On Friday, I saw Layna at Harvard Square T Station, though I only paused long enough for a brief greeting and hug since I wanted to get to South Station to get the 5:40 commuter rail home.
However, once I got on the Red Line, it was stop-and-go, due to a slow-moving disabled train ahead. (I don't know why they couldn't just have another train pull/push it or something.)
I got on around 5:20 and 5:55 I was still at Charles. I couldn't stay sitting waiting any longer. (I was reading a book but no longer focusing on it.) I been thinking I'd get out at Park St. and walk to South Station, but I got out there and walked to Government Center, hopped on the Green Line to Park, and then ran to South Station. Arriving at 6:19, which meant I missed both the 5:40 and the 6:15 train and had to wait for the 7:35. (So if I'd gotten out when we arrived at Charles I probably would have made it. Le sigh.) ABP was out of mac&cheese, so I went to McDonald's for french fries and a fruit&walnut&yogurt. I was gonna go back to ABP and get a lemonade, but McDonald's had a mint milkshake, so I got that. I may have eaten too fast, or McDonald's fries and/or shakes do not agree with me, 'cause I felt unwell for a couple hours after.
I actually had two positive interactions with strangers, which was a pleasant surprise since usually I just want other travelers to get out of my way (especially now that school's back in session and students travel in slow-moving packs even more than tourists do).
1) At South Station I sat down at a table with a woman who had also missed her commuter rail due to the Red Line delay (plus she had intended to leave work early but then her company called a meeting at 3pm). She works at Kendall and lives out in Zone 8 (two-hour commute), has a daughter who just started working at MGH a week ago. The daughter's being really picky about apartments and one time said, "But it'll be at least a 35-minute commute" (the daughter has an entry-level position, so the places she can afford aren't right in the city). Her mother thinks the commute will start to wear on her and she'll get more motivated to move out. She hopes. ("If she's not out by October One, I'm charging her rent.")
2) A man and a woman boarded the commuter rail at Back Bay and sat down on the aisle seats of a table, so I was a couple seats away but facing them. I was enjoying listening to them talk, and then they got talking about kids and the woman was all: how can people spend all day with someone who can't even talk? and so on, and it was interesting, because that is totally me, but I've come to understand better the appeal, so I actually felt somewhat distant from the woman's railing. The guy was saying that when kids are so young and they're learning about the world and growing and all it's just so magical -- and told the story of how one time when his kid was just a year or two old, he was talking over a hedge to a neighbor and saying how this time is so magical, and the kid was playing some plastic golf clubs and hit his dad "in the sack" and he literally couldn't talk for like ten minutes, so he was like, "It's such a magical," in that whisper kind of voice you do when you can't talk. I laughed, and the guy said, "See, you understand." I said, "I have no intention of ever having children, but I believe you."
First Singspiration of their 10th season. I was present for like 4 songs 'cause I came in late [it starts at 7:30] and then helped Mike F. count the money.
The few I was there for were classics I'm actually familiar with -- "O Jesus, I Have Promised," "His Eye Is on The Sparrow," etc. Someone requested "In the Garden," and I always think, "That's gonna be at my grandma's funeral, Why do you request this song? Is my mother going to cry?" I forget that it is actually a nice song -- though I don't entirely understand it. (1) "And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known." For serious? Jesus has never done this with anyone else in the history of ever? *eyeroll* (2) Okay, I admit that I was primed to think of it as a funeral song, but it still throws me that in the third and final stanza, the speaker is sent out of the garden -- like he just met Jesus in a dream or something and now has to go back to his "real life."
(My mom jotted down on her program the hymnal numbers of all the requested hymns. Proof that she knows and loves me.)
Don asked me about my "Ask. Tell." and I said it was from Boston Pride this year, protesting the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military. "But everyone deserves the chance to die," he said (because he's just that classy). I said that yes, I actually supported gays being allowed in the military, but the "Don't ask, don't tell." policy is a ridiculous halfway measure. Mike F. overheard Don's "But everyone deserves the chance to die," so when we headed out to count the money I explained that Don had asked about my "Ask. Tell." So we talked some about that.
At one point he mentioned something about being uncomfortable, and I pointed out that people were uncomfortable when the military racially integrated but we didn't say, "Oh, you're uncomfortable, okay we'll keep the black people out."
I also said that most every European country allows gays to serve openly and it seems to be working out for them. (I had heard that every European country now allows gays to serve openly, but was hedging just in case I was wrong. Wikipedia says we're one of only 12 countries that forbids gays from serving openly in the military.)
He mentioned that as a Christian he thinks homosexuality is a sin. I said that I don't believe homosexuality to be a sin, but even if you do, I don't think people should be kept out of the military for things that don't affect their ability to do their job.
He mentioned a guy who comes to UCN who's gay (I was dumbstruck, and am confused because my mom showed me the guy in the directory and I do remember him from before I left and he has a daughter) and who prays and wishes he were straight, but at one point Mike F. said he was clearly confused and yeah, that's the impression I got from the totality of what Mike F. said, and I thought both "I really wish this person wasn't your introduction to knowing a real live gay person" and "I really wish I could talk to this guy about his deal."
Mike F. mentioned Leviticus, and I pointed out that we don't abide by a lot of Leviticus. He said he's not well-read in the Scripture on this issue, and I said I really appreciated when people acknowledged that, that there are many issues which I'm not well-read on and I can give people my feelings and opinions but am careful to make clear that I'm not well-read in the issue. However, I said this issue I was well-read in. We didn't have a chance to get into it, but you know I am totally going to send him a version of my essay.
I decided I had more clout if I didn't come out right then.
After Singspiration was over, I hung out in the kitchen with my mom and grandma and people. At one point, JoeF. came in and said to me: "Your momma's told me all about your trip." Haha. (As all my mother had told him was that I had gone to Europe.) He said my mother was very proud of me and rightfully so, as were they. He said he really appreciated my letters, said they were well-thought-out and my points were always well-taken, said he'd rather get one critiquing letter like mine than stacks of praise. He literally said "I love your letters," and I said, "I love that you love them."
Later, one of the women (whose name I really should know), asked, "Did anyone listen to Focus on the Family last night?" I did not look at my mother. It turned out to be about overcoming adversity, so I did not have to deal with a "fight or flight" response.
Saturday, we had 11am pancake brunch. Yay my mommy's sourdough pancakes.
Ginny came over and I showed my abbreviated photoset slideshow.
My grandma said she didn't recognize any of the stuff from Bangor (it was 54 years ago) and said most of what she remembers was the hospital (she gave birth to my uncle while she was there) and said Wales was nice. I boggled, because all I used to hear about Bangor was how they had no heat and no one spoke English and the language sounded like chicken scratch and so on. I mean, I'm pleased to hear vague nice things rather than the same negative things I've heard many times before, but still.
I got asked not only what my favorite place was and whether I would go back, but where I was planning to go for my next trip. Uh, I just got back from this trip two weeks ago. So I talked about how there are rumors that the people who work at the library in Norwood will do a 9-day cruise to the islands off the coast of Portugal next summer and how if they do I totally think I should get to go. (I doubt this trip will happen, though, so all I'm planning on for next year is WriterCon.)
My mom have me a card with a dog on the front wearing a party hat with his nose up. On the inside, it said: "Do I smell birthday cake?" under which my mother had written: "Isn't that why you're here?" So true. I always forget quite what my mom's cake (vegan chocolate cake with cream cheese [and almond flavouring] frosting) tastes like, but it continues to be delicious (and to give me this good memory feeling, because it's the birthday cake we've always had).
Thursday night, Eric e-mailed me (but to my HBS address, so I didn't see it until Friday morning):
Dear Elizabeth,I responded: What time on Saturday are you planning on going?
Didn't know if you responded to Mike's message the other day about Saturday,let us know. Also, if you could bring the DVD's i lent you in I'd appreciate it.
Eric: Does it matter? Would you really pass up a chance to see me belt out power ballads like a pro?
me: *cracks up* Okay, fine, I'm sold.
He came up later (in part to say he was going to some boring mortgage talk for a free lunch) and said he'd call me, would be probably be around 8pm because that's when it was last time. He also said I had to go onstage, because last time no one did except MaryAlice and he was pissed. Uh . . . right. I don't so much sing.
Saturday night, 7:40 text message from Eric: "I don't think were going out. Been a hectic night and everything seemed to go wrong..."
Which is unfortunate for him. But in this heat, I was really fine with staying home. (I had gone grocery shopping around 6, and there was some thunder and maybe lightning and I kept hoping for those predicted thunderstorms.)
The syllabus for my Introduction to the Classics of Western Thought I is up.
Plato, Plato's Republic, Grube, trans. and ed., Hackett
Aristotle, The Politics of Aristotle, Barker, trans., Oxford
The Bible, Revised Standard Version [Looking at the syllabus, the assigned readings are: Genesis, Exodus 1-23, Isaiah 11, Matthew, Romans]
Augustine, City of God, Pelican
Aquinas, Aquinas on Ethics and Politics, Sigmund, ed., Norton
Hillerbrand, ed., The Protestant Reformation, Harper Torchbook
Machiavelli, The Prince
Descartes, Discourse on Method/ Meditations etc., Hackett
Hobbes, Leviathan, Pelican
Spinoza, A Theologico-Political Treatise
Locke, Second Treatise on Government
Heather told me about Zanna, Don't! -- "straight/gay reveresed musical fairy tale" in her words. I'm intrigued, though undecided as to whether I think I'd actually like it.
lunabee34 made a poll, and I thought it was a really good idea, so I'm stealing it.
She makes actual rec posts in her LJ, and I couldn't decide how to translate that terminology to my monthly (ish) website updates [now also on del.icio.us] and occasional insta!rec posts, so I just left it as-was. Interpret as seems appropriate to you.
How often do you read my rec posts?
How often do you read the stories I rec?
When you do read stories I've recced, how often do you end up liking them?
What do you like most about the way I rec fics?
What do you wish I would do differently?