Archive for May, 2008

Why women take so long shopping

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

So I’ve been working on The Uniform. My soon-to-be-boss, the rector of the parish where I’ll be working, seems to wear a clergy shirt, dark slacks and jacket to work every day, so I’m feeling like I ought to be ready to look professional and put-together on a more-or-less daily basis, too. (more…)

But I like to pretend!

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Zag has definitively entered the pretending phase. Whatever we’ve been reading with him totally captures his imagination. We recently read James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks, a wonderful tale of a prince trying to rescue a princess from an evil duke, assisted by a peculiar magical being called the Golux, and involving a quest to obtain a thousand jewels. He’s spent some time being other characters (and, of course, assigning characters to us) in recent days, but the Thurber characters, archetypal as they are, have really stuck. (more…)

Unfurling their wings

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

I’m reading a recent book, The Game, by one of my favorite authors, Diana Wynne Jones. It touches on a theme she’s often explored before: the problem of how to control and guide the early efforts and experimentations of children who happen to have inherited magic powers. She’s not the only one to work with this theme – it shows up in the Harry Potter books, and elsewhere.

Lying in bed last night next to my sleeping son, it occurred to me that maybe one reason this theme is so compelling is that it’s such a powerful metaphor for parenting ordinary, non-magical children. Most kids don’t wander off into the mythosphere like the kids in The Game, or suddenly start bespelling neighborhood kids. But other powers come to them, and they try them out – at 2 and 3, at 5 and 6, at 9 and 10 and 14 and 17. They learn to use the power of speech to argue, persuade, insult, ingratiate, threaten, embarrass. They learn to use the strength and agility of their bodies to climb new places, try new skills, get into new kinds of trouble. They learn to read and count; they increase their abilities to remember and to reason. They think, Can I do that?, and they try it, and sometimes they can. Inevitably, occasionally, they endanger themselves and/or others.

And we’re the hapless elder wizards, watching them stretch their wings, trying to direct and guide – but often unable to make an impression, faced with a child’s enthusiasm and confidence and curiosity. If only, we think, they would use their powers for good instead of evil! … (They’re not evil, really, of course; more Chaotic Neutral, occasionally Chaotic Good.)

I don’t have any profound conclusion here. I just find myself identifying more than is quite comfortable with the various magical authorities in these books who are trying vainly to rein in and channel the burgeoning powers of young wizards…

Decision ‘08

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Well, I’ve accepted a job offer as assistant to the rector at a medium-sized church within a 100-mile radius of Cambridge (Our Fair City), MA. We weren’t looking to stay in this area, initially, but it’s nice – it means we can come back here pretty easily to visit friends, shop, etc. And some of our friends and family in this area won’t actually be much further away in our new location. I have to admit that it’s comforting to be within reach of familiar sites and faces, starting this new life.

The church is in a tiny town just outside a very charming small city, which may be where we end up living. I suppose I’ll have to name the place, since I will doubtless be blogging about it during the years to come. I’m thinking maybe St. Cosmus. When I was studying in England during my junior year of college, I sometimes walked on Sunday mornings to a little country church, about fifteen minutes’ stroll along wooded lanes from our campus. It was a beautiful little stone church, lightly-attended and very, very English-feeling. Think of the church in The Vicar of Dibley and you’ll not be far off. Anyway, its name was the Church of Saints Cosmus and Damian in the Blean. (I think it was the church that was in the blean, not the saints.) That ranks as one of my two all-time favorite church names to date, tied with the New Aggressive Church of Deliverance, a storefront church in the southern city where we used to live. (We always wondered: did they split off from the Old Passive Church of Deliverance?) So… in honor of the little church in the blean, and because my new home is also a little country church (though nowhere near as little – they can afford an assistant, for one thing!), perhaps I’ll try calling it St. Cosmus, and see how that feels.

I won’t be starting at St. Cosmus till mid-July at the earliest… but I’m sure I’ll be blogging about the move, and about my thoughts and feelings about starting my first real grown-up job… like the roving fears of inadequacy that have been attacking me from time to time all day today… what are these people thinking, hiring me? don’t they realize that I don’t know how to do anything practical?… 

Send ‘em my way

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I have been offered a job. A good job in a wonderful parish. But I have plane tickets for visits to two other parishes – one this weekend, one the week after next. This is complicated. I need prayers for discernment, wisdom, clarity, peace of mind, all that good stuff.

And I promise I’ll tell you something as soon as I have anything official to tell.

Zag’s morning poem

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Looking out our window at 7:30 this morning –

It’s a beautiful day outside!

It’s trees and houses and cars and windows and air

all talking together!

Zagisms, etc.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Hey, did you hear about our local exploding-manhole-cover excitement? Did this make the national news? The funny (?) thing is that we got an email from Hogwarts administration on Thursday explaining that the campus was having some power issues, resulting in elevator and computer problems in the library building, and that they were in touch with the power company about the problem…. (more…)

Looking for Milner’s

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Driving home from a (job-hunt-related) day trip yesterday, I got off the highway to get gas and ended up having to turn the car around in the parking lot of a small, slightly scruffy strip mall. I spotted a party supply store, and on a whim, I parked and went inside. I browsed the aisles, found nothing I had to possess, and left again. As I walked back to the car, I thought, After all these years, some part of me is still looking for Milner’s. (more…)