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words, words, words

On Sunday, which may or may not be today depending on when you read this, I did something I never, ever thought I'd do; I gave the sermon at my church.

Keep in mind, my church is the UU, about whom at least one light bulb joke* has been written. It's that kind of church. When I explain why I am a Unitarian Universalists even though I am an athiest, my response is that I really like community, coffee, and casseroles. 

Anyhoo. I gave the sermon on Sunday. I have never, ever had a group of people listen so closely to what I was saying while simultaneously hoping for my success. It was awesome and humbling. 

Sadly, there is no podcast because we're not quite that organized. The sound engineer did give me a cassette tape of the service but I can't seem to get it to upload to the internet, no matter how close I hold it to the router.

I promised out-of-town friends that I'd put the hard-copy online. I'll put it after a cut, however, so that this post is of a manageable size.

I'll be back on Wednesday with an All! New! Figs!** Hope your new year is a happy one. And if you pick a word, let me know....


* Q: How many Unitarians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We choose not to make a statement either in favour of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is wonderful. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb. Present it next month at our annual Light Bulb Sunday Service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

** ETA: Um. Sorry. Figs will return next week. I was a little ahead of myself, as is usual.

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qotd, unpack this

"Why couldn't Helen Keller get a driver's license?"

"Because she was a woman."

-- Old joke, heard most recently on an old Prairie Home Companion joke show CD we got for the Boy for Christmas. So many levels to unpack here. And, also, so many good jokes on the disc. 

many things make a post

If your house is at all like mine, the next few days will be less than predictable. Rather than wait until Tuesday to post a "many things," I'm going to post it now. Given that there probably won't be any new content this week (unless there is), you'll have lots of time to read a link or two at your leisure. Happy holidays, y'all!

* Katha Pollit's list of charities. I'm looking at you, Fill the Shelves.

* My love for Alton Brown only grows.

* Really? This seemed like a good idea?

* Words fail me.

* I almost wish I didn't know about this because now I have to go.

* Librarian tattoos!

* NASA Gangnam Style.

* Om nom nom.

* Need some wonder?

* Sobering data.

* Need a laugh?

* You have to read through the whole post to grok the wonder.

* Science!

* The Year in Cheating.

* Misty watercolor memories...

qotd, in honor of the season

"...for many years, I have provided a service I call The Happy Jew Christmas. I come over to your house on Christmas Eve, full of good cheer and no subtext whatsoever. We hang out. I will tell you my jokes, or laugh hard at yours, and you can regale me with harrowing stories about your dysfunctional family, or the plots of all your favorite old movies. We can cook an elaborate meal, or pop a huge bowl of popcorn. We can listen to slurpy Christmas carols, or old Tom Lehrer albums. If we read The Lady's Not for Burning aloud, I will even let you play Jennet Jourdemayne. It's your holiday, after all. "

-- Ellen Kushner in Paul Cornell's 12 Blogs of Christmas: Day 6.

(This is another blast from the past - but it seems perfect for right now.)

pants is pants

On Monday, I took a sewing class from the Scientific Seamstress, who lives just over the hill from me in Delhi. We made pajama pants.* Given that I'm a relatively new sewer (sewstress?), I decided to start small and scale up from there.


Snapped (and stolen from) Melany, owner (and all-around wonder) of Project Anthologies.**

Here they are on their intended:


I made the hat, too. She's taken to wearing it as a nightcap. I don't know, either.

I'm wishing that I made the pants about an inch longer. Ah, well. Next time.


*which could theoretically be done in different fabric to make leaving-the-house type pants but I prefer my pants to have as much structure to them as is possible if other people will see me. So I stuck with the pajama idea.

** Yes, I need a haircut.

up with figs (rerun), mug shot

Once upon a time, Lisa and Adrienne worked for the same alternative newsweekly. Now, both spend their respective days mining their creative souls and leading hermit-like lives. And so an idea was hatched. Every week, one would send the other a sketch - either in illustration or word form - and the other would make a companion sketch. The result would be posted on both their blogs every week, just for grins. Even if the result isn't award-worthy, the exercise might make both minds more nimble. Hopefully.

Mug shot

‘Twas weeks before Christmas, when all through the house

Several creatures were stirring, including Larry, the louse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney by Claire,

In the hope that her boyfriend would put a ring in there.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,

But a wee little man who whispered, “All clear?”

And then in a twinkling she heard on the roof,

The thumping and banging, which meant she had proof.

He was dressed like a wino, from his head to his foot,

And his wifebeater was covered in ashes and soot.

His eyes, how they glowered! His lips, how they cursed!

And she knew from that moment that he wanted her purse!

The stump of a blunt he held tight in his teeth, 

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work,

Then sniffing the air, he turned, with a jerk.

He flew through the air like an arthritic old elf,

She reached out and grabbed him, in spite of herself.

Claire sprang to her phone, to give the cops a whistle,

They arrived at her door, like a heat-seeking missile.

“Off to the pokey!” the exclaimed as they drove out of sight.

“Merry Christmas to All! And to all a good night!”


Text ©Adrienne Martini; illustration ©Lisa Horstman. Until the end of time. Or something.

many things make a post

* In case you needed four different versions of "Rocky Top," which I did.

* Just ... wow.

* I will add this to my list of places to go.

* This must be from the Onion

* Lisa got a Grammy nomination! (sorta)

* Have a dog? Help a researcher...

* Two from Boing Boing: Cape Fuckthiswearegoinghome and this sounds about right, sadly.

* And two from io9: these are so cute and never, ever, ever bring these to my house. EVER.

sometimes, you just have to go

We spent all day Friday in the car with the kids on a drive from Oneonta to Richmond, Virginia,* which meant that we were in a complete news blackout during a time when there was actual and tragic news. I have little to add about all of it, not because it isn't worthy of note but because my feelings are such a muddle I can't articulate them. I would suggest, however, that you check out Making Light's thread, should you be so inclined.

We were in Richmond to celebrate a college friend's Douglas Adams birthday -- actually, that was the convenient excuse. Really, we simply hadn't seen them in far too long and it was as good a reason as any. 

It is telling, perhaps, that this is my favorite photo from the weekend:


My husband, aka The Featureless Saint, communing with Feelie. Not sure why I love this picture so much but I do.

Fun was had. Kids played in the park. I went for a run, because runs in new places are always more fun than runs in the same boring old places. We went out for Mexican food and margaritas but were all asleep by 11 p.m. because we are old. It was a great weekend on that front.

The Boy amused himself with my iTouch during the drive back. This is what it looked like from the backseat:





* which was a perfectly reasonable drive until we hit Frederick, Maryland,** and the traffic hell bubble that extends around D.C. How do people do that drive on a regular basis? I am so glad that my commute is all of two minutes and the biggest annoyance are suicidal wild turkeys.

** I did, however, have the foresight to pack Scott Miller's Thus Always to Tyrants so that I could play it when we crossed the border.

qotd, this is hard

"You are in the trenches when you have a baby. To the untrained eye it seems pretty straightforward and easy -- you feed them, you bathe them, you pick them up when they cry -- but it's more than that. It's perpetual motion with a generous layer of guilt and self-doubt spread on top, and that takes its toll."

-- Amy Morrison's essay has been making the rounds -- for good reason because it's true.

the moments are never dull

We have three cats. It is a lot of cat, frankly, but we're committed now and will simply have to wait the situation out. 

To review, for those who aren't concerned about the minutiae of our cats' lives:

McGregor is the youngest, an orange tabby of considerable size. He's the one who will probably make friends with the dog, once the dog is less about playing and more about sleeping. 

Barney is an ex-barn cat who deigns to live with us on a conditional basis but would really rather be outside killing things. We honor his wishes and spend most of our time opening and closing various doors and windows for him.

The eldest is Trout, who is both feeble of mind and body. He does his best, bless his heart, but gets very confused when we move his food dish three feet to the left.

When we got Lucy, both McGregor and Barney got over the trauma fairly quickly. Adjustments were made. Their lives went on.

Trout, however, took to hiding under the bed and using our bedroom as his personal litterbox, which was, at best, gross. Various remedies were tried but I resorted to covering his favorite spots with aluminum foil, which has the added bonus of keeping the other two cats from eating a plant I'd foolishly put in the room, too. Because I'm not terribly smart, that's why.

It has worked well, mostly. But I'd forgotten that most living things, with the exception of Trout, acclimate.


What's not in the picture are all of the leaves of my spider plant, which had been cruelly ripped from the prime of its life. 

Time for a new plan. Maybe electric fences?