Saturday, March 17, 2012

Last Few Days

Matt had board-certification tests this week.  He takes them in Milwaukee instead of Chicago.  That meant Rachel had a couple of days to kill while he was at the test center.  They spent the evenings with his family, and she spent two days hanging around here.  It was SO nice to just be in the same house, not necessarily trying to focus on visiting, still doing chores or putzing outside, but just being together and getting plenty of time to chat.  Katie and the girls came over on Friday too, and six of us had a picnic on the deck.

We also had non-family company.  A gal from Duluth was visiting CUW.  Her dad and sister needed a place to stay, so they were with us for a night this week.

I had my weirdest day ever at work.  One sweet elderly woman came in with a check to cash, but she'd accidentally torn off the "micr numbers" on the bottom of the check, the numbers that tell which bank, which account at that bank, check number, and eventually the amount is encoded on that line too.  I also had a couple come in and tell me that they were going to take a half hour.  An exaggeration, of course.  But it wasn't.  At least they were very pleasant.  Some other weird stuff happened too.

Katie, Nathan, and the girls showed up this morning at work.  Katie needed quarters for laundry.  Alia enjoyed talking to the personal banker about the little solar-operated Happy Flower on her desk.  Zoe smiled shyly.  It was clear from the conversation that these were my grandbabies.  When they left, my co-workers asked, "So, was that your son?"  Not one of them -- all of them thought Nathan was my son, and Katie my daughter-in-law.  That was kinda sweet!

Gary did a gentle tilling over the asparagus patch.  The sedum and hostas are cleaned out from the winter crud.  Lilacs are starting to bud out.  My bleeding hearts are not thriving, but they did survive another winter.  I finished pruning the apples and cherries; I'm afraid I may have been overzealous with one of the apple trees.  I dug up around the fruit trees and now need to surround them with a hefty dose of manure.  I prepped one raised bed for planting and put in about 18" each of kohlrabi, spinach, beets, and lettuce.  I have grand plans to put out a new 3' row of lettuce/spinach every two weeks, so we can load up with salads in May and June. 

Maggie and I both need shorts.  I don't think there's anything in the basement that will fit either of us.  Bummers.  Take time for sewing, or take time for shopping.  Maybe I'll just keep wearing jeans when I'm working outside.  But that will wear out my jean-knees, prevent tanning, and make me hot.  Hmm, this problem must be solved.

Last Sunday Gary and I attended "To Kill a Mockingbird" downtown.  I had low expectations because of our only other visit to this theatre, but this show was well done!  One of my favorite actors played the bad guy.  At the end of the show, Jimmy (having played the racist bigot who framed a black man for his own crime) came out for the curtain call with his arm around the actor whom he'd done in.  It was classy.

Gary injured his hand several weeks ago, trying to open a car door that was frozen shut tighter than he realized.  Having given it time to improve, and having it get worse instead of better, he saw the doctor and is now on drugs for a week.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Performative Word

When God says something, it happens. What He says doesn't merely give information. His word makes stuff happen.

When He said, "Let there be light," there was light. And there's still light.

When He says, "I forgive you all your sins," then, by golly, those sins are forgiven. His word makes it so.

When He says, "This is My body," then something happens. That bread becomes His body.

His word created light. His word created fishes and birdies and critters. His word to "be fruitful and multiply" means that people are still having babies. His word at creation means that grass still grows and that we can expect our gardens to bring forth food for us this summer.

That's the "performative word." It doesn't just describe. It actually performs what it says. But does it matter HOW it's said?

I don't want to tread into a naughty ground that implies the words must be spoken just so, with the right inflections and the right tone and the right pauses and all that jazz, lest the words be powerless.  That'd just be stupid.

And yet, you've probably heard the same thing I've heard: people who can manage to speak words of sweet gospel with a demanding tone-of-voice, with a scolding face, managing to turn "Trust Me" into a damning command instead of a faith-kindling invitation.  You've heard people who can turn the Beatitudes into words of law about how we're supposed to act, instead of being the blessing that they are.  So does it matter how the words are spoken?

I was told recently that God's word must be spoken in God's way.

Wow.  That answers a lot of things.  That applies to the things I was just writing about.  But it also explains why kids playing church (baptizing dolls or pets, saying the Words of Institution) are not administering the sacraments.  These aren't magic words, incantations, effecting circumstances by their mere utterance.  But when God's word is spoken in God's way, it is performative.


Perennial onions and cilantro are poking up in the garden.

Maggie and I are working on identifying trees in the pine family. Almost everything we find are spruces, with a pine here and there. No firs, no hemlocks, no junipers. I need to find an arboretum.

We saw the oral surgeon this week about the extraction of Maggie's wisdom teeth.  The doctor said she's one of the rare people who actually has room in her mouth for wisdom teeth, and they came in nicely, unimpacted.  But becauce of the vcfs, her teeth rot so badly.  Some molars erupt with decay already in them.  Wisdom teeth will rot.  Not "might rot."  But will.  So they must go.

One of my favorite talk-radio hosts suggested using Verify the Recall to get an idea of where people running for [non-partisan] local office stand on some issues.  It seemed like a fantastic idea, and I spent some time this evening looking up school board members and town board members.  The village board is a good deal more liberal than the board governing the township.  County board is next on the list.  If you're in Wisconsin, use the list.  (Of course, first you should verify whether your name was added without your signing.  Not that I would ever suggest that there were irregularities or forgeries on these petitions....)

We stayed up too late last night, hoping for better ogling of the northern lights. All we found was ever-so-faint ones. But hey! Northern lights! Cool -- even if they are so faint as to be nearly invisible.

My regularly-scheduled days at work are going to be changing in mid-spring. I was SO looking forward to being able to attend symposium this year. Alas, I am again going to miss much of it. At least I make it through Passiontide this year, still with the bestest imaginable work-schedule.  My schedule will presumably change again in fall, when one of my co-workers begins a new semester in college and her class schedule changes.  This makes it hard to figure out what days to buy APT tickets for.

Athena has gotten snugly in her old age.  She likes sleeping with a person.  She will jump up on laps and ask to be petted.  Last night, our bedroom door did not latch when we closed it.  You know the game king-of-the-hill?  Well, I was the hill, and there was a cat-spat over domination of the hill, and who got to sleep on my back.  Silly girls.

Maggie had a hankering for cookies. So for some unreasonable reason, we threw together a batch of chocolate chip cookies  last night. Mmmmmm. Warm cookies!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Psalm 77 -- The Cliff's Notes Version

Verses 1-9 Asaph says that he keeps praying, but it sure looks like God doesn't care.

Verses 10-14 He says he will remember what God done.

Verses 15-20 Asaph recites the events of the exodus. That stuff was history hundreds of years previous. Asaph wasn't remembering something God had done specifically in his life, at least not something that was unique to his life. Asaph wasn't talking about a recent miracle. He went back hundreds of years; he spoke of the same old events that were sung about in all the hymns, over and over. What kind of help would that be?

All the help in the world!
Our God is funny that way.
Reciting the "same old things" that He did a long time ago, that is where we find our help and our comfort. That is where we learn that His promises are sure and certain. That is where we learn that He is for us.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Zoe and the Shark

We went to the science museum last week.

Alia peeking through the window of the boat.

Zoe could have hung out at the aquarium for hours.

Maggie peeking through the window too.


I have car seats in my back seat.
And a cell phone in my front seat. But I was a good nanna and gave the cell phone back to its owner.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Perfectly Balanced

After 15 months, I finally had a month where my drawer at work was balanced every day, there was no need to contact customers to correct errors I made, and all my paperwork ran through the "proof machine" without mistakes.  That means I finally made the Perfectly Balanced List.

Thing is, there were a couple of mistakes I made that were the kind that didn't show up in the place that counts toward being perfectly balanced.  So I was feeling guilty for making the list.  (Some way to hit my first time on the poster, eh?)  Then I was the only one from our branch who made it this month, and my boss praised me before the rest of the employees.  More guilt.  Then to top it off, I won the drawing for a restaurant gift-card.  I didn't even know that making the list made you eligible for a prize, but I won it, the very first time I made the list.  More guilt. 

Can I enjoy the lovely dinner-date with Gary even if I know I don't deserve the prize?

At least Gary's having fun with this.  Look at the name of my blog and the reason I chose that name.  Gary keeps laughing at the words "perfectly balanced" being used in conjunction with me in any way, shape, or form!