Thursday, August 30, 2012

irene --> isaac

Last year at almost exactly this same time, Hurricane Irene ravaged the Northeast.

The prayers of the people at church that Sunday were from World in Prayer, which disappointingly completely forgot to mention the Gulf Coast this week.

They are applicable to everything I feel right now.


For warning systems that work,
for people who heed the warnings,
for safe travels away from danger,
for all who flee,
and all who help.

For shelter for the displaced,
for all who keep order,
for food and medicines and diapers delivered.

For buildings that withstand the onslaught,
for resources to rebuild, restore,
for helicopters that reach where roads and bridges no longer go,
for people who lift fallen trees
and crumpled vehicles and torn up stones.

For those who braid together severed power lines,
and start running water trickling through pipes again.

For those, days later, still without electric power,
and those, days later, who are still shaken by finding they are powerless
against such forces.

For learning to let go of things we thought we needed,
and finding things we thought we'd lost.

For finding our inner selves intact
and healing
in the face of change and loss.

For new friends made, and communities strengthened,
and unexpected angels in unexpected places,
For heroes, and cowards,
the wise and the foolish,
children and grownups.

For discovering that the dead are still alive in our memories,
and life still treasured in our hearts.

For the assurance that You, O God, were there at our beginning,
are with us in all our journeys,
and will be with us at our arrivals...

For this and more, and more, and more,
We give you thanks, O God.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

small talk

(Backstory: for those nine people in Russia who read my blog who have no idea what tropical storms are: I evacuated New Orleans on the morning of Monday, August 27. I decided to make the beautiful and progressive state of Alabama my temporary home; I have two cousins and an aunt in Prattville, and then my brother and two more cousins in Birmingham, so I should not overstay my welcome anywhere.)

So. Today was a normal Tuesday in Prattville. My cousin's three children went to school. Well, except for her youngest, Andrew, who stubbed his toe really badly last night at the exact moment I arrived. (Screams are super welcoming, in case you wondered.) When his whole foot was swollen this morning, I confirmed my cousin's instinct to take him to Urgent Care. Turns out he fractured the growth plate in his foot.

After spending some time working a half-day, watching her youngest's foot put into a cast (temporary until they meet with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow), collecting her girls from school, getting locked out of the house (my fault), knowing that her husband had a board meeting and would be working late, and dealing with an extra person in her home (Isaac's fault)... Julie decided that eating dinner out was appropriate.

Andrew protested. "Mama, do I have to wear these to the store?" [Do I have to use my crutches at the restaurant?]

She mentioned a Japanese place super close by that the kids love, and the next thing I know, I'm in her SUV  (with a go cup of gin, of course) headed towards Osaka Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar.

Yes. Sushi. 3+ hours from any major body of water. 87+ hours from any major body of cold water. 

Whatever. They have air conditioning, which is more than New Orleans can say right now.

I've recently joined Weight Watchers, and I have learned that sashimi is pretty much the greatest amount of food for the fewest points. So I ordered the sashimi dinner.

Then a platter of raw fish arrived, and my cousin's children completely freaked out. Apparently their father, who married into our family, is freaked out by anything raw. He eats his steak well done. You know the type; you probably aren't friends with him, unless you married him.

So, leave it to the middle child, always the attention seeking/crazy one, to be the only one to try my fish.

We started with tuna, because she recognized it.
Then whitefish, which of course she preferred.
She wouldn't even try the salmon, because I told her that I don't really love it raw (extra points notwithstanding).

Anna Kate bravely touched 1/10000 of an ounce of tuna to her tongue, certain that she's going to get salmonella or the plague or something that only comes after little girls who disobey their daddies.

"Wait. Do you have to be a certain age to eat this?"

(She turns 10 tomorrow. I think dying before she hits double digits was a serious consideration.)

Then, after some more talk of salmon, I suggested that I'd take it home as leftovers and bake it for breakfast in the morning. Andrew, who apparently listened better at dinner last night than we realized, rebutted: "But you hate to bake!"

When he started complaining that his foot hurt, which was approximately the same time I realized I'd taken longer to eat than I should have, plus had ordered a second glass of wine I'd have to finish because for some reason you can't take alcohol with you in lesser parts of the country... I told him if he drank some wine, he'd feel better. He had almost touched my wine to his lips in true Communion-with-Jesus, just-the-tip fashion, when Anna Kate yells out: "NOT IN PUBLIC!"

Which reminds me of my two most favorite quotes about what we do privately vs. publicly:

1. We want a lady in the street, but a freak in the bed. --Usher
2. No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked in the street. --Florence King, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady

The moral of the story is: life is about the journey. Laugh along the way, even if you evacuated out of harm's way into... Alabama.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

prayers of the people: August 26

Heavenly Father, you have assured us that you are to whom we should go with our questions, petitions, and thanksgivings. We ask that you listen to these prayers of your people: our questions, petitions, and thanksgivings.

Please respond to each verse with "Lord, hear our prayer."

We ask you to protect all people in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac. We ask that neighbors are able to help each other, especially the elderly or infirm, as we prepare for bad weather. We ask for homes to remain intact, for rain and wind and flood to be minimal, for all our loved ones and strangers to find shelter. We ask that help, food, and clean water is able to reach any who need it in a timely manner.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Conversely, we ask for rain to reach the middle of our country. We hope that our nation's cattle and crops may be sustained and that one day no one is hungry.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We seek your guidance at the beginning of this school year. Grant relief to those parents who suddenly realize a more empty nest. May all parents and families believe that their students are increasing their knowledge and improving their communities. May all visitors to this church know that this congregation is committed to our young people.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We ask your blessings upon all persons in a state of transition:

those leaving home for the first time
those moving into a dormitory for the last time
those who are between jobs
those who are recovering from an illness or from surgery
those who are welcoming home a newborn
those who are unable to conceive
those returning from war
those who are divorcing
those who mourn
Lord, hear our prayer.

Let us pray for our own needs and for those of others.

Turning to page 837 in the Book of Common Prayer, let us thank God for our blessings in this life.

Friday, August 24, 2012



went for a jog along the main drag of palm springs
realizing that i'm in much better shape in the desert
where it's hot, but the air is dry enough
that you can breathe.

brunch: huevos rancheros + bellini
at a five-star diner
because life should be delicious

headed to the grocery store with my mother
upon our return, my father had entered the beginning stages
of anaphylactic shock
and asked that we take him to the emergency room

(my father is a physician.) (he is never ill.)

immediately upon checking in, he was admitted.
my mother and i sat in the ER waiting room
fearing the worst
("really, God? i come to vacation in california and my father dies of an allergic reaction to something we cannot identify? before he's 60?!")

we were called back
just as his veins were filled with benadryl and pepcid

mom and i sat and read
once we realized that he was out of it
he was tired of being fussed over
and his monitor had stabilized

our neighbor
on the other side of the curtain
was an elderly gentleman who had fallen and broken his hip and arm
his partner read an article to him about julia child
in the kind of loving voice
that you want to have in your life always
but especially in the twilight of your life
because it means you hopefully spent forever
with someone who loves you

four hours later
we went to the pharmacy
and then home for a simple dinner of grilled meats and roasted broccoli

i skinny dipped in the jacuzzi
and a star shot


jogged to the house clark gable shared with carole lombard
drove around on a self-guided architectural tour
drank a martini before dinner
at a restaurant that hasn't changed its menu since 1975


PSP --> LAX --> MSY
fixed leaky tires at the tire store.
therapy: focused on relaxation techniques.


breakfast at a place that used to be ours

school site visit to the first school i ever visited here
sept 2008: metal detectors
aug 2012: AP classes

social media presentation
a conference call with a woman who believes in my work as much as i do
drowned in email

happy hour: sat a a girlfriend's new house
she and her fiance found together
drank veuve. snacked on crudites.
celebrated her birthday and her engagement
and laughed honestly


work meeting at starbucks.
more work.
pelvic exam.
impromptu overnight visit to baton rouge.


meetings in the capitol
trying to support a state whose policies are inconsistent with practice
where the flagship university has a 58% six-year graduation rate
but at least they can proudly boast:

LSU is proud to have the highest graduation rate of any public university in Louisiana.

(also, really? that's the picture of graduation rates you want to use for your students' profile?!)

the bank.
the DMV.

my bed, for a glorious two-hour nap.

to the house a girlfriend is sitting
long talks about relationships, work, transgressions
and why not to give up

and i realized that the past five days epitomize
why to keep fighting
what justice looks like in my world
how to love.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I position myself across the bed

Trying to fill a bed made for two people
eight limbs
two hearts

by myself.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

prayers of the people: August 12

My priest asked me to write the prayers of the people for tomorrow's service. Our readings have been full of stories of food recently, so that's how I came to this theme.


When we say the Lord's prayer, we petition our heavenly Father for three things: to feed us, to forgive us, and to lead us.

Our prayers of His people this week will focus on these three petitions.


We will conclude the following prayers as a congregation, saying, "Feed us, O Lord."

We ask that you nourish our bodies: grant all people access to clean water, to fresh produce, to markets like the Carrollton pantry that replenish our communities and stabilize our diets.
Feed us, O Lord.

We ask that you nourish our minds: provide literacy for all ages, bless our teachers, broaden our perspectives to include our enemies'.
Feed us, O Lord.

We ask that you nourish our spirits: lighten our loads so that we may enlighten others', give us time to relax and to embrace wellness, grant us the inner peace that comes from knowing all can be resolved or redeemed.
Feed us, O Lord.

We ask that you grant us solace for all we grieve, whether dreams deferred or people who taught us what love should be.
Feed us, O Lord.

Let us pray aloud or silently for our own and others' needs for daily bread.


We will conclude the following prayers as a congregation, saying, "Forgive us, O Lord."

We ask that you forgive our insistence on worrying, knowing that our energy could be better spent finding favor in your sight, loving our neighbors, helping the weary among us to rest, shielding the joyous, laughing among the living.
Forgive us, O Lord.

We ask that you forgive us for those things done: lies and betrayals, harm to those we may or may not profess to love, failure.
Forgive us, O Lord.

We ask that you forgive us for those things undone: the unkept promises, unreturned communications, ungiven time or faith or kindness.
Forgive us, O Lord.

Let us pray aloud or silently for our own and others' trespasses.


We will conclude the following prayers as a congregation, saying, "Lead us, O Lord."

We ask that our paths may be wide enough for all people to walk with us. Please help us to be your servants to those strangers who live next door, those infirm in body or spirit, those who are addicted, those who are outcast. Remind us they are your friends, made in your image.
Lead us, O Lord.

We ask that you give us the strength to go and do likewise, showing mercy and grace in our anger or annoyance or apathy.
Lead us, O Lord.

We ask that you send us into the world in peace and grant us strength and courage to love.
Lead us, O Lord.

Let us pray aloud or silently for our own and others' deliverance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


When I feel pushed away,
I leave.

When he feels pushed away,
he clings.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the cyclical nature of love

in my next lifetime i will count more stars get my hands a little dirtier establish peace in my life drink more slowly kiss more passionately

be allowed to love you

3 july 2000