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Anderson-Tiffany-HannaMF01.jpgIn which Tiffany talks about being a trailblazing African-American woman judge, her Monopoly acumen, what she learned from being offered an afterschool job at Pizza Hut, the surprises of parenthood, Dave Chappelle, and more.

https://betsyrosso.podbean.com/e/season-2-episode-15-five-questions-with-tiffany-anderson/

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 12.27.25 AM.pngYay chickens! Sustainable farmer and best-selling author Forrest Pritchard talks about cat-shaped vending machines that dispense cars, his insatiable need for sunshine and a good soundtrack, patronizing advice that turned out to be true, the joy of stonemasonry, and so much more.

Listen here: https://betsyrosso.podbean.com/e/season-2-episode-14-five-questions-with-forrest-pritchard/

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photo from instagram by @phillyjim

Twentysome years ago, attending
the symphony for the first time,
my friend who brought me advised,
“If you get bored,
just think about sex.”
In the cool plush of the opera house,
Both the symphony and sex seemed
remote and abstract

Tonight, it’s steamy on the wharf
Inside, ascending to
the top tier in the dim,
Lit by chandeliers,
the silhouettes of six thousand souls
Amplified intimacy
Our thighs touching those of strangers
Sweat sticking shirts to skin
Colored lights shining on bare legs

Tonight, there are two cellos and a violin,
a piano and a French horn,
a bearded sleeveless drummer behind his drum set
a host of adamant, emphatic guitars
Voices raised in the brutal pursuit of truth
I’ve never heard her preach before
But she has won a convert

From where we sit I can stare
at the catwalk
feeling the cool metal slats
across my back
where I would lie suspended above everyone
with my eyes squeezed tight
submerging my body in the waves
of music crashing over me
mixing with my salty tears

Loose coils of ropes hang
From the ceiling and I picture
a wooden trapeze swinging across
the theater in a bubble of silence
on it I sit, sheathed in a shimmering blue
costume so sheer it might be painted on
maybe it is painted on
to mirror the broken open revelations
of the singers
by laying myself bare

inspired by Brandi Carlile at The Anthem, May 20, 2018

While you were busy living your life, these important podcasts were posted. In case you missed them, now’s the perfect opportunity to get to know these fabulous people!

nancypoloFive Questions with Nancy Polo In which Nancy discusses the isolation of making art; the diverse occupations of pastamaking, art and graphic design, and running a business; her newfound political activism; and the influence of her Italian heritage on her daily life.

Five Questions with Niraj Ray In which Niraj discusses his journey from growing up in New York to becoming an urban farmer in Washington, DC, the connectionniraj between his new farming techniques and his family’s farming history in India, why strawberries grown in a greenhouse have more flavor, how working on the roof of the Environmental Protection Agency changed his life, and more. Learn more about Niraj’s work at http://www.cultivatethecity.com.

Five Questions with Genevieve Hoffman In which Genevieve discusses the beautiful cold genevieveand quiet of snowshoeing, having an adundance of what she needs, raising chickens with her children, her unlikely decision to move cross country with someone she didn’t actually know very well, and working as a women’s health nurse or, in another universe, a historical landscaper.

This morning I was told we should look in the mirror and see the best self we can be.

In the middle of the night when I wake up to pee and I look in the mirror while I’m washing my hands

I am pretty sure Benicio del Toro smirks back at me.

In the morning when we’ve all overslept

which is so frequently that getting up on time feels miraculous

and I put on a baseball hat because I don’t have time to shower before I drive Zoe to school

I look in the mirror and see

Michael Moore looking disheveled but not too disheveled to ask pointed questions.

When we’ve been walking through the rain on the way to dinner downtown. I duck into the bathroom in the restaurant and see

Richard Simmons in my hair, without the tank top.

When the air is dry or I’ve combed out my wet hair after a late night soccer game, I wake up to Barry Gibb stayin’ alive in my mirror.

Why this odd assortment of male celebrities inhabits my crusty-eyed, rumpled reflections, I do not know.

Is my best self hidden among them? Best if I cultivate my authentic self away from mirrors, looking instead to another face.

I had the privilege of serving as worship associate at church this morning for our Christmas Eve services. These are the words I used to open the service.

Call to Worship 

We come to this place filled with anticipation.

Some of us await a miraculous birth and envision redemption.

Some of us hold out hope for an everyday miracle.

We come to this place with lingering sorrows, or fresh, sharp grief.

We long for what once was or something we never had.

We come with excitement, joy, and gratitude

for those we love gathered around us.

We come together this morning to hear a familiar story told by new voices.

We come to sing old songs that reawaken our hearts.

We come listening for peace, seeking comfort, in need of love.

Let us take this time to practice the peace, provide the comfort,

share the love with our sisters and brothers.

 

Chalice Lighting

 

May the flame of our chalice be a brilliant reminder of the divine spark

Within each of us

The spark that we see in each other’s eyes.

The spark that grows bigger when we share a kindness.

The spark that glows brighter when we laugh together.

The spark that holds steady when we cry together.

On this Christmas Eve morning,

may the flame of our chalice remind us of the star that

shepherds and magi followed so long ago.

May this flame serve as our star today.

The theme at church for November is abundance. Yesterday i was worship associate and wrote this for the call to worship.

 

What we have here is more than enough

Enough oxygen to breathe in and carbon dioxide to breathe out

Enough voices to form a chorus

Enough hands to hold

Although sometimes we are scared to reach for them

What we have here is more than enough

Enough leaves of crimson and saffron decorating the asphalt

Enough puddles to splash in

Enough bird songs to listen to

Although we don’t always notice them

What we have here is more than enough

Enough second chances to offer and receive

Enough stories to tell and listen to

Enough love to go around

 

At 3 in the morning (or is it 2? Or 4?) I am

Acutely aware of the superiority of my skills soothing babies (at least mine) or toddlers or even big kids who’ve had bad dreams. Crying because of a sudden nocturnal eruption of an ear infection (a few drops of warm olive oil) or the raw coughing of croup (steamy bathroom or stepping outside) or wetting the bed (simply new sheets or an unexpected sleepover). Years ago we thanked God for all-night reruns (the strange beauty of Gullah Gullah Island marathons). Now there is Netflix for any brand of distraction on demand. Grape-flavored Tylenol or the nebulizer or just a long, long (long) snuggle. “You Are My Sunshine” and “Peace Like a River,” “Hush Little Baby” and “Amazing Grace” on repeat.

But I have no earthly idea what to do when the dog noses her way past our closed bedroom door. She licks my fingers to ensure I’m awake and then she leads me downstairs. Going out back, sure, no problem.

But it’s never enough. We’ve been told to limit her intake at night so we don’t wake up to puddles on the floor. But then she whines. And she barks. And she goes downstairs. And back up. And whines. And barks. In and out. And I guiltily dispense treats because I. Am. So. Tired. I think longingly of nursing because it was so comparatively simple. And it usually worked. And we could all go back to sleep.

I cannot rock this dog to sleep. Or quiet her with a cartoon. Sometimes she does insist that I put her to bed, scratching her back or belly next to me on the futon until she’s relaxed. Sometimes I fall asleep next to her.

But at 3am (because time passes quickly) she is an enigma. This gentle, soulful dog who never barks when the sun is up.

mikeIn which Michael discusses his enterprise restoring and renting vintage Airstream trailers (Nomad Mobile Motor Lodge), his dream to be a backup singer for Emmylou Harris, the fundamental energy that dogs give him, and wishing to be independently wealthy so he can use his magic litter wand.

Listen to the podcast here.

3:09am 4-year-old comes into my bedroom, climbs over me, says “covers, please,” and squeezes himself as close to me as possible.

3:10am Not satisfied with level of closeness, 4-year-old says “Hug.” It is a statement, not a question. A directive. I reposition so he’s nestled into my armpit and shoulder region, in such a way that my shoulder will certainly be sore in the morning.

3:11am For a moment I foolishly think we can all fall back asleep.

3:12am 4-year-old starts subtly writhing around in a manner which experience tells us means he has to pee. I know now that he is warm and snuggly from my body heat and the quilts and does not wish to subject himself to the cruel 72-degree air temperature in our home. Nevertheless, I say “bathroom break!”

3:13am To set a good example, I get up and use the bathroom in our bedroom while encouraging him to do the same in the hall bathroom, knowing it will be less bright in the hall bathroom but he can see well enough to pee from the motion detecting nightlights in the fall. He says “I’ll just go after you.”

3:15am I return to my bed and he’s not only fast asleep again but taking up the entirety of the space I recently occupied, despite the fact that he’s 25 inches shorter and significantly narrower than me.

3:16am I go into my office, which is really now the dog’s room. She has marked it so well that calling the carpet cleaner is at the top of my list of things to do. We are working with a dog trainer. I think maybe I can carve out a space to sleep on the dog’s futon.

3:17 I discover that the dog is inexplicably wide awake and making sounds with her mouth like she just ate, even though no food is available to her at this hour. I wonder what food might have been inadvertently made available to her but I am too tired to look around. Because she is awake, the dog wants to be pet and scratched and spend some quality time licking my hand.

3:20am Instead of lulling the dog back to sleep, my attentions have stimulated her and she’s even more awake. I am falling asleep but it turns out I can’t really relax when she is licking my arm.

3:21am I decide to try my luck sleeping downstairs. I move a large pile of toys off the ottoman onto the table already covered with toys and stack them precariously. I move the stool over in front of the big comfy chair where I often slept when I was pregnant because it was the only place I could get comfortable. But the dog has detected my attempts to go back to sleep and has come downstairs.

3:22am The dog goes to the back door as if she needs to pee so I open it for her. Apparently I am standing too close to the door because she refuses to go out. I sit down in the big chair. She goes out.

3:24am I get up to close the door when she comes back in.

3:25am The dog walks over to the dining room table and barks. This is the place she always stands to bark and we don’t know why. She rarely barks anywhere else. There is no food on the table. There is food in the kitchen but she does not bark in the kitchen. Ever. Because I cannot deal with barking at this hour and do not want her to wake up anyone else, I get a bully stick off the top of the fridge and throw it in the crate that I cannot make myself lock her in at night.

3:26am While the dog chews on her treat, I attempt to settle into the blue chair. I put my phone and glasses on the arm and spread the afghan over me. Because I am more awake now, I play several turns in Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends. I spend more time than I should trying to use all my letters on a triple word score. I can’t do it, so I play “cobbled” for 47 points instead.

3:36am The dog is finished with her treat and wants to go out back again. I curse and let her out.

3:38am She comes back in and barks at the cds.

3:39am I go back upstairs. The dog follows.

3:41am The dog and I sit on the futon and I scratch her.

3:45 The dog turns and looks out the window plaintively as if she is waiting for a long lost love to return.

3:50 The dog lays down and rests her head on the arm of the futon, weary of waiting for her love.

3:52 The dog turns around several times and goes to sleep.

3:53 I am completely awake.

4:22am I return to my bedroom to find the 4-year-old curled up perpendicular to his still sleeping father. The 4-year-old is no longer under the covers. I scoop him up, remembering how I went to the chiropractor earlier in the day because of excessive carrying of the boy and the dog that was killing my shoulders and upper back.

4:23am I carry the boy back to his room, careful not to smash his head into any doorways or bookcases and risk waking him.

4:24am I tuck him into bed. He mumbles, “I don’t want to go back to bed.” Not knowing how awake he is, I say “I have to go to the bathroom but I’ll come right back,” knowing part of that is a lie. I recall the recent conversation with my 10-year-old about when it is ok to lie, like if you’re protecting someone from being captured by Nazis. Also, now.

4:30 Hearing nothing more from dog or boy, I return to my bed.

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