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This was our second year for baptisms by boat.  Back in my day (which I realized is nearly 20 years ago!) we were baptized off of the pier in the pond, with the priest kneeling on the pier and us about to be newly-illumined holding onto the side as we tested the murky bottom of the pond.  The pier fell apart, and was not replaced (I assume) because we want to restore the natural wetlands.  For a few years we had a really lame solution – taking a big tub out to the side of the pond and baptizing adults there.  Frankly, it was sad.  Having been a pond-baptism myself, I believe in the importance of suffering through some algae to reach a state of illumination.  I’m not sure the holy fathers would agree with me on this…At any rate, the solution reached last year was to launch out a priest and a subdeacon in a boat, with a rower and perhaps someone else for ballast, so the priest doesn’t end up in the water when he reaches over the side to dunk people.  This makes for very entertaining watching from the shore.

I did an hour of vigil on Saturday morning, so I was hanging around the church waiting for the service, with a chance to appreciate the suddenly-warm weather and watch the boat arrive.  Then we went inside to begin the liturgy, and then back out to the church steps to begin the baptism process.  Since I don’t remember my own baptism clearly (being 7) I love to attend other baptisms because I feel like it rubs off.  I get to relive the experience and understand the words that I didn’t quite grasp when it happened to me.

I also got to admire our bells and notice for the first time that there are icons on the two largest ones.

Then to the pond, where the water is blessed and the boat launches.

Last year was chilly, so we had great sympathy for those heading into the cold water.  This year the sun was deliciously warm and lost our sympathy.

There were eleven baptisms.

Then back inside, for the bay leaves and the banging pots and pans and the chrismations, and finally the port and fruit and nuts in the church.  I don’t like to take out my camera much in church, but here is a picture from after last year’s Agape vespers, when it was rainy and chilly and we didn’t tramp across the lawn.

Monday morning, drinking my coffee and feeling glad that I’m inside and not outside, where it’s blustery and rainy, declaring itself November.

I finally finished Half Life.  If you’ve read my review on Goodreads, you know I was heartily sick of it after a promising start.  Part of the probably that I’ve had Ha’Penny waiting for me for a week or so, and I’d done the delayed gratification thing long enough.  Where you have a book that you are pretty much sure you’ll love, so you don’t want to read it because then it will be over and what will you look forward to?  So it sits on your shelf as insurance.  Kitri is doing the same thing to Book of a Thousand Days.  But being bogged down at the end of Half Life had me desperate to start with the delicious sequel to Farthing, and so I skimmed through, tossed it aside, fixed myself some dinner, and sat down with Ha’Penny and a glass of wine.  And later, a lemon bar.

It was really really hard to put it down and go to bed.

Although I did manage to take a break to finish watching an overdue-at-the-library copy of Little Women, the childhood-favorite Katharine Hepburn version.  How could I have forgotten that it’s such a sob-fest?  From the very first scene – where Marmee helps the old man going to visit his last son dying the hospital!  Goodness.  It turns out that almost every detail, intonation, costume, and line was imprinted on my brain as a kid.  But I loved it as much as ever.  Just through more tears.  I’m turning into a softy as I grow up.

Then it was back to Ha’Penny and only managing to close the book when my eyes drooped shut.  I think that I might even have to give Walton’s fantasy a try…as much as I’m not a reader of, um, non-children’s fantasy, her alternate-histories are just too good to hold the fantasy label against her other books.

I started listening to Rebecca this morning for Leila’s The Big Read: Rebecca.  I’m doing the audio thing, listening to it around the house while I ate breakfast and tidied and such.  So far it definitely has the Jane Eyre feel to it – the less-privileged, inexperienced girl.  The older kind-of married man.  The house.  The slightly gothic feel.  Well-suited to today’s weather.

You walk home from babysitting (“why is it called babysitting?  We’re not babies.”  “And I don’t sit on you”) and consider making a detour to the store, but you’re not quite sure what you need.  So you go home, a hint of thunder, and make a fresh pot of coffee and eat French toast leftover from breakfast, with strawberry jam, and then there’s lightning out of the corner of your eye, and a real proper roll of thunder.  You can only think of it as majestic before a sheet, literally a sheet of hail swings across the street.  It’s hard not to just sit and watch it, framed in your dining room window, with your chair so neatly pulled up to the view.

Assertive weather is useful.  Makes you grateful for a snug roof and dry feet and the days that are easy to be out in.  Probably not as useful for the seedlings in your garden, the mystery sprouts shooting up to remind us what you planted last year.  Will those be sweet-peas in the corner?  You can’t be troubled to look them up and find out, better to wait see.

You’re pretty irritated with your audiobook.  Are his hands cold? Are they still?  Is he still like marble? Like stone? Still perfect? Now is he perfect? Is his hair still bronze? Because you mentioned it a minute ago and I was worried that he’s sped off and dyed it. Still bronze? Whew. But is he still cold?  Like, marble, right?  Yet, like Leila says, it’s hard to put down.  Or turn off, as the case may be.

Drenched, and I Mean Drenched

If you look outside and it seems a little grey and drizzly, and you wear your raincoat on your walk to the store, the skies will clear and a sunbeam will emerge from the heavens and cast its light upon you.

If you look outside and it seems a little grey but the pavement is dry, and you wear your red wool coat and a striped scarf, the heavens will open and pour forth rain upon you, and you will feel like poor Gideon’s fleece during one of the wet periods.

Lists, Making (see also Lists, Crossing Off; Procrastination)

Why is it that if I make a list of all the tedious things to be done that day, and I manage to cross one simple item off it, I then feel I’ve deserved a rest and a slice of banana-blueberry bread? When really, the real work still lies in front of me?

This morning, Tyka, Maren, Maren’s dad, and I participated in an activity that shall not be named. I wished I had a camera so I could create a little photo essay for you. It would have looked something like this:

– a sign on the waterfront reading: “caution: water may be contaminated by sewage following rainfall”
– a gaggle of men fishing in a boat in our beautiful river
– a shot of our typically cloudy skies

Maren has the busiest social calendar of anyone I know. She had four eventful thing scheduled for today. When I have a free Saturday, it’s generally spent in sloth with some moderate socializing. I remain impressed by the maren-ness of Maren.

After our morning date with Maren, we proceeded to church where we were splashed with water, sprinkled with bay leaves, and fed the manna that is fruit, nuts, bread and port wine. It all leaves you rather exulting and living on a slightly different wavelength.

Caution: the following is what happens when you’re giddy and tired and you decide your god-daughter needs an Easter dress:

You go to the Hanna Andersson outlet, the most dangerous place on earth. You intend to purchase one (1) cute dress that fits an almost-two-year-old.

You deliberate between this (in pink) and a cute blue linen sundress (no photo, being outlet and all).

While deliberating, you notice that everything in the women’s section is 50% off. Hmm, you’ve been wanting some long john pants, you think. You find these in orange and white.

Then you find this for $15! Notice how much it costs on the website? Yeah. But for $15? Sold.

You grab a plain brown long sleeve shirt that’s practical. You make a last chance phone call to Toni hoping for words of wisdom. No answer. You can’t decide between the two dresses for Q, so you get them both.

And that, my friends, is why Hanna Andersson is cotton crack. Toni still says she wants to go there next time she’s in town. I think I’ll have to leave my wallet at home for that trip.

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