Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Five: Gifts and Talents

From Sally over at RevGalBlogPals:
Our Circuit (Methodist) is having a "Gifts and talents day" tomorrow- we have a minister visiting from another circuit who has modified the Myers Briggs personality test and added a few things of his own to run a day where we get to look at ourselves in the light of giftings and of the whole church. The idea is to encourage everyone with the news that there is room for you in the ministry of the church- and perhaps to discover where that ministry might be.....

It should be an interesting day, and one where I hope people will leave feeling encouraged and challenged...

So with gifts and talents in mind here is todays Friday 5;

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them?
I've loved them since I was old enough to read Teen and Tiger Beat, but I don't take them too seriously. Confession: I am weirdly superstitious about horoscopes and fortune-telling and would never, ever go to a psychic.

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture ?
I don't know. Does anyone know of a test I can take?

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had yours yet? If so what was it, if not dream away what would you like it to be?
I haven't had my 15 minutes of fame, but I've been a guest on the Jim and Tammy Show (that's Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker) and our family was on Trading Spaces. I frequently have my picture in the paper, but that's about work, not about me.
My fantasy? I'd like to be a talk show host and get to learn about new people every day.

4. If you were given a 2 year sabbatical ( oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...
Podcasting. I'd like to interview all my heroes and have them tell their stories to the world. The coolest part: some of my heroes don't even know they are heroes. How fun would it be to call them up and invite them to appear on "Ruby's Hero Show?" Some of you are my heroes and don't know it yet. Wouldn't you like to get a call?

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you.
I am not an athlete and never have been. In ten years at the same school, I never once won "Athlete of the Week" and there were only 35 girls in my class. This was before schools worked so hard to enhance self-esteem, and the faculty thought it was just fine that the little Oscar-like trophy went home with the same four or five people week after week. I'm over it. Really. But, it would be fun to be strong, fast and competitive.

Bonus question: Back to the church- what does every member ministry mean to you? Is it truly possible to encourage/ implement?
Maybe if we invite enough people to appear on your local version of "Ruby's Hero Show" they'll understand how awesomely beautiful and gifted they are and they'll start being all God created them to be.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Nights

My partner, Garden Girl, says that I work too-o-o-o much, but really, what else would I want to do on a summer evening but read today's opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court? (I definitely don't want to repeat last night's adventure, which you can read about here. Scroll down past the cute baby birds if you want to know how I ended up covered in copious amounts of goose poop. Garden Girl and I have different ideas of how we'd choose to spend a summer evening. But I digress.)
Reading the Court's opinions this term has been like visiting the Mad Hatter's tea party with Ruth Bader Ginsburg playing the part of Alice. So far this term the Supremes have ruled that --

*a law outlawing a late-term abortion procedure is constitutional, even if it might be unconstitutional in some circumstances -- but this OK because a woman in a life-threatening situation can still get a court order to have a procedure to save her life

*a nonsensical sign that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is not protected free speech because there is an exception to the First Amendment for oblique drug references by students who want to get the attention of CNN reporters

* an inmate's appeal of a life sentence may not be heard by any court because it was filed a day or so after the deadline for appeals because of a judge's error in calculating the deadline

* a woman cannot sue for pay discrimination unless she files her claim within 180 days of the initial pay decision, even if she doesn't know about the pay inequity until much later, and even if the initial pay discrimination continues and compounds over the years

This is just a sample, and the justices writing for the losing side in these cases are visibly frustrated. The usually mild Justice Souter wrote of the decision throwing out the inmate's suit: "It is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way." Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Five--Hot Town, Summer in the City

as posted at RevGalBlogPals

Hot town, summer in the city...or town, or suburb, or hamlet, or burg, or unincorporated zone, or rural area of your choice---pretty much anywhere but the southern hemisphere, it's summer. (Australians and others, consider this an invitation to take a break from winter for a while.)

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s)

Beverage: 7 oz. pony bottles of Rolling Rock beer, ice cold, with a little sand and salt clinging to the emerald green glass

Food: Guacamole and chips (see a future post for info about table-side guacamole service by Very Hip Fancy Restaurant)

2. Song that "says" summer to you. (Need not be about summer explicitly.)

This is the B side of Mack the Knife and it says summer, summer, summer to me. I learned to dance like a grown-up to this song! Take a minute to listen and imagine dancing on a summer night on a wide porch overlooking the harbor.

3. A childhood summer memory

Catching lightning bugs and coming inside after riding the waves at Ginger Beach so many times that when I got in bed it rocked like a raft in the ocean, with my feet dusty from going barefoot all day, and my mother saying "Why don't you take a nice cool bath?" -- to this day I don't understand the attraction of a hot bath.

4. An adult summer memory

I have some great summer memories, but the summer I remember most vividly is the summer of 1988, the worst drought since the dustbowl, with temperatures above ninety for more than 15 days in a row -- and I was very, very pregnant.

5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future. (weather, location, activities)
See answers to 1-3 above and add some books from last week's Friday Five and you got it!

Optional: Does your place of worship do anything differently in the summer? (Fewer services, casual dress, etc.)
Our congregation has two church buildings in different parts of town -- I know, it's a long story. The smaller, older building has air-conditioning, so the main service is held there in the summer. My seven year old son loves to pull the bell-rope that hangs in the tower and let it lift him off his feet! I love worshiping in the colonial building that is so like the architecture of my birthplace.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Good Day in the Little Blue State

I have met these folks, and the good news is that they were not in the Little Blue State today. A gay rights bill is before the General Assembly for the fifth time in ten years. If passed, the bill will ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Over the years, there have been protests and hearings and threats and name-calling. But not today. In a Senate hearing today, only three people spoke against the bill. More than twenty people spoke in favor, including several statewide elected officials. No protesters, no posters, no hate-mongering. Well, maybe a little hate-mongering, but it wasn't very effective.

As soon as the hearing ended, we moved down the hall to the Governor's office where she signed into law a bill that will allow same-sex couples and dating couples to obtain Protection From Abuse Orders in domestic violence cases. It doesn't sound like a cause for celebration, but it is. This new law will save lives.

Tonight when I came home, I ran across this statement from Mildred Loving, who spoke out for marriage equality for same-sex couples on the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court opinion that struck down Virginia's ban on inter-racial marriage.

Here's a picture from the Senate hearing. I'm the one who's Easy to Spot in a Crowd.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back in the Nest

I've been traveling and I am too tired for words so I'll tell you about my trip in pictures:
I've been far away in a city whose skyline features this landmark--

And I stayed in a hotel that looks like this--

Coincidence? I think not.

Laura Love sang Happy Birthday to my friend Larry.

I saw one of my heroes.

And I am glad to be home to see that this little nest

looks like this.

And the mama bird is close by.

P.S. thanks for the pictures Garden Girl.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Five -- books, books, books

From the RevGalBlogPals: Friday 5, books, books, books....

From the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five:

I've just returned from a meeting in Cambridge so I'm posting this late here in the UK (it is 3:45pm).. because I took the opportunity of a free afternoon in Cambridge's wonderful book shops... I only bought a few- and they were on sale- very restrained for me!!!

So with my head full of books I've seen and a long wish list in my mind, I bring you a Friday Five on books!!!

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance???

I just returned to fiction after a very long time away. After I had children, I couldn't read anything sad--I suppose it made me feel too vulnerable--so I limited my fiction reading to detective novels and historical fiction, which grew pretty thin after awhile. A couple of years ago, I joined a book club and we've read some books I've loved, like"Atonement" by Ian McEwan, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" by Mark Haddon, "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides, and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon. Books + Friends = Bliss

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly?

I'm of the guzzle and slurp school of readers. I'll read during meals, at stoplights, while I'm drying my hair. It's not pretty.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why?

I'm a re-reader. I've read "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankl a half-dozen times and have given away many copies of his book, which begins with an account of his imprisonment during the Holocaust and ends with a deeply optimistic essay on the human drive to live a life of purpose and meaning.
I've read "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stegner over and over, and Jane Austen gets better with every reading.
One of the best things about having children is re-reading the books of my childhood: "The Hobbit," "A Wrinkle in Time," "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler," "Little Women," "A Door in the Wall," and more than I can list here. Having older children also has its pleasures: this summer we've convened a family book club. The children chose "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which I loved as a teenager. I'm curious to see how I will react as an adult.

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book has influenced you the most?

"The Book of Common Prayer" is written on my heart, but "La Technique" by Jacques Pepin shaped my life in other ways. Published in 1976 and subtitled "An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamentals of Cooking," Pepin's book changed me forever. I worked through the whole thing, making stocks and pastry, even making my own strudel, which involved rolling a softball-sized piece of dough into rectangles that covered the kitchen counters. I was a dreamy kid and Pepin made me feel competent and able to master the physical world. (I have since learned to substitute frozen fillo dough for strudel dough, but I open the freezer secure in the knowledge that I could make it myself if I had to.)

5. Describe a perfect place to read. ( could be anywhere!!!)
Anywhere at all will do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

8 Random Facts About Ruby

Songbird tagged me for 8 Random Things. Thanks Songbird!
1. My nostrils wiggle when I laugh.
2. I wear sweater sets all year round.

3. I'm a cradle Episcopalian, but I won the Talmudic Scholar Award in law school.
4. I drink between 12 and 15 Diet Cokes a day. I keep a warm one on my bedside table--just in case.
5. I TiVo Oprah and watch it every night.
6. My four children, ages 7 - 21, still snuggle in the bed with me (sometimes all at the same time.)
7. I never remember to bring a camera.
8. Some of my best friends are Republicans.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Friday Five - Getaway Edition (Sunday night installment)

We snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....

I think I'd head to the Galapagos Islands. I would love to know what moved Charles Darwin to change the way we view the world.

1) What book(s) will you bring?
Summer for the Gods: the Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion, and a blank journal so that I can write and paint
2) What music accompanies you?
My Ipod - set on "shuffle" of course, because random mutation + natural selection = evolution
3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
Contact lenses, sunscreen, allergy meds, mascara, Prescriptives Vibrant-C lotion moisturizer, a jar of Kiehl's Intensive Treatment, toothpaste and toothbrush, lipstick
4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
Ipod, camera, cell phone so I can text my children and surf the web without lugging the laptop
5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?
I love breakfast, so I hope they have lots of AM treats like poached eggs and french toast. And at the end of the day, red wine, strong cheese and good bread.
As a bonus question, what makes for a perfect day on vacation for you?
A great breakfast, a long walk, time to talk to my partner, and a water view.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Simple Pleasures

It is the season of the graduation party. My older son graduates from high school next week and there is much celebration in the land. Most of it involves teenagers, music and food.

My son promised to bring hummus to a friend's graduation party on Saturday, not realizing that I would be away for the day. He couldn't buy it from the grocery store because he had promised "very special secret family recipe" homemade hummus, so I coached him through the recipe via cell phone. It's creamy, delicious and easy to make, but he won't be making it for his friends in college because it requires a Cuisinart, something that's not on the graduation gift list.

When he finished making it, he said, "That's it? That's all there is to it? Wow. It's still really good. You sure there's nothing else I need to do?" Nope, that's it: one of life's great lessons in simplicity. I only have a little time left to cram in as many lessons as I can, and it's time to give away a few secrets.

1 clove garlic
2 cans garbanzo beans (1 drained and 1 with its liquid)
1/4 c. tahini (sesame paste)
juice of 1/4 lemon
a slug of olive oil
a pinch of salt

With the food processor running, drop in one peeled clove of garlic and process into small pieces. Turn off the food processor. Add the can of drained and the can of undrained garbanzo beans, the tahini, and lemon juice. Process until smooth and creamy. With the food processor running, pour the olive oil in the feed tube. Taste and add salt if necessary. Don't make this too far ahead of time if you can help it. Freshly made, it's light and creamy, almost fluffy. Serve at room temperature with pita, raw veggies, or in sandwiches. Yum.