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Wondering why the long silence? Well, just take a look at the view out the back door of my friends’ house in western North Carolina to see why turning on the computer was not an especially high priority this past week…

GassawayView

So, I do hope that I’ve not lost too many of my WordPress readers…my blog stats have been plummeting due, I’m sure, to the lack of any new content lately. If you are just finding this blog, welcome, and feel free to participate in our conversations…my intention is to have rich conversation, rather than a series of monologues.

What was I doing in NC? A friend of mine here in the D went with me, and we were blessed by the hospitality of my two friends who are retired physicians and who recently rebuilt a beautiful home on their property near the Nantahala Outdoor Center and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We went for walks or hikes every day, some more adventurous than others. I needed a little follow-up medical care from a procedure I had last week, which was provided very graciously by K, who used to be my primary care doc before she retired.

M and I designed a house blessing ritual at the request of our hostesses, but as I told them, the place was already blessed with their presence and great generosity.

I’ll put together a bit of a photo show once I get around to it. In the meantime, it’s time to gear up for the new semester. I have a new course, “Sensors and Actuators” to prepare, and that will take a lot of time, as will my duties as coordinator of our efforts to prepare our 3 undergrad engineering programs for their accreditation visit in Fall 2010.

But I did want to surface briefly just to let you know I’m back and will be doing the best I can to post at least a couple of new reflections every week. As always, if you have a topic you want to discuss and would like to use this blog as a forum for conversation, I’d be delighted to feature you as a “guest blogger.”

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In between…

So sorry…it has been woefully long since my last post, and I must confess that it will be more than a week until my next one… You see, I’ve had quite a lot on my plate of late, between jubilee celebrations, moving, a trip last week to Washington DC for the CLC Assembly, and now leaving tomorrow on my way to retreat in Manhasset, NY. And this week, I managed to get almost zero work done…felt like a slug all week…everything feels achy, I feel a need to sleep a lot…etc…so I gave myself permission to do just that. After a week of retreat, if I’m still feeling this way, I’ll make an appointment with my doc.

In the meantime, please don’t give up on me…I am not shutting down the blog…just taking a little break so I can come back to it with something worthwhile to share with you all. I’m still open to having guest bloggers, so if you’d like to author a reflection/conversation starter for our little blog community to talk about, please send it my way, and I’ll get it up as soon as I can…probably after retreat….

Peace and blessings to all!

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I’ve been noticing for several weeks now that the post that has been getting the most hits on this site is the one I wrote last June about the Furry Convention in Pittsburgh. I can’t for the life of me figure out why that somewhat frivolous post has generated so much traffic on this blog. Anyone care to offer an explanation? Real or fake…we can just have fun with this one…

stats

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Yes, another “key” post…as Paul Harvey (a syndicated radio commentator here in the U.S.) used to say, here’s “the rest of the story…”

So the main point is that in the scripture reading from Matthew where Jesus says he will give Peter the “keys to the kingdom”….let me make this perfectly clear…if keys are involved, I’m not the best person to rely on…I have lots of “key” stories…

But first, the end of the present key story is that I did NOT have to shovel snow today. A colleague from work saved the day by suggesting I use a plain old screwdriver in the ignition switch – it worked like a dream!!

Now a confession…I only needed to eat one Dove bar last night to get the stick for my abandoned  “wooden key” plan…well…I engaged in a “little” stress eating – I ate ALL FOUR Dove bars last night!

Finally one more “key” story from about 10 years ago. A friend and I rented some X-country skis from Notre Dame one weekend, and headed to an Indiana State Park to use them….when we got back to my car, my keys were gone…they must have fallen out of my pocket somewhere along the trail, and retracing my steps did not result in success – they were buried somewhere in the snow. So I had to call my roommate and have her bring my spare keys to me, because the lost keys would probably not be found until the spring thaw… Note that these were the days before cell phones were common, so we had to ride in the back of a guy’s pick-up truck the 8 miles back to the ranger station to make the call…cold ride!!

So, the next day, I headed out to the park to do more skiing, this time with my keys securely zipped into my pocket. As I was trying to master the art of going downhill and turning at the same time, I fell down in the same spot I had fallen down the day before.

Anyway, I thought…while I’m down here, butt in the snow, it can’t hurt to dig around and see if this might have been the spot where my keys fell out the day before. And you know what? I found them!!

So that has been my favorite “key story” for a long time….but yesterday’s story might give this one a run for its money…what do you think? Which story is better?

For future reference…if you need someone to keep track of keys, I’m NOT the best person to depend on…

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She’s baaack!

Oh, how I have been wanting to write a post for this blog…but I didn’t even have time to keep up with previous conversations, let alone begin new ones. Please don’t give up on me…this is just one busy “techie nun”, doing the best she can to bring the semester in for a graceful landing.

I just turned in (almost) the last of my grades – I had to give an incomplete to one student, so I’ll have another report to grade next week… The next 2 days I’ll be tied up in a training session for Wimba…a system that allows interactive online learning – something I’ll be needing to utilize on the occasions this term when I’ll be out of town travelling.

I promise that you’ll see a substantive post here sometime this week; for now, I just wanted to surface, take a gulp of air, and let you know I’m still kicking…

May your Advent season continue to be richly blessed!

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Uhhh…not so much…

Here I am at National Airport in DC, the morning AFTER I was supposed to return to Detroit…it’s a funny story, so I thought I’d share the laugh with you all, and I have the blessing of the other person involved, as most of you who read this won’t know who she is.

So I spent a couple of nights with Sr. L after my board meeting in DC on Thursday, and yesterday we spent much of the day running back and forth to Circuit City trying to get what we needed to set up a wireless network for her and another sister to share….the brick walls turned out to be insurmountable, so that was time spent with no results… For my efforts, Sr. L treated me to a late lunch, which we enjoyed very much – so much so that we lost track of time and were running just a bit behind for the airport run.

So we hurried up and paid the bill, and then got on the road…we passed the exit for I-95 south, and when it looked like we were going to get on I-95 north I asked Sr. L about that, since National Airport is in Virginia, south of where we were. Her expression was priceless!

Apparently, I had never told her what airport I was using, and she never asked me. So she had worked out the timing for our airport run based on my flying out of BWI! Needless to say, the rest of the story is a bit reminiscent of the Keystone Kops. We got turned around, realizing that there was no chance for me to catch the flight unless it was significantly delayed. Sr. L was running a bit low on gas, which would delay us even more. But she kept driving like crazy while I got on the cell phone to Northwest to see what could be done… the reservation agent informed me that there were no more flights to Detroit that night, but that I should still show up at the airport and hope that the ticket agent would have mercy on me and rebook me without charging me the change fee and other costs.

So, we made the brilliant decision (this one really WAS brilliant) to drop me at Metro to get there faster, and guess what? It did pay off, as I approached the ticket agent with sincere contriteness and calm, and she took care of me.

Then back to Metro and Sr. L for the evening. I told the sister living in the next apartment that I came back just to say goodbye to her and to watch another video with them. We had a good laugh about the whole thing…just goes to show you that advanced degrees don’t guarantee simple common sense!

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Well, I’m sure most folks around the world know that we here in the U.S. are having presidential elections today. And it’s no secret that the weeks leading up to this day have been full of bombast and divisive rhetoric along party lines.

So I’m happy to say that everything about my voting experience today was pleasant. For some reason, the usual folks handing out fliers to voters as they arrive were not present. The polling place had additional booths and workers in anticipation of the large turnout. (There were only three people in line ahead of me at 9:45.) And best of all, for my precinct, there was a team of 20-30 somethings staffing the sign-in table. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the “old ladies” who usually draw this duty…I just really find it heartening to see younger folks get so actively involved.

On another note, you may not hear too much from me over the next several days, as I have a medical procedure that will tie up much of my day tomorrow, and then bright and early on Thursday morning, I board the Megabus for Milwaukee for a big conference of progressive Roman Catholics called “Call to Action.”

I’ll leave you with a prayer from the novena that our University Ministry folks have been leading in the run up to the election:

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls,
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

Give us the hearts
to choose the leader who will work with other leaders
to bring safety to the whole world.

Give us a government
that provides for the advancement of this country
without taking resources from others to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues,
and to respect the life and words of those
to whom you entrusted the good
of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care. Amen.
Excerpted from “Prayer for the Elections,”
by Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B.

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