Monday, March 31, 2014

fritter away time

exhaust minutes
with endless loops
of miscellany
while the wash piles up
and the news turns old

spend hours over tea
reading fortunes
in tea leaves

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Today Morphed into Tomorrow

Recently I've found myself surrounded by articles, even books, about time. When I picked up a book at the library I didn't realize that the teenage protagonist was engrossed with time—as a metaphysical phenomenon.

When I went down to the basement to bring the shredder upstairs I found myself actively engaged in contemplating the act of shredding time—old statements.

"How many years should I keep my Visa statements?"
"How about other financial records?"

"Seven years, that's what I heard from a reputable accountant."

So I began to shred time—stopping occasionally to read the cost of an item. I purchased a Palm pilot eighteen years ago and thought, at the time, of how I stood on a cutting edge. Since that time the edge has moved rapidly.

Years divided into thin strips stuffed into plastic bags —plastic bags which will last for decades.

I also found two manila envelopes of photos taken between 1987-1992. I had intended to put them in an album, but the project was only half completed. Looking at old pictures has a double sided edge. "Remember her?" "Who is that?"

People who teach memoir courses use photos to force memory into recall mode. But, in my time frame mode, I found myself asking questions of the subjects—even of the landscape.

Did a cow really escape in the labyrinth of red and orange sandstone hoodoos in Bryce Canyon? Or is that one of those tales?

Zen Buddhists say stay in the moment—but the moment passes too quickly. I read that if you snap your fingers for each moment you can account for every single moment.

The entire subject is rife with problems—when did something happen? Were you so busy moving on that you never saw that what happened passed? And since you can't go back to look at that moment from a different perspective, does that always mean that you are on a nomadic belt into the future?

About that cow...

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I just read a blog posting about slow reading and slow writing. This is not to infer that the people partaking in these experiments are plodders. It is a movement that suggests that we all need to slow down when it comes to writing, reading and thinking.

What does this mean? In writing I expect it means a return, or a heightened awareness of words, thoughts, and the trajectory of where a piece intends to go. I know I don't have a deadline, save what I've created for myself.

There's a difference between posting on a blog and writing short form or long form pieces. There's a difference between creating characters and allowing them to mature into three dimensionality rather than accepting pasteboard characters inhabiting a setting.

Perhaps sitting down and resting in a scene, exploring the boundaries of my story, asking questions, choosing the apt word, a verb that resonates, produces a story that invites slow reading.

As for reading—how often do I read a book at a pace that allows me to enter into the character's thinking or wander the layers of a story? Of course to do that the writer needs to create a story that includes those layers. I need to slow down enough to ask — how did the writer accomplish these levels of meaning? It's not only what did the writer mean, but let me unfold the how behind the what.

Stop. Breathe. Think. Write. Read what is written aloud. Breathe. Proceed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Play of Words

Is it unintentional when we hide behind a metaphor, or create a symbol to disguise what we want to say?
Is the use of artifacts to distort history—the world's or our own— accidental?
Is it possible to dress up in finery to cover up shabbiness?

To use plain language, unadorned, not bolstered by figurative play may not afford enough covering. Do we really want to be understood or do we want the story to hide behind a vagueness, a veil?

I think that often the tale we tell is wrapped in a membranous covering that acts as a mask.

Who can chronicle memories without meandering, without indirect commentary?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Changing Times

I don't appreciate fine acting and good directing until I see poor acting and weak directing. That's the same way with books—

Some authors, and it doesn't matter the genre they select, create a piece of writing that is transformative. And it all seems effortless. Yet, I know that each word carries weight and each sentence moves along at a particular pace.

It's the same with some people. My grandmother didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how to be kind, she simply was kind. Every action was imbued with that quality. I'm certain that over her lifetime she brewed tea for hundreds of people—even the Fuller Brush man sat at her table drinking a cup of tea.

We do live in a different era and offering a stranger a cup of tea seems dangerous. What a loss.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Touch Isn't Enough

If my pen runs out of ink, I open up a bottle of ink and fill the pen. If my pencil point breaks or becomes dull, I use my pencil sharpener. If it's a mechanical pencil I either add more lead or press the end of the pencil to advance a piece of lead.

Simple, non-technical. If I am using a ball point pen and it runs out, I am faced with a choice--use a refill or if it's a cheap pen heave it into the closest wastebasket.

My ITouch requires me to push down on a small round indent that normally takes me back to my home page, but for an unexplained reason pushing the indent began to require Herculean strength. When I googled the problem I discovered a plethora of others who experienced the same dilemma.

You could use assistive technology that is built into the unit, but if you're out of warranty you can't get a new ITouch.

I must admit that after my initial sore thumb I approached the news with relative calm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cross the Jordan

I don't know
Could be
At least a possibility
Why not
I'm an optimist
from doubt
One step
or jump

Monday, March 24, 2014


I'm a proponent of finding odd nooks to read and write. Reading or writing in a coffee shop no longer exudes an air of a bohemian existence. I think the moment you couldn't enter a room ripe with cigarette smoke and the aroma of strong Arabian coffee things began to change.

Now the room is usually clean, sweets stay on shelves behind glass until the time a patron requests a "scone". Most of the bathrooms lack any worthwhile reading material. Instead of provocative graffiti small notices inquire if you are the victim of domestic abuse.

Yet, if you avoid the sterile everything looks the same coffeehouse, some places still exist that lure patrons, promising coffee along with a chance to rub elbows with other determined writers, or readers who underline and write marginalia.

Today after ordering an iced decaf, no sweetener, no room, I looked around the coffee house and knew that, for me, the setting didn't inspire the beginning of a novel, or the telling of my life in a 250 page memoir.

So instead of joining the three women knitting and drinking lattes, I went outside and sat in my car. I conjured up bearded men bent over a wood table and writing in longhand; I visualized someone sketching on napkins; I listened to four people discussing whether narrative was dead or dying or if not it why it should die.

I added my opinion and wondered if I should write a book with one long sentence, no punctuation, one character who morphs into other characters when necessary, devoid of a narrative thread, time traveling and world weary.

Should I succumb to the avant guard, or load up my pen with ink and write one long narrative while seated in Starbucks.

Perhaps I can be content recalling the coffee house I once frequented in Greenwich Village where we delved into nihilism, literary theory, and sweet sticky baklava.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

I recommend

The library has a box labeled Awesome Books. If you've read a library book that you believe is awesome you simply deposit it in the box. One of the librarians adds the name of the book to a list of other designated awesome books.

The book remains in the box until it is added to the master list and there it waits for the next patron.

Imagine dismissing the critics, book reviewers of prestigious newspapers, and relying on ordinary readers.

It's a conundrum. I rely upon the pundits to steer me in the direction of a well written book. Here no words are exchanged. No words written extolling a book. Nothing. No one compares the writing to previous icons of the written word.

And what of taste? And what of elitism?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Cup of Coffee

People watching is an extreme sport. Occasionally while I'm staring at someone they begin to stare at me. We have met at a juncture of voyeurism.

Today while seated in my car enjoying both an iced Starbucks decaf and reading a tome, I spotted the woman in a red Toyota staring in my direction. Perhaps she thought it odd to sit in the car and read. Had she known that I'm reading The Luminaries, the 2013 Man Booker award winning novel by the youngest author ever to win that prestigious award, she'd appreciate my diligence.

The Luminaries, and it's 834 pages, weighs in as a heavyweight. It easily has the heft of a Russian novel. Given that I don't own the book and the library doesn't care about pages to read as a criteria for days to keep, I must take advantage of every given moment.

Despite her fixed look I continued to turn pages. You need to be determined to finish the book within the allotted time. I don't like paying late fees.

Then I turned to look in her car. She no longer found my determination interesting. She was busy doing something to her face--creating sunken cheeks, drawing her lips up to reveal her teeth, opening her mouth and staring at her overhead mirror.

Despite the need to read my allotted pages I continued to observe her facial contortions until she finally reached the point where she used her two thumbs to squeeze a pimple.

How odd to use one's car to attend to such a private matter. When she raised her Starbucks cup and drank deep before proceeding to the next inflamed area of skin I returned to the digressions in The Luminaries.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Basketball and Literature

I must admit to rooting for all the New England colleges in this week's March Madness. Why not show regional enthusiasm?

Did I root for southern colleges when I lived south of the Mason Dixon line?

At that time I discovered southern writers--the rhythm of their words, the way the grotesque in Flannery O'Connor's short stories burned into my consciousness, the pace that allowed me to wander.

I may no longer root for southern teams, but I continue to read and reread Flannery O'Connor's short stories.

The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.
-- Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Holy, Holy, Holy

the preacher said
sin's hangin' around
waiting to come walking
right out, right into the light

the preacher said
everyone's good
not stained, unsoiled
until they take a wrong turn

Holy, holy, holy

some call it sin
some call it evil
some say it ain't true
what they say
about eve

the preacher stomped
held a black book
turned the page
and offered a choice

Holy, holy, holy

the preacher said
It's inside waiting
the preacher said
watch out

the preacher said

You're holy, holy, holy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Look With fresh Eyes

Things are never known in their totality; an essential character of our perception of them is that of being inadequate.
—Emmanuel Levinas

After taking part in a spirited discussion about a non-canonical text—listening to a swath of opinions and phrases—I found myself thinking about Emmanuel Levinas—which is odd because I find his writings quite complex and I've only dipped one toe into anything he's written.

Levinas suggests that a text doesn't have meaning in itself, but requires a person who acts as an interpreter. Often texts require a number of interpreters.

He writes, "It all happens as though the multiplicity of persons...were the condition for the though each person, through his uniqueness, ensured the revelation of a unique aspect of the truth..."

I know that Levinas talks about the temptation of temptation. Isn't that our desire to know—opening every envelope, but not necessarily experiencing what we're reading.

Then how do you make the choice of what envelope's contents you'll experience or follow? If you don't make a choice you become a "tourist"—hanging around the periphery.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Keeping Up

In the last two days I've come face to face with my inability to keep up with new theories in feminism. I've let things slide—become complacent, out of touch.

There was a time when I engaged in heated debate with separatists who desired communities that excluded men, with the debate over who could attend the Michigan Women's Festival. Could you bring boy babies and if so to what age?

Did Women's Bookstores need to stock the books that were anathema to many women? Books that pushed the boundaries.

I walked in Pride parades when I knew that my job might be endangered. I went to Washington to march in a huge parade asking, demanding, equal status. I spoke to my elected officials about how they voted and would vote on marriage for gays and lesbians.

In time, because I lived in a state where marriage became a reality, I lost my edge. Still a feminist, but losing touch with the new language.

So when I read a letter to the editor in The Nation —of intersectionality of identity politics , I stopped short. How did I become so slack that I had to look up a definition?

Thank goodness we're still talking about privilege, color, income, and how those aspects of identity intersect as well as polarize.

I still miss women's bookstores and women's music.

I'll need to brush up on the new vocabulary so I'm relevant.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sliding off My Tongue

The venerable OED adds new words when appropriate, when the word is embedded in our written and spoken language.

Once a word makes it into the dictionary may we still denote it as slang? Coney dog is now listed. I wonder if Nathan's Hot Dog stand gets a mention because when you think of a coney dog you think of Nathans.

According to history, Nathan's Hot Dogs began when Nathan Handwerker opened up a stand in Coney Island. His wife supplied the recipe for the hot dogs.

His clients included the infamous and the famous— Al Capone and Cary Grant.

If I believe all the legends surrounding Nathan's —then the story of when FDR was president and served the King and Queen of England Nathan hot dogs is my favorite.

Honky-tonky also made it into the updated OED, as did wackadoodle.

Here's my go at incorporating the new words.

He preferred to spend his evenings in honky-tonky establishments where he might meet up with wackadoodles espousing conspiracy theories.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

You Need Both

What is the difference between passive and active? Passive isn't always the opposite of active. It stands on its own as a peaceful response as well as being inert or inactive.

Active brings forth a litany of descriptors: brisk, energetic, productive, animated, agile. Active creates a visual of someone in the fray of the battle, someone who gets things done, who finds out what needs to be done and does it.

I think the word passive carries an unfair burden. It connotes the person who shuns the marketplace where the bartering and activity takes place. Yet, there are things that we call passive, but in fact are active.

This isn't a case of semantics, but one of accepting that active may mean a conscious contemplative response that requires a different aspect of active.

I think too often we fold the paper in half, mark one side as being active in the world and the other side as being passive in the world.

Last year I read a book by a woman who prayed for strangers. Every day she selected one stranger she saw, or introduced herself to that day. She told the person that she was going to pray for them. (This was down in the south where people might be amenable to some stranger approaching and announcing her intentions to pray.)

Passive as a peaceful response—

There's action that is chaotic, ill timed, not thought out. There's passive that is slack, resigned, submissive.

And there's action that moves mountains. There's passive action that prays for those mountains to be moved—and the workers appear.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Looking at My To Do List

To delete. To erase.
To refuse to do again.
To say I'm over the top.
To pare down.
To ask questions.
To hold up to scrutiny.
To laugh at pretensions
as if they were reality.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Politics of Reality

A plane disappears without a trace. Hundreds of people in a number of countries now attempt to solve this conundrum—how does a large plane with over two hundred people vanish?

Days go by and more questions and few answers. Now people begin to spin all manner of possible scenarios—conjectures, not based on any tangible evidence.

Tonight I heard someone suggest extraterrestrial aliens. Not only do we not not know the fate of those on board, but it is disquieting to be in a place of possibilities, but no answers.

At one point in human history suggesting that something fell off the earth had a plausible ring, but now we want a scientific response, something that coincides with our view of reality.

And what is reality? One dictionary definition : "all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you." Another definition: "the world or state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notational idea of them."

Yet we surround ourselves with reality television which purports to be real, but is often staged or contrived. It's a ruse, an artifice.

All we do know is that the reality of all those on board changed. That is not an illusion.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A New England Lament

I know the line about the weather in New England—"Wait a minute and it will change." Two days ago I took off layers, exchanged my wool socks for a lighter material, hung up my heavy jacket, hung my camera around my neck and took photos of the ice on the Charles River. Instead of one thick sheet, a pattern of ice shapes covered much of the water.

I watched two geese dancing on separate ice floes. I took a photo of a sign—End Gender.

Early today a sheet of ice—on the roads, in my car door locks. Today I added layers, put on my wool socks, hung up my lighter jacket, took out my heavier jacket, and heavy gloves.

I didn't take any photos, but did notice that when everyone adds layers, wool hats, and boots— End Gender is applicable.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Matter of Semantics

How many answers
to questions unasked,
caught in a place
with no words

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Wider View

Ever think you want something and then find out you really don’t want it?

For months I’ve yearned for a really wide-angle lens—something that would take in more than my periphery vision—something that encompassed everything I could see when I turned my head to the right and then to the left.

Today I had the chance to use such a lens. It distorts the world. Flat lines become curved, Curved lines stretch themselves seeking, I think, to become circles or ovals.

I know, with post processing, there’s a way to restore the horizon to what my eye sees—but that defeats the purpose of this wide-angle lens. I think I prefer smaller bits of reality.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Place to Ask

I recall the last night of camp. Not only did we sing around a campfire, make s'mores, tell stories, we also wrote wishes on small pieces of paper. Each camper placed their wish in a small paper boat.

We all went down to the lake, waded in and released our boats. A small regatta of wishes set afloat disappeared into the night.

Yesterday a small icon appeared in the sanctuary--unusual for this church. One figure on the icon depicted a believer with his hand posed in a position offering a blessing. In front of the icon--a wood box and squares of origami.

An invitation-- write something on the paper. A wish. A blessing. A need. Ask for what you need. Offer a prayer for someone.

The flat pieces of origami paper, once folded several times, and transformed into birds, and hung around the sanctuary represent prayers.

Prayers sent out and blessed.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Riddle of Time

What happened to the hour I lost when I turned all the clocks ahead? You can't simply eradicate an hour and stick it somewhere else. So many questions.

Are there any neighbors who refused to be intimidated and retained that hour for their own private use?

Did I miss out on anything when I expunged sixty minutes?

I know why they make the move at 2:00am. No one mounts a revolution at that hour.

Next year I'll stay up and watch the digital clock on my computer make its move. Is there a counter move?

Last night I went to sleep too late and I stared at the digital clock daring it to make a move? I'll manage to survive this upheaval, but just when I feel the solid ground the hour will return.

The return, although not imminent, indicates a state of remorse.

How does one fill an unexpected hour. It's like having an unexpected guest for dinner.

If I save what I intended for the lost hour I can simply plug it into the returned hour and save my time. Sometimes an hour is all you have.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Art of Small Eats

Today is a day of art openings and receptions. How does one judge an opening? Obviously first on the list—what's being shown; however, since the event is billed as a reception I pay close attention to what is served.

At out first mid-day reception three platters of small finger foods appeared on a narrow table replete with a white tablecloth. The first platter looked delectable, but it was all show. I did try another item from a different plate—which was better. My main suggestion to the folks who arranged the reception—less formality. I did have the sense that someone was watching how many of these treats you ate. Fluted wine glasses and wine served by a young woman assured the owner of the gallery that no one was filling up an eight ounce glass of wine.

I wore jeans and noticed that she did not ask me if I wanted a glass of wine. She did ask a rather well attired woman—in heels. Since I truly paid attention to the ceramic pieces a second woman interrupted my reverie and asked if I'd like a glass of wine. "No thank you."

At the late afternoon reception all the food was on a table in a small room off the gallery space. Because the photographs in the exhibit were so expressive and evocative I didn't even walk into the small room for the first ten minutes. Instead I stood in front of lush, well-composed, stunning color. I especially liked two views of doorways in a small town in France.

When I did go into the small room adjoining the gallery I loved the array of cheeses, plates of crackers, bunches of grapes, and plastic glasses for wine. My favorite—the goat cheese on a slim cracker.

Tonight I'm going to an opening in a small local gallery. I've attended many openings there and I enjoy the food. One of the owners loves to cook and she takes out small dish after small dish and puts them out. It's a never ending potpourri of classic appetizers. My favorite—a shrimp canapé.The openings are always crowded and the exhibits are usually engaging and contemporary. People know one another and conversation flows, artists stand beside their work and discuss the what and how of their piece.

Tonight I hope that she makes her chocolate dessert — and that I'm in time to have one.

This last exhibit is all photography—with a theme, faces.

Friday, March 07, 2014

An Expensive Purple Coat

The young woman pushed a wheel chair into the doctor's waiting room.

"Are you comfortable?" Then she unbuttoned the top button of a purple winter coat.
"Would you like to hold a magazine?"
"No. I'm listening to my grandchildren."

The young woman never took off her down jacket.She sat down and took out a phone and began to scroll through —possibly messages, or a game. It's not possible to know what someone is doing when you're seated across the room.

The older woman stared straight ahead.
I noticed her hair —full, bone white, and well cut.

They waited for a short time and a nurse came out and called her name. The young woman stood up and started pushing the wheelchair down the corridor. The older woman closed her eyes.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Lure

To say No to offers of joining a group of people who are reading a book and discussing it on line with a famous author, to refuse to sign up for daily koans, to abstain from joining the ministry offering to start your day with a meditation, Biblical passage and short prayer as well as a musical piece by a well respected choir, to walk away from a chance to read 100 books from ten categories and check your progress off on a chart while receiving weekly uplifting messages encouraging you to read, read, read, to turn your back on a new recipe a week by a vegan cook, and finally to refuse to blog to a daily uplifting prompt —is difficult.

Perhaps some people experience no problem eschewing these lures on your time, individuality, free will.

This week I unsubscribed to a myriad of places offering me the chance to align myself with other like minded souls. I feel unencumbered, but know it is only a matter of time before I'm drawn to the next offer—one I can't refuse.

The Wall Street Journal has a new book club. The first book looks good—how can I refuse?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


How do you get rid of something? If it's trash just throw it out. But, what constitutes trash? The dictionary definition of trash —worthless material. My worthless may be of value to another person. Artists recycle trash. They turn dross into gold.

When batteries lose their function a warning on the body of the battery warns the user—don't incinerate, throw out properly, recycle. The local fireman said, "Just throw it out." I do just that, but with trepidation. Will the battery end up in some land fill or will it be incinerated? And if it's the later will it cause an explosion?

Once upon a time Whole Foods allowed you to turn in your old batteries, but they stopped offering that service—probably because they couldn't figure out what to do with the pounds of batteries deposited in the bin.

I have three gallon paint containers in my basement. When the town collected hazardous material they accepted oil based paint, but drew a line in the sand when it came to acrylic paint.
The containers aren't empty. The lids are rusty. According to one site I checked, the EPA estimates that sixty-four million gallons of paint are left over—annually. When I close my eyes I see a parade of cans across the continental United States.

There are explicit instructions on how you can solidify Latex and Acrylic paint and then dispose of the paint with the rest of your garbage—if your town or city permits.

One site I checked suggests donating the paint. I can't imagine the Salvation Army wanting my seven year old rusted can of plum paint.

Then there are all those electronic gadgets. We had a store in town where you brought an item in, weighed it, and paid by the pound for disposal. I had an old scanner that refused to scan when it reached the age of six. I placed it in my car, carried it into the store, placed it on the scale and paid twenty dollars.

Perhaps, in the future, we will ascribe a life span to every item and when that time is reached the item will self-destruct. That's not so far in the future—we now have self-destructing emails. All your words are expunged. I can envision the paint cans diminishing in size—a virtual Gulliver's Travels in modern dress.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

How did this Begin?

Expressions begin somewhere before they gain momentum and enter the mainstream. According to the Big Site of Amazing Facts, the phrase "Dodge a Bullet" goes back to WWI when soldiers remarked that they could avoid artillery shells because they "arced through the air slowly enough to be seen."

Even erudite magazines use this phrase as a quick way to explain what they want to say, or a way of grabbing the readers attention. A recent article in Astrobiology Magazine—"Dodging the Extinction Bullet." That title captures an audience.

I enjoy finding the origins of a phrase. We do become rather persistent, as a society, when it comes to selecting a phrase and watching it appear everywhere, in print, in conversation, and in the news.

The phrase enchants, consumes our vocabulary, and holds us in her grip. We also hear overworked words infiltrate our world. Iconic is such a word.

Everything is iconic— check the web—"Iconic scenes" in Breaking Bad, 28 Most Iconic Feminist Moments. We surround ourselves with iconic figures, iconic moments, iconic architecture, iconic cars, and the list goes on and on.

Has iconic become the epitome of sloppy. Call something iconic and conjure up the epitome of that object, person, event. Forget having to explain why. Iconic is the new very.

Monday, March 03, 2014

I'll Buy One

I confess to watching the Academy Awards-- waiting to see who garnered awards. Some of my selections didn't make it to the podium. In fact a number of my choices weren't in the running.

I did avoid watching the red carpet parade where women wearing flowing gowns attempted to navigate on stiletto heels.

I liked Ellen's tuxedo -- worn with sensible shoes. Who thought twenty years ago that a dyke would host the awards. Bravo.

Imagine a line of clothes inspired by Ellen's attire . Now that's red carpet worthy. It's retro.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Spirit Moved Me

Decisions—making up your mind, choosing or declining—set one's teeth or electing to
Decisions—walking on the fence, or wavering between Scylla and Charybdis
Decisions—carrying baggage into the entire process
Decisions—between embarking on a path or walking alongside the path

Are you the type who joins every group? Or are you someone who trots alongside without being a card carrier? Perhaps you like memberships—and pull out your wallet stuffed with all the cards that count you as a member.

I've noticed that groups I support with money often send me a card the size of a credit card and it will say—Member Since____. I never joined, officially, never filled out a membership application. I simply sent in a small donation. It must be that a number of people collect these cards, trophies of membership.

Without even applying, without wanting in, you can have a wallet bulging with membership cards. Then there are organizations that demand references, the filling out of elaborate forms, and possibly putting you on a wait list until a spot opens up—that is if you satisfy all the requirements.

Joining a group is another type of decision. I once joined a group of people who met once a month to discuss Women's Literature during the Victorian Era . After two times of listening to people argue about the discrete period of time to cover and whether we should include periodicals and the study of fallen women during that era, especially the fallen married woman, I lost interest.

Joining a group can be perilous or exhilarating.

Some people identify as serial church joiners, trying out different pastors, different denominations—seeking the perfect fit. Others spend years in one denomination and identify themselves by their denomination.

Today I joined a church I've been attending for several years—active in the church, yet not ready to commit to membership. It's like I had one foot on one side of the divide and the other foot on the other side.

We all carry baggage into decisions—who am I, and can I drag all of who I am into this new relationship? My decision was sudden and precipitous, —"so many people joining, why not now, I'll disappear into the crowd."

It's not as if I stood apart in the church—I partook in programs, I offered a workshop called Christian Midrash. I prayed for people, I tried to enter into the rhythms of the church. But I stood on the other side of the velvet rope. Now, I joined.

Standing in front of the church, alongside thirteen other adults and five children, who also joined, I answered the questions, responded when called for, and my voice connected to the single voice of the congregation and the other thirteen in affirming our covenant. And as I read , along with scores of other voices, I allowed the wonder and gift of God's spirit to wash over me and I knew that the decision was mine—but God had set the stage. God's gift—a shove, a nudge, and a loving hand.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Sure Signs

Spring will soon burst upon the scene because I heard my first exhibition baseball game on the radio. I didn't know most of the names of those at bat or on base; they are the players invited up for spring training where they can dream of someday catching the brass ring. Occasionally the announcer mentioned a big league player—but not often.

And then there's this weekend's golf tournament on television, reminding me that the clubs in my basement need to be cleaned and readied for the season. Soon I'll go on my annual hunt for comfortable golf shoes, golf balls on sale, a new shirt that isn't so tight that all circulation is disrupted, and a twelve foot ball retriever that telescopes down to six inches.

Soon we'll take our annual trip to New Hampshire for the golf demo day where you can try out all the new equipment—along with their promises to help you hit longer and improve accuracy.

Last year I purchased a Red Sox ball marker and used it every time I played golf. The Red Sox won the World Series. I'm not, in any way, thinking that my use of the Red Sox ball marker impacted the season, but suppose I change ball markers? If they begin to lose do I bear any responsibility?

Two years ago I encased my driver in a Lobstah cover. Last year I simply used the cover that the company supplied—with its logo proclaiming my use. Do I go back to the Lobstah? Does the Lobstah help me chip away the number of strokes I need to hole out the ball? Is it time to find a new cover? These questions require thought, because a wrong move may cost me strokes and I can't afford to give any away.

Another sign of spring—first button of coats, undone.

Fluttering hair.