Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Windy, snowy morning

It is a grey morning here in NWPA as you can see. Or not see in the case of the birds on the feeders. The hungry birds didn't care that I was close. I don't think I have ever had as many birds as I have this winter. Most are what a neighbor used to call "spotsies" - goldfinches, house finches, pine siskins and several varieties of sparrows tho few house sparrows. I haven't used the glasses to identify them as there are too many and they don't keep still long enough to see the markings. There are also many chickadees, juncoes, tits, downies, cardinals, mourning doves, blue jays, crows and the occasional flocks of starlings and other blackbirds.
video
video

Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday cat blogging on Saturday

It was nice to see the welcoming committee when I got home yesterday.

Dudie immediately left his shelf so he could rub against my legs.

Friday shuffle on Saturday

1. Lutkin: The Lord Bless You and Keep You - Westminster and St Olaf Choirs
2. Handel: The Lord Shall Reign Forever - Parrott
3. Simon Says - The 1910 Fruitgum Co.
4. Put Your Hand in the Hand - The Ocean
5. Polish Polka Power
6. Sharpe: Sunset - Ambridge HS Steel Band
7. Why Oh Why Polka
8. Flop Eared Mule - Grier and Compton
9. Bruckner: Christus factus est - St Bride's Church Choir
10. Elgar: The Shower - Finzi Singers

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008's classic regift

video
This is the best regift this year. The folks hope it works.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The world's cutest grandniece and grandnephew

Christmas 2008
She was happy here for quite awhile on Christmas morning. She is almost 5 months old.

Here she is dressed for dinner.

And not quite ready for bed. She is a happy kiddo.

At 2 he has finally figured out presents and unwrapping. Nobody's stuff was safe.

And he dressed for dinner.

But this was the usual view all day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas

There is no graphic appropriate for this post. I doubt anyone other than the parents had any real idea what was happening the night the person we call Jesus was born. If there were animals present, they were probably curious but little else. Perhaps there were little critters who cleaned up the mess of birthing. I suspect Mary and Joseph were all alone. After all, who wanted to assist with the birth of a kid whose parents couldn't even find a decent place to stay? Rumor had it they weren't even married. Shudder.

Who knew that baby would have a profound effect on the western world? Who knew that child would grow up to be a charismatic preacher who questioned everything they did and would be murdered as a result? Who knew that 2000 years after that child's birth people would still be arguing about what he had to say?

Tonight and tomorrow we celebrate the birth of another baby. The angels and shepherds will be followed by wise men, most of an age closer to that of the baby than those witnessing the event. Great singing and preaching will entertain the throngs who rarely step foot in a religious building otherwise.

I will probably be wondering what it is about the love of God and the task of loving likewise spoken of in the Gospels that so many people throughout the ages and today simply don't get...

A blessed Christmas to all and may this child teach those who say they follow him all about loving and bringing God's kingdom to earth in this life now.

Decisions, decisions

I know. This is just a bottle of water. Dump the water and recycle the bottle. But. This is genuine Hungarian water from Budapest. This is the bottle and water that escaped the notice of security at the Budapest airport. This is the bottle and water that I found in my backpack when I got to Newark after somehow bypassing security in Frankfurt. Some stuff is really hard to throw out. Sigh.

I voted for Goldwater

"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' "
-- Barry Goldwater
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona)
Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

Hat tip to my brother.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cat problem

Dude is on PT's heating pad and PuddyTat is not happy about that. I wonder how long the box will hold her weight. I hope I don't have to replace it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Verizon - I can't hear you

I just cancelled my Verizon cell account. I haven't used it for months. It rarely worked at my house. When my landline was down I had to get into the car and drive 2 miles to get a signal to report it. Of course I had to pay $70 to cancel the number.

Needless to say, I will never recommend Verizon. And no, I can't hear you now - or any time or anyone else.

Monday cat blogging

PuddyTat spent the night in her little crude shelter on the heating pad. This morning the froggie thermometer read 13° while the thermometer elsewhere read 6° - up 3° from bedtime. Her little cardboard shelter protected her from the wild wind and light snow. She could have snuggled with Tommie in his blanket but chose to stay here. He didn't join her until the last few minutes. The temp is now up to 12°. Time to feed Tommie and anyone else who braves the cold.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday school project

They made gingerbread houses today.

Mornin'

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Only one post, I hope,

on Rick Warren giving the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Warren's preaching attracts the fearful and repels the thoughtful. He is a good example of why people are abandoning Christianity. Preaching the Gospel out of one side of his mouth and condemning God's creation out of the other surely doesn't please the God or the Jesus he pretends to worship. May God find a way to teach him how to love. Preferably before the inauguration. If not, may Obama wake up to the unChristian message this man preaches and find someone else. Maybe a good Muslim will do the honors? Or a Buddhist? Or, if he really wants controversy, a Jew?

Bah humbug.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday shuffle

1. Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
2. It's Only Make Believe - Conway Twitty
3. Ingalls: Glory to God on High - Parrott, Taverner Consort
4. Mozart: Requiem, Dies Irae - Bach Choir Pittsburgh
5. Brahms: Alto Rhapsody - Shaw, Atlanta
6. Bach: Fantasie in G minor - Nyquist
7. Bach: Magnificat, Esurientes - Nancy Argenta
8. I Want to Take You Higher - Sly & the Family Stone
9. A Thousand Stars - Kathy Young
10. Prelude to a Kiss - Jim Hall

Friday bird blogging - no cat photos

video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nothing to say

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.


A long time without posting means I have nothing to say. Oh, hush! The real problem is organizing my thoughts enough to expose them to the public. My head has been like my house lately. Others have had much to say in very special ways.

If you have an hour to spare, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke to the National Press Club and answered questions. It is well worth watching here or listening here or reading the transcript here. The comment on the Episcopal Cafe piece is typical of the criticism of TEC in general. Many people don't understand the concept of a broad tent and want others to agree with them on every jot and tittle of their opinions.

Emily Scott has a thought provoking column on Daily Episcopalian about discomfort in worship.

Our Grandmère Mimi has been featured in yet another article here. As you may remember, we met in person in New York and had a connected exchange with PBKJS regarding dresses.

Elizabeth Kaeton+ has some interesting gift suggestions on Telling Secrets.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Festival of Lessons and Carols

Christ Church
Meadville, PA
Sunday, 14 December 2008

VOLUNTARY
‘Christmas’ Concerto in G - Arcangelo Corelli
Vivace—Grave
Vivace
Allegro
Largo—Pastorale

Greensleeves - Ralph Vaughan Williams

PROCESSIONAL HYMN: Once in Royal David’s City - Irby
v. 1: Soloist, vv. 2-6: Choir & Congregation
(printed in the bulletin)

THE BIDDING PRAYER

INVITATORY HYMN 56 (vv. 1, 3, 5, 7) - Veni Emmanuel

FIRST LESSON: Genesis 3, An Acolyte
CHOIR: Adam Lay Ybounden - William Witherup
HYMN 105 - God Rest You Merry

SECOND LESSON: Isaiah 9, A Lay Reader
CHOIR: Make We Merry - K. Lee Scott
HYMN 100 - Antioch

THIRD LESSON: Isaiah 11, A Lay Eucharistic Minister
CHOIR: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming - Michael Praetorius
HYMN 89 (vv. 1, 2, 4) - Carol

FOURTH LESSON: Micah 5, A Choir Member
CHOIR: Thou Shalt Know Him - Mark Sirett
HYMN 78 (vv. 1, 3, 5) - Forest Green

FIFTH LESSON: St. Luke 1, A Lay Reader
CHOIR: A Maiden Most Gentle (French Carol tune) - Andrew Carter
HYMN 265 - Gabriel’s Message

SIXTH LESSON: St. Luke 2, The Organist and Choirmaster
CHOIR: Lullay Myn Lyking - Richard R. Terry
HYMN 111 - Stille Nacht

SEVENTH LESSON: St. Luke 2, The Junior Warden
CHOIR: The Shepherds’ Farewell - Hector Berlioz
HYMN 96 (vv. 1-3) - Gloria

EIGHTH LESSON: St. Matthew 2, The Senior Warden
CHOIR: One Gift the Magi Bore - Glenn Rudolph
HYMN 109 (vv. 1, 2, 3, 5) - The First Nowell

NINTH LESSON: St. John 1, The Officiant
CHOIR: A Modern Medieval Carol - Colin Mawby
HYMN 83 (vv. 1, 3, 6) - Adeste fideles

THE COLLECT & THE BLESSING

RECESSIONAL HYMN 87 - Mendelssohn

ORGAN VOLUNTARY
Toccata on Veni Emmanuel - Adolphus Hailstork

We had a string quartet, a flutist and an organist friend who played the harp on the electronic keyboard in addition to our organist/choirmaster, our choir, a rent-a-tenor from the Presbyterians and a deacon who also sang as she was a member of the choir before being assigned to another parish and finally ordained in November.

Musicians will understand that the items in italics are hymntunes, not the title of the hymns. All are from the Hymnal 1982.

And the photo is of one of our lanterns all of which our Junior Warden cleaned yesterday. He installed fluorescent bulbs which are providing significantly more light. Thanks, GK!

Prayers winging heavenward

Congratulations, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on a successful reorganizing convention! An assisting bishop. A restored Constitution. A new priest. A return to true Anglican traditions. Hope for the future. Hallelujah! Reports are here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Religion the easy way


Hat tip to Ann and Fr Terry

A cold morning huddle

It is quite cold at 16 and both cats don't fit on the smaller heating pad so they improvise.

Yes, I know the kitchen window is dirty. It is impossible to reach it on the outside without dismantling the cathouse. Get used to it. It will get worse.

Tommie leaped off the roof this morning to chase Jellico. They met face to face in the middle of the driveway and yelled at each other. I actually heard a raspy sound from Jellico. Normally his voice is more of a hiss. Jellico stood up on his hind feet to make himself larger but he is all hair and Tom is one huge boy. Jellico gave up and retreated. I wish I could have retrieved the camera in time to catch the encounter.

Eventually they settled into their usual watchful positions.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday shuffle

1. Dizzy - Tommy Roe
2. Strauss: Des Heldens Friedenswerke - Berlin, von Karajan
3. Stoned Love - Supremes
4. Someday Soon - Judy Collins
5. A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You - The Monkees
6. Einhorn: Voices of Light, The Jailors - Anonymous Four
7. 98.6 - Keith
8. I Know How He Feels - Reba McEntire
9. Bach: B minor mass, Benedictus - Rilling
10. Chicago Land Polka

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Poinsettia

If you look closely at the photo in the post below or click it to enlarge it, you will see my ancient poinsettia blocking the door. I put it on the altar at First Presbyterian in Sharon, PA in 1968, my first Christmas here, in memory of my father who had died a few months earlier. A number of other poinsettias have shared the tub but only this one has survived. I need it to cut it back again. It usually "blooms" in February.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ladder left out

This is a common sight this time of year in our neighborhood. Tho most houses have larger ladders, this is all I need. Anyone know why it is there? I will admit my method is a little unusual hence the small ladder.

Monday, December 8, 2008

C & C confusion

The following is part of the Canons of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania:

Canon I. Definition of terms
...
Section J) “Communicant In Good Standing” means a person whose Baptism has been recorded in this Church, who has received Holy Communion in this Church at least three times during the preceding year and who for the previous year has been faithful in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented, and has been faithful in working, praying and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.

The way I read this is that only people baptised in TEC can be Communicants in Good Standing in the diocese. This means everyone else needs to be rebaptized.

How do you read this?

Monday church blogging

These are photos of Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Bishop Clumber's domain. The outside was cleaned for the city's 250th birthday celebration or so I was told.
Below is the inside front. I hesitate to call it an altar space or a chancel. It is more like a stage. The big wooden blob on the right is the organ console. In the middle are three chairs behind a table. There used to be a screen with choir pews behind. Except for the huge dangling cross which I think is over the railing in front there was no other cross on the table or elsewhere that I saw. I wondered how one honors a cross hanging from the ceiling. The thought was amusing.
There are national flags hanging from the back balcony. I learned the difference between the Australian flag and the New Zealand flag. There are also two smaller balconies in the transepts. Bach Choir sang from those in two choirs.
The pulpit is not this odd color - I need to figure out why my camera takes such odd colored photos. It is not colorful at all. It is on the right side. There is no eagle on the lectern on the left.
The baptismal font which is to the right of the pulpit definitely is colorful. At least that is what I assume it is. There is also a huge granite thing of water in the center in the back. You can see it in the photo above. The colors on the font are much more startling in person.
This is a chapel in the back.
This railed off chapel is in front to the left of the stage.
And this is what is behind the three chairs and table on the stage. I suppose other cathedrals have the bishop's chair in the middle. Ours doesn't. My first thought was - it is a throne. Move the stuff in front and the bishop can be worshiped. Clumber has a better view.

Update to the post below on my cats

When I raised the garage door last night I saw Jellico retreat from the barn's cathouse via the cat flap. Apparently he and Tommie can coexist somewhat amicably when neither food nor wimmin are nearby.

I put the heater on in the cats' portion of the barn last night. It doesn't do much but it might help a little. I usually don't do that unless the outside temperature falls below 15. Last night was 16. Warmer tonight and the next few days so I'll turn it off today.

The only way to know my cats are feral is to see them when someone else is around. Which nobody will. Even the neighbor who feeds them when I'm gone.

PS Thanks to MP for featuring my lovely Christmas tree on OCICBW! It is actually a very precious item to me as it was given to me by a friend I love who was very concerned because I never decorate for Christmas. Why should I? Nobody sees the inside or the outside of my house with the exception of a couple of close friends and the neighbors who walk by in the summer.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday cat blogging a day later

Where the cats are when it is cold during the daytime.
Tom in his blanket in the barn.

I put a new pillowy thing in Dude's leanto but he would have nothing to do with it so I removed it eventually

PuddyTat spends most of her time on the heating pad now sheltered minimally by cardboard but

last night Tim abandoned her foam home and occupied the heating pad all night.

PuddyTat spent the night in the barn, probably huddled with Tommie on his blanket. Tim's little shelter must have collapsed. I'll fix it later so she can go back to her own lair in the canoe.

I have no idea where Jellico goes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Handel: Israel in Egypt

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh will present Handel's oratorio Israel in Egypt at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh at 8 pm on Saturday, 6 December, and at 4 pm on Sunday, 7 December 2008. Tickets available at the door and from ProArtsTickets.org.

As has become customary with Thomas Douglas's programming, there will be a few nontraditional elements in this performance including a parting of the Red Sea. Come!

"They are no longer Episcopalians"

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori has commented on the formation of a new denomination by anti-TEC, anti-homosexual, anti-female-clergy men who each have exclusive access to God and the correct opinions of what the Bible actually says.

"They are no longer Episcopalians," Jefferts Schori said of those who left. "They have made that very clear in their departures.

"Those who were formally bishops in the Episcopal Church are no longer understood to be bishops in the Episcopal Church," she added in a meeting with Times reporters. "They are free to associate with whom they wish."

Leaders of the new Anglican Church in North America have taken issue with what they view as the Episcopal Church's liberal policies on the role of gays in the church. They agreed, however, with Jefferts Schori on at least one point.

"We are not Episcopalians; we are Anglicans," said Bishop Martyn Minns, whose group, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, helped create the new Anglican church.

The Episcopal Church is the American arm of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion. The global body has 38 self-governing provinces and is led by the archbishop of Canterbury.

Read it all at the LA Times.

Meanwhile, Lambeth Palace (seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the titular head of the Anglican Communion) released the following:

"There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces," the spokesperson said. "Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, the process has not yet begun."

Read it all at ENS.

There are a variety of comments available on blogs. Katie Sherrod at Desert's Child has a Reality Check. Other articles are available at almost all of the links in the right column on this blog.

Friday shuffle

1. Satie: Prélude #3, Prélude Du Nazaréen #1 - Rimi Shimada
2. That's All - Ray Brown Trio
3. Brahms: Symphony #3, III Poco allegro - Berlin, Von Karajan
4. Lonesome Ruben - Randy Scruggs
5. I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline
6. Wishin' And Hopin' - Dusty Springfield
7. When I Fall in Love - The Lettermen
8. Utterback: Spirit of God - Roger Nyquist
9. Bach: B minor mass, Et in unum Deum - Rilling
10. Handel: Israel in Egypt, Who is like unto thee - Taverner, Parrott

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh has dress rehearsal for Israel in Egypt tonight at Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Nice to see it show up in the shuffle. Yes, that is Duncan's ex-cathedral tho he isn't aware of that yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Use the correct language

I have CNBC on during the daytime. Today I listened to plans the Big 3 US auto manufacturers have to try to survive in the collapsing economy. I want to change the language used to describe a certain aspect of corporate belt-tightening.

Every day we hear about more "jobs" being eliminated, new unemployment claims filed, plants closed, etc. Somebody needs to put it bluntly. Such and such company just eliminated the incomes of 20,000 people. So and so corporation will send 10,000 men and women to the unemployment offices which will be unable to find work for them. Enterprise X is closing businesses which will result in an estimated 100,000 people being without money for their families thanks to the ripple effect.

The recession/depression is personal. We need to encourage or try to force the media to make the economy personal. It affects persons, real people. Lost work often means lost insurance, lost pensions, lost savings, lately lost homes, all too frequently lost families. Perhaps by bringing reality into the picture, our government and employers will realize that those figures aren't just numbers. They are people. Real humans who can no longer support the economy and will require support from the people who are lucky enough to still have an income.

I'm not holding my breath. For a nation that many claim is "Christian" I don' t see much evidence of Jesus. Wonder what they mean by "Christian".

Dude's digs

Dude has been hanging out under the old lexan cathouse cover which leans against the shed. When I threw out the old recliner, I put the seat cushion under the plastic in case one of the cats wanted to use it. During the last storm, the snow blew in under the cover and covered the cushion so Dude couldn't stay there. I assumed it was wet and moldy now but I couldn't feel dampness when Dude came out to be petted. Lo and behold it is dry. Taking advantage of a warmish day yesterday, I braced some leftover drywall against both ends and taped some plastic over the end where the cushion is. I need to do the other end but it will have to wait till the next warmish day when I have more plastic. I like to use transparent shower curtains but I can't always find them. The cats like to be able to see out as they feel less threatened that way. Remember that they are feral, more or less.

If you look carefully, you can see Dudie on his cushion as seen from the "far" end of his little shelter. The "weeds" are mostly wild rose bushes.
I'm glad I don't have fussy neighbors as much around my house is similarly peculiar and makeshift.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prayers requested

Please include in your prayers Michael who will have serious surgery tomorrow. He has survived a series of major health problems yet his family is very concerned. My friend Eak is both worried and distracted by her brother's possible outcomes. Please add a special petition for her as she is very special to me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released a message about World AIDS Day urging Episcopalians to get involved in the effort to reduce the tragedy that AIDS brings daily everywhere in the world.

World AIDS Day 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The first day of December is marked as World AIDS Day, and has been observed since 1988. Episcopalians join billions of people around the world to remember the devastation caused by the AIDS pandemic over the past generation, and to recommit to ensuring a future without AIDS for generations still to come. As our church year begins, it is especially appropriate to remember, pray, and work together to alleviate the suffering inflicted by this disease and its consequences.

As Episcopalians, we understand that we are part of a body that has AIDS – both the Body of Christ and the larger body of the family of God. More than half of our worldwide Anglican Communion lives in countries destabilized by epidemic rates of HIV infection, including several dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Parish communities in the United States have been responding to HIV and AIDS for more than 25 years.

Read the rest of her message and see Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' video message at Episcopal Cafe.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

BCF bear



If you don't know Duruflé's Ubi caritas listen to a performance by the Kings College Choir. It is one of my all-time favorites. (This is a little faster than I prefer.) It was one of the pieces we sang in the Berkshire Choral Festival concerts in Mondsee and Vienna, Austria in September.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Where there is charity and love, God is there.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Love brings us together in one Christ.
Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur.
We therefore rejoice in it.
Timeamus et ameamus Deum vivum.
Let us fear and love the living God.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
And from the heart let us devote ourselves with sincerity.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Amen.
Where there is charity and love, God is there. Amen.