Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Technical Difficulties

My computer is broken. This is very upsetting.

I tell you this so you will understand why I cannot write any extensive posts--maybe you are relieved? If so, keep it to yourself!

Soon, I hope, I will be reconnected and continue dissertating on various topics of general (or not so general) interest.


I Need Your Help! Saint...or Sinner???

This Sunday I will be attending the traditional All Saints Day party at the Catholic Society here in St Andrews. This *epic* event requires costumes...of course. One must arrived dressed as either a Saint (appropriately enough) or...a Sinner!!

I am at a loss. Who should I be? What should I wear?? Ideas would be much, much appreciated, O Fair Reader!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On a Lighter Note: Chicken!

Actually, not exactly "light" considering how much butter I used...

I've never been a big fan of roast chicken, but that's probably because I wasn't using enough butter--or bacon (the Italian pancetta variety, of course).

This was so very delicious. I stuffed the chicken with shallots, pancetta and chopped prunes mixed with sherry and dijon. Then I rubbed loads of softened butter underneath the skin. Then covered the whole thing with more dijon (and salt and pepper). Then I baked at 350 for 1 hour +45 minutes. I removed the stuffing and mixed it with some of the pan juices. Then I carved the PERFECTLY JUICY AND TENDER bird and covered the rich, sweet and savory stuffing. Yum.
I served it with roasted butternut squash, but when I do it again I'll probably serve it with an arugula salad and a light vinegrette. The chicken was so rich--it needed something acidic and fresh to complement.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

“Anglo-Catholic? (Wherein I Discourse upon the Anglican Issue)” OR “My Two Pence (Which Isn’t Very Much these Days!)”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols speaks with Archbishop Rowan Williams

"We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father [...] May I first state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours." (full text here).

There is similar joy at St Therese Little Flower—a parish in my hometown of Kansas City, where Fr. Ernie Davis greeted the new Constitution with these words:

"Who could have hoped for as much as has been offered? Is the miracle of medical healing attributed to the intercession of John Cardinal Newman any less spectacular than the healing of the divisions in the church? Wasn't it clear that something amazing was about to happen when the relics of St. Therese spent her feast day at York Minster?" (Follow links for more on these two events!)

The “New Evangelization,” passionately preached and promoted by Pope John Paul II, certainly seems to be taking root and flourishing in the Anglican world. Even the secular media has caught wind, and the Wall Street Journal published an article heralding a “new” Church full of renewed liturgical diversity (see: "The Pope Lets a Thousand Liturgies Bloom"). St Therese Little Flower could be seen as a front-runner in this “new” brand of Catholicism (though if you read a bit deeper in history you’ll find that such liturgical and racial diversity is very ancient!). St Therese, a historically African-American parish, now hosts two extremely different liturgical communities, continuing its commitment to active community involvement and social justice, worshiping with a well-established and vibrant Gospel Mass---even as it introduces a second liturgy in the Anglican Use: a solemn High Mass complete with incense, candles and medieval chant.

As a former Episcopalian myself, I too rejoice in the Pope’s invitation. As the TAC bishop says above, this is a gesture of great generosity on the part of the Holy Father. The Church will be richer for the beautiful traditions and ancient faith of Anglican Christians. I pray that many, many come into the unity with the Church in the years following this announcement.

Yes, there has been much rejoicing. But there has also been much anger, much confusion, much uninformed gossip, and much ingratitude. I don’t want to go into all that in this post. But I do want to highlight a few controversies surrounding the Anglican Issue in the Church, and also a few of my own concerns.

The first small point I want to mention: There has been an angry tone in many of the media reports concerning the Vatican’s announcement. Headlines like these are only a google search away: "Vatican Moves to Poach Traditional Anglicans," or "The Pope's Anglican Blitzkrieg," or "Pope in Bold Transfer Swoop for 8 Million Anglicans," or "Bishops invite Pope to Park his Tanks on the Archbishop's Lawn."

Notice the rhetoric of aggression: the Church is “poaching,” She’s “parked her tanks” in Canterbury. She’s bringin’ out the Big Guns! This not-so-subtly-implied accusation (actually, not implied at all) of “aggression” on the Church’s part fails to take into consideration the thousands of requests which Rome has received from Anglican groups over the past decade—appeals for full, visible communion with the Catholic Church. This action on the part of the Holy father is a response to a plea for help--not an aggressive initiative. You can read about one such appeal (from the TAC) here. After the TAC sent this particular letter they heard nothing for two years. Many began to think that the appeal of such a small, unimportant group must surely have been lost in the long corridors of the Vatican. Not So! Back in Rome learned men were working to create a radical new structure that would allow not just the TAC but MANY other groups—even whole diocese—to come into the Church while still retaining much of their own traditions and hierarchy. As we can see from the excerpt at the beginning of my post, this Constitution was MUCH, MUCH more generous that anyone was expecting. Aggressive? Perhaps aggressively generous. SO—first small rant on my part, excuse me.

Next: The secular media (and some super-dissenting “Catholic” papers…i.e. the National “Katholic” Reporter) has implied that the REAL issue behind the Vatican’s offer and the Anglican defection is “homophobia” and “mysogyny.” These, apparently, are the "real" issues. (Over-simplification alert!)

Now I have no time at the moment to write a dissertation on the Theology of the Body, women’s rights or roles in the Church (I’m thinking about Mary…), or sex in the scheme of salvation. I will only say this: For most “Anglican defectors,” of whom I am one, the PARTICULAR issues of womens’ ordination and the homosexual lifestyle are only SYMPTOMS of the larger problems inherent in Anglicanism as a whole. These concerns include, but are not limited to: lack of a legitimate, Spirit-led teaching-tradition consistent with the teaching of the Church throughout history, and lack of consistent scriptural interpretation in the hierarchy (i.e. lack of what Catholics call Magisterium). Also, concerns about sacramental legitimacy, loss of Apostolic Succession, and desire for unity with the visible Church (One, Holy, Apostolic) on earth. The ordination of women, the endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle, the proliferation of unorthodoxy even in the highest levels of the episcopacy (ahem! Bishop Spong!), only appear as SYMPTOMS of the problems listed above. Jeffrey Steel, a former Episcopalian priest who recently was received into the Church, says this of his reasons for leaving his former ecclesiastical home:

“Let me state clearly that I did not leave the C of E over women’s ordination or homosexuality though in regards to both of these issues I hold the Catholic orthodox line. I became Catholic because being Catholic was true, the primacy of Peter and his infallibility is true and the lack of the Magisterium in Anglicanism leaves the priest with nothing other than his (or now her) own opinion.”

Now, moving on to issues surrounding Anglo-Catholics. Over the years many groups of traditional Anglicans have united in a heartfelt prayer for renewed unity with the See of Peter. These groups, separated from the C of E to one degree or another, have been, in many ways, “wanderers upon the face of the earth,” with little or no connection to the Body Catholic which they so strongly desire to be in union with. Some of these groups asked for corporate reunion with the Catholic Church (I have heard estimates of somewhere around 1,000 bishops). Now the Pope has presented a radical, new pathway to unity. The core of what is particularly Anglican will be preserved. It is possible that Anglican seminaries will appear throughout the Catholic world. The discipline of celibacy will be suspended for those who wish to be ordained. Diocese will remain under Anglican jurisdiction wherever possible. If you have been Catholic even for a little bit you realize how radical this all actually is.

Now I hear members of these same groups murmuring amongst themselves and asking questions like: “will we have to accept papal authority?” “will we have to accept the Marian dogmas?” Hmm, I think. The Pope is being very generous, I think. He is moving ecclesiastical mountains to get these people on board. But, in the Catholic Church, some things can never, ever be changed. Dogmas of the faith are one of those things (Marian dogmas included). And the Church’s converts throughout the centuries have always understood that they must accept “all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, holds and teaches” in ORDER to become Catholic. (At least that was what I said when I was confirmed.)

So it may not be so easy for all the Anglo-Catholics to come in after all. Despite their professed desire to be Catholic, there seems to be some important and not easily surrendered precincts in their theological imagination. Let us pray that this hesitancy is not mere stubbornness. If it’s only explanation or rationale for the Assumption of Mary or Papal Infallibility that they require we will win them over yet!

Now I would like to briefly (yes! I’ll try!) address one last bit of the Anglican puzzle. We all know that the more liberal “progressive” types of Anglicans will happily remain in the C of E or her American counterpart. They will probably not consider the Pope’s offer for themselves. The Anglo-Catholics (both inside and outside the C of E) have their own set of issues which I have addressed, in part, above.

But there is one more group within the Anglican Communion (or Dis-union) who seem, in my opinion, curiously neglected in the current discussion—neglected, in fact, by the secular media, the Anglican discussions and the Catholic blogosphere. This is the Anglican tradition from which I have sprung: namely the Evangelical wing of the Anglican body. This group is represented by associations such as AMIA (Anglican Missions in America) and the Continuing Anglicans. While I was an undergraduate at Wheaton College in Illinois I found myself at the crux of the “Continuing Anglican” movement. When I was a Junior my Episcopalian church split and soon-to-be-Thomas More and myself went along with the “more orthodox” split. All Souls AMIA parish was (and, I trust, is!) a lovely, warm community with an Anglo-Catholic liturgical style and a good foundation of the best of Evangelical theology and zeal. Many of these Evangelical Anglican parishes are affiliated in some way with Anglican bishops in Africa (our bishop was, I think, Rwandan).

Now in the States and in Africa especially, it is this evangelically oriented, theologically and morally conservative strain of Anglicanism which represents the most explosive growth and spiritual vibrancy within Anglicanism in general. In addition, within Continuing Anglican circles there is wide recognition that the church is shifting south and east—away from a soon-to-be post-Christian Europe and North America. Catholics, watching our own growth and development, are seeing the same trend.

My question is—how will these burgeoning groups respond to the Pope’s invitation? How should Catholics approach these groups, which seem to suffer inordinately from internal strife and church split upon church split? It makes sense to me that High-Church Anglo-Catholics might be drawn into communion with Rome naturally and organically. But the conversion of Anglicans of the Evangelical stripe must, in my opinion, look very different. I am not saying that such a conversion would not be possible. Many, many Evangelicals have become Catholic and have found the Catholic Church to be, in the end, the protector and defender of the truths they hold most dear—the truths they always thought were the special property of evangelical Christianity! I am one such example. Thomas More another. And I could list many other thoughtful, zealous evangelicals who sacrificed much to come Home to the Catholic Church.

So to conclude: I will continue to watch events unfold with the greatest interest and with much prayer. Let us all pray with Jesus “that all may be one.”

Here ends dissertation!!

Bl. ohn Henry Newman, captain of the Tiber Swim Team, pray for us!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big News for Anglicans

This is a big deal, people. I have only just received news of the Pope BXI's response to the TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion) regarding their petition to Rome for full communion (which was sent some months ago). I am (obviously) not a theologian or a canon lawyer, but it seems that the Holy Father is making plans to set up an almost entirely new structure within the Church--which will enable disaffected Anglican groups to maintain their particular Anglican identity and--in theory--their clergy (including married priests) and some form of their own episcopacy. A Big Deal--and a surprise for Catholics and Anglicans alike. Here is the official Vatican press release:

“In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”

Here is an article from the London Telegraph.

And Here is Father Z, who posted the letter written by a TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion) Bishop to the Holy Father.

If I learn more, I will post!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday at Kellie

Yesterday I took the pooch for walk around Kellie Castle. Kellie Castle is in my personal Top Ten Places. A diminuative, domestic castle, comfortable, full of books and silence, and hemmed round by fields, a walled garden, and old beech trees. You can see the from the windows and grounds and the inland-peninsular hills from the garden. And the best part is: that if you come on a weekday you will almost certainly have the entire place to yourself. My Personal Castle.

Friday was a glorious fall day in Fife. Here are some photos:

Father's Fiftieth, or, My First Ceilidh

Ceilidh: "cay-lee"

Wikipedia says this of the ceilidh in general:

"A traditional Gaelic social dance originating in Ireland and Scotland, but now common throughout the Celtic diaspora."

And it says this about Scottish ceilidhs in particular:

"Privately organised ceilidh's...are extremely common in Scotland, where bands are hired, usually for evening entertainment for a wedding, birthday party or other celebratory events...The appeal of the Scottish ceilidh is by no means limited to the younger generation, and dances vary in speed and complexity in order to accommodate most age groups and levels of ability." (I testify that "most age groups" and "levels of ability"--i.e. lowest level...myself--participated fully.)

The "celebratory event" which occasioned My First Ceilidh was the 50th Anniversary of Canon Halloran's ordination. Some important Cardinal came to say Mass with him (which I missed...oops) and then festivities moved from St James to St Salvator's Quadrangle for a fancy dinner (which I missed) and for a ceilidh (which I did not miss). I say I did not miss it, and this is true. For I, even I, danced a Scottish dance with men in kilts and drank my gin and tonic with the best of them, thank you very much. I even managed to obtain hard evidence that, yes indeed, Father was a full participant, and danced a celebratory jig with all and sundry!

There he goes!
Everyone had a lovely time. There were almost enough men for the women--always a good thing--and almost enough kilts/cassocks for the men. We danced until midnight, when the band finished off with a rousing sing-along of Auld Lang Syne (truly!) and, finally, Father was forced to stand in the middle of a big circle while we sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" (truly!!). It was great. Here are some more pictures for your entertainment:

See! I was really there!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Project Dawn: 15 October

(A grey day, no horizon line.)

15 October

Sunrise: 7:44

Days till Thomas More Arrives: 45

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What I've Been Reading (and Other Thoughts)

The other day I received a rather thrilling package via snail mail. Included in two heavy parcils were--Joy beyond Joy!--my books, shipped all the way across the ocean. I am fascinated by the fact that these boxes made their physical journey from my little red house in Winston-Salem (where I am Not), to the post office in that same city (in Hanes Mall perchance? Or Miller Street? …these oh so recently lost place-names already posses an almost mystical, invocative power in my rather raw emotions…already becoming foreign, full of magic. The anxiety and sweetness involved in this: I will never go back!).

Anyway, these books, these physical things, Pandora’s boxes of so much joy and stress and interest, made their slow and physical way across the ocean to London (?), Manchester, (?) Edinburgh…real cities all…and across the firth into Fife, through Kircaldy, Leven, and the other smaller villages of the East Neuk. And arrived at the shiny wooden door, painted lacquer black, with a doorknocker like a human face. My house: Dunearn. (Fellow Medievalists…Does this mean something in Old English? Anyone? “dun” “earn”… Dune Eagle, Moor Eagle, Valley Eagle, Highland Eagle? Or “dun” like a color? Sallow Eagle? …Any help?)

Yes. To my house, Dunearn, in Anstruther, came my books, and onto the shelf.

Before their arrival the flat was strangely empty of books, considering that I have chosen to define myself, to a great degree, by books (books which I have read, will read…will write…). Because of weight restrictions and a fairly strong conviction of the necessity of clothing in these Northern climes, I packed exactly 5 books for my initial journey. Three of them were cookbooks. (What does this say about me—as a “scholar” and a poet, I wonder?)

First, one must eat, I say.

The other two books (fiction) were purchased at our favorite Winston-Salem haunt, Edward McKay used bookstore. Purchased, I might add, for under $2.50 thank you very much.

The first is The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, who was a friend and contemporary of Charles Dickens, and shares Dickens’ ability to paint extraordinarily (at times uncomfortably) vivid characters. In addition, The Moonstone has been described (by so great a figure as T.S. Eliot) as “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels.” Now, detective stories are one of my (many) weaknesses. A weakness I justify by citing great minds who shared it—T.S. Eliot being one (he read them), G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers (they wrote them), and W.H. Auden—who read them avidly and wrote a fascinating essay on them in The Well of Narcissus (collected later in The Dyer’s Hand). He says this of “the Whodunit”:

“For me, as for many others, the reading of detective stories is an addiction like tobacco or alcohol. The symptoms of this are: firstly, the intensity of the craving—if I have any work to do, I must be careful not to get hold of a detective story for, once I begin one, I cannot work or sleep till I have finished it. Secondly, its specificity—the story must conform to certain formulas (I find it very difficult, for example, to read one that is not set in rural England). And, thirdly, its immediacy. I forget the story as soon as I have finished it, and have no wish to read it again. […] Such reactions convince me that, in my case at least, detective stories have nothing to do with works of art.”

This confession and description might be enough to put anyone off these pieces of “non-art” and (what he later describes as) “daydream literature,” except that Auden acknowledges (and I acknowledge with him) the need for escapist literature. Besides, the “daydream” of detective stories is such a good dream:

“The fantasy, then, which the detective story addict indulges is the fantasy of being restored to the Garden of Eden, to a state of innocence, where he may know love as love and not as the law.” (Sounds good, yes?)

The second novel which I brought along in bags was Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which, I’m ashamed to admit, I had never read before. I’m sure that all of you read it in Middle School and (knowing my Academe-savvy audience) probably think that “oooh, Dickens is sooo passe! His plots are sooo contrived and sentimental. Besides, who reads novels with plot these days?” (Note: I have heard two such “critiques” of Dickens in the past week…one of by the chap who deemed himself worthy to write the Afterword for my edition of the novel…)

Ah well. If you feel that way, I’m sorry (for you). I thoroughly enjoyed Dickens' wonderfully contrived and artificial plot, and I admit that I cried like a baby throughout the sentimental bit at the end.

This is what I say (listen!): you musn’t dismiss Dickens. He is good for your health. Yes, we need fiction that cuts to the heart of a reality which is “partial,” “fragmented,” and “unresolved.” But those *real* stories (the fairytale, the folktale, the adventure story, and the epic) keep us sane in an insane world. Every grandmother by every fire in every century has known this.

[Note: I will include in a separate post my favorite passage from the novel—probably often quoted, but I will quote it again!]

NOW! Back to my books. After finishing the above-mentioned novels, my house is entirely empty of fiction, which was a delibrate action on my part. Poetry’s the thing for me these days. In future “What I’m Reading" posts expect to see more poets highlighted, as I attempt to navigate the swirling ocean of contemporary verse.

“I’ve always felt that there was some moral integrity in being dead,” one of my St Andrews colleagues admitted to me recently. In general, I share this (completely irrational) prejudice. However, I intend to squash it. Stay tuned next time for some Live Poets.

St Thomas Aquinas (who is dead, but Not) --Ora Pro Nobis!

Pray for our brains, that we might use them!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Thomas More

10 October

Happy Birthday Love.

Come here soon.

Brian "Nikolai" Tsai

Resurrection of Christ

I stumbled upon this artist while looking for an image of Mary of Egypt. Brian "Nikolai" Tsai is an iconographer in California.

Visit his site:

Fish Friday (Languoustines)

I am so thrilled to be on a budget. No really, I am. I have X number of British Pounds Sterling the bank and I must use this and only this amount (until 29 November when Thomas More will bring in reinforcements). I am thrilled to have a budget because...I have never had one. Not that T.More and I spend excessively (...not that we are thrifty either...) but our finances (students, patchy income(s), fluctuating stock market, student loans, house still not sold) are rather complicated. Now I am the daughter of an
extraordinary woman: a woman who balances her check book. I have always envied her neat little book with all those neat little check boxes which she neatly checks--as well as this mysterious number ( 0 ) at the end...ZERO: it must add up to zero. Why? I don't know. How? a Mystery.

When I got married I had grand schemes for the managing of our little financial world. "Thomas More," I said, "I want to know where all our money goes. We are going to Budget. We are going to tithe the proper amount. I am going to have an Excel file and pie charts and projected savings. Therefore, you must write down EVERYTHING that you buy. But everything." I gave him a little notebook and a little pen and sent him on his way.

Two days later I discovered a *Snickers wrapper* in his tossed-away pants. "Did you write this in The Book??" I asked him, wrapper in hand. His guilty look betrayed all. I remember this very vividly. I think we argued. A few weeks later he surprised me with some cheese and a bottle of Two Buck Chuck (a big splurge for us in those days). Wine and cheese are two of my favorite things. Had he written the wine and cheese into The Book. Well, of course not. But how could one be angry with a man who brings you wine and cheese?

After this, all was lost. And if my beloved dream of a budget has failed, its failure rests almost completely on my/our love for wine, cheese and everything else edible and (as they say here in the UK) very "dear." Some of our weaknesses include (but are not limited to): Neils Yard Stilton, Port, Chilean Sea Bass (ethically caught, of course), imported Pancetta, imported olive oil, grass fed beef, organic tomatoes, crab cakes, St Germaine elder flower liqueur... The list goes on.

And all of this is my husbands fault. Really.

Now that I'm on my own, with a set budget, I have become a culinary model of frugality (does that make sense?). I made a *casserole* the first night and ate it for 5+ meals. Now, I will never eat that casserole again, but note: 10 British Pounds Sterling...5+ meals--less than 2 British Pounds per meal. And I wrote the purchase in my little book.

I was feeling pretty good about myself until I talked to Thomas More the other day. "Are you eating?" I asked. "Yes." "Good! What are you eating?" I asked. Well, as it turns out, he was eating like a three star Michelin restaurant: Night 1: Fillet of beef sauteed in butter and after deglazed in port-dijon sauce. Night 2: Taggliatelli in pancetta and vodka sauce, tuna crustinis with shallot and sherry (topped with lemon zest), and fresh home-made cherry pie. As I listened my mouth began to water. I began to feel jealous. I began to doubt my culinary thrift. I decided to make lobster.

But blame much of this said culinary thrift on the the markets here in Fife. NOTE: I live on an island (surrounded by a sea full of lobsters), on a peninsula, in a fishing village--I see the lobster-full sea as well as actual lobster traps every day of my life. And yet I found no lobster. I went to three places, hung around the harbor. No lobster.

So I substituted langoustines. They were lovely, an only 4 British Pounds Sterling per pound, which is really not that bad.

Recipe: (Lobster) *Langoustine* corn chowder (a la the Barefoot Contessa), with sherry and chives, along side lemon muffins, made with freshly
squeezed lemons and fresh lemon zest. Lovely.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Project Dawn: October 7 (back-dated)

October 7

Sunrise: 7:28 am

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Days till Thomas More Arrives: 53

Sunlight wanes here in the Kingdom of Fife, and I, who have been long preparing myself for these quickly shortening days, am already feeling the effects of winter darkness. Gone the balmy North Carolina autumn, which lasts...pretty much until Christmas, with its apple picking and its warm sun tinged with the scent of fire and frost (nostalgia/melodrama alert!). Autumn was here to meet me when I landed in London four weeks ago, with its Fall from the ocean, the North Sea, the Dreel Burn with its flocks of gulls, down Bruce Wynd in Pittenweem, past tidal caves and hillside lichen, through the distressed limbs of the leafless, wind-pulled beeches that I see along the road to St Andrews. Dawn comes late; dusk, early. The angle of "solar noon" is narrow.

Considering the picturesque yet at times oppressively short days, I have been very intentional about being outside as much as possible. My goal: to Seize the Day! With this goal in mind I propose a project, let us call it "Project Dawn." To complete this project, I will rise every morning (more or less) to record the Birth of the New Day with my trusty camera, then post these pictures on blog. This project will serve several purposes:

1. Get me out of bed. (Remember, fair reader, that I have been cloistered in some hall of Academe for the past 7+ years. I hold to the practice of the English Major, and English Majors do not rise before dawn. Tis a cursedly early seminar that meets before 10:00 AM. ...I know that there are some exceptions to this rule (Mr. Wonderful soon to be Dr. Wonderful is up before 6 most morning, I have heard!) but most of us are not human before 11. Thankfully for my tender non-morning personality's sake, dawn is not so very early here in Fife. Today the sun rose at 7:32...and by the time the Winter Solstice arrives, he won't show his face until around 8:40 (!).)

2. Serve as a Countdown to a.) Thomas More's arrival in Scotland on the 29th of November (!) and b.) the first Sunday of Advent (which is my favorite season) which is ALSO the 29th of November.

3. Record any interesting holy days on the Church calendar (saints days, feasts, holy days of obligation (ahem!), etc.).

4. Visually record the changing face of the sea in all manners of light and weather. This may sound melodramatic. Well, fine. It is difficult for this landlubber from land-hemmed Kansas to explain how strange and powerful the constant presence of the ocean can be. I am continuously intrigued by how the water changes and changes and changes. Every day, every hour a new world: color, mood, movement. Sometimes as clear as a telescope. Sometimes sloppy and mudtone. Sometimes almost invisible in fog. Sometimes white ribbons. Sometimes full of weeds. Sometimes covered in birds. Sometimes soaking spaniels and coming into the house with sand. Sometimes out with the tide. So I will try to record some of these changes, the Firth's relationship with the sky, with the town, the weather.

This project will be difficult for my weak-willed self. And I haven't gotten off to the best start. Today's post is not even on today's dawn (which I slept through), but on the dawn of the 7th. And it's not even REALLY the dawn of the 7th... Arriving in my favorite churchyard on the morning in question, camera in hand, full of excitement, I waited for the sun to rise. And I waited. And waited. Finally I got cold and went home, baffled by the tardiness of natural forces which shouldn't be so fickle and shy (scientists tell me). I looked at the clock in the kitchen: 6:35. An hour early.

I offer the picture to you nonetheless. Perhaps the predawn beauty is more striking that the dawn?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scotland: Things I Like/Things I Don't Like (1)


1. Egg Cups AND (cute and tiny) egg spoons included as two of the "necessities" for a furnished flat

2. My Sweet Ride! (more to come...I hope!)


1. Doing dishes because A) There is no dishwasher, and B) There is no Husband.

2. Lack of flat-leaf parsley (i.e. Italian) at the market.

Internet! Hurrah!

Internet is now established in my flat. A miracle! Done without the help of my illustrious and tech-savvy spouse!

I have duly checked all the most important of the non-necessary sites/blogs, and I am pleased to announce that "Horatio" is the name of the day at appellationmountain, that Marley has new brothers and sisters over at Kingstoncavaliers and, finally, that the Good Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago has a new book coming out (pre-order for a discount!!!).

Silly, really, these little internet ticks. But I have been unable to indulge in internet ticks, so I am luxuriating in my regained connectedness to silly bits of the world wide web, for which I have developed weird little affections. But now that I have indulged, and feel more comfortable, I can get on the important stuff. Like this blog (right?). Finally, after several weeks of fragmented existence, I have almost all the ingredients for a complete Human Being, i.e. the Really Important Stuff like a bank account, a telephone, a car, the web, a brand new stack of bills...and a blog.

You know, the important stuff.