Sunday, July 29, 2007

Outrages and annoyances

Well, it ain't just me. No, no, not the RevGals kerfluffle (it seems awfully self-referential for me to call it the Kate Kerfluffle, after all); there are a lot of awful things happening in the world, some big, some small.

A whole lot of Baptists are trying to put together a 'new Baptist voice', trying to 'transcend their differences and seek common purpose'. I took these quotes from the website for the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, convention planned for early 2008 in Atlanta. I think it's a brilliant thing, and I think their focus is great. Here's another quote from the website:

They specifically committed themselves to their obligation as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

Alas, not all Baptists are invited to help out. The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, both gay-welcoming Baptist groups, have been told that they cannot officially participate. They've been barred from joining the North American Baptist Fellowship, the group behind the convention, and thus cannot be official sponsors of the event.

Alan Stanford, general secretary of the NABF, had this to say: 'This is not a rejection of either organization or the people in those organization[s]. [I]t is a recognition that we can not hold together the large coalition of Baptists needed to create a new Baptist voice in North America and address the issue of sexual orientation at the same time. We ask for your forbearance and understanding.'

Ken Pennings, executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, replied thus: 'This sort of thing ought not to go on in Christ's church. Here we are at a critical juncture when Baptists of all stripes are coming together to take a strong stand for justice for all of God's children, and the very people in American society being scapegoated and marginalized the most ... are not going to be invited to participate.'

What really gets my goat is that individual churches and groups affiliated with AWAB and BPF are still welcome -- this say to me that 'you can come on along and help us with the grunt work of running this huge event; just don't expect any recognition of your work. Or any discussion of the wrongs done to you, by us and others; nor attempts to make things right.'

This says 'you can belong as long as you just don't bring up that. Might distract people from what they're supposed to be doing.' What is the Church supposed to be doing, if not fighting discrimination?

Funny; I know just how those groups feel.


Here's another one for ya. This boggled me, as witness my comment to Plain Fool's post. That's one pretty narrow definition of 'family', isn't it? Good thing my sister doesn't like to camp; she and my mother and I couldn't camp there, due to the 'sin' of not having a father along. Sorry, y'know, we'd've brought him, but he's been dead for fourteen years now...

Oh, sorry, and I guess my sister and I are too old to be allowed to go camping with our mother. And I guess Karen and her husband can't go, either, because they don't have children. Never mind I might just want to go camping with friends...

The world, my friends, is sometimes a really screwed-up place.

Look, God, this stinks.

Since I'm at work instead of church (and it's dead here; I could have blown off work long enough to go to church and shown up late, and nobody would have noticed) I'm reading through the lessons of the day. Now I wish even more that I could have made it to church, in the hopes that Father Don would have preached his sermon on the first reading.

Here's the link, for those following along at home. Short-short version: God thinks that Sodom and Gomorrah are horrendous, so he's going to destroy them. Abraham says, 'Look, God, yeah, they're pretty messed up, but they can't all be bad; would you destroy the innocent for the sake of the guilty? Right, how about this. If there are fifty innocent people there, will you spare the city?'

And God says, 'You have a point. Yeah, for fifty I'll spare them.'

And Abraham says, 'Well, look, I hate to be a pain in the ass, but what if they're only five short of fifty? Will you spare them for forty-five?'

And God agrees to spare them.

And Abraham persists, slowly bargaining God down to ten innocent people. I don't hear any impatience in God's words as Abraham keeps on, though I imagine a bit of eyerolling on His part. Or am I putting my spin on God's actions? In any case, I identify with Abraham here, appalled at the thought of killing the innocent along with the guilty, and putting himself on the line to try to keep it from happening. He was firmly convinced he was going to get in trouble for it:

'See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes!'

'Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.'

'Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,'

'Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.'

But he spoke up anyway -- pushing God on something -- because he felt it was the right thing to do.

How much less, then, shall we speak up to temporal authorities, though we fear the consequences, if we feel they're wrong?


This still gets filed under 'things God did or wanted to do in the Old Testament that are kinda heinous'. There's also the bit in 2 Kings 2:23-24, where God sent bears to kill a bunch of children for mocking Elisha's bald head. I dunno; yeah, it's hardly hospitable (the sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were eventually destroyed, as I recall), but on the other hand, they're kids. They do this. A good spanking would have been a bit more appropriate.

How do I reconcile this with the God that Jesus speaks of, His Father and ours, loving God who sent His son to die, who ... well, take a look at today's Gospel:

'And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?'

How is this the same God? I don't know. It's something I've wondered for as long as I can remember. It's part of the reason I rejected Christianity as a young woman. How could I worship a God who killed children for being, well, children?

Sometimes I wonder what's changed between then and now. I still have a problem with large swathes of the Old Testament, but at the same time I do believe in and worship that God.

I think today's first lesson helps me with the conundrum. God may do some awful things, but if you stand up to Him, He might just change His mind. I just hope that, in a similar situation, I could stand up with Abraham and say, 'Look, God, this thing you're going to do? It's kinda stinky. Just think about doing something else, okay?'

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Posting mostly just to say I'm here. I'm beyond tired -- haven't got a solid night's sleep for over a week now. Trying to hang onto hope for the job situation. On the up side, there's a festival in Lyons this weekend, which means both extra hours for me, and enough income for the business that I can get paid everything I'm owed. I'll be able to make rent for August.

Somewhat disturbed by the discussion over at the RevGals blog. Did they think I wouldn't say anything publicly about being asked to leave? Did they think people wouldn't want to know what was going on once I had? I appreciate their stated concern for my privacy but frankly it feels like they wanted it swept under the rug.

The 'Kate Kerfluffle' (as someone called it, I can't for the life of me remember who but it amuses me) is still going; just as I thought it'd died down MadPriest weighed in. I'm a little boggled, but, brilliant.

I want it to die down, because I'm exhausted, I'm done with it, it can go away now and I want to return to being nobody with three friends now kplsthx. At the same time, as I said to Tim today, this isn't about me, it's about polyamorous people everywhere, and I feel like I have a responsibility to at least stand up and say something. To which he replied, no. It's about everyone who is different.

He's got a point. I'm doing what I can, replying to comments here, commenting in other people's blogs when they say something. Trying to think of useful things to say. I'm so tired I'm not sure I'm managing it, and I feel like I should be doing yet more; explanatory posts, the story of how Tim and Ray and I got together, the philosophy of polyamory (who am I fooling...philosophies!). I'll do all of that, as soon as I can see straight again.

I haven't heard anything from anyone else who's been asked to leave, to catch up on my last post, which pleases me. Looks like an isolated thing. That's good, at least.

Thinking about going back for my Master's degree. Wondering if that's insane. Also wondering if that's what God wants me to do, or just what I want. Having a hard time settling down to prayer to figure it out. I want to work in my field, though, and I've finally gotten to the point where I actually believe that I can. But for that, I really need the Master's.

It doesn't help that I've missed church two weeks in a row, and will miss it again this weekend. Sunday before last I was sick; last Sunday I was camping all weekend (fun, mind you, but kinda far from church). This weekend I'll be working. Maybe I can get Tim to cover for me for a couple hours. I need the Eucharist, bad.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Seems I'm popular...

Should I be pleased that my last post received my first spam comment ever...?

Honestly I find it pretty amusing. I'm even going to leave it there. Any new ones, of course, get deleted.

I didn't get the job at Aslan Construction, but with all the prayers heading my way I have hopes for something even better.

Tim and I are off to a weekend-long SCA event. First time camping this year! And first time camping in nylon since Diamond Wars with Tim several years back. I've been spoilt by my canvas and miss my wedge tent terribly. Today is being spent running around like a crazy woman trying to find all my camping stuff.

I've noticed that in my last couple of posts I refer to 'the RevGals' without being more specific. A lot of you who've commented (and posted in your own blogs, and commented on the RevGals blog itself) are still RevGals -- and I don't mean to include you in any grumpy comments I've made! So, er, my apologies, and I'll try to remember to be more specific and say something like 'the people in charge of RevGals' or something.

And as to the grumpy comments themselves, Pastor Peters has rightly reminded me that Jesus called us to love, not blame. I'm tryin'. Some days, I even manage it. Others, as I commented to her elsewhere, it's a good thing God's the forgiving sort.

At the same time, I wonder if I'm the only one this has happened to. Anyone heard of anything else like this happening? Comment anonymously if you feel better that way (I've turned on anonymous comments, but also comment verification because of the spam). Or email me if you feel better that way, and I won't post anything more specific than 'It's not just me' unless you tell me it's okay to.

I hope I'm alone in this.

In other news, I'm (fairly improbably, but whatever) feeling a lot better today. I'll also be away from the computer all weekend, so y'all behave yourselves while I'm away.

Plain Fool, Rae, Jim, I promise I'll post about the Care Package of Doooooooom soon! I've been, er, distracted.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One at a time

One breath at a time, one stitch at a time.

This weekend is an SCA event that Tim and I (and possibly Ray) are going to. Tim only has one nice tunic, and it's wool; not unreasonably, he wants a nice linen one, too. So far he's done most of the work on it -- working from the old tunic, he made a pattern for the new, cut it out (with very little waste of fabric), and sewed the main seams (on a machine, which I couldn't help him with). All I've done this week is to finish the cuffs and hem by hand. Today, I'm sewing a length of pretty handwoven trim around the neckline.

One stitch at a time.

I'm using it as a meditation of sorts, and also as something to focus on that isn't the rest of my life. More and more people have posted in support of me, here and in their own blogs, and now, I hear, on the RevGals blog itself. Even there, I see people speaking in support, and people saying nothing. Nobody has spoken a word against me where I can see it.

I wouldn't reply on the blog in any case; they don't want me there, and I will respect their wishes. I do wish, now that I can think a little more clearly, that they'd given me a chance to explain, to offer to perhaps rephrase my header, to -- something. I don't know if I would have changed that one damning word in my header, but I would have appreciated the opportunity to consider it.

While I appreciate the support (more than I can usefully express, as I said yesterday) I'm also finding it very stressful. This isn't to ask y'all to stop, though I'll admit in my weaker moments I've considered asking folks to just let the Issue sink below the waters.

But it's not just me this is about -- it's about Tim and Ray as well, it's about R and C and M down in Australia working out their life together, L and L and M up in Vancouver (I think) and their menagerie; it's about J and S and J back in Pennsylvania, and it's about so many people, the ones I know and the many more I don't, people in triads and group marriages and arrangements I've never even heard of. Most of whom aren't Christian for a lot of the same reasons that many LGBT people aren't Christian -- there's no place for them at the table. For us.

That's got to give me the energy to keep on. People are fighting for me and I would be horribly remiss -- it would be terribly wrong of me -- I have to fight alongside them. Perhaps not in the confrontational end of things, at least not now (though perhaps sometime I'll have the strength for something like the Soulforce Equality Ride). There's not enough of me left, right now, for that. But in the explanatory end, living the example that I can be involved with more than one person and yet a good Christian, that really, we're all just like everyone else.

I just hope that I can manage that. It looks like my post yesterday was a good step, from the reactions I've gotten. I hope to be able to continue that. But today, everything's an effort; reading is hard, typing is hard, even breathing is hard.

One stitch at a time.

I need a job, badly, I have a part-time job working for a friend of mine, which is not quite enough to pay the rent and utilities; everything else is, for the nonce, going on the credit cards. Everything: gas, food for the cats and I, prescriptions. My car insurance is about to have to go on the card, too. This can only go on for so long.

I'm looking for a better job, of course; applying to anything within a half-hour's drive that I remotely think I qualify for. I'd be working nights at Wal-Mart right now (no shame, when it comes to survival) but I have a bum right leg and can't walk for more than a couple hours, can't stand still for more than perhaps ten minutes. I need to sit most of the time. Cuts out most of the 'cheap and cheesy' jobs.

This morning I had two interviews scheduled. The first was for a receptionist at a law office. I didn't have great hopes for it, as I don't have the clothing to work for lawyers (or, indeed, the poise). Apparently this is the kind of law office where you don't have to dress like a lawyer to work there; most everyone I saw wore jeans and a nice shirt. They also have a small friendly dog as an office mascot. My hopes rose until they brought me into the back, where, instead of being presented to an interviewer, I was instead presented with a hypothetical divorce situation, and told to write a letter to the other party's lawyer.

I melted down. Oh, I looked at the computer screen with an expression of interest and attention; no tears welled from my eyes, my hands didn't clench into fists. But after a few minutes of furious thought, I stood up and said, "My apologies, I was under the impression that this job didn't require law office experience", and left.

I haven't the faintest idea how to write such a letter. I simply don't know the industry. I don't know the code words, the jargon; I don't know how one even addresses a lawyer formally. Perhaps they simply meant to test my general letter-writing abilities, and don't realize how very much things vary from one industry to the next.

Were I (improbably) to set about hiring an admin assistant for a heraldry office, I wouldn't ask a potential hire to write a letter requesting permission to conflict, or one outlining the documentation for a name and asking for further information. I'm sure most of you are reading this going 'whaa...?' and readers, that's how I felt today.

Perhaps I ought to have tried. Perhaps, if the rest if my life weren't in such upheaval, if it had been anything but a divorce case, if I were simply strong enough...I don't know.

One breath at a time.

I got into my car and drove towards the second interview. I only had to wipe my eyes once; I can't afford to break down right now, or I won't get back up again. The second interview was a half-hour north, with a construction company. A place called Aslan Construction.

Even at my worst anti-Christian points I still loved Aslan...even knowing he was Jesus in other guise.

It's not a formal office, at all. Small, friendly-feeling. I was interviewed by a lovely woman in a hijab (I believe that's the term...the Muslim headscarf, not the face-veil or the burqa). She asked me some of the most interesting questions I've ever gotten in an interview, stuff like 'rate yourself from 1 to 10' and 'what do you wish you'd done differently in this interview'. Not 'rate yourself on punctuality or productiveness' or anything like that; just 'rate yourself'.

I have hopes. She was friendly and seemed pleased with my answers. And it's Aslan.

And I need a job so very desperately.

In the meantime, waiting, I sew. One stitch at a time.

One breath at a time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aftermath and explanations

Well, I'm exhausted. I felt like I'd slept well, but today I'm bleary-eyed and a little wobbly, fuzz-brained and easily distracted.

What I also am, though, is frankly astonished -- and eternally grateful -- at the amount of support I've gotten. From people I expected and a few I wasn't sure I should hope for, and many, many people who I didn't know at all -- people who read my blog but never commented, and a few, I think, who came here pointed by others. People who've posted to their own journals supporting me, whether or not they named me or the Issue specifically. Thank you all so very, very much. I can't usefully express how much that support, and all your prayers and good wishes, have helped -- but I feel I ought to try anyway.

As Mother Laura and I both said at several points during our long phone conversation last night (and thank you, thank you, I needed that), it's a good thing this didn't happen a month ago, or a couple months ago; it might well have broken me. I've gotten stronger since then, but I have to say, it came pretty close to breaking me anyway. But today despite my exhaustion I feel stronger; hurt, yes, but ready to go on regardless. And all of your comments have been a large part of that.

And really, I'm hardly the only person to be discriminated against ever. Most of the time it's a lot worse than what I'm going through. And the answer is the same; to fight it one way or another.

I don't plan to protest to the RevGals, though I understand that there are some who are doing so on my behalf (and for that I thank you). I ... I don't know. I guess I have a hard time protesting on my own behalf; if this had happened to someone else, believe me, the emails would be flying!

What I do plan to do is to keep living my life the way I have been, openly and in as Godly a manner as I can manage. I don't want to push myself or my way of life onto anyone, but it's here and I'm not going to hide it, either. If I can but be a good example (and I try, anyway) and maybe convince a couple of people that polyamory (or whatever term you wish to use) isn't so scary, after all, then hey, I'm accomplishing something.

Polyamory can apply to anything from a negotiated open relationship with any number of people in it (which I lived for a while; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't) to a faithful relationship, like a marriage or a 'monogamous' relationship, that just happens to have more than two people in it. The classic 'swinger' thing, while related I suppose, isn't really polyamory; the emphasis there is on the sex, not the relationships, the love.

What I'm in is a faithful relationship which just happens to have three people in it. We're not married (it not being legal, and all) and right now even if it were, we wouldn't be. Yet, anyway. To put it bluntly, Ray is 22 and a little commitment-shy still. Also, he and I are still very much getting to know each other and figure out how we can be together. Someday, though, I hope...

I know all of this about him -- and he about me -- because we talk about our relationship. A lot. Openly and (generally, ideally, but we're human) without rancor. Such open communication is vital for any relationship -- the more so for polyamorous folk. The open relationship I described above? Yep, there were several people I was having sex with, off and on. Sounds like cheating? Here's the difference: everyone involved knew what was going on, was okay with it, had talked about it until we all knew that we all were okay with it. That's the 'negotiation' part.

If I was going to be with someone, first I made sure my boyfriend was all right with the concept -- both with the person involved, and with the timing. Is this Friday night all right? Will you be okay if I stay over, or would you rather I came home afterwards? Can I bring someone home to our bed, or would you prefer that it happen elsewhere?

Next was talking to the other person's significant other(s).I learned the hard way not to take someone's word for it when he said his wife would be all right with things. I learned how to tell when someone's boyfriend was really okay with sharing, and when he was just saying so in fear that she'd leave him otherwise. Open and honest communication, and trust; a lot, a lot of trust.

It's complicated, and it's not easy, and it's sure hell not for everyone; but I know any number of people in happy, stable, loving open relationships.

Is it Christian? I don't know. I'm of the opinion that it's not incompatible with Christianity as long as everyone's treated with the love and respect that Jesus asks of us, but I don't have any theological backing on that opinion, and if I'm wrong, well, I'm wrong.

In any case, that's not where I'm at any more. I say that my life is quite complicated enough without adding anyone else to it (and that's so, so true) but it's also true that I'm generally happy with Tim and Ray and feel no need to go elsewhere. Doesn't mean I won't flirt with a pretty girl, but really, things are complicated enough. See? There I go again.

What Tim and Ray and I have, what we're building towards, is, I think, as Biblical as any marriage of one woman and one man. Again, opinion; I don't have a lot of theology to back me up here, but I do know that in the Old Testament there were plenty of guys involved with two women -- or many! We may have the genders arranged a little differently but apart from that I don't see a lot of difference. No, I do: we all have a lot more choice in the matter than women in the OT did.

How can I balance loving two men? Even Tim once said, 'you can't serve two masters'; but a parents can love two (or many more) children, and a child can love both her parents, all her siblings, all of her many relatives. I can have many friends, and love them all.

And yes, I wind up with the same problems that parents of more than one child run into: balancing time between them both (or all), not playing favourites, giving each the love and attention he deserves. I think we do okay. We're hardly perfect, but we do try.

Like I said, it's complicated, and it's not for everyone. But again, I know upwards of fifteen triads like what we're aiming for, in any gender combination you wish to name. And they are all stable, happy, loving; supportive, healthy places for the people in them. They give me hope that Ray and Tim and I can pull this off.

Because at the end of it, I do love them both. They love each other (they'd been together for over a year when I moved out here), and they both love me. It may be a sin for the three of us to be together, but it feels more of a sin for any two of us to deny the third -- or for the three of us to separate entirely. In my last post I asked which of them 'you' (for a 'you' which probably doesn't encompass anyone who's made it this far) would have me not love -- I ask, now, which of them do you think Jesus would ask me not to love?

For those of you who've said you don't understand polyamory (and those who haven't, but kinda wondered anyway) -- I hope things make a little more sense now. I'm not at my most awake and I probably should have written this tomorrow, but I felt it was important. I hope things came out more or less in English (I wonder, some days, even when I'm relatively awake). If something doesn't make sense or there's something else you're curious about, do please feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to answer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've been asked to leave the RevGals.

Apparently the word 'polyamory' in my header caused concern among some members; in fact some people are worried that their tenuous connection with me through the ring could get themselves in trouble. I have of course complied; I don't go where I'm not welcome.

I like you guys. I felt at home there. I learned a lot. I didn't want to have to leave. But my other option is to stop being who I am. I love two men. Which of them would you have me leave? Which should I not love?

I don't plan to stop reading the blogs of any RevGals whose blogs are currently on my blogroll; however, if the connection would get any of you in trouble, I will, again, remove you.

I'm crying. I can't cry, I'm at work and my salary depends on me being cheerful so people buy things. It's been so very hard lately and the support I've found from the people I've met through this blog has meant a lot -- it's one of the very few things that keeps me going. I hope that some of you will be willing to stay.

I can only hope that 'open table, all are welcome' still applies at the other places I go. Right now I feel like there's an unspoken 'except for you' at the end of it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

...and calming.

I've pretty well decided that yesterday's incident was psychosomatic, and if it wasn't, I'm going to pretend it was psychosomatic.

Also, I have a cat between me and my keyboard.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Okay, folks, I think I might be going right over the edge here.

I was doing okay, I really was -- I told one person today in email that the sensitivity was easing to much more comfortable levels, and another that I felt like I was spending a bit of time between intense reflection and re-integration. I was in a quiet place, I had a bit of time to take a deep breath and stand back before things got exciting again.

I really should just shut up.

While idly reading blogs today I came across a really lovely Stations of the Cross liturgy written by Rainbow Pastor. It hit me like a very large rock., especially the little reflections at each station -- written from the point of view of a Roman soldier.

I took about ten minutes after I finished reading it to just hunch down in my chair at work and go, why? Why did you have to do it? Why didn't you could have blasted them, or made them change their minds, forget, stop them somehow, and you let them...why? Why?

And then I wandered off to another blog, because my brain was full and I needed to let things ease a bit, but it didn't help, by the time I could head home from work (and thank God that Ray came along today, I made him drive) I was starting to feel the nails...

In my left hand at first. I said No no no no please no (in my head; if Ray hadn't been in the car it would have been out loud) but then said, oh fuck, pardon me, I just now realize what I said then, I said I don't want this but it's Your decision...

Now it's both hands and both feet. Intermittently, but there. I'm shaking. I've already fallen to my knees twice to pray, both because I needed to and because I needed to -- my legs wouldn't hold me.

I picked up my Sophia cross and almost couldn't put it on for the sudden bout of shaking.

I never wanted this. I I making this up? Am I nuts? Is something deep in the back of my head just wanting attention, just wanting people to think I'm somehow special?

I don't want to be.

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou.

*off to curl up in a little ball*

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Much hiking

As Sarah and I walked on Saturday, I thought of ways I could start the blog post I planned to make about our adventures...

One thought was to start in the traditional way when telling such a tale: Both Sarah and I are okay.

Another was to reference a sermon I heard a few months ago, one in which the priest talked about his experiences when he didn't ask for a guide and probably ought to have.

But I think what I've finally settled on is a bit from The Hobbit, where Gandalf says 'don't leave the path'. By which I mean to say the man's a frickin' angel, if he says 'don't leave the path' he means don't leave the damn path.

See, the day began...well, no. The day began okay but the explanation begins the night before. I went over to Tim and Ray's and there we were, busily inventing dinner a little late, and the phone rings. It's Vince, saying 'hey, you guys coming to gaming tonight?'.


So they headed off to gaming and I lingered there long enough to put away our abortive attempts at dinner and then went home. When I got up the next morning their car wasn't there, and I decided that they must have gone down to Vince's after gaming and decided to stay over; not unusual. I was taking care of Dwen's dog and kitten over the weekend anyway, so I mentally added Sarah to my list of care-ees and went on with things.

Walked the dog, walked the kitten, took laundry over to Tim and Ray's around early afternoon and fed Sarah, who was awfully happy to see someone after having been horribly neglected and starved. What could I do but to promise her a treat? And anyway it was shaping up to be awfully hot, and since Tim and Ray weren't around to drag up into the mountains, I'd drag their dog instead.

I almost left them a note:

I came over!

You weren't here!

So I stole your dog!

Love, K.

But Ray called before I found a piece of paper and asked me to feed the dog, so I told him that I already had and they could safely stay out for the rest of the day without endangering poor neglected Sarah (see above link). Didn't intend to go endangering her myself, but, well. (As it turns out they went to the zoo without me, which causes grumpitude because I like the zoo, but they both want to go back with me along so I didn't kill them. Also, they fed me that night, which was good because I certainly wasn't up to doing it myself.)

I packed up the dog, two bologna-and-cheese sandwiches, a lot of water (or so I thought), a pair of binoculars, homemade bug spray (works against mosquitoes!), homemade salve to put on any scratches I might inflict on myself, got it all in the car, realized that I had to find a place to hike because the trails in the park don't allow pets, got the dog back out of the car (the backpack and most of its contents are still in it, and it's Wednesday), searched several web sites, cursed, wrestled Tim's printer into submission, got the dog back into the car, and off we went.

The best (indeed, only) method of getting Sarah to lay down in the car is to turn a corner quickly enough that she falls over. Even this is frequently temporary. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed our run up into the hills despite (or possibly because of) swallowing several high-velocity bugs along the way. Her only dismay came along the last two-and-a-half-miles of our route, which were rather bumpy; apparently in order to keep her balance she was required to keep a hind paw on one of my legs at all times. Did I mention I was the one driving? It's tough to drive with half of a dog on your lap.

The path I'd chosen involved driving said two-and-a-half-mile dirt road, circling Beaver Reservoir, and driving four miles along a four-wheel-drive-only path. I in my exuberance assumed that my '98 Saturn Wagon would be up to this task. Well, folks, when they say four-wheel-drive-only in this part of the world, they mean it; I left my car at the intersection of two-and-a-half-miles and four-wheel-drive-only and set out, bereft of directions but armed with plenty of water (I thought), one bologna-and-cheese sandwich (having eaten the other en route), et cetera, and one very, very excited dog.

There was a promising-looking path, so we took it. After a bit, the path divided; one fork going off to the left and a bit up, the other going off to the right and a bit down. A nice gentle fork and we could see down both paths a good ways. The left fork looked less well-travelled and so I chose that one (thus reminding myself, as I type this, of another approach I could have taken to beginning this post). After we'd gotten far enough that I didn't really want to turn around and retrace my steps (it doesn't have to be far; I hate hate turning around) it became clear that the path wasn't well-maintained. Or indeed at all; several large, fallen, branch-spiky trunks across the path left that pretty clear. And while I'll climb over a trunk or two to keep going, there were a lot, and Sarah doesn't climb near as well as I do.

So, perfectly logically, I turned right and said, that other trail can't be too far. And I headed off into the woods, Sarah bouncing along behind me.

Never, ever do this.

The other trail was not, as I'd expected, about forty or fifty feet off to the right. Nor was it a couple hundred feet off to the right. What was a couple hundred feet off to the right (and, of course, well after I'd decided that I wasn't likely to be able to find my way back to the original trail) was a huge tangle of large, fallen, branch-spiky trunks. Except these weren't neatly lined up across the path; they lay in all directions and all angles.

Firmly convinced that the path must be close, I pressed on, coaxing Sarah over tree trunks, snapping branches off at times to clear space for her. She, of course, thought this all was grand fun; dogs don't know the meaning of the word 'lost' (or most other words, really). I wasn't admitting to knowing it for a long while, either, but eventually I gave in and said, yeah. We're lost.

Decisions had to be made. The first was easy; don't eat the sole bologna-and-cheese sandwich until I'm really hungry. The second, equally so; we could fight our way back uphill, or continue down. Both my legs and conventional wisdom agreed on downhill.

And so we went, scrambling over logs, stumbling into tiny creeks dug down into the ground; I stopped several times to rub salve onto tiny scratches, and once or twice to dole out water to both of us. Off in the distance came a faint sound which could be motors, and I angled towards that. An undetermined but awkward time later we came to a spot on a rock with a good view, from which I was able to spy the unnatural blue of a nylon tent through the trees. At a guess it was several hundred yards ahead and a roughly equal distance down. Both of us out of breath but a firm goal within sight, I decided it was time for a break.

Water for all, brief contemplation of the bologna and cheese sandwich but I passed on that as we weren't out of the woods (so to, er, speak) yet. I took out the binoculars and surveyed the horizon, such as it was. Sarah lay next to me and panted, and hindered my attempts with the binoculars by resting her head on my left arm. I figured I'd give it a good ten or fifteen minutes, long enough for my pulse to go back to resting and for Sarah to catch her breath, and we'd continue on.

About five minutes in I heard a rumble. Not a car. Sarah panting in my ear, I reached out without looking and held her muzzle shut just long enough to listen unhindered for a moment.

Yep. That was thunder.

Up and packed, Sarah bouncing and still panting. Down the hill at speed, bouncing over rocks and sliding down slopes on my butt. Dogs, or at least Sarah, are better at traversing near-vertical rocky slopes than I would have thought they'd be. Shortly we reached a path. Salvation!

I turned back in the direction of the reservoir, or so I hoped. (As it turns out I was right; it was just irrelevant.) We trotted merrily along, Sarah taking brief forays into the woods to chase squirrels. Upon crossing paths with a couple we found out that the end of the trail was but (but!) a mile or so ahead. We forged on.

To come out in a totally unfamiliar campground, with no reservoir in sight.

Did I mention the incoming thunderstorm?

I walked through the campground to the other side, in case the reservoir was there (it wasn't). Sarah briefly met a small dog who wanted very badly to play with her. We walked back through the campground, stopping to look at a huge signboard covered with notices, postings, even a map of the campground, but no map of the area. We continued on, stopping at the other-other (first?) end of the campground to ask a lady with a convenient map if she knew how to get to the reservoir.

After explaining to her that, no, we needed directions for walking there, we consulted the map and made some guesses. Back through the campground again, but (but!) a mile further on to another campground, up this path, turn left, turn right, and there you are.

Salvation! On we went, pausing to refill our (long empty) water at the pump. Which provided us with water brown enough that I couldn't see the bottom of a half-gallon cooler through it. I shrugged (any water is better than no water) and on we went. Paused along the road to refill the cooler from the stream, as the water there was significantly clearer, and stick our paws in the water. To the next campground, where, after wandering in vain for a bit, we asked for directions again.

While his wife carried their two small dogs, one under each arm, into the camper (as they explained in no uncertain terms that they would eat us all if they could just put me down Mom this is undignified) the male half of the 'camp host' couple gave me rapid-fire directions (the path is up there, turn right, turn left, up the hill, and there you are). Fortified finally with clean water from this camp's pump, we set off through the campground. Salvation!

Five minutes later, still in camp, the pair came roaring up in a golf cart (apparently standard issue for the camp hosts). She doesn't trust his direction-giving, and so out comes a pile of photocopied maps, on one of which she draws a line in black Sharpie as she rattles out directions (the trail is between campsites 34 and 35, just up there, can't miss it; turn left, turn right, up the hill with the switchbacks, turn right, but (but!) a mile and there you are).

Good thing I had the map, because by then I had enough rights and lefts in my head to walk to New York City, or possibly Ottawa.

We set off. Up the path, turned right, passed the lady I'd asked for directions at the first campground, got about a hundred feet, turned around, passed her again, turned right. Up the switchbacks. Laboriously. With breaks. Passed the couple who'd first told us the campground was but (but!) a mile ahead, who looked confused. Got to the top, paused for a bit, turned right. Thunder still threatening.

Not much of a pause. But when we got far enough along that path that I was pretty sure we were actually right this time, I declared it was time for a celebratory and triumphant sharing of the bologna-and-cheese sandwich with Sarah, who was awfully pleased.

By then I'd decided that if it rained, well, I'd be wet, and that was fine, because it could thunder all it wanted and I wasn't going any faster. What did get me going faster was the mosquitoes, finally out in enough numbers to overwhelm the homemade bug spray.

And so up the last portion of the trail (and there you are!) when finally we were, and my faithful little (not four-wheel-drive) car was the most beautiful sight I'd seen ever in at least a week. I took a long swig of water, poured the last not-much in Sarah's bowl, tossed my backpack in the car (where it still is) and brushed my hair. Because if I hadn't, I was going to pull it all out.

It had, after all, been an awfully long day.

The rain started just after I turned around and stopped shortly before I got to the second campground to tell the camp hosts that we were okay, and thank them profusely. He told me to come back sometime, and I replied that I certainly would, now that I knew how to get there on purpose. Sarah laid down the whole way home, without any necessity of sharp turns on my part, and rested her chin on my right arm in friendly fashion. Upon achieving 'home' I dropped Sarah off, went into my apartment, and entirely failed to be capable of so much as taking a bath I hurt so much.

Sometime later I stumbled over to Tim and Ray's to pick up my laundry, and they fed me homemade macaroni and cheese (along with other food such as carrots, steak, and mashed potatoes, but after the day I'd had, macaroni and cheese was my limit). And sometime after that, I went to bed, whereupon I slept like a rock for roughly eleven hours, and only woke up because I'd been smart enough to set the alarm clock.

And Sarah? Wants to do it all again.

Ganesh, and a start.

One of the things that concerns both Tim and I is Ray's ongoing lack of -- and, indeed, disdain for -- faith. Not that I'm going to go saying I think everyone should be Christian, or even religious; but I do think it helps people to have something to believe in. As Tim puts it, he's concerned that without some sort of faith, Ray's eventually going to decide that there's no hope that anything will ever get any better for himself. And one way or another the results of that are pretty bad.

Well, the night before last Ray gave Ganesh a couple of boxes of chewing gum. He didn't do it entirely on his own (Tim suggested it, since Ganesh likes sweet things); but he didn't do it because someone else told him to, either. It was his own decision.

I don't think he did it out of any belief in Ganesh, mind you. But even so, maybe it's just the beginnings of reaching out to something past what he can see and hear...

I can hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


It seems to be the week of tagging; this time, Rae got me with 6 Random Things. This time, it's 6 Random Things from Where I Am.

1) I'm barefoot at work. In fact, I'm nearly always barefoot at work.

2) I've discovered that I can be slightly obsessive about polishing the silver jewelry.

3) Sometimes, Joe and Tal (owners of the store next to where I work, and my former bosses) buy me 'guilt pizza'. I call it this because they owe me nine hundred dollars. I'd rather have the money, but in the meantime, I'll also eat the pizza.

4) Currently listening to Radio Free Adhemar, on the air every Tuesday night, and run by a dear friend I've mentioned before. It's Stream of Consciousness Radio and he'll play whatever you like, as long as he's got a copy or you can email him one.

5) I'm also slightly obsessive about getting wrinkles out of clothing with the steamer we have here at work. Especially the rayon stuff, as the wrinkles just fall out. Perhaps I'm too easily amused, but at least it's inexpensive.

6) Carlton at the pizza joint is making pesto, which involves taking nine hundred pounds of basil and pulling all the leaves off. This smells amazingly good, and I may perhaps have stolen a few small basil leaves. Perhaps.

No tagging this time; play along if you like, and comment if you do.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!

So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing: Nothin! Okay, some jewelry.

2. Reading: Blogs. Later, catching up on magazines.

3. Eating: Thin Mints. A proper breakfast (likely English muffins) will come later, though.

4. Doing: Nothin! Later, jobhunting, laundry, reducing the volume of stuff in my life.

5. Pondering: Weekend plans...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

Tagged by Bishop Laura!

Now. You've been tagged to play this meme. It's from John Smulo's blog and it goes like this:

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.

See, and this'll be fun, cos I'm still getting to know Jesus and I'm not sure I'll be able to come up with five, but here goes...

1) He had bad days, too. See Luke 9:51-62 for reference, but I'll give you the short-short version: He'd set his face to Jerusalem. He didn't want to, he was tired and scared and determined to do it anyway, and here comes a whole raft of distractions on top of it all: a village of Samaritans who wouldn't receive Him because he's turned his face to Jerusalem, a pair of would-be disciples who had 'just one thing' to do before they'd follow Him, and another to whom He complained that He had nowhere to lay his head.

I've had that day. We all have. Okay, not that day, but one like it, when there's a lot to do and you don't want to but you have to do it anyway, and people just keep showing up and bothering you, when all you want is to go and get it done and over with. And we're all grumpy and distracted and say dumb stuff.

And as the priest at my local church pointed out during this week's sermon, Jesus had bad days and was grumpy and distracted and said dumb stuff. But at the same time Jesus was without sin. So just having a bad day? Isn't a sin.

Good to know. I still try to avoid them, but I ain't perfect. I've spent a lot of time recently trying not to snap at both Tim and Ray and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Mostly I've succeeded, but only mostly. Thus doth stress make assholes of us all.

We're all moving to Fort Collins, but we're not all moving in together. It's too soon, and there'd quite simply be death. At the same time, though, I've realized that a lot of the reason Ray, especially, has been annoying me lately isn't any change in Ray -- it's my own stress. Which isn't his fault. And so I try to deal with it, but if I slip, well, Jesus had His bad days too.

2) He asks us to do the hard things. Follow Him; let the dead bury the dead. Take nothing for the journey when you proclaim His kingdom, not walking stick nor food nor even a spare shirt. For he who seeks to preserve his life will lose it, while he who loses his life will save it.

But for all he asks us to do, he has already given more, done more, himself, than we could possibly do. He came down and lived among us, as one of us, suffered not only death on the cross but all the annoyances and hardships of daily life. I wonder, sometimes, which was harder. Death on the cross takes several hours and, yeah, is pretty horrendous. But sunburn, sore feet, hunger, achy muscles from sleeping on the road instead of in a bed...those go on and on.

It's hard to make the big decision to follow Jesus, hard to take up our own cross. It's harder, I think, though, once the decision is made -- to stick with it, day by day, through all the hardships, annoyances, distractions of daily life. When the baby's crying and the checkbook won't balance, the car's been kinda iffy and not only do you have to carpool to work with that guy with the funny breath but you might also not get to take that vacation you've been waiting for -- it's hard to remember Jesus in all that.

What with one thing and another I've been distracted a lot. The tag from Mother Laura was well-timed; it's making me think about Jesus again, something I've had trouble taking the time to do. I lose track of the bigger picture in all the details. Thank you for the reminder, my dear.

The readings for Sunday were also a powerful reminder. Follow me, they all say; Elijah to Elisha in Kings, Paul to the Galatians, and Jesus to fellow travellers who all, it seems, had something more important to do. That, and the sermon, and the closing hymn -- Amazing Grace, one of my favourites -- by the end of Mass I felt it was time, and pulled Father Don apart to tell him I felt a call to ... something. I didn't mention ordination and neither did he, which I'm okay with. He suggested a few people in the congregation as potential spiritual directors, which I'm considering. He also suggested Stephen Ministries, which I need to find out more about. It's a good beginning step here.

3) He welcomes everyone, feeds everyone. I'm not only talking about the Last Supper when He fed everyone, including the man He knew would betray Him; I'm also talking about the man who ate with Pharisees, tax collectors, prostitutes; who fed the multitudes with fishes and loaves. Nobody checked cards at the altar rail, then. Nobody turned away those wearing the 'wrong thing'.

And while it's easy for me and those I hang out with to say that the people like us are the ones who shouldn't be turned away -- queer folks, women priests, people who just don't quite fit in with the status quo -- it's important for us to remember that we must also welcome those who oppose us. Jesus ate with Pharisees as well as prostitutes, after all.

The Eucharist this Sunday was quite as overwhelming as it was a few weeks ago. Along with the readings, sermon, and songs, it was part of what informed my decision to talk to Father Don. I still don't know what it means and I'm trying not to think of myself as somehow special because it keeps happening. In the meantime, I'm enjoying it.

And this is where I run out of brain and have to think of two more things.

4) He healed people. He healed people. This blows me away, more so, in some ways, than raising people from the dead, probably because I have always longed to be able to heal. I try, in my small ways -- making relaxing bath salts for my friends, teas, foul-tasting brews (sorry Tim!), a salve for scrapes and small cuts that actually seems to work -- but I can't compare with Him. And I know I'd burn myself out if I could, but He didn't (even though at times it made him feel grumpy and overwhelmed; see #1 above).

5) I totally have run out of brain, but Jesus loves me anyway.