Monday, April 30, 2007

My washing is wet

Not once, but twice!
What a problem to have! hallelujah! :-)

After my houseguests left on Sat, I put their sheets and towels into the wash, but didn't put them out on Sat evening because it looked like it might rain... but it didn't

So yesterday, after it absolutely bucketed down in the morning (driving home from Glen Waverley after church along Springvale Rd, I could hardly see the cars in front, the rain was so heavy and driving)... but then it cleared significantly around lunchtime,so I thought I would put the washing out. Then, whilst I was at choir practice in the afternoon, the heavens again opened, so I thought, my washing would be getting a second rinse...

Then today, I figured that the sheets would be just about dry, so I put on another load of general washing, thinking I'd be able to bring in the sheets etc and put the other stuff on the line this afternoon... then it rained again!

Woo-hoo! I think perhaps I just need to keep these sheets and towels perpetually on my clothes line, so it will continue to rain ;-)

It is finished...

... the transition to being a fully-fledged Victorian, that is.


A month or so ago, I transferred my drivers' licence from Tas to Vic, and today, the final stage of transition - converting my car to Victorian registration - is now complete.

So, no longer will people feel welcomed by the happy greeting of "HI-751" as they see my car coming towards them... they will now have to put on their science nerd hats to make sense of "UTP-254" (and of course the TRUE biochem geeks will appreciate that since UTP is much less common than ATP I feel that my car is still a bit special :-)

Translation: for the non-science geeks among you who are currently scratching your heads and asking: "what the?", let me explain: ATP is adenosine triphosphate, which is a chemical, based on one of the nucleic acid bases, which is very heavily involved in energy transfer in metabolic cycles. UTP is uridine triphosphate - a similar type of chemical, but much less common, (and probably also much less useful) than ATP.

So now the little stuffed Tassie Devil on my dashboard will have to start earning his keep, as the only current representation of my car's Taswegian heritage.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quote for the week

In preaching class yesterday, the following comment was made about the relationship between thorough exegesis of the Biblical readings, and the resultant sermon:

Exegesis is a bit like underwear: your congregation will want to be reassured that you're wearing it, but won't necessarily want to see it.

It's certainly worth thinking about!
(Thank you to Lyndon Broadstock, for that gem of wisdom)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

All this right on my doorstep

I currently have some friends from Canberra staying with me- Lisa, a friend I went to uni with in Sydney back in 1983 (and yes, you can put your toes away and stop trying to calculate how old I am!) and her 15 year old daughter, Hanna (and the last time I saw Hanna she was only a baby, so it's great to see what a delightful young woman she has grown into).

Whilst the timing of their visit isn't exactly perfect, given my unfortunate preoccupation with assignments and deadlines at the moment, they have managed to amuse themselves greatly whilst here, and have managed to suss out some of the local cuisine around Brunswick and Carlton.

So tonight, as a thankyou gift to me, Lisa and Hanna did the 'hunter/gatherer' thing, and brought home a cornucopia of delicious offerings from a variety of different eateries- mostly with a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-type slant, coming from Lebanese, Afghani and Turkish restaurants....

All exceedingly delicious (especially the amazing hot bread filled with haloumi cheese! seriously yum!). And of course, being the organised Vegemite that she is, Lisa has left me with a fistful of takeaway menus from the various establishments she has visited whilst here (most of which are just up Sydney Road or Lygon St, E Brunswick)

So this week really has been all about food!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One for the Boys...

Well, it seems that my blog has become a bit of a hit at the Jesuit Theological College, as a number of Jesuit boys have confessed to checking it out during the past week (thanks to St Expeditus).

Now I have a personal theory about Jesuits, which is this: Just as the Benedictines have their secret recipe for their wonderful Benedictine liqueur, I reckon that the Jesuits have stumbled upon a secret recipe for some kind of 'niceness' drug, and when they start their training in Sydney, all
Jesuit novices are injected with this niceness drug. I say this because ALL the Jesuit students I have stumbled across in various classes, and worship or social events around the United Faculty of Theology have been so amazingly nice, (and gentle, and hospitable).

And no, it's not a case of "too good to be true", or the "Stepford Jesuits", they are all very real and human, but just... well... ummm... nice (and if they could bottle this drug, I'm sure the Society of Jesus would make a fortune!)

And can't you see the niceness literally radiating from this picture of some of the Jesuit boys, taken at the recent opening of the Dalton McCaughey Library? (and whilst the boys don't always wear those shiny suits, they do always seem to wear those shiny smiles! :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Super powers!

One question that is often asked (possibly in psych assessments, or silly games such as many of the blog quiz thingies that I have published here) is

"What super power would you like to have?"

Well, I don't have to wish or speculate, because I have just realised that I do seem to have a super power- I have chosen to call it "The Aunty Caro Factor", or "the power to influence young men in major life decisions".

My friend Josh in Sydney has been in the market for a new car, and recently posted on his blog that he was thinking about something of the 4WD variety. I just happened to mention that a Subaru Forester is my ultimate dream car, so if he must go for a Toorak Tractor (or whatever the Sydney transposition of that might be- Hornsby Humvee? ... North Shore Tank?) then he should consider the Forester.

Yesterday, he sent me an sms saying that he has bought a Forester- and even broadcast it to the world on his blog.

After all this, I really hope he likes it... the power of such influence! But I promise to use this particular super power only for good! (hmm... should I start thinking about adopting a secret identity? ;-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

St Kilda, pray for us

Well, perhaps not exactly... but I had to laugh and laugh when I saw this reference on my mate BB's blog... especially as assignment deadlines are closing in around me (and most of my student friends) - he is just the kind of patron saint that a girl could use right now :-)


Also known as Elpidius

19 April

Possibly legendary. Unclear whether his name led to his association with expeditious matters, or the other way around. This association led to his becoming the patron of people who had to deliver things on time.


against procrastination, expeditious solutions, merchants, navigators, prompt solutions

young Roman soldier holding aloft a cross; young Roman soldier holding aloft a banner with the word "hodie"

The rural tug...

Last Sunday morning, I was privileged to lead worship in two congregations of a parish located about an hour's drive south of Melbourne. Because of the size of the parish (3 congregations, 2 of which worship at the same time) the minister there obviously can't lead every service for every congregation, so she is working on developing a team of worship leaders on a roster basis who can take services on a semi-regular basis, so the whole process is a little more gentle for all concerned, rather than having different people every week who never get to know the congregations (or vice versa).

I enjoyed the experience, (was only disappointed that I couldn't stay long enough to have a cuppa with folk after the first service, as I had to dash off to the second congregation). The people were very friendly and welcoming. There are a couple of other theological students who have
also been recruited to take services in this parish, and I get the impression that the folks there enjoy having us sharing with them, because no matter what 'pearls of wisdom' God might bring to them through us students, there is also a strong sense that they are giving to us, by helping our training by providing the opportunity for experience, feedback and encouragement.

Even though this parish isn't exactly out in the boonies of "rural and remote" territory, there was still the lovely sense of small town community there, and it reminded me again of why I am feeling more and more drawn to the prospect of ministry in a rural setting.

An elder in one of the congregations is a retired orchardist, and when he welcomed me during the service, he joked that because I am from Tassie, he should give me some apples, to make me feel at home. As I was leaving, he came running up to my car, and presented me with a bag of apples from his orchard, saying, "I wasn't really joking when I said that!" And the apples are lovely and crisp and juicy too! I am enjoying them, and sharing them with some of my fellow students.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Exciting mail call today!

Today's mail delivery was exciting for a number of reasons. The most exciting reason, I have expounded in the earlier blog entry below, but another, was the contents of the parcel that also arrived.

A few weeks ago, in one of our chapel services led by Robert Gribben (Professor of Worship and Mission), I was quite taken by a particular prayer which he used, and asked him where it came from. He flashed a book at me with a bit of a flourish (as Robert is wont to do) and began extolling the virtues of the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland. I asked if he thought it would be worth me getting a copy, to which he replied: "Of course.. but be warned, it is not cheap".

Well, thanks to I am now the proud owner of a pre-loved (but very pristine) copy of the book (for substantially less than the cost of a new one) ... and look forward to exploring the liturgies and prayers it contains (umm... err... when I have handed in all my assignments... of course! ;-)

Well, I'll be... gobsmacked!

Today, much to my surprise, I received a letter from the Dean of the UCA Theological College to say that I have been awarded

The Jamieson Prize for Commendable work in Biblical Studies (1st Year)

for my work in Biblical Studies last year. The award came not only with the congratulations of the Faculty, but also a cheque for $250.

Apparently the College has various prizes which are awarded, "to certain candidates for outstanding work in one area or another whilst training for ministry".

Stagger me! :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cooking with gas... and a new toy!

A month or so ago, perpetual consumer and rabid foodie that I am, I went to a friend's home demonstration for The Chef's Toolbox. Now I had never heard of this direct selling/party plan company, so was curious (and of course, because they sell cooking utensils and equipment, how could I resist? :-)

I ended up buying a few things ("gee, what a surprise!" I hear you say) and among them was this gorgeous, heavy-based sautee pan (and is all metal, so it can go into the oven, lid and all! and... and... and... you can cook pizza in it on the stovetop, because the lid seals and makes it like an oven inside!)

I used it for the first time last night, and I have to say that it is a dream to use... fantastic non-stick surface, and the base is large enough that it copes with the weirdness of my best gas jet on the stove (which usually goes too far and heats up the sides as well as the base of most of my other pans)

Great to use, easy to clean... *sigh* I'm in foodie heaven :-)
Now I can't wait to get all my assignments in, so I can start cooking again for my usual culinary guinea pigs, who have been a tad neglected of late.

Displacement, displacement, displacement

Can you tell that I have a few assignments due in next week, and am engaging in the displacement task of blogging instead of getting on with it?

I'm so damned transparent!


Warning: totally frivolous material follows!

Nerds of the world unite!

At the end of last year, a girlfriend and I were discussing the tragic junk TV we both watch, and in particular, engaging in character assassinations of various characters on these shows. We came to the same (surprising) conclusion that the characters we felt most drawn to (in the most superficial and hormonal ways, of course) were not the well-built, action heroes with whiter than white teeth, and rock-hard abs that they displayed as often as possible, but rather the brainy, nerd-like characters who tend to be a little dishevelled, and 'other-worldly' in their outlook.

With this in mind, I couldn't help but get sucked in by yet another fatuous Blog Things quiz, the result of which is here for your edification (or not, as the case may be)

You Go For Brains!

You want a guy with a big... brain.
And of course it would be nice if he were a total hottie, but you're not counting on it.
What's on the inside is what counts for you. (Besides, you can always change the outside later!)

(and it's just a guess, but I expect that this is one such 'fun quiz' that will not cause any distraction to my other blogging buddies, and end up appearing on their blogs! :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Which Church Father am I?

From a friend's blog- rather amusing :-)

You’re St. Justin Martyr!

You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Surrendering to the Season

I don't know why, but for some reason the impact of Easter has hit me more significantly this year than it has for the last few years. The journey of Holy Week has been a special one so far, starting with an ecumenical Palm Sunday celebration with the churches of Brunswick last Sunday morning.

One of the challenges of the Sunday before Easter is to decide whether to observe Palm Sunday (where the focus is on Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, with palms waving, hosannas all over the place, etc) or Passion Sunday (where the focus is on Jesus' passion/death). At Brunswick UC the tradition is usually to go for the Palm Sunday option (mainly because it fits in with the ecumenical celebration, I suppose).

However last Sunday evening, at Queen's Chapel
was a different matter. Because we only have chapel during term time, and classes break for a fortnight over Easter, our last chapel service before Easter was a beautiful combination of many of the elements of the traditional Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday liturgies, and concluded with the chapel being stripped of all ornamentation and black cloths placed over the communion table and ambo. (and we will celebrate the "Easter Day" on the first week back). This was an especially moving service, of scripture readings, poetry and music (including some luscious things for the choir to sing).

Then on Maundy Thursday, Brunswick had a rather lovely service of movement and communion, which involved footwashing, communion and finished with a meditation on the cross using music and liturgical dance (now I'm not usually overly into liturgical dance, but this was done very well, and was just right for the tone of the service ). At the end, there was this amazing physical juxtaposition of a large wooden cross in the sanctuary, with a crown of thorns hung on it, immediately underneath the illuminated stained glass window depicting the Last Supper, and above that, Jesus' trial. It was an amazingly potent image.

This morning we had our Good Friday worship, which took the form of a dramatic telling of the story of the last few days of Jesus' life through the eyes of three contemporary young people, supported by music and prayer, and great chunks of scripture (which made up most of the narration of the story). I had the privilege of being a part of this worship, as one of the story-teller/readers. The whole thing came together amazingly well, and many people commented on how powerful it was. There was a particular moment just after the trial scene, where all the actors and readers were standing still on stage, and some singers from the congregation sang the hymn "Were you there when they crucified my lord" . Each person sang one verse a cappella, and after they finished, moved to the front of the 'stage' area facing the congregation, so in the end there were the readers in a semi circle up on the stage, with the singers in the same formation at the bottom of the steps as they all joined in on the last verse together. (People were moved; I heard quite a few snuffles at this point)

So now, we have journeyed through the darkness of Jesus' death, and are still solemn, awaiting the good news of Easter Day. The church that one of my friends attends observes a traditional Easter Vigil on the Saturday night, and when he told me about it, I got rather excited, as it reminded me of a reading from my worship class last year, which described such a vigil. At the time I read it, I remembered being inspired, and wishing that I could experience such a vigil- so it looks as if my wish will come true tomorrow night.

Then of course, there will be the celebration of Easter morning at Brunswick, which I'm sure will be full of life, music and creativity. Then in the afternoon, the Easter march through the city (and then a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down, methinks! :-)

It's interesting that my experience of Easter this year is very different to my recent experience of Christmas. These are the two times of the year which are traditionally the busiest and most frantically full for ministers (and although at these times, ministers tend to encourage their congregations to take time out to contemplate the meaning of the season, there is little time for the minister to do this amid the busyness of preparing all the worship services and activities around this time. That is an irony that has not been lost on me).

I certainly experienced the busyness at Christmas, when I was working in my placement at Launceston North/Lilydale. However, right now, I am enjoying the luxury of being able to surrender myself completely to the Easter season and all that it means, enjoying the worship, without any of the stress of 'being the minister'.

I think it must be a case of 'enjoy it whilst it lasts' because this year (or possibly next year) will be the last time I'll be free to do that for a while, I suspect.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

one of those blog quiz thingies

Hmm... saw this on a friend's blog and couldn't resist having a go. (and the result is probably a good thing, given my current and future vocation/ occupation :-)

You Are 20% Misanthropic

You're definitely not misanthropic - in fact, you're probably a people person.
While you may get annoyed with the world from time to time, you remember that everyone's only human!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Living in the moment

One of the things about being human is that we are so easily distracted. Someone once told me that psychologists reckon that we spend the majority of the time in our thought world either replaying interactions from the past, or else rehearsing potential interactions for the future, but very little time just being present in the here and now. This awareness has come to the fore for me quite strongly in recent times.

At the Women in Ministry retreat in Hobart last week, Sue Gormann led us through a contemplative process of self-examination based on an Ignation spiritual exercise. As part of this, we meditated on a passage from Luke's gospel (Luke 10:38-42), and considered how in this passage, Martha is so busy doing all the tasks to provide hospitality for Jesus, that she misses the opportunity to just be, and allow his presence and words to captivate her, as Mary does.

We spent time in silence considering the things in our own lives which might distract us from the "better part" that Jesus speaks of (v.42); allowing the awareness of these things to gently bubble to the surface. Later we shared some of this with each other, and then went further, to look at what decisions (about these or other things) we may need to make, and what action (or deliberate inaction) may be required as a response to this.

This was a particularly rich time for me, as I was able to acknowledge that there has been a particular thing that has been a fairly major distraction in my life in recent months. As I thought and prayed about this in the solitude and silence, it became clear that there is some action I need to take as a next step to resolving the situation and hopefully removing the distracting element of it. It was good to be able to share this insight and commitment to action with some of the sisters at the retreat, and sensing their support and prayer will be with me as I pluck up the courage to take the risk to act (and then deal with the consequences of acting).