Archive for August, 2007

Teffy Geet tragedies

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Zag just marched into my office, where I’m working on a major paper-cutting piece, and demanded to know where the pie was. When I allowed as how we don’t actually have any pie, he said, “Get some!” (Baba Yaga, take note. Your grandson wants pie.) This has inspired me to write the post about Zag’s latest antics that I’ve been meaning to write for a couple of days. (more…)

Playground manners

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

So Zag and I were at the playground on Cambridge Common yesterday morning. He was playing in the big sandbox area, digging and filling some plastic creature-shaped bowl. About eight feet away, a cluster of three mommies (or two mommies and a nanny?) were talking. They clearly all knew each other, and were there with an assortment of kids – three older ones around 5 or 6, and a couple of infants. Two boys in the older batch were playing in the sand at their feet, where two of the mommies sat on the wooden bench/wall surrounding the sandbox.

One of the boys got a little carried away digging, terrier-style, throwing sand back between his legs. The sand was flying a good six or eight feet, and some was hitting Zag. I said, “Excuse me- EXCUSE ME- ” – actually aiming my words at the kid, because I’d rather talk it out with the kid then with the parent – that just seems more respectful of the kid, who is the person involved, after all, and this kid was old enough to understand. The kid didn’t hear me but the mommies eventually tuned in – all three of them jumped into action, stopping the kid, explaining what he had to do differently, reminding the other kid to be careful too, etc.

During the whole of this, none of them spoke to me. None of them even made eye contact with me. No smile, no “Sorry!” Certainly no “Sammy, go apologize to that little boy for throwing sand at him, OK?” I looked at each of them. I invited eye contact. No response.

What is that? Seriously, what is that?

Blind date?

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Well, my 14-year high school reunion is taking place this weekend, and I’m missing it. I decided we just couldn’t make it – which is good because it turns out this is the weekend between Tilt’s trips to Chapel Hill and Uganda. My sorrow at missing out on this intriguing occasion was eased somewhat by the discovery that my old friend E is moving to Boston in September.

E was one of my core group of buddies throughout high school. We all used to hang out in his basement watching The Princess Bride incessantly and either snacking/hanging out, or necking, depending on whether we were all dating each other or not at the time. I remember playing a (silly, rather than naughty) game of strip pool there after junior prom. (more…)

Yard sale kismet

Saturday, August 25th, 2007


I celebrated Tilt’s return home, and being off full-time Zag duty, by going out yard saling for a couple of hours this morning. It was a really good day. The first sale, up north of Porter Square, attracted me by advertising women’s clothing in my size range. She turned out to have a huge amount of clothing, in excellent condition (some with tags still attached), which she was trying to move along for $1 an item. (more…)


Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

So Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria, the African bishop who is most outspoken and activist in his condemnation of the Episcopal Church of late, sent a long letter to all his bishops about the trials and tribulations of recent Anglican history, and his struggle to bear faithful witness in these difficult times. You can read it here. (Thinking Anglicans rocks my world.)

A new story in the Church Times (UK) argues convincingly that this letter was largely written by Martyn Minns, an English priest and, since last year, a bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, serving conservative evangelical Episcopalians.

Conservative leaders in the global North (North America and Europe) have insisted repeatedly, over the years, that they aren’t putting words in the mouths of their African allies – that they simply want to play a liberative, empowering role in their alliances with Anglicans in the global South – that the African bishops who support them are speaking their own convictions.

I believe that sometimes Northern conservatives have meant this, in all sincerity. But when your African allies just don’t put things quite as eloquently as you’d like them to, what are you gonna do?

Thinking Anglicans links this pithy commentary on this story.

*  *   *   *   *   *   *

I’ve been thinking about this, while enjoying my Saturday morning shower (without Zag – yay, Tilt’s home!), and I realized I have a little more to say. It seems, from the comments on Thinking Anglicans and elsewhere, that a lot of folks on the left are reading this incident as revealing once and for all that Southern Anglicans are just puppets for Northern conservatives. I would caution against that conclusion. I think it’s probably true that Akinola wouldn’t have put his name on the statement if he didn’t support it. And when I read statements from Ugandan archbishop Henry Orombi, whom I have met, they sound to me like his voice.

Just because Northern conservatives were involved in shaping this particular statement, doesn’t mean they always are or always have been. The reality is neither as simple as the Northern conservatives’ line that Southern Anglicans have freely and spontaneously come forward to support their positions and say exactly what they need and want them to say; nor as simple as what many Northern liberals believe – that Northern conservatives have manipulated Southern leaders to make sure they say exactly what they want and need them to say.

Teamwork indeed – complicated teamwork, with complex power dynamics, but teamwork nonetheless.

Still here –

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

- Tilt’s out of town all week, and I have thoroughly irrational hopes/ambitions of actually accomplishing a few things this week other than simply keeping myself and Zag and the dog alive and healthy and sane. So I’m packing a lot of activities into the precious time when Zag’s asleep and I’m on my own. I was going to get some reading done this afternoon while he watched a little Sesame Street, but then I ended up trying futilely to help a dying baby squirrel instead. How do the little creatures of nature know when the human daddy’s away and it’s a good time to disrupt the lives of the human mama and children? We have so many stories like this from my childhood – the baby raccoons trapped in the mudroom roof, the dog acquiring the dead possum – all while my father was out of town. Anyway, the baby squirrel business resolved into a disposal problem; I wrapped it respectfully in an old T-shirt and consigned it to the Dumpster with a brief prayer. Fortunately, Zag isn’t old enough yet to be heartbroken by such events… and I seem to be too old, finally.

So I’m just surfacing briefly to say hello and apologize for not having a lot to say this week. I will share, for posterity, my favorite thing Zag says right now. He’s very interested in talking about the past, and finding the expressions for talking about things he remembers. Sometimes he’ll say “sometime” when talking about something he remembers from earlier in the day or the day before, but most often he says, “Last night.” He’ll find a browning, half-eaten apple from the morning snack and say, “Last night,” or we’ll be talking about a trip we took days or weeks ago and he’ll say, “Last night.” It’s his all-purpose sometime-in-the-past indicator. I’m thinking of adopting it myself.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels

Sunday, August 19th, 2007


Tomorrow, Monday, is the anniversary of the death – the martyrdom – of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, killed in 1965 (at the age of 26) for his involvement with the civil rights movement. Daniels, a white man, went to Selma, Alabama, to join the struggle for racial integration there. He was shot defending a young African-American woman, a protester, from a racist’s bullet. (See here and here for more of the story.)

I knew about Daniels – our priest Lisa briefly considered naming our church after him, and there’s a sculpture honoring him on our campus here at EDS. But I wouldn’t be blogging about him if it weren’t for the sermon I heard this morning at my grandfather’s church in South Hadley. (more…)

Nothing better to do

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Just got Zag down to sleep. We’re in sort of a long-term, nebulous, transition with him in how he wants to go to sleep. Usually he seems to want, or need, for us to rock and sing him to sleep, or very nearly to sleep, as we’ve been doing for the past two years. Sometimes, though, he wants us to read books and sing to him just till he’s feeling mellow and wound down enough to be able to lie still, and then he wants us to leave him alone to fall asleep by himself. And sometimes it’s hard to tell what he wants or needs… he really has trouble settling down sometimes – agrees with us (whispering “yup! yup!”) that it’s time to be quiet and still, but can’t seem to get his legs or arms or mouth to cooperate. (more…)

Man vs. Nature

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007


Have I mentioned that we live in a major metropolitan area? In the heart of Cambridge, three blocks from Harvard  Square? Yet we are besieged by the little creatures of nature as if we lived in a farmhouse 30 miles from the nearest gas station. (more…)

Re-reading Tehanu

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Ursula K. Le Guin has long been one of my favorite authors.  Her father was Alfred Kroeber, one of the greats of the early generations of American anthropologists, and I see a lot of anthropological sensitivity in Le Guin’s work. (The main character in The Left Hand of Darkness, one of my favorites, is essentially an ethnographer, for example.) I’ve gotten bogged down in a few of her books – I’ve never finished Always Coming Home, though I’m fascinated by its premise – but when she’s good, she’s incredible.

I’m not sure what spurred me to re-read Tehanu, but I was definitely ready to read this book again – so ready that after reading the first forty pages or so of the library book, I went online and ordered my own copy. (more…)