Sacred Music Friday: Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace

Aled Jones, Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace. Courtesy of the good folks over at Unapologetically Episcopalian.

Molly Ivins

I really, really miss Molly Ivins. I wish she were around to provide her always refreshing perspective of the current theatrics in Washington and the presidential race. Thanks to Ann Fontaine on Facebook for this quote.

quoteSo keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

—Molly Ivins 1944-2007


Google Maps

I’m pretty annoyed with Google Maps as a navigation aid. It makes things much more difficult than need be.

When Terry first went down to see her sister in El Cajon Google maps took her through the back roads, even though it can be gotten to via freeway pretty much all the way.

The same is true when we wanted to go to meetings in the next town up the road: Terry to Weight Watchers and me to Toastmasters. It wanted to take us through back roads when there’s a very straightforward route taking a four-lane highway to the freeway and getting off at the second exit.

Likewise, when we went to a pow-wow at the Indian casino, the navigation on Google maps on my iPhone took us out around Robin Hood’s barn. (Remember that saying?)

I think we’re better off finding the location on a map and figuring out our own navigation.

Just sayin’.

Heroes and Legends

HeroesandLegendsHeroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature
Professor Thomas A. Shippey, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
If the course is not on sale, check back– the sale price will come around again

This is one of the most downright enjoyable of the many Great Courses that I have listened to.

Professor Shippey covers a wide range of heroes and heroines. He starts in the twentieth century with Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings and he end the course in the twenty-first century with Harry Potter. But in between he covers a wide range of heroes, near-heroes, and perhaps-heroes. (And please read “hero” here as a gender-neutral noun.) He discusses Odysseus, Aeneas, Beowulf, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Winston Smith from 1984, and James Bond. He talks about Guinevere, the Wife of Bath, Cressida, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Celie from The Color Purple, and Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series (The Girl With/Who…).

Shippey’s Scottish brogue, his Oxford don style of delivery, wit, and use of modern language to describe dialogue in stories like Beowulf or the Aeneid make this series a delight to listen to. His knowledge of today’s popular culture is comprehensive and impressive.

Shippey does describe many plots in detail, but this didn’t bother me. It was good to review the plots for those works I have read. For those I haven’t, I’m not likely to get to them given my massive to-be-read list, so the plot summary was welcome.

It was a delight listening to this lecture series.

what worship is about

Back in 1996 when I was exploring the Episcopal Church I visited St. Bede’s in Menlo Park. They had this printed in their worship folder:

quoteWe realize that navigating our forms of worship may be challenging for those unfamiliar with worship in the Episcopal Church…

A suggestion which may be helpful would be to consider that you are entering into a conversation between God and the faithful which began centuries before we were here and which will continue long after we are gone.

Just join in as you are — bearing with us as we are — and we will all be changed as we go!

I think that was key in helping me continue my Episcopal quest, and I still love it today.

I believe worship is richer when we stay aware of that thought.

Sacred Music Friday: The Lord Bless You And Keep You, another setting

This piece was my Sacred Music Friday just a couple of weeks ago. That was the John Rutter setting, which I like very much. My friend Cinnamon shared this version with me. It’s the setting that I was familiar with before the Rutter version became so popular. So while this is a repeat of sorts, I think you’ll enjoy it. This is Peter Lutkin’s setting, performed by the group Octarium.

my slow cooker

I have had my slow cooker for a very long time. I can’t tell you exactly how long, but I had it when Terry and I got (back) together in 1991. If it didn’t come with me from Oklahoma in 1985, I must have purchased it shortly after crockpotarriving in the Bay Area. I am glad that it is still going strong, because today’s slow cookers are very different. For one thing, they cook much hotter. You know, food safety, lawyers, and product liability issues. (Which is why I was surprised when someone on my Yahoo kitchen appliances group said the electronic ones apparently switch off after a maximum of eight hours. Speak of food safety issues. Some people cook overnight in their slow cookers, as Terry does with oatmeal in the winter.)

The good folks over at the kitchn ran an article entitled 5 Signs It’s Time for You to Get a New Slow Cooker. They list:

  1. The cord is wrapped in fabric.
  2. The insert is attached to the base.
  3. There’s a big gap between lid and insert.
  4. It’s too big (or too small) for your needs.
  5. It’s not heating up properly.

I am happy to say that none of those things apply to my slow cooker. I’m delighted for it to just keep on going.

place it on the mantel, pass on the mantle

One of the things I like about Mignon Fogarty, the Grammar Girl, is that she admits when she makes a mistake. In fact, she sometimes writes a whole article about it.

That’s what she did when she when she wrote “mantle” when she meant to write “mantel.” She wrote a piece about how to remember when to use which spelling.

GrammarGirlShe writes that a “mantle” is what a king wears or what you pass on when continuing a dynasty. A “mantel” is what is above the fireplace. I have to admit that if I knew that there were two different spellings I had forgotten that a long time ago. We had a mantel in our house in Gilroy. I am likely to have written about it using the wrong spelling.

Mignon says that the two words have the same root, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary the roots are different.

As for that mnemonic device, it’s kind of silly. I’ll let you read the article if you’re interested. Besides, it’s worth your time to visit the Grammar Girl site.

a practical use for the smart phone (and appreciating Rocca’s Market)

The public radio program Science Friday recently interviewed Sherry Turkle, the author of the book Reclaiming Conversation. The book discusses what we all know: that smart phones and social media are keeping us from talking to each other.

I like the fact that my brother is fairly strict about the rule that smart phones are to be put away when the family gets together for breakfast on Saturday, except to share the occasional photograph. We actually talk. What a concept.

I have noticed recently, though, that there is one time the smart phone comes in handy. That is when you are standing in line and the transaction in front of you is taking a long time. Maybe the person has a leaky milk carton that needs to be replaced, or perhaps they have a return. I can look down at my smart phone and scroll through Facebook to indicate that I am not impatient or irritated.

Our formerly local Rocca’s Market, up the road from our old home in Gilroy, put up this sign recently and thenPlease finish your cell phone conversation before approaching the Meat Counter. posted it to Facebook, asking customers what they thought. The majority of comments were very supportive.

Speaking of Rocca’s, when Terry read my blog last week about our grocery store experience down here, she quickly pointed out that I failed to mention Rocca’s when listing the grocery stores we shopped at in the Bay Area. I can’t imagine how I forgot them. Well, yes I can. I was blocking it out. Rocca’s was our small, locally-owned market with a full-service meat counter and a great wine selection where the owners and the meat department manager knew both Terry and me by name. There is nothing like that down here. We miss them.

Ah, but we’re here in Hemet now, and what I need to do is to look ahead and move forward. There is much to be done.

So onward.

on being a grammarian

It’s not what you think.

Two weeks ago I visited the Toastmasters meeting in the next town up the road. The local Toastmasters only meets twice a month and it’s an evening meeting. This one is weekly at noon. Seemed like the better option for both of those reasons.

ToastmastersI returned last week and turned in my application to join. They were shorthanded last week, so I agreed to accept the roles of grammarian and ah counter. In the official international rules these are two different roles, but this chapter combines them.

It is exactly as you would expect. The grammarian notes errors in grammar and the ah counter tabulates ah’s and um’s.

Those slots were again open for this week, so I agreed to reprise the role on Thursday.

I almost didn’t go last Thursday, but as my former work colleague Kimberly said to me, “You’re not going to network and find job contacts sitting at home.”

She’s right, and this chapter is a good group where I can learn a lot about developing public speaking and leadership skills.

Something new, different, and good.