Saturday, August 01, 2015

Vice and virtue

My worst vice is anger.  Loud, obscene anger.

Second worst: ingratitude.

Best potting shed shot I have at the moment. From a rainstorm in May.
Rain has been rare enough to celebrate with photos.

This garden shed was one of my first loves in buying this house.  Turned out, it was roof-caved and rotted, and termite-destroyed, to the point that it was --not hyperbole-- held up only by its siding.

So it's in process of repair.  It's taking forever.  Everything has been shoved into the greenhouse potting-shed part, to let the workers work.  Their job is hard and brutal in this heat.  Whatever they need to do, they should do.

But if I had known it would be this big a job I would not have started any plants for this year.

My gratitude is way lower than it should be.  In a world of slipshod work and charlatans, we've found the best contractor and the best crew on earth.  We can afford it (at least, we can now that Larry has spent months doing the inside framing, by himself and saved probably $thousands).

Using the potting shed was doable until the insulation job, for which a few too many things got shoved into it, and the thousand pound, wheels-won't-roll-unless-powered-on mower took up too much space.  Insulation complete, I wrestled the thing back out, loudly damning it to fires of hell, because I wanted -- not needed, just wanted -- the much easier water source of the sink.


I am angry at this heat.  I am angry at having to get water that isn't scalding, to come out of hoses, angry at the highly temporary loss of sink access.  My anger at this lawnmower came close to getting it put out on the curb for anybody to take.

My virtue is, I guess, perseverance, because I decided it was my problem to solve, and I solved it.  I got it out.  No it does not really weigh a thousand pounds, but unwieldy and un-rollable as it was, it sure seemed to.  And I guess my sign is polite enough not to offend the crew, God, I hope, because they are working in hot, cramped conditions.


I could go into the subject of the gasket-blowing heat, tedium, AND gallons of wasted water in this drought, that are involved in using the outside hoses and hauling water for dozens of plants, but.....that's the Executive Summary.

Some self-discovery going on, too.  I have always thought I would make a great post-apocalyptic survivor, living off any grid, managing water and shelter and food like a Caroline Ingalls on steroids.  But if growing plants and accessing water is this hard for me now, when water comes right out of any faucet I turn.....that does not say anything good about what I thought would be my positive attitude in the face of hardship.

The endless indoor environment problem with Graymatter the Psychotic Cat is making my days difficult, and making indoors unpleasant, so some immature part of me feels entitled to have my way in my attempts to garden.

Right now, I kind of feel like I suk.



Scooter is a better Person than I am, since lack of access to the potting shed affected him too, but he behaved better about it.....oh.  Wait.  He did poop on our bed.  This project has royally screwed up most of his yard access and joy in life.  He deserves happiness more than anybody I know, or at least as much as my poor hardworking spouse does.  Despite not liking myself much for how angry the shed-clearing made me, I can feel good that Scooter has now got access to his birdwatching corner again.

I don't know. It's all some kind of Opportunity For Growth.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Paint out the stars




2014 was a peaceful year.  I'm talking outer peace, not necessarily inner peace, but nobody's Facebook Sunrise Placard saying "outer peace is worthless without inner peace" is gonna change my mind:  a whole year low on personal tragedy, conflict, and anxiety is very wonderful, even while I am still processing a lot of unresolved and unexplained stuff, as well as loss.

Another funeral came into our lives, a friend of Dad's, and here's where I break a former promise ;  I was absolutely not going to talk about Episcopal church division anymore.  When I said that, it never occurred to me that I didn't know everything.  

My parents were so involved in this parish, such huge givers to, and supporters of, it that their names are on a plaque in the fellowship hall.  Seeing the blasted thing is like remembering something good that's lost.

Not just because I have lost them, but because the Episcopal Church in SC is torn, and it tore at them.

The church was foundational for them.  They freakin' met at the Episcopal university club.  They were serious about it.  They taught Sunday School (they taught teenagers! I mean, that's dedication), they led study groups, they served on Vestries and as Wardens, they served on search committees and Dad founded a group to feed hungry kids.

Then the denominational unity began to erode. They kept their marital unity together, love and hurt coexisting, but their Episcopal unity came to a painful and ragged end when the splitting process began.  Mom passed in 2010, and the official division wasn't till 2012, but their parish, with many other SC parishes, took preliminary steps in earlier years, and my folks were vocally and tearfully on opposite sides.

I wrote long ago that I would not attend that church after Dad was gone.  This funeral was my first service there since Dad's funeral in August 2013.

People came up to me repeatedly to tell me how much they loved my parents, and miss them, and I kept thinking,

Dear lady! what would happen to your heart if my mom had lived long enough to reveal the level of her anger over this church breaking with TEC?  You remember my "parents" as a church unit.  Like that plaque says.

These are good people.  I have no doubt that they would still love both my parents, and that they would, if technically, admire the integrity that Mom and Dad each had to stand up and be counted.

What really blew me away is that I don't think any of them know that the plaque honors only the past, a time dead and gone, a time when they were all in this together. 

I swore off of this subject years ago.  The problem is, I got some new information.

The 2012 split was (and is) big news in South Carolina.  Local papers interviewed people on both sides, lots of "feelings" journalism, and I read it all.

Then I wrote my own letter to the editor.

I told about my sense of loss, accused both sides of "cutting the baby in half," which, I said, left out in the cold those of us who can tolerate neither First Millennium science nor Third Millennium skepticism.

They printed my letter.

But I got a very interesting reply from a member of the local TEC church telling me I was misinformed.

I had assumed the parish my parents gave so much to for 27 years, the parish Larry and I were married in, had veered to the right with integrity;  that, though I disagreed with their beef and with the division, they were telling me solid, unambiguous truth about what TEC had done and said.

I'd sat through meetings with Dad, and read all the literature that came to the house.  So I wrote that letter based on the conservative Anglican sources, without doing my research, which is not like me.  And I got rightly put in my place.  Finally, I started doing some reading.  Duh.

TEC embraces a wide spectrum of views, from the symbolism-and-myth take on the Gospel story, to "credal" theology -- in line with the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds.   So far they are managing peaceful, if sometimes a little testy, coexistence.  An ability for all to freely jaw about interpretation, but worship together.

So, yes, they have not repudiated, defrocked, or excommunicated John Shelby Sponge (Yes, I know how to really spell it)  or others who call supernatural beliefs "baggage" we need to dump.  But the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are right there in the "What we believe" section of TEC's website.

And in the current prayer book.

And the catechism, which is also right there in the new, annoyingly gender-neutral, most recent Book of Common Prayer, basis of every church service that we alleged apostates attend, is traditional creed theology.

Thing is ;  this love of tolerance is NOT NEW.  TEC has drawn a wide circle for well over a hundred years.  It has affirmed "reason" as well as the Bible and Tradition, as the "three-legged stool" it rests on, since Richard Hooker in the 17th century, yo.  I was raised in it and never, ever was taught to be a Biblical literalist.  Back then, only boys could be acolytes, women had to cover their heads.  As those things fell away, objections happened, but never rose to an Article of Faith, division level.

Later - o yes, different story.  Stricter Anglicanism expanded. 

But nobody accused TEC of outright apostasy.  The wide circle that TEC drew to include a spectrum of belief, right or wrong, has been around for decades.

So why did the breakaway Anglicans say that TEC denied the basic tenets of the faith?

I don't know.  I know that one of the strongest and most destructive temptations in life is the temptation to lie about "the enemy" because you sincerely believe people are in peril and must, must  be steered away from it and toward your own camp; the belief that if you need to lie to save lives, or, in this case, souls, you should do it.

I can only guess that the breakaway group is THAT concerned about people getting damned to eternal punishment for non-celibate gay relationships.

I can further only guess that they seriously think that TEC's support of gay relationships is deceiving people into unwittingly consigning their souls to Satan.

The anti-gay stance will neither fly in a court, nor with the public.

Is this why they've made a claim against TEC for something much more fundamentally wrong?  Or do they really think TEC has changed on the articles of faith?

Apparently, at the last TEC General Convention, some group called for a vote that "Jesus is Lord," and the vote was refused.  I first read it in a conservative newsletter, which railed, aghast, that TEC could not!  would not affirm Jesus' Lordship, OMG!

Trouble is, that all that affirmation is right there in the still intact catechism and creeds.  The vote was refused because it was redundant and would have been followed by a series of "Further, I call for a vote on [Atonement!  Authority of Scripture!  Marriage!  yadda yadda],"  grinding the convention to a halt.

At that funeral, I spent 2 hours with people my parents loved, and who loved them, and felt like I was hiding my own division from these breakaway supporters, just as I was hiding the division between my parents, hiding the fact that my mother would have opposed their vote.

This is a lesson in boundaries.  I need to embrace the lesson.  I did not choose this battle.

I think that if the general population of the breakaway group knew how TEC does and would gladly embrace their Creed-lovin' thought and beliefs, they would not want this split either, no matter what they feel about gay rights.  The gay question does not need to be settled to keep a denomination together, it only needs to be recognized as a lesser issue than the beliefs that are the church's basis.

They've split families, they've split friends, they've stripped off the letters.  Each church seems to have dealt with the "Well, we're not them, but we're Episcopal, but not really, but...." signage differently.

One way is to paint out the stars.

I hope sincerity is driving them.  I hope it is not Pride of the worst kind. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Peace and happiness to everybody!



Having a quiet, simple celebration this year.  It's been a peaceful and good year. 

The treetopper came from my grandmother's home when she was young.  My guess is 1920's.  I always tuck it into the tree somewhere, but Spouse suggested using it as the topper this time, as it was intended.  I love it.  We did not put a bulb in that hole in the center.  We're doing low stress and don't wan to stress the star either.  8~)

Wishing a joyful turn of the year to everybody!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Red, white. Blue.






You knew this was coming, didn't you?

I've complained a lot about living here.  As we slowly empty the house to move to a place that's, in many ways, the inland home of our dreams, here I am.  Getting sad.

I haven't forgotten the minuses of living here.  Development is stripping away woods in every direction. The bike bridge brings tourists dumping trash, killing wildlife.  Thieves and intruders have become frequent.  Even as I took these photos of beauty I don't want to give up, the highway noise ground on and on, with varying pitches and decibels, peaking with motorcycle roars.

But living here was a gift from my parents.  It enabled us to survive this decade.  Their love for us is in these walls.

And our love for wildlife permeates this little patch of wood.  Larry especially has grown and nurtured the trees and garden, kept it chemical free, made it a haven for more birds than I can name, bees, garden spiders, dragonflies, little bugs of unknown name.  We've brought highway-trapped turtles here at least 8 times.  We've relocated more raccoons than I can count, 6 in an 8-day period last year.  The loss of woods has them crowded and seeking food, and we can take them to a couple different huge preserves.

We may not see a lot of those guys in the inland suburbs, though we did have a possum a few weeks ago.  8~)



Happy Fourth!
Still, I love the new house more and more.  We take boxes and unload, water plants, eat lunch, hang out, and it gets harder to leave there, but the cats are still here at the Inlet (moving them is a big worry), and we still need to be here to wrap things up.

Moving out of this Inlet house does not necessarily mean losing it.  We own half of it and it can't be sold to some twit who will clearcut to get a better view, without our OK.  Neither my bro. nor I can quite settle on what to do with it, but Larry and I put so much into it, the bond is there.

I bond with homes.  They shelter me and become inhabitants of my heart.

It's getting bare.  And after all my complaints, I confess, the sight makes me sad.


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

If you think global warming is not a problem


...then this guy we saw in the grocery store, whose cart I asked Larry to surreptitiously photograph (well done, love!), clearly knows something you don't.





Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear Valued Member: Bend over!

__________________________________________

PottervilleMegaBendOver
For All Your Insurance Needs!
Get the Peace of Mind that PottervilleMega brings!
______________________________________


June 18, 2014

Dear Valued Member,

     We're Going Paperless to serve You better!  You will no longer receive paper copies of your Explanation Of Insurance Benefits, telling you which recent medical services we decided to pay only 13 cents and a Big Smile for.  Instead....

     Visit our corporate web page for it!

     Yes!  You can receive your Explanation of Benefits online, without waiting a few extra days to get it in the mail, which we know means everything to you!  We also know how much you love to spend time on corporate websites!

     So go to PottervilleMegaBendOverInsurance.com and create an account!  It's easy!

     SIMPLY:
     Click "Hail Yes, I want desperately 
          to Create an Account!"

     Create a unique but respectable username,
          NOT using any sarcastic versions 
          of our company name
          (i.e., "PottervilleVictim," or 
          "I-Joined-PMBOI-and-all-I-got-
               was-this-lousy-migraine"
               etc. None of that, now.)

     Enter your 17-digit member number;

     Create a password of 8-16 characters, 
     containing:
          2 capital letters 
               (neither of which may 
               be the 1st character)
          1 to 3 symbolic characters
          and the name of any boy band!  [See Note 1]

     Choose and answer ANY THREE 
     of the following Security Questions:

          Latin name of your first illness?
          Name of any historic OTC drug 
               that later became a 
               prescription-only drug?
          What was your first circus souvenir?
          On what street did your father work 
               when you were 3 years old?
          Telephone number of your 
               first elementary school?
          Your 7th grade GPA?

     And You're done!

     Now You can see Your information any time, once You log in and wait for all nine animated slideshow items showing cheerful people, with great teeth, expressing delight over the joy of having one more corporate website in their lives, to finish playing, followed by a fade-in pop-up box showing Your site choices, with "View my account" at the bottom, off-screen until You scroll down! [2]

     If you prefer not to Go Paperless, simply go to our website, create an account, and choose 

     [  ] "I am an outdated, uncooperative jerk who cares nothing about saving PMBOI paper, postage, or the salaries of all the people we're laying off, which will not give me a premiums reduction, but will save trees and I hate trees, so please continue paper statements."

     It's that easy!  And there's no additional charge for all these cheery exclamation points which have put you in a happy, enthusiastic mood, haven't they?  Come on!  Let's see that smile!

Yours,
PottervilleMegaBendOverInsurance

_______

[1]   U2 is not a boy band.  We're tired of people trying to shortcut with this, so we've also disabled the use of "U" as your capital letter, if it is paired with the numeral "2".

[2]  The scroll-down function may not work on some browsers and devices.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

First


    What is unseen
     flows to what is unseen
     passing in part
     through what we partly see

          -  W. S. Merwin