Thursday, May 28, 2009

On my needles


Here's what I'm knitting now. Two feet done of a table runner, about 15 inches wide in Fiesta La Boeheme Carribean colorway. This is a mohair and rayon boucle double strand dyed together. The stitch is from Harmony Guides: Knit and Purl called Wave.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How well do you know me?

Facebook has a lot of these questionnaires popping up now. We who are addicted to Facebook take a lot of quizzes and post the results. For instance, the classic movie star whom I am most like is Katharine Hepburn. Well, who wouldn't want to be like her? I can list my favorite movies (difficult since I don't watch movies much), my heroes, and I can compare these choices with other friends' choices. I can compete in games on Facebook.

Still, "How well do you know sharecropper?" seems a bit presumptuous to me...more than a bit egocentric. But, then, Facebook is egocentric in its concept. Why would I think that others might be interested in what I'm doing at any given moment. The cartoon showing Roland Hedley who uses Twitter to communicate everything is how I once felt about Facebook. And, I can't imagine using Twitter.

How well do my blogger friends know me? I'm tempted to insert a quiz right here, but, unless you have met me personally, you know only what I want you to know and what I let slip or what you can surmise.

You know that I live on a creek and enjoy my jet ski. You know that I have a partner. You know that I like fiber arts and work in a yarn shop. You know that I'm retired and have some deep psychological probings at times. You may know that I was an invalid for a few years and am now getting better. You know that I'm a liberal and more or less a Christian.

You may not know that I cherish each friend who posts a comment here. Or that I pray for people I know (in person, online, alive, dead, otherwise). Or that I thought I knew a lot about computers until I bought a computer magazine and discovered a whole different terminology than I had learned.

You may not know that I spend a lot of time in thought and have gotten very quiet over the years. I once had an opinion about everything; now I'm not so sure about anything. You may not know that I grieve deeply over deaths and resolve to keep those people alive in my heart.

You know, if you look at posting times, that I am awake in the middle of the night more often than I'd like to be and that I take long morning naps to compensate.

You may not know that, while I am very successful in what I do best - love people, I have never kept a job very long and have had such a variety of jobs that I often forget some of the things I've done. I think this just illustrates my insatiable curiosity about the world and how it/we work(s).

So no quizzes tonight - just sleepy-eyed reflections and revelations. And, yes, I am addicted to Facebook as much as I am to this blogging business.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Responsibility, Depression, Saying No

Now that we're 63.5 years old, we have developed a sense of responsibility that can get us into trouble. And, we lag along sometimes - tired, out of sorts, me eating everything in sight-partner eating little - refusing to do anything about our depression on the days when we recognize it and forgetting it on better days. Our backgrounds enhance our ability to nod instead of saying no, and we find ourselves over doing, which works along with the depression and the sense of responsibility to produce exhaustion.

So, the crux of the problem is exhaustion. So, I'm going back to bed as soon as I finish this. By the time she gets back from church, I'll feel better. I hope they sing some great music because that's partner's only hope of coming home feeling better.

thanks be to God that it is Sunday and we have little that must be done. We can recover gently from our overweening sense of responsibility (I worked 3 days this week and she's serving for the third time this month), our depression (maybe a jet ski ride late this afternoon) and our inability to say NO (even though we know it is a complete sentence). We have some visitors this afternoon but I trust they will not assume this is KOA and stay too long.

Rest, comfort, rest, and the next week will look better.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A minor disaster

Lost this box, not the pieces

I am a Coca-Cola collector, and I love my Coke jigsaw puzzles. I have a number of them, and many have been stored in the garage on shelves in boxes.

The shelves above contained unopened cleaning supplies including bottles of hand soap. They turned over and leaked out in the back of the shelves - open plastic shelving. One of my puzzle boxes was completely ruined, but the puzzle pieces were in gallon plastic bags; so they are okay. Two other puzzles lost their box bottoms, but the puzzle pieces seem okay. Another puzzle I just set aside.

I've been so good in the last few years about putting puzzle pieces in plastic bags inside the boxes; but somehow these older puzzles were before I began that practice. I am grateful that I still have the puzzle pieces and distressed that the boxes were damaged. I've looked online very briefly and none of the puzzles are listed. Don't know how long I've had them, but they are big Springbok puzzles.

Needless to say, the puzzles pieces are all in bags now, and the boxes are no longer stored on that particular set of shelves. The hand soap containers will be stored in plastic bags now. Bleah.

Oh yeah, I found a box of junk with the junk still intact and the box totally ruined and a box of old financial records that I didn't even bother to move right now. And, all I wanted was another bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. Thank God that didn't leak onto the boxes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Uncloseted Pastor

The blogsphere brings friends of many different kinds and natures. One of my friends has been The Closeted Pastor, and through her blog, her friends have loved and prayed and rejoiced and cried as she struggled with her authenticity and openness. This past week, she came out of the closet and told her congregation. The response has been positive mostly. Still, her denomination has rules and such that may make a huge difference in her life.

Changing one's attitude and belief system can be done only through experiential access to what one fears or rejects. Her congregation has experienced her faithful preaching and pastoring. They have become the loving Christ.

In the church here, we have begun an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Ministry. The rector suggested it a couple of years ago. This past year, the meetings moved from homes to the church center. Then we held a retreat to set goals, define our vision and decide that we had an identity. We chose the title LGBT Ministry. As communications person for the group, I wrote an article about how a new ministry had begun at this church. Briefly, the article was on the front page of the monthly newsletter (and still is on the print version). The rector pulled the article from the online version of the newsletter and reprimanded us stiffly for being militant and "in your face".

Today we buried one of our founding "members" and tomorrow the priest who supports us is moving to another church. We remain cohesive as a group, cordial to the rector, and growing plans for how this ministry might continue. Our diocese has adopted the song "All Are Welcome" and its message; obviously our individual church has not. The message we are getting is that we are welcome only as long as we do not make ourselves known authentically.

Yet, everyone that I've met has been loving and kind and accepting. Getting mixed messages is disconcerting. Okay, I admit that I haven't been in the church itself much. I've been at functions and a few services. I've felt welcome at the functions and out of place at the services. The church was founded during the reign of King George II, and the rector claims that some of those people are still around. Ugh.

Authenticity is important. I am authentically a practicing Christian who believes in universal salvation, inclusivity, and proclaiming the Good News. That's my relationship to organized religion. The Baptists didn't want me at age 16 because I danced. The Catholics didn't want me because I'd been divorced and remarried. Now, my once-welcoming Church wants to consider similar aspects of my life that bear no relationship to being a Christian.

What does my retirement, my savings account, my sexual orientation, my part-time work, my car, my friends, my love of computers have to do with worhsipping God? I don't think I'll ever make it from the church center and functions to the big building across the street and services...at least not as long as those founding members are still working their exclusivity with the rector.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Antebellum

How many existing antebellum homes did not get burned during the civil war? All of them.

Now, on to the point of this discourse. The word antebellum is inconsistent with history. While we Southerners have taken it to mean before the US Civil War (or that recent unpleasantness), the word just means "before war". As far as I can tell from reading all sorts of histories, the world has never seen a time without war. Before war would mean Eden to those who follow Father Abraham and the tales found in Genesis. Like the Fountain of Youth, the Garden of Eden is probably a pipe dream.

Likewise, the idea of antebellum. The South did not live in peace before the Civil War. Just ask the poor white people and the descendants of slaves. The big white houses and huge green yards of plantations did not mean peace. The owners of those were cut throat bargainers for slaves, for cattle, for land, for all those things that seem to make life idyllic for the owners wives and daughters. Fights broke out in Washington over who had the right to tell someone what to do or not to do...the federal government (which wasn't very strong), the state governments (which did whatever the wealthiest people wanted done), the plantation owners (because they controlled the land, the food, the money). Certainly not the individuals who did not own plantations.

Before the war! I'd just like to live after the war. Let the fighting cease now - everywhere. Of course, that would not solve the problems of enough resources for the people of the world, but lack of inter-tribal, inter-national fighting would make life easier for most people. Then we could work on seeing that all people have food, clothing, shelter and those things necessary for life.

My idea of what's necessary for life and others' ideas of what is necessary for life are necessarily different. I need food that I like, a house that gives me space, clothes that are becoming and fit, a doctor that I like and access to the medication to make life good and easier for me as I grow older...you know the routine. My goddaughter would probably settle for enough t shirts and stretch pants without holes, some meat for the pot and milk for the table, a house where the windows don't fall out, and doctors that actually considered her situation. Elsewhere in the world, some mothers would want only enough food for their children, shelter from the monsoons or dust storms, water, and a medicine man that could ward off evil.

After the war. How would we act after the war? Would we, the richest countries in the world, seek to help those who don't have even enough water? Would we insist that the families move from their native lands to places where water is more abundant or would we find ways to give them sufficient water where they live? Would we insist that they do things our way or would we help them work out ways to do and live within their mores and beliefs?

After the war? Would we begin to care for the earth? Would we be driven to make more and more money - to gain prestige?

After the war? What would we make of peace?

Oh yeah, that Southern symbol - the magnolia tree - opened its first blossoms here this past week. What a delicate peaceful flower that begins to turn brown and lose its glamour when it's picked.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Winter Clothes

My winter clothes have been stacked in somewhat neat piles on the floor of my bedroom for a month or so now. Since we are having company in June, I decided that packing them away was a good idea. Most of you know that I love clothes, and I tend to buy the same things year after year.

That year after year stuff has made me realize that I don't have the energy to maintain such a large wardrobe. Long sleeved mock turtlenecks look great on me, and my colors are black, white and red. I have some that are 10 years old, some that are five years old, some that are three years old and a few that are more recent. Some are too little (but I'm still hoping that the pounds will miraculously shed from my body), some are too short (after many years of shrinking) and some are pilled across the chest. Some are in great condition, but they are all in the same tub.

Why? Why don't I get rid of them. Well, that requires energy to figure out which ones should go away. Is that really too short? Do I have to try them all on? Why didn't I do this when I unpacked them?

I do understand why we find boxes of clothing in our parents' homes - boxes and closetfuls. They just don't have the energy to sort through them. At least that's my excuse for today. Next year, I will dump all those that don't fit, are too short, or are pilled. Next year.

For now, it's enough that get them off the floor of my bedroom - and the stacks of summer clothing that fall into the same category. Maybe I can get rid of some of them before I hang them or put them in drawers. I know that the executor of my will would appreciate that. Not that I plan on dying anytime soon, but I suspect I may have 30 year old mock turtlenecks by then. Sorry.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two deer

As I have mentioned before, we live near the edge of a large national forest, and a few weeks ago a bear looking for food prowled about the back yards of a neighborhood near us. A bear in our back yard would not be impossible, but unlikely because of the water and the chain link fences.

However, as I was up for my nightly break, I was drawn to the back to look at the full moon on the creek. My backyard was bright with lovely shadows from the hickory trees. A moving shadow crossed my vision. I blinked to clear my sleepy eyes, and immediately it returned - no, it doubled.

Two deer were patiently grazing in my back yard. They could easily have gotten into the yard on one side because the fence gate is open or have jumped the low fence, but the other side has a six foot chain link fence around it...not so easy.

When they finished grazing or heard me cough, they began moving back and forth along the water line and over to the tall fence. One deer returned, walked onto our low dock and jumped onto the sand or into the water - not sure how deep the water is tonight. I guess the other jumped from the edge of the fence because they did not return.

I do love to watch the wildlife eating at night - and I might even welcome a bear in my backyard - as long as my cats are in the house and the bear doesn't tear up my screened porch - a lot of deck to cross before the porch though. I remember many nights in other places of watching deer graze in my yard. My Daddy was the one to teach me much about wildlife.

Thanks, Daddy/Godde, for the delight tonight.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Deaths

Uncle Myrvis on far right, my Dad behind Papa back left.


My uncle, closest living blood relative, died last night at age 88. His funeral is Wednesday. His first cousin who has taken care of his money and lives near his assisted living place called me at lunch today. I suppose I could bag a quick flight from here to Memphis and rent a car and make it to the church in Mississippi by 10 am on Wednesday, but it's not happening. Cost would be exorbitant, heat would kill me. However, I resent not being given the choice of attending his funeral and burial. He will be buried next to my father in French Camp, Mississippi. I wasn't given much choice at his funeral either. My aunt made the choices and then told me.

Just one more time when that family hasn't considered me really a part of it. Just one more time of feeling like cow dung in their eyes. Just one more time .....

Yet, my loyalties lie elsewhere. My boss had several family deaths last night - you probably read about it on the news - man kills wife and two children then himself. He tried to kill the 13 year old son who escaped. Boss' nephew. She is flying out today, and rightly so, to comfort her sibling. The three of us who work at the yarn shop are holding down the "fort" until she can return. Please keep that family in your prayers.

I keep asking, "Why, God, are people so cruel to one another?" Still it happens, another castoff, another insane event, so much hurt and pain.

My uncle was a purple heart POW from WW2, shot down over Germany, lost his leg, didn't know anything about PTSD and sentenced (in effect) to a life of alcohol on a small farm in Mississippi. Most of his life he slept on a single bed in a room barely wide enough for him to stand beside the bed. No plumbing. Living with his parents. Not coping with anything. Then he went to work for the post office and delivered mail for many years on the rural route where we had lived. Finally, he became unable to care for himself and went to a Veteran's Home where he was seriously unhappy. Cousin had promised she would care for him if needed; so she took over his finances and moved him into an assisted living place a block from her home.

That was at least five years ago, and I'm know that she and her family cared for him faithfully. At the same time, cousin fought for custody of her grandson and won and raised a fine young man. I'm sure she wants this over quietly, quickly and in proper manner.

May God grant all of us peace, humility, comfort and grace. Amen.

A blogger award for me?


PENolan has given me the Bella Award along with the instructions that I give it to 15 other bloggers. Too early for me to contemplate that, but watch out! Today is another day, and after a bit more sleep, I'll think of you.

Much as I like awards, the roses, somehow, remind me of how I feel when Michael calls me "Sweet Sharecropper" - who me?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Looking Backward

Except in therapy and therapy homework, I don't usually spend a lot of time looking backward philosophically. Occasionally I wonder what I might have been like if a certain event had happened differently, and I add my memories to those of others when we're talking about what life was like back when.

However, I've just read two blogs where people talk about life changing events and one is sad, the other simply matter of fact.

I lost my first job as assistant editor of a trade magazine when they renamed the positions and didn't want a woman as editor. What if I had become editor, continued with the training I had, finished my degree in good time and stayed there for years? Certainly life would have been more stable, but I think of all the things I would have missed in my wandering, multi-careered, - well, hither, thither and yon - existence.

I would never had clung to a sign pole saying "Welcome to Arizona" with the wind almost flinging me sideways down a gully. I would never have met and enjoyed my first African American friendship as I finished me degree 18 years after I began. I would never have seen the lush fields of cotton (that I thought existed only in Mississippi) near Fresno, California; nor would I have driven through Needles, California/Nevada, at midnight without air conditioning and the temperature at 101. I would not have known the heartbreak of being betrayed by a woman lover when I was so far from home and support.

Who knows, I might never had have a woman lover, and certainly I would not have had the pleasure of living with the wonderful woman with whom I will celebrate 10 years of covenanted joys and sorrows this year.

I might never have considered seminary and certainly not so far away as Yale. Would I have gone mountain climbing in a semi truck - 10 wheels grabbing the dirt and pulling us up narrow little tracks meant for much smaller vehicles?

I would never have had the joy of working with the Hispanic community in goal-setting for their own organization - when I don't even speak much Spanish. Here we are on break during a day-long session - outside doing stretching exercises. What fun!

I've never been to a reunion where others had successful single or double careers and families and lives that appear nothing like mine. Would I have felt shame at my wandering? Possibly. But one thing I know: I am a success for I have loved deeply and shallowly and sideways and in retrospect, but I have loved most of the people who came across my wandering way. Isn't that what God calls each of us to do?