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- Page 6

  • Why?

    Why did my electricity supplier need to change my perfectly functional, small, discreet meter for one that is larger and decidely clunky looking?  Why has the legal colour for 240V cables changed since my flat was built (roughly a decade ago) so that he also had to replace the perfectly functional grey shrouded cable with brown and blue, each of which is also labelled just in case you don't know brown is live and blue is neutral (or maybe in case you're colour blind).  And why does he leave me with said cables to dispose of when I already went to the recycling centre this morning and don't want to go again for ages?  And why do utility companies need you to dedicate a whole 6 hour period for them to turn up when the supermarkets can do it to within 60 minutes?  These are my questions for today - along with 'why am I spending my day off on chores'?!  At least the meter man came early enough that I can get out for part of the day.

    PS I realise this has the feel of 'sweating small stuff' which isn't my intent - I just happen to be a bit bewildered by the need to fix things that aren't broken and wondering if this is, in part, why fuel bills keep rising...  That's it, splurged and gone... on to the next thing! ;-)

  • Experimenting...

    When I saw the oncologist last week, I mentioned the relentless hot flushes and asked if there was anything that might alleviate them.  Having already tried taking my drugs at various times of day, with no benefit, her last remaining non-drug option was to try splitting the dose.  Not wanting to be mid-experiment yesterday, I opted to wait until today to start this.  The idea is to take half a tablet at breakfast time and half at tea time.  That's all fine until you see a Tamoxifen tablet!  They are small, they are fiddly, they have a nice 'line' across them but snap in two they won't.  So it was a knife and some reasonable pressure to get my 'half a dose' to go with my weetabix!

    Now, I am fortunate.  I am fairly dextrous.  The mild chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy I got in my non-dominant hand has long gone.  But not everyone is so fortunate.  Some people just would not be able to break the thing in half, let alone pick up the spare bit to put back in the packet for later.

    Whether it will work in reducing the side effects only time will tell.  These little pills come in packs of thirty, and I've just started a new pack, so I will continue the experiment until I need a new prescription and, if it hasn't made a substantial difference, will talk to my GP then.  If nothing else by then I will be a deft pill cutter!

  • Psalms for all Seasons

    I think that's really what Brueggemann's scheme is about.  He is honest about its limitations, that a different person might assign them, even within his headings, to different places, but it is a useful model to work with. 

    Anyway here's what I think it boils down to:

    • psalms for when life is chugging along, confident songs that express the reliability and dependability of God, of creation and the life-giving aspects of Torah.  Psalms that teach truths and express trust.
    • psalms for when life is *expletive deleted*, songs that express rage, fear, despair, confusion, bewilderment.  Psalms that lament the disorder that exists despite what we believe about God
    • psalms of reflection on the complexity of life.  Psalms that hold together the realities of the struggles with the faith in which the writer lives.  Psalms written some time 'after the event' when the raw emotion of pain, loss, anger, etc. has passed, when events have run their course and a 'new normal' has been achieved and a different understanding of chugging along has been established

    Whether or not you agree with Brueggemann or my interpretation of his model, it seems there is a basic principle that runs through it all; whatever the 'weather' or 'season', sing about it to God.  Athenticity - my buzz word of the moment!

  • Songs and/or Hymns?

    Today I am working on my last reflective service based around Brueggemann's take on the psalms.  The psalms of reorientation (or 'new orientation' in strict Brueggemann langauge, and to be fair there's a subtle difference in meaning) which are the group of psalms which express a 'transformed faith' in the light of real life experiences.  Now, Brueggemann makes no claims that his classifiaction is definitive or even necessarily correct, but it has been a helpful framework to work with. 

    What intrigued me was a comment he makes in his discussion of the last group of psalms where he draws on the work of another scholar who makes a distinction between 'songs' which are personal and 'hymns' which are communal... songs use 'I' language and hymns use 'we' langauge.  This is a very different way of distinguishing between the two from what I've come across elsewhere.  More typically people say that hymns 'tell a story' or at least have a progression of ideas verse to verse, whereas songs express a single idea.  I have to confess my own way of sneaking things into services that people might be reluctant to sing is to call them 'songs' whatever they are (so Iona or Taize stuff in a SoF church and vice versa or MP in a 'Green Book ' church).

    Irrespective of what they are called, we will be singing a variety of stuff on Sunday evening from a number of different 'stables' as we endeavour to re-orient ourselves towards God in a world where life contrives to dis-orientate us.  Unusually I'll give you the running order:

    I watch the sunrise (3 hanky weepy)

    The Lord is King (golden oldie) (can't find a you tube version of it being sung - check your oldest hymnbook!!)

    Let us break bread together (world church)

    Sing of the Lord's goodness (kinda 70's feel)

  • Let Training Commence!

    This week I am in awe of Angela who trained herself up to run a 6k race to raise money for research into prostate cancer and completed her run in 44 minutes.  Running is not something I can do - my ankles will not stand it and, since I was redesigned, even trotting across roads necessitates clinging to parts of my anatomy!!  What I can do, and love to do is walk.

    As I have mentioned just a few times before, in September I am walking the Shine Glasgow half marathon to raise money for research into breast cancer (look there's a little button on the top right of my blog where you can sponsor me if you haven't yet done so!).  I have now decided it is high time my training moved on from general fitness and walking to a more focussed approach. 

    Usually at this time of year I would be walking around 5 miles every evening as training for a long distance footpath.  When I hill walk with a big pack (or at least that should say 'hill walked with a big pack', I'm not allowed big packs anymore) I can average around 2.5 miles an hour including time for navigation and stops - that's deemed a good pace for hill walking.  By contrast, when I walk to work (mostly uphill!) my speed is more like 3 miles an hour without any real effort.  At peak fitness I can do about 4 miles an hour sustained ovr 2-3 hours.

    For the Shine walk you had to guesstimate how long it would take, so I went for the longest slot (4-5 hours).  At peak fitness I reckon I could have aimed for 3.5 hours, but know I'm not going to be at that pace by September, plus I am walking with three other people who might not want to go at that speed.

    So, my aim is to get to a little over 3 mph which would give me a target time of 4.25-4.5 hours.

    Just need to up the walking a bit now, aiming to build speed not just stamina.  OK then - left, right, left, right...