Thursday, July 29, 2010

lovin' the place you're in 5

kathrynzj hosts loving'the one you're with / lovin' the place you're in 5:

please name five things you like about where you are living now... and as your bonus - 1 thing you don't like.

1. year-round weather is great!!

2. 4 distinctly different climates within about a half-hour of each other: beach/ seacoast/ ocean; inland; desert; mountain...

sea bright new3. central business district, inner-city, working-class and affluent suburban within an easy concentric ring; small town and rural within about a 45-minute range; international border less than an hour away.

4. although my apartment complex weighs in on the side of Asian and Hispanic, there's also a fair African-American and Caucasian proportion, making for an excellently attractive ethnic and cultural mix.

5. lots of culinary and gastronomical diversity in locally owned, regional and national restaurants, fast-food, sit-down, high-end and "other" (whatever I mean by that).

bonus. during spring 2004 I observed, "I love being everywhere, feel everywhere is home for me, yet I always have a sense of longing not only for where I've just been but for every place I've ever lived. So I usually have a feeling of not belonging 'here' because of my intense longing for 'there!'"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

friday 5: decisions, decisions...

Songbird hosts this week's Friday 5:
Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them.
These are fun and I'm adding reasons for all five of my answers.

1) If it's really really decadent, rich, and amply frosted, I'll take cake, but pie (better yet, cobbler) chocked full of fresh-picked berries is a blue-ribbon winner, too (please see my response to 4). Either one needs to be crowned with a huge scoop of ice cream--I adore Safeway's Homestyle Vanilla! It has a slightly rough texture along with pronounced vanilla flavor and only that one variety comes in that particular packaging.

2) Airplane, for speed, convenience and getting there without feeling unslept and unbathed. Trains carry a heavy freight of glamour, and I love watching and hearing Amtrak's California Zephyr glide through town. The commuter trains seem somewhat cool...

3) I'd choose not a PC but a Mac for sure, because of its ultra-high reliability and the way it supports design software (not to mention its high-end, techie, semi-geek image). But I'm completely cross-platform, so ultimately it's about whatever gets results without too much chugging or too many serious crashes.

4) I'm a theologian, so I do ambiguity, equivocation, mystery and ambiguity very very well. In case someone happens upon this blog and wonders about the other word in this pair, I'm giving univocal its separate sentence.

5) I like the language of both 1 Peter and 2 Peter, though I'm equivocal about the theology of both books. But who wouldn't and who couldn't love the guy Rocky/Peter/Simon bar Jonah? Paul/Saul, for all time, especially the undisputed epistles though Paul's language gets more and more difficult as his years and ministry progress.

Thanks so much, Songbird!

Monday, July 19, 2010

RevGalBlogPals is 5 today!

Today, 19 July 2010, Rev Gal Blog Pals (Guys and Friends), the intentional community and blogring I belong to celebrates its Fifth Birthday, Anniversary and Blogoversary. I designed a birthday card to parallel the one I made for this blog's eighth year:

rev gal blog pals @ 5

Happy Happy Day to all of us!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

5 about pets

Jan hosts Pets or Not Friday 5

1. Yes, I grew up with pets and in fact had both cats and dogs before I was born. We always had at least one dog and three cats.

2. Currently I'm owned solely by one cat, the amazing and amazingly big bengal-style brown tabby boy AlleyMalibu, "AM."

Patches, Benjie Betsy3. I can't think of a funniest or worst thing my pets have done in terms of hilarity or destruction, but I hate the cat habit of hiding where they can't be found, and then after I've searched every possible place and concluded they must have escaped into the wild somehow, they nonchalantly appear from nowhere and ask "where is dinner?"

4. I wouldn't dare claim a favorite pet, though I've had more rapport and better soul-connections with some, but I will admit cats are my favorites, to the extent I'm definitely severely cataholic.

5. Given that as an adult I've had only cats, I don't train them but rather serve them.

My bonus pic is of Patches!, Benjamin/ Benjie and Betsy. Betsy and Patches! were littermates; all three are waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, July 09, 2010

forgetful 5

Songbird hosts today's forgetful Jones Friday 5

...original blog post was in blue for remembrance...

a) The last thing I forgot? I don't remember.

e) I track appointments and other options with an approx. 4" x 7" purse-sized paper calendar. For the past 10 years I've used the same kind (though they no longer make the slightly larger size I prefer that I think was 5" x 8") and I even save them at the end of the calendar year.

i) Yes, I typically keep a running grocery list and rarely shop without some kind of list... mainly recalling the time I needed 3 ingredients, including rice, and got home from the store with 3 ingredients minus rice.

o) When circumstances insist I improvise, I usually enjoy it but occasionally don't. The pastor I served with in Historical City (as opposed to City of History) told me I loved "the thrill of the chase," and he was right.

u) I hope I never forget the smells of sea air and scents of mountain flowers, the pungency of hot summer in the city, the olfactory sensations of vanilla, honeysuckle and gardenia. I hope to remember for all time the wows! of onions sizzling on the grill... I could list some taste phenomenons too, but will leave this 5 with smell.

Thanks, Songbird!

Friday, July 02, 2010

henry beston: the outermost house and more...

Twelve Coast Guard stations with halfway houses in between arrayed themselves along the 50-mile span of sand and ocean from Monomoy Point to Race Point, Provincetown.
To understand this great outer beach, to appreciate its atmosphere, its "feel," one must have a sense of it as the scene if wreck and elemental drama.
The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston on Amazon.

outermost house coverOn February 6-7, 1978, high tides from The Blizzard of '78 swept the Outermost House from Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Some Beston basics and some Outermost House background:

Henry Beston Society

The Outermost House from Henry Beston dot com.

You might want to look at How to write like Henry! ...although I am absolutely positive it will not lead to anyone writing like Henry Beston. Like William Faulkner, Beston is the kind of writer who makes ordinary others reluctant ever to type (or pen, as your case may be) another sentence, but we keep on keepin' on nonetheless.

In his introduction ©1988 Robert Finch explains some geography and geology of Cape Cod. Cape Cod stands a full thirty miles out in the North Atlantic; its eastern beaches front a 50 mile stretch of New England coast and frequently contend with a thousand-mile expanse of North Atlantic weather. Plentiful eponymous cod fish still are caught by mariners on "the outermost of outer shores."

Henry Beston reminds us in his forward to the 1949 edition:
Nature is a part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man. When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were, a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.
The Outermost House The Book includes the towns of Eastham, Nauset, Brewster, Orleans, Truro and Wellfleet... Provincetown, too. Beston calls birds and other wildlife "other people, other nations..." and scatters phrases like "these ocean peoples" – "these winter folk" – "people of the outermost waters" – "those sea peoples." I love his telling us, "The gull population of the Cape is really one people ... though separate gull congregations." [page 115]

beach fenceI also know Cape Cod, not as a native, either, but from visiting grandparents at their mid-Cape house and because I settled there for a couple of years at the end of the last century. I know about Eastham, Nauset, Brewster, Orleans, Truro and Wellfleet... Provincetown, too. Nor were my grandparents CC "natives." Grandmother was born in Dearborn ("Deer Burn") Michigan and grew up in Detroit; Chattanooga-born grandfather lived for a short time in Denver, Colorado but was raised Southern Presbyterian in Jackson, Mississippi. They had farmed in Nebraska and North Carolina, then found themselves in the greater Boston area. In time they bought an old, hand-hewn clapboard-sided mid-cape house for occasional weekend and summer use and later sort of retired there, but really not quite. Decades after Henry Beston built his 2-room dwelling and sojourned for a year on the beach, the earth drew them. I'd guess that by then the year-round population was at least 4 or 5 times larger, summer definitely more touristy, but the Cape Cod mystique enticed my grandparents as it had Henry.

beach pathAlong my own 3,000+ mile span from Mobile Bay, north to New England, to southern California and back, and forth, and back and forth again, I've known more than a dozen stations of life and ways of being with countless halfway houses in between. As an adult I've preferred boundless expanses of prairie, desert and Pacific Ocean, but as I write I'm learning how much I learned about loving the earth from my grandmother and from the Cape Cod land itself. Observing and participating in the agricultural cycle, identifying which birds were natives, which migrants and when they typically arrived, gave me a feel for our human place in the meteorological seasons and for the circles of birth, life and death. A few years on the land helped me grasp how following the liturgical year, with its apparent round-trips of waiting and watching, living, dying and rebirth, connects us to the entire people of God in every place and time and helps us connect to sun, sky, sea and soil. Years on the land helped me learn to trust death.

Walter Brueggemann insists much of life is sabbatarian, spent in the interstitial, liminal time between Good Friday afternoon and Easter Sunday dawn. During winter in a four-season climate like Cape Cod's, there is a simply being who we've become thus far that has a sense of Sabbath about it. We almost hang suspended in time waiting for gifts of birth, of spring, of new life to ready themselves.

In addition to time at my grandparents' place, I spent a week with a classmate's family on the beach at Truro, in a wood-frame house where you walked out the door straight onto the sand. At least two weekends I went camping with friends at Nickerson State Park. Everyone mid-cape knew the only real surfable waves were at Nauset Beach, yet I do not recall any of those remotely approaching double-overheads I've seen in Southern California. However, when I described Atlantic Ocean storminess to someone who'd only known Pacific Ocean calmness, she said "no wonder they call it Pacific—it's relatively placid almost all the time! Yes, despite double, occasionally triple-overheads.

Henry Beston's Cape Cod was small-scale in terms of square miles, of rocks and landscape reduced by eons of erosion, but the storms he describes were epic in size, style and consequence. Early on in The Outermost House he mentions the "human scale" of Cape Cod and its beaches, and that's exactly right. Having lived in the Intermountain West and gloried in the vastness and geological diversity of the state of Utah (as well as enjoying the closer-by seven canyons of Salt Lake City) and after loving the wide-open drive up California's Central Coast, I can appreciate the greater geological age of the Appalachian Mountain Range, the ancientness of kettle ponds formed by glaciers long-retreated, the antiquity of the shores, trees, rocks and shells of Cape Cod.

Likely you've read some of those "you know you're from" – "you might be from" lists. I'm not a native, not really from Cape Cod, but I still know some Cape Cod truths; for example:
  • I know where Truro is: a few paragraphs supra I told about the idyllic week I spent in that lower-cape town.
  • I know where the Cape Cod Tunnel is: there are bumper stickers and window decals but there is no CCT.
  • I know Plymouth and Wareham are not Cape Cod: and get too tired of people saying they're from The Cape when they're really from off-The Cape.
  • I know that there still is life on Cape from Labor Day to Memorial Day weekend: I've spent more than one winter there.
  • I wear flip flops until Thanksgiving then start again in February: that's what I do in southern Alta California and it's even what I did most of the time living and schooling in Boston. Officially Thanksgiving eve was my last sandals day and I wore street-length skirts until then, too, but I'll admit it got chilly.
  • I know you're not "IN" Cape Cod you're "ON" it: well, yes, of course—it's an island, or more properly, a peninsula.
  • No one asks what mall I'm going to because there’s only one: this one.
  • I know that just because people have a house here or have summered here since they were 4 does NOT make them true Cape Codders: I can claim days, weeks, months and years on Cape Cod, but I know I'll never ever really be a Cape Codder.
life stuff button

my Amazon review: an outermost house, cape cod and more...

I want to be part of a church that...5

"I want to be part of a church that 5..." for today's Friday 5, from Sally, who says in her intro:
This has been a good week for British Methodism, The Annual Conference has discussed and debated many things and not shied away from some difficult stuff. ... In the Vice-President's Address Eunice Attwood gave an inspiring account of the type of church she wants to be a part of, almost poetic she said:

I want to be part of a church that is prayer-filled -
A church that is resourced and sustained by the Bible,
A church that can offer hope even in a credit crunch,
A church that can live well with difference and diversity.

I want to be part of a church that welcomes the wealthy, those who have power and influence -
A church that knows how to party and celebrate life,
A church that acknowledges death and speaks boldly of resurrection,
A church that doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but encourages all the questions.

I want to be part of a church that throws parties for prostitutes -
A church that welcomes those who seek asylum,
A church that longs and yearns for justice,
A church that listens to those no-one else wants to listen to.

I want to be part of a church that believes in transformation not preservation -
A church where all who are lost can be found,
A church where people can discover friendship,
A church where every person takes responsibility in sharing the good news.

I want to be part of a church whose hope is placed securely and confidently in the transforming love of God -
A church that engages faith in its communities,
A church that makes and nurtures disciples of Jesus.

A church where the story of God’s love is at the centre.
I want to be part of a church that offers outrageous grace, reckless generosity, transforming love and engaging faith.
This is God’s story Transforming Love: Engaging Faith.

My prayer is that by the power of the Spirit of God at work amongst us, it will increasingly be our story.
Very beautiful and inspiring! In Pentecostal red, here's my quick list 5:

1. I want to be part of a church with the sacraments at the centre of its practice and proclamation.

2. I want to be part of a church that does not seek to be attractive to the world and similar to the world in its style but desires to live faithfully in the Gospel, at the same time living out its life and mission in incarnational ways people can relate to.

3. I want to be part of a church that celebrates the earth and teaches stewardship of all life, that lives constantly aware of our covenant with all creation.

4. I want to be part of a church that welcomes my full participation, as well as the involvement of all comers.

5. My final 5 is from Sally's list: I want to be part of a church that acknowledges death and speaks boldly of resurrection.