bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)
First, from the online coaching klatsch:

Christine Kane )

Ashley Sinclair: Calling all Perfectionists: 2 Steps to Taming the Beast [Via Havi Brooks, who'd linked to Naomi Dunsford (whose blog I hadn't visited before today, but her posts on fear and tattoos and semicolons (especially the first handful of comments to the latter) are ones I'll be revisiting), who'd linked...]




A recitation of pleasures:

* It hit 80 degrees here a week ago. The downside of allergens galore has been more than offset by joys such as napping in a sunlit living room and discussing Trust business at a picnic table.

* Lone red tulip in the front yard. I didn't plant it, so, y'know, a gift.

* Cooking: roast chicken, chicken stock, corn bread (from mix) and chocolate pudding (from scratch). And chicken jelly on chopped cucumbers (sounds weird, I know, but it was super-delicious).

* Gwendolyn MacEwen on Magic Cats [via Joanne Merriam].

* Finding out the presentation I'm working on should be only 30 minutes instead of an hour. MUCH less pressure, huzzah!

* Writing: nothing jelling at the rate I want it to, and two sets of rejections over the weekend, BUT also a couple of good lines last night, a revision-upon-request yesterday, and an acceptance this morning, so go me!
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (uu: freedom to marry)
Religion notes:

  • Via Philocrites' Guide to Unitarian Universalist blogs: the Guuild - UU Religious Professionals Knitting.


  • On the op-ed page of today's New York Times, a quarter-page ad commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Episcopal church in North America.


  • My current church-related docket includes two more services for Cookeville, a sermon for Nashville, a set of child dedication certificates to letter, and a band gig for a birthday celebration. After July, though, I'll be taking an extended break and participating only in lay leading (once a quarter), hymn leading (pinch-hitting as needed), the fundraising table (once a month), and chamber choir (one rehearsal and performance a month). It means formally dropping out of the main choir and band (not that I've been able to participate in either this year with any semblance of regularity or reliability) and ending the monthly eastward shlep.


  • passion for the unattainable )
    The bottom line is that life is good. Messy and not wholly manageable, but definitely good.




    I left for this morning's walk to the library with two books to return. On the way, I paused at a yard sale (to benefiting a youth services group) and saw several police officers getting ready to direct traffic around a 5K race through the 'hood. On the way back, I passed by two more yard sales, stopped at the bakery, and watched the runners/shufflers/stragglers streaming past a water station near the B&B. I arrived home with two pints of soup (honeydew melon and Caribbean mango), a chocolate-chip scone, a beat-up cutting board, and a copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's A Wonder Book.

    Last night there was quite a bit of rain, and the living room reeked of wet dog as I worked. Today the sun is shining, and the songbirds are out in force. The rest of the day will be devoted to laundry, errands, and writing. The joke is on me: If you'd asked me twenty years ago what I wanted, it wouldn't have been this. When I was seventeen, I was terrified of dogs, I was thirty pounds lighter, I regularly wore makeup (a habit I'm thinking of resuming -- but probably not this year *g*), I had yet to nosh on my first avocado or sip my first Scotch, and I doubted I would ever own a house or return to the South to live. Ten years ago, I would have told you that I liked steady paychecks too much to consider freelancing, although I was working sixty-hour weeks as a retail buyer (plus commuting daily between Ann Arbor and Detroit) and not getting much of anything else done outside of it. I had yet to visit San Francisco or Edinburgh or Tokyo, I wore oversize men's clothing more often than not, and I probably downed more wine and whisky each week than I have the whole of this year. (Ah, how I miss my old metabolism.)

    I'd be lying if I claimed I'm not apprehensive about aging, but I shouldn't be: if the pattern holds, and I do my part, life will keep getting better. So: laundry, errands, and writing. (And the mango soup, and maybe a haiku, and definitely scritches for the leek-chomping dog.) And love to you all, and praise for such joys.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    Have cut 100 words and written 1300 for Project A, and proofread three pages of a Handel book. Sadly, neither of these were for work, which means my day hasn't really started yet. *sigh*

    That said, I'm remembering what's so compelling about writing fiction and poetry: it's such wicked fun when the narrators/characters veer into directions I didn't expect, writing my way through that, and then looking back and going, "Hey! That was [clever] [funny] [unexpected]!"

    Makes up for all the times I squint at the screen and mutter, "Good grief, a magot with bandaged paws could do better than this."

    (I ended up looking up magot yesterday after a conversation about this place, which was in a photograph on a nearby wall. "Magot" means "Chinese grotesque porcelain figure," but it also means "pile of money" and "Barbary ape," at least according to my Harrap's.)

    Things I need to do within the next 36 hours:

    * revise Project B and forward it to programmer
    * wrap up current phase of notes on Project B
    * finish Project C and turn it in to editor
    * pay bills
    * sing in two church services

    Things I need to focus on this next week:
    * continue work on Project B and Project D
    * research and write next sermon
    * continue work on lesson plans for the Sayers-Rowling course
    * finish the kidlit essay
    * deal with heap of accounting chores at the office
    * reduce the chaos in personal "For the Accountant" pile

    Good things:
    * There is a Tylenol sample in the house (from last year's volunteer stint at the Country Music Marathon). This means I don't need to put on shoes and run to the store.
    * Perfect weather today. I love it when it's warm enough that moisturizing isn't an ordeal but cool enough that the mosquitoes aren't yet in force.
    * The BYM brought home apricot hamentashen.
    * This thread at [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel's journal. *gigglefit*
    * And this one, where she wrote a Snape/Lupin and The Time Traveler's Wife crossover drabble for me. Have I mentioned lately my friends are brilliant? :-)
    * I'm doing laundry and roasting chicken (with paprika and chickpeas), so the demands of art and commerce have not totally vanquished my "domestic engineering" skills.

    Onwards!
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  • If you live in the Boston area, please consider attending the Peter Mayer concert that [livejournal.com profile] psongster has organized. March 10. $12. He's a fantastic musician (and also kinda hot, at least when I saw him four or five years ago) and [livejournal.com profile] psongster herself is of the awesome.


  • If you live in the Nashville area, please consider coming to "Vendredi Gras," an event being coordinated by some of the Vanderbilt Div School folk (announcement edited for space/bloggability):


    Vendredi Gras, February 23, 2007, Friday, from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
    "Why Vendredi Gras? Because it's too late for the Chinese New Year and too early for Purim..."

    The GDR/Divinity School (PAN, AL's Pub, SGA) is hosting a fundraiser for the New Orleans Women's Health and Justice Initiative and Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee. ...we have a small army of bakers who are donating everything from baklava, pecan and sweet potato pies, brownies, cheesecake, chocolate cake, to Burfi.... We will also have live music and games (pin the Arabian Horsetail on the FEMA director) and a dessert auction and libations. This will take place in the basement of the Divinity School. We will be collecting canned goods as well.


  • Words to ponder, from Joan Acocella, quoted in the Sunday NYT Book Review: "What allows genius to flower is not neurosis but tenacity and the ability to survive disappointment."

    (No, I'm not claiming to be a genius. I am, however, as stubborn as they come when I've a mind to be. Hah.)
  • bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (lifejacket doggie)
    "To have stopped by the fig and eaten was not an error, then, but the reason for going."
      - Jane Hirshfield, "Flowering Vetch



    * Six poems rejected; two sold. Woot!
    * Brunch at Marche with friends Saturday afternoon (croque-monsieur, celery root slaw, and cafe au lait served in a bowl)
    * The roads were icy enough Saturday night that the BYM picked me up from the office. Today, it's sixty degrees.
    * I have work that needs doing. I also currently have the mental constitution of a whelk. So, I'm going to take a nap, walk the dog, and then start the day over.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    Just now, I finally sliced up a sheet paper I marbled over twelve or thirteen years ago.
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    Things to do when insomnia won't be denied:
    1. Write thank-you notes and holiday cards.
    2. Make tea.
    3. Renew library books.
    4. Moisturize.
    5. Archive e-mails.

    Things I didn't do in 2006:
    1. Keep my resolution to be on time more often.
    2. Keep my resolution to write 365 poems.
    3. Get/stay in shape.
    4. Cease whining.
    5. Keep ahead of my filing.

    Things I started doing in 2006:
    1. Volunteering for Room in the Inn.
    2. Regarding sleep as a necessity rather than an inconvenience.
    3. Using a Franklin Planner again.
    4. Saying "no" to any optional committee/activity involving repeat meetings or a pre-9 a.m. start.
    5. Drafting a heap of poems and stories. Now to finish them...

    Resolutions for 2007:
    1. Stop being late.
    2. More writing, less whining.
    3. Get/stay in shape.
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    From the in-box:


    According to Rabbi Levi, Abraham said to God, 'If You seek to have a world, strict justice cannot be exercised; and if You seek strict justice, there will be no world. Do You expect to take hold of the well’s rope at both ends? You desire a world and You also desire justice? You can have only one of the two. If You do not relent a little, the world will not endure' (Genesis Rabbah 39:6)
      - from a Jewish Theological Seminary e-newsletter



    I remember very early having the sense that there is one poet in the world, and sometimes if you're very lucky and you work very hard, you get to be the poet for a while. The rest of the time, you're trying to earn your way back to being the poet for a moment. Meanwhile, you love poetry itself.
      - Franz Wright, from an essay to appear tomorrow on Poetry Daily


    I don't know that I agree with either of these, but they were interesting enough that I wanted to remember them.


    Yesterday ended up being more social and more domestic than I expected -- a friend suggested brunch, and I was feeling okay enough for that, so the BYM schlepped us all to Goldie's for blintzes (me), challah French toast (her), and other breakfast-y things, accompanied by a fairly intense discussion about research, citations, etc. (which is the sort of thing that's bound to happen when you plunk a quixotic sociologist and an opinionated copyeditor at the same table. Fun stuff, honest!).

    It wasn't until we got home that the BYM informed me that a neighborhood committee was going to congregate in our living room in an hour; this would be the living room I'd been treating as my writing/editing hut for the past week, with books and papers and napkins and socks everywhere. (Yes, socks. I have this tendency to get home and think I'm going to sit down for just a minute for a quick check, but then I get engrossed in writing and/or work, and then I want to get comfortable, so I end up kicking off my footwear so I can put my legs up on the sofa...) Cue Tasmanian-devil-style cleaning frenzy. (It's probably good he didn't tell me earlier, though, since I would have ended up fretting.)

    The to-do list remains fearsome, but most of it isn't due this week, so I have some hope of getting back into the swing of things (catching up on correspondence, seeing the floor of my study again, etc.). Seasonal scheming continues apace (with much glee), and I have (finally!) only two scenes left to write for my holiday exchange fic, so I'm hopeful I can send that puppy to the mod by the end of the week (provided my beta(s) are still speaking to me by the time they get through draft the nth) and then put in some serious time on (1) my upcoming Advent sermon, (2) assorted encyclopedia essays that need to be drafted sooner rather than later, and (3) the suite of poems I started while in Florida.

    First, though, the bank, and then the library, and then a couple more hours of billable work. Onward...
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (lifejacket doggie)
    It is not an optimal day when there is Liquid Plumber involved, but we shall persevere.
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    There are tasks, inevitably, and here on this farm, at least, too many to be filled in one day. Some tasks are seemingly straightforward. Wash the kitchen floor. Shovel the barn floor. Others are less so. While washing the kitchen floor remind yourself to be more consistent in keeping shoes off in that room and better at mopping spills when they happen. When shoveling the barn concentrate on what being a shepherd really means. To find some joy in the appointed tasks is another requirement. For without joy, what is the point? That is a more difficult thing to do. And that is one of the things that define us to ourselves.


    Right, then. Lists...
    To do... )

    Slightly vexing things:
    * Gouged my heel on a nail
    * Car sounds worse than before its stint at the shop

    Splendid things:
    * Says You now airing Saturday afternoons.
    * Pomegranates on sale (*nods to [livejournal.com profile] qrssama)
    * Sting's new album of John Dowland songs and letter excerpts. I've been playing "Have You Seen the Bright Lily Grow" (by Robert Johnson -- the one non-Dowland piece on the CD) over and over - so, so pretty! Also, I normally loathe "Can She Excuse My Wrongs," but Sting's arrangement is interesting enough (and he has that lovely decadent tinge to his voice) that I won't automatically hit "skip" next time I run the whole playlist. And the liner notes/design is also well-done.
    * Earrings from [livejournal.com profile] orbitalmechanic. They're perfect. Thank you, my dear.
    * The painting [livejournal.com profile] almost_clara surprised me with yesterday. It's inspired by a series of drabbles I wrote related to "Dover Beach," and it's stunning.
    * Random notes and cards from friends.
    * Sun's out. It's going to be a brilliant day.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    Mike Carson's "No Surer Heaven" at poems.com -- man, that's a good poem:


    ...It's fifty years since he and I eased down
    In Geren's Woods, his own heart years now gone—
    So quiet and quick-eyed, kind to love a kid
    Not his, by instinct never saying I love.
    He put instead the rifle in my hands,
    Gave me the name and use of all its parts.





    Every now and then I wonder how my husband puts up with my level of mayhem. For instance, last night I managed to knock my glasses behind the bookshelf that serves as my nightstand. While fumbling around to extricate them, I managed to knock over even more books, notebooks, post-it pads, etc. (I probably should have waited until morning, but it was all too probable I'd forget my glasses were still behind the shelf and end up hunting for them through the entire house instead. Therefore, it was imperative that I retrieve them then and there. Erk. It's past time to vacuum up there again...)

    That said, as we were about to go to sleep, he "played" an extended tune on the half-dozen water glasses on his dresser, using his chapstick as the mallet.




    Woke up feeling somewhat cranky and bleak, in spite of nothing being terribly wrong -- lots of little impasses, detours, and out-of-my-depth flailings-about, but nothing unmanageable (at least, in the realm of what can actually be managed). Some of it is simply needing more sleep if I'm to avoid catching other people's colds, and some of it is simply needing a true day off...

    ...which is not an option today, but I did stay home from church in favor of writing and reading. The plan for the afternoon is to finish the morning's drafts, indulge in some cooking (pesto and shortbread, probably), take a walk, and then put in eight billable hours on assorted assignments. Onwards.

    [More goodness: Last week's submission = two rejections + one acceptance, and last week's arugula-bacon quiche still tastes superb.]

    By the by -- much as I like my life now -- I miss some of you more than I know how to say.
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    On the underside to the lid of this afternoon's bottle of tea: "If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going. - Chinese Proverb"

    Not an inappropriate admonition for the end of this month and the eve of Yom Kippur. I got back from DC late last night, and am still half-addled from lack of sleep (66 billable hours and counting...). In addition to the usual raft of to-be-answered emails, I have four sympathy notes to write (no one close, but a result of having enough acquaintances who matter to me and a "the least I can do" m.o. The other side of the coin, of course, is the gladness of having so many people to care about, and knowing in turn that there will be friends who will check on me when it's my turn to endure such losses).

    Also from the week: two rejections (but one of them had passed first cut, so that's cheering) and a very pleasant dinner at Fleming's -- more pricey than our usual night out, but fantastic service and ambiance (quiet but not tomblike, and no wait). We split a bowl of French onion soup and a plate of tuna carpaccio, and dessert was key lime torte.

    My current mealtime/bathtub reading is Sylvia's Farm: The Journal of an Improbable Shepherd. I am currently on the chapter in which she waxes upon her infatuation with mangel-wurzels, but the passage I bookmarked earlier today was the one which ends "Days of Grace":


    Winter skies will come soon enough. Each task done needs bring its own joy. And the day requires being lived well without fear of tomorrow. It is in gathering the beauty of each individual moment that one, in truth, gains strength for what the future holds.
      - Sylvia Jorrin
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    I have a sudden, unholy urge to make an apple-chocolate-ginger pie.

    Meetings first. Mayhem later.
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    HAH! 28-page spreadsheet CONQUERED!
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    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
    On the one hand, I just got back from dropping books off at the library. I keep asking the idiot in the mirror, "Haven't you learned anything over the past 15 years?" because this feeling like I'm reliving graduate school isn't healthy. There's a part of me that's well aware that I'm smarter and stronger than I ever was during my twenties, but I also keep having to fight off the feeling that I've barely made any progress at all.

    On the other hand, there's a certain pleasure in observing who else happens to be out and about at 2 a.m.: aside from the usual jaywalkers and junkies, there were also a couple of youngsters dancing and snogging their way down Second Avenue.

    Saw Vienna Teng in concert last week and met her afterwards. She's very pretty, very nice, and hella talented. At present, "Harbor" remains my favorite song of hers (downloadable from here), but "Shine" is what I've been replaying in the car and in my head the past couple of days:


    shine with all the untold
    hold the light given unto you
    find the love to unfold
    in this broken world we choose
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    Some weeks, it just doesn't gel: started three letters while on election duty last week, and abandoned them all 2-3 pages in. Started a poem earlier today, but it's behaving like parachute material -- flappy in peculiar spots and dead flat on the grass otherwise.

    Even so, I've promised myself to get 500 words of sermon drafted tonight. I was trawling through Vassar Miller's If I Had Wheels Or Love for possible meditation texts just now, and these two poems stopped me in my tracks.

    Prudent / A Word to the Wise )
    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (lifejacket doggie)
    Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Contending with rampant regrets and mortification and tedium. But also dancing to old INXS cassettes.

    So far: 39 books hauled to the car; countless magazines binned. My study is going to be guest-ready by Friday, dammit!

    On the back of an old gas receipt: "True success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

    Any of you have a sangria recipe you'd recommend? (The ones in my cookbooks aren't inspiring me.)
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    Earlier this month, I finally got around to badgering my husband for the photos he'd taken when we were in Japan last fall. Today, I finally got around to uploading them. Here are two of the better ones...

    trees! fish! )
    nattering about stuff I need to do... )
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    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (feather)
    mechaieh )

    laments for makaris )



    Peter Viereck )



    My reality includes the fact that being underproductive makes me cross and mopey, and it's been that kind of day (and week, for that matter). That said, I did manage a number of chores and errands, which did include a stop at the bookstore, where I caught sight of this week's Economist cover and burst out laughing (no, not nice of me at all. Alas). Also, Green Man Review gave the The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature a rave review, and my copies of Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writings from Rising Generations arrived today (the anthlogy includes my poems “Rosh Hashanah,” “A Prayer,” and “A Whisper").

    Sparing not your faculties... sing anyhow. Onwards.




    ETA: oh, right, this started with a meme a couple of screens ago... Tagging (but only if they want to be...) ... [livejournal.com profile] busaikko, [livejournal.com profile] musigneus, [livejournal.com profile] xanthophyllippa, [livejournal.com profile] qrssama, [livejournal.com profile] athenakt, [livejournal.com profile] qe2, [livejournal.com profile] suedejesus, and [livejournal.com profile] retrobabble. (With some of you, I've my guesses, but I don't actually know...)

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