Thursday, June 29, 2006

goings on in the Episcopal church

The diocese of South Carolina, along with two other Episcopal dioceses, today asked Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to assign them under some other authority than the recently elected presiding bishop. I am very thankful I am in the diocese of Upper South Carolina, not the diocese of South Carolina. I had heard several years ago that the diocese of South Carolina was ready to jump ship, but then I heard that it wasn't really going to happen because then they would lose their retirement benefits. The church buildings belong to the diocese, not to the individual churches, which gives individual churches an incentive not to leave, but for a whole diocese to leave gets around that. I wonder what they are hoping to do about their retirement benefits.

Our bishop in upper South Carolina has done a good job of trying to keep everyone together--his classic statement after Gene Robinson was confirmed as bishop was that it is going to take us a hundred years before we know what the right answer is. He's taking the same kind of approach now, and while I would wish he had voted differently, this is South Carolina and we easily could have someone a whole lot worse.

There is a diocesean meeting Saturday at 10 am at Christ Church in Greenville and I thought for a while today maybe I ought to go. I've been avoiding the issue, feeling that if I speak my views I will do more harm than good because what is needed is moderation, not impassioned attacks on those who are fighting against where the church is going. What I would want to say, what struck me most strongly about Gene Robinson (and can be said also about the new presiding bishop), is that the church cannot afford to reject the leaders that God is raising up. What has really irked me is that those who are leaving the Episcopal church make it sound like it is all about ordaining gays, when in fact many of them reject the ordination of women as well.

I don't get involved in politics here, except sometimes to work for a candidate for city council--it is just too depressing. I use all my strength to be moderate with my students, knowing that if I can do the most good by leading them a few steps, not by spouting a radical view they will reject. I don't think I can bear to listen to those who oppose the national leadership at the diocesean meeting.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

home again

To find no telephone service. The city is replacing the sewer line that runs through our back yard, so our back yard (viewed from our second story porch) looks like:

Our back yard is the location of the transition between deep pipe that they replace by pipe-bursting (digging underground) and a shallower section that will be replaced via an open trench. They are currently working on another deep section and then will come back and do the open trench work. So our house is a major work area and staging area: our front yard at the moment (today is Sunday) looks like:

The telephone repairman is here and says that the sewer workers must have cut the telephone wire. They've already cut the wire connecting our satellite TV antenna to the house at least twice. Our kids discovered they could get a weak wireless internet signal from the next-door neighbor's.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

pictures from the rail trail

Today I rode highway 28 to Orleans

and then the rail trail back to Chatham
There are only a few tunnels and bridges on the trail

mostly stop signs for road crossings. The trail runs not along the coast but inland through the woods, but there are several ponds

and cranberry bogs

The Harwich section runs near downtown Harwich along a graveyard

but the rest is woods

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today our boat was fixed and the sun was out and we hit the tide just right to walk on the sandbars outside of Stage Harbor.

Not as much sea life, but the sandbars were beautiful. And we did catch a particularly active hermit crab:

On the way home we saw a pair of osprey that are apparently trying to nest just past our next door neighbor:

I got to forget for most of the day that it was my birthday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

riding the rail trail

The through roads on Cape Cod tend to be pretty trafficky even this time of year, so I only ride my bike on roads such as Rte. 28 from Chatham to Orleans if I get out early. Today it rained in the morning and I decided to go for a bike ride after lunch, so I took the rail trail shown in purple on the map below.

The Harwich extension now goes all the way to Chatham, so I started at our house about two miles from the Chatham end of the trail. I rode to the end in Welfleet and back, for 56.7 miles round trip. Except for a few rough sections of trail, particularly the oldest section of the trail in Nickerson State Park, it is easy riding, and lovely to be away from roads entirely. It isn't that fast, because one has to stop a lot for road crossings and slow down for little kids on bikes and dog walkers, but it is mostly flat.

It was grey and foggy when I left Chatham, but once I got to Brewster it was sunny, not a cloud in the sky. When I got back to about the same place it turned grey and foggy, and I thought uh-oh, here come those predicted late afternoon thunderstorms. Then I remembered how the weather can behave in Chatham--turns out it was grey and foggy all afternoon in Chatham, even when it was sunny in Orleans 10 miles away. There used to be a weather station on Morris Island and it was supposedly the foggiest place on the east coast.

The bike I ride here is a 1970s 10 speed:

It wasn't a fancy bike to start with, but it has some retro charm, particularly as I don't mind friction shifters, having used them when I rode a lot in college. And it has been a long time since there were Peugeot bikes sold in the United States that said:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cape Cod Mousetrap

A local photographer has his own aerial photographs of the changing beaches going back to the 1940s. But what I ordered was a T shirt for my son with the legend Cape Cod Mousetrap. The photographer's wife said she heard the story from a local who came in to ask if Kelsey still had his old negatives. It seems that many years ago this local's mother was going to make a batch of chowder in the morning, and she left the "chowder 'hogs" out over night. These must have been quahogs a lot bigger than those you see today

When quahogs go to sleep their shells open a little, and it seems that a mouse recognized food and stuck its head into the shell. The first thing quahogs do when disturbed is clamp their shells closed. The photograph on the T-shirt shows a mouse body hanging from a big quahog.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Part of our family summer property gets rented out for weddings a couple of times a year to help pay the taxes. Today's wedding is a lesbian couple. My daughter and I watched a little of it from our upstairs window and it was impressive to hear the person officiating say: "By the powers invested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you wed." I've been away from that world long enough that I wondered what they would wear--it turned out to be more-or-less matching dresses, one in pale pink and one in pale blue. In the picture below one bride is behind the other, and one of their friends is speaking.

Friday, June 16, 2006

baby horseshoe crabs

Today we walked out half way around Morris Island

and found an area with many baby horseshoe crabs

unburying themselves and crawling around as the tide came in.

We might have missed them if we hadn't seen an exhibit Wednesday at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History of one-year-old horseshoe crabs, which were tiny. The volunteer said horseshoe crabs take 10 years to reach sexual maturity. So how old was one like this?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Official results are up and technically I was 60 out of 62 women--two did not finish.
Swim: 48:31
T1: 4:05
Bike: 1:27:45
T2: 1:55
Run: 1:15:06
total time: 3:37:20
There were five women less than 10 minutes ahead of me, the closest less than 2 minutes. The run was my best placing: 50th out of 60 women. I found some weather data for Greenwood and the temperature was 80 at 9 am, 91 by noon.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Festival of Flowers race report

Short version:
My first International distance: 1500 meter Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run
3 hours 37 minutes 20 seconds
Last, but not embarrassingly so and I still got a trophy for being third in my age group (women 50-54)

Long version:
I've been steady in my training, 45 hours total in April, 47 1/2 in May, but I've done a lot of traveling and didn't focus on specific preparation for this race, except one morning where I did all three parts in one morning, though not at race pace or with quick transitions, plus one swim in our local lake. The last few days I've felt nervous about the race and also been under a lot of pressure with a book manuscript to get in the mail plus plans to leave on a two week family trip on Monday. I started at 7 am and had the manuscript ready to mail Saturday at noon and then we packed up for the race. It was about an hour and a half away and I had decided to go down the night before, with my daughter, not just to pick up my packet but also to drive the bike course. The bad news was that the state park where the lake was held was 1/2 hour's drive out of Greenwood, which is listed as the location for the race (the state park is actually on the other side of the town of Ninety Six from Greenwood). The good news was that the bike course was really flat compared to what I ride on at home.

After packet pickup and driving the bike course we checked into our Econo-Lodge, which was clean, and went looking for dinner. Greenwood is pretty sad--we were happy to find a Ryans (better than average steak house/buffet) compared to our other choices. The clerk at the hotel said there was an IHOP open early for breakfast but we drove a long way in the direction away from the race site and didn't see it, and our hotel room had a microwave and refrigerator, so we went to the supermarket and bought food for breakfast. When we went back to the motel the TV in the room next door was on loud, but as we went to bed before 10 it seemed too early to complain. Somehow I slept well, going right back to sleep whenever I woke up until our alarm at 5:30, even though the TV played all night. I had bought a mini-quiche for breakfast, so I ate that when I got up and we headed out before 6:30 for the race start. No traffic problems, and nice shaded parking, though a bit of a hike to transition. I had plenty of time to get set up and even did a swim warm up. I drank half a juice drink, took a Succeed electrolyte capsule, and ate a banana before the start.

The start was in four waves with a total of 246 people registered, so it wasn't crowded. They did announce that the temperature was the hottest it has ever been for this race and asked people to be careful about hydration. It was an in-the-water start--we walked down some steps into the water and treaded water until the start. I had some trouble sighting buoys the first leg into the sun, but the water was reasonably clean-looking and no wind, so it was a nice swim. Instead of getting out of breath as I did at the sprint race in May I got into a steady rhythm right from the start, but I was cautious about the longer distance and concentrated on pulling hard and long rather than trying to swim fast. Swim time, 48 minutes. My daughter says there was someone out of the water after me but I took the time to use the portapotty so my transition time was slow.

I took one electrolyte capsule in transition and another fairly early on the bike. I had a peanut butter sandwich to eat on the bike, which tasted good. I had someone in sight ahead of me the whole bike course, but I didn't gain on her. That kept it from being too lonely, though I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me. I was also psyched by the higher bike speed I can keep up on a flat course. There was one water bottle handoff and I was prepared, I had one proper water bottle and then a bottled water to drink and discard at the handoff. But I wasn't wearing gloves and those wet bottles are slippery--I dropped the first one. A very kind teenager standing a little further along ran alongside me and handed me another one, which I grabbed successfully. The last two miles of the bike was a road that was closed to traffic but was also the out and back run course. I was a bit worried at times as the runners were all over the road, and at the run aid stations they were handing out 8 oz water bottles so there were bottle tops and occasionally bottles in the road. I succeeded in not hitting anything but I didn't think to take another electrolyte capsule, which I had intended to do towards the end of the bike. I forgot to hit my watch when I left transition, but T1 plus bike was 1 hour 32 minutes.

T2 was fast, under 2 minutes by my watch. A kind person who had already finished said to drink plenty and offered me a cold bottle of Gatorade (I said no thank you). It was hard heading out on the run knowing most people were finishing, but I took my GPS off my bike and put it on my wrist this time and I was please with the run paces I saw when I was not under the trees and it was working. I walked the aid stations every mile (except the last one) to drink more water, sometimes a whole cup or sometimes I poured some of it down my back. I found on some uphill stretches I would get somewhat franticly out of breath--I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor but my guess is what was happening was in the heat my heart rate was going high--so I started walking a little while when that happened. Given the number of times I walked I am very pleased with a run pace of about 12 minutes a mile. At the aide station at 2 miles I took a gel which turned out to be espresso flavor (Hammer gel). That caffeine plus some people who gave me a big cheer at the next turn helped perk me up, though it seemed very long to the turn-around. I did see there were several people not very far ahead of me and no one behind me. I ate a second gel at the turn around. On the second half of the run I gained on the person closest ahead of me and thought I might be able to pass her if I skipped the last aid station, but she looked back at the aid station and saw me and speeded up. It was shady the last mile, but I couldn't speed up much. I had a few slight chill feelings and thought may that was because I hadn't had enough salt, but my hands were only a little puffy. We hadn't been able to figure out the exact finish before the start and it turned out there was a tenth of a mile out towards a parking lot and then back along the water that came as a shock, plus the finish was up the steepest hill of the day. I was very glad to have my daughter to cheer me on and tell me where to go as there weren't any volunteers at those last turns. But I was happy at the finish when I saw the clock said 3:45, as they had said they expected to start the award ceremony when the last person finished, about 11:45. So I wasn't embarrassingly last, and I was happy with my time. Actually, the fun thing about being last is that you get a big cheer. With the wave start my actual time was 3:37; I had told myself that my dream goal was 3:30 and I would be happy with anything under 4 hours.

My first priority at the finish was water, but quickly I wanted a hamburger and chips. There was a big tent to sit under in the shade and another small tent with spray hoses strung up along the top to provide a sprinkler area to cool off in. I was very happy to place third in my age group, as I had looked before the race and seen four women registered in my age group. One I think just didn't show up for the race, as she is in most races I do and I didn't hear her name.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I'm trying to get a few changes made in the Forest Service at SRS manuscript before sending it to a publisher--I'm determined to get it sent out this week. I think the STS courses for the fall (8 sections) are finally all in order and I got a budget confusion straightened out. Today we are going to Whitewater Falls for a picnic supper with my first father's brother and his wife, who are in North Carolina for a few days on their way from Florida to Nova Scotia. Tomorrow my daughter and I go to Greenwood for the triathlon Sunday morning. Monday my husband and our kids and I fly to Massachusetts for two weeks on Cape Cod.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

race coming up

After two trips out of town two weekends in a row, I'm not feeling very well prepared for my first international distance triathlon this Sunday. I haven't peaked enough to have much sense of how to taper, except to take it a bit easy this week and take the day before off. The race information is now posted, but there isn't anything particularly surprising. I'm glad to hear they expect the last finisher about 11:45--I looked at last year's results and the last woman was in under 3 1/2 hours. I would be thrilled with 3 1/2 hours, in fact happy with anything under 4 hours. I'm hoping it is a bit flatter than here. There are 225 people registered, and at least 4 women in my age group. Ah well, there goes my chance of getting a 3rd place award because there are only three in the age group.

My husband had a conversation today with the mother of a kid who was a friend of my son when they were small. My husband's conclusion from the conversation is that the public schools are just as problematic for such kids as we feared. One story was that the kid came home upset because the teacher taught something he knew was wrong. The parents called the teacher about it and the teacher said he knew it was wrong but it was that way on the state test so that is the way he taught it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

the convent

I made a decision the middle of last week to go to the Convent of St. Helena in Augusta this past weekend, because the sister with whom I've talked most about my own journey is going to seminary and will be living in New York for the next three years. I wanted to see her before she leaves. My daughter decided she wanted to go to--she isn't into Sunday school or church but she likes going to the convent.

What struck me is that some of what I'm feeling as I look at boarding schools with my daughter is that she has the opportunity to be a part of a group and feel she belongs. When I was her age I didn't have the ability to do that, and in some ways I feel I never have felt I belonged. But it struck me that the convent feels like a place where I do feel I belong, despite the fact that I can only be an associate (being happily married).

Sunday only one sister and I showed up for the diurnum service. Since most of the prayer service is chanted or read responsively, that meant that it fell on me to do a major share of the service (though we read rather than chanting, I can't carry a tune). The order has now published their breviary after years of using the draft version in loose leaf notebooks. But it is still pretty complicated to follow along, particularly on a class I feast day when there is a special antiphon and lesson. And I knew how to do it all, even the part that isn't listed in the daily guide.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

monthly totals

swimming: 15 workouts, 17 hours 46 minues
biking: 9 workouts for 198 miles in 15:57
running: 13 workouts for 64 miles in 13:50
total time 47:33 or 10.7 hours a week

Today at swimming we ended up with a silly relay. The first person swam 50 yards freestyle with one leg bent at the knee and the foot sticking out of the water. The second person swam 25 yards doggy paddle and 25 yards elementary backstroke (moving both arms at the same time). The third person swam 25 yards freestyle and 25 yards corkscrew. I was the third person, and corkscrew is when you take one arm stroke on your stomach then roll over to your back for the next arm stroke then roll over to your stomach for the next arm stroke and so on. I had never done it before and it turned out to be easy to get into the rhythm. But after about 20 yards I was so dizzy I ran into the lane line and came to a dead stop. My team would have won the relay if I had just made it to the end of the pool.