Monday, May 29, 2006


I've been plugging right along on my Matthew paper, and was feeling encouraged that this was really going to happen in the time remaining before the due date without too much blood and tears. But now I'm stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. I'm about a quarter of the way down page 12 of what I think will be 17 pages, and I'm stuck. I've got an outline that tells me what I'm supposed to talk about, but suddenly none of it makes sense to me anymore. I have nothing to say. Where did all my thoughts go??? When I left at 5:30, I was totally into the paper. Now, nothing. Grr.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

This won't be news to anyone who reads the paper or watches TV news, or who lives up this way, but it's HOT. 92 degrees Fahrenheit (at 7:30 pm!) is not exactly paper-writing weather. It's not exactly what I think of as May weather, either. Have I mentioned that I'm really excited to be living in air-conditioning this summer? I've still got my windows shut in the common room, because I'm pretty sure it's actually still hotter outside than in here, but it's not what I'd call comfortable either. I think this is a good time to run down to the library and find that footnote I'm missing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Status messages

Middler student: "five more days of torture"

Senior student: "1 blessed week until graduation!"

Ah, perspective....

Except not really...

Ok, I really am about to go finish a paper, but I was just looking at Commencement pictures on Smith's website (trying originally to find a picture of Davis Center to link to), and I had to share. There is a picture of the '81 alums in the Ivy Day parade that shows one holding a sign on which is printed "'81: When the greatest risk of sex was pregnancy."

Um. Wow. Ok. I know this is a women's college, and there are fewer occurrences of STDs on women's college campuses than on coed campuses, partly because lesbian sex tends to be a little safer as far as diseases go - but is she serious? Just because you thought the greatest risk was pregnancy doesn't mean it was true, woman - STDs have been around for years and years and years - and especially now that we know way more about sex, disease, and the early 80s than anyone did then, why on earth would you make such a claim?

I think I'm glad the picture doesn't show the face of the woman holding that sign. Ugh.

Long time passing...

I've been away a few days, and I'll probably be away a few more. It's that time of the term, and finishing off the Awards Night service last night really only means it's time to buckle down hard* and finish off the last couple of papers (which unfortunately are more sizeable than most papers here). I've just scheduled out every hour between now and Wednesday morning, and blogging doesn't make an appearance.**

*What Seabury needs is Davis Center. That is, not really, because I'm probably much healthier for not having easy access to Davis french fries and Seattle's Best Coffee, but in an ideal world. (And yes, I know that Smith no longer has Davis either, which is a travesty, and that NU's Norris Center is not that far away, but Norris doesn't have quite the charm that Davis Center had, not being located in a big yellow 19th century New England house with a ballroom upstairs.)

**Well, every hour between 8:30 this morning and next Wednesday - I refuse to count the next two hours as real time, since by all rights I ought to be asleep. I am, however, about to go see what I can magically accomplish in that time on no sleep.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Books! More of them!

I'll post my own thoughts in response to this later, but for now here's an interesting link to a post about the question "What's the best work of American fiction in the last 25 years?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cabbages and Kings

Center of Gravitas has an excellent post today about misogyny, from the recent Burger King ad to disgusting behavior by a local classroom king. It's worth a read.

(By the way, does anyone else find it odd that the fast food chain airing that ad is also the only one with a decent veggie burger?)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Go. Now.

Many of you will already have seen this link on AKMA's blog, but if you haven't, go now and read Holyoffice's Very Short Guide to Christianity. Don't miss the christology addendum in the comments. (2005 GOE takers will be pleased to note that he begins by defining premillenialism.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers and fathers...

So, I've got mixed feelings about Mother's Day, for a lot of the usual reasons - I love my mother and my grandmothers and like having a day to celebrate them, but I know any number of people for whom it's a day to miss their mothers or to wish they had different relationships with their mothers, or who can't have children, or who are raising them under problematic circumstances, or children who never had a mother to begin with, or, or.... This is especially true as I get further into adulthood and have to ponder the chances of ever being a mother myself.

Still, I like Mother's Day and Father's Day as long as I don't think too hard about it. If I didn't have two significant papers looming, I'd be working on a project that's in the back of my head - an art piece using images from my family's history - both sides, pieces we'd rather not think about (plantations, for instance), pieces we're proud of (signing the Declaration, Lucretia Coffin Mott, etc). If I could pull it off well, it would make a good mother's/father's day gift to my parents. I might try my hand at it this summer when I'm home, even though it will be badly timed for a gift.

Instead - well, I was going to offer a Mother's Day song. But I can't find the lyrics anywhere and I don't myself own the recording (my mother does). So, um, happy Mother's Day, everyone.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


So, I passed the one-year mark of good health a month ago, and didn't really think much of it. Too busy, I guess, plus good physical health has been something I've mostly taken for granted throughout my life.

Tonight, though, I realized something else about the last year - that I've only experienced one or two flashbacks all year, and that the ones I have had have been pretty minor and I've coped with them in really healthy ways - writing, researching, talking, drawing, etc. And I realized that I don't even feel guilty about it, because it's not because I've really thought any less about Emily. I guess I've just felt safe enough this year to process not only the event, but the associated grief. I've been able to do things this year that I imagine more successful therapy experiences might have helped me to do before.

So tonight, I'm thankful - and I'm celebrating a little. I'm celebrating the fact that I'm starting to be able to remember Emily with less pain and guilt. I'm celebrating the fact that I can recognize and assess more of the pain and guilt that is there. I'm celebrating the fact that I have friends who are willing to hear about both the pain and the healing. I'm celebrating the realization that there's actual healing happening here and not just repression.

Thanks be to God - alleluia, alleluia.

Summer can't be far...

Ok, I know it's 45 degrees and drizzling, and that I've still got two and a half weeks of classes left and two decent-sized papers to write. But summer can't be far, because tonight I was inspired to cook.

I like cooking all year round when I have, say, a kitchen, and people to eat the food. I live alone with a microwave and no real kitchen, though, so most of the year I tend to think "I need a quick dinner; I'll make mac and cheese, or ramen, or canned ravioli...." Tonight, though, I saw produce at the grocery store that looked edible, and thought "I need to eat dinner; I'll throw together some tomato and mozzarella and olives with herbs and oil and garlic and toss it all with some angel hair, and a tofu dog on the side." Still not gourmet, still made in the microwave, still a somewhat unusual combination of hot dog and pasta that betrays my grad-student identity. But cooking nonetheless, and it reminds me that in less than a month I'll be living in a house, a house that contains a kitchen and people willing to eat what I've cooked for dinner (most of the time - my parents balk a little at "how about brown rice and tofu tonight, guys?).

Oh, summer....

Friday, May 12, 2006


It's raining. I do not want to go outside and forage for dinner. Yet, the refectory has forgotten that dinner is a meal, and should be composed of adequate amounts of edible food. Dinner tonight consists of a large amount of styrofoam and plastic wrap protecting very tiny portions of (pale-looking) watermelon and coleslaw and a chunk of cheese on an onion roll. I may return tomorrow for my overpackaged snack, but it does. not. qualify as dinner.

Harumph. Did I mention that it's raining?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No cookies!

Ok, I think I've done this before, but the cause of death is new - and funny.

Your Deadly Sins
Gluttony: 80%
Sloth: 80%
Envy: 20%
Greed: 20%
Pride: 20%
Wrath: 20%
Lust: 0%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 34%
You'll die choking on a cookie in bed.


One of the perks of being a reasonably competent grad student with no teaching responsibilities is that I can giggle freely right now at student responses/comments on others' blogs. I particularly like these from jane in the academy's spring term student comments (listed under "weaknesses):

~The assignments were confusing because we had to have our own ideas in the papers. I don't have ideas. (It's a good thing you're in higher education, then. That sounds like just the right place for you.)

~If you didn't read the readings you would be lost on the assignments. (Hunh. Who'da thunk it?)

~Make sure students are aware of the work load and that work piles up if you don't plan for it. (You think? Which part of life doesn't pile up if you don't plan to take care of it?)

Yes. well. For now, I choose to giggle.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Discrepancy says the following:

The current temperature is 67.5 degrees.
Today's high is 66 degrees.
Tomorrow's high is 56 degrees.
Tomorrow is forecast to be nearly the same temperature as today.

Someone at failed Logic 101....


So, I'm reading my introduction to the Oxford Movement so I can figure out how to research my paper on the Oxford Movement. This is admittedly an activity toward which I'm favorably disposed, but it seems to me that a lot of this history sounds remarkably familiar. Take the following, for instance - if I remove all the period markers from this paragraph, it sounds equally applicable to today (non-inclusive language notwithstanding):
"men who had been colleagues suddenly found that they had to choose between friends and the Church which had nurtured them. ...those who had converted felt the need to persuade others to join them. Because they knew intimately the Church..., converts were able to attack its weak points. As a result, many... felt beleaguered. This was further exacerbated by the attitude of the authorities of the Church..., which appeared... to be saying sternly to unsettled men that they should go, whilst simultaneously the [other] Church... seemed to be beckoning and welcoming."*

It's an imperfect analogy, but it rings true for me.

*Credit where credit is due: this is from Michael Chandler's book An Introduction to the Oxford Movement.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oh, well...

The Seabury Saints lost their playoff game tonight. We got pretty soundly whupped, actually, but I guess that's what you get when you pit seminarians against Navy ROTC undergrads. I'm sad that the season is over (except for an all-Seabury game), but pleased that we made it to the playoffs at all - a first in Seabury history, I think. And we made up for it afterward with a team pizza party and fire circle, which was lots of fun.

The weekend as a whole has been a lot of fun, actually. I've gotten appallingly little done, but I really will buckle down tomorrow.

On a side note: Community Church of Wilmette has a new Senior Pastor! Yay, Tripp!

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I've had a lovely (also busy) last couple of days. I successfully preached in chapel on Thursday and received some very kind feedback on the sermon (which is posted below). I helped with a bridal shower that was a lot of fun. I scored a run (for the first time ever) in a softball game (albeit a very informal game against ourselves). I am scheduled to preach at my home parish Labor Day weekend, when a good chunk of family will be in town for my grandmother's 90th birthday. (I don't know how many will come to hear me preach, but my grandmother will be very happy that her family came to see her and her granddaughter is preaching, even if she doesn't actually hear most of the sermon, which is possible.) It's reading week, and today I am taking an Official Day Off. I'm doing lots of laundry (which I actually like doing), but otherwise I'm reading for pleasure, drinking coffee, watching movies (maybe even a baseball game tonight if I can get the TV in Junkin Common to tune it in). Tomorrow is back to work, but today is sabbath time.

Feast of St. Monnica

The Sheil Center, across the street, has a new copier. It’s a very helpful copier, from what I hear – very polite, and not at all passive-aggressive or confrontational the way copiers so often are. This one simply tells you its state and its needs, very calmly. For instance, “Please be patient. I am warming up.” Or – my favorite – “The job you have selected exceeds my capacity.” And I have an image in my head of standing at that copier, asking it to run off the lectionary readings for today, and an image coming on the screen, a digital image of Monnica, that says “My capacity exceeds the job you have selected.”

And she’d be right. Whoever put together this set of lessons selected a job for Monnica that’s pretty disconnected from the capacities for which we remember her in our calendar. We started with an Old Testament reading – all of three verses, sort of cobbled together – which tells us: Hannah weeps. Hannah asks God for a male heir. Hannah receives a male heir. That’s apparently all we need to know about Hannah. (The psalm is, well, a psalm – as well matched as most of our Lesser Feasts and Fasts psalms are. ) Then we have the Gospel reading, where Jesus tells us what childbirth is like – sort of a strange lecture to be getting from a man, and a single one at that, but ok. To hear it from these lessons, one gets the impression that there was one very important thing to know about Monnica: that her uterus was in good working order, so that she could give birth to a son.

That’s a strange sort of legacy. Certainly, there are plenty of famous men who presumably all had mothers, and most of those mothers don’t get their own feast days. Luckily, by the time the powers that be got around to writing a collect and biography, they seem to have gotten a better picture of Monnica’s life. Our collect points out her spiritual discipline, her perseverance, and her talent at sharing the Gospel. We don’t have a ton of information on her, but we know that she never gave up on bringing her son and her husband to Christ. In his Confessions, Augustine thanks God that she brought him “from her heart to life eternal.” He tells us also of her incredible discipline in her own life – how she would not gossip at all, for instance, and how she exercised such patience even with her difficult mother-in-law that the two women eventually became friends. Her capacity was great indeed.

Her capacity was great, and her example to us is great, and they far exceed the job the lessons have selected for her. But the most troubling part is not even that the picture these lessons give us is historically problematic, though it is. The most troubling part is the way that picture lends itself to being generalized. The calendar of saints is there to be generalized – to provide models of life and piety for all Christians. If Monnica’s achievements and contributions as a woman of deep prayer and absolute perseverance warrant less attention than her ability to give birth, we have sold not only her but also ourselves short. We have cheapened her example by turning her from a model for all Christians to an example of a woman’s proper place, just as we cheapen the work and the value of motherhood when we make it a woman’s only choice.

For Monnica’s sake, for the sake of all the women of the church who get painted with the same brush, and for the sake of all the baptized, we need our calendar to give us lessons that match her capacity. Perhaps we might consider the story of Abigail, who patiently negotiated what was in her husband Nabal’s best interest when he was too stubborn and boorish to do so himself. We might consider the parable of the unjust judge, who agreed to do justice for the persistent widow, who would not stop her prayers and her pleading until she received it. We might consider the story of Lydia, who also worked to bring her family to Christ. With such lessons, such stories, I could go to the Sheil Center and stand fearlessly in front of that copier, knowing that Monnica’s image would just smile at me as the copier did its work – for then her job and her capacity would be well matched, and her memory truly honored.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Wippell has sent me an alb! A pretty one! In exactly my size! With a girdle that doesn't drag on the floor!

Now, before some killjoy decides to point it out, I am in fact aware that this bears a strong relation to the fact that I custom-ordered it and they took my measurements. But I've given people measurements before and still had things come looking like they expect me to give birth soon or to have joined the WNBA while they weren't looking.

Besides, expected or not - I now have my very own alb, in time to press/steam and wear it to preach in chapel tomorrow night (assuming I can find a closing line for the sermon itself by then). Yay alb!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New art

One of the things that occasionally happens when Pippa comes over, as she does every week, is that I end up with new art. Usually it's for one of my doors, though I have a lovely bouquet complete with butterfly in a vase on the coffee table. Today, though, I hung a new piece of art on the wall.

It's a score sheet.

We picked up a running game of Uno today, a game that shouldn't have taken more than one hand to finish, because Pippa was up 435-206 and only needed 65 points to win. Except that somehow I managed to get another 300 before she got that 65. It was remarkable. There ought to be some sort of Guinness Record for that kind of underdog recovery.

So the score sheet, which convieniently has a hole in the top, is now hanging on the wall in the blank space left when I took down another piece for a few weeks. It served during the rest of the afternoon as a sort of Icon of the Underdog, and I imagine it will stay there until the regular art comes back home - because it makes me giggle, and who can't use a giggle once in a while?

Copyright comics

Duke law professors have their first comic book, apparently - a development I thought might be of interest to some readers. I'm linking you there via BlogHer, because why wouldn't I send you through BlogHer if I could?

Monday, May 01, 2006

One more down

Not the history paper, sadly - I still have to write that one tonight. However, our preaching schedule has had to be rearranged, and so we each get to chop off a sermon. This means that I do NOT have to preach two different sermons two days in a row this week. Once I finish the history paper tonight, I can devote nearly all my energies to prepping Thursday's sermon - which is good, because it needs some work before I dare preach it in chapel. Then I don't have to preach again until May 19.