Thursday, November 29, 2007

it is cave time...

Jan Richardson writes about advent being "cave time" in one of her brilliantly illustrated books.

I feel like I am in a cave, somewhat....not really gestating anything, though...but more just waiting in the dark for some kind of light to flicker, or an ember to glow so that I can be more illumined, enlightened.
Cave time is good,I suppose,
but in this dormant stage
I don't feel all that creative...
or energized.
I suppose that's because I am in the cave...and all I need to do is be here for awhile.
just breathe,
give in to the cave time
and let it speak to me...
rather than me trying to control it or make is something that it isn't.

Visit me, O Holy One...
I wait for your coming in the shadows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

a thousand splendid suns

...big exhale.
I just finished this book..and it was hard, hard, hard read...even more so than kiterunner. It was beautiful, wrenching, convicting, revealing...and hard.
I just am glad to have finished it...
and realize how much we need to be thinking of the human side of war...of the women and children and weak who are the helpless victims....
quiet inside my heart this day.
lead me God.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

rainy days and tuesdays and life, randomly

*Today is raining, raining, raining--a Gray Day in November here in Beantown.

*A phone line, power line or some kind of line was down on my car in the driveway as I dashed out the door to make an appointment at 10:30 across town. I decided to live on the edge and back the car away from it, praying that I didnt' get zapped. Obviously, I didn't. I called the power company, but they said it wasn't a power line. I asked them to check, anyway.

*I have done "yogamazing" podcasts the last four days in a row. I love that Chaz and his Tennesee accent coaxing his viewers into "downward dog"--your best friend. My body is feeling more loose, thank God.

*Yesterday, I had PMS depression from hell. It hit me like a brick. Totally gone today. Weird.

*A saint died this morning. He was 96, and a member of this church for 62 years. I didn't really know him all that well, but there is a great collective sadness and gratitude for his life around here. I know there is great celebrating in the heavens today for the humility and beauty of his good life.

*I received a gift of three hours today. The bible study I was going to cover for my colleague was cancelled. I am secretly (not so secret, since I am blogging about it) relieved. I have a few things I need to focus upon.

*My beloved and I are thinking to buy a new house. Across the street. But we don't want to get ripped off on the selling price. Our financial advisor says, be careful.
The house is just like ours, except very beautiful. I don't know what we will do. We could live there forever; but it will bind me even more geographically--not that I am going anywhere, beloved will retire from where she is employed. I will definitely NOT retire from my present situation. Just sayin'.

*Venus Las Vegas, my border collie sheltie wants her own blog. I think she sees it as an activity to keep her occupied til spring when the squirrels come back out again and she can resume chasing them. I told her she needed to pass a typing test, first.
She said, "Bring it On!"

*Lunch is over. 6 points. (yes, I signed up for WW AGAIN!)

*So, time to put my newfound time to use.

*It's still raining. raining. raining.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Newsflash! Big, Fat, Black Hole!

This just in from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

(My thoughts: 1)Who knew black holes were thought to be so gorgeous, and 2) There is a sermon in here some where, and 3) I don't understand about 3/5 of below, but it sounds cool...)

Massive Black Hole Smashes RecordCambridge, MA - Using two NASA satellites, astronomers have discovered a black hole that obliterates a record announced just two weeks ago. The new black hole, with a mass 24 to 33 times that of our Sun, is the heftiest known black hole that orbits another star.
The record-breaker belongs to the category of "stellar-mass" black holes. Formed in the death throes of massive stars, they are smaller than the monster black holes found in galactic cores. The previous record holder for largest stellar-mass black hole is a 16-solar-mass black hole in the galaxy M33, announced on October 17.

"We weren’t expecting to find a stellar-mass black hole this massive," says Andrea Prestwich of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., lead author of the discovery paper in the November 1 Astrophysical Journal Letters. "We now know that black holes that form from dying stars can be much larger than we had realized."

The black hole is located in the nearby dwarf galaxy IC 10, 1.8 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia. Prestwich’s team could measure the black hole’s mass because it has an orbiting companion: a hot, highly evolved star. The star is ejecting gas in the form of a wind. Some of this material spirals toward the black hole, heats up, and gives off powerful X-rays before crossing the point of no return.

In November 2006, Prestwich and her colleagues observed the dwarf galaxy with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The group discovered that the galaxy’s brightest X-ray source, IC 10 X-1, exhibits sharp changes in X-ray brightness. Such behavior suggests a star periodically passing in front of a companion black hole and blocking the X-rays, creating an eclipse. In late November, NASA’s Swift satellite confirmed the eclipses and revealed details about the star’s orbit. The star in IC 10 X-1 appears to orbit in a plane that lies nearly edge-on to Earth’s line of sight, so a simple application of Kepler’s Laws show that the companion black hole has a mass of at least 24 Suns.

There are still some uncertainties in the black hole’s mass estimate, but as Prestwich notes, ”Future optical observations will provide a final check. Any refinements in the IC 10 X-1 measurement are likely to increase the black hole’s mass rather than reduce it.”

The black hole’s large mass is surprising because massive stars generate powerful winds that blow off many Suns worth of gas before the stars explode. Calculations suggest massive stars in our galaxy leave behind black holes no heavier than about 15 Suns.

The IC 10 X-1 black hole has gained mass since its birth by gobbling up gas from its companion star, but the rate is so slow that the black hole would have gained no more than 1 or 2 solar masses. "This black hole was born fat; it didn’t grow fat," says astrophysicist Richard Mushotzky of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is not a member of the discovery team.

The progenitor star probably started its life with 60 or more solar masses. Like its host galaxy, it was probably deficient in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. In massive, luminous stars with a high fraction of heavy elements, the extra electrons of elements such as carbon and oxygen “feel” the outward pressure of light and are more susceptible to being swept away in stellar winds. But with its low fraction of heavy elements, the IC 10 X-1 progenitor shed comparatively little mass before it exploded, so it could leave behind a heavier black hole.

"Massive stars in our galaxy today are probably not producing very heavy stellar-mass black holes like this one," says coauthor Roy Kilgard of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. "But there could be millions of heavy stellar-mass black holes lurking out there that were produced early in the Milky Way’s history, before it had a chance to build up heavy elements."

This release is being issued jointly with NASA

Image 1:This artist's conception shows the biggest stellar-mass black hole (upper left), which weighs 24 to 33 times as much as the Sun. It is pulling gas from a companion Wolf-Rayet star (lower right). Experts say the black hole was "born fat, it didn't grow fat." Credit: Aurore Simonnet/Sonoma State
Image 2: This close-up from the artist's conception shows gas spiraling into the heftiest known solar-mass black hole. The gas heats up and emits X-rays, which allows astronomers to deduce the black hole's presence. Credit: Aurore Simonnet/Sonoma State University/NASA

Friday, November 02, 2007

Daisy and Tikvah

These poodles want their own blog, since Tanner got his own and is a revgalpetpal. Maybe when they wake up I will teach them to use the computer. See how nice they are being to Barley? Sharing the blanket? That happens about once every 232 days.

Friday Five Interviews....

Over at RevGals, Mother Laura has posted an intriguing Friday Five, "Interviews". Here is my play:

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had? Two come to mind. First, several years ago, I was interviewing at an institution for a chaplaincy position. I wasn't out at the time, but had progressive views on GLBT ordination, rights, etc. The interviewer, trying to intimidate me, asked me point blank if "I was one" Shocked, I said, "are you asking me if I am a lesbian?" The person smugly sat back and said, "yes". I was flabbergasted, so much so, when my escorts picked me up, and asked me how it went, I just blurted out the experience. As I went off to my next appointment with a group of people, they went straight to the CEO of the institution. Of course there were profuse apologies, and I think they were skeered I would sue. I was outrageously and deeply shocked at the interviewer's hate and sense of control and power

The second was for my present ministry. It was my second interview, they asked for several presentations. It was pretty rigorous...but in the two hours we were together, the experience was grounding, real, honest--for me, and the committee. It felt like communion. Driving home, I felt so integrated, and it was the turning point in the process for all of us. It was pretty amazing.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between? I am friendly, pointed, clear....I try to listen alot and then poke between the lines to get a sense if the job and the person are a good fit. I like interviewing people....

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones? I don't get nervous, and I don't mind a phone interview to figure out if the next step in the process is one to take or leap into.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst? hmmm. Best? Dress for success baby! Look as fabulous as you ARE! Can't think of bad advice....

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence? Praying, singing, and mediating works for me!