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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Twinkling of an Eye

I haven't read any great literature lately. But, I have been reading. And studying. And singing. And so, in that order, let me catch you up.

One of the books I finished last week is not a book I can just out and out recommend that everyone should read. When I saw it at a used bookstore in Leesburg (a wonderful little bookshop you should visit, Books and Other Found Things), I thought it might not be a bad idea for me to look at the whole midwifery thing from a more human point of view. Studying it in textbooks is one thing; viewing it through the eyes of actual people (fictional though they might be) is something else. I'm not even convinced that I like it. I think that, as a novel, it was somewhat lacking, particularly in it's shoddy conclusion.

The story: Sybil Danforth lives with her husband and 14 year old daughter in a small town in northern Vermont. She has an established midwifery practice and a good reputation in the world of maternity and natal care. But one night, circumstances combine in the worst way possible, and she ends up performing an emergency C-section with a kitchen knife. Grisly business. As you might imagine, all hell breaks loose and she ends up going to trial for involuntary manslaughter.

It is, in many ways, a compelling story. For particular people, it's a good story to read. Expectant mothers should not read it. Women thinking of becoming midwives should, though. It's a real eye-opener, and will make you stop and think seriously about the messier side of the profession. Gents, I don't know if any of you would be interested in such a thing. If you're curious about the world of midwifery, it would certainly be informative; the book is well researched. But beware the frequency (and sometimes gratuitous use) of gynecological vocabulary. It comes with the territory.

As far as school is concerned, this will be a much easier semester than last one was. I have fewer classes, and two of them are about words and writing (Medical Terminology and Writing for Midwives), which means that they come easily enough and I get to nerd out over etymologies. So far, the word to end all words: endoscopicretrogradecholangiopancreatography. Boo-yah. My third class is Holistic Health, for which I do things like making tonics and yogurt and playing with herbs and oils. I feel... crunchy. I do actually have a book recommendation for you on this one, though. I always appreciate it when cookbook authors understand language and food together. The author of Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, is such a culinary scribe. For example, here she is expounding upon the problems that arise if we forget about real nutrition when we utilize technology in food production (fascinating, I know):
The wise and loving marriage of modern invention with the sustaining nurturing food folkways of our ancestors is the partnership that will transform the Twenty-First Century into the Golden Age; divorce hastens the physical degeneration of the human race, cheats mankind of his limitless potential, destroys his will and condemns him to the role of undercitizen in a totalitarian world order.
It's okay. I know. Just breathe. I never thought of food in such a teleological manner either. But perhaps we can start together, and gradually help each other to think more apocalyptically about our PB&J. By the way, Sally Fallon understands butter and whole milk. Fat is good for you, people. Eat it. Drink it. In moderation.

Singing. Oh the drama. The choir I've been singing with at weddings, masses and holy hours for the last year and a half just put on our first honest-to-goodness concert. Usually we get to hide in a choir loft. But on Tuesday night I was approximately a foot and a half away from the ears of the guy in the front row. No pressure, you know? But, we made it through! And it seems it all went off well enough, despite the fact that we sang a few modern pieces; they're not really our forte. (Ha! Get it?) So now I'm going to do a bit of promoting. You should go check us out on Facebook and look over our upcoming events:

It's hard to get everyone to open their eyes at the same time. Especially when they're sleepy.

And this is how we sound when we sing. You'll have to forgive the poor quality of the recording; likely it's from a phone set out on the railing in front of us. (By the way, I just uploaded this to YouTube today. Share it with your friends! Help us get some more views!)

Okay. I think that's just about enough for today. One last bit: The title of today's post is from 1 Cor 15:51-58. It's all about abounding in good work and looking forward to that moment at the end of all time when we'll be transformed, imperishable, and death will be swallowed up in victory. It's been running through my head for the last week. You should go read it; it's like a work-out song, but in a noble way, like the beginning of Chariots of Fire. It'll make you feel tall and strong and indubitably indomitable. Enjoy!

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