Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Wheels of Commerce

Today, I went to the new Whole Foods, which was certainly designed by Satan. By Satan I mean that guy who makes you believe you can have whatever you want whenever you want it. There are about 1258 different kinds of cheese at that store. Also, all these different counters to sit and eat, including one where you can bring them a piece of fish that you've plucked from the cool waters of the fresh fish counter and they will cook it right up for you and you can eat it on the spot. Naturally, I love it there.

After lunch (Bento Box. Eaten at the Bento Box Counter. Mmmmmm.) I did a little shopping, pretty much avoiding the kind of stuff I always want to buy (fancy mushrooms) in favor of stuff we will actually eat in this house (cheese flavored crackers in the shape of tiny ducks). As I was checking out, I was talking shop with the cashier, which I almost always do, in case it works out that I go back to work in grocery. (Sometime I'll tell you how working grocery is really just like ministry). So I was telling the sweet young man how it was my first time in there, so I was a little overwhelmed, and how sometimes the abundance in America really is just so surprising, even though I'm from here, when the electricity went out.

All the music, all the white noise of 367 freezers and coolers, all the lights - gone. I know you're worrying about my pile of groceries melting on the cash register belt, as well as hassle caused by missing the afternoon appointments I was already late for. But worry not, reader. All else may fail, but at Whole Foods Downtown, the cash registers are always powered up. Don't ask me how.

Also, the elevator, which was a good thing because when I'd paid for my groceries (Eighty bucks! Gack! And that was without the fancy mushrooms!) I asked for directions to the stairway so I could walk back to the parking garage, the cashier and bagger both started talking at once.

"We stairs....well, way in back...I dont even know....not sure where they are....somewhere back there....for emergencies only...."

Then me: "Dude. The electricity is out. Doesn't this qualify as an emergency?"

Cashier and bagger: ((giggles))

I rode the elevator back to my car and drove away.

And thought about my friend traveling in India right now - teaching clowning to poor kids in Mumbai. I wondered if her lights were on.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lightening Up

My goodness, this blog has gotten gloomy lately. I think I'm learning a lot, and it comes out all intense sometimes. But, remembering that learning can be fun, here's some joyful learnings from the weekend, just to balance out the serious ones:

  • A person can have bronchitis for weeks and weeks, and then recover. I came home from church yesterday and found a well husband at home! And he's at work today!

  • Church budget meetings can be sort of invigorating. We don't spend too much time usually talking about What Really Matters, and the budget meeting is certainly a time to surface some stuff that is usually underground.

  • After a doctor visit in which the doc suggests that maybe your son is not getting enough sleep, you can say each night, "It's 8 oclock, Dr. Matin says lights out" and it will work for weeks and weeks.

  • If you knit a really easy hat and you use, not size 7 as suggested, but size 11 needles (the only size you have, from your prayer shawl days), the hat will look ridiculous.

  • But it will be welcome in the dress up box.

  • Or you can pull it apart, and knit it again. Yarn is forgiving that way.

  • And it's so easy to make, you can get some other needles and start a new one the very same day without feeling even a little grouchy.

  • Which is a lovely excuse to go to Joanne's, which you usually must avoid because of Random Acts of Buying.

  • Today, you did pretty good. In addition to needles, you came away with a packet of soccer ball shaped beads (99cents) and four new dish towels (2.98 for two).

  • There's probably nothing cuter than your son saying "I'm making a valentine's card for daddy and the yellow cab he's riding to work in." unlesss it's him clutching the the Quizno's delivery menu which was just delivered to the doorknob and chanting "I'm lucky, I'm lucky, I'm lucky, lucky, lucky."

  • Some movies that hold up to multiple viewings are The Truman Show and (blushing, but this blog is all about the truth and it IS the truth) Footloose.

  • If you put some new bumper stickers on your car that say We Cannot Rid the World of Sorrow, But We Can Choose To Live In Joy - Joseph Campbell; Faith is Journey, Not a Guilt Trip; I'm for Separation of Church and Hate; What if the Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About?; and Jesus,you're gonna feel a little more sheepish than usual for cutting a guy off. Even if he is going TWENTY TWO MILES AN HOUR.

  • Wash the two windows that get the most slanty winter sun. It will seem like you've accomplished something stupendous, and you can take the rest of the day off.

  • Nothing makes you feel as sophisticated as talking about yourself in the third person. Keep doing that.

Friday, January 26, 2007


"The home of the sun is the clouds." -Elijah, age 4 1/2

The ocean refuses no river. -from Dances for Universal Peace

I've been talking about leaving town.
Talking about it and thinking about it,
but I didn't feel it until today,
in a familiar kitchen with friends

when I saw the hole where I used to be,
already mended like an old sock is darned
with lumpier yarn,
not wholly comfortable at first but
serviceable enough and soon unnoticed.

I remembered Andy Goldsworthy's wee round driftwood house,
felt how she was lifted from the beach
when the sea and the river came together.
The water neither kind or unkind, but implacable, irresistable.
And she, buoyed up, creaking slightly,
neither happy nor unhappy,

gently carried away, bits of her beached or
floating free, to make a new shape on a new shore.
She knew about floating.
It was how she got there in the first place,
piece by piece.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Write the Final Sentence Contest

Every now and then, I write something, save it as a draft and then never get back to it. I was goofing around reading some of those dead posts recently and realized that the reason that I usually don't post them is because I can't think of a great closing sentence. And as you know, a blog entry without a great closing sentence is like a, a, a day without a great sunset. (Oh my GOD! I cannot believe that I just used the sunset analogy! Evidently, like revmother, I am totally doing the stafford right now.)

Anyway, it occurs to me that with all the collective wisdom of the genius readers of this blog, someone might be able to come up with an ending to some of the posts that are otherwise gathering dust in my drafts list. I invite you to complete this blog post. The person who posts the best ending in the comments, as judged by moi, por supuesto, by Monday, January 29 will receive a wonderful prize! (This includes those of you, you know who are, lurking in the dark corners beyond the comments. You are welcome to play too. If you are too shy to comment, you may email me.)

Here is the post I started back in November, than ran out of steam about. What was I trying to say? Something about the fleeting and shallow nature of fame? Something about the awesomeness of independent booksellers and record stores compared to chains? Something about Katie's dress? You probably know better than I.

Like Oprah, I was inexplicably not invited to Tom and Katie's wedding.

But, that doesn't mean that I know nothing about fame. Ever since that Friday Five a couple of months ago about famous people you've met, I can't stop thinking about this. I mean, what did that question MEAN by FAMOUS exactly?

Because, if you mean famous in a theology-geeks-only-need-apply sort of way, then you could count Wes Howard Brook - we were in a house church with him for a couple of years before it imploded.

Or you could count my college roommate and her husband. (Click on the link, scroll down to Raymond Fox. Isn't he a cutie?) When her family kept asking her "Ok, honey, we know you're MAJORING in theater, but what are you really going to BE, though?" she just kept saying "I'm going to be an actress." And now not only is she famous HERSELF, but she really knows really really famous people! (But it would be gauche of me to link to them, so I wont do it. Even though I kind of want to.)

College, in fact, was kind of my glory years as far as meeting famous people. But again, only in the geekiest possible way. I sat at a table for a couple of hours with Tim O'Brien once, I went to a book reading with my pal Rebecca (does she count as famous if she lived out our collective childhood fantasy by actually living in New York City and actually working ON BROADWAY?) who knew Peter Hedges, and she introduced me to him at a book reading on an incredibly snowy night that was us and like three other people and PH just poured his heart out anyway, and ever since then What's Eating Gilbert Grape makes it on my top ten list every time.

Also, since I worked for a while at Red House Records, I got to meet all the musicians. But, really, is Greg Brown actually FAMOUS? Not sure. How about Claudia Schmidt? Kind, yes. Funny, definitely. Famous? Probably not. John Gorka is a little bit famous, I guess. Ferron is not as famous as she should be, but I saw her last year in concert and she's still the kick assingest poet-rocker who ever lived.

After that, I worked in publishing. So I got to know Douglas Wood a little bit. And I went to a booksellers convention where I got to shake hands on the same day with Jamie Farr and Hilary Clinton. They are both most definitely famous, but does shaking hands count as "meeting"?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Overheard in Juniper's Kitchen or Why It's Nice Most Days to Have a Four Year Old About the House

Daddy: Sorry that I've been so sick lately. It's not very much fun, huh?
Son: Aww , Daddy, just be yourself.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Too long to be comments....

I started to write a response to Magdalene's post over at her place about The Ashley Treatment, and as you can see, it got totally out of hand. So here is my "comment," moved over to my place.

I've quickly read the Slate article by William Saleten, but read the website of the family of the child very carefully. My husband (who is disabled and in a wheelchair) and I discussed it at length. I have to say that if there is any taking sides, I am on the side of the parents in this one. Their motivation, as articulated by them, and as was understood by the ethics board at the hospital, was the comfort, health and safety of their child.

Even if "we did it for her" is not true, and they really did it for the good of themselves, I am still not sure that's such a bad thing. In a family system, the good of all must be balanced. So, in this case, something that is good for the parents ( having a smaller child who is easier to lift), it is also good for the child (being able to be really involved in the family for her life).

Medical intervention is an interesting problem, as exemplified by my own family. My son, for example, was born early, and his lungs had not quite caught up with his otherwise large and healthy body. As a direct result, he now has asthma, which requires frequent treatment by expensive and somewhat unpredictable medications. When he was younger, someone commented to me about the large numbers of kids with asthma these days, and speculated about environmental causes. "And," I added "used to be that those babies who were likely to get asthma, like Eli, would die before they had a chance to grow up." Kind of takes your breath away, (not to be too punny about something really serious.)

No one has suggested to us that we really shouldn't have used the incubators in the hospital those first weeks, no one suggests that giving him personality-altering steroids is an affront to his dignity, no one begrudges us our midnight calls to 911, even the paramedics who invariably arrive after the crisis has passed and he's breathing normally again. He cannot make those decisions on his own, I must make them for him. Decisions about what kinds of care to provide for him are not easy, but we make them every day on his behalf, with the fervent hope that the medicines that give him breath today are not going to be discovered to give him cancer twenty years down the line. (My, this is morbid, but you see the point, right?)

And dont even get me started about my husband. Every day we make ethical decisions together about how much to alter his "natural" state (which would be totally bedridden without the assistive devices he uses - wheelchair, transfer board, wife's strong back...). It may be his natural state to be flat on his back, but no one begrudges us the money and time spent pulling him up every day and into a job he could never have done and a life he would never have had if he'd been kept "natural."

So to get back to the family who decided to operate on their child, to keep her small and to keep her from menstrating. This wasn't to keep her a doll or a pet, it was to keep her at home, a part of the family. Was it the right decision? Like the steroids for Eli, only time will tell. Is it natural? Sure it isn't. But is it natural for you to fly (to FLY!) in an airplane to Tennessee to visit your great-aunt Tillie who used to ride a mule to school? Is it natural for me to write this to you now, people I will never see or know, and assume that you will receive it by some voodoo wireless magic I don't even understand?

Maybe instead of being all brave-new-worldy and snarky, William Saleten (who I bet drove a car to work today, speaking of unnatural) could have offered a word of compassion and hope to a family that made a big decision, placing a big bet on a future they could not see. NOW THAT would have been the natural thing to do.

I think it's EXTRA aristrocratic of me...

...that I didn't like the first one I got, so I played again. THIS one, I like.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Juniper the Amicable of Grasshopper in the Hole
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Advice and Information

Can anyone tell me....

1. What is a playdate to a 4 year old? This actually is a question that is like those Russian dolls that you keep finding another one in, because it contains so many other questions inside. So far, when Eli has hung out with friend, I either hang out with the other parent, who is always someone I know well, or they watch him, so I can go do other stuff. Now, he wants to have a playdate with this kid from preschool. So, do I invite the kid over, (into The House of Pestilence. Eek!)? If E goes over there once, am I then obligated to have the other boy over here later? How long does the whole thing last? Am I supposed to invite the mom, who I know by name but not otherwise, over too? If he goes over to his friend's house, can I go with him to check it out, stay for a few minutes and leave, or am I supposed to hang out and drink tea? Do I have start making a bunch of new FRIENDS now?

2. What is the difference between "top sirloin" and "tenderloin" ?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I read Judith Levine's book Not Buying It: My year Without Shopping . It's a good read, just like you've heard, and it was enjoyable to observe that she took it just like I would've taken such an experiment - sometimes resentful, restless, bored and other times happy, unencumbered, a little self-righteous.

But the part that was most interesting to me was (apologies to JL, the book is back at the library, so I'm paraphrasing now) how the whole experiment reduced her autonomy and sense of personal power. She said something about how it's your power to buy things that make you an autonomous person in this culture, and being autonomous makes you an adult. Sometimes she said she felt like a child - for example when someone would ask her to a movie and she would say "I'm not buying anything." and they would say "I'll buy!" Then she'd have to choose to forgo the movie, or to, child-like, allow her friend to buy for her. Anyway, ultimately, it seemed to me that it was not the stuff (or even experiences) that she missed, but the power that the stuff and the ability to experience gave her.

This week, I'm reading Kushner's Living a Life that Matters: Resolving the conflict between conscience and success. It's not giving me what I hoped, which is ammunition (I wrote that word, took it out and then wrote it again, because that IS what I mean) for a sermon I want to write soon about how the best way to tithe is to give it all away and follow Jesus, and how the second best way is to give ten percent (yes, that IS before taxes, bucko) of your money to the church, because if you're doing a certain amount of harm by your job in corporate america, you might as well try to do a certain amount of good, too. And by "a certain amount," I mean about 8 percent more than you're doing now.

Anyway, the book's not helping me with that, but as you'd expect if you've read any Kushner it's got loads of good little stories and a few helpful insights. And here I find myself reading about power again. He's talking about how victims of crimes often speak of the "shame" they feel, which used to shock him. He says:
What did they have to be ashamed of? They were innocent victims! Only recently did I come to understand them. The shame they felt was the shame of powerlessness...

Kushner's theory (which I appreciate in theory, but thankfully have never had to implement) is that by giving the victim a chance to speak, they can reclaim their power.

These are two such different ways of talking about power, yet there's something about them that feels the same to me. For both authors, there has been a power imbalance, and there is a clear path to walk, which will restore the balance. Consumerism and forgiveness don't at first glance seem to have anything in common. But Levine knows that all she has to do is buy her own ticket and balance will be restored, Kushner knows that all it takes is telling the story and hearing the admission of guilt for the same to happen.

If you read this blog at all regularly, you know that my husband has muscular dystrophy. That means that his muscles are weak, so even a little cough can really lay him out. And this thing he's got going on for the last week and a half is not just a little cough. We've tried consumerism - bought bottles of zinc, boxes of kleenex, cab rides to xrays. We've tried kindness - we wash our hands with lavender soap, we take a lot of naps and drink a lot of tea.

But really, we're powerless here. Levine and Kushner do have it right that being powerless fills you with the helpless rage of children tantruming at the candy store. No wonder it's so depressing being this kind of sick. Because unlike in the books, there's no imbalance here that is easily remedied. This virus will just have to run its course. We will do the things we know how, but they will not tip the scales. Only time can do that.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

tohu va'vohu

Out of the chaos of that top drawer in the kitchen, wherein, before today, one might have found buried a paperclip, a dead nightlight bulb, an Altoid box with two tiny brown stones in it, a hammer, or a piece of bent plastic of unknown origin or usage, as well as 24 assorted pens and markers - some working, four pairs of scissors, all those little hooks from that time we took down the drapes, and lots of other little cast off pieces of modern living, out of that chaos, order.

Now. If only it was that simple for the rest of my life...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Every possible emotion

I'm not sure that I really felt every actual possible emotion yesterday (Weds), but I racked up quite a few. (Except for smug. Darn it. I hate it when a day goes by without any smug in it. I'll aim for that for tomorrow.)

Yesterday I felt:

--Joy from the intellectual and spiritual stimulation of Bible study with wonderful colleagues. And at the same time, mild embarrassment at the behavior of Eli, who was with me (curse you, two-hour-late-start snow schedule!) and who'd just has a big dose of steroids. When I say "bouncing off the walls," I dont mean that metaphorically.

-Relief and guilt when I dropped him off at preschool after a week out and he held my leg and cried "Pweeeese dont goooooo, Mommy!"

--Deep peace and a gentle sense of contentment at a chatty (by which I mean enjoyable but not very profound) session with my spiritual director.

--Happiness at a chance to stop at my favorite sandwich shop, where they always recognize my family and say "How are you guys?" even when it's just me, the gal, in for a sandwich.

--Concern about Jeff, who now has the bad bug that wiped out Eli last week. Also, the morass of gazillions of other feelings I have when he gets really sick - loneliness (since he's mostly working on getting well and cant waste energy on anything like conversation), love, fear about death (his), fear about suffering (his and mine), anger, more guilt, compassion.....

--Frustration about a work thing that I cannot seem do right.

--Incredulity and intense excitement when surprising information about a fascinating future possibility came across my desk.

--Gratitude and love when a friend brought by dinner. Joy in her babies. Pride that my new furniture arrangement really works well for hospitality.

--Relief and gratitude that Eli was well enough to go the gymnastics class that he loves, delight in his delight with all the new tricks he can do, chagrin that he was still bouncing off the walls, frustration with the teacher for too much standing in line in her lesson plan.

--More sadness but also relief (I'm always partly glad to have the actual medical professionals take over) when Jeff and I decided he'd go to the ER to get an xray and make sure he didnt have pnuemonia.

--Astonishment when he came back two hours later (!!). We've had LOTS of visits to the ER, and they never keep you less than five hours in my experience. Irritation (and relief, but mostly irritation) that he's not the right kind of sick for any medical intervention, which means all it will take is time. Also, impatience.

--Grief and shock to open an email right before bed and learn of the death of a close family friend, on behalf of my parents (who are too young to have friends die) and on behalf of her young-adult children and husband. Sad to find that I dont have any photos of her in all my mixed up boxes and albums. Wonder if it is SHE who keeps sending me the dreams I've been having lately of water and danger and blessing.

I sat down yesterday and tried to write it all down, but couldn't somehow. And now that I just did, I see why. I'm tired just writing about it. Couldn't have did it and wrote about it, too, all in one day...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As you can see, Elijah is feeling much better. The snow is melted already (except for a big round ball), but 24 hours ago we briefly kept company with Snowmama. Sort of winter-goddess-ish, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Centering prayer for extroverts

I'm doing this series for the church newsletter called Everyday Prayer, about integrating prayer into, you know, the everyday. Lady Burg's recent post about "busy mind" reminded me of this one - #10 in the series.

Centering prayer turns your mind to God, reminding you that God is at the center of all you are and do. This is a good prayer for people who are busy, anxious or easily distracted. To pray this prayer: Sit comfortably. Breathe in and out after every line. Repeat if you like.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
Be still and.
Be still.

Parenthetical remarks are BONUS for blog readers only!
(Extra credit for extroverts: Invite someone over to talk to about how you just discovered centering prayer and how you find it surprisingly calming yet energizing. Tell this person how you never thought you'd actually be able to sit still and meditate for as long as five minutes, but now you can. Describe in detail the big problem you are having with your child/spouse/cat because they don't understand you/pay enough attention to you/clean up after themselves. Describe in further detail how sitting quietly with God has given you the insight you need to let go of/intervene in/forget this problem. Tell the person how this reminds you of an unresolved problem you are having with your boss/neighbor/fellow blogger. Describe the problem in detail. Suggest to this person three or four possible solutions to the problem you have just described. Reject them each in turn. Remember that you have just, in fact, learned an excellent method of prayer that might be of guidance to you in this situation. Tell this person you will to try it, as soon as they go. Say goodbye. Say it two or three times. Find yourself alone. Pick up the phone and dial a number. Repeat.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday morning at Casa Juniper

My smugness about Eli's understanding of the Christmas story may be somewhat misplaced, it turns out.

10:13 am:

Mommy: I'm thinking of going to Ikea today. Would you like to go to Ikea with me?
Son: (in an explanatory mode): IKEA was the first man into Bethlehem.
Mommy: (desparately grasping at straws) Umm, are you thinking of ZACCHEUS?
Son: Nooooo. ZACCHEUS was in go tell it on the mountain.

Well, there's always next year to iron out the details.

Sweet priest

Edited to add: No, really you should watch this. All the way to the end. And then, go on over to Youtube to check out the whole collection. We giggled through them all at our house.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

For Jacob....

...who requested more photos on the site.

Jeff took these in our yard today. Unusual to say the least to have not only ice, but also sun on a Seattle January morning.

book report

Thanks to all who had ideas about the book list, which I was making for this small group of preschool parents we have at church.

It's quite arbitrary, but it turns out its not all that easy to put together a list of books for kids that has inclusive language, is not too scary or gory re the crucifixion, and introduces a theology that will serve them for a lifetime. As you'll see below, sometimes I included things that did not meet the criteria if it did other good things (example: Everyday Bible.)

I have a feeling I'm going to keep working away that this list, so let me know what you'd suggest that I add or subtract. (One thing I'm still looking for is a book for kids called something like "Why do we go to church anyway?" Ideas? Or maybe I have to write that one...) Email me if you'd like the expanded list, in the the nicer format.

Books to Encourage & Celebrate Your Preschooler’s Spirituality

Does your child’s collection include…

…an illustrated children’s bible or book of bible stories?

The Pilgrim Book of Bible Stories
Published by our own UCC press, first children’s Bible to use inclusive language

Everyday Bible Stories
A passage for every day introduces the spiritual practice of daily Bible reading

…a book about God?

Because Nothing Looks Like God by Lawrence Kushner an Karen Kushner
An exploration of God’s mystery that your child doesn’t have to outgrow. Also available as board books: Where Is God? and What Does God Look Like?

In God’s Name by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Phoebe Stone
Reminds readers that God can be called by many names. Also available as board book: What is God’s Name?

Big Momma Makes the World Phyllis Root and Helen Oxenbury
Funny, wonderfully illustrated retelling of the creation story

…a book of prayers or songs, or a guide to prayer?
Bless Us All or Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant
These books are short, sweet and often funny, without being overly sentimental

Does God Hear My Prayer? by August Gold and Diane Hardy Waller
Photos from around the world accompany text about the purpose of prayer.

Each Breath A Smile by Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Susan, Nguyen Thi Hop, Nguyen Dong
Teaches a practical method of calming, centering prayer

…a book about special days in the church year?

J is for Jesus: An Easter Alphabet by Debbie Trafton Oneil and Jan Bryan-Hunt
Explains the events of Holy Week in a non-scary, straighforward way

The Nativity by Julie Vivas
Just the best illustrated Christmas story out there – full of wonder and humor

Water, Come Down: The Day You Were Baptized by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
All creation rejoices! Has a guide in the back to Bible passages you can read together

…a book celebrating love and diversity?
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
A little girl’s conversation with her mother is a reminder of God’s no-matter-what love

What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
A celebration of the beauty of diversity using the lyrics of the favorite song

Friday, January 12, 2007

Elijah (the boy not the prophet) Update

After St Cass's most recent comment, it occurs to me that I should probably be clearer about whom I speak. Unless she was joking. Oh, shucks, she was joking and here I was being dense. Durn it, I HATE it when that happens. In any case, the most recent Ask the Matriarch column reminded me that when he starts to read sometime in the next two minutes, he's going to know I'm writing about him and might want some anonymity. After all, in this Super Secret (not) blog, I am anonymous, why shouldn't my child and husband enjoy the same? Look for goofy yet accurate noms du blog, coming soon.

In the meantime, thanks for your prayers. Elijah is feeling much better tonight. [Internal Editor's Note: STOP RIGHT NOW AND DONT READ ANY MORE UNLESS YOU ARE ENTERTAINED BY TMI ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S BODY FLUIDS.] It has really been a charming visit from all Four Illnesses of the Apocolypse. (What, you don't know Asthma, Vomit, Diarrhea and Fever? Lucky you.) By dinner time, his fever was gone, he'd stopped coughing and he was begging for chocolate pudding, which he had spectacularly puked just forty five minutes before.
We're pretty easy, but we're not total pushovers.
He had soda crackers and water.
But we're all much more relaxed around here and hoping that tonight we might get some sleep.

Eli-Might-Go-The-Hospital-This-Weekend Alert has been changed to: CODE YELLOW.

Sick Day

Looking back, I should have seen it coming. There was the little cough that he, along with everyone at preschool, has. He fell asleep in the car a couple days ago, which he hasn't done for months or maybe years. And there was that thrashy sort of whining that I just wrote off as Being Four (which is maybe it's own kind of illness).

Anyway, other than that, he was his regular old self and I didn't see it coming. On Wednesday at 5:30, we left Gymnastics for Boys. By 5:38, he was working on a fever, and a bad cough that continued all night, and all day yesterday. He seems better this morning, but still working to breath.

This is how it is be Elijah. He's either UberHealthy or UberNotHealthy, without much in between. When he's well, in a weird way, except for daily inhalers, we sort of forget about his asthma. Then when he's sick, asthma is kind of all there is. Sometimes - a couple times a year I would say - the treatments we give him here are not enough, so we take him to the hospital. Which is not all bad - he thinks of the nurses as kind of 24-7 waitresses who bring him chocolate pudding whenever he pushes a button and there's the All Spongebob All The Time Channel, too. But however relaxing it is for the boy, the hospital is pretty stressful for the rest of us, so we usually put it off as long as possible.

We'll probably know by tonight if this will be a hospital-visit kind of illness or one that that we can push back by ourselves. So today is about watching and waiting and lots of praying. The fever is gone, as of about midnight, but there's still the cough.

We dont know what the weekend holds. But of course, when do we ever?


I feel tired today, but I must have slept because I woke up after a night of dreaming.

At 4 am, I jumped out of bed because of the spiders, then realized that colony of spiders were not ACTUALLY spinning their webs above the bed.

Then I fell back to sleep and dreamed that St Casserole and I were in a high, sunny room and we were leading a prayer circle. I asked Elijah if he'd like to lead us in prayer, so he took the bowl of water he was holding and dumped half of it over his own head, then walked around the circle, patting everyone's face with the water. (Hmm, I don't usually keep the lectionary cycle in my dreams...). Well, in the dream, it was so sweet that my heart wanted to burst, but then St Cass and I had to mop up all that water.

I woke up thinking about baptisms and blessings and hearing the boy coughing and gasping a little. Inhaler time. He fussed at first, but then the drugs kicked in and he got chatty and funny. Then he started to hum, but woozily, like a tiny drinker in the middle of a bender.
"What song is that, honey?"
And, muffled but clear through the mask:
You know, mommy.
Thank you, thank you
Thank you in the morning,
thank you in the evening
Thank you, thank you
Thank you when
the sun goes down!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow Day

Although there is no snow at our house, we're taking the rest of Seattle's word for it that there's snow SOMEWHERE and working at home today.

And I'm putting together a bibliography of Best Spiritual Books for Preschoolers. I need it by tomorrow, of course, but any suggestions are warmly welcomed.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with this book?

How about this one?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Things that make you go Awwww.

Today, during check in at a meeting, I heard myself say (the extrovert problem - I don't know what I'm thinking/feeling until it comes out of my mouth, which, as you know sometimes has unfortunate results)ANYWAY, I heard myself say that although January often drags me down, I am unusually optimistic and joyful this New Year. Maybe it's because the universe is showering me with cuteness. Here's two emails I received the other morning.

9:41 am: Update on Jeff's co-worker's new dog.

10:18 am: From a parishioner. Photos of the 16 baby pandas that have been born at Sichuan Zoo since July.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Junipercentric Blog Awards for 2006

In looking back over 2006, I'd have to say that your funny, spiritual, honest, beautiful and smart blogs are one of the great gifts of the year. Since this has now pretty much become a blog about blogging (see previous post), I'm going all the way by instituting the first (and perhaps last) annual Junipercentric Blog Awards for Best Blogs and Favorite Posts of 2006. According to me.

The Overall Best New Blog of 2006 Award
To Sacred Art of Living. Get yourself a nice cup of herbal tea and settle in. Great art, gorgeous photos and transcendent writing. Careful though - Christine is apt to hit you at the end of a gentle post with a question that'll really get you thinking. And thinking and thinking...

The Best Comeback Award To

To Jen Lemen! Yeah! We missed you! Welcome back!

The "Sisters are Doing It For Themselves" Award
For providing a forum for women who've been abused and silenced by the church,and for reminding me that International Women's Day should never go unnoticed, this award goes to Rachelle the Awesome Urban Abbess.

The Smiling St. Francis Award
For making ministry seem really, really fun (even on a hard day) this award goes to You've Really Got To Love Your People.

The I'll Take Mine with Plenty of Fresh Fruit Award to: Katherine at .any day a beautiful change. for the coolest cup of lemonade in the blogosphere, and for generally being a sunny voice from LA.

Funniest New Baby Blogging Award:
Sara at Going Jesus.

Funniest New Cat Blogging Award: Polar Bear at The Ice Floe.

Most Grace Under Pressure Award: Sue at Inner Dorothy, who lives unwhiningly with chronic pain (her own) and chronic disability (her partner's) and who is still the kick-assingest pastor and pray-er north of the Lake.

Favorite Big Sister Award: Songbird. Who always leaves kind and supportive comments at my place (and yours too) and whose blog is wise, funny and generous - just like the big sister you always wanted. (And she loaned me 25 bucks that one time and never got on my case about paying her back even though I completely forgot about it, but now I remembered and the check is totally in the mail TODAY.) See what I mean? Big sister.

Favorite Head Librarian Award: To voracious reader (where DOES she find the time?) Pink Shoes in the Pulpit.

Favorite Head Coach Award:
A hotdog and beer to Will Smama at Preacher, blogger or procrastinator whose unbounded enthusiasm for just about everything makes me believe that I could actually, possibly one day understand football - if she explains it to me.

Best Sermon Stories Award:
To Amy at A Talk with the Preacher. I never read her blog without thinking, "that'll preach!" - and it often does.

The Eleanor Roosevelt "Do The Thing You Think You Cannot Do" Award to Ann At What Is your Only Comfort?, for the courage to continue to live out her call in spite of lack of support from the official officials. By her story, and her willingness to give voice to it, she reminds me that ordination is a fragilely held privilege and one that cannot be taken lightly.

The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Award
: to Phantom Scribbler, for inviting us into what feels exactly like her real live living room, every single day.

The Great Brain Award: to Jody at Raising WEG, who has so many, so very smart things to say about books, politics, and child rearing. (Instead of what I would be blogging every day if I were her: "Aaaaggghhhh! Triplets! I'm a mother to TRIPLETS!")

The Amos or Another Prophet of Your Choice Award: to Steve at Ragamuffin Rambling for courage in speaking about issues of justice, both global and personal. Also, the only guy on this list, which is probably some kind of award of its own...

The Gloria Deus Award: To Rachel at Big Dunk for making a life of faith seem more like exuberant joy than drudgery.

The You Said What I Was Thinking Award: to Heather who, in spite of her blog title, never actually fumbles as far as I can tell.

The Two Balls, a Plate, 3 Pins and A Chainsaw Award to: Janell at Paris Project, for best articulation of the juggling act that is mommy-ing while working (or is that working while mommy-ing?).

And a Big Air Kiss with my Revlon ColorStay Berry Reliable lips
: to Peacebang. I've never laughed so hard, but whatever she's doing, it's working, evidently, since I actually wear make up most days since I've started reading her blog.

And kisses to all of you, for all the ways you've encouraged, upheld, enlightened and humored me this year! Blessings in 2007!