most historically oriented, needs alot of work and it's also about the topic I want to study for a PhD. I wary of submitting that paper (even if it were in final form) because I don't want it to look like Ive already done everything on this topic. I'm trying to demonstrate some breadth....

Which leads me to my third paper, which was actually a midterm I wrote for my prayer book class last year. While it's a midterm, it was a mini research paper (about 14 pages) and compares the sacramental theologies in two liturgies written during the prayer book proscription of the 1650s. So it's apropos, but not exactly on topic as the BCP paper is. It's a little less historically oriented (in an obvious way) but deals with primary source texts from my period. I think that's the one I'll go with, unless I have a last minute change of heart!

Other than that, R and I are planning to go to Plimouth Plantation tomorrow. Growing up, I always read these books about Sarah Morton and Nathaniel somebody and their "day"-the books were photographed at Plimouth and they're about the lives of pilgrim children, basically. I've always wanted to go to this place to check it out, so we're going tomorrow! And it's only a few weeks before Thanksgiving so it's especially timely. I'm such a dweeb, but I'm stoked! R is a little excited because they have venison burgers there and he's never had venison, so he can check another animal off of his food chain list. Ha. He cracks me up.

Oh and we brewed beer last weekend! I'll post photos soon of the brewing. We'll bottle next weekend and then another 2 weeks of conditioning in the bottles and then...we get to taste it! But more on that later. Soon you'll hopefully have beer pics and pilgrim pics.

But not now. I have to give you something to look forward to, right?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hmm.

Nothing major to report right now, I just thought I would let you all know I hadn't forgotten the blogsphere or my attempts at being more regular about it. Things are going alright-applications still getting done, I guess, and doing work. Right now R and I are watching Ghost Adventures Live. It's kind of boring so far, I think. Maybe that's just me. Ummm...tomorrow night I'm taking the youth group trick or treating and having a lock in at the rector's house. Not sure how it's going to go, though, as I keep being told of more and more kids who aren't coming. Lame. It's not like I would have had nothing better to do on Halloween. Lame lame lame. I hope some of them at least show up (who aren't the rectors kids-they're great but we're just having the lock in at their house so that wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary for them). We'll see I guess.

In other news...yeah. There really isn't too much other news. We're brewing tomorrow morning now that R's car is finished up, and then we'll go for a hike or something else. Don't know yet, though.

And I'm tired of New England at the moment. Well, I'm usually tired of New England, but situations put us here for now. I look forward to moving back to the South though. That's home, not this foreign country that's part of the US of A.

Sorry. I'm in a bleh mood. Not bad. Not great. Just bleh. Perhaps it's the thought that very few will show up tomorrow night and it will feel like a waste of time.

Lame.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Carl Sagan Jams Out

OK so I'm not really into the whole "space thing." I find it kind of interesting, but I'm not some huge advocate for space exploration. Yes, I realize there are reasons for exploring space. I also realize that we know very little about our own earth (look at the oceans! Watch Sea Quest DSV people!) and I realize that most people on this earth can barely eat. I'm not taking an ethical position here.

However, R really loves space stuff (I especially do if it involves Futurama...). His friends told him about this video, and he posted it on his Facebook wall. And now I'm sharing it with you all, just because I find it pretty friggin' great-the video is hilarious, not in a laugh out loud way but in a "Carl Sagan is one smooth MF". So enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So...R and I went on our honeymoon to Disney World. I hadn't been since I was 7.

It was AMAZING. I can't even begin to convey to you how much fun we had-we still talk about how fun that trip was. Everything about it was awesome. The people that work there are genuinely friendly. There's TONS to do. It's a world unto itself, and it's so friggin' fantastic.

I warned R that he was going to create an addict, and he did. I'm so ready to go back! I think he would prefer less frequent visits but I'm ready to go again, as in soon. I think everything 6 months should suffice.

I don't know why this is on my mind at the moment. I think the recent bit of cold weather and the fact that R has had to work on the car so much lately (which is hopefully fingers crossed please please please going to be done in the next day or two) has made me crave sun and being in a fun place where there's zero responsibility on my part. And if I get into a PhD program (which I really really really hope I do this time around) I realized that I don't have the luxury of going on a vacation in, say, February again for a while-not that we're going on vacation in February, it's just kinda cool to think that we could if we had the time and money for it. Such a novelty.

OK I'm off to think about Mickey and the awesome popcorn at Magic Kingdom some more. If any of you want to go with me on vacation to WDW anytime soon, gimme a heads up so I can start saving...

8(|: ) -that's supposed to be a mickey hat...

Monday, October 19, 2009

THIS is what I've been talking about

Many of you know this, but some don't. For those who don't, I should preface the following by saying that I'm an ordained minister in Christ's church, particularly the Anglican variety, more particularly the Episcopal Church variety. I'm a deacon right now, but will be ordained to the priesthood in January.

Anyway, many out there will know the Episcopal Church has been struggling with its place in the worldwide Anglican Communion. There's a lot of history as to why this is so, and there's no way I could spell it out in a blog. Suffice it to say, the issues are complex and not easily resolved. This is made even more difficult by the fact that what the Anglican Communion actually is has been really hard to pin down. There are those who say the Episcopal Church (TEC) should just do its own thing and leave. Some have left TEC because they feel it has strayed from biblical teaching. Others argue that we should have a covenant that describes the Anglican Communion, and that perhaps TEC, because it has continued to do its "own thing" despite the will of the "Communion" should be a 2nd tier member (the quotation marks are not meant in a mocking manner, but rather to denote how slippery these words are when I use them).

My own stance is that communion IS important. I'm not willing to say goodbye to the Anglican Communion. As many more conservative bishops have pointed out (see below, also Edward Little II's recent writing in Christianity Today), Christ calls us to unity and not to division. Somehow this has been forgotten in the recent church debates. But this post wasn't supposed to be mostly my writing, but rather what someone else has written about what communion is.

The bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana wrote the following in Churchworks, the magazine for that diocese. It's food for thought and prayer.

"Reflections On Communion" - Bishop Charles Jenkins

I shall never forget the day the tea arrived. Cases and cases of tea, shipped to us by the Bishop of Ceylon. More tea than I have ever seen at one time donated to us in the wake of Hurricane Datrina.

I remember my amazement when at "Community Congress 1" the realization came upon me that many of the volunteers working there were from London and came as part of the efforts to help of the Church of England.

How strengthened I was when Bishop Josiah Fearon of the Diocese of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria phoned to say that the entire Diocese was praying for us and he and a group were trying to find a way to come to us. Eventually, Bishop Fearon came and he came to see about me.

The amount of the check may have been small, but how grateful we were for the ordinand in the Church of England who asked that the loose offering at his ordination be sent to us. That check with tens of thousands of others has made a difference.

"Like a deer caught in the headlights" was how someone described me after the levees failed. Then a call came (I wonder how he got through) from Rob Radtke at Episcopal Relief and Development asking what we needed. How the heck did I know? I told Rob we needed him. Though brand spanking new to the job, he managed to get on a plane and come. He brought with him Courtney Cowart and Peter Gudaitis.

It was humbling to be asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Lambeth Conference of 2008 to search out the Bishops from Burma so affected by tsunami and pray with them. Of course, they had been praying for us.

When evil stands before me, I stand not alone, but this fractious, schismatic, heretical, wonderful, faithful, sacrificing, Christ-like Communion stands beside me, before me, behind me, and above me. As lonely as the past four years have been, even in dark nights of depression and doubt, I have not been alone. The last phone message I had before the system went down was from the Rev'd Susan Russell.

The tabernacle would not open in St. Luke's Church, New Orleans, when Frank and Phoebe Griswold and I moved aside trees to get into the church. We had Holy Communion there in the muck, mold, and mud thanks to Senior Warden Elvia James who managed to get the door open to the tabernacle. That Holy Communion pointed me towards our Communion.

Communion is not only about right believing and right acting. When our lives were in the ditch by the Jericho Road, when we had been robbed of life's dignity and much of the material of life, our Samaritan was the Anglican Communion. Rich and poor, orthodox or whatever, conservative and liberal, they came to us. They gave us of what they had and all prayed for us.

This Communion that I have experienced is the Church forced by circumstance to be what I think God has created His Church to be. I warn those who would break down and destroy this tender vessel that they are on the side of the enemy. Whether the iconoclasts be from the left, the right, or from the don't care side of things, let the warning be heard, Communion matters. Communion is not simply a matter of affiliation, or of like-minds; for some of us Communion is life or death. Communion is more than a man-made Covenant between us. We are called by God the Father into a greater Covenant that we dare not break. We are called to be here, together, one, broken, messy and yet strong, faithful, and rejoicing in the Lord.

The issues are many, the disagreements and disappointments many, and the opportunity to each do our own thing (which we suppose to be of God who blesses all our doings) is enticing. Such is not real religion.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Jenkins


From Churchwork, Fall 2009, the official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Body ponderings

Just to warn you, this is a long post.

I've been putting off the composition of this post, although it's been on my mind for a while now. The delay isn't really due to any kind of deep self disclosure, or even painful memories or anything like that. It's just...difficult to talk about in any coherent fashion. However, I was inspired to write down my thoughts finally a friend's recent journey in "honoring the body."

I'm going to quote Scripture here for a moment, which I don't normally do on my blog (I save that for my theology/bible blog), but bear with me. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God with your body" (NRSV). Now, I don't want to get into the theological implications of "you are not your own," but I find this message from Paul very striking, not only because we are asked to think of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, but also because we are asked to honor God with our bodies.

Just what exactly does that mean? I think it probably, like so many things in the Bible, ends up meaning many different things to many different people. To me, however, it means that I am called to care for this amazing creation in a responsible way for it is an incredible gift from God. Anyone who has held a newborn will know that remarkable sense of awe at the wonders of creation What a gift of life (regardless of from where you feel that gift, or chance, comes)!

In my case, this has meant being more aware of what I put into my body, which in turn leads me to be more health conscious. I was to make it VERY CLEAR that this is NOT about being thin. AT ALL. I'm not sure my caps makes that quite as obvious as I would like but I can't make type shout at people. I don't want anyone reading the rest of this post thinking I'm talking about being skinny versus being fat. Why? Because the word "fat" is, in my opinion, one of the most hate-filled, meanest words people use against one another. Maybe this is because I come from a family with a genetic disposition towards being large, and have heard too many people spit that word at myself, my siblings, or my parents. And it leaves very, very deep wounds. The idea that fat=uncontrolled, slob, lazy, stupid, less of a person (in other words, an embodiment of all that is bad) and that thin=beautiful, smart, controlled, morally better (in other words, an embodiment of all that is good) is one of the most ridiculous outright pieces of bullshit that I've ever encountered. Sorry. I don't usually vent my anger that way, but I'm so digusted by the way that body-type discrimination is rampant in our society that I could spit (to use a phrase of my mom's). That doesn't mean that obesity isn't a national problem, but the moral associations with being large are frankly ridiculous.

Phew. Now that is out of the way, I can share some of my own journey as of late. As I said, this was partially inspired by a friend's blog, but also by a book I read. I happen to work with a really great priest who wrote a book about her struggle with compulsive overeating (if you email me I can give you the exact info, but I'd rather not here for whatever reason); in her narrative, she talks about her binges--how she would just eat and eat without any attention paid to what she was eating or how it tasted. I'm not a compulsive overeater, but it did bring to mind the practice of aware-ness that comes when you make a major change in the way you eat.

So. The story begins, I guess...in college? I don't know for sure. That's the first time I tried Weight Watchers. I went to the meetings for a few weeks, lost a lot of weight the first week, but the room was full of middle aged women whose concerns were not my own. And I got tired of being told to buy fresh vegetables when I couldn't afford them. So I stopped going. I think that was sophomore or junior year. Senior year I lost a lot of weight from getting ready for a hiking trip on the AT. I managed to keep the weight off basically until I got to Yale, when I started to put it back on, for whatever reason.

Flashforward to last fall, or even more especially last winter. I remember stepping on the scale in January and seeing the number 220 flash at me. That's when I decided that something had to change. I knew I was predisposed to be heavier, so it was going to take some work. But I also knew that R and I wanted to start our life together healthy, and instill healthy habits in our kids. I did not start to lose weight for the wedding-I would say if anything I started for myself and for the marriage. Luckily R is an adoring husband who constantly tells me that I'm beautiful no matter what. It wasn't ever a matter of trying to look pretty-it was a matter of trying to take better care of the gift I'd been given. So I started working out more. I joined Weight Watchers online (no meetings involved! For some this is a pitfall, but for me it's a major draw. And it's cheaper). I haven't been perfect at it-some weeks I gain. But all in all I've gotten down to about 183ish, which is almost 40 pounds. I feel better, my clothes feel better on me, and I have more energy.

Even more importantly, though, is that I'm actually paying better attention to what I eat. For some this comes through being vegetarian (or vegan, in the case of some friends of ours). For me it's come through thinking about what I eat and how it affects my body. Sure, I'd love to be more conscientious-I've thought about going veggie, or at least pescatarian. R and I had this conversation again last night (he'll never go veggie I bet). His side is that animals were meant to be eaten. Interestingly, I agree with that. However, I don't think they're meant to be eaten in the way we eat them-mass produced by an environmentally dangerous industry (chicken, beef, and pork especially-fish I'm more comfortable with). Who knows, maybe I'll do it again. For now, though, it's not really in the cards and I don't have time to cook something for R and something for myself, or vice versa. I didn't eat red meat in high school (which I'm sure my mom and dad remember not so fondly...dad labled veggie burgers "bird seed burgers" but there you go). Maybe for lent I'll do the pescatarian thing...we'll see. But I do love me some meat...so maybe I'll try to find more local sources for the meat I eat that don't have the same problems as the stuff we get at the local market.

Anyway, the point is that part of honoring the body is paying attention to what we eat and how we treat our bodies. I'm not saying that what I did was for everyone-losing weight may not be what honoring your body entails. It could be seeking medical attention for something or actually keeping up a regimen set up by a doctor.

So there you go. I didn't write this to brag or celebrate, because that 40 pounds could be put back on and I don't want to set myself up to feeling like I failed or won at something, because that's not what it's about. I just wanted to let someone know about what's been going through my mind lately.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Going Green"

I read an interesting article recently (can't remember the title, though, so sorry) in which I encountered a really great thought about the whole "green" movement: it doesn't do anything unless the underlying assumptions about how we engage with our world have been changed. I like it. Too often I feel that people do the green thing because it's just that, a "thing" or a "fad" that is cool.

I'll be the first to admit that while I would love to be this great environmentally friendly person, I'm not. In the first place, my husband and I each drive to work-R has about 45 miles and I have about 56 miles to get to my work place which amounts to almost 200 miles A DAY between the two of us. I hate that, but there's not anything I can do about it. R could conceivably take the train and the T once he gets into Boston, but it's more expensive to do that than it is to drive...I could work in Worcester, but there aren't any jobs. And we can't afford for R to take public transportation for now, especially if the MBTA cuts the commuter rail service significantly like they've been talking about (for example, no service after 6 PM...if you work until 5:30 then you can't catch a 6 PM train. BOO). If I get into a Boston PhD program we would be able to commute together a few days a week, but it's still a lot of fossil fuels being used up. And we can't afford a new hybrid, or even a used hybrid. So there you go.

Which just goes to show that being really environmentally friendly is expensive, up front in a lot of situations (hybrid cars, Photovoltaic systems) and in the long run in other ways (organic food). There's not a good organic or local food store near us-there's a Trader Joe's which isn't bad but they don't have a good produce section, and the nearest Whole Foods is in Shrewsbury, which is a good 30-40 minute drive. That and organic food is expensive-just shop around Whole Foods a little and you'll see. "But you should sacrifice" some might say. Well, when you've got almost 700 a month in student loan payments, a mortgage, car insurance, house insurance, health insurance, utilities, gas for the commute to and from work, and only one of you working a full time job (not me because there were no full time jobs) then there's not really a luxury to get the fancy food. To be honest I would prefer to buy local over organic, but I've found it ridiculously difficult to find anything local that's not an apple or a pumpkin (although Big Y does have a decent local food selection every now and then).

So what is a girl to do? Well, for starters we recycle alot. I would say we have more recycling every week than trash. I know that sounds like I'm still in 2nd grade and am learning to "reduce, reuse, and recycle" but there you go. We also maintain our cars-regular oil changes, tune ups, checking the tire pressure. R is so fab with cars that this is pretty easy, and regular car maintenance is better for the environment because it makes your car run more efficiently. We don't keep the house incredibly warm or cold. We've switched our light bulbs...I buy fair trade coffee.

But I never feel like it's enough. I don't know if I'll ever feel like I've done enough for our earth. But I DO plan on using cloth diapers whenever we have kids. And I've now entered the world of...resuable sandwich bags! I hate the disposable ones because they're so flimsy and plastic. Ugh. I try to reuse them but there comes a time when too much peanut butter is enough on the inside of one bag. So I got these:


LinkThey're reusable sandwich bags! These are made in western MA so not only are they resuable but they're also local. Win win! The bottom one (with the guitars) is a snack sized bag, and the top is a sandwich bag (although it's huge-my sandwiches would fit in the small one but a wrap or something wouldn't so I got a big one too). The inside is nylon and they close with velcro. You can wash and dry them by hand or stick them in the dishwasher. There are a bunch of different designs as well-these were just two that I liked. They're not really cheap-one was 6 something and the other 8 something, but since you can use them over and over again I think you'll save money in the long run. The website is: www.snacktaxi.com if you're interested. This week will be their trial run, but I think they'll be great.

Reusable bags aren't a huge step in the journey towards eco-friendliness, but it's something. And if it's what I can do right now, it's what I can do. If you know of any cheap methods of being more environmentally conscious, I'd love to hear them. Every little bit helps, you know?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Grrr and Yay!

I'm a non-confrontational person. I realize there are times when confrontations can bring about change in good ways, but the violence inherent in such meetings goes against my nature. My heart rate goes up and I immediately feel as though I'm about the burst into tears--and not from sadness (I wish I could be that compassionate) but from the sheer anger and frustration of it all. This doesn't happen very often to me...seriously, only once every few months, if that.

Well, tonight was one of those moments, and of course it had to do with driving. I'm not an aggressive driver and never have been. Sure, I go about 5 mph above the speed limit but that's about the extent of it. Tonight, while waiting to make a left, an Impatient Truck (henceforth referred to as IT) pulled up behind me. There was a car coming and it looked like I would have time to turn after them, but the car was going to make a right so slowed down. The car behind that car caught up...now, I could have made the left at the same time as the right-turning car (people do it up here for whatever ridiculous reason) but I didn't want to get in a wreck. So I waited. The IT behind me thought this was a bad idea, so they honked. Then, when the person had turned right and the other car came through the intersection and I didn't turn right before it, the IT honked again (driven by a man, by the way). So I have to run a yellow light to make the left and the IT follows. Of course.

I will admit that I didn't speed up as fast as I often do, but in my defense I'm getting used to a new car with an engine that's a little smaller than my previous car. It wasn't like I was going only 15...I got up to the speed limit of 25 and the next left turn was only a quarter mile away. So I make that left, with IT still behind me.

We start driving down Lake Ave. I'm going 35 mph which is above the speed limit of 30. People usually go 45 down Lake, but alot of people run and bike along it (including myself) so I keep the speed low. IT tails me. And tails me. And tails me. Then-and here's the kicker-righgt before the start of a grass barrier in the middle of the road, IT passes me ON THE LEFT IN THE INCOMING TRAFFIC LANE. As he passes, I flip him off. I was so mad...not only was this guy putting me in danger but he was endangering everybody else. I would like to point out, too, that I don't flip people off. It's pointless, but I didn't know what else to do (and to be fair it didn't make me feel any better). So THEN this jerk passes me and the minute he gets in front of me he slams on his brakes and goes 20 mph. I'm pretty sure he was trying to cause me to rear-end him, ruining my car and putting me at fault. And I had no illusions that this guy wouldn't haul off and hit me-he was that aggressive. Luckily I pay attention and so I slowed down and no problems. He sped off (at 50 mph I estimate...it was fast) and I actually catch up to him at the light (vindication!). Luckily he wasn't going to same direction as I was, but I was seriously worried that he was going to get out of his car and come try and attack me. It was really scary...and I know my flipping him off didn't provoke him (he was already an a**) but still.

So. Moral of the story? There isn't one really. I just needed to vent (although R did give me a big hug when I told him about it). Well, maybe I could say that flipping someone off is not as cathartic as we think it's going to be. I think it just made me feel worse.

But seriously. The nerve of some people.

But on the YAY side of things, my brother had his 6 month CT scan today-and he's still cancer free! I can't even begin to convey what a blessing this is, although I'm sure you can imagine (especially those who've been affected by cancer in some way, shape, or form). Maybe some day I'll blog about all of that, because I didn't do it too much during the past year, but not today. Today was a day of thanksgiving. Praise God, from whom all blessings most definitely do flow.

And Skype rocks my world. Not only did it help R and I get through the past year and this summer of being apart (although the phone had worked just fine before that), but I got to Skype with my sister and nephew today! It was AWESOME and totally made my day (along with my brother's news). I got to see Mom and Dad, who are both sick so couldn't really talk, but E and B and I had a great half-hour conversation. I got to show B the kittens (he was really excited about them) and by the end he wanted me to read him a book. And it was so great to see my sister. It's tough living so far away...a friend likened homesickness to soulsickness. I think he was on to something! Hopefully the whole family will be able to come to the ordination in January, though, and then we can have some time together! Skype rocks, but you can't give a person a hug through Skype.

And the weight watchers beef pepper steak I made for dinner was pretty darn good. Tomorrow night's choice? We're indulging with Trader Joe's Indian food and watching our Thursday night TV lineup-Jim and Pam are getting married, after all!

So that was my evening. How was yours?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Personality

I feel like maybe I should put a link to "Cult of Personality" here. I didn't really know the song too well a month ago, but it's on one of our Guitar Hero games and R likes it so there you go. Anywho...

Those of you who know me well may know that I'm a dog person, through and through. I've never had a dog of my own: my brother got a dog-who was incidentally put to sleep about a month ago God rest her mischievous soul- and my sister got a dog and my mom got a dog. Never worked out for me, mostly because I was old enough by the time my sister got one that I was going to go to college and couldn't take it with me. So one of my life goals has been to get a dog. I would love to have a lab of some sort-while I love all of my family's dogs, I think our lab fits my personality best. On top of that my boss has a black lab puppy and this has reinforced my belief that a lab is my dog: playful, smart, loving, and admittedly somewhat of a hellian. Sounds perfect to me! It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a dog when I got married and moved into a house for the first time (I've been living in apartments of varying quality since college), however our house isn't very big and R and I don't really live a dog life at the moment. Since we both have long commutes this means the puppy would have had to be inside for too long at a time. It seems that a dog is going to have to wait until we move to a bigger place with more space, a bigger yard, and within 15 minutes commuting distance (by car...I would LOVE to be able to commute to work by bike) from our house. Not to mention that R is not a dog person, so he has to get accustomed to the idea.

R is, however, a cat person. They've had cats in his family for most of his life, and he adores the two that live with his parents-Jimi (or Jimmy...don't know which) and Mia. We wanted to get a pet, and since a dog is out for now cats seemed the most likely choice. I've never really been a cat person, but I was willing to get some because I figured if they had a good personality it wouldn't matter.

And so, may I introduce to my blogging community:
Leela




And Gizmo!!!
They're about 3 months old now. We got them a month ago from a local animal shelter. These pictures were just taken a few minutes ago, so they're the most recent that some of you will have seen (I've got smaller kitten pictures on Facebook that many of you have most likely seen). And these cats have got some personality.

We were told they're from the same litter, and while Leela is black and Gizmo obviously is not, they do seem to have the same bone structure, and they're about the same size. Gizmo is fluffier than Leela, however. I took them to the vet yesterday for a round of vaccines and expected Giz to outweigh Leela but surprise! They were the same. Go figure. It's funny these are the kittens we got, because we almost passed them up. At the shelter, you could go from cage to cage and take the kittens out and interact with them. There was one domestic medium hair who had a great personality and we were close to picking her as one of our kittens (we wanted to get two so they would have some company during the day!), and when we got to the cage with Gizmo, Leela, and their brother, odds were not good. Gizmo, when I took him out to hold him, was TERRIFIED. He wasn't struggling to get away, but he was clinging onto my shirt for dear life, and just had this look of utmost fear on his face. And he was shaking-not that I blame him too much. I imagine life in a shelter is stressful, but his personality wasn't exactly shining through. Leela wasn't quite as scared (which is her nature-she's gutsier than Gizmo) but still was shaking and such. So we put them back and moved on. When we circled around again, though, I watched them in their cage and they were so playful! I went out on a limb suggesting we get these two, and Rick agreed that they had some personality, they were just too stressed to show it.

So what are these personalities? Well, Gizmo is an attention hound. He was the most shy at first, so I worked hard that first day to pet him and make him comfortable. Now he's always begging for attention-from bringing a toy to us while we're watching TV, to coming into the shower with me (he fell in yesterday-pretty hilarious). He has the loudest purr I've ever heard. If we'd known it was this low when we got him, I'm pretty sure we'd have named him Diesel. Oh well. I like the name Gizmo better anyway. He's a troublemaker too-he loves the kitchen table, loves stealing the bag of treats (closed thank the Lord) from the coffee table before we clip their nails, and generally getting into other bouts of mischief. He's really curious too, which can be funny to watch. The first time I showed him himself in the mirror was a sight to see! He loves to be held, especially on his back so he can have his tummy scratched.

Leela is very different, which I didn't really expect since they're siblings. She's fearless-you turn on the vacuum and she just looks at you, whereas Gizmo is already hiding somewhere. She's really friendly and loves to be held and petted, but only on her terms. If you pick her up unawares, chances are she'll tolerate you for about 20 seconds and then be ready to move on. She's often following her brother around, but sits and watches him do whatever goofy thing he's up to. It's really funny to watch them with the toys too. Gizmo will attack the mouse on the string outright, without really waiting. Leela-she really hunts this thing. I think I know now why females are the hunters of the cat world...

Oh and both of our kittens growl like dogs. It's really strange, but so funny. Who knew?

So yeah. Our cats have personality. They get into everything. They LOVE to eat. They like sleeping on top of me when I'm reading on the couch. And they're fantastic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Seasons

You may have noticed that I changed my blog background recently. Earth Day is cool and everything, but I needed a change-so fall it is! I've been thinking a lot about seasons lately--not the "seasons of life" or "seasons of change" or whatever, but the actual seasons of the year. Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring. Being from Kentucky I'm used to four very distinct seasons. New England has them as well, but they're definitely different. So I thought I would write about how they're different TO ME (please don't start responding saying I'm totally wrong about seasons here, it's just my take!), mostly because when these Yankees hear I'm from the South they automatically say "Oh well you must not know what winter's like!" Yeah right. Read on for my response...

We'll start with Summer. First I should define what I mean by summer, and I'm sure this completely changes how I decide when summer begins and ends. Summer is, for me, a time of heat, thunderstorms, lightening bugs, gardening, reading, swimming, camping, and generally doing outdoor things. And mosquitoes. Summer in Massachusetts (and mind you, I've only been up here for two summers so I'm still learning on this one) is a rather short affair. It actually starts in earnest around the actual start of summer (June 20-21st-ish) but ends around Labor Day weekend. Yes, it is still warm after labor day, but the nights are getting cooler and there's a very very slim chance that I would even consider going swimming outdoors. And I feel like I can't wear white shoes, which is weird because I never had this hang up back home. Strange. Sometimes summer comes even later--I wasn't in Mass for summer this year, but from what I heard from R it was pretty cold into the beginning of July. Cold and rainy. And I should point out that Massachusetts doesn't have much in the way of thunderstorms (my roomates from MA my first year in Boston had no idea what to do during a tornado and didn't believe me about the sky turning green). In Kentucky, summer starts in mid-May (sometimes earlier) and goes until early October (sometimes later). There's not really an "Indian Summer" (I don't know the politically correct name for it so I apologize to those who might be offended) in MA that I've noticed, but there is at home. Just because the leaves are changing doesn't mean it's sweatshirt weather.

Fall, for which New England is famous, is longer here than in Kentucky. For example, it's already gotten down into the 30s at night. Oh yeah and my definition--fall is a time of colder nights and warm-er days, with temperature highs ranging from the 40s-60s. Leaves are changing, geese are flying...and college football is being played. Woohoo! This is pretty standard in Massachusetts, I've found, but fall starts earlier than the actual autumnal equinox and ends in November, be it early or mid or late. In Kentucky it tends to be about the same length, but starts and ends later (October-sometime from late Nov. to early Dec.).

Winter. That time of year when it's always dark and it's under 40 degrees day and night. OK listen here Yankees-you don't have to corner market on winter. Seriously. I keep trying to explain to people that we HAVE winter in the upper South. We don't get tons of snow as consistently as New England does, but yes it snows and yes it gets cold. Just ask anyone in Louisville about the ice storm last year. Or the January of 1994 and they'll explain to you about winter. In fact, I'd venture to say that the midwest can trump New England's winters anytime. It's so friggin' cold out there. The main difference between winter in MA and winter in KY? Length. I swear the winter up here goes from December (or November) to March and it's awful. While I still act like I'm 10 when it snows (because it wasn't common enough back home for me to get used to it) I quickly tire of it when I am helping R shovel day after day, or when I'm worried about R because he fell on the ice or is shoveling more with a bad back. Boo hiss.

Spring. Spring is hard to grasp, I think. Temps are back in the 50s and 60s, but there are the inevitable cold snaps. Spring in KY would, I'd say, start in early March and go to mid-May. There will still be snow once and a while on Derby day, but for the most part things are getting green. Spring in New England is even harder to get a handle on. I met some folks I went to high school with the other day in Cambridge, and we all agreed March is the hardest month for a Kentuckian in Massachusetts. For us, March is when things green up-everything takes on that greenish-yellow haze, thanks to the pollen. And through your tear-filled eyes you could see the daffodils starting to say hello. March in Kentucky has such wonderful green potential. March in Mass? No dice. Everything is still brown. It's still cold. And it's probably still snowing. I have a really tough time in March, tougher than at any other season change. The winter's worn me down and my clock has already switched to spring. But it's still brown and dead-looking. Granted, this does make April that much nicer and provides a very Easter-y feeling to the appearance of all things green, but that doesn't make up for the March doldrums. Say what you want about February, but March is worse.

So there you go. In case you hadn't figured it out, I'm a complete nerd about the weather. When we were little, my sister would watch Dirty Dancing, my brother would watch the Wizard of Oz, and I would watch the Weather Channel.

And for those of you who were interested, my favorite season is summer.

Oh and I also like to keep track of the seasons with the beer selection...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Car Craziness

For those of you who have known me since high school, you may (or may not know-college friends definitely will) that I inherited the family car curse. My dad's dad had it, my dad has it, and I got it too. Most of my cars have been complete clunkers-they work at first, and then make a rather rapid and sudden decline into the abyss. This continued until I met R, who is a super human car guy. He's done tons of stuff with vehicles-it's a real gift he has. I mean, most people could probably fix a car well enough (even I can change the oil and change a tire and air filter and battery and know where the alternator is) but R has a feel for things that most people don't have. So when it came time for me to get rid of Clifford the big red truck, I told R to pick out the car and I would drive whatever it was. He insisted I have a say but I told him that would just bring on the curse. So he found the car and checked it out and gave the go ahead. All of the issues I've encountered (KNOCK ON WOOD) have been fixable by my super mechanic man.

But seriously, there's a limit to things. R actually told me the other day that he was planning on taking the fall off from car duty. This is HUGE. He hadn't told me this before and only told me when it was no longer going to happen (you'll find out why below). He loves his cars, and while he isn't one to neglect me in order to work on one (at least intentionally, sometimes he gets carried away) he does enjoy wrenching and getting things done. And since we both have 1.5 hour commutes each way to work every day, we have to keep the vehicles in working order. So the fact that he was going to take the fall off-except for minor stuff like oil changes, etc.-was a huge deal. But it is no longer to be.

A couple of weeks ago while fixing something totally unrelated, the transmission on R's Subaru (Rudy) died. He was afraid he'd done something to cause it, but it was just an unhappy coincidence. I'm just glad it happened while he was wrenching in the driveway and not on the road way. This happened a mere two or three days after a radiator hose blew on the way home. That happened to be a Thursday, the day when I go into Cambridge to do academic stuff, so I called a good friend who came out, picked R up, and they went to the car parts store while I sat with the car. R came back, fixed the car on the side of some neighborhood road with nothing more than the store parts and what he had in his trunk, and we took my friend out to dinner. Then the transmission died while he was finishing the work from the radiator hose bursting. SO...he had to decide. Keep Rudy and find someone to replace the transmission? Part it out? What to do? R has decided to replace the transmission himself (he only made this decision after tons of research. I didn't help. While I have a grasp on car mechanics greater than most women my age, I think, I still don't get what he's talking about half of the time). Then he had to locate a parts car, which he found and bought last week. This weekend was spent doing some preliminary work so that he could get started in earnest this weekend.

While this is all going on, my car's alternator dies on my way to my first Sunday at the church. I'm crying on the side of the highway while the car won't start, trying to figure out why this is happening to me. R comes out (he was going to stay home to take the kittens who we thought were sick to the vet) with a battery and tools and we get the car rolling and get to church. Then the car dies again on the way home. Turns out it was the alternator, so he took the alternator out of the undriveable Rudy, put it in my car (Beethoven) and voila. Driveable car.

In the meantime, R's been driving the car that was supposed to me the replacement for Beethoven, and will be very soon (Jack Sparrow) when I switch to an MA license. I'm hoping this will be tomorrow. So I'll drive Jack and R will drive the Vanagon (Magic) until Rudy is up and running from Project Lazaru.

Phew. You think I'm done? Think again.

R got rear-ended yesterday on the way to work. The driver side rear bumper is punched in and the back light is all cracked up. It's fixable, but just one more thing we have to deal with now.

I'm thinking someone should just give me a Honda Insight or a Subaru Forester. And give R a car too. He can fix cars like nobody's business, but doesn't he deserve a break? Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

U2 Review and Various Other Things

Sorry for the hiatus. I started a new job and all, so I've been trying to get things up and running there. Anyway, I'd love to say I'll blog more often (I always think that when I come back from a little time away) but I will just skip that for now.

Monday night R and I went to see U2 in concert at Gillette Stadium.

The good: It was an awesome show-I had goosebumps at times, and not from the rather chilly wind. The set list was fantastic: a great mix of old and new stuff. Sunday Bloody Sunday, Mysterious Ways, One, Where the Streets Have No Name, City of Blinding Lights, and Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For were probably my faves of the show. Vertigo also came off quite nicely. They opened with Magnificent (from the new album) which I love but I will explain more about why that wasn't a favorite below. The staging was pretty monumental too. We were way up in the nosebleed seats (about 15 rows from the very top of the stadium) so we weren't in the thick of things (unfortunately) but you could see the screens and stuff pretty well. At one point R did say, though, that if it weren't for the screens he wouldn't have known there was anyone on stage. Sorry, yo. I am too poor to afford better tickets. The tribute to Aung San Suu Kii (the nonviolent political leader from Myanmar who's been under house arrest for the past two decades) was really gutwrenching--they sang Walk On for that one. I'm guessing that particular date might have some significance but I don't know what it is. Anyway all in all I'm so glad I was able to go. I've wanted to see U2 live for a long time...hopefully I can get better seats next time!

The less good: Traffic. I know this is always an issue with concerts. I've been to my fair share of big events, and I know it's something you have to deal with. HOWEVER-there IS a train station in Foxborough that the MBTA only runs on Patriot game days even though it would severely lessen the strain on traffic if they ran it for weekday concerts like U2. R and I spent more time getting to and from the venue than we did actually at the concert. We missed the opening act (Snow Patrol; would have liked to have seen it but I knew we would miss it because R gets off work late and we even left an hour before he normally gets off!) and didn't get home until 2 AM, only to have to get up at 6 the next morning to drive back to work. Boo. But we did manage to park somewhere 10 dollars cheaper, so that was nice. Also, the echo effect from the upper deck was horrendous. I wish I'd taken ear plugs (I always say this at concerts) as that would have cleared up the sounds and made the music more enjoyable. I could barely tell what Bono was saying when he spoke to the crowd. It was rather ridiculous, but I guess you get what you pay for. Speaking of which, the upper deck was also kinda crappy energy-wise. We were sitting for all of the show (I wasn't going to be the one person to stand up who made everyone behind me stand up because they couldn't see) and so the energy you could see from the field was obviously not radiating upwards. I think Magnificent kind of flopped for me because no one really seemed into it. Yet another reason to pay extra for better seats! My last gripe: the Euro-Latino weird techno rock-y version of I Know I'll Go Crazy (If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight). It's a great song but the version they did was just weird. But I did get a cool hat (for 30 dollars).

So YAY for U2!

In other news, I'm doing PhD apps. I've been reading stuff by the professors with whom I want to work, and tomorrow I'm going to work on outlining my personal statements as well as reading a few things to beef up my writing sample. I'm applying to 9 programs in all (as of no, 1 or 2 may drop out because I just can't figure out a way to make them fit) and I've been in contact this year with folks from 2 school...and I was in contact with several people from different schools last year but I'm assuming alot of the same info is the same. Interestingly enough, BC is looking better and better. There are 3 early modernists in the history department and all 3 have been in touch with me. Hopefully I'll be going for a visit sometime in the next month. The level of...cordiality? Collegiality? Seems really great. One even said she'd be more than happy to serve on my dissertation committee and that I'm welcome to say that in my application. And I have a meeting on Oct. 1 with another potential professor at HDS. I was at Yale last week to speak with someone so yeah. That's good. I just need to finalize recommenders (I've got two of three...debating on the 3rd right now) and that nitty gritty work will be done. Then it's on to the applications! I'm applying to more history programs than any thing else (again) this year. I think it's something like 6 or 7 history depts. and 2 or 3 theology places (can't think of them off the top of my head at the moment).

The job has been going pretty well. I've gotten a really great reception at the church and everyone seems on board with what I'm doing (so far). I preached this past Sunday...the sermon is on the parish website (which you can figure out what it is on my facebook profile...I'm trying to be relatively anonymous on the blog about where I work so random people can't figure it out) and it got a good response. Yay! And this Saturday is the first youth group meeting...AND it looks like I'm going to be putting together a U2charist (a service with entirely U2 music that's dedicated to fighting global poverty...I did one in Louisville in 2006) at this parish. Yeehaw! Hopefully I'll know more about my priestly ordination date sometime soon. I emailed the diocese today but haven't heard anything. Who knows how long that will take!

Beyond that I'm trying to get over the cold I had last weekend. I have been feeling better but today the pressure in my head has been weird. I think it's because the weather has been kinda weird around these parts, so my left ear and right sinus have been off. Ew. And R is sick (he blames U2) so no fun.

Leaves are changing and fall is on the way. It sucks because winter will be here too soon but it makes the drive into work really pretty. I'll try to take pictures and post them for you non-New England folks to see what the fuss is apparently about (I don't think it's any better than back home but whatever).

Alright our kittens are begging for attention so I should go. Hopefully I'll be back on board this blog this time!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hmm.

I'm thinking of making this blog private, so I can talk about things going on in my life that it otherwise might not be prudent to do publicly (like work, for example). If you actually read this blog, make a comment and let me know and I can add you to the list of readers, should I go private. Otherwise I'll just talk about work elsewhere : )

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Waiting

I think I wrote a post with a similar title a couple of months ago. Oh well. It seemed apropos to the moment, so I'm going with it again.

Right now feels like a period of waiting for me-for those of you who know me well, you will know that I hate waiting. I'm not usually (at least I don't think I am) overly vocal about not wanting to wait, but there it is. I don't know if impatience is the right word-it's not that I want whatever's coming to hurry up and get here, it's just that I don't like sitting around feeling that I have nothing to do.

So that's where I'm at. It's not that I don't have anything to do. The house needs organizing, I still have thank you's to write, and I want to get started on my Greek. These are important things but they're not...steady, I guess. It's hard to clean the house when my other half isn't here to help figure out where things are supposed to go. Thank you's don't take forever (although it seems like it sometimes) and the Greek will be a steady discipline, but that's admittedly hard to get into when there's no other steady routine in my life.

I think part of it is also that I don't really know what to expect as of September 1. To be honest, I really really want to be going back to school. That's where I feel called to be; but I know something good will come of this year (and hopefully it's only a year!) off. I've started making some inquiries about PhD stuff so I can get that underway.

But back to September 1st...the rector is out of town for another week at the very least. I'll hopefully start moving into my office next week, but I don't know who to contact to get started with Christian Ed and youth stuff or what to expect even. I'm basically taking over this entire Christian Ed set up and getting a youth group really underway (they've had something but I'm not sure how steady it's been) and I don't know how many kids they have or what the commitment level is like. I've started looking at some Sunday School and youth group ideas, but without any familiarity with this place I have NO IDEA if any of it is going to work. It's not exactly anxiety producing, it's just more of a WTF? reaction. I think I've got two weeks once I start to get everything organized for the big program kickoff on September 15.

I think what's hardest about this particular situation is that I can't sit around and start planning in my head what I'm going to do. And in case you hadn't figured it out already, I'm a planner at heart. I like to have some idea of a trajectory in mind whenever I start out on something. This helps me keep big pictures in my view while at the same time allows me to deal with the details. Without a big picture, though, I'm having a hard time with details.

Oh well. I'm sure it will all work out in some way or another. I have, like I said, been looking at youth stuff. J2A is my first inclination, although I'm told that this parish isn't very excited about prepackaged things (which is odd as the Sunday School is a prepackaged thing and has been hugely successful). I may still push for it though; I never went through J2A but it's been successful at every parish I've seen, so it has potential. Slightly different but yet equally exciting, though, is a program through the United Methodist Church called "Synago" (Greek for "coming together"). It's a small group set-up that is led by the students with adult "encouragers" or something of that sort to kind of guide but not really lead. I think this has some really great potential and would be interested in exploring it more. If anyone out there has done Synago or knows someone who has, let me know!

That's about all for me. I'm going to go read now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Fourth Bear, Jasper Fforde

The Fourth Bear is the second book in the Nursery Crime series by Jasper Fforde. Some of you may have read his other (a bit older and perhaps more famous) series, the Thursday Next novels. I was introduced to Fforde through Thursday Next via my mom, and in fact read the 2nd book (Lost In A Good Book) before reading the first (The Eyre Affair). I was hooked. Fforde's writing is not only brilliant, but his use of the literary world is superb. In fact, I read Jane Eyre after reading the Eyre Affair so that I could go back and reread the Fforde book to understand it better. It definitely worked.

With the Nursery Crime series it appears I will be following the same model-2nd book before the first. The hero of the series is Jack Spratt, head of Reading/Berkshire's Nursery Crime Division. In this detective book we are taken to a world so enticingly similar to our own that you may think you'll see an anthropomorphic Bear walking down the street, or an alien Rambosian working on your office ceiling. Fforde's world in the Nursery Crime series (unlike the Thursday Next novels, where it's a parallel reality) is so much like our own that we grow comfortable. Then, at the next turn, a nursery character comes bowling you over just to prove that things aren't always what they seem.

The basic plot of the book is somewhat convoluted, but I guess many detective novels are that way. I personally don't read mysteries all that often, but this didn't strike me as a mystery (although I don't know if "crime" and "mystery" and "Fantasy" all go together but Fforde makes it work). Jack Spratt with his co-worker Mary Mary and alien Rambosian Ashley is dismayed to find that he is not put on the case when the serial killer Gingerbreadman escapes from prison. What would normally be a case given to the Nursery Crime Division is relegated to another part of the force, due to NCD's mess up of the case involving Little Red Riding Hood, a Wolf, and her Grandmother. Spratt is forced to go on "leave" due to doubts about his sanity, so he works on the side with Mary investigating the disappearance of Goldilocks. This takes him into the Ursuline world of Berkshire as well as the realm of extreme cucumber growing.

Fforde is a fantastic writer, and those who may have been daunted by the literary prowess required to read most fully the Thursday Next novels will find in these books that the realm of Nursery Rhyme is king (although if you don't know about Punch and Judy-non Anglophile Americans will likely have this issue-then look them up before you read) and the stories you learned as a child will pop back up in new and interesting ways.

Sound crazy? It is. But it is so deliciously wonderful that you'll keep reading and find yourself alternately craving cucumbers and gingerbread.

P.S. If you want my honest opinion, Fforde's books far outwit and outmatch Gregory Maguire's stuff. I like Maguire, but Fforde is definitely more...fun.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

All those addicted to the Travel Channel will be familiar with Bourdain's show No Reservations in which our host and guide travels to various points of interest around the globe and samples the local food culture, usually with his own guide from that particular place. It's a great show. R and I watch it pretty religiously (although the new season I think started while we were on our honeymoon and the 2nd episode was while I was moving): Bourdain is funny, insightful, and (sometimes suprisingly) culturally sensitive. All in all, it's a good watch.

It seemed only natural, then, to turn to Bourdain's somewhat groundbreaking book--at least in terms of his celebrity career--for more of a taste of this guy's thoughts on food. He's written several more, which I would love to read, but until I get my library card I'm limited with this one. I would like to point out, from the beginning, that I am not what you would call a "foodie." I don't think I have ever been to a two star restaurant (via the Michelin guide) not out of dislike, more out of the fact that I can't afford it. But I do like food and am willing to try new things, especially when in new places (Chavappi in Sarajevo, for example...). So it was with excitement that I turned to Bourdain's book on kitchen life.

For those who have watched the show (not Kitchen Confidential, although I hear there was a TV show based on it...so R tells me. Neither of us have seen it though), you will definitely hear Bourdain's voice in his writing. It is unmistakably his and makes for an easy and enjoyable read.

There's some material in there that I am sure will be shock value to some: don't order fish on Mondays, that brunch you New Englanders are so fond of (because you aren't in church!!!) is cooked by the B team chefs and on top of that is not filled with the freshest ingredients, restaurants recycle their bread, sending unused bread back to the kitchen and back out to the tables, etc. I'm not sure why any of this would come as a surprise to anyone--the food industry is just as much about cutting costs as any place else. Besides, if you're eating at a 3 star restaurant, why would you want to fill up on bread in the first place? That's my view anyway. Once you get past these revelations (almost entirely contained within the chapter "From Our Kitchen to Your Table") you can focus on Bourdain's story.

It's the story that makes this book such a good read. There are several chapters that are more along the lines of "how to cook like a pro" or "my typical day" type of things, and those provide useful interludes in Bourdain's turbulent life, but they aren't the real meat of the book. What is so compelling about this, at least to me, is watching this man discover the glory of food as a child, fall away from his goals, and climb back to where he is today, making various discoveries about food (duh) but more importantly people along the way. I think that is what makes Bourdain's show such a draw-it's not just this guy walking around eating stuff-you hear him reflect on his journey pretty honestly. Kitchen Confidential is much the same sort of thing.

So. You don't need to be a "foodie" or food snob to read this book. You don't even have to have seen his show. It's a quick and easy read with some interesting insights into the side of the restaurants business most of us never see-the kitchen.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Grrr...Health Insurance

OK. I've moved to a state where there is "statewide healthcare" which really just translates into "it's against the law to be uninsured." Now, I want to start this by noting that I'm all for a more universal health care system, it's just that the one here is bad. I am experiencing this first hand. Welcome to my saga:

1. The first point of importance is that I have been offered health insurance through my employer. "Great!" you say. "That is wonderful news!" Hold up there, Positive Patty. While I'm not going to quote numbers here, let me just say that the cost of this health insurance is 39.4% of my salary. Let me say that again.

39.4% OF MY ENTIRE SALARY!!!!!!

That is, to say the least, ridiculous. Especially when one considers the fact that I have student loans aplenty to pay off-student loans that I took out in order to go to school and be a productive member of society (so I don't want to hear it from the "look at all of those students borrowing money they can't afford" folks. That's crap.)

2. Point number two. R's work DOES have an option for me to go on his insurance. We looked into it, but the ridiculous thing is that the cost skyrockets from his individual plan to adding me on. It's nowhere near the cost of insurance through my work (with R it would cost half of what it would cost for just me through work) but still. Expensive. So we decided to search for other avenues.

3. I started looking for insurance on my own. I found some plans that would save us money, as my work plan is completely out of my price range and the plan at R's work would still cost us a decent amount of money. I found a plan that looked pretty good, with no deductible, plenty of doctors in the area, and decent benefits (like 1 eye exam a year, 1 dental exam a year).

Guess what?

I found out today (because the website for the state that I had been using doesn't tell you this anywhere) that I am ineligible to enroll in an individual plan because I am offered health care through work.

4. See point 1.

Thus is my health care saga. It's ridiculous, seriously. Thank God for R's policy, otherwise I don't know what I would do. Live off of ramen noodles and electric heat, I guess.

Please, Obama and Congress. Fix this. This kind of thing is ridiculous. Ridonkulous, even.

Technical Note

For those of you who are observant and curious, you'll see there are two Hilary contributors. Never fear...they're both me. I'm just lazy and get tired of signing out of one email account and signing into another just to write on the blog. I'd rather just be able to write. So there you go. At ease.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm Back!!!!

Howdy faithful readers of a blog with no updates or anything else interesting to say, for that matter...I am back in New England! After a whirlwind (yet great) summer of family, ordination, vacation, wedding, and honeymoon, I am now back in Massachusetts getting moved into what is now our house (instead of only R's house) and getting ready for work which starts Sept. 1. It should be good, although I'm still a little bummed about not starting school in September. Oh well. Hopefully next year...and I think my writing sample this time is much better! I just need to start working on the statement.

To recap the summer, here are some highlights:

1. Ordination to the diaconate. It was a wonderful service and many people came to support myself and the other ordinand. It was on a Friday so R couldn't come, but other than that it was great! A friend preached an awesome sermon that rocked. And then I served the summer at St. Mark's as a deacon which was fun.

2. Family vacation to NOLA. We hadn't gone on vacation since 1994, so this was a big change! We decided to do it about a week before we left-super spontaneous but great! I also got to see my college chaplain while I was there, which was wonderful. It was a great week spent with the fam, just hanging out. All around a good time.

3. Everyday stuff. Blaine playing tball. Blaine learning to swim with the water wings (he's swimming on his back now-kind of)! Gardening, although this year's wasn't as much of a success as last year's. Hanging out with my family. Going to baseball games. Grilling. Sitting in the pool. Going on evening walks with Erin and Blaine and one of the dogs (or two).

4. Wedding!!! It was PERFECT. The reception was perfect. The honeymoon was perfect. R and I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was a wonderful day. It rained (which is supposed to be lucky) but only at those times when we were inside, so the luck was already working for us! Disney World was fantastic as well. It was all good. : ) I will try to post one or two pictures once I have some.

5. Moving. Most of you know how I feel about moving, but it's a necessary evil. Right now I'm unpacking my stuff and getting moved into our house. It's going slowly but I think I can have most of it done by the end of the week, which will be good, as I need to start on thank you's (my project for next week). Once we're moved in and everything is in place I can take pictures of the house and post them on Facebook. Even those who have seen it before will see some new stuff (matching bedroom set, coordinated bathroom and those oh so important curtains).

6. And the summer's not over yet! I start work Sept. 1 so I have about 3.5 weeks to get settled in and such. I'll start moving stuff into my office towards the end of August. R and I are going camping soon. We have furniture to buy as well and maybe-just maybe-kittens!

So that's what I've been up to. I haven't been good with the movie and book reviews. Movie wise I really only saw HP 6 (which was awesome) and re-read the Outlander and HP series. But I DID just finish Kitchen Confidential so I can write a bit about that and about Harry Potter. I'll save that for another day, though.

Monday, June 08, 2009

KY Summer

Hey there. Sorry I haven't updated in a while. It's been a crazy month, to say the least. I'll just do a run down of each event and then an update of where I am now...
1. Graduation from Yale. Yep. Finished that degree. I also won the liturgics prize from Berkeley (the Episcopal divinity school that is part of Yale Divinity School). that was a HUGE surprise but great news, as it will look great on my resume and was also pretty cool. And I graduated Summa. Most graduate schools don't do latin honors, but some apparently do. And YDS is one of them. So there you go. I knew my grades were good, but I thought I had one H- too many for Summa. So yay there. My mom, dad, and brother were up for the event, and Rick came down as well. So there we go. MAR- game over.

2. Job stuff. I interviewed pretty seriously at 3 places and actually got an offer at one of them! I'm not going to say specifics here, but it will be really really good, I think. There was another position that also would have been great but I got this offer first AND it's closer to Worcester. Even though the other one paid more money, Rick and I decided the closer one would be better in the long run. So that's good. I'll start in late August. Woohoo! Employment-check. It is starting as part time, but hopefully there will be an arrangement that will move it to full time. But I have some ideas of other things to do for about 10 hours a week to pick up a little extra cash.

3. Ordination. It's coming up. Details are pretty much finalized, I just have a few more things to send in for the program. I think it will be really good, although one of the people I wanted to be part of it is going to be in AZ! That TOTALLY sucks but oh well-nothing I can do about it!

4. Moving. Sheesh. I HATE moving-just ask Rick about how I turn into a beast everytime I have to move. Seriously. I'm so glad he loves me, otherwise he would probably think I'm insane. I moved out of the house in New Haven and into storage in MA in early May. Then, Rick's roommate found a new place to stay so he moved out on June 1 and I moved my stuff out of storage and into Rick's house (soon to be OUR house!!!! Yay!!!!) so I wouldn't have to pay for storage for the summer. God bless Rick-he's willing for my stuff to be in boxes in various places in his house until I get up there in August. But we DID set up the former roommate's room into our office. It was really exciting. Perhaps stupidly so, but it's the first room that we've really set up together from scratch, so it feels like a place in the house that is ours. That probably sounds stupid, but it's pretty cool.

5. KY. Now I'm in KY until the wedding. Doing various things really, but mostly just hanging out with my family. Getting ordained and married, of course, so the wedding prep will be taking up some time, but today, for example, my sister and I took Blaine on his first trip to King's Island (our favorite theme park just north of Cincy). It was awesome. It will be even more awesome when he's tall enough to ride the Beast and Whitewater Canyon, etc., but he loved the rides and it was great to see him giggle and squeal with excitement on them.

So that's what I've been doing. I may not update too much this summer, but will hopefully keep up with the book reviews. I'm rereading a series right now, so once I'm done with it I'll post on it. then I think I'm going to tackle this Michael Ramsey book. Hell yeah.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Survive! By Les Stroud

I just finished reading Survive! by Survivorman host Les Stroud. Rick and I got into his show somewhat randomly (I think Rick had seen it once and we happened upon it one night) and we were hooked. I think we're going to register for seasons of it for the wedding. Anyway Stroud has written a book about the basics of survival, full of various tips. I bought it for Rick for valentine's day, and when my Amazon copy didn't come in on time I bought him another, and forgot about the Amazon one (which eventually arrived and I meant to ship back) until last week. So I decided to read it.

All in all: a good read-but only if you're into camping and such. It's full of small bits of story, but that's not really what the book is about. If you want to read narratives of survival, find something else. This is about how to survive if you're caught in such a situation. Therefore, it's not a book that will likely be of interest to a person who never goes outside, much less goes camping (there's a small chapter on natural disasters at home but it's not worth buying the book for that chapter-anyone who lives in tornado/hurricane/blizzard/earthquake country will know what he says already).

The "good" of the book: Les's tips are expressed clearly (minus one about making a torch bark bundle-I couldn't figure that one out) and accompanied with easy to understand illustrations. He does not assume too much when he explains things, noting at some point in the book that beginners will be using this as well. Furthermore, he skips out on the fancy survival skills that only those who have taken courses will know. He assumes that you're just someone going camping who ends up in the situation. It's about the simplest way to keep you alive and get you out of there. End of story. Thus the skills are in many ways pretty rudimentary, but not necessarily things you would think of on your own (like solar stills, for example, or vegetation stills).

Also, if you are someone who goes camping, you will be heartened (or at least I was) to see some things you already know. He describes filtering water with a filter made on your own-likely with rocks or ever smaller sizes, sand and charcoal-a filter I was already aware of. That shouldn't make you overly confident, but I think Stroud's book is excellent in that it doesn't make you feel like an idiot. Skills you may already have can be useful in survival.

It should be said that this book could be taken as one full of bragging. There's lots of "When I was in X place, I did Y to stay alive and came out very well." Normally that would bug the hell out of me. In this case, however, I think it engenders trust in the teacher (Stroud). I don't want necessarily to try doing something if it seems that it hasn't worked for anyone. Yet there's a confidence in Stroud that comes from reading this book and watching his show.

The "bad" of the book: There's not much bad about it. It's not a particularly entertaining read, but it got my imagination going, if only because I was thinking of camping trips I'd like to plan. I started to skim over the Africa and Jungle and Arctic sections. I don't live those places and am not going anytime soon, so it seemed like a waste of time to read. The boreal forest stuff was much more interesting to me. And mountains. That said, it's nice to have the extra info on hand should I travel to one of these places.

Now, for my biggest beef with the book, I have to start with the caveat. I don't think this is necessarily beef with the book itself, but I couldn't help but read this stuff and think "I either have to practice this over and over or memorize the book or backpack with it for this to be helpful." Some people have survived with skills they remembered from the show, and I think the same thing could be the case for the book, but there's so much info packed into it that I would rather just take it along. Only books are heavy...so I thought about maybe creating a smaller reference that can be on laminated index cards for a survival kid. That might have been useful to put in the book as well-little reminders that will jog your memory about the larger text.

So there you go. Read this book if you're going camping or backpacking or whatever. Or if you like survival reads. But don't be surprised if you get the itch to you into the wild when you're done with it...

Resisting Chemo

I just happened upon this article on Yahoo News today. I think before I would have dismissed it, but I'm not sure I could do any such thing given the past year. I know there are all kinds of arguments for and against treatment, but I sit and read this article and am beyond flabbergasted. The oncologist says this kid has a 90% chance of survival if he undergoes the chemotherapy! Granted, chemo is no small thing. I watched my brother struggle through it. I was not the one being injected with those drugs, and I have no place to say how bad it is. But I watched him and it sucked. Big time. There's no way around that. But a 90% survival rate is pretty amazing. I can't believe the parents are just going to walk away from the medical treatment when doctors agree with the original prognosis and the kid's in pain. Somehow the child agrees with the parents though (not a far stretch, considering how defensive kids can be of their parents) but another question comes to mind: why can't this kid read? He's 13. The article does not mention significant learning disabilities, although they may be there, but he doesn't seem to understand what the chemo is meant to do.

This would be an interesting article to talk about in CPE. I had a few Jehovah's Witness patients during my time in CPE, and it was always interesting to see their reactions. One person in particular, when I introduced myself as the chaplain, said "I'm a Jehovah's Witness," clearly expecting me to understand that she had her own beliefs and I wasn't going to change them. I said, "That's fine. I can still talk to you. I just came here to see how you were." And then she was able to express her fear at what was going on. It's amazing what you find out when you just talk to people.

Anyway I'm rambling, mostly because I have nothing to do and am rather bored. Hopefully Rick and I will go for a bike ride tonight when he gets home. The weather is perfect for one...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running with Butterflies

That's the title of a book if I ever write it. Anywho...

I've been running now somewhat on and off for a little over two years now. I usually feel pretty bad about my running abilities. I am a slow runner-about 11 minutes/mile is about my standard. Which means there are old people who run faster than I do. I think I could do OK for a 5K, and maybe even a 10K (which I'm hoping to do this summer), but I'm not sure I could qualify for the Boston Marathon because I'm so slow (you have to do a qualifying half marathon first). I can run for lengths of time...today I ran for 62 minutes. I'm just not sure I went all that far.

But something else happened today that actually made my running feel better. I was running at the Broad Meadow Brook wildlife sanctuary, one of my all time favorite places in Worcester, and as I came off of a trail and onto a wider gravel path that would take me back to the street, a butterfly came out of the reeds and flew alongside me. It wasn't that long-only about 10 seconds, but the fact of the matter was that our paces were perfectly matched! And then, as I was running back along the same path, another butterfly did the same thing!

So if anyone tries to tell me anything about my running speed being so slow (including my own subconscious), I know that I can run with butterflies. And that's pretty cool.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blue Highways

Well folks, here it is. The inauguration of my book reviews on this blog. Huzzah! Up first: Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.

American literature is full of travel narratives: Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance...the list goes on and on. Perhaps it speaks to a inherent need to "go" within the American. After all, even those who have been here the longest are descended from migrants traveling the land-bridge from Asia. If we sit and think on it, I'm sure most of us could come up with a list of travels that brought us to where we are. They may not be our own adventures-they may reach back hundreds of years. But the "going" is there. It's in our blood.

William Least Heat-Moon portrays such a going in his book. As his life falls apart-fired from his job, splitting up with his wife, feeling generally lost-he decides to drive around the country in a Ford Econoline van using only the "blue highways," or those roads represented by the blue lines on his atlas. No interstates. No chains (if he could avoid it). No hotels (for the most part). Just William and his van, Ghost Dancing. He literally travels around the country seeking something, but what exactly that something is the reader nor the author ever seem to know. Maybe he's just seeking America. Or maybe he's seeking himself. Or both. Read the book and decide for yourself.

The travelogue is full of interesting encounters between Heat-Moon and the residents of various towns and villages along the way. It was especially interesting (for me at least) to read of encounters in places I know or that are fairly close to home. It's pretty amazing to read how much some of these folks opened up to him; makes me wonder if people would do the same for me! (Although admittedly having a Greek textbook on an airplane does tend to get conversations rolling). The book is a great read and I think will get anyone itching to move. I was especially interested in his experiences in the bayous of Louisiana and on the Chesapeake Bay. I was pretty captivated by this read, not so much by the action (because to be honest it's not very "action packed") but by the honesty displayed by the author and the people in the book. I wanted to see who he would meet next, what they would say, what ridiculous name the town would have. There's something compelling about this travel narrative. It is very much about the author, but at the same time there's a kind of self-effacement that makes it about us as well.

Now, for a couple of downsides. The travels took place in 1978 and the book was published in 1983. I wasn't alive in 1978. I doubt I was even a twinkle in either of my parent's eyes at this point (I don't know if they had even met yet). That said, there are definitely times when the book feels dated, dated in ways that books like Huck Finn seems to avoid. Maybe it's because it is the recent past-it's like what he is writing about is that word on the tip of your tongue that you just can't seem to remember. The late seventies and early eighties are that way for me-I definitely didn't experience them, but I feel that if I try hard enough I could visualize/remember it. So the dated-ness of the book felt a little alienating at times, but that could be very much limited to those in my particular generation.

The other downside is the tendency towards a self-righteousness and divinization of the "old" that occurs throughout the book. I don't want to get on the author too much about the self-righteousness business. It's a sin most of us are guilty of, but at times it can be a bit unbearable. The divinization of the old is more problematic, however. At times I wonder if Heat-Moon doesn't want things to stay the same purely for the sake of staying the same. That to me seems just as bad as change for the sake of change. I am not advocating the idea of "progress," and as an historian and a church person I have a love of tradition. But what I've learned is that there has to be real meaning to those traditions and why we hang onto them. Otherwise we start to sound like old codgers who can't stand when anything changes. Too much of Heat-Moon's prose tends in this direction. Yes, chain restaurants can feel sterile and bad, and yes we too often let economic "progress" destroy national and local treasures. I do not doubt this. But some of Heat-Moon's characters see the problems with small towns staying exactly the same--the young people leave because there is no opportunity. It's more than the "nothing to do" of the teenage years. There seems to be a lack of future. The future Heat-Moon sees for these places is one of decline and destruction on the parts of the "rest of us" who don't live there, but there's a curious lack of suggestions for solutions on his part.

That said, you probably think I don't like the book. On the contrary, I thought it was great. The social historian in me loved it. The person with the travel bug in me loved it. And the reader in me loved it. It a great record of one man's travels on America's backroads, and makes me want to try a similar thing sometime (Rick and I have dreamed about driving Magic all the way down Route 66 some time...).

Friday, May 08, 2009

New England again

For those of you who have been following this blog from its inception, you will remember that in June 2008 I started writing about things in New England that are great but aren't necessarily the big tourist-y things that you would normally think of when coming here (like Cape Cod, where Rick and I have yet to go). I've thought of a couple of others, and as I live here longer-but not forever, for the South is my home and we're going there in a few years-I want to keep recording these things for y'all.

Lime Rickeys are my next installment. This isn't a place, but a drink. Those of you who have been to New England may have experienced one of these things, but you may also have tried a frappe, which is a lame excuse for a milkshake in my mind (not as thick as a milkshake). The lime rickey reminds me of going to Sonic and getting a limeade. Yes, I realize Sonic is a big chain but their drinks are so damn delish that you just can't pass 'em up! Plus they have happy hour every day. And you can get an Ocean Water, have an insanely blue mouth, and annoy the hell out of my mom. : )

Anyway back to the Lime Rickey. The best place I've had one is at Bartley's Burgers in Harvard Square. The burger place is famous, but overpriced and not the best burgers in the world. O'Sullivans down on the Cambridge/Somerville border near Porter Square is MUCH better. But the Lime Rickeys at Bartley's are fantabulous. It is basically a carbonated drink (don't know if it's just seltzer water or Sprite) with lime juice and fresh limes. Some people enjoy the raspberry lime rickey, but I find that to be a travesty. Go for the plain lime ones. They're not as sweet as a lemon-lime cokes, but they're great and very refreshing and thirst-quenching.

So there you go. Lime Rickeys. And don't ask me where the name comes from because I have no earthly clue. I could wikipedia it but that would take away the mystery...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Number Two

Well folks I've finished Masters degree number two. I took my final today and papers have all been turned in. Thus ends 20 years of continuous schooling. Now for a break, and then hopefully back for more school in a year or two!

Things are going OK I guess. I've been packing up my room and getting ready to move things into storage for the next month (at least) with the possibility of those things being there until after the honeymoon. It's funny though-tonight I wasn't really sure what to do with myself. After I had gotten tired of packing, I just sat there thinking "Huh. I don't have any homework." So I read some of the book I'm reading now (Blue Highways). Then I'm going to start my How to Brew book once I've finished this one. Woohoo! Next week I'll work on putting together the wedding address list. I think I mentioned before on here that I was thinking of working up my Greek again this summer, but I'm going to wait until I'm in Worcester to do that. once I'm in KY I think Greek will be the last thing I want to do.

That's about all I have for now. Nothing particularly insightful going on-just a great episode of the Office and Parks and Rec tonight (a new NBC show that I find hilarious). Tomorrow night Rick and I are going to see the new Star Trek. It should be AWESOME. If it's not raining we're going to the drive-in. If it is raining, this is one of those rare occasions when we will go to an indoor theater during drive-in season. But we've gotta see it! Speaking of movies, Year One and Taking Woodstock both look like they're gonna be fantastic. And Harry Potter of course. Rick's excited about Terminator and Transformers. I couldn't really care about either. The first Transformers movie was OK but I didn't think "man, I can't wait until the next one comes out!" I'm really in the mood for comedy right now as well as fantasy (and Star Trek of course). One of the drive-ins is doing a double feature of Star Trek and I Love You Man, which I've been wanting to see. Hopefully we'll be able to go tomorrow night!

Here's to summer break!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I Heart Charles Gore.

Finished the Gore paper this morning. A few of my favorite quotes from him:

"Now what is it that has in fact made Christianity so real a Gospel? It is the simplicity of its message. It holds up the crucifix and says, 'Sic Deus dilexit mundum.' This is a simple message, and it is simple because it points to facts, to the old, old story of the life and death of Jesus. But observe, the facts only constitute a Gospel, because a certain interpretation of them is implied. It were no Gospel that the best of men, after a life of boundless self-sacrifice, should have been harried to death on Calvary. It only becomes a Gospel if He who submits to this ignominious death really reveals the love, not of man only, but of God, if He really was the Son of God, who out of the love which is His own and His Father's, had come to give Himself in sacrifice for man. It only becomes a Gospel again, if God's power is shewn through the weakness of Christ's death, and He gave assurance of this to all men in that He raised Him from the dead. If He was the Son of God, if He was raised form the dead, we have our Gospel for the world...But the power of this Gospel depends utterly on an interpretation of the facts which is necessarily theological, or (considered intellectually) metaphysical, involving the special doctrine of the pre-existent person of the Son who was sent into the world." -The Incarnation of the Son of God, 23-3, 1891.

“that any really true and distinctive presentation of the principles of Christian living and Christian brotherhood, made vivid and intelligible, and applied under modern conditions, must claim a profound change, not only in the region of the social and industrial life, but even more in the region of our prejudices and presuppositions” - Christianity Applied to the Life of Men and of Nations, 41, 1920.

“the evils which we deplore in our present society are not the inevitable results of any unalterable laws of nature…but are the fruits of human blindness (largely voluntary blindness), willfulness, avarice and selfishness on the widest scale and in the long course of history: and their alteration demands something more than legislative and external changes…it demands a fundamental change in the spirit in which we think about and live our common life” -Christ and Society, 178, 1928.