Thursday, June 28, 2007

A New Thing?

Is God doing “a new thing” with regard to the issue of sexual orientation?

This was the phrase Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, used in an interview with Beliefnet before his election as the church’s first openly gay bishop had been confirmed by the General Convention in 2004.

I am uncomfortable with the notion of God doing “new” things. Yes, I recognize that Christian doctrine regards God’s historical relationship with humanity as existing in two stages: old and new covenants, with the arrival and sacrifice of Jesus fundamentally changing the dynamic between the Creator and creation, though I admit I am not wholly on board with that idea. I see God and his relationship with humanity as essentially constant, and am more apt to argue that much of the Old Testament is rooted in misunderstanding which the prophets bemoaned and Jesus later came to correct.

While God remains constant, humanity’s relationship with the Divine is clearly one that evolves. Whereas the Old Testament not only authorizes but requires the stoning of disobedient children and the beating of slaves, the world has largely – through the influence of the Spirit, I would assert – come to understand such notions as at least counterproductive and more generally amoral, contrary to the will of God.

Judeo-Christian thinking over the years has experienced massive paradigm-shifts on several issues, notably with respect to issues of race and gender, and now sexual orientation. Maintaining a “But the Bible says…” stance is not always helpful, as Scripture has historically been invoked to justify slavery and anti-miscegenation (which thinking still finds adherents, in places like Bob Jones University) and the subjugation of women. We haven’t all come to the same conclusions, but it is inescapable that regarding people with black skin as bearing “the mark of Cain” is now a ludicrous fringe position, and mainline protestant denominations, as well as both Reform and Conservative Jewish traditions, regularly ordain women. It’s not about ignoring or discarding Scripture, but rather reading it in a new way, with an objective approach to context. It is about believing that the period of revelation didn’t end with the book of that name; God is still speaking.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – who knew a thing or two about having Scripture cited as justification for oppression – remarked that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That arc is plain to see. A movement that has heeded Jesus’ radical welcome of traditional social outcasts as a permanent call for expansive inclusion has used it as a mandate for racial and gender equality and is now pondering sexual orientation.

At the same time, the visibility of gay and lesbian people of faith has dramatically increased, along with straight supporters. They are virtually coming out of the woodwork, in every faith and sect, to testify about their walk with God; indeed, in this year’s New York City Gay Pride parade, special prominence was given to religious groups, turning the conventional wisdom that homosexuality is incompatible with religious belief on its head. Yesterday, three former leaders of the “ex-gay” ministry group Exodus International apologized “for the psychological harm they caused,” and disavowed the notion that sexual orientation can be changed through prayer. A recent CNN poll indicated that a majority of people believe that people cannot change their orientation.

What is going on here? Is God doing a new thing? Is he reaching out to His gay and lesbian children for the first time? Or is it that we’re just starting to listen?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wonder What That Means

Earlier today my cellphone rang while I was at my temp job, but I couldn't answer it right at the moment. There was no message, so I Googled the number: it was one of the companies I'd applied to. No email from them, and they didn't call back. I'm thinking they heard my message and thought, ", too gay."

Speaking of *too gay*, at the temp job today I was going through a cupboard looking for file folders and came across a wire hanger. No idea why it was there, but I felt a strange compulsion to raise it over my head and say, in my very best Faye Dunaway Does Joan Crawford Voice, "No...wire...hangers...EVER!!!!!"

The people around me couldn't have looked more uncomfortable if I'd gotten out a can of Dutch Cleanser and beaten a small child with it. I'm glad the other job at this place didn't work out for me. I'll try to remember not to break out the Carol Channing.

Eight Secrets

The sexiest math teacher in the history of the world has tagged me with a meme: eight things no one knows about me.

Goodness. I'm such an open book, it's hard to think of things people don't know about me...unless I've kept them secret for a reason. Oh yes, there's fascinating, salacious stories from my past (and last week) that would just rip that halo off your mental image of me, but (a) my mother reads my blog and (b) I'm presently looking for work and even though I believe this blog is no longer easily findable (is that a word?) by Googling my name, it's best not to tempt fate. So in an attempt to comply, here are 8 harmless things about me that very few people know.

1. I failed math my senior year of high school. Wish I'd had Glenn! Then I might actually have, you know, gone to class. (There's a concept.)

2. Related to the story below about me being the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland: it was the tradition at the final performance for the parents of the leads to bring them flowers at the curtain call. My mother brought me a dozen carrots, neatly wrapped in a bow.

3. There is at least one person who at least occasionally checks in with my blog who can verify the above account. She played the Cheshire Cat, though I am sure if I ever brought that up in her presence she would hurt me. Does anyone from your elementary school read your blog?

4. The only person I think I could even remotely claim as a "girlfriend" also reads my blog.

5. I broke my back at the age of 7 when a "friend" pushed me off the top of a slide.

6. Either today or tomorrow, I'm hanging out with the girl who played The Narrator in Alice in Wonderland to celebrate her birthday.

7. I came out to a few select friends at the age of 16 when we were hanging out one night in someone's hot tub. They thought I was kidding.

8. Back before I had any sort of political awareness (I believe it was 1997), I did a temp stint for a couple of weeks as Neil Cavuto's executive assistant at FoxNews while the regular chick went on vacation. I did such a bang-up job that they called me back later that summer to assist Roger Ailes.

Now, I'm going to be EVIL and tag some more people:

LawFairy (girlfriend, you need to post more often, maybe this will help)

Splenda in the Grass

Quinn the Brain

(just 'cuz I want stories)

Little Cicero (just 'cuz I want a blogpost from him that doesn't require research to respond to)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The White Rabbit Rides Again

In sixth grade I (famously) played the White Rabbit in my elementary school's production of Alice in Wonderland. I made my entrance through a door in the back of the gymnasium and wound my way through the audience singing my grand aria "I'm Late, I'm Late" without a microphone...and still, I am the only child who's even remotely audible on the video tape. Actually, "remotely audible" doesn't begin to cover it. Imagine a 10 year old in a bunny suit impersonating Ethel Merman and you'll get the idea. No stage mother ever had to yell at me to sing out.

I was reminded of that this morning because I was late. Now, as I'm sure my friends can attest, I am *never* late. Throw a party, I will be the first one to arrive. If I'm meeting you somewhere, I will be there first. I do not like being late. I prefer to arrive somewhere 20 minutes early and hang out rather than be 2 minutes late. I start to hyperventilate.

So this morning I was late. For a job interview.

The place is 15 minutes away and I left 45 minutes early. Unfortunately, it's in a part of town I don't know very well. I did Google map the directions, but there was one of those "right lane must turn right" lanes that I didn't anticipate and a truck was preventing me from moving over. "No big deal," I thought, "I have plenty of time and a great sense of direction, I'll find it."


Oh, I was sooooo lost. I mean, okay, I knew where I was. I knew where I wanted to go. I just could not for the life of me figure out how to get there. So then I decided to just go back to where I'd gone wrong the first time, but I took a wrong turn trying to get there and ended up even further away. (Cue tears.) I called to say that I was running behind, and showed up about 15 minutes late. They were very nice about it and said it happens all the time. (They are in a kind of weird location, actually.) I think the interview went okay, but I was still flustered and distracted. I don't like being late.

Then I came home and discovered an email from a company I had applied to last night. "All resumes must be accompanied by a completed application, which can be obtained by following this link," the email said. I was in the process of writing them a polite "I DID send you the application, I put it in the same file as the resume, you twit" email when it occurred to me to double check. Oops. I'd saved the file in the wrong folder. Not only did I not send the completed application, I'd sent them a cover letter addressed to someone else.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Photo Blogging: You Can Take the Cat Out of New York...

Starbuck spends a quiet, sunny Saturday reading The New Yorker.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What I Need is a Wormhole

I'm sure there are many hot, young, smart, ambitious and talented gay guys in New York City who get together with the same group of friends every Friday night. There just aren't very many of them who end up fully clothed in front of a 54-inch television in Harlem watching Stargate SG-1.

A couple of years ago, through random twists of fate and online flirting, I ended up becoming friends with an extraordinary group. What we shared was a fondness for vodka and a talent for viciously bitchy (but loving) insults. The standard routine was a Friday night happy hour (Therapy was the principal location, but we could also be found at XL, XES, Suite, Vlada or G) and then a schlepp up to a beautiful Harlem townhouse, where at the top of a narrow stairwell adorned with a portrait of an Afro-Jesus, one entered through a magical doorway into a comfortably suburban living room like one might find in Omaha, a genuine rip in the time/space continuum if ever there was one. There we would either watch a couple of movies or, if they were in season, set down to watch the SciFi channel's Friday line-up: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica.

Before I met them, I'd never even heard of Stargate. I had little initial interest in it, but I enjoyed hanging out with them, and so over time I learned all about the Jaffa and the Goa'uld and eventually got suckered in by the show's charming self-deprecation. Despite its corniness, there was also something intriguing about the epic sprawl of a decade-long space saga that somehow made up for the nearly invariable formula of the episodes: off-world civilization threatens Earth with annihilation; Stargate team comes up with longshot plan "that just might work"; plan doesn't work; then in the last seven minutes, Captain Carter or Daniel Jackson would figure out some way to use alien technology to thwart the plot, and the extinction of mankind would be delayed for another week.

Even here in my new home 3,000 miles away, I've been maintaining the tradition as a kind of sentimental link to my old friends. Last night was the SG-1 series finale.

[SPOILER ALERT] I had expected a two-hour cataclysmic extravaganza, featuring a grand alliance of earthlings, Jaffa and other alien beings to decisively destroy the Ori and declare the universe safe once and for all (except from the Wraith, who we need to have around in order to keep the Atlantis spin-off alive), or at the very least, a special guest appearance by Richard Dean Anderson. Instead, with a show appropriately titled "Unending," Stargate left the airwaves with a completely typical episode that had zero sense of finality. Indeed, the credits rolled as the SG-1 team headed once again through the Stargate to a new adventure, one we'll never get to see.

And so even though I was never really a big fan, I couldn't help feeling that my link to my friends just got a little bit weaker. I found myself missing them a lot, and wishing I could go back in time and watch this episode with them. I think I've found a way to do it.

Using technology gleaned from the Ancients, I've found a way to use parts of my microwave, dishwasher and vacuum cleaner to create a rough approximation of a zero point module, and then using a really long extension cord, I should be able to supercharge my '93 Mercury Sable to the point where it can propel me not just 3,000 miles eastward, but 24 hours back in time using a program I got from the Asgard which I've uploaded onto my iPod, which I can play through the tape deck. With any luck, in just about 18 minutes I'll find myself yesterday in Manhattan. I haven't quite figured out how to reverse the process so that I'm back in Portland in time for my temp job on Monday, especially since if I get the calculations wrong I could end up in a permanent time anomaly, like Indiana.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm Sure it's Just a Phase

Overheard yesterday at my pool:

High School Girl #1: Oh my God, did you hear? David's bi!

High School Girl #2: Nuh-UH! What?!?!? Who told you that?

#1: Oh my God, so get this: Alana went to this party downtown this weekend with some Portland State students, and David was there like totally making out with this guy in the corner.

#2: No way!

#1: I know! And so she was like all, "Hi..." and he like totally admitted that he's bisexual.

#2: I don't believe it.

#1: I know, he's like, totally hot, right? What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Imagine if an Antiwar Candidate Wins in 2008!

Yesterday my left-turn signal fritzed out, so I had to go to a service station (it just needed a new bulb). While I was waiting for the repair, I had the chance to peruse some of the magazines in their lobby area, including The Philadelphia Trumpet, which "seeks to show how current events are fulfilling the biblically prophesied description of the prevailing state of affairs just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ." (Oh, goody.) I was intrigued by the cover story: "Democratic Victory: Dangerous Turn for America?"

I can't quite figure these folks out. They want Jesus to come back, so in their understanding (if one can call it that) of Scripture, global chaos including war, terrorism, disease, natural disasters and climate change are auspicious signs. They claim that world history is unfolding exactly as it was foretold thousands of years ago; yet they are furious with the American government for failing to stop it. Huh?

In this essay, the Trumpet's Editor-in-Chief Gerald Flurry asserts that "[s]uddenly the top Democratic candidates for the 2008 presidency are insisting that the United States pull out of Iraq very quickly." Conceding that "polls show a majority of Americans agree," Flurry argues that we are "ignoring the larger implications of this war," which can only be understood by "go[ing] back in history to see terrorism's roots."

As Flurry sees it, terrorism began in Iran in 1979, after "liberals" and "the media" helped overthrow the Shah because they thought he was too undemocratic. Ayatollah Khomeini seized power, and it's been all downhill from there. (Never mind that President Bush overthrew Saddam Hussein because he was "too undemocratic" and...well, you know.)

Then in 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (who had dramatically improved diplomatic relations with Israel) was assassinated "
almost immediately afterward, in just days" following a 60 Minutes interview when Mike Wallace (aka, "the liberal media") told the Ayatollah "that Sadat had called him a 'lunatic'."

Flurry worries that the current Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, "
could be assassinated just as Anwar el-Sadat was, or taken out of the picture some other way," which might open the door for a radical Islamist government which would form an alliance with Iran.

This, according to Flurry, is foretold by Daniel 11:42. You see, Flurry has identified President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "the King of the South" who Daniel says will be victorious in a predicted Persian power-struggle. (Nevermind that technically Ahmadinejad is not a king, and he's from northern Iran. Nevermind also that Ahmadinejad and the majority of Iranians are Shiites, and Egypt, like almost the entire rest of the Muslim world, is Sunni. To see how well Shiites and Sunnis form alliances, please refer to Iraq, Federal Catastrofuck of.)

So Daniel foretold an evil alliance between Persia (read: Iran) and Egypt as one of the signs of the End Times. Now all we have to do, says Flurry, is stop it. "
President Bush labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea the 'axis of evil.' Iraq’s government has been toppled. However, America can’t win this war unless it also removes Iran’s leadership. But American (and British) leaders are overwhelmingly liberal, and the press is dangerously pacifist. Our peoples lack the will to win this war against terrorism."

Because that's what's going wrong in Iraq, you know. You and I don't want victory bad enough. We're too easily discouraged by the more than 3,500 American deaths, the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the total absence of political stability, the lack of planning, the ignorance of regional culture and history, the incompetence, the $1.2 trillion wasted and perhaps even the lies that got us to this point. Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled all around us, and we liberals are apparently just letting it happen. Shame on us. Jesus would be so disappointed that we just don't have the willpower to sustain a long, bloody war. He wants to come back, He really does, but we just can't get it together to blow up enough people and destabilize the planet to the point where it's foretold that He can. Or something.

If Iraq falls to this terrorist nation, which seems close to happening," warns Flurry, "then Iran could control an enormous area that contains a gigantic share of the world’s oil!" (Remember, Jesus had his head anointed with oil, not ethanol, you global-warming hoax pushers!)

From where Flurry stands, things don't look good. "
Imagine what will happen in Iraq if an antiwar candidate wins the 2008 election!"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Photo Blogging: Birthday Hike

Yesterday I went for a hike in the Gales Creek area, which is about 15 miles west of Forest Grove on Hwy 6 on the way to Tillamook. Like all of Oregon, it was beautiful, but honestly I have to say it wasn't as stunning as I had maybe hoped. I did the 7.1 mile loop, which took about four and a half hours; lots of the trail is very steep, so it's not super easy. I got lots of shots of wildflowers -- maybe Dagon or Mark can tell us what they are.

I'm still figuring out the light meter on my "new" camera; this picture didn't turn out at all like I intended, but I kind of like it nonetheless.

I also encountered one of the Northwest's most feared predators, the Giant Slug. This is a juvenile, about 3 feet long. They feed on rodents and unwary birds. Adults can grow to 12 feet, and have been known to prey on small Republicans.

After my hike I met friends downtown for dinner, and then we checked out the Portland Pride festival at the waterfront. I felt very old. Furthermore, not like I think of myself as "cool" or anything (I know I'm kind of uptight), but this crowd made me feel like a complete square. Still, it was a good time.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oh, no. It's My Birthday.

By the time he was 33, Nicolae Carpathia (the anti-hero* of the Left Behind novels) was the former President of Romania and had just been elected as Secretary General of the United Nations, making him the all-powerful leader of the known universe.** I don't even have a job.

Anyway, I'm doing something low-key. I'm spending the day going for a hike and then some friends are taking me out to dinner tonight. I told them I wanted to "acknowledge" my birthday, more than "celebrate" it just yet. I'll save that for when I find gainful employment and then throw a big combination birthday/housewarming bash. Hopefully I can do that before Christmas...

Thirty-three. Wow. Now I feel old.

* "Anti-hero" usually means "unlikely hero," someone who is heroic without the usual muscly/brave/endowed with super-powers set of attributes, but Carpathia turns out to be the Antichrist so I thought it sounded better. It's my birthday, I can use poetic license, leave me alone.

** You didn't realize the UN was that powerful did you? Evangelicals do. You thought President Bush didn't like working with the UN before he invaded Iraq just because he was stubborn?

Friday, June 15, 2007


Sometimes you come across a bon mot that's too good not to share. Here's Slate's John Dickerson on whether pardoning Scooter Libby will have an adverse effect on President Bush's approval ratings:

"The number of people who would be angered by a pardon who haven't already abandoned the president could fit in an airport shuttle bus."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Informal Poll

It's Called a Mountain Dum

Last night I was hanging out with Portland Blogger/Podcaster/Superstar Hot Toddy at one of the Rose City's more sophisticated establishments when a gentleman walked in and ordered -- I kid you not -- a Mountain Dew and rum.


(They were unable to accommodate his request.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good News! You're Going to Hell!

The sermon at the church I visited this morning was on a topic many Episcopalians find uncomfortable: evangelism. I once heard it said that the Episcopal style of evangelism was something like leaving a bowl of water next to a lake and hoping the fish jump in of their own volition. You know, no pressure.

Evangelism is a tricky thing. The rector pointed out something which in retrospect seems obvious but isn't a distinction I had been consciously aware of; more importantly, it's a distinction which some Christian traditions disregard or try to blur: evangelism is the job of the people, but conversion is up to the Holy Spirit. They are not one and the same.

A lot of Christians try to win souls for God, or something like that, as if souls are lost items on a global scavenger hunt and the people who gather the most get into heaven. The inimitable Slacktivist once, in one of his many scathingly brilliant take-downs of the heretical Left Behind novels, talked about "right relationship as a pre-condition for evangelism."

That's the tricky part. I might go to church pretty often, but I never liked or appreciated being trapped on a subway with someone who wanted to yell at 100 strangers about how Jesus changed their lives for five minutes. Last month I went to the opera and when I came out, someone had left a brochure titled "The Burning Hell" on my windshield. Because, you know, Jesus used to anonymously leave pamphlets on people's private property and then run away.

When the necessary pre-condition of "right relationship" isn't met, instead of becoming a welcoming invitation evangelism turns into a major turn-off. "Hi, I don't know your name or anything about you, but I'd like to tell you what's wrong with your life and how you can fix it." This inevitably gets coupled with a threat: "PS, you're going to hell." It doesn't take a degree in marketing to see that this pitch sucks.

The word "evangelism" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "good news." As the rector helpfully pointed out today, "You're going to Hell!" is not good news. Clumsy (if occasionally well-intentioned) Christians have made such a bungle of evangelism that "evangelist" now is practically synonymous with "charlatan." "Evangelical" means closed-minded science-phobic bigoted theocrat to millions of Americans. That's bad news.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Photo Blogging

Sorry things have been quiet for a bit. My temp job ended on Tuesday, and while technically that should have enabled me to blog more, I haven't gotten around to it. I had another interview on Wednesday that went well, but the person I interviewed with (amicably) agreed with me by the end of our hour together that it wasn't going to be a good fit. It looks like there is another interview in the works for next week. Let's hope something comes up; my savings won't last very long if I'm not even temping. Also it would be nice to buy some furniture.

Still, it's been nice to have the time just to enjoy my new home. The cats particularly enjoy the strategically placed bird feeder right outside the living room.

Most of the time one can find Rocky and Starbuck on this window sill, talking to the red-headed finches that come through.

There was a line for today's Sunday brunch.

"Grandma" got the cats one of those tree things as a 'Welcome to Oregon' present, and it was a raging success. Here's Rocky...err, hanging out, I guess you could say.

Look out, Starbuck!

We had another awesome sunset this week.

Look at that blue sky and those gorgeous trees! That is a big part of why I moved out here. And of course, that warm sunlight on a windowsill makes for a great nap spot.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Officially an Oregonian

I got my new driver's license today. It felt sad surrendering my New York State license...there was some caché, I think, to having one. I only missed one question on the test, which I think is pretty good for someone who's been riding a subway for the last 14 years and didn't study beforehand. (I missed the question about how far before an intersection you should use your turn signal; I said 50 feet, the answer is 75. Eh.) There was one odd question about if you're on a rural road and there's a horse and rider ahead and the rider raises his hand, what does this mean? One of the choices was, "There are cows ahead." When aren't there cows ahead?

I also registered to vote. Hillary Clinton is officially no longer my senator. Hurray!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Don't Judge a Church by its Incense

Last week, John L. Allen, Jr., a senior correspondent at The National Catholic Reporter, penned a New York Times Op-Ed on the announcement that Pope Benedict will soon formally expand permission for use of the old pre-Vatican II Latin Mass as an optional style of worship within the Catholic Church. He worried that “[w]hen the decision officially comes down, its importance will be hyped beyond all recognition, because doing so serves the purposes of both conservatives and liberals within the church, as well as the press.”

His concern is that “[m]any on the Catholic left… will make a cause célèbre out of the document because, to them, it symbolizes a broad conservative drift in Catholic affairs. They will read it as another sign of a “rollback” on Vatican II.”

But is a more traditional, conservative style of worship necessarily indicative of social conservatism? Not in the least.

The crucial point is that the Tridentine Mass will be optional. If Latin were reinstated as the only acceptable language of the church, it would create a wholly unnecessary barrier between worshippers and the God who’s trying to speak to them by restricting the interaction to a language almost no one speaks anymore. There is no reason a person shouldn’t be allowed to worship, pray and study Scripture in their native language. After all, that’s the entire meaning of Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter when, according to the second chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and empowered them with the ability to speak in other languages in order to spread the Good News. They weren’t all speaking Latin.

By making the old-style mass optional, the Pope is broadening appeal, not restricting it. People need to be able to experience and worship God in the setting that feels “right” to them. There is tremendous power and beauty in the old liturgy, with its focus on solemnity and reverence (admittedly, not for everybody) and a meaningful link to centuries of tradition. The old Latin texts – again, not for everyone – are innately musical and beautiful. Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae…it’s magnificent. Would I encourage a 7 year old to sit through it? Hell, no.

In practice, worship styles transcend neat categorizations like “liberal” and “conservative.” We can see this plainly enough in our own country. Many conservative churches in America have modern settings and an informal Sunday service. Mega-pastor Joel Osteen preaches in a converted stadium in a manner far closer to self-help seminar than traditional Eucharist. You’re not likely to hear a Palestrina motet there.

Conversely, consider the Episcopal church of St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square, locally so famous for its high church “smells and bells,” as Allen terms it, that it’s affectionately known as “Smoky Mary’s.” I attended the Good Friday service there this year, with its two-hour chanted liturgy, endless kneeling and barefoot veneration of the cross, and can attest this is about as old-school as Anglicans get. (Ironically, they don’t use incense on Good Friday; it’s considered an extravagance inappropriate for the solemnity of the occasion.) This was also the gayest congregation I’ve ever seen.

I’m not a Catholic, but I think Allen is wrong to assume that there is any link between social progressives and a preference for informal worship styles. In fact, perhaps the best conclusion that can be drawn is that many social progressives are more interested in tradition and orthodoxy than their detractors want to admit.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A New Kind of Weekend

Now, this is what I call a weekend.

First, I got good news on Friday afternoon: the temp job where I've been working got offered to someone else, which means a) there's an end in sight and b) I'm spared the awkwardness of having to decline a job offer. Phew! Of course, this means continued financial insecurity, but...[*shrug*]. I'm pretty used to that. There is at least one other interview in the works for next week.

Yesterday I attended my niece's high school graduation. Back when I was 19, putting 3,000 miles between me and my family seemed like a really good idea. (It was.) But more recently I started regretting not being around for things like that. It was fun, and I'm very proud of my clever, talented niece. Afterward there was a nice open house and I spent an atypically hot afternoon having chilled white wine and snacks in the backyard with friends and family. Maybe it's just the relative novelty of it, but I had a great time.

This morning I went back for a second visit to a nearby parish; it's actually at the end of the street on which I live, just about a mile away. Today I walked. To get there, you pass a locally protected wetland, a large pond surrounded by marshes and some woodlands. No wonder we have so many birds around. It is a much smaller congregation than I'm used to, but I think it might be a fit. It's progressive and friendly, without being that kind of scary-friendly that so many churches mistake for evangelism. (I'll never forget going to my father's Baptist church once and having a woman exclaim in greeting, "Andrew, I am so pleased to share in Christ Jesus with you!" I had this vision of Jesus standing behind her making a gagging gesture.)

Walking 15 minutes to church, rather than having an hour subway+foot commute each way, is a pleasant improvement. Saves a lot of time, too. Of course, no place is St. Bart's. : (

After church I came home and did some work on the apartment. I finally organized the bedroom closet, though I am in rather desperate need of a dresser. After lunch, I went and spent a couple of hours reading and listening to my iPod by the pool. No, it's not Fire Island. But baby, it ain't Washington Heights.

Now I'm having a cocktail and writing a positively mundane blogpost while the last load of laundry is in the dryer. (Note to self: post-pool cocktails require Malibu.) In a bit I'm going to walk across the street to the market to pick up some pork chops for dinner (ulterior motive: say hi to my checker-crush).

Rocky is asleep on one of the living room window sills, and Starbuck is watching birds from another window. There is not a sound to be heard except birds chirping.

Yup. This is my idea of a weekend.