Thursday, November 29, 2007

Walking Side by Side

When I was a kid, Mother did her best to shelter me from the hardships of life. She really loved me and wanted to make my life as pain free as she could. Sadly, this isn't always possible. Even sadder is that, sometimes, it isn't the best way to bring up our children. Life is hard and that hardship toughens us and makes us better prepared for the next struggle we will encounter. My father knew this and was often frustrated with my mother's over sheltering of me. I'm sure it was the cause of many arguments between them. There was one time however, that Dad has his way and I'm the better for it.

In the late 60's backpacking became popular as a vacation activity. My folks decided to take my sister and me to Colorado and we spent a couple of summer vacations in the San Juan Wilderness area. The summer I was 17 my family decided to see the continental divide and view the start of the Rio Grande River. I wasn't as physically prepared for this journey as I should have been. But, we didn't have anyone at the base came to leave me with and I really wanted to go. So my parents, with some misgivings, helped me assemble my pack and off we went.

We took the narrow gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton and then headed out into the wilderness. At some point early in the hike we came to a mountain which wasn't climb worth but was steep enough that it had many switchbacks on the path up it. This turned what might have been less than a 3 mile hike into a very difficult 5 miles. With 25 additional pounds on my back, and being very out of shape, I became exhausted quickly. About half way up I sat down in the middle of the trail and wanted to quit. It didn't help that all around us were some younger boy scouts running up and down the incline. I was tired!

Dad had a goal in mind for the day and it didn't include camping in the middle of the path. He also knew I had been allowed to quit too many times and would do so if given the chance. This wouldn't work for us. I know he was very concerned. He also realized that yelling at me, his usual response, wouldn't help here. So, for the first time in my life, Dad took charge of my upbringing.

He sat down beside me and we talked. He told me he knew I was tired and that the path was steep. He also said he knew I could do this hike. I almost certainly expressed my doubts about this. He promised me he would be with me every step of the way. Then he told me his plan. We were going to sit there for a few minutes and let me catch my breath. Then we were going to stand up and walk 100 steps. When we got to 100 we would stop and, still standing, rest for a minute or two to catch our breaths again. Then we would walk another hundred steps. Then once again we would stop and catch our breaths. We would do this the entire way up that path. And so we did. Dad may have held my hand during the first few hundreds, but soon I found it easier to walk without his hand in mine. And you know what? When we reached the top I flew down the other side. I felt awesome!

That was the first and only lesson my father was ever allowed to give me in perseverance, but it stuck with me. When I was in the Navy Reserve and had to take a fitness test, it came into use. I was again out of shape and had to run 1.5 miles in something under 17 minutes. This shouldn't have been hard, but for a sedentary person it was very difficult. To prepare for this I found a fitness program that I could do inside my apartment. It included running in place for a short period of time and then slowing to a walk and then running some more. Sounds similar to the 100 steps doesn't it? I did this program for two weeks before I was able to run nonstop for 6 minutes.

When the test time came around I ran with my best friend and her boyfriend; nothing helps you stay motivated like companionship. Because she knew about my training program, we ran in bursts when necessary. One hundred steps, then walk, run another hundred, and then walk again. As we moved forward I started increasing the steps. It reached the point where I was running 300 steps at a time. I passed the test with flying colors!

When it was all done, I remembered my experience with Dad. That night I called him up to thank him for that lesson in perseverance. It is one of my best memories of Dad and I love him dearly for it. Throughout my life that lesson has been useful. It helped me pass college algebra. It helped me keep on trying when all I could see was failure in my future. It will help me over the next hill. So, when I hear about parents who get frustrated because their kids won't cooperate, I remember my Dad and determine that if there is one thing I want to pass on to my future students it will be that lesson he gave me so many years ago. Don't quit! And I'll do it the way he did it, not by dragging me along, but by walking with me, side by side.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Keeping JS Company!

Now that JS has taken the Dante's Inferno test I can breath a sigh of relief and post my results. I got Purgatory too, although I am somewhat lustful. Well, thank goodness, I'd hate to have a boring life. I wonder what those last two creatures are.

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Sunday, November 25, 2007


San's friends have been having fun, she joined in and decided to tag a whole list of folk, including me. :) I'm glad to tag along so...

Two names you go by (besides your given names)?
1) Rinkydink (my dad's nickname for me when I was a child)
2) Sunshine (nickname given by an old flame)

Two things you are wearing right now?
1) Timex Expedition wristwatch
2) Green knit top w/ cowl neck which is one of my favorite winter tops

Two longest car rides?
1) San Antonio, TX to Asheville, NC. It was the first vacation my ex and I took when we were married.
2) The trip to my first boarding school. I was kind of nervous, it would be my first long stay away from home.

Two of your favorite things to do:
1) have a good massage (it's been a while)
2) give a good massage (this too hasn't been done in a while) :(

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1) a digital camera
2) a good nap to get rid of my headache

Three animals you have or have had:
1) Sissy Puppy Paws - dog my parents had when I was a child
2) Sam the Siamese - first cat, also when I was a child
3) Hyram & Hooboo - cats I have now

Three things you ate today:
1) breakfast at church consisting of a donut, a banana, and coffee
2) coffee before church along with several daily pills
3) it's too early for me to have eaten anything else

Two things you are doing tomorrow:
1) See my PC
2) wash some clothes

Two favorite holidays:
1) Christmas
2) Thanksgiving

Two favorite beverages:
1) Coffee with Irish Cream
2) Glass of cold milk (w/ Oreos)

I tag: Susan Palwick
David at authorblog
anyone else who wants to play along.

Weekend Wandering Response: Answer My Cellphone Where?!

David McMahon, in his Weekend Wandering post asks the following question: Have you ever answered or made a call on a cellphone while you were in a toilet? (Or even wanted to and thought better of it!)

My first thoughts were, why the cellphone? You can do this on regular portable home phones too. But perhaps it was asked about cell phones because they have a much better pickup on their microphones since they are often used in noisy areas like airports, restaurants, or moving cars.
Then I wondered why he'd ask something so personal. Maybe it was a guys question? Whatever the reason, I don't spend that much time on my cellphone but as a subject for a discussion on phone etiquette it is excellent. So, here's my answer.

If it is a business call it won't last long enough for this type of incident, and I certainly wouldn't pick it up unless I was headed out of the necessary. Just call back quickly and apologize, explaining you were busy. If it was a friend I'd also decline to pick up until I was headed elsewhere, this is assuming a public location. If I'm at home however, it's a different case. My best friends tend to call and talk for a really long time, sometimes two hours or more. If I need to do that kind of thing, especially if it is their dime, I just discretely let them know or find a way to let it not be known. They've certainly done the same thing to me. I'd rather embarrass myself by acknowledging a bodily function than to be rude to a friend who'd called and ask to interrupt our conversation.

And now I'm going to try that method Terry told us about to make a backlink. If it works this will be all the notification you get. If it doesn't I'll have to comment elsewhere. Update: It worked! :) Yay, Terry!!!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Good Use for Solitude

It was my turn to do Morning Prayer (MP) today. I like doing it because it helps me start the day, or the week, right. At my church, it's usually a solitary event. That's because we do it early in the morning and no one in their right mind would think of getting ready for work early just to attend. At least not if they weren't the officiating LEM.

The weather is cold and nasty down here this weekend. We have rain and temperatures in the low 40's. Inside the sanctuary, although it was nice and warm, I couldn't completely escape the weather. During the service I would hear the rain picking up force as it beat a soft tattoo on the roof. It was a quiet, intermittent reminder that it was just me and God in there.

When I do MP there's a set pattern I follow. Upon entering the alarm needs to be turned off. Then I walk down the hall and turn on the sanctuary lights. These take a while to come fully on so, while that's happening, I walk a circuit of the sanctuary turning off the outside lights. Then it's into the vesting room for a copy of the prayer list. That in hand, I head over to the acolytes bench, drop my gear on the cushions, and set up the books for the service (it takes 3). Once that's done, I go back into the hall, get the matches, and light the candles. Just before starting, I kneel at the altar railing for a moment to collect my thoughts.

After MP is done, I backtrack turning off the sanctuary lights and signing the log book on the way out. Today however, it was my Altar Guild team's turn to do set up. They weren't going to be at the church till later. I didn't really know when they were arriving because Carol Ann forgot to tell me. She just asked if I could help with the 8:00 AM service.

Because the weather was nasty, I wasn't thrilled about the idea of driving home and coming back. I'm still in training and not supposed to do anything unsupervised, but Carol Ann had said she has faith in me. So today I broke from that routine. We have a notebook with very complete instructions and I decided to step my way through them to see if I could figure things out. Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I do better when I'm all on my own. Such was the case today.

So, after I put out the candles I'd lit for MP, I opened the sacristy and got started. First, I went down the list and took out everything I knew how to find. Then, I went looking and found the other stuff. After that, I started putting it all together. If you've ever done altar guild then you already know that you have to count wafers, measure water and wine, put together chalices, and lay out cloths and other paraphernalia. By going up and down the list several times I think I got everything done and in the right place. The only confusing part came when I couldn't remember which direction North and South were. I had to use my watch compass to figure out where to put the boxes of hearing devices. This all took me a little under two hours.

The home communion kits were left for someone else to do. I've never done them and by this time I was getting pretty hungry. There is also this huge robe/poncho thing (I don't remember what it's called) that the priest wears during communion. That was supposed to be placed over the rail. I forgot to do that, but I've seen it done just before service too so I'm not worried. I left a note telling whoever showed up what was done and to please double check my work. Then I went home.

It gave me a warm feeling thinking someone might have some extra time for themselves because the work was done. I hope there wasn't anything that needed fixing. And now, if I did it all correctly, I can say, "I'm trained." (G) Or at least in the major part of it. I should still learn how to do the home kits but that can come later. Happy Saturday all!


Friday, November 23, 2007

Shawl Pictures

JS and her family invited me to Thanksgiving dinner at their place. I had a great time. My contribution to the meal was green bean casserole. One set of grandparents was visiting so I got to meet some of her family. We all played games, ate a great meal, and watched the Detroit - Green bay game.

Between games of memory tiles and dominoes, JS broke out the kids digital cameras and took some pictures of me in the shawl Susan made. I'm not that photogenic but I hope the shawl shows up nicely.

These were taken in their kitchen using two different cameras. I need to see if I can't get me one like theirs. The nice thing about the kids cameras, besides the price, is they plug into the computer using a USB cable. No fancy card reader to buy. That would work really well for me. Earlier this year I bought a USB cable so that I could use my new pocket drive. I have an older machine which doesn't have front port access.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the shawl's color is hard to describe. It changes depending on how you are looking at it. That's the reason it looks like two different shades of blue in the upper and lower picture. The vanity in me wishes I'd spent a little more time primping before we took them. Oh well, we can't look good all the just isn't like that.

So there you are! The shawl and me. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Shawl and Ohmygosh!

Yesterday, Christmas came early. The shawl Susan knitted for me arrived. It came in this big box and I rushed inside with it. Upon opening it the first thing I saw was 2 kitty toys. Susan had graciously thought of my feline family and included gifts for Hyram and Hooboo. Next was this large, silky, purple bag of lavender. Wonderful fragrance surrounded me! Finally a layer of tissue and there was the shawl, lying neatly folded beneath it. It's a beautiful blue with hints of green and lavender. The exact shade is hard to label because Susan used a variegated yarn which creates a unique blend. When I put it on it fit nicely around my shoulders with a little extra to hold onto. The whole thing has a nice feel to it and the pattern she used gives it substance. With the shawl wrapped around me I went to view myself in the mirror. Women in shawls look ladylike and romantic. I'm delighted!

With the shawl still around me, no way was I taking it off, I sat down to open the kitty toys. They came with catnip to put inside. The first one was a frog and once assembled I tossed it to Hooboo, who'd been napping in front of the sofa. He bounced up, looked at it suspiciously, took a good sniff, grabbed it, and immediately rolled over on his back where he tried to dismantle it with his hind feet. OK...that was a success! (g) Then I put the lamb together and took it into Hyram who was sleeping on top of my chest of drawers. Waking him gently I put the toy in front of him. He sniffed it and kept on sniffing. Then he started giving it some licks along with those, "oh this smells wonderful" sniffs. Success with kitty gift number two! (g)

The bag of lavender has ties which are loops of ribbon, so it was meant to be hung pomander style. Into the closet it went. Now my clothes will smell wonderful and soothing. Susan tells me lavender discourages moths so I'm doubly glad for the bag.

With the shawl still on, although pushed a bit higher because, as Susan suspected, it's a bit warm for my climate right now, I sat down to email her. Then I wrote a couple of friends to brag about how lovely it looked. JS has agreed to help with the digital photos. So, I'm taking it with me to her place for Thanksgiving. If the pictures are clear I'll post them when I get home.

In the mean time, I'd like to thank Susan once again for her amazingly generous gift of time, effort, and love. When it comes to friends, I am blessed to count her as one!

Peace! Hope! & Joy! and Happy Thanksgiving!


I forgot to mention the lovely card Susan included with the gifts. (sheepish grin) That was a gift in itself. It was practically a letter as she used both sides of the card to write. The front of it has this lovely artwork that looks like a hand painted watercolor. It was signed by the artist. Of course she wished me well in it and sent love for me and mine. Care directions for the shawl were included. The thing that dropped my jaw was that she even gave me a guarantee. If the shawl ever falls apart she has promised to knit me a new one. Wow! Susan, I love you too!!! Thank you!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

My All-Time Favorite Quiz

Everybody seems to be posting links to quizzes to take. They come up with really great ones. But, a long time ago I took a test that just had me laughing in delight. It was the How Old is Your Inner Child? quiz on Quizilla. There aren't many questions in it. The answers allow you to use your imagination. You feel good about yourself at the end. How much better could a quiz get? So, to take the quiz go here.

How Old is Your Inner Child?

My inner child is six years old!

Look what I can do! I can walk, I can run, I can read! I like to do stuff, and there's a whole big world out there to do it in. Just so long as I can take my blankie and my Mommy and my three best friends with me, of course.
Take this quiz!

Friday, November 16, 2007

And Now the Results of the Movie Test

This one I took three times. Each time was longer than before and each time got different results. Apparently my answers are borderline. The first time I took it the results said, Wuthering Heights. The next time they said, Schindler's List. The last time was with 45 questions and you can see the results below. A lot of the questions on this test and the previous one are the same. If you get bored with repetition take them in a short version.

My Results on the Leaders Test

You can take this test in various lengths. I took it twice. The first time it had 27 questions, the next time it had 45. Both times the results were the same. I knew I was a perfectionist, didn't know Gandhi was one.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pleasant Things to Come Home To

Wow, while I was out working everyone else was home happily blogging away. San put up 2 wonderful posts each accompanied by an exquisite painting. David shared one of the best pictures I've seen on his blog.

What was I doing for work? Not much and it lasted less than an hour. A company I do business with is doing advertising research and I was asked to sit in on a focus panel. There were 3 of us in this particular group. We talked about the company and then discussed some ads and how we felt about them. It was kind of fun. I've taken online surveys before but this was my first live panel. For my time and opinions I got paid very well. More than I'd make for a full day of substitute teaching. This was a pleasant experience and I'd be glad to do it again.

Looking over at JS's blog I see she has been posting tests again. Looks like there are two more I need to take. Movies and World Leaders huh? This should be interesting. (G)


Two New Links

Two new links have been added to my sidebar.

One is under Photography labeled Nick Brandt. I discovered his work while stumbling. Brandt does some amazing photographs of animals. If the link doesn't work for you please let me know. I use Firefox and have to open it in IE Tab mode because it uses Macromedia Flash.

The other one belongs to a new friend, David McMahon's authorblog. David's blog is one of the friendliest out there. He's a journalist/author/photographer who, in addition to keeping us entertained with his photographs and fun sense of humor, tries to help others find success in doing the same things he does so well. Now that's a nice guy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Took the What kind of Liberal are You? Quiz

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

That rather surprised me. I'd known I wasn't in favor of our present involvement but I also thought I was more ecologically oriented than I am. So sure of my own self determination was I that I tried the test several times changing one or two answers each time. The results were still the same. Oh well, I guess peace might save us tons of money so that we could start using it towards healing the ecosystem.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Response to Weekend Wandering

David McMahon of authorblog asks the following question: How would you cope if you had no way to use the Internet for a week?

You mean after I went frantic? The web is my chosen tool for communication, banking, bill paying, appointment setting, entertainment, and encyclopedia. Sometimes it is even my muse in that it gives me ideas on what to write about. When my computer goes down I rush to get it fixed. This isn't as easy as it once was. My favorite computer guru is often too busy to deal with my problems anymore. Thank goodness I have a nice stable machine.

If I couldn't do the things I do on the web I'd have to revert to the old fashioned methods. I'd pick up my phone and call people, maybe drive over to see them face to face. I'd pay bills by check and postage. I might have to go to the store to buy things I needed. Life wouldn't be as quickly accomplished as it is now. Things might slow down. I'd have to plan ahead more. Paying by web is instant, by snail mail isn't and you have to trust the generosity of companies to honor the postage dates. Thankfully most companies still honor those. To get entertained I'd have to read, something I do anyway, or watch TV. It used to be considered graceful and gracious to communicate by hand written letters and cards. In many cases it still is. I'd miss the frequency of emails from friends so I think my phone bill might rise or my calling hours would change (cell anytime minutes).

Would I like being webless? No! Could I manage? Yes, I was born when there wasn't any web. Would I be happy? That's hard to say. I worked for many years in the Information Processing industry. Some of my friends use me as a resource to tell them how to do things on their computers that I learned many years ago. Its a source of interaction but not our only one. My friend might be just as frustrated as I would be. Conversation would probably focus on the sudden lack of web.

Mind you the question was only for a week. If the webless state extended beyond that the communications industry might have to step into the hole and create the ways of using technology that we now take for granted. Imagine AT&T providing camera phones when we are used to doing that for ourselves on our computers. Video calls would be very expensive. The world might have to get innovative with other forms of technology...satellites might get more usage than they do now. Would TVs get cameras? In all of the technology questions this is raising in my mind one thing that has nothing to do with technology stands out. Would people be more polite to each other if instant gratification through the web was no longer available?

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Aural Memories - 100 words

Saved messages on the answering machine. Message one, "Atta girl!" My old friend deby. Now deceased but long remembered. Voice gravelly. Just like mine. Total approval. No qualifiers. Guarded like it was gold! Message two, "Lee, this is Abbie McLennon, You're Lay Eucharistic minister for Sunday. This is your first time. Congratulations!" Shy smile. Someone noticed. Also treasured. The memory of a mile stone. The start of service. Aural memories. Wishing for a way to preserve them against possibility of loss. Praise digital clarity, they're as clear as the day they were recorded. Synaptic responses bring visual memories. Smiling heart.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Celtic Mass Impressions - 100 words

Celtic Mass, different, meaningful, wonderful prayers. So many prayers. Anglican Rosaries come to mind. Trying to fit phrases with beads, now being seen in some songs, wondering, "Will cadence work?" Songs, soloist, synergy. Efforts with others to make harmony from strange melodies. Four gates open to usage. Four directions to go in and go out. Which direction will I take? Will you be there? Friend. Circle. Reaching up. Bread served with love. Quenching wine. Five priests, five servants, five sayers. One speaker with humor. One voice from another land, enchanting, encouraging. Beautiful face, harmonious spirit which calls. Soul reaching out.

Monday, November 05, 2007

In Support of Right Brain - Left Brain

JS's post of the Right Brain - Left Brain test really got me thinking. I went to the website and played with the spinning image and the text. What I found out was that if I looked at the text on the side of the page and let my brain become aware of the spinning image out of the corner of my eye I could occasionally see a change in the direction of spin. This intrigued me enough to try it several times. I wasn't always successful. It seems that the more I tried to look at the image the more right brained I became. But if I worked at reading the text I became left brained. That will probably be food for thought later. Surely this has something to do with how children learn to read and maybe there are ways to use the right brain - left brain thing to help them be more successful at it.

This morning on "Meditations for Women" the weekly article was about, you guessed it, being right brained or left brained. The article told of a story the author had read about how a woman who worked out of her home had found her daughter's art supplies in the kitchen before she went to her office and started to work. She sat down and started playing with the glitter, markers and other supplies for about 30 minutes. Then she got up and went into her office and started to work. At the end of the day she was amazed at how much she had gotten done. The creative activity at the beginning of the morning had helped her kick into full right brain mode. She decided to do it every morning and she attributed her success to the practice of 30 minutes of creative activity. The author of the article said she tried the same thing with similar results. She also commented that a friend of hers who is very creative and needs to be more analytical will do something structured...she counts tiles in the ceilings when she needs to turn on the logic juices.

So...maybe that is something I can use in my work. Maybe you can too. I wonder if writers, like my friend Susan, do this kind of thing when they get writers block? There may be entire studies out there on how to use strategies to activate the necessary side of your brain when you need it. If so I haven't read them, but I can see the potential. Yet another sign of being right brained. (G)

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Update on Pete's Pond

While sharing this link with a friend I discovered that you can change the viewing mode. I'd been seeing greenish night stuff. When you put your cursor over the screen of the webcam a couple of icons pop up. You can then select Real Theatre mode. This mode lets you do full screen or you can set it for small size and then stretch the view. I also get better color in theatre mode. Instead of the weird green lighting I get shades of brown. Worth trying. I can't wait for tomorrow morning to check on the daytime view.


A Gift That's Kept on Giving

Earlier this year, my sister gave me a subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine. It has turned out to be a blessing. Coming out only every two months, this thin magazine has between its covers articles from Thomas Moore who wrote Care of the Soul, suggestions on how to open yourself up to the spiritual moments in your life, ways to live healthier, goals for a better life, all of that and more. The latest edition just arrived and among the titles are an article on How to Die Laughing and another on how to relieve stress. I'm going to focus on the relieving stress.

The very short quarter page article is entitled, "Feeling Stressed? Peek at These Wildlife Webcams". I've looked at web cams before. Some of them are very interesting. We have several in San Antonio that can be accessed via the web. One notable one here in town gives you a view across the center of downtown. The city's webcams however, don't show wildlife. They often show haze. Animals are so much more fun.

The webcams listed in the article totaled nine. Not all of them worked. Here are the ones that did work.

Pete's Pond is from the National Geographic website. When I accessed it there was lots of green, bird and animal sounds. From the shaking of the camera, I suspect an animal was rubbing up against it. Shortly I saw some kind of deer arrive to drink.

The Outer Bay Cam was the next one that would work. I saw lots of fish swimming in water that was tinted pinkish purple by the light. Some of them were sharks. Sharks swim in a beautiful lazy manner until they need to move fast. It can be mesmerizing.

The Tiger Cub Cam at the National Zoo is full of information on the tigers. Although the tigers weren't active when I visited the website they will be at other times. There are plenty of other animal cams there also.

The Sandhill Crane cam is temporarily offline but will be up again early next year thanks to National Geographic.

The Wolf Cam at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport,TN is pretty. I didn't see any wolves when I visited but there are probably select watching times.

The Peregrin Falcon Cam at the Standard & Poor Building in Manhattan was offline. They promise to be back online next spring. I've been to that cam when it was online. Yes you can see real falcons.

For a generally fun time and lots of animals at almost anytime of day I recommend Pete's Pond. If there is technology in the classroom I eventually teach in I'll take my students on a safari to Africa and let them write about what they see. Mixing science and geography with writing. Yes!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Moving Days!

We are moving the church services back into the sanctuary today. The repairs are almost done and the pews and carpeting look so much better. There is still some painting going on so the place smells a bit like paint but that will be gone shortly.

Altar Guild members came in and started to work getting the place clean and ship shape as early as 9 AM. When I got there about 10 AM there were a couple of people at work. More showed up slowly. I think every one will be trickling in all day as their individual time allows.

So far we've dusted the pews and woodwork including the altar, narthex and southex shelves, the pipe organ, and the window rails. The kneeling pillows have been put back in place around the altar rail. While all of this was going on our sextant was vacuuming. A good start has been made towards putting books back into the pews. Even our pastor showed up to put his garb back into the correct closet and make sure all his shawls and what not are in the right place. From the way things are going we should be all moved back in by day's end. Tomorrow a team will be setting up for Sunday services in the sacristy. They will enjoy having a ceiling fan in there. It makes it much more comfortable.

Our flags have been put back on their poles and will be in place by the time the 8 AM service rolls around. Our Altar Guild head is ex military, as am I, and we worked at getting those symbols back on correctly. She had taken them home and washed them. It was a trip down memory lane watching her roll the flags and take a pair of scissors and trim off the occasional "Irish pennant". I've no idea why loose string ends are called that, I learned the name in the military.

You can already tell how much better the sanctuary looks. The woodwork gleams. Working on the sanctuary makes you feel good. When you get down on your hands and knees to dust inside the trays that hold the hymnals you learn a lot about the pews you sit in every Sunday. I'd never given them much thought before today. Now I know where all the dust nooks and crannies are and which legs weren't completely bolted to the floor. I also know which pew has a small slit in the wood where two boards were pieced together. Usually there is a nice glue plug, but for some reason there wasn't one on one pew. I don't think it affects anything. It is just that I know it's there and will always wonder about it. After all the work I did in there today it feels more like home, like I own a piece of it. I have vested labor in it and have come away rewarded.

On Sunday morning, I'll show up a little early because my team is doing set up for this weekend. I was asked if I could help on Wednesday night when we are holding a Celtic Mass. This is a really big deal and we want everything to be perfect for it. I have friends who may be coming into town to see this so I had to give a tentative "no." But if they cancel on me, as they did the last time I invited them, then I'll definitely show up to help.

Tomorrow I'm headed over to a friend's house to help her family clean up after their move to an apartment. This is only the first of several moves they will be making over the next few years. I don't envy them the task of packing up again and again. The only good thing about that is you get to keep your clutter to a minimum if you are smart about it. I may be moving myself in April. I need a less expensive apartment and will probably be ready to find one by then. A couple of weeks ago I signed a new lease on the one I'm presently living in. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Rents are going up in San Antonio and the new lease kept my rent from rising drastically. So, if you dislike moving and all that unpacking as much as I do please keep me in your prayers. It would be really nice to not have to move.

All grumbles about moving aside, there have been some good things that came out of my church's temporary move out of the sanctuary. We learned the joys of coziness when doing the Healing Eucharist service on Wednesday nights in the church library. We also learned the pleasure of standing in a line and walking up to our pastor to receive communion instead of him going around the rail. We had the joy of sidewalk cafe dining while the weather was nice. Now we will be able to enjoy once again the wonderful meals our breakfast teams prepare for us every Sunday morning. Change is life and sometimes, life can be good!