Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I was speaking with my mother the other day and she mentioned in passing that her church only has a full choir once a month now. Apparently since the days since I've been there the congregation's numbers have dwindled, and no longer have enough people to support weekly choirs. Dad's church on the other hand remains sizable to support a men's choir.
My own church is also small. We have a cantor. When the occasion calls for it there is a choir. Of course I tend to show up to the masses with little to no music.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

This may be it

Well another Sunday another church. To get everyone up to speed, I’m Catholic marrying a Presbyterian. We both show up to our own churches once a week, so neither one of us is lapsed nor does it seem like anyone’s one church will rule them all so far, so we’re looking for a family church. Jokingly I’ve said we’ll raise our children Lutheran, so a Lutheran church we went.
The church is not too far from the house, so we walked. However, the walk is further than where I’d prefer to walk. It is in “take the bus” range. So we got there and was greeted to the sounds of “Louie, Louie” being banged out by a couple of kids at the drums and piano. It was an instrumental, so I serenaded the Help with “Louie, Lou-I, Oh, baby, we gotta, go. Yeah, yeah, yeah…” It was before church so I wasn’t too worried.
The Help on the other hand has a low tolerance for modern worship music.
In addition to being greeted by 60s party music, we were greeted by several church members as we oriented ourselves, figured out where we wanted to sit, and after we set. We were given devotionals, pens, a calendar.. Can’t nobody say this church isn’t friendly.
Despite the intro music, when church started it was straight traditional hymns. The sermon was good and reflected a theological outlook that we were both in agreement with. The coffee hour had protein. Hot dogs, mustard, onions and relish options. It would have been nice if ketchup was an option. I judge a church’s coffee hour by the level of protein provided.
The honest negatives, are a few. We sat in the back where a couple of church gossipers were. Yes, I too noticed the woman with the skirt that was too short, but did not feel the need to share that observation, unlike the women behind us. The church is kinda small. But I can’t complain, as my church’s numbers are sparse too. The facilities are old and will need some upgrade to keep it useable, which means in the next few years there might be a capital campaign.
On the whole we liked it. We’ll probably come again to the church to see if it will be a good neutral church for us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

10 things that made me happy lately
1. Finding my working headphones after weeks of deciding that they were lost FOREVER
2. Finding $10 in a coat pocket
3. Getting pasta salad juuuuust right
4. Getting a lamb dish just right and pairing it with a glass of wine
5. A phone call from a hard to get ahold of friend
6. Finding my wallet that fell in the gutter
7. Meyer Lemoncello
8. Sitting and chatting with a neighbor as they were packing up
9. Brething out of both nostrils (I'm getting over a horrid cold/flu)
10. Sitting in the comfy chair, looking out my window and enjoying the street drama (or lack thereof) outside

5 things that have made me happy
1. A wonderous sight to the eyes (a great landscape, a cool design of someone's living room on a dark night, etc)
2. Accomplishing a project that I can look back on and point to the results.
3. A really good meal
4. An awesome hymn that I get to sing (as opposed to just the choir or cantor singing) that's arranged just right that might have and accapella part to it or bridge
5. Compline at the end of the day

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Christianity and Democracy both had idiots

American Christians are biblically illiterate. I'm semi-literate. But pointing out as a few weeks ago, as the press did, that many Christians don't know a lot about their faith is a little off. It doesn't take much to point out how many registered voters don't know the name of their mayor, or state legislative representative, or senators. And they probably voted for the person! Yet voter ignorance does not negate democracy, or suffrage. It's just part of the deal of universal suffrage, and laws against poll taxes, that dummies will vote.
And likewise, the unwise pray.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dropping the Spinster and Thoughts on Prepping/Survivalism

I've decided to drop the happyspinster url. I'm letting it go. It will no longer be mine after tomorrow. If you want ti grab it before some site squatter does. My host keeps sending frantic emails but meh.

Okay. September is preparedness month. Don't believe me ask FEMA. I pondered putting something up on the popular blog but there are things that need to get done before the fiscal year ends, so maybe next year. Off and on I'd been reading The Chatelaine's Keys, a blog by a Jewish farmer lady, whose thing is peak oil, and that's why she's prepping. I think I found her for the canning and gardening tips. Then this year I came across a fellow named Jack Spirko and his Survivalist Podcast. We (me, the Help, and my libertarian leaning Buddhist cousin) listened to several of his podcasts while driving to and from western Virginia. His language is salty and we enjoy it when his Pennsylvania/Jersey accent peeks out from his adopted Texas/Arkansas one. He has a near daily podcast and it is informative. I've learned about biltong, and then found this lovely biltong box from Ikeahacker. I am very interested in food preservation and food security and growing, not because I fear the black helicopters (there are helicopters flying over my house but they are navy and white and they &^#!-up my TV reception) and peak oil. No. I need to free up space in the freezers and I sometimes like to be very lazy and not have to go to the store or market every week. Also there are minor set backs in the system. Old power lines go kablewy and we lose power for 1-16 hours. I think once we lost power for a full 24 hours. If it snows, more than 2 inches, the city loses it's mind, Metro stops working and the end of civilization is nigh. This is why I try to keep enough TP in the house for a 1 month seige.
These prepper/survivalist things just inspire me to can and preserve food from the farmers markets and whatever I grow if I get anything. Have bulk supplies of stuff I eat. Have a month or so supply of food on hand. Right now I can eat rice and tomatoes, and pasta and tomatoes for a month if I was trapped in the house.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Letting the Spinster Pass and catering update

In a few days I'm going to let the happyspinster.com url go into the great beyond where someone else can buy it up and use it since no one has asked for it. I'm keeping crappychristian.com
Now on to wedding matters. We are pondering a caterer. He's really not a caterer but a former chef. A former 4 star chef. I mentioned our price constriants. When I brought him up to the Help, he also wondered if we could afford him. I Googled him, he almost hit celebrity status. Worked at restaurants I can't afford. Okay, normally can't afford. I'm re-reading my email to him and I told him what our budget is and that I think he's worth more than what we've budgeted. I ran into him and he said, no problem he's not that busy at that time of the year.
Still, worried about the afford part. Because I know he has that 4 star chef desire for great, fresh, and local ingredients. And everything will be out of season.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blessed are the poor in spirit

“Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” Matthew 5:1-13
Well the biblical commentary on this says one thing but I've been pondering another. The material poor who also lack skills and imagination.
I am thankful to the US Army as it did not send my father to Vietnam to be a name on the wall or a nut case. Instead he wound up in Germany and was trained as a mechanic. He took those skills learned in the army got a job, then made a business that at times fed us. I say at times, because daddy is a crappy businessman, decent mechanic and plumber, craptastic businessman.
Mummy, can sew and crochet and has a few other skills, but hasn't really made any money with them. They make her happy and lets her make other people happy. The girls like it when grandma sews them something.
But let me get back to my initial thought, the material poor and poverty of the spirit. We were lower middle class in a poor neighborhood, but rich in spirit. We had our Lord and we had our creativity to create and do. Though some of the doing didn't create a lot of money, like lilly dillys, frozen Kool-Aide on a stick in a tiny Dixie cup. But there was creation and doing and worship. Now I worry. There is less worship. Complete lack of creation that has been replaced with consuming, and the doing is becoming more criminal.
Not only are people poor in material goods they are also poor in spirit.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It sucked.
The first 20 minutes I decided the show was crap and insulting. Insulting because the main character played by Jimmy Smitts is a Latino US Supreme Court Justice who quits and turns from supporting conservative issues and to liberal causes. As a conservative person of color that was just too insulting as the show's writers made it that he was only supporting conservative causes because a big bad conservative white guy was bullying him. It would have been fine if he was a liberal justice who decides he'd be doing more good as a lawyer, which would have been fine.
But it seemed to be that the writers went out of their way to say that minority conservatives aren't genuine. If we’d only be our true selves then we’d hop on the left’s side. If it weren’t for pressure from the white conservatives, if we were free we’d see the errors of our ways. Bull! And that was insulting and offensive. So, I won’t be watching this drivel. Of course, there were other things I thought were stupid too. His staff, too few and too stupid.
Well at least it appears they shot it in DC.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Dogs are a man's best friend but you can't pawn a dog.
Yesterday, on a whim I bid on ebay for a diamond. A loose diamond. I want to start a small collection, so I can put them in a black velvet bag and take them out occassionally and pretend to be a Bond villian.
I'm not getting any diamonds to wear. The Help and I went ring shopping and decided on plain wedding bands, no diamonds. There is a practical reason, diamonds scratch things. I'm thinking of iphones. I nearly bid on a phone but apparently it had a scratch from the user's diamond earring. We will be getting plain bands from the kiosk at the mall. Maybe on our 5th we'll upgrade to plain Tiffany bands.
But I still want diamonds, just in a bag, that I can say in a deep voice, "Well, Mr. Bond, will you trade these for the microfilm?"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Living apart- shocking

We announced our engagement to some aquaintences we've known over the years and when asked where we are living, the Help said he's in Beltsville and I'm in DC, and the person had a look of mild shock on her face. Following questions and answers made it clear that no, we aren't going to start living together until we're married. I'm just getting a thrill by shocking someone with our unconventiality.
There is a very practical reason why it is best that we live apart beyond the living out our faith. The new roommate will help raise a couple thousand bucks for the wedding. Second, I hate to be unromatic but this house is my largest asset and is the reason why my net worth is a positive number even after factoring in the mortgage. It seems unwise to have someone who will claim the property moving in before he has a legal right to it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Good Compline Spoiled by Praise Music

We're going to give a church one more chance. The Help and I are seeking a church we can worship at together. His landlords suggested a CANA church and so since one was in walking distance, we walked this sunday to one. Unfortunately they were without a priest, so that was a problem right there. So there was a bit of free form. There was a program that had things that appeared straight out of the Book of Common Prayer. I really like the BoCP. Yet in between BCP parts there was ad-libbing. I dislike ad-libbing in worship. It's a style thing, nothing theological and that's where the Help and I depart in worship. I like my prayers time tested by at least several decades if not hundreds of years. He likes the personalization and timeliness, blah, blah, blah (I love him) and really G-d hears all prayers.
So I muddled through the break out prayer groups where we were to discuss what was on our hearts and have the small group pray for us. You know, as many years that I was a Baptist, I managed to avoid this sort of thing. As a Episcopalian that sort of thing wasn't done at the churches I attended. And as a Catholic, I'm really really ok with having the priest in charge, less work for me.
The second half was better it was like compline. I love compline. Yet the other matter was that a lot of the music came from the past 15 years, P&W music. The Help dislikes modern worship music. Me, not too much of a fan as when it is sung the male voices seem hard to hear and it sounds like a young women's choir. I love hearing male voices, strong male voices. Only in one song did I hear the male voice strongly enough.
We'll give it another chance, when the priest has arrived.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wedding Dresses

Today I plan to look for fabric for a wedding dress.
I have pondered buying a dress however about 80% of the wedding dresses I see make me want to puke.
I find them to be tacky. Also I dislike the whole princess for a day vibe that they have. Seriously, when do you ever wander around in a floor length dress with sequins? Okay, yes, you have that lovely drag show, but for the rest of us, when do you wander around wearing a sparkly dress? I don't. And wearing a dress that I can never concieve of wearing again in any other context seems so untrue. I'd be just as true wandering in dressed as Princess Leah with two danishes on the side of my head.
Umm, danish.
Well once again, if anyone wants the happyspinster.com url, contact me. I'll give it to you for free.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sucky Surveys

A few days ago I got a phone call for a survey. The way the questions were written I'd say the sponsor of the survey wanted to get supported for an all powerful regional quasi-government group to take over metro and determine the transportation. As the questioner was asking I did tell her that they were some badly written, horrid, survey questions. They were almost in the territory of when did you stop beating your wife? Recently? Not too recently? Hardly ever or not that often?
I answer my phone so I get asked survey questions. There are some surveys that are political that I answer as truefully as I can. Some I just lie about, particularly on hot button issues, where I don't trust that the answers will be used properly or where individual information will get out there. Also on hot button issues my opinions are nuanced. Not 100% enthusiastically for something nor 100% seething with hatred and bombing making material against. Unfortunately, the survey writers can't seem to imagine something that isn't at the poles.

Monday, August 09, 2010


The renewal for HappySpinster.Com is coming up in September and well, I won't need it. So if I know you and you want the URL I will give it to you if I can transfer it prior to the renew date.
Oh and for those who don't know, I'm engaged. So in about 5 months I will no longer be a spinster. So I'd like to pass it on to someone else who is okay will being single or a DJ or band of that name. I may renew it and I'll charge whomever wants it for $10 or 10% above costs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I wanna generator

I didn't loose any power in the last storm. And I can't remember when exactly we had that 8hr power loss in the neighborhood, either earlier this year or Fall last year. But hearing that people still don't have power in MoCo after 2 days makes me think, I should get one. Problem or problems:
1- Where the heck would I put it?
2- Where would I store the fuel for it?
3- What would I get?
4- How do I keep it from getting stolen?
That last question comes from chatting with a childhood friend in Florida. Generator theft is high there. Understandable as it's Florida, there are hurricanes and their spin off tornadoes and those things have the annoying habit to wacking out the power lines. More people have them and lots of people need them adn they are portable, thus theft. Here the problem isn't so much tornadoes, though we have them, but rather an aging grid. I can pretty much say that I'll lose power once a year, but for how long is unknown. A few hours to a whole day has been my experience.
I'll wrap it up in the basement fund.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just like Scarlett O-Hara, but black and in the 21st Century

It has been a while since I've watched Gone with the Wind, but I think my desires kinda fit this movie. I want land, red earth, I want Tara. My Tara, which in my mind is a 4 bedroom townhouse near downtown with a bitching backyard.
About a week or so ago I got a call from Bob M. the Realtor who sold me the house in Florida. He was looking for business and wondering if I wanted to buy more property. Yes, I want to buy property. I can't buy more property because I have no money. I need to fix my roof and I really, really need to address my basement. What I need and what I want are two different things right now.
Also I've begun sorta looking at wooded lots in Virigina and imagining buying something out in the country. I'll put that in the fantasy box with an investment property townhouse in Baltimore.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Message

First off I want to thank Nora Bombay's ex-roommate, the hardest working lesbian ex-Episcopal priest, for whom this post would not be possible. When NB's roommate left NoVa for NYC she left behind bibles and other religiously themed books. Those books wound up with me. Some I sold, some I gave away, and some I kept. Of those Bibles is 'The Message', which is like the regular Bible but on crack, or drunk or off its meds. Don't get me wrong I like "The Message" but sometimes I compare it with the normal NIV and think, 'Gad this is wacky.' For example (via Biblegateway):
NIV- The Cost of Following Jesus
18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

20Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

21Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

22But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
Now the Message-
Your Business Is Life, Not Death
18-19When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said.

20Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know."

21Another follower said, "Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father's funeral to take care of."

22Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life."

In this example our Savior is being hard. The translation is, ah, different. No birds with nests in the Message, just we're camping and leave your father.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wussman I love

The Help is a bit squeemish regarding some food. His last girlfriend has some severe food allergies and barely ate anything. I on the other hand believe if it bleeds I can cook it and eat it. He likes the openess I have towards food but sometimes I am a little too open. I had him cleaning mussles for a dish, at some point he noticed the mussles making noises and I made the mistake of telling him they were alive. Oh, the little remarks I had to endure after that.
Before the mussle incident he would proclaim that he didn't want to eat anything with a head on it. He would eat meat or fish, just as long as there was no head on it. After the mussles he's included them in the list of things that look back at him. Dang it, I want to cook and eat blue crabs! I don't want to hear bitching about food that can attack you.
Then there was the time with the rabbit. The rabbit had no head. But there I was cutting it into parts for browning and he walked into the kitchen. The way he describes it is that its little legs were all sticking up and then I cracked the ribs. Upon the rib cracking he turned on his heel out of the kitchen. He also likes to avoid me when I've got a knife in my hands.
He's quite happy to eat what I cook, but I could deal without the wussiness of his meat eating. With further discussions we decided if push came to shove and if he had to live off the land like his hero Daniel Boone, he'd toughen up and eat things with heads and faces. Until then he's the 21st Century equivilent of the bespeckled man in the bowler hat who steps off the stagecoach in dime store Westerns.

Fun Anglican Website

Considering I left the Church of England for the One True and Most Holy Mother Church (I kid, I'm just Catholic), I still keep looking back at the train wreck. I sometimes wonder if I left too early. Sigh. Anyway, Anglicans in Texas are a hoot. I subscribe to Wannbe Anglican and just found The NEW Anglican Firearms "Enthusiast". No I'm not doing this to scare the crap outta of my Jewish/Atheist liberal friends. A lot of people I know and like dislike my Lord and my G-d and are highly distrustful of guns and particularly conservatives with guns. However, being a separate person with my own mind and an American I am free to practice the 1st Amendment and maybe one day the 2nd, as the Help suggested we go to a shooting range for date night. Oh, kiss, kiss, bang, bang.
But anyway on Anglican sites, I found the Anglican Firearms Enthusiast, via Bad Vestments a blog about typically Anglican, sometimes Catholic, vestments that should be set on fire, 'cause sometimes service can get too colorful.

Friday, July 09, 2010

What we don't know

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know. - Quote by Don Rumsfeld
I'm sitting here with my lunch, farmer's market gespatcho and Mexican Fruit stand avocado and I got to thinking about food. Particularly a question I asked the vendor who sold the soup a long time ago. I asked him if it was vegan. It must have been Lent when doing vegan Fridays (never again!). He said that the bread used was vegan. I was doubtful but bought it anyway. I never made bread and always figured it needed eggs and milk. I must have been confusing it with cake. But that was an illustration of what I didn't know. I didn't know that bread is flour, water and some sort of yeast or rising agent.
There is a lot we don't know about food. There is probably even more that we know that we don't know about food. There is probably even more than that which we don't know we don't know about food. The food unknown unknowns. As a society there is a lot we will know about what is trendy to know about food but will increasiingly loose knowledge about old foodways of cooking and food prep and food saftey because they are not as trendy.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Ah to be a free black woman

My goal one day is to own my house free and clear and have a decent FU fund. Financially I'm still slogging through. I don't know why it was a slog. Anyway the goal is freedom. I want to be free to run off to Florida and do absolutely nothing. Of course after 3 days I'll get bored and come back here seeking to be free to work on a project.
I want to be free from my stuff. Really do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Current goal is to clear out the basement. It would help if I didn't put anything else down there. The Goodwill box is filling up with clothes that I have finally come to admit, I probably won't wear, again.
I want to be free of burdensome expectations and duties. There are somethings I do because at some point I will get a reward, be it warm fuzzies or a fulfilled goal. There are things that don't relate to a bigger goal and I'm getting better at saying no. I don't have it down pat, but I'm getting better. And this also relates to being free of someone's or some group's idea that I owe them. Draw up the bill, itemize the services and I will pay legitimate debits that I incurred, but I will not be in perpetual servitude for vague concepts.
Going back to finances, I want to be financially secure. I don't want to be in a position where someone can dangle some half rotted carrot and I feel obligated to jump. Like with the way many colleges do with tenure and young PhDs. Luckily there is not much carrot dangling where I am, but I'm close enough to others where it is, and it ain't pretty.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wash Post's "Barney & Clyde"

is almost as bad as "Judge Parker". Not even as good as "Mark Trail" and the drawing for "Mark Trail" is horrid. I'll read the comics in the Post and the comics are one of the few reasons why I still subscribe to the paper. Sadly, unlike religion, if I don't like it, it's not like there's another church around the corner that I can go to instead. Yes, there is the Washington Times, but that's akin to being really annoyed with your Anglican Church and the only other churches in town is the Greek Orthodox Church and a bunch of storefronts. Thank goodness for "Zits" and "Baldo" and "Dilbert".
Now why do I hate "Barney & Clyde"? So far it has failed to make me laugh or even smile. I don't care about the characters because they are 1930s types in a 2010 world. The last time I was on the feed the homeless of DC truck, the homeless didn't have patches or fedoras. "Dan" (I think his name is Dan) or as I've thought of him "ZZ Top" the homeless guy near the Archives/ Navy Memorial station is a baseball cap, moderately worn jeans and T-Shirt wearing dude. A few years ago he was clean shaven but now he's sporting more of the motorcycle gang member look. And then you've got the crazies. Those are the ones with the ripped clothing and the busted shoes. I think it is a great testament to all the various churches and non-profits that offer free clothing, food, and counseling.
I ran into a homeless fellow I knew from the late 90s. I would see him everyday when I was working at the museum, and give him fruit or a yogurt, but never money. Anyway about a month I ran into him on my way to lunch at Oyamel. He's also a beared baseball cap man. He's also a vet. I did notice he was wearing those socks/stockings diabetics need to wear and gathered that's from the VA. He's mentioned his trips to the VA for various medical services. We had a nice long chat about the oil spill in the Gulf, slavery (modern and 19th cent), and the weather.
Sadly I don't know any billionaires personally. That I know of. I'm separated by 2 or 3 degrees from that amount of wealth. And if I were a person of wealth I'd spend a great amount of time on foundations and charities. I'd set up the CR Murphy and the Tom Bard Scholarships for mediocre students (there's enough money for genuius) of Irish decent and for guys named "Tom" or "Thomas" or some variation who are over 6'1" but under 7'. I would not be as the comic's billionaire moping around.
Simply said, Barney and Clyde suck.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Compline and the Book of Common Prayer

Apparently the missal for Anglican Use is out of print... And yes I could get the PDF from the Anglican Use website, but I like the little book, so BCP it is.
Ever since I encountered compline at the convent in Catonsville, MD I fell in love with it. It is an excellent way to end the day. However on my own I have the darnest time trying to figure it out. But I muddle through. It has given me comfort.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Disclosure- I work for the government, & I'm here to help.

One of the reasons why big corporate agriculture can determine what you eat is that they are in cahoots with the government that makes laws and regulates that best suits agribusiness. The legal word "organic" has been co-opted and taken away from the hippies who supported the movement and now Cargill owns it and the farmer at the farmer's market can't claim it because it requires approval by the Ag bureaucrat (more trouble than it's worth) who doesn't have the spirit of organic in his/her heart.
Government is a lot of things. Good things, bad things, mundane things, and things we don't even think about. Your tax dollars feed single mothers, undermine democratically elected governments, save stranded boaters, blow up innocent civilians, kill inmates, seizes property, floods the market with cheap corn with subsidies, raids banks, encourages home ownership, builds roads, builds prisons, props up 3rd world strongmen, keeps up National Parks, and a whole slew of stuff.

Pasta Salad

Despite being very sore towards someone right now, I will say that previously I hoped marriage would be like pasta salad. Currently I'm trying to put marriage out of my mind. Let me explain. You know how people focus on the thought that in marriage you are stuck with the same person day after day and it is like eating the same thing day after day. Well sometimes when I discover a dish I love, I try to eat it day after day after day. Pasta salad is such a dish.
Here are the ingredients:
Rotini (originally called for tortellini)
Olive Oil
Dijon mustard
lemon juice
Red wine vinigar
Grated Parmesan cheese

I don't give measurements because I've been making this since forever. I get the water boiling and throw the rotini in for 6-9 minutes, depending on the package or experience. While that's going I squeeze the lemon, put the garlic in the crusher and deposit in the juice. Experience has taught me that the garlic is less likely to taste funny if I have it sit in the citrus. Then I take some vinegar and shake about a few drops into it.Then add some parsley, and mustard. I stir it up then add oil. The original recipe said about 1/2 of the volume should be oil. I make it less so. Just enough to get a good dressing. I try to emulsify. Then I add a boat load of cheese.
About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, I throw in frozen early peas. When the timer goes off, I drain the pasta and the peas and add them to the cheesy dressing. I love this dish. And each time I make it, it is different. The quality of the ingredients can differ, the measurements differ, my mood, what I'm drinking to accent the flavors differ, the heat of the pasta when it hits the cheese, etc. A bunch of differing factors makes the same dish different. Sometimes I use fresh lemon juice, or farmer's market peas, or fresh parsley from the garden and lots of it. All I know are the last 10 spirals in my bowl of the dish are the most precious things in the world and I try to savor them slowly.

Yea South Carolina.

I was very eager last night to hear what the results of the South Carolina race because of two Republican candidates Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, but mainly Nikki Haley. Why? Because they are both people of color, tea party supported (okay TP split over Scott)and Southern. I’m excited about them because their existence denounces the outdated narrative about the South and the Republican party. I’ll be the first to tell you that the Republican party is completely tone deaf when it comes to racial sensitivities. Totally tone deaf and clueless and at points racially insensitive. Being all kumbaya about race was never and still isn’t the GOP’s shtick. And despite this there is a place for people of color and women in leadership and the ranks of the party.
Now myself being a registered Republican in the District of Columbia my vote most of the time counts for jack. This city is over 80% Democrat. The Democratic primary usually chooses the mayor and most of the city council. Because the city is so overwhelmingly Democratic I don’t believe we’ll ever get voting rights. In a GOP lead administration there is no chance of voting rights because the city is overwhelmingly of the opposing party and would only produce (D-DC) congressmembers. In Democratic administration at some point it dawns on them that they really don’t need to try that hard because succeed or fail DC is their bitch, their political booty call.
But back to SC. Yea! Especially for Nikki Haley, the female Methodist Bobby Jindal provided she makes it to win the race in November. Imagine another Southern state electing an Indian-American. I’m glad she survived the stupid whisper campaigns regarding her martial fidelity and her faith. I mean come on! If she has family who are Sikhs at some point she’s gonna wind up in a Sikh temple. I mean I’m no longer Baptist but there is a fair chance I’ll be sitting in a pew at a Baptist Church in the next year or two because of my aunts, my parents, my nieces, or any other random relative for a funeral or wedding or other church sponsored event. So the idea that she might not be a ‘real’ Christian because she has been to a Sikh temple since her conversion is stupid.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Mommy reminded me that I needed to call daddy today. So I figured they'd be up around 8. So I called and mom answered. She went to get daddy and returned telling me to call back in 5 minutes because he was still praying. Okay.
Things are so much easier since my parents got back together. They are living in sin, but they are back together. They divorced 10 years ago after a very rocky marriage and lately reconciled. They haven't yet remarried. It would be nice. Until then I remind them that they are living in sin.
When I say rocky, I mean daddy in his youth (20somthing to 40something) was an abusive husband, and for two daughters as less than stellar father. But he was there and somewhat interested in our upbringing, though he wasn't quick to show it. Looking back I am thankful that he was there, a statement that would bewilder my 16-17 year old self, when I was all for my parents divorcing. What I would tell my 16-17 year old self is it will work out in time, trust in G-d, forgive, and that mommy has lousy luck with men so sadly she's not going to do better. I wouldn't encourage a woman to stay with a physically abusive husband or partner for the sake of the kids, but she really has to be exceptionally careful and/or be willing to be celibate for a very long time for the sake of her kids. There are some real A*holes out there and some women keep repeating the same mistakes with new boyfriends. Just sayin'.
Anyway, back to daddy. I'm happy he's easier to locate now that mommy knows where he is. I'm happy that Jesus got a hold of him and changed his life. It would have been nice if the Savior did this while I was a kid, but the Lord's will be done, when he chooses.
The conversations are easier. We have something to talk about. The house, the grand kids (nieces), church, and the slim chance of him retiring are topics we can discuss. But daddy is not a phone person, so the call didn't last long, but way longer and it was less awkward than the time when they were separated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Chicken

Okay I finally defrosted and cooked most of the Maryland local, free range chicken that cost me $17 for the whole bird. I had set aside the breasts for chicken marsala. Then I went to the bodega to pick up some items for ice cream making when the owner mentioned he had some fresh chicken. Oh, fresh chicken! The last time I had bought chicken, the $17 deal, it was frozen. So When I was ready I had to deal with the whole bird. I figured with a fresh chicken I could cut up and cook the parts as needed. This bugger cost me over $20. So I got home. Figured I would cut it up into parts and freeze it.
I had butchered half of it when I bothered to take a look at the packaging. It was a Polyface chicken. The same Polyface Farm as featured in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. I was immediately struck with my own dilemma. Was I going to continue with my plan or was I going to see if fresh chicken from Polyface tasted as good as the hype not knowing if the freezing would make a difference. Since I had cut up half of it that was going into the freezer. The other half was going to be roasted.
I chose a recipe from the Gospel According to St. Martha, aka Martha Stewart Living. It was simple. Preheat oven to 425F. Take a chicken, put on foiled cookie sheet (foil not according to recipe but my desire for easy clean up). Brush with butter. Though I failed to read this and wound up pouring bits of melted butter on it. Salt and pepper. Take fresh thyme, stick under breasts and strew on sheet. Smash some garlic, place on sheet. Take day old baguette, in my case bread that has been in the freezer heaven knows how long, strew on sheet. Cook for 1 hour, but since it was ½ a chicken, 45 minutes. At about 45 minutes the fire alarm went off. I need to clean my oven. I tested the temperature and it was above 165F near the bone.
OMG. It was good. The breast was juicy and tender, and the breast is one of my least favorite parts. The bread, the parts that weren’t burnt, were like huge flavorful croutons. Garlic, which I left in the skins, tasty too. Excellent!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paralyzed by Quality

I’m trying to integrate more organic and locally grown food in my diet, with a slight hope that the more expensive the food the less of it I’ll eat, and the more weight I will keep off. This hasn’t worked so far as I am making lots of ice cream. Lots of local dairy, local eggs and local & organic fruit with organic sugar.
The problem I am now increasingly facing is meat. I’ve been buying locally grown or organic fruits and veggies and have no problem deciding what to do with them. I can eat them straight, put them in something healthy (or not so much), or let them become at one with the composter. But with meat, because of the expense I am sometimes paralyzed as to what to do with it. Considering a whole chicken I bought for $17, it took me a couple of weeks to decide what to do with it. I finally took it out of the freezer and cooked it, only after deciding what would be the best way to make the most of the bird. I was giving this bird more consideration than I had given any other chicken. I didn’t want to waste the bird on some unproven recipe, or drown it in sauces so I couldn’t taste it, and soup (tomato veggie) seemed to be unworthy. I finally decided on a chicken curry that was just lots of onions, salt, cinnamon and another spice. I had set aside the breast meat for my classic chicken marsala. It was good in the onion gravy and I could definitely taste the chicken.
Though I felt wasteful tossing the skin. I did save the wing tips for chicken stock. Also since buying the $17 local chickie, I had not bought any conventional chicken out of wanting to try to live more organically. But I do see myself buying conventional chicken to test out new recipes. Once tried and true it may be set aside for local chicken.
There is a piece of buffalo in the freezer waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.
I’m still going to buy conventional lamb, because I haven’t heard anything really bad about it. Yes, it has to get from down under to me in DC, but during its life it is feeding upon grass and apparently don’t take as much energy to raise and even when accounting for shipping uses less energy than local sheep farmers. Yet, beef and veal need to be local and grass fed, as well as goats.
The problem with buying higher quality and expensive food is I feel worse when I have to throw it out.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Church and the Poor

I've been thinking about my grandfather, who died years before I was born. He was s poor sharecropper supporting a wife and 5 kids. And he was deacon of a small Baptist Church in BFE, NC.
It dawned on me that these small churches could be one of the few places where the poor are given a chance to fill roles of leadership and responsibility. The poor are not clients but participants and stewards.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Catholic Baptist

There was an article in the Post that I directed the Help to read. It was "Interfaith marriages are rising fast, but they're failing fast too." The article mainly says that couples of different religions have a higher divorce rate. The purpose of pointing out the article was to have a serious discussion and clarify earlier conversations regarding theology.
Not having been raised Catholic I don't believe I have the same attachment as one who was born into it. I love it, but when pondering children, I would be fine if my progeny became Baptists. I was raised Baptist and most of the family on my side, are Baptists. And on any given day I'm not too sure about infant baptism.
My feelings about infant baptism was something I pondered at Mass. Though I do enjoy mass and yearn to be in agreement with the Roman Church, in my heart the issue doesn't seem right. I am very aware of the biblical interpretations legitimizing infant baptism, but there is the issue of my heart. I had asked the Help to defend infant baptism. It was an unfair question considering his lack of Christian knowledge.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Agnostic

Those are my choices.
The Help invited me to a bible study with some people from his church and I had a good time but a minor, very minor issue was the fact I was Catholic and everybody else was Presbyterian. At one point during the eating/meal part of the gathering one fellow was telling how his father led others to Christ and how the people of the town were not Christian. The people were Catholic and engaging in some odd little patron saint thing, which I guess was to illustrate their idolatry. I wasn't offended, as so much, I don't know. I decided to interpret it as the people being wrapped up in a cultural activity that had very little to do with the Gospels. The job of the saints is to point us to Christ, apparently this saint wasn't doing his job.
The more I think of it I know well in my heart I am not a Presbyterian, nor will I ever be. For one, I can only take the worship services in occasional bites. The sermons are too long to me. If you can't make your point in 10-20 minutes, you're droning. That's what drove me from the Baptist church. The sermons were long and at times didn't seem to have a point. They lost me. Thank G-d, literally, he manged to sweep me up into the crowd going to St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Gainesville, when I was on a mission to go to Burger King. It was either my freshmen or sophomore year (as I was still living in the dorms) and by that time, not going to church. When I was living with my parents, I kinda went to church, but I remember there was a point when I stopped going altogether. College, didn't go at all, until that weekend when I got swept into St. Augustines.
I did RCIA but didn't take the plunge. I was also checking out Grace Episcopal in G'ville. And come to think it is amazing I stuck with the Episcopal church then because my first encounter was with huggy hippies at the Episcopal student center across the street from campus. Ewww, hippies. My desire was to get the F*ck away from them when I saw their idea of the peace. I'm older now, now, I'd be firmer with extending my hand. Grace was cool. Grace was downtown, away from the campus. I liked them and got something out of it. I alternated between Catholic and Episcopal during my undergrad and my grad programs.
During my second grad program I didn't get to church often. I tried St. Andrew's in College Park, but didn't care for it, and didn't find it worth dealing with the metrobus in PG County nor the hills of Hyattsville to keep going. I tried to make it to St. George's in Virginia Sq, where I had been going prior to grad school, but Sunday's on a fractured green line, was a no go. So I really didn't go to church much those two years. I wasn't thinking much about theological issues much either.
After grad school I moved closer to a metro rail line. St. Andrew's was still uninteresting and I think, I'm not sure, returned to St. Georges. I can't remember when I returned to St. Georges. It might have been when I moved into DC, when going from the green to the orange lines on a Sunday morning was less a pain in the ass. But still a pain.
Somewhere in there I met up with Roland who then pointed me to the Church of the Really, Really Blond People and the Church of the Gay Lawyer (which upon last visit seemed to be getting more hetro). Though longer than I'd like, I did enjoy the CotGL, but the CotRRBP was a straight shot from the house on bike, had the best coffee hour, a kick-ass adult forum and a cool soup kitchen.
My appearances at Baptist churches pretty much came down to weddings, funerals, and instances where I had no choice (see, relatives). There are things about the Baptist Church that I enjoy, but my interest in the Lord, falls asleep, like the rest of me would if it weren't for dumb mind games I play to stay awake during the sermon. Sadly I found myself doing the same at the Help's church.
At Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches I feel myself growing closer to G-d and I genuinely enjoy worship, even when the music is crap. At the black Baptist churches of my family, the music is good. If someone died, so is the food. The sermons are 'eh' and remind me why I left. At my grandmother's funeral (the mean one) I stayed interested in the sermon by picking out everything that was wrong. The pastor saying that she not saying one unkind word to anyone was the biggest lie. A kind lie, but a lie none the less. Note, she was the mean one.
And with the Baptist church I have all sorts of familial ties that make it a choice over any other protestant denomination outside of Anglicanism (and maybe the Lutheran church on a good day). My favorite uncle is the deacon of the baptist church where my grandfather served as deacon. My half-sister's husband is the pastor at some small baptist church in Florida. My father, just recently turning his life over to the Lord, serves on the men's choir and some church board at the baptist church where I was baptized. It is the same church that it seems many of our family has attended for decades (dare I say 100 years?). My mother serves on the usher board at another baptist church. Closer to here my aunts belong to a baptist church about 5 blocks from my home, and in helping one aunt with church activities, I've been dragged to that church and other baptist churches in DC ever since I was a teenager visiting. If it weren't for falling asleep and loosing interest, I might have remained a Baptist. If it weren't for the draw and the utter joy I feel in participating in the mass or the holy Eucharist in the RC and Anglican church I might have become an agnostic. But there is nothing (short of my struggling love of the Help) that would have drawn me to the Presbyterian Church.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ponder a future option

I do ponder future scenarios. Not that in the current time I have the possiblity of following through. It's sort of like Plan S, to the Plans A-D I'm currently operating on.
I've been looking on-line at houses in the College Park vicinity. Particularly houses under $185K with decent sized lots with lots of sunshine (not too many trees). Why? Oh, pondering how could we live if by some chance we got married (no he hasn't asked, and I'm trying not to pressure, trying) and how could we go from DINK to OINK to OIO/TK. He being the 'O'.
Yes, I make more and the problem is not so much money as it is security. If we sold the DC house, took the equity we could buy a PG house and not have a mortgage, eliminating one financial stressor. With a PGCo house I could expand my gardening (and possible deer hunting) and supplement the food bill. But the thing is just one income stream makes me nervous. I've got 3 currently. My job, the room I rent out and the Florida house. Of course the Florida house is not a profit maker. I'll be lucky to break even each year considering someone's inablity to pay rent.
But I'm not on that plan. I'm still single. I still have to save up for the basement for the DC house. Plan A continues.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Imagining the good life- home

First, I like where I live. But is it a dream home? Nope. There are some aspects of it that annoy me at times. Like a wet cellar. Ah, homeownership.
One scenario I imagine is an English townhome. I now forget the name of my British host (Paul?) but his home was lovely with a conservatory overlooking the 'garden' which is british for "back yard". The conservatory was a sort of living room with a pitched glass ceiling and 2 glass walls. Not exactly a sun room. Less patio type furniture. More greenhouse meets library. A place to read and fall asleep and nap.
The dining room is not so much a separate room but a place off the kitchen, but not in the living room where you have the table. On the table is a bowl full of citrus fruit and other things that don't attract fruit flies. Oh, yes, the real world works in my imagined good life, because if it didn't I would not be able to obtain it. It would be pointless to imagine a world where the real world was not a part of it.
When I think of the boundaries of my land at the dream house, I wonder about maintenance and the practicality of such a thing. So if I am creating this dream and I have the chance for say a brick wall around the house I should ask myself now, if I should have a brick wall. Could I maintain a brick wall? Would the installation price undermine other projects by removing funding? I see country houses surrounded by bare land and a sad looking brick outcropping and I don't want that.
Rather, if I say had my step-grandfather's 30 some odd acres, the house would be near the road, the property line, lined with fruit trees, then grazing land for the odd cow, some goats and a few sheep. Closer to the house fences to keep out the herbivores, lined with bushes and briars. Inside that, a courtyard garden, filled with veggies and friuts. Near the garden door, a shotgun, 'cause is it deer huntin' if you kill a 4 legged interloper munching on your salads?
But back inside. There is a decent kitchen, with a stove that can work even if the power goes out. There is a generator. There is a library. There are guest rooms and a root cellar. More of that later.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trying to imagine the good life

Quoting the lady Jewish farmer, I mentioned that the only way we can lead in helping the planet become 'greener' is to show that 'green' is the good life. So that is part of it. There are other bases that I integrate in when trying to imagine what the good life for me would look like. The reason to imagine the good life is so I have a vision to work towards.
Reading, that is part of the good life. I imagine sitting in a good comfy chair engrossed in a book. I have experienced that before. Sadly I have trouble replicating it. The book may be tiresome. The chair lacking proper back support. My arms get tired. I get distracted. But there was so great joy in getting lost in a book. I get lost in the web or on the Internet, but I am not left with the same feeling.
Good worship. There are some masses that kick assess. And they don't come along often. But then there are the ones with the hymns I love and take great joy in singing. There are homilies that stick with me long after I've returned home. Those great masses are rare and valued in my heart.
Naps. There is napping in the good life.
Gardening. There are fruits to be picked. Flowers to be dead headed in the good life.
Food. You know there is food. Good food in the good life, eaten with friends.
Walks and cycling, or hiking and biking. These are in the good life.
These things aren't all necessarily green. But they can be local and organic. I don't see reading has being terribly promoted by ad agencies as there are only so many books one can read and electronic games make you more money.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poor Ms. Kagan and the right to be an asexual cat lady

I know as a conservative I'm supposed to be against her but so far her biggest fault is liberals like her and until we hear she has personally drop kicked babies over cliffs, she'll more than likely be the next Supreme Court justice. But I feel badly for her, as a single woman.
Here's the problem, you get older, it's a bit harder to make new close friends. You get set in your ways. You find a life that's comfortable, like a pair of old stained sweatpants, but this doesn't include another person. And because you aren't actively seeking someone else, particularly someone of the opposite sex, and if this continues for several years, decades, people assume you're not straight. Gawd, why is that!
Can't a person just not be single and happy?
If it were not for that idea that I'll credit G-d for putting in my head to approach the Help on our current path, I was sort of planning on spinsterhood. An enjoyable spinsterhood. Unfortunately, my 8 year period between boyfriends and about 3 or 4 years without going on a date during that period, I felt somewhat obligated to prove my heterosexuality by interjecting mention of ex-boyfriends in conversation. Not that in that period I didn't want a boyfriend or date, but the environment and the available persons just weren't suitable. My pursuit of men really didn't go beyond prayer and updating dating web profiles.
But now I'm in a relationship with the Help, long time friend turned boyfriend, with an eye (no date yet and stop asking) towards marriage. But the irritation (anger is too strong a word) came concerning the speculation of Ms. Kagan's sexual orientation because she's an unmarried squat woman with a short haircut. It reminded me of a conversation with others, men & women, who were in their late 30s, 40s (maybe 50s) about the problem of people thinking you were gay just because your dating life was dead, you were never married and had no kids.
I look forward to the day when I do get married. Mainly so I can form better relationships with associates who are lesbians, because I've kept a distance because I don't want to bother with defending my orientation to other people.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

WARNING- There is language that migth offend you. Yes, you. Yes, YOU. The one reading this. So no lip about how offended you were.

I'm still conflicted over this but it is very informative and the Flex Your Rights people are very right when they say if you don't flex your rights you're apt to loose them.

Movie Levels

See it in the Theater worthy- These are things where someone needs to win an Academy Award for Sound or CGI effects. I will pay over $8 bucks for this.

Netflix Worthy- Everything I didn't have to see in a theater. Stuff with a plot.

TV Movie worthy- Not even worth renting, but it's on TV, I'm home and got the time to see it. Stupid inane chick flix fit the bill.

Netflix on demand worthy- Not worth waiting for in the mail and grainy quality is acceptable. I don't care about the directors comments nor do I want to bother with extra features.

Stuck on an airplane worthy- I'm trapped. It's 2-8 hours before we land. I can try to go to sleep or put on my headphones and watch Elf.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"It just happened" prevention insurance

I'm trying to plan a summer vacation with the Help. And I've narrowed it down to two places on two different weekends both in Western Virginia. Not West Virginia but 'Western'. These places I'm trying to rent for the weekend are privately owned cottages and cabins in rural VA, surrounded by farmland or woods, one in the shadow of the mountains. Part of the deal is we need a chaperon.
I know what you're thinking, he and I are two educated adults, why would we need a chaperon. You know that phrase, "it just happened." A couple of friends of ours, also educated adults, one an MD, said 'it just happened' when explaining how they are getting their 1st child. A doctor. You'd think this person would have a great understanding of how human reproduction works. You may also be thinking, you and he are such committed Christians. Yup. Even though some people in some one's church might not think of me as a Christian, yup, we love Jesus and G-d and occasionally the Holy Spirit (kinda forget the Spirit at times). However, I still sin, fall from grace, wander into temptation, do dumb stuff. So thinking logically, and learning from mistakes of others, we need a chaperon.
So I started contacting folks who'd I think would make lovely travel companions. Jon, being one. Problem with Jon, there is a 50% chance he'll flake. Something will come up right before we leave. I'd put money on it. I'd bet it would be a family-friend emergency in the Midwest or wanting to catch up with work. So I emailed my cousin to be an alternate, should he flake. 50%, and that's being generous.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Plan B or C or Z-11

At the Holocaust Museum I had two co-workers who were supervisory and semi-supervisory who played little games that can best be called, "worst case scenario". It fell under the relm of imagine the exhibit area is packed and some kid throws up, what do you do? And then they go about talking out how they'd approach the problem, pitfalls in that strategy, etc. It would stay in their area of responsiblity and possible likihood.
Everyso often I play the game in my own head. I shared one scenario with the Help. I thought what would happen if I lost my job. Well I'd seek work for 6 months. After 6 months I'd put the house on the market and move my butt back to Florida, where the cost of living is cheaper. Oh, and where I own a house. I'd move in with my sister and take over my youngest niece's room. Either she'd move out into the living room or move in her sister's room, which I already know would cause many problems. But hey, it builds character.
In Florida I would re-learn how to drive a backhoe help daddy in his business. Or I'd try to get my old cashier's job back at the Winn-Dixie. Then figure out how to restart my career and spend a lot of time applying for everything at the University of Florida or SFCC (the community college in Gainesville).
The Help, asked why would I go back to Florida? Why not? I mentioned I would have the support of my family. He pointed out that I support them. Yes, but they (with the exception of my sister) aren't that dependent on what I've funneled to them.
Going back to Florida has always been the plan when I thought I would not cut it. I really like DC and I have a few relatives here, and it is the best area for my particular field. But if I'm going to be poor and broke anywhere I'd rather be poor and broke in Florida.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Parents & money

The last time I talked to the Great & All Powerful Mummy she’d had a rough night at work at the nursing home. On the night shift there are fewer people on staff, so she had more people to deal with and those people had bowel movement issues of the really stinky kind. So she was musing about quitting her part-time job and getting something in retail or switching to another nursing home. I asked her when she was going to retire. She’s of the age to do so. She said she had too many bills.
Now I would love to help my mother but there are several problems. One problem being my mother, the other, my father. My mother is much better with money than daddy, who is very good at making it, but is most excellent in blowing it leaving a ditch of debt behind. Mommy will go along to get along and will walk into the kind of debt that traps poor people. And middle class people. For example, I’ll be damned to figure out her mortgage rate. Seriously. We know how much she owes, but looking at the statements I can’t figure out the rate to save my life. I got two graduate degrees. Yes, neither of them in anything mathematical, but I know the company and they’re evil. They gave my my 1st credit card. I dropped them when I noticed I was getting charged 25% interest. And her credit cards and store cards slowly build up on odd purchases for herself or the girls.
Now the plan is no longer to buy my parent’s house and set it on fire. I seriously have to fix my basement. And so I am saving up money for that and that is in a two year plan, the ‘rent’s house is in a 4 year plan. Daddy, is thinking that I will get them a new house, he’s wrong. I’ve looked at my own goals and there is no money for that…. Unless the Florida housing market is still sucking mightily in 4 years. Though I will not be buying my parent’s house and setting the damned thing on fire, I do plan on cancelling out my mother’s mortgage, which is her largest monthly expense. With that gone she could possibly retire fully. My fear is that she or daddy will find some very legitimate reason to remortgage the house at a crappy interest rate (consolidate credit cards, fix the house, etc) and put themselves in the same mess. It’s her bills that keep her working, and she keeps adding to them little by little. A few months back she was pondering buying someone’s car from church and taking over the payments. I gently tried to tell her she didn’t need payments and would be better off fixing her ugly old hoopdie or that car my sister left in her yard for 2 years. Really, mom does not need a car note on top of her house note and all those high interest credit cards she has. Even if the note was just $100 that would be $100 more dollars she’d have to earn, and she’s not making enough now without a car note.
I will try to honor my mother and father, provided they don’t sabotage the plan to help them

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Not going to throw fruit

Quick comment about the substitute priest. I don't want to throw fruit at his head. Actually this fellow was quite lively, he almost wandered in to Baptist preacher mode (style not length). I like him. Not like a past priestly sub who was gawdawful boring.
Other comments about today's mass. A song from the cantor, was tres 18th Century. I could easily imagine candle-lit rooms, white powered wigs and footmen standing in the dark corners. Another song was "On ward Christian Soldiers" but with changed lyrics, wussy lyrics about Christian fidelity. bletch.

Friday, April 30, 2010

And I will still like Chipotle

Last night I watched Food, Inc.
In the past two weeks I listened to Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. About a month or so before that I watched Fast Food Nation. So, one would wonder if I haven't become a vegetarian or something. Nope, if G-d didn't want us to eat animals he wouldn't have made them so damned tasty.
The only problem I have in my thinking of food is in my reading of Leviticus. I like my sheep still baahing, but there is something about not eating blood. I'm ignoring that since I also eat bacon. Of course Leviticus has a bunch of other rules that I'm just going to tip-toe over.
Anyway, back to the food disturbing books and films.... I plan to watch King Corn a little later. Seeing the factory farm set up did bug me, but really got my goat was the stripping of people's first amendment rights with laws forbidding 'disparagement' of the cattle industry or chicken farming by individuals. And Monsanto's harassment of farmers forcing them to buy their seed and suing those who reuse their own seed just seemed like some form of evil I can't put into words. Makes me want to avoid all American soy products.
But what of my own eating? I cook a lot of my own food. I tend not to eat a lot of beef. I'm more of a chicken & lamb person. For certain cuts I will seek out Virginia lamb. Otherwise, I'm actually comfortable with Aussie or NZ imported lamb. Besides bacon, I don't eat a lot of pork. I eat a lot of chicken and that's where I need to change. I have been buying more non-medicated-non-hormonal chicken. I a going to try to move that to more local chicken. My eggs are from Maryland, bought at the locally owned bodega. My milk (when I don't buy a carton at work) is also local and organic. My rice is from Asia or California. I've been buying Gulf shrimp, forgoing asian farmed shrimp.
But the problem is when I eat out. Most of y'all know my tastes can be high end. I don't worry about their sources. But when I go down market, like Chipotle, I'll stick with my veggie burrito to stay safe.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't kill them

My sister got some Meyer Lemon trees today, that I ordered from a nursery in Florida. The note I sent with the trees were "Don't Kill Them." Hopefully the Meyers will sit somewhere in the front yard, where there is sun. Hopefully. And in 2 years, I pray they have lemons. And send them to me.
Meyer lemons seem to be horribly expensive. I paid $6 per pound for them at Dean & Deluca. I spent a good two days searching for them all over the city before finding them in Georgetown. I like the Meyers. Not like the regular lemons. Unfortunately, internet options seem to involve $20-$40 in shipping. Money, I rather give to my sister. Oh, if the tree is fruitful, somebody could be paying a month's rent with citrus.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Personal Goal #3 met

I hit this goal before, but fell off the wagon when I bought the Florida house. The goal was to have 4 months of living expenses. I had it then used it to buy the house and then took out a signature loan to pay for the repairs on it. Well I paid off that loan in less than a year, 8 months. In the past oh, 4 months my emergency fund has been yo-yoing up and down.
The pop-in renter helped throw some money in the coffers, but when he does leave I'm not going to seek a replacement. I need a break and I want the house to myself for a few months. Then I guess if someone doesn't hint to the future, I'll take on another short term roommate. Maybe. I make enough to not need a roommate to make ends meet. However, I do like the extra coupla thou a year 6 months of house sharing brings.
So now my current goal is to save up for the basement and rear of the house. I have a two year goal for that. The goal is to not take out a HELOC or a 2nd mortgage. But the back wall is the expensive part. The rear has a lot of structural issues... so does the basement.
I'm not seeing how I can save the desired amount even though I saved what I saved and paid off $7K in 8 months. But on another level I know I can do it, provided the dentist doesn't find any more of my damned teeth he wants to cap. F-ing caps at $900 a pop. Don't even get started with the gold vs not-gold cap price diffs.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not something to be covered in a homily

Today and I gather tomorrow, the Catholic faithful in the diocese of Washington will go home with a three page letter from the Archbishop regarding the current scandal. I got such a letter. As I said its three pages, so I'm not going to repeat it. And the letter is pretty dense so, I'm not even going to try to summarize it. But I will say it is about child abuse and what the Church has done about it in the last ten years and some limitations.
Last week there seemed to be some odd expectation that the Pope was going to mention something about the sex scandal in the Easter Mass. Easter is all about Jesus. If half the world fell off the planet and Easter was the next Sunday, it might get a one sentence mention. Nor was such a thing mentioned at my own church for Easter vigil. Besides the homilies are very short, supposed to focus on the readings and the rest are pretty prescribed prayers. The RC mass is not like some other protestant church services where the pastor can go on and on and on about whatever topical subject happens to be his fancy. I couldn't tell you what today's homily was about because my mind wandered and by the time it wandered back the priest was done.
My own stance on this is not of any consequence. Right now my big negative of being Catholic is that the Help's church doesn't think I'm even Christian, which has caused some real problems for us. Also the RC Church doesn't have a monopoly on sexual misconduct, just a spotlight. When we all were Baptists my mother went to our pastor for help and guidance in dealing with her difficult marriage and he hit on her. We left that church for the one she attends to this day. The one where for a time the pastor was living in sin, after leaving his wife to shack up with another woman. Unlike the RC Church the congregation is supposed to boot the pastor, not some hierarchy, but sometimes, too many times they don't. But the Baptists are okay. The pastor that made overtures to my mom is retired and the adulterous pastor is supposed to be reconciling with his wife.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Gender equality and Christian t-shirts

I was bopping around on the web and wandered on to this website that had some pretty cool Christian themed tee-shirts with some awesome ska8er type graphics with words like "Forgiven" or "Risen" or some reference to Christ's sacrifice interwoven in the graphics, which covered the whole shirt or were off center. But that was just for guys. Their women's shirts were more bleech... girly on the topics of grace, purity, Chasity, and how great Christ is. Oh come on! Now it totally could have been because the market and the Invisible Hand directed the sellers and creators to make pink sweet n' innocent girly-girl shirts, which sucks if you aren't part of that market.

Monday, April 05, 2010

My Easter

Originally uploaded by In Shaw
My Easter I followd my own personal tradition of staying home. Of course, I did join the Help's landlords' family for their traditional gathering after church.
I did two Easter Vigils. My own church clocked in at 1 hour 44 minutes, St. Pauls' less than 3 hours.
The Lord is Risen!

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Easter Plan

I plan to attend 2 Easter vigils and continue my tradition of avoiding going to church on Easter and Christmas. Why? It's MY tradition. Yes, it didn't start with the best of intentions but I've been doing it so long it has gotten a life of its own. Easter Sunday I will be enjoying Our Lady of the Holy Comforter or St. Mattress. I may try out 1st Futon A.M.E.
Saturday, if last year is anything like the previous year, the vigil will be early and short. Father is very aware of the crime in the neighborhood and said if he had Easter Vigil at the regular time, nobody would show up. I felt badly for the folks whose car window was smashed (smash & grab?) on service..... Also last year, service came with a beggar hitting people up for money, twice. Yeah, this is happening in the daylight.
After that's over I intend to wander over to the Church of the Gay Lawyer for their most EXCELLENT Easter Vigil. I'll probably write them a check too and wind up on their friggin mailing list. I'll need to arrive as early as I can, so hopefully I can time it right. If the Catholic vigil goes longer or the metro system traps me then I'll head back home because the CotGL fills up quickly. One time I had to stand the entire time because I arrived too late.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My important books

Sadly most are cookbooks

1. Curries without worries- For my faves of chicken curry, lamb curries, califlower & pea curry, and other good curries. The book needs to be copied for preservation.

2. How to Cook Everything- M. Bittman. For when I need a general idea of how to cook it.

3. Bistro Cooking. I had this book in grad school (History- UMASS). Never used it. After grad school (Library Science- UMCP) I discovered the lamb & garlic. Love the lamb & garlic.

4. Invention of Tradition. Eric Hobsbaum? As much as I love tradition.....

5. Bible- Please note this list is not in order of importance. No one version.

6. Book of Common Prayer.

7. Four Loves. CS Lewis. I like to review how I'm loving people (or not). I actually like reading this book, and refer back to it often.

8. Old House Journal (the book not the mag)- Renovation book, I got an old house. You figure.

9. Modern Archives Reader. Just for one article/chapter about not grandfathering in old records b/c the damned things managed to sit on the shelf untouched before you got there. Curses be to the earlier staff who took in all sorts of crap just to fill up their shelves. Now we have no space.

10. Frugual Gourmet Cooks with Wine- From here comes the chicken marsala and my standby pasta salad. This book s literally falling apart. I need to find another copy.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm posting this a reminder. I am hoping to one day see this indie film again but I can't find any hide nor hair of this 1995 mockumentary that I saw once with my ex-bf Jochen at a DC Indie Film Fest. Everyso often I look for this film but forget the name. Dadetown, dadetown, Dadetown! Takes place in upstate New York, about a dying factory town and the new yuppie business that relocates there.

Oppressed Methodists

Who knew.
Well I guess studying early modern British history I was supposed to know, but didn't care. I'm listening to an audiobook that I have the darnest trouble wrestling my mind away from, which I need to do when work or home requires all my mental skills and I have to get off auto-pilot. This audiobook is of Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. Apparently Wilberforce's parents were very fearful of Methodist, which seems to have been too enthusiastic zeal for Jesus Christ and an annoying tendency to bring him into the world (seriously I have no idea what Methodists are about), tendencies. Through the biography of Wilberforce Methodism and Methodist tendencies tend to be this boogeyman that others worried about. It seems Methodists weren't too keen on theater.
The author seems to pit milquetoast Anglicanism against enthused Methodism, which this is my first of hearing of this. Now I know of limp Anglicanism, gad nothing new there and I am vaguely aware of Methodists in history. I have heard of the Wesley brothers, and I did take Religion in America in my undergrad days. However, I just figured them to be like any other Protestant group like Quakers or Baptists to have had the initial hardships then blended into the Christian landscape. Well maybe, depending on one's social class and ambitions. If you really wanted to get anywhere you must be CofE Anglican. And as far as I can tell and I am almost done with the book, Wilberforce, that servant of G-d, never left the Church of England, he just was a really enthusiastic happy moral faithful evangelistic Anglican.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lord Revive Us

I'm pretty down for reasons I don't like revealing. Since lunch I've had one song on continuous replay from 'In Sweetest Union Join', "Return Again," a scared harp/ shape note song.
The recording has these few lines:
Savior! visit thy plantation;
Grant us, Lord, a gracious rain!
All will come to desolation,
Unless thou return again:

Lord, revive us, Lord, revive us:
All our help must come from thee!

Keep no longer at a distance,
Shine upon us from on high!
Lest, for want of thine assistance,
Ev’ry plant should droop and die:

The rest, not included goes:
Surely once thy garden flourished:

Ev’ry part looked gay and green;
Then thy word our spirit nourished,
Happy seasons we have seen:

Lord, revive us, etc.

But a drought has since succeeded,
And a sad decline we see;
Lord, thy help is greatly needed,
Help can only come from thee:

Lord, revive us, etc.

Where are those we counted leaders,
Filled with zeal, and love, and truth?
Old professors, tall as cedars,
Bright examples of our youth!

Lord, revive us, etc.

Some in whom we once delighted,
We shall meet no more below:
Some, alas! we fear are blighted,
Scarce a single leaf they show:

Lord, revive us, etc.

Younger plants, the sight how pleasant!
Covered thick with blossoms stood;
But they cause us grief at present,
Frost has nipped them in the bud:

Lord, revive us, etc.

Dearest Savior, hasten hither,
Thou cans’t make them bloom again;
O, permit them not to wither,
Let not all our hopes be vain:

Lord, revive us, etc.

Let our mutual love be fervent,
Make us prevalent in prayer;
Let each one, esteemed thy servant,
Shun the world’s bewitching snares:

Lord, revive us, etc.

Break the tempter’s fatal pwoer,
Turn the stony heart to flesh;
And begin from this good hour
To revive thy work afresh:

Lord, revive us, Lord, revive us;
All our help must come from thee.

-John Newton

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Entrepreneurial Fantasy

I want to open up a small cafe called "The Reading Room" where people eat quietly. Where single diners can come and be okay. I will serve good hot breads and soups and salads. There will be tea and simple coffees (black, cafe au lait, esspresso). The walls would be lined with reference books (language dictionaries, writing manuals, classic works of literature and non-fiction that getquoted often), and there will be several wi-fi signals so people can eat & quitely surf. Once a week or month there would be a speaker invited to come and talk about some issue on the upper floor.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Another thing- race

Okay I made fun of the Help for clapping like a white guy, and I guess that's the one racial thing mentioned in the last post. But there was another observation about the Grace PCA church I want to mention, it was comfortably diverse.
Though the church was predominately white (and under drinking age) it was not all white. I've been in all white churches or mostly white churches where I am the only visible minority or I can count people of color on one hand. Grace was roughly 10% non-white, with a fair number of interracial couples. Two of the children who were baptized that night were bi-racial, half Asian and half white.
Wallace (the Help's church) is fairly racially diverse too... and age diverse. A bit more so, with blacks, South Asians, East Asians, and Latinos dotting the chairs throughout the sanctuary. Racially, I'm at ease there. Liturgically, not so much.
Speaking of, I guess I can now say that I find Presbyterian sermons too damned long. About 2/3rd of the way through I'm thinking, 'wrap it up.' I appreciate the tradition in Anglican, Lutheran, and Catholic churches to keep the homily under 20 minutes.

I feel so OLD

Yesterday the Help and I went to check out a PCA church closer to the house Grace Church over in Chinatown. Now Grace doesn't have it's own building and thus is housed in the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and has services at 5pm.

We arrived about 15-10 minutes before service to do that very American thing of "getting a good seat." I was venturing towards the left side when the Help suggested the balcony. So we went up and I noticed it was an old building with old building/ little money for 'historic maintenance problems. As the church was filling up we noticed something. The kids filling the pews looked about college aged. It was like we were attending some college lecture. I swear the average age of the congregation was about 25, only because there were a handful of senior citizens. If the old people stayed home, I'd say the average age was about 22. As part of that evening's service there was a baptism of one of the elder's kids. The elder couldn't be more than 35. The pastor was 45. At least there was someone older than us who wasn't retired.
Besides feeling like the cougar and the old guy in the club the church was quite nice.

Oh there was one odd thing. The greeting, or in some traditions, the peace. Now I'm accustomed to the shaking of hands and saying , "G-d's peace," and moving on to the next person. For about 2-3 minutes this church turns into a college meet and greet. I had shaken hands and turned to the people on the other side of me, when I noticed they were quite involved in introducing themselves and giving the "who am I " spiel. So I turned back to the set of people I had introduced myself to and they were carrying on a conversation about who they were and what brought them to DC, blah, blah, blah. I turned to the Help and remarked that, "this is different."

The music was good. Jazzy. There were a few traditional hymns and a few 20th/21st Century ones, with one "Jesus is my girlfriend" P&W song. The closing hymn "I'll fly away" was great and we clapped. It has been so long since I've clapped along in church, it was great. However, the Help started clapping. Unfortunately the Help claps like a white guy. I had to grab his hands and stop him. Later he confessed that he clasps like a white guy because he is a white guy. He also confessed that he wanted the balcony seat to see any balding heads.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

iTunes U

Unfortunately work is slow and plodding and very uninspiring. It's just that I have a few things sitting on my desk that I've put off and ignored and there is no ignoring them. They must be done until something more interesting comes down the pike.
Anyway while that's going, I have almighty MP3 player and a few new sources of interesting lectures that almost make me miss college. Almost.
So far I am loving Seattle Pacific University. They have a bunch of old chapel lectures and speakers, as well class lectures. I've enjoyed the chapel speakers covering sex and cities (not those two subject together) from a Christian (with evangelistic notes) perspective. I've shared some the SPU and other lectures (from Reformed Theological Seminary) with the Help and sparked some discussion with him on related topics. The RTS lecture was on C.S. Lewis and the lecturer mentioned how in his old age he is comfortable with visiting the thoughts of Roman Catholic writers, but is secure in his Reformed outlook. The SPU lectures on sexuality, helped strengthen our resolve and appreciation for dialing way back the physical aspects of our relationship.
Unfortunately since the EcoTalk and Cato podcasts have had some dull (it happens) episodes I've had to get my libertarian economic ya yas somewhere else. The Mises Institute does have a lecture series that I've finished an enjoyed by Ralph Raico on the history of liberty. Now if only the Acton Institute would put a lecture series together of some of their stuff I'd be happy.
Goodness I'm spoiled.
Anyway, I keep looking for a class out there somewhere that covers Western historiography. I need a refresher. I've struggled with Open Univerity's German. I'll actually need to print out the related material, because mein Duetsch has gone to pot, and just listening isn't going to cut it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Originally uploaded by In Shaw
I have been informed my Mom, who is my manager that the front bedroom that is Rosa's has been painted pink.

Now, I own the blasted thing and I'm the last to know. I guess I could search in the lease to see if there is any language about painting the walls. Even then, what can I do? Not like I'm going to kick her out for paint. Besides there is no return to the projects, the powers that be are supposed to tear it down sometime in the future.

I'm enjoying the fact that the girls are enjoying a backyard and are playing in it and making neighborhood friends. That's almost worth the money, I've put into it. I do love hearing about how everyone is enjoying the space and what landscaping work Tito is doing. I do look forward to seeing them and the house next month. I want to see the yard. I want to see if anyone has fixed that hole. I want to see if my sister and her husband have let the kitchen go to pot. I want to see the front yard. I want to see the girls' room, even if one of them is the color of Pepto.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's day recap

For those who actually want to know.
I had told Jon that I was keeping my expectations low, as the Help admitted he didn't have a romantic bone in his body. Also the day before and day of I kept bugging, without response, the Help about what I should wear, because if we were going somewhere nice I wanted to dress the part. Day of, I find he hadn't reserved a table anywhere and just figured we'd go somewhere. *sigh. Because of the snow and the angry parking fights, I encouraged him to metro it over to my place.
He arrived a little late, 20 minutes past his ETA, which made me worried. When he did arrive he had in a plastic bag a pink teddy bear and a valentine's heart box. I eyed that with suspicion/ contempt. I am not a pink stuffed animal kind of girl. I was never a stuffed animal kind of girl. The box was a Russell Stover chocolate box, an inferior candy that I will eat if it's free and in the office and I don't feel like going out of the building for something better, like a Reeses Cup. And the box was falling apart.
I opened the box, no chocolate. Instead, the paper cups were filled with shallots and bubble gum. The kind of cheap .99 gum I love. I am addicted to bubble gum, especially the kind that gets hard quick and is nothing but sugar. The bear was just a container for brown rice. Yay. He knows me! He loves me!
Since my roommate was in and about and I really didn't have anything prepared we hopped on the metro to go back out to Maryland. We went to Tiffin, an Indian restaurant out in Langley Park that I used to go to when I worked and lived in Maryland. It wasn't full and we later stopped by the nearby former House of Spices (now some Halal market) to grab some black cardamon.
A good Valentines' Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Google made me cry

The ad is here, and like radio you develop the characters in your head, and the few sounds, the French gal's "hello" (or "halo?") and the cry of a baby just triggered something.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The South

I'm from the South.
And please don't tell me that Florida isn't the South. Maybe South Florida, isn't but the rest of Florida is.
Anyway, a pleasant catch-up with an old friend was almost ruined by poo-pooing the South. The old friend had re-located down south and was talking about how different it was. But what began to irritate me in that narrative was the insinuation that the South had some monopoly on racism. It doesn't, it just was manifested differently and it is more blatent and in your face. Northern racism is more subtle, harder to pin down and is slimer than an eel in that it allows the Northern racist to claim innocence. Martin Luther King had the darnest problem with Chicago, and Detroit, L.A., and Boston (think bussing in the 70s) aren't necessarily racial utopias where equality flows. And just because the area where one grew up didn't have any black, or Native American, or brown Latinos around to bother discriminating against, does not make one better than the Southerner who is being judged.
I also felt the need to speak out against the other form of white superiority, where the brown, native or whatever person is given the signal that he or she or his or her people are too incompetent to do anything and must be saved, rescued, placed in permanent dependence by the White man. Energy by the hero white is spent to focus on the goodness of the white and the pitiful plight of the brown, rather than truely enpowering the brown enough to help his/her ownself. Pity rather than commpassion.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sermons and theologians

I believe Pat Robertson exists just to piss people off. I rarely listen to him, for about a zillion reasons. One being, his interpretation of the scriptures is way different from mine. Another, of the precious time on this planet I have, there are far more interesting and thoughtful ministers, pastors, theologians and religious writers than he, that I would rather spend time listening to and thinking about. The only time I encounter Robertson is when he has said, done, whatever to offend someone on the left. They drag him out as an example of Christianity, as if he were the American Pope of Protestants completely ignoring the diversity of American Christianity.
But anyway, in the past month or so, I've been listening to a new to me theologian and relistening to another theologian I quite enjoy. First is Ray Bakke a specialist on urban Christianity, who I find to be hard core on the idea of sacrifice, not of life (as in not dead) but lifestyle and comfort for the sake of bringing the Gospel to the inner city poor. The second is Os Guinness. I've very excited to find a new or old recording of his that I haven't heard before. He's got such a wonderful British (Irish) accent.
So throughout the day I will listen to a Lutheran sermon, a Catholic homily (maybe, depends on my mood), and an Eastern Orthodox writers' thoughts on Mary. It's mid-week so my listening options are fewer. Rest of the day is finance and only one of those guys mixes in a drop of Christianity. And almost none of them are fire and brimstoners. Sin, is not just something to make you feel bad but it something the separates us from the Father. We're all sinful and fall short of the glory. But good news, Jesus died for all mankind. That's the focus and not so much the sins of the secularists, or eternal damnation, or anything else we're accused obsessing about.

Pina Coladas and Presidental Speeches don't mix.

I made a drinking game of the State of the Union address. The drinking was to occur if he said the words, "let me be clear" or "fight" and when the Democrats gave a standing ovation. It was all the friggin standing oviations that did me in, and the fact he went past 10pm. I quit at about 10:10 as I had by then consumed a pina colada and a freshly squeezed greyhound. I have a two drink maximum.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pray for Haiti

At church they took up a collection for Catholic Relief Services. I put in $2, not much, because I didn't bring the checkbook and I'd like to take it off on the taxes. Haiti is mainly Catholic and so it is fitting in with my philosophy of giving, which is if you were in Haiti before the quake, I'd probably give you money.
I gave to the Salvation Army, since it was the sad report from a Salvation Army dude that was one of the early reports out of the country. I sent $25 to them. I'll probably give more next week to Catholic Relief Services.
People are taking money everywhere for the relief effort. The coffee shop down the street, my hairdresser, everyone. I'm going to try to stick with the people who were in Haiti before the disaster so that when the spotlight leaves, I know they will still be there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avatar is no District 9

I like aliens.
For the most part I thought Avatar was okay. I knew the storyline was crap, stealing from 'Dances with Wolves' meets 'Pocohantas' meets a viewfinder. Storyline-wise District 9 kicked butt. It was original, it had mystery and was unpredictable. Oh and it was deep. I loved the comparisons between the Nigerian witchdoctor and the white scientists, neither knew what the F they were doing to the hero.
Unlike Avatar, the white guy becoming the alient wasn't the saviour. He was help. Chris, the alien trying to collect enough fuel to get back to the ship and get the heck out of there was the real hero. The South Afrikkaner white guy is just in the way, gets heroic and makes a nuisance of himself. No alien princesses to fall in love with. No superior white guy who will lead the Indians, opps I mean aliens to freedom.
Is Avatar racist? Racist in the way well meaning white folks who prop up a welfare state that undermines the Black family is racist. It is a different sort of racism that supports a white superiority, where the brown people are too stupid or childlike or whatever, and need the well meaning white leader to save them, typically from other white people.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Left & Right together

I keep a Wendell Berry poem at my desk with one particular line highlighted, "Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts." As far as I know Mr. Berry is on the Left politically, and a Christian.
I have also been obsessed with a neighbor's father, Raymond Bakke, from whose biography and lectures I have consumed started off Lutheran and became a Baptist minister. He also comes across as slightly politically liberal, in the demands of government money for the poor. But a lot of what he says about the urban church I agree with, for my own conservative reasons, such as programs and missions by the church should primarily be supported by the home church and not some outside entity.
There are hints that I do appriecate the political diversity of the Roman Catholic Church, though it is not all sunshine and roses. I find that the office of the Pope and the heiracrchy helpful in that the Church is not too apt to sway with the secular or other short term trends. So our sisters and brothers on the left do share communion with us and let their grievances be known, with out endangering the body of the Church. Unlike say, Protestant branches that break off and split, some easily, some with great and long pain and suffering, along secular party lines. There is a liberal strain of Catholic thought, pro-union and anti-loan (with calls to forgive national debit of 3rd world nations), that I don't agree with, but I see how a very liberal interpretation of the gospels can lead you that way.
Listening to some left leaning Christians, I do look for the centrality of Christ, and when finding him there, I'm set at ease and willing to hear the rest. Unfortnately, I've heard too many for whom the secular politics are a greater saviour. It is Christ who binds us, and as long as he is central left and right may come together.

Monday, January 04, 2010

PCA vs everyone else

Once again my beloved is getting circular again in worrying about the fact that I'm now catholic and he's presbyrterian, specifically PCA. He really focuses in on the Roman Catholic part, however I think we'd still have the same problem if I were still Episcopalian. I'm trying to be all Alfred Newmanish about it, "What me worry?" and all, and let him do all the fretting. The 'why' of all the different demonimations also confuses and flusters him. I, say no big deal. Mainly because I refuse to drive myself crazy about it. Hey, my parents are Baptist and just as much loved by G-d. He's bothered by the differences in our faith practices and the differences between the PCA and the PCUSA. I think his mom is PCUSA.
Protestant demonimations can break off into various little bits. I figure that's the nature of em. We had a talk about the PCA and how strict- orthodox- [insert preferred adjective here] it is.
I couldn't help to think of this joke:
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."
"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.
"Well, there's so much to live for!"
"Like what?"
"Are you religious?"
He said: "Yes."
I said: "Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"
"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
"Baptist Church of God."
"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
"Reformed Baptist Church of God."
"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"
He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."
I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.

Cut the joke down a bit, and exchange Baptist Church of God for PCA and Baptist Church of the Lord for PCUSA, and have the PCUSA as the jumper and you can have a similar joke, in my eyes.
But my love's concerns are serious, and he needs answers. He has his fears and worries, which might not be so if he was raised actively in a church.