Monthly Archives: January 2006

Flashes of inspiration or idle thoughts?

Well, this blog is entitled ‘Musings.’ And the musings don’t cease once the computer is switched off either. Of course I blame all those Myers-Briggs courses. If I’d not discovered that I was an INFP… Anyway – to the point. (oops, I forgot; as an INFP getting to the point is something I’m not exactly an expert in.)

Now I wonder if Dave is interested in this one? During a pcc meeting last week, I had an Idle Thought. Come to think of it, I have a good few Idle Thoughts during meetings; they help me to concentrate. But we won’t go there…

So, there I was musing away, and filling in all the O’s on the minutes sheet when I realised that the sometimes thorny subject of stewardship and giving had come up. (I don’t think the ecclesiastical hit squad will be after me for breach of confidence here. After all – it’s a topic that must feature on the agenda (ae??) of every church council throughout the Anglican Communion and beyond with monotonous regularity.) And naturallly we’re urged to give not only by the traditional (for Anglicans anyway) method of button..I mean coins in the bag but also by more tax efficient means.

Anyway, as the treasurer outlined said means, somebody mused out loud re how no doubt one day you’d be able to give by credit card. On the spot – or in the pew, so to speak. The mind boggles! I had this wonderful vision of sidespersons passing round those portable machines you get in restaurants. You could bash in your PIN number (displayed on the hymn boards for those with dodgy memories) and be rewarded by a computer generated ‘Hallelujah!’ at the end of the transaction. Though what would happen if you chose to ‘pass the bag on’ remains open to the imagination. Maybe a poke in the ribs by one of those funny pole things churchwardens are traditionally supposed to employ to keep the congregation in order with.

Modern technology, eh? Nothing like it!

‘God is *very* quick these days’ (Blackadder Goes Forth)

So thought Mr Miff on Friday. He’d set off for a bike ride leaving me at home stewing over some job applications. As this involved me rehashing my CV at a moment’s notice, I may have been a little less patient than I should have been and the other half was definitely on the snappy side as he left. Anyway, imagine my surprise on looking up from a smoking keyboard barely an hour later – to find that he was back already. Now, as Mr Miff is always at pains to explain, he does NOT believe in God. Absolutely not! No, no, no. Yet, as he’s found a couple of times lately, co-incidences do have a habit of occurring. Fate maybe; call it what you will. As he pedalled his way through the leafy glades of sunny **** ********* he’d started to feel twinges of conscience about leaving me on my own. More so as over the next few miles, he first had problems with his brakes, then a mudguard fell off, followed by a pedal! So he’d no choice but to turn tail and cycle back home. Well, in as much as you can with only one pedal operational! ‘God moves in mysterious ways, indeed!’

Then again maybe it’s God’s way of telling him to do his TDF shadow ride on a monocycle. 😉

More later. And yes, we did make up and go out for a drink afterwards. My God is definitely not the vengeful, OT sort.

Some folk just don’t appreciate good music when they hear it

Nor do dogs. You should have seen the pained look on Miffdog’s face during my singing practice earlier. He asked to go out during the voice exercises only to be hauled back in minutes later due to his own ‘vocalizing’ . (Sadly our neighbours do NOT appreciate his melifluous tenor tones) Nor were the songs any better. When I looked up from chopping cauliflower and giving my all to a soulful rendition of ‘Autumn Leaves,’ he’d retreated disapprovingly to his basket, from where he gazed at me as if to say ‘But why??’

I suppose it’s all my fault. I’ve brought that hound up too cultured. I wonder if Classic FM does a Relaxing Classics for Doggies CD?

No change

We visited the vet this morning, to have confirmed what we already knew, that there’s really nothing more to be done. Basically, he could hang on for ages the way he is – and the decision as to when he’s to ‘go’ is ours to make. So…we’ve brought him back home, yet again. Sounds daft, but he doesn’t as yet seem to be in pain, he’s still responsive and affectionate, is eating, still has use of sight and hearing, and (with odd accidents) of ‘other functions.’ (Some help sometimes necessary, and generous swathes of newspaper under his litter tray for those times when the ‘pennies,’ don’t quite go where they should!) He’s supposed to be confined to the study in order to prevent any more climbing accidents. However, I’m pleased to announce, that at the moment he’s snoozing happily away in Miffdog’s brand new, super-duper luxury bed in the hallway!

Apparently, along with the gradual loss of muscle control, we can also expect catty senility, borne out, I gather by his increased calling. (Could have fooled us; we thought he was being his usual chatty self!) Not sure about this one. When you say ‘feline dementia’ I’ve visions of poor Miffcat harbouring delusions that he’s either Elvis Presley returned or Napoleon Bonaparte!

Thanks to folk for their best wishes. We’ll keep you posted.

Nine Lives?

It does seem as if Miffcat may be running out of them, despite valiant attempts to prove us otherwise. His legs are going now. And yet he tries to keep going. He will keep jumping up on work surfaces, windowsills, and even – when we let him out into his garden this afternoon, scaled the arbour. Of course, as soon as he tried to get down, he fell onto the concrete below. But as we rushed up, expecting to see a flattened heap on the ground, this pitifully thin, scarecrow of a creature upped and waddled off indoors. I rescued him as he rolled off the windowsill onto a radiator, and we’re all getting used to listening out for the inevitable “meowww” as he insists on attempting the impossible yet again.

However, every time we think that that final, last trip to the vets is inevitable, he does something to confound us. As half an hour ago – when he tottered his way up onto the kitchen counter and demanded second helpings of his favourite Gourmet Gold. (Yes, we’ve loads of renal diet stuff in stock, but tbh, at this late stage, and if you were him, what would you rather have? Something naughty but nice, or the feline equivalent of museli?). Likewise, his little mountaineering excursion. So, it was nippy this afternoon, but who knows; it may have been Miffcat’s last, and spending a happy half hour gazing out over next door’s garden and eyeing up the bird population isn’t a bad way to spend it, I reckon.

But sadly, I think we all know that time is running out. ..rapidly. Mr Miff and I took ourselves to the pub this afternoon and mused over ‘arrangements.’ When the time comes, and Miffcat is no more, we intend to bury him in his ‘cat garden.’ We never expected when he was originally diagnosed – that he’d live to make the use of. As it is, he’s managed all last autumn and last year’s glorious summer. And autumn…and winter, until Miffdog and I put our collective feet (and paws down) as we were getting tired of spending the early morning shivering away in the kitchen with the window open whilst Miffcat disported himself in the arbour, or amongst our special IOW lavender bushes.

As Mr Miff says, ‘He’s such a brave little cat.’

Ehrmm…

As I said in my comments – Does filing my notes away neatly count? I thought not… 🙁 And this weekend is kind of…booked. But thanks to my faithful band of ‘neggers.’ I can do it. Tractor Girl – I’m dealing with marriage and the family atm, and for this piece am supposed to be explaining what I consider to be the best ‘model’ for defining the wrong of adultery. All good, inspiring stuff! 😉

Nothing like a spot of archiving

And not before time I hear you say. All those Flylady reminders must have had some effect; my in-box is certainly much less cluttered since I ‘forgot’ to resubscribe after we got back from hols!

It’s recently been drawn to my attention 😉 that folk are linking to ‘Musings’ via another site that I frequent. (Not ‘The Blogdom of God.’ – who rated me 37505’th on their listings and, if I remember rightly, classed me as some kind of lower life form) 🙁 No, this other is an offshoot of the Christian forum that got me started on all this internet business the best part of five years ago (5 years!!? Eeek! All those wasted hours!). It’s gone through several changes, splits etc since (just like the good old C of E really ;)) and I’ve not had that much to do with it of late. But it’s quite nice sometimes to pop in and see some of the old, familiar faces from way back. Strange, really, how huge cyberspace appears, and yet, as IRL (as they say) ‘it’s a small world.’

Of course now I shall need to clean up my act. Polish my pensees. Mystify my musings. Sharpen my solilouquoys (and my spelling!).

So I must be off and get on with a spot of adultery*. A thousand words worth of, to be precise. I expect to see a veritable flurry of ‘Miffy Go For Its’ in my comments box when next I log on. Or in your case, M, some gentle ‘negging.’ Let’s see if I can get it wrapped up in a week, max.

Accountablility, nothing like it! 😉

* To clear up any misapprehensions – and to avoid expulsion from wibdom forthwith; some of you may remember that I’m currently doing some distance learning theology and am partway through an ethics unit.

Good Afternoon

Suffered a slight frisson during this morning’s service when the person leading the intercessions wound up by ‘condemming’ us all to the Lord’s protection, or whatever it is you ‘condemn’ people to. (‘Worm Theology’ operating here, maybe? ;)) I’m sure it wasn’t just myself and my neighbour who stifled giggles at that point. Still, to give them credit, it didn’t throw them one little bit. And apart from that, the prayers were beautifully and thoughtfully read.

It was more difficult to stop the giggles during the final hymn though; being ‘God is Our Help and Refuge.’ Good, rousing stuff sung to the tune of The Dambuster’s March – fortissimo, and at 100 miles an hour. Nothing wrong with that; it certainly set a sort of carnival, Last Night of the Proms atmosphere. ( I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d seen streamers and balloons bursting out from behind the pillars, or the organist exploding, Spinal Tap style). But of course, it put me in mind of an ‘incident’ off an old SOF thread, when the resident organist insists on forcing his reluctant flock to sing Immortal, Invisible – God Only Wise,’ to the same melody and the terrible scene that then ensues, culminating in the poor chap being hit by a flaming thurible and, I’d suspect – being carted away to a ‘safe place.’

I might grumble about it at times, but I do like the C of E.

Good Evening

Filling the odd idle moment whilst waiting for daughter and BF to go and collect tonight’s Chinese takeaway.

Thanks, Ian, for your comment on the difficulties of unwinding and relaxing on retreat. I’ve found out today that there’s a group Quiet Day booked back at the convent in a couple of week’s time, so I’ll get a second stab at it. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to retrieve the artwork I did whilst I was there in December. There wasn’t the room for it in my luggage. And even if there had been, it would have ended up shedding flakes of thick, black paint everywhere. I’m hoping it’s still pinned up on the notice board – although that depends on how productive retreatants have been since. It would be interesting to look over it again a few weeks further down the line to see how it all appears to me now. We’ll see.

Good Morning

Up bright and early for the dog, who’s now curled up in his favourite lurking place by the stairwell. Miffcat’s inserted himself into a display unit on the dresser and is snoozing away happily. He seems to have taken a slight downward turn after the karma sutra reindeer ‘incident.’ He’s lost a lot of weight, and our main worry is tempting him to eat. He does have special renal food prescribed him by the vet, but at this stage any food is better than none. Hence the fridge is full of dinky little tupperwares containing such delicacies as tinned salmon, slices of roast beef, processed turkey slices, and turkey bits, home cooked by yours truly. Of course, being your typical fussy moggy, his tastes change from day to day and hour to hour. He refuses to eat what’s offered, then just as we’re tearing our hair out in despair, he’ll suddenly latch onto one particular food. So we’ll serve this up at the next meal, only to find that its no longer the flavour of the moment. Still, he doesn’t appear to be in any discomfort for now, and is still his old, affectionate self, jumping up onto your lap for cuddles, and even asking to go out into his little ‘garden.’ Meantime, he’s got his home comforts and all mod cons, with his bed next to the radiator and my pc, and litter box moved into the study, (a great concession but if you’re old and frail you wouldn’t fancy a long trail out to the equivalent of an outside loo every time you needed to wee, with the added possibility of being mugged by a hairy yeti each time you poked your nose outside home territory!).

Apologies if my blog’s starting to sound like one of those Christmas ‘Round Robins’ so beloved (or not) by Simon Hoggart. I’ve been rereading his ‘The Hamster That Loved Puccini – The Seven Modern Sins of Christmas Round Robin Letters’ – and am uncomfortably aware that I’ll probably end up in next year’s edition. I’ve always said we’ll never resort to producing one, but this last year I gave in and wrote a newsletter after Christmas in lieu of Christmas cards. The few I receive I actually love reading – especially as friends are scattered far and wide nowadays. It’s great to hear from them. But it’s just not ‘me’ or so I thought. However, needs must. The last year has been pretty grotty in many ways. Not that you’d guess it from the letter. And when writing cards threatens to become just another ‘thing to do’ on a long list of pre-Christmas chores, something had to give. So cards were kept for family only plus folk living locally to whom we could just hand over greetings. The letter writing itself was done during the quieter period after the day itself. And I found having the pressure off made such a difference and I could enjoy filling folks in on our goings-ons. Even if some of it was a teeny bit tongue in cheek. Of course it remains to be seen how many people will now drop me from their Christmas list because I didn’t return cards, but hey…that’s nearly a year ahead. ‘Sufficient unto the day’ etc.

Which leads to one of the reasons behind making that small change. It was partly prompted by the retreat I went on in early December. This was my second, silent, ‘guided’ retreat, and as I think I mentioned earlier, I was in desperate need of getting away. My first try at all this over a year ago I’d found to be a life-saver at a fairly tricky time, and so I’d deliberately re-booked for another on the premise that the way life was going, 2005 promised to be even tricker! As it was. Illness, family strains, work problems and decisions (Mr Miff’s and mine), the first fledgeling flying the nest, struggles with faith, niggles with church. Nothing we don’t all experience – mostly, but that doesn’t diminish the way it ‘chips’ away at you, and it was a rather weary, sagging, squished budgie that eventually – and after two posponements – dragged herself off into the wilds of Oxfordshire.

So. How did it ‘go?’ Well, let’s say. It was ‘different.’ The sister who ‘guided’ me remarked that quite often one’s second retreat does differ in impact and intensity from the first. No problems coping with the silence. That seems to be something that I slip into quite naturally. In fact it helped that the place I stayed in this time round had far more of an emphasis on this in that all the guests were there for the same purpose. No, I think the ‘problem’ if indeed you could class it as that, lay in my difficulty – (despite my protests to the contrary! ) in both unwinding and in getting out of the everyday busy mode and just well…’letting go and letting God’ (if you’ll excuse the jargon). Despite a determined effort to leave as much ‘baggage’ as possible behind at home, it would keep intruding. And even when I managed to shove it out of the way, the seeming need to cram time as full as possible – to ‘perform’, however subsconsciously would creep back in. For example, even when simply praying through of a passage of scripture – the temptation to start analysing it, to chop, dice and dissect and summarise complete with bullet points was impossible to resist. Makes you wonder where I get it from – she says cynically.

Alongside this ‘Martha’ mode of being. (I never thought ever thought to hear myself described as a Martha!) ran my usual miserable old git – grumbling over the whole razmattaz that is Christmas nowdays. Again – don’t we all! But it’s then all too easy to let the miseries take over and blind you to the little ‘gems’ that are to be found in amongst the fuss and kerfuffle. I may not go for the full on Christmas commercial countdown myself – but I’m getting to realise that on another level I do tend to go in for the ‘chasing after the gifts, not the giver’ bit. Especially in terms of demanding of God that he give me an exact run down of what’s in store for me; what direction I should take. In a handy little leaflet, please – complete with bulleted points all beginning with the same letter! This from a Miffy who considers herself to be a quite, contemplative type,Myers-Briggs introverted intuitve. Scarey really. It also prompts thoughtful consideration of the church culture that prompts it. Note the ‘passing the buck’ here!

Anyway, we’ll pause now in order to spare those of a sensitive disposition. Ms Miffy is stirring,and there’s washing to be done. And the ironing won’t do itself, grumble, grumble….