Friday, September 29, 2006

For the record

I'm not in favor of the new practice among historians of calling English Puritans "the godly Anglicans."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quarter of creativity

Granted that the gender balance is off for my booklists this quarter, it looks like my classes will mostly be quite excellent this term, in terms of both individual quality and balance of learning/work styles. A rundown:

Canon Law: is pretty much what it sounds like. Lots of reading canons and legal cases. If I were taking it for credit, there'd be a final. But I'm auditing it, so it's just sitting in a class on Monday nights talking about legal stuff.

Hebrew: is, of course, a beginning language course. As any of you who have ever learned languages will know, it has its own ways of thinking, and the workload is mostly exercises and quizzes and so forth. Lots of learning really new stuff, very little critical analysis writing.

England in the Age of Reform: One of my three-hour night classes. Likely to be mostly the lecture/discussion model during class meetings, though also a snack break each time. The usual kinds of reading assignments. But instead of "write three 7 page papers" or something of the sort, there's a final project. On almost anything you want. There's a research component, but it requires only four sources and the written part is only four pages. Mostly it's a project/presentation - creativity encouraged.

Anglican Worship: This is my Typical Graduate Course (if not a typical Seabury course). Read some big thick academic books. Write a longish (20-25 page) paper. Take a final. Listen to lectures.

Missional Preaching: Seminar-style, discussion-oriented, investigative class sessions. Read two books and report in on particular chapters; preach once. Again with the creativity - we're encouraged to reflect on whether our missional preaching will be in the form of a sermon or some other means.

In some ways, it's sort of like a sabbatical. After six terms where classes have mostly involved a collection of 5-10 page papers, this term says to me, "By all means, I want you to continue using your brain in productive ways, but take a term to think really hard, explore some new areas, and do some different kinds of work, instead of the same-old, same-old. Come back again ready to do the work given you to do, even if that's more of the same old stuff." It's going to take time and effort and energy, as well it should - but it offers me a lot in return, I think.

Fall Quarter Gender Balance Award

One word: Boo.

More words: I have now been to each of my fall classes at least once, and am reasonably sure of the books assigned. Therefore, it's time for the quarterly Gender Balance Award. I'm sad to say that no one comes out particularly well this term, but let's see what we have. (I remind my readers that the Gender Balance Award isn't primarily about relative lack of horridness, but about actual achievement.)

Canon Law: One course pack consisting of case studies, which a)doesn't count as a book, and b) doesn't really even have constituent authors in the usual sense. Also the Constitution & Canons of ECUSA and of my diocese, which also don't have authors in the usual sense. Rating: Not really applicable. Nothing by women, but nothing exactly by men, either.

Hebrew: Lexicon, edited (as far as I can tell) by three men. Hebrew Bible - like the Constitution & Canons, there's not much wiggle room on authorship here, nor do we have the usual sort of authors. Grammar - by a man. Grammar key - co-authored by two men and a woman. Rating: Hmm. Well. Not what I'd call good, but not entirely abysmal, for a biblical language class, I guess. Still, I'm supposed to stick by my guns here (also I should find a less militaristic metaphor for that).... We'll call nearly acceptable.

England in the Age of Reform: Three required books, all by men. (This doesn't count, because it's not a book on my shelf, but just to be thorough: instead of two of those books, you can watch a series of DVDs. That's resource is also by a man.) Rating: Unacceptable.

Anglican Worship: Four (big) books. Three by men. One edited by a man and a woman - the man is the theologian and the woman is a publisher. The editorial committee for that one was 2/2 - not bad. The contributors, on the other hand? 7 out of 52 are women. Rating: We'll go with the "nearly acceptable" I gave to Hebrew, I guess. It's better than nothing, but it's still not a book by a woman or fairly divided between men and women.

Missional Preaching: Two books. One by two men. One by a committee that included a couple of women, but more men, and edited by a man. Rating: Unacceptable.

I'm sorry to say it, but the Gender Balance Award will not be given this quarter. I can't bring myself to give an award for anything less than an 'acceptable' rating.

We'll be off winter quarter doing field ed full time, so tune in again in the spring to see whether anyone manages to garner the Gender Balance Award then!

And so it begins.

Tonight's dinner: Tilapia. Rice w/peas. Green bean casserole (yep, just like Grandma used to make). Oh, and rolls. And date cake or spice cake or something like that.

Tonight's conversation with the new chef:
Yodabeth: Hi, Chef.
Chef: Hi.
Y: Is there a vegetarian entree tonight?
C: The green beans are vegetarian.
Y: Yes, thanks. Is there an entree, though?
C: Green beans.
Y: Well, the green beans and rice are veggie, yes. But they're side dishes. So there's no vegetarian entree?
C: No.
Y: Ok.

(Point of order: some of this repetition was to ensure clarity, as English is not the new chef's first language. Her English is pretty good, but it seems to be worth double checking things.)

This is a slightly different approach to training a new chef than I've taken before. That's partly because the old approach hasn't worked all that well, and partly because this chef seems to be very adaptable in other ways. Someone asked "Do we have Cremora here?" and the next day we did, for instance. So I'm starting slow, planting a seed. It was also closer to an entree than, say, a pan of over-steamed vegetables, so that's something, and it's the first day that there's been a problem at all. Plus, at least she didn't think that the fish was vegetarian, which was an initial problem with last year's new chef. I'm hoping that tonight's conversation will inspire a bit of rethinking on her part before we move to actual suggestions. (Empowered and empowering cooks, etc.)

Perhaps I could start a 12-step program for chefs addicted to meat-centered meals. Step One: Admit that green beans (squash, broccoli, etc.) are not an entree. Time will tell whether we've accomplished this step tonight and can move on to step two, or whether we need to spend some more time with step one.

I do like Wippell.

Wippell makes a clergy shirt that fits me. Really well. The collar needs to go up a size, and the sleeves shorten a bit. But that's why they send Wippell reps who know things to measure us and sell us things. Actually, I wasn't looking to buy today - I was looking for Christmas. Which is another great thing about Wippell - Wippell Man put my measurements for that shirt into a gift registry, so that I can send my parents there for Christmas.

Yes, they're expensive. But they're expensive for a reason, which is something that doesn't seem to be true of some clergy outfitters. And while I'll mostly still convert my own blouses, I expect, I also want a couple of really nice official black clergy shirts that look really good and fit really well. Really. And, as Wippell Man pointed out to me, they'll be happy to make me as many as I want. (Which, right now, is probably one.)

Monday, September 25, 2006


I think I understand now why Davies makes a habit of following every night class with a nightcap. Night classes M-T-W, with GOE prep on Thurs, will be a significant challenge this term.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

one of those things

So, one of my former campers has an away message up saying "So I'm writing a paper about "Attitudes Toward Sex in Antebellum America"... it's pretty damn sweet." The thing is, I was amazed to realize that she's now in college. I had her as a Program Aide when I worked resident camp - so, when she was 12 or 13. Funny how six years turns that into 18 or 19... but I still can't quite picture her as anything but "the camper who worked in the horse barn but didn't like showers."

Saturday, September 23, 2006


PSU 6 - OSU 28 ... because of TWO interceptions for touchdowns in the last ten minutes of the game. That's the closest I've come to really joyful in a good while.

Someday, maybe, I'll learn to root for teams that don't only settle things in the last inning/quarter/period of the game - but it's kind of exciting this way, if also stressful.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Orientation = done. There will be a follow-up meeting of some sort so that Court can drill Raisin and me on what he needs to know, but as now, I'm basically no longer an orientation chair. I like being an orientation chair, but this is an intense relief.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

... followed by annoyance

So, to end my day, which wasn't stellar to begin with (for no particular reason - things went fine, it just wasn't a great day)?

1) I've lost my keys. I first missed them after dinner and I know I had them when I ran to get a Bible for Taize, so they ought to be by the mailboxes or in the chapel or refectory, or in my room. But I can't find them. I am at least into my room for now, though.

2) A friend called to tell me that she's about to restart the ordination process for the third time. The problem? Mostly that she's a lesbian. Not partnered, even (no, it shouldn't make a difference, but it sometimes does), but out. She was about to be licensed (she's Amer. Bapt., not Episcopalian) this month, but now she's got to restart.

So I'm frustrated with myself, and angry at the church. An excellent end to the day.


If I am reading my syllabus correctly, it seems that our quiz on the Hebrew alphabet will not be until Tuesday. I was so not looking forward to having a quiz during orientation - but now I see there is none scheduled then. I hope class substantiates this relief and does not destroy it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If you must

I can hear murmurs across the hall. I want to poke my head in over there (a surprisingly easy thing right now, since their suite door doesn't close, but we'll work on that) and say "No, you silly things, go back to bed! Sleep while you can!" I understand that even if they're not morning people (which they may be), it's the first morning of orientation and they both want showers and probably breakfast before morning prayer. I'm sure I wanted the same two years ago. But I personally would rather not have been up before 7, and therefore feel as though they ought to sleep as late as possible.

I'm going to make either a terrible or an excellent mother someday (I hope). At any rate, I do have to be up now, because I am a Mighty Tri-Chair and must ensure that the newbies have breakfast to eat. So off I go.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


What she said.


(Actually, what I wish she'd said at the beginning, is that she doesn't understand the "argument" of "If x is true, the following horrible things will happen; therefore x is false." But otherwise, I think she's spot-on.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Out of straws

Some of you may recall last Thursday's cockroach sighting in the common room. The truly attentive may even remember last year's tempest in the teapot, so to speak. Last year, we traced them to the utility sink in the stairwell, and the maintenance crew disposed of them. Last week, I let it go since I only saw one once.

Tonight, I turned on my bedroom light and - another? the same? - cockroach ran between my legs and under my bed.

I remind my readers that bugs do not, as a general rule, bother me all that much. But cockroaches do not belong in my indoor quarters. Especially not indoor quarters which I've cleaned top to bottom at least once, and in some parts twice or more, in the last ten days. (Though I've been advised that the men's suite which shares a wall with mine is not so clean as mine - and there's a door between the two suites which is only blocked up enough to keep humans from passing between.)

I, myself, am unsettled. Unsettled and thoroughly displeased.

But the worst part is that tomorrow I get one new suitemate and Sunday I get another. They're new to Seabury altogether, and while I don't know that the roach(es) have made it to the other side of the suite, I suspect it won't be long, at least. It is thoroughly unfair and inhospitable to subject new residents to roaches.

So tomorrow, although it is Saturday, I will make some phone calls and arrange for someone to do something about the situation.

Perhaps it's a good thing that this happened the night before I have to get up at 5 anyway. It's not like I was planning on sleeping in....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Confessions of a Teenage Lizard

Oh. My. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen? So bad. So incredibly hilarious. You can read the liveblogged version over at Pastor V's. As he says, the movie has true contemporary resonance.

Not quite the same sort of resonance as Godzilla, though. He's from France. You know how the French are. Very resonant.

This might or might not have made more sense if I'd blogged it live. Next time we'll try to liveblog in sync. Or something.

(Ok, I've had too much pizza and ice cream and laughter, and I'm a little loopy. But it's a happy loopy.)


Indigo Girls tour dates in cities where I might possibly be:

Cleveland, Oct 22* - This is a Sunday. I suppose it wouldn't be impossible - but see below.

St Louis, Oct 26 - Well, Oct 27-28 are my diocesan convention, and seniors are required to go. So I'll be heading to Cleveland that day.

Chicago, Oct 27, 28 - See above.

I. Am. Not. Happy.

*I've actually danced several times on the stage where they're playing this concert. That would be cooler if I could, you know, GO.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We interrupt this orientation obsession...

My preaching professor just pointed me to this comic strip from Sunday. Said it reminded him of me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fairy Land!

A mini fairy land came today in my mail from two of my favorite people. It has a pink carraige, and two pink thrones with heart backs, and a horse and a pegasus and a swan and two doves, and a prince and princess and a fairy prince and fairy princess, and a magic mirror. The fairies have a little trouble standing up, but they're fairies. The largest piece is the carraige, which is about as long as my thumb (and my thumb isn't all that big).

It's all very fun. Thanks, guys!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I am, of course, watching the Ohio State - Texas game right now. That's not amazing. What's amazing is that I'm watching it in MY OWN SUITE. Yes - I broke down about 6:30 and went to Target to buy the best TV antenna they could sell me. Granted, when my parents' reception looks like this, they call the TV guys to have it fixed, but for my brick penthouse, a little snow ain't bad. I can sit on my own couch and eat guacamole and drink wine in my own space, and even blog in front of the game, because I have channels now!

Friday, September 08, 2006

In case anyone had forgotten, or somehow missed it

Mary Louise Parker is gorgeous.

Just fyi.

My Autobiography (meme)

Ok, I wasn't going to do this because it's long, but since no one is in the offices to do business with, and I saw it on two blogs in a row on my RSS, I am. But, I think I should state that I think "My autobiography" is a dumb meme title.

Fill this out in your own words and repost as, "My autobiography."

1.Where did you take or get your profile picture?
Don't have one.

2.What exactly are you wearing right now?
My usual dark brown leather sandals, short denim skirt, deep purple strappy tank, white eyelet short-sleeve blouse (unbuttoned). (I should probably qualify that - in my world "short skirt" means "above the knee but decidedly longer than it is wide")

3.What is your current problem?
Hmm. Well, we're a little behind on some of the details for new student orientation. I guess that's what happens when none of the tri-chairs are really on campus much of the summer.

4.What makes you most happy?
Spending time with really good friends

5.What's the name of the song that you're listening to?
Do You Hear What I Hear? - because it still plays in my head whenever I hear a siren, such as the one passing us now.

6.Has anyone you've been really close with passed away?

7.Do you ever watch MTV?
Ever? I have watched it, yes, but never on a regular basis and not in a long time.

8.What's something that really annoys you?
Cockroaches in a newly cleaned apartment.

Chapter 1:All About You

1.Middle name:
Amy (And yes, if my brother had been a girl, he'd have been Meg)

Besides Beth? Spud, primarily, or diminutives thereof. But also Yoda, Bo, Chameleon, Opal, and probably a few others at times. (Yeah, I grew up at Girl Scout camp.)

3.Current location:
The far, far right edge of the futon in my common room

4.Eye color:

Chapter 2:Family

1.Do you live with your parents:

2.Do you get along with your parent(s):

3.Are your parents married/separated/divorced

4.Do you have any Siblings?:
1 little brother

Chapter 3: favorite...

1. Ice Cream:
Um. Hmm. Favorite. You mean just one? Well, I like mint chocolate chip a lot. And cookies and cream. And peppermint stick. And Phish Food. And Dove Irresistably Raspberry. And...

I don't have a favorite season so much as I really, really like the beginning of each season. So, right now my favorite season is fall, but really I like the novelty of it.

At the moment, Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Dove something moisturizing conditioner. But I switch around, mostly between those brands. They're cheap.

Chapter 4: Do You..

1.Dance in the shower:
Clearly you've never seen my shower. I can barely shower in my shower.

2.Write on your hand:
Well, I try to avoid it. But eventually, if I keep forgetting a thing, I usually will.

3.Call people back:
Yes. But occasionally it takes me a ridiculously long time.

4.Believe in love:
Well, yeah.

5.Sleep on a certain side of the bed
Yeah, the top side, generally. (No, really, when I'm in a double bed I generally sleep on the right side.

6. Any bad habits:

7. Any mental health issues?
Nothing diagnosed.

Chapter 5: Have You...

1.Broken a bone:

2.Sprained stuff:
That's an interesting question. I've never been treated for a sprain, but five years ago I fell on my thumb while taping a circle on the floor, and it got puffy and purple and took a really long time to heal and still doesn't look quite the same as the other one. So, maybe.

3.Had physical therapy?:

4.Gotten stitches:

5.Taken Pain killers?

6.Gone SCUBA diving or snorkeling:

7.Been stung by a bee:

8.Thrown up at the dentist:

9.Sworn in front of your parents:

10.Had detention:
That's another interesting question. I don't remember ever being in detention, though I seem to remember my whole class being assigned detention once or twice. Possibly I just got out of those. NO. WAIT. I do remember one detention - several friends of mine were making "candy carrots" (carrots with other lunch foods/drinks mixed in) at lunch one day in third grade, at the table where I was sitting (not actually participating). The lunch lady decided we all needed to sit at the detention table for a few days for playing with food, because no one would take the blame for it. I was the only one whose mother didn't call the principal and insist that her darling daughter couldn't possibly sit at the detention table - so while my friends were back making more candy carrots the next two days, I was sitting at the detention table alone.

11.Been sent to the principal's office:
No. This one I'm sure about.

12.Been called a ho?
See Chapter 2, answer 4, about having a little brother.

Chapter 6: Who/What was the last

I assume you mean the last one I myself saw, which would be Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Or maybe Fellowship of the Ring. I don't remember in which order I watched them.

2.Person to text you:
Hmm. No one texts me now, but we used to text all the time in Germany. So, one of the other Smithies I went to Germany with, I guess - probably Jessica.

3.Person you called:

4.Person you hugged:
Milner, at the peace this morning.

5.Person you tackled?
Um. I can't say for sure, because I can't remember the last time I tackled someone. But I'd say my little brother is probably a good guess.

6.Thing you touched:
Ok, this is a ridiculous question. This is a MEME. I am touching my keyboard. Right. Now.

7.Thing you ate:
Hmm. Either a piece of popcorn or a Gobstopper.

8.Thing you drank:

9.Thing you said:

10.Friend you miss the most that has moved:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Survey says...

Your Fashion Style is Girly

You dress to look beautiful and show off what you've got
Dresses, skirts, heels... whatever it takes to turn heads
You love feeling like a girl in any setting
Even your workout clothes are cute and feminine!

Of course, I was also remarkably close to this:

Your Fashion Style is Sporty

You're a natural beauty who doesn't need fancy clothes to look good
You prefer your clothes to be comfortable, so you can stay on the go
For you, femininity is not how you wear - but how you wear it.
Still, don't be afraid to show off that great body in a dress or skirt!

Or this:

Your Fashion Style is Classic

You like what's stood the test of time...
Simple, well styled clothes that don't scream trendy
You stay updated and modern, but your clothes stay in style for a while
You wouldn't be caught in animal prints, fake fur, or super bright colors

But they didn't tell me what kind of party I was dressing for, so I didn't know which outfit to pick. Personally, I suspect I'm more the last one - out of sheer fashion laziness.


After Hebrew class this morning, I met up with Pippa for the day. Those of you who know Pippa will not be surprised that it was a delightful day, but somehow it was even more delightful than expected. Perhaps I've just been away awhile. At any rate, we packed a picnic lunch - hummus sandwiches, fresh guacamole, chips, carrots, and a bit of pomegranate - and took it out the the Botanic Garden. After lunch we walked the gardens, which are considerably more spectacular in September than in March, came back, and played a game of Mille Borne. After doing our afternoon chores, we made dinner - microwave gourmet: spaghetti and salad - then played a few games of Sequence, then went for gelato. Then we watched Belles on Their Toes, complete with commentary (we'd both seen it before), and played a few games of Uno. Things got a bit exciting in the middle of the movie when Pippa asked "What's that?" and I followed her gaze to a cockroach crawling across the common room floor. I don't mind a few bugs, but I do mind cockroaches in my living quarters (as I've mentioned). Since I just got back in town and spent the last two days cleaning, I fail to see how this can in any way be my own fault. Tomorrow, a work order. Anyway, I'm unusually exhausted for 10 pm (of course, I've also been waking up before my alarm recently), but very satisfied. It was a fun day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In more mundane news...

(Ok, the last post was pretty mundane too. Whatever.)

I have spent two days unpacking, cleaning, etc. My space is now not only livable but ready for guests. This is lucky, since I have one coming for at least the day and possibly the night tomorrow, and she tends more toward the neat side than I do. There are still a few things scattered about - I haven't yet taken my vestments to be laundered, for instance, so they're over the back of the futon. But it looks like a place someone lives, rather than a place someone stores things. Also, the floors are clean. That's more of a rare treat for me than it ought to be, but there you are.

In the midst of all this, I have also managed to have two meals with friends, do a bit of cooking, eat healthy raw foods (like the yummy salad I had for first lunch today), watch two movies and ten episodes of West Wing, and do my Hebrew homework. The Hebrew homework is a strange sort of challenge, in that the assignment itself isn't tough - we're to greet each other and at least two professors in Hebrew between classe sessions, as well as practicing a particular setting of the Hamotzi. The tough thing is that I and the other Seabury students aren't actually in class yet except for Hebrew - so I barely see him, and have not seen professors at all. My solution? I have been greeting my computer in Hebrew when talking with a professor online. (We're also not supposed to write any form of Hebrew yet.)

So, by special request for those of you who complained that reading my blog didn't tell you what I did all summer, that's what I've done the last two days.


So, today I received a lovely note from my summer rector.

In an envelope addressed:

The Getting Close to Reverend Beth

It made me giggle.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've returned safely to Evanston, and have convinced my wireless to work again. I'm grateful to have returned to a suite that wasn't covered in an inch of dust, and to keys in my mailbox, and to friends who helped move my things in from the car. I've also started Hebrew class, and am hard at unpacking and cleaning and grocery shopping and other tasks of moving back in.

It's been noted that my entries this summer didn't tell much about what I'd actually been doing. I'll try to remedy that now that I'm back without the distraction of family.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Popping in

I made it through my grandmother's birthday celebration, triple preaching this morning, and the family at our house this afternoon. (Turns out that when my brother and his fiancee leave, I become the coolest playmate available for my cousin's kids, who are 8 and 5.)

There's still a bit of family here, but it's time for me to finish packing my bags and start packing the car now. Tomorrow, Evanston!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Five: Life in the Fast Lane

(Obviously, I'm making a lot of progress on that sermon.)

1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear the mind? a means to an end? a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil? the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss. Usually, a means to an end. I enjoy it, most of the time, but I don't usually drive to clear the mind - especially since I believe that driving is best undertaken while the mind is already pretty clear.

2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster? Slower? Have you ever gotten a ticket? I tend to drive a little faster than the speed limit - by which I mean, mostly I drive about 5 miles faster and occasionally I drive a fair bit faster.

3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of the experience?
When it seems reasonable. When I'm in Chicago, I usually take public instead of driving if at all feasible, though I don't mind if someone else drives. When I'm in Cleveland, it's almost never reasonable - there's not much of it, and the nearest park-and-ride is fifteen minutes away in the opposite direction from the city, so taking the rapid to ball games isn't really a strong option for us.

4. Complete this sentence: _____________ has the worst drivers I've ever experienced. St. Louis, no question. Especially in the parking lots of grocery stores (especially the Schnuck's in Richmond Heights).

5. According to the Census Bureau, reverendmother's fair city has the 6th longest average commute in the United States at 29 minutes each way. How does your personal commute rate? Well, at the moment, my commute is pretty short - from my bedroom to my kitchen table it takes me about 20-25 seconds. My commute this summer to work was about 20-25 minutes each way (exactly average for my city, the 31st in the nation at 23.5 minutes). My commute at school is somewhere in between - about two and a half minutes from my third floor suite to the second floor classrooms or the first floor chapel.

Bonus for the brutally honest: It has been said, and the MythBusters have confirmed, that cell phones can impede driving ability almost as much as drinking. Do you talk on a cell phone while driving? Rarely. I do it more in Cleveland than in Chicago, because my parents' house has bad reception, but I think I've still only done it once all summer. I do answer the phone while driving unless it's immediately stupid to do so, but I usually talk just long enough to know there's no emergency and then say "I'm driving. Good-bye."

Reason #13, 497 Why I Am Not Cut Out For A Rector

I love preaching (yeah, I know), but sermon writing/prep makes me absolutely batty and desperate. Ok, let me qualify that. Trying to craft sermons longer than about six minutes makes me absolutely batty and desperate. Crafting 3-7 minute sermons is still kind of fun, even a couple of weeks in a row. Still, I'm glad to be looking in a direction that's less likely to include someone expecting me to preach 10-15 minutes every week for thirty years running.