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[sticky post] friends-only, mostly!

I've realized that my friends-only policy has gotten a bit mushy, so I thought I'd better get it all straight!

Although many of my sermons are locked in some way, I do post some of my manuscript sermons publicly.
I've also publicly posted a walkthrough for the spiderweb game Geneforge 5.

Otherwise, my livejournal is almost exclusively friends-only. If you think you know me, or are a friend-of-a-friend who for some reason wants access to my musings, jot me a reply to one of my public posts and I'll be happy to add you to my lj friends.

garden thoughts, 2015

Yearly garden thoughts, with an eye towards learning to plant the right garden for me. Comments and thoughts are welcome.

Tomatoes: This year I was in Israel during seedling-growing time, so I was unable to start tomatoes from seed. I bought seedlings locally, and planted Early Girls, which are perfect for New England, Big Boys, which did well, and a Brandywine, which grew beautifully but in the end didn't produce much before first frost. Next year I'll go back to planting Riesentraube tomatoes.
Cucumbers: Again I bought seedlings, which produced wonderfully, but the Marketmores one can buy locally have none of the taste of the heirloom varieties I normally grow. Next year back to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and to the English long cucumber, if not to the dragon's egg.
Pole Beans: All I grew this year was purple podded beans, which I no longer see at Baker Creek. They're prolific and forgiving and -- if you pick them early enough -- delicious as whole beans. Left too late they get tough, though, and make a fine but not spectacular shell bean. Next year I'll add back in the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, which are by far my favourite shell bean.
Peas: Snap peas, sown directly in the soil. The protected ones grow incredibly well; the ones outside the fence are invariably eaten. Tried a fall crop as well, but planted perhaps two weeks too late; planting a second crop earlier would mean competing for space with summer crops. I think this means I need more protected garden space!
Strawberries: Perennials, delicious.
Chives: Perennials, grow well no matter the conditions, good.
Thyme: Easy to grow, delicious. What little I haven't picked is still alive in mid-December.
Asparagus: Perennial, and delicious, but I only have six roots. I've planted roots in a second bed near the lake.

I still really miss wild blueberries, and wonder if it's possible to get them to take here, or if they'd require a sandier soil. I'd like to get better at root vegetables -- at carrots and radishes, especially -- but I think for these I'll need raised beds with looser soil.

What else am I missing?


texts for 2012

Given that I'm not really a lectionary preacher -- I'll check what's up in the Revised Common Lectionary, and preach from them when they sing to me, but I don't restrict myself to those texts covered by the RCL -- it seems like a good practice to keep track of what I'm preaching. Otherwise, I'd risk to preach an awful lot from, say, Isaiah and Luke, and not even notice I was neglecting the other books!

These were my sermon text choices for 2012.Collapse )

I'm actually pretty happy with the distribution. I don't expect to cover every book every year -- I don't want church to seem like a whirlwind tour -- but I did make an effort to cover different *kinds* of texts, from the longer Old Testament narratives through the epistles. I liked taking a few weeks to focus on Acts, which was not a normal go-to preaching text for me. Likewise Philippians and James.


Garden Musings

Musings à la last year's garden thoughts, with an eye towards learning to plant the right garden for me. Comments and thoughts are welcome.

Tomatoes: This year I planted Riesentraube tomatoes, a gift from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds with my seed order. They grew astonishingly well. Definitely to be planted again next year. I also grew Brandywines, which, while delicious, simply aren't what I should be growing in New England: the season isn't really long enough, and I didn't get enough yield for the effort. More experimentation next year.
Cucumbers: I've finally hit on a cucumber I love, which is the Japanese Long Cucumber. Also tried, but failed to grow Dragon's Egg Cucumbers. I think I transplanted them too early, during what seemed to be an unseasonably warm spring, and they when the weather turned they didn't like the cold. Must try again next year!
Radishes: I failed utterly, and my radishes bolted. Some of this might be that I tried to grow daikon radishes in the Spring, and I'm told that variety prefers fall. I love radishes, and am glad to get them through my CSA, including my new favourite, French Breakfast Radishes. Not sure if I should give up, or try again?
Pole Beans: I obtained Cherokee Trail of Tears beans from a friend, and they grew really well. They make mediocre green beans, but are excellent left to dry on the stalk for black beans. Not only will I grow these again, but I've passed some beans on to the farmer who runs my CSA. :) I think next year I'd also like to add a green bean to my garden. Does anyone have any favourite heirloom varieties?
Watermelon: I managed one single 7-inch watermelon, which in itself was worth the whole season. Protected it in a little nylon stocking, which was the right answer.
Strawberries: Perennials, and spreading, and yummy, so, yes.
Chives: Perennials, grow well no matter the conditions, good.
Basil: Easy to grow, delicious, so yes.
Asparagus: Perennial, and delicious, but I only have six roots. Will these spread on their own? Maybe I'll buy more roots for a second area.
Snow Peas: Delicious, easy, grew very well. Definitely something to plant again!
Cauliflower: Tried to grow this outside my fenced-in area, and it got eaten to the roots. The leaves grew back, but not quickly enough to create any cauliflower. :(

I still really miss wild blueberries, and wonder if it's possible to get them to take here, or if they'd require a sandier soil. What else am I missing?


Sunday's saga

On cars and services
On driving to First Baptist Church, Dorchester on Sunday, I noticed my car's temperature gauge was pegged beyond the printed H for HOT.

How could this be, I wondered, given that it was so awfully cold out? I turned the heater fan on full blast, only to be greeted by a blast of icy cold air. An overheating, not-venting engine. I pulled through the upcoming intersection with steam rising from the hood, found a likely soft shoulder, and pulled as far out of the lane as I safely could. Thankfully, I was no longer on the highway: I was less than ten minutes from church, on a surface road in Milton.

I called the AAA, and told the dispatcher I needed a tow, but that I was due to be preaching in half an hour.

She explained that I had to be at the car to meet the tow truck: no, the driver couldn't meet me at the church. But she would call the Milton police department to let them know the AAA was going to tow the car, and it wasn't just abandoned there. This gave me some peace of mind.

I called the main church phone, they sent a parishioner to pick me up, and we started the worship service almost on time. Just as I was standing up to preach, my phone rang (!oops!). Naturally I silenced it. It vibrated with three more messages before the end of the service. I figured the calls were either the AAA or the Milton police, checking on the tow details.

On mothers and dogs
After the service I checked my messages. The calls were all from the nice couple FIVE BLOCKS away from my home who had seen my mother in her short nightgown walking down the street in twenty-degree weather carrying my little dog. My mother was trying to find my little dog's home, to give her away to whomever she might belong to.

Luckily my dog has a tag on her collar with my phone number. The folks who found her did a google search for my phone number and Norton, and came up with my name and address (on a pastoral supply list: thank you Diane!) They'd wanted to walk my mom home, but said she was agitated and clearly didn't want them to do so, and she headed back up the street in the right direction. They called the local police in the hopes they'd check on her.

I learned all of this after church when I listened to their messages, and returned their call. At the time I was stranded in Dorchester, with no idea how I was to get home. I left voice mail messages for a number of area friends asking them please to check on mom, but I wasn't able to get through to anyone live except Isaac, who was in a noisy room that made phone conversation almost impossible. I did manage to communicate PLEASE GO HOME NOW! before we signed off.

A parishioner drove me back to my car, and waited with me (in his blessedly heated vehicle -- it would have been a cold wait otherwise!) for the hour or so it took to be towed. Miraculously I actually *had* $100 cash on me to pay for the extra mileage of the tow back to my own mechanic's garage in Norton. The tow truck driver even gave me a lift home after dropping the car off, so this time there was no long hike required.

My mother was home. Isaac was home. He'd cleaned up a bloody scrape on her leg where apparently she'd fallen, but otherwise she was fine. He'd not seen any police.

I walked the five blocks to the neighbours who had so kindly kept my dog for me. They had a cute little white fluffy dog themselves. Apparently Cassis must have behaved herself, because they said if I ever needed a dog sitter, they'd be willing!

I carried my dog home, printed off the thankfully-already-written manuscript sermon for the evening's lessons and carols service, scratched out a handwritten basis for the evening prayers, and called around to see if anyone was willing and able to drive me back to Dorchester for the service. Thankfully, Millie was willing.

I then ate the first meal I'd had in 24 hours. Because I was so far beyond hungry, and I was trying to jam food into myself in a 10-minute time slot, my body had a double response -- "thisisHEAVENLYohmyheavensFOODthisisGREAT" followed immediately by "whattheheckwasTHATohmynononoMAKEITGOAWAYackackBLEH." Nevertheless, I tried successfully not to mess Millie's car on the way to Dorchester, and we had a lovely lessons & carols service.

Obviously, I won't be leaving mom alone on Sunday mornings from here on out.

So, my car's with my mechanic, my mom is home, my dog is home, and both services went well. Ultimately, far from a disaster of a day. But my heavens, what a saga!

Sermonic texts @Dorchester 2011

15 Sermons preached at Dorchester in 2011. These are the texts I preached on, with primary text for each sermon listed first on a line.

2 Kings 5:1-17; John 15:1-12
Psalm 23; Psalm 22: 1, 12-18
Isaiah 40: 1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a
Isaiah 64:1-9; Mark 4:21-29

Matthew 1:18-2:12
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Exodus 34:1-7
Matthew 25: 31-46; Ezekiel 34
Luke 1: 46-55; 1 Samuel 2: 1-10
Luke 1:57-80
Luke 2:1-7
Luke 6: 17-31, Jeremiah 17: 5-11
Luke 10: 38-42
Luke 12: 13-31, Isaiah 11:1-9
Luke 14: 15-24, Isaiah 55:6-13
Luke 18: 1-8

I wouldn't expect any 14-week period to have an even distribution; there'll naturally be clusters.

But clearly I do need to be intentional about including more of the non-prophetic Old Testament texts! (I do love me some Isaiah, but that's no excuse to neglect Genesis or Job.) Also, poor Paul is entirely missing! I'll need to fix that next year!



For Sunday, 6 November. The canoe story I might flush out later, but the gist of it is that one day last month I was out in my canoe, with my dog, watching the sunlight dance on the surface of the water, feeling peaceful, and all of a sudden a little rodent nose pierced the water right next to us and startled us: my little dog jumped and I jumped and the poor muskrat was so startled he dove back down under without getting a chance to breathe, so a few underwater-strokes later he once again surfaced and we all jumped and I sat there in a rocking canoe full of joy.

The very next day when I was out in my canoe, some fool was zipping around in his motor boat, in circles fast as could be, startling me and startling my dog and rocking the canoe. That day, I didn't feel joy.

PresenceCollapse )



Today's sermon, on Joseph reuniting with his brothers. Mostly a manuscript sermon, although the end I never wrote up... I just sort of riffed on the Romans passage. Redemption.Collapse )


just your average surreal conversation

Mom, to me: Does your mother still live up on Boyce Avenue?

Me: You are my mother.

Mom: Really? ... ... How many houses do you have to go to in a day?

Me: Mother, I live here, in this house.

Mom: Really? I never see you. ... ... ... Do you still live in Darlington Pawtucket?

Me: No, mother, I live here. ...Who lived in Darlington Pawtucket?

Mom: We did, that's where I met you.


Guess I'm grown up?

I just had a really nice sort of pastoral exchange with the girl who bullied me when I was 10. Yes, that's well over thirty years ago, but I still hesitated and reminded myself of the intervening years before accepting her Facebook friend request last year. Since then I've commented on nothing, and perhaps even been secretly satisfied (shamefully, I admit) by her divorce.

But her granny is in the hospital with congestive heart failure, so I broke radio silence to express empathy, to which she responded well. The whole exchange felt really good. Who knew how much stuff I was still carrying around from 6th grade? My heavens!