Friday, July 31, 2009

Peanut Carnival

This has been a busy computer morning, unfortunately. My older girls went to their dad's last night and leave for a week's vacation with him tomorrow. I already miss them terribly. Plus, I'll be at Empowered Girls Alliance mentoring next weekend, so won't see my 10 year old until next Sunday night. Yuck.

I went through a huge spreadsheet the other night to put together my food co-op order, and it disappeared. I don't know why I keep losing files. I just redid it, which took quite some time. I've also been putting some movies on DVD for the little kids, and that is time consuming.

The church just called to ask me if I could be the lay-leader for the service on Sunday and help the visiting minister. :::gulp::: I have nothing prepared and haven't gotten the OOS yet. Hopefully within the hour. If the person I'm subbing for has words prepared, great. If not, I'm going to have to squeeze a couple of hours out of tomorrow to write and memorize something for Sunday morning. Another wonderful opportunity to be part of our service, but stressful at the last minute.

A couple of weeks ago, our 4H group had their first carnival to raise money to purchase a goat (I think similar to Heifer International?). The whole time I was thinking about my favorite carnival when I was a kid - and I see that they're still doing it! I just loved this - it was cheap and fun! Maybe I can talk our 4H group into doing something similar next year.

Wish me luck for Sunday. Last week went really well; I got some positive feedback and helped reduce our intern's stress level. This week I'll be on the fly.

And good thoughts to my friend, who had to cancel her role as lay leader due to a family illness. My thoughts are with you and your dad, SD!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Picky Chicks

Mama Leghorn and her 6 chicks. One of the brown Rhode Island Red mixes died on Sunday. It ws malformed and we nursed it along, but it didn't make it :(. The speckled chick is a Speckled Sussex and came from another hatching but was a runt (it's not a runt now!!)

My three Americaunas

The nesting boxes

Mama Leghorn (Elvis, the kids call her) and chicks. 2 Leghorns, 2 leghorn/partridge rock,2 rhode island red/leghorn, and the speckled sussex.

One of the leghorn/partridge rock mixes

We got our chickens last Wednesday, and although we lost one chick, we have one healthy mama and 6 week-old chicks, plus three Americaunas that are about 9 weeks old now. The older ones are outside in the chicken tractor, but the babies and mama are in a brooder in the house. They're getting restless already, but they're not supposed to go outside for another month? I'm not sure they will last that long ;). I figure as long as they're big enough not to escape from the coop and get eaten by the cats, and it's warm, there's a nesting box to hang in if they need to be warmer.

The mama and chicks will eat anything - they go crazy over fruits and veggies, fries, rice, whatever scraps I throw in there. My Americaunas will not touch ANYTHING but their mash! I don't get it! I guess maybe they're eating bugs and grass and stuff too (we have't let them free range yet; probably won't until they've been in the coop for another week and know it's home), but I think it's weird that they're so picky.

The chicks are a lot of work; keeping them in fresh water and food; keeping the brooder clean (because man, they STINK), and keeping them from escaping! They're starting to fly to the top of the brooder and mama is getting tired of being cooped (hahah) up, but also can't stand to be away from her babies.

The kids love 'em though and after we sort out the roosters and they are about 6 months old, we should have lots of eggs!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mom gets probation for sending kids to Greece schools | | Democrat and Chronicle

Mom gets probation for sending kids to Greece schools | | Democrat and Chronicle

What really annoys me about this article are some of the ignorant comments.

"Here's a thought then for all future moms who want a better education for their kids: move to a better area with better schools."

Ever hear of classism? Racism? Poverty? Duh.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I suddenly find myself looking at and creating opening words and meditation for Sunday service. How fun!

Honestly, creating services is such a joy; I am so thrilled to have this unexpected opportunity to participate this week!

Tending my garden

In the literal and figurative sense. This is the first time I have ever had a veggie garden, and it's huge, but not big enough. I love weeding it, harvesting it, planting in it, finding toads and snakes in it, chasing away the bunnies.

I am childishly pleased at the ears of corn forming on the stalks, the green tomatoes ripening, the tiny little cucumbers and yellow squash appearing under the large leaves.

I'm going to have a little garden of chickens this week finally. The tractor is done, the feed is purchased, the feeders are being scrubbed today.

I'm tending the garden of my family too. Preparing for a new school year for the oldest three . Making behavior charts for my little heathen/raised by wolves young son and daughter who are willful and uncooperative much of the time, driving me to constant distraction and making it impossible to get much done. Showing my daughter how to shave her legs for the first time. Making doctor appointment to deal with dental health, reproductive health, neurological health, skin health, and mental and spiritual health. Families require a lot of planning and organization, just like a vegetable garden.

I'm tending the garden of my ministerial formation. Preparing for some small group ministry and leadership this fall, trying to find money to take an extra class, meeting with a local group of seminarians/ministers/seekers, praying, meditating, and becoming.

I'm waiting on news about potential work for fall, and meantime scrimping and saving and savoring summer and visits and visitors and some lazy time with my kids.

Tending the garden of my life is a joyful thing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Morning Meditation

I am summer
heated and passionate
sweltering, lush
reaching for that burning orb of sun

He is winter
warm and welcoming
like a crackling fire
against my cold toes

I am rushing like a swollen
spring stream
leaping with fish (ideas)
jumping over boulders and

He is slow and steady
lumbering on snow shoes
carefully over uncharted white
prepared and ready for the unexpected

summer that I bring
with my heat, my passion
bursting at the seams with
wild ideas, howling at the moon

that sets, round and cold
above a winter night
filled with warm blankets and quiet
murmuring, creating a climate

just right between us.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Explosions at 2 Hotels in Indonesia Kill at Least 6 -

Explosions at 2 Hotels in Indonesia Kill at Least 6 -

Please send good thoughts and prayers. My sister's husband is there for business and is being moved by security. Love and light to all the families who lost loved ones and to those injured.

Posted using ShareThis


I've had a lot of "chore" type of stuff to do lately: flight and hotel reservations, other travel plans, paperwork for school and UUA track stuff, insurance issues and finding old records, dealing with the nursing home where my dad is.

Things are gearing up for school; it's really happening, but sometimes the excitement gets lost in all the paper.

But last night, I got to sit in a room with 7 other people on this journey. Seminarians, ministers, seekers all. There are some things about ministerial formation and vocation that are unique. Things that it is impossible to explain to friends and family; things that your congregational minister can no longer relate to, or shouldn't, since they're your minister and not your colleague just yet.

So my minsters encouraged me to set up a meeting with this vibrant group that is all right here, right now, and it was everything I hoped it would be.

It was so fabulous to talk with people about school, boundaries, cursing, parenting, experience, age, paths, God, prayer, being called, rituals, balance (or lack thereof!). I left the meeting uplifted and filled with overwhelming gratitude and joy.

I have a lot of challenges in my day to day life, and a lot of gifts, but being called to ministry has been such a transformational process, with lots more to come throughout the course of my life. I am thrilled to have a group of people to share that with in real time, especially since I am a distance learner; I am missing that total immersion experience in school.

When I first started meeting with my spiritual advisor, integration was my biggest hurdle; that has happened naturally over the last year. Sometimes all the hats that I wear; all the pieces of the puzzle that is my life seem to be enmeshed in unhealthy ways that are hard to parse out and create boundaries around, but at other times, things integrate in the most fabulous of ways. This has been one of those weeks.

I plan to enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interesting Day

This week has already been interesting and we just returned from PA!

1. I went to the doctor yesterday for a follow up on a lump on my hand/wrist. He is of the opinion that it's a bone spur with tendon swelling and gave me a steroid shot. Liquid fire, it is. Fun stuff. Feeling better tomorrow, but is more swollen than it was. Hopefully I'm in the 50% of people that it fixes and I won't require surgery. Because my other wrist does have a ganglion cyst that has had me suffering for 3 years and surgery is the way to go. Snap.

2. We have marvelous company this week. My friend is finishing her graduate work in Syracuse and is visiting with her 8 year old daughter. She's meshing quite well with all the hustle and bustle of driving, cleaning, laundry, activities, meals and noise around here. Everyone got shuffled off to bed a bit early due to crankiness though; mostly the littles. I'm pretty tired myself. Migraine, steroids, period all have conspired to tire me out along with with the 6 loads of laundry I've done in the last 36 hours.

3. I had an internship (community partnership or whatever it's called now) interview today at Center for Youth.

I think I'm going to work 4 hours a week in the emergency shelter, and 4 hours either doing outreach in their mobile unit (which my hubby is not thrilled about) or counseling as part of their high school outreach along with tutoring. This will give me an opportunity to work with at-risk urban and suburban kids, and also I'm hoping to get a paid part-time gig out of it, since I have prior experience.

It was a really positive experience!

I also had a metric ton of paperwork to do today for school and I made my flight reservations for January so I can go to convocation and two intensives. I have never been away from my family for so long; I'm very anxious about being away for 15 days. Plus the volunteer forms (who remembers all their past addresses from the last 28 years for background checks?), and stuff for Empowered Girls Alliance, who I'm going to mentor for this year. I never got out to the garden at all to weed, and couldn't mow, with my wrist hurting

4. The police stopped by today! Soren (10) and my friend's daughter (8) walked down to the store to buy cookies for a lemonade sale (I couldn't deal with them making cookies today), and someone reported that they saw a 2 and 4 yo on the railroad tracks to the police!! He was very nice and peered at them, said they WERE very small. He recommended that my 13 yo walk with the 10 yo, which kind of seems weird, since it's a tiny town and seems very safe, but I"ll take his word for it.

Off to bed!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

perfect day

I got to spend the day with my sister, who I have not seen in 4.5 years. I shopped till I dropped and got birthday presents in advance for my awesome older daughters. I got rained on, and the sun came out. I went to dinner with my fabulous friends and kids - 13 of us talked, played, jumped in puddles, ate, and hugged for 3 glorious hours. Then I went to see Girlyman and forgot my camera but loved every second, even though it rained again!

Now it's late, everyone's asleep, I"m having a delicious Bell's Porter, courtesy of my host, and I am happy and tired :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living our values

ETA: Comments are now open.

I am frustrated. I have been on an email list for about 13 years, that's for parents who chose to stay home and parent with intention and connection with their children and families. Now that some of our children are into their teens, we are talking about re-entering the work force. (Caveat: even though many of us were stay at home moms, just as many of us have worked part- or full-time over the years, trying to balance work and family).

This conversation coincides with a visit with my mom and sister. And I'm frustrated about money and values and they are warring frustrations.

This is not a new argument. There is a faction of the email list who says you can't have it all - you can't work, or have a career and be a present and connected parent. But it seems to me that what they mean by "career" is lots of money. To me, it is all about choice. I have been parenting and working part time - with my kids at work with me, or from home, or while my spouse/partner was home with them - since the beginning of this parenting journey. So for me, it's a choice about what kind of work meshes with my values around family and parenting. These were intentional work choices that I made in order to prioritize parenting AND my career (which admittedly, was not a high-end corporate whatever, but was a stressful, busy, human services career).

This has meant that we are poor. As in, below the poverty level for a family of 6 (probably even for a family of 3 or 4). As in, never making the bills on time, never able to buy new stuff for myself, not able to replace the lawnmower, or put new tires on my car, and having a lot of credit card debt. I can't even use our credit cards anymore because they are maxed out and we're trying to pay the off. I don't have family support financially, and never have.

And these conversations on my email list, and the fact that my mother just put about 30 pairs of almost or brand new shoes in a bag for Goodwill is painful for me watch. One, because of course I would like to just be able to buy something w/o having to think about it, but two, because people just take that ability for granted. My sister was hanging my mom's very nice shirts and they were talking about how to care for their high-end clothes and how to hang them...and I'm thinking. Wow. I don't even own anything like that. All my shirts get folded (barely) and stuffed in a drawer. I have a few suits from my short time in corporate, but that's it. Our daily lives are worlds apart.

Choosing to be a full time (or mostly full time) parent is something that is not respected or recognized in our culture. Women (and men) who take themselves out of certain parts of the work force to parent for years, have a very difficult time re-entering their fields if they leave for several years. It is viewed as suspect. That time off is not valued for what it was - taking responsibility for children brought into this world - not turning them over to others to raise.

They say you can't have it all - and I guess that's true, depending on your definition of "all." I don't have any money, but I do have some work, and lots of family, and a strong marriage and wonderful friendships, and am fulfilled and doing work that meshes with my values. When I worked in corporate, it sucked out my soul, even though we had more money.

I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud about values and culture and the wild disconnect between how we are told we must live our lives to be "successful" and how often that living does not reflect the values that we actually hold. And how I can't buy my kids new shoes this week because I value raising them more than working full time in a job that I tolerate, just to be considered "successful."

I'm not trying to be judgmental - I just really don't get it. Sure, some people are fulfilled by jobs that I wouldn't do for all the tea in China, but at what cost to our culture and our families and our values? If we keep buying into this model of economics that doesn't honor families and parenting and values, it's just going to perpetuate itself. But things don't seem to have gotten more tolerant or flexible in the last 10 years - less so, since the bust in 2001. Telecommuting jobs are few and far between and part time jobs the same.

I'm frustrated. And this post will certainly piss off any number of people, and that's OK as it's a difficult, cultural, classist, racial issue.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


and formation are both ::::SQUEEE!!!::: and ::aw, shit:::: all at the same time.

I feel like every time I start to make a judgment, or have an unkind thought, or start to add another task to my plate, or parenting, or really anything...I start again. And again, and again, until I feel at least almost right with it. It's exhilarating, and exhausting.

There are things you can't reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in the goldfinches sing from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing aroun, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree --
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish;the unlooing snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

-Mary Oliver

The goldfinches rise up from my mulberry trees when I go to the fairy circle in yard, swirling in a bright splash of yellow and away. That is God.

The circle of life

I just joined my husband for a walk around the edge of our property to pick blackberries around the field perimeter, and we heard something. I thought it might be a frog peeping and walked over to investigate.

No, it was a weasel with a mouse. Very persistent. I was almost on top of it when it leaped into the air, dropped the squeaking mouse and fled with a bound. The poor mousie was not in good shape; I feel badly for both the suffering mouse and the weasel's lost meal.

Disturbing, but life is clear and simple in predation I guess.

Seeking Divinity

I miss church. We haven't been there since the end of the RE year in May, what with travel, childcare issues (the littles won't stay in childcare that is unstructured - little elitists), etc.

And it has rained, and rained, and rained. But I realized this morning that every morning the sun has been up, and that i have had wonderful meditation walks, and that I have developed a rapport with the deeper nature of my land, and my neighborhood. I know that the turkeys have 8 babies and that they look a lot like goslings. I know that we have several enormous woodchucks and Jakob knows where all their lodgings are (one being under our studio). I know that there is a buck that likes mushrooms and that he visits our yard in the small hours of the morning.

I hear the birds various songs, and see the pairs of mates; I know the small rodents and snakes that live in my yard (those that survive the cat, and those that don't). The cats don't like snakes. I know my first vegetable garden, with its odd assortment of non-vegetable perrenials, such as raspberries, lilac, roses, and poison ivy.

I know that hummingbird loves our honeysuckle and that I need to buy more suet for the woodpecker who hangs around me while I hang out laundry. I know that the family of the woman across the street, who passed away this winter, comes every week en masse and lovingly mows and weeds and plants the yard and maintains the house.

Church is important. But living every day in religiosity and in touch with my interdependent web is a much larger church.

Religion: Chernus says, “For these scholars, religion is primarily the overall framework a group uses to understand its world and guide its life. This overall framework shapes every moment of the group's experience. It is not something extraordinary; it does not transcend everyday life. Rather it is the constant foundation of everyday life.”

Saturday, July 4, 2009

home again, home again

My girls are back from camp. Well, they were for about an hour and then they had to go to their dad's. But they had a fabulous time and both took pictures, which I can't wait to see!

Today, I totally cleaned my 10 yo's room and rearranged it. It was not as bad as I thought, just insanely cluttered. I hope that the rearranging that I did (and reduction of STUFF) will help her keep it clean (Hahaha).

I'm off to PA for the Arts Fest and a visit with my mom and sister in a few days. My mother is already trying to pit my sister and I against each other and I haven't even left yet.

Off to do several more loads of laundry since it's finally sunny out and it's supposed to rain again tomorr


Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin to Resign as Governor of Alaska - The Caucus Blog -

Palin to Resign as Governor of Alaska - The Caucus Blog -

Um, OK:

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Thursday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, allowing her to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

“We know we can effect positive change outside of government,” she said in making the announcement.

So is running for the nomination for president outside of government? She's almost as much fun as Dubya.

Posted using ShareThis

MySpace now a “digital ghetto”

MySpace now a “digital ghetto”

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, July 2, 2009


OK, I have been following this and in a Google search, have not found any top articles that even get a quote from a representative of the tribe.

I know there are long-standing political issues with sovreignity but for the love of pete, can't one of the newspapers present both sides of the issue?

Ready for Boston and other trivia

I was able to schedule my career assessment for mid-August, and late last night, I finished the last of many assessments and questionnaires. I don't think there was much surprising that I found out about myself, but it will be interesting to go through the two-day process and see what feedback I get. I think my mother in law will let me borrow her car to drive there, so I don't have to rent a car. I already have to come up with $700 to pay the balance on this assessment, and it will save me at least a little to borrow her car. Also, my friend Carrie has generously offered to host me for two nights. It means a 30 minute commute, but big deal! As long a I don't get lost ;).

Two weeks later I leave for Chicago for 3 days for orientation.

There was a lot of preparation; I am glad it's done!

I have been trying to watch more videos from GA, but they all lock up after the first 20 seconds. I guess I'll try IE since Firefox doesn't seem to be working properly with the UUA's media.

And really, will this rain never end? It has rained every day for I don't know how long. The garden is happy but full of weeds; the yard is growing (much to my dismay for lack of a lawnmower), and there are 4 trillion mosquitoes. I hope it's not so wet in the Adirondacks where my oldest daughter's are. It's also annoying to have laundry hanging all over the house; it doesn't dry well without the woodstove on and it rains too frequently to hang it out. I have used my dryer more in the last 2 weeks than I did all winter. That said, at least it's warm out, although apparently the coolest summer on record in a long time.

Two more days until I can get my girls. Then next week we're off to PA for the Arts Festival and visit with family. My sister is flying in from Chicago; I haven't seen her since Feb. 2004, and we are going to work on cleaning our mom's home out a bit. She and my mom haven't really spoken for several years until recently, so it should be interesting. She is bringing her daughter, which thrills my oldest - she never sees her cousins.

Today I'm taking the littles to to Strong Museum of Play. We need to burn off some energy after being cooped up in the house some (not that the rain really stops them from playing outside!)

U.S. Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny -

U.S. Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny -

Posted using ShareThis