Lessons in chemistry
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
1M ago
One of the questions I’ve often been asked in the interviews I have done around the tea book has been, “Have you read the book Lessons in Chemistry?” and when I acknowledge that I have, the logical follow up:“What did you think of it?” The first time the question arose I was surprised, and had to scramble for an answer. I shouldn’t have been. It is a best selling book, it has been made into a series. It has chemistry in the title. The interviewer is fishing for a bridge to what’s in the current cultural zeitgeist.  But for me the answer is, as the kids say, complicated. Even though the ..read more
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Scathed by totality
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
1M ago
"There is a mysterious woundedness that somehow goes with great blessing. When we truly encounter the night in all its beauty and terror, we have no assurance whatsoever that we are going to come out unscathed." — David Steindl-Rast I came to upstate New York, to Canandaigua on the Finger Lakes, to give a retreat around the theme of the solar eclipse, and then stayed to experience totality. The weather forecast oscillated for days, partly sunny to mostly sunny and back to partly sunny and finally to mostly cloudy. And mostly cloudy it was. We had a single glimpse of the s ..read more
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Taking tea with a grain of salt - the Boston tea party
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
5M ago
Tomorrow is the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the day protesting American colonists dumped 42,000 kg1 of tea into Boston Harbor. That's enough to make about 21,000,000 cups of tea. While that might sound like a lot of tea, several billion cups of tea  are drunk across the world  every day2. Each year humans drink enough tea to to fill Boston Harbor end to end. That's a bit less than half a cubic kilometer (which in those terms I confess does not sound like very much - but Boston Harbor). The tea, once dumped in the harbor, was unusable due to contamination not only by ..read more
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Vampire diaries
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
On Tuesday morning I had a procedure on my eye which left me as sensitive to light as a vampire and with very blurry vision.  I came home and spent the afternoon like a Victorian lady with the vapors. In a dim room propped on many pillows, eyes closed while someone read to me. It lacked only the cool compress on my forehead and some smocked white lawn dress to be a woodcut right out of a 19th century novel, well that and my intrepid book reader was not the vicar's daughter but my iPhone.  No email, no desultory browsing the news, no list of household chores to get through, I drifted ..read more
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The season for changes
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
It's September, the season has changed from summer to fall (though the temperature feels anything but fall-like today). Classes start at the college tomorrow, and I am thinking about changes. (If you also now have David Bowie's Changes as an earworm, I apologize, or consider it the soundtrack to this blog post.)  Like the caterpillars, so much changes for me at this point in the year. My schedule changes. Inflexible classes plant themselves in my calendar, meetings sprout like weeds around them. My tasks change, too. I need to find time for office hours and grading and class prep. I will ..read more
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Indexing habits
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
  I just finished Dennis Duncan's Index, a History of The: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age. It was a great read, accessible and with lots of lovely word play to enjoy. I enjoyed his capacious definition of an index, large enough to encompass the arrangement of kitchen cabinets to allow its users to reliably locate items. I reflected to Math Man that we use that sort of index when we are at the shore. There is always a designated key and beach pass bowl established near the door. Going out for an early morning pastry run? No need to shake out everyone ..read more
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Sensible of conditions
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
I looked out at the beach yesterday, the water dotted with white caps, sand shimmying itself into tiny dunes and turned to Crash, "Did they teach you the Beaufort scale?" (He is taking a sailing course in London this summer.) He checks the waves and says, "Beaufort 6?" "It's been too long since I thought about it," I admitted. The Beaufort scale describes the intensity of the wind in terms of observable conditions. Beaufort 0 is so calm that smoke rises vertically.  At Beaufort 2 the leaves can be heard to rustle and you can feel the breeze on your face. Beaufort 6 is a "strong breeze ..read more
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Resistance
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
Should I spend some time this morning working on my syllabus? It's a cool day at the beach and perhaps that is why I am feeling the tug of the school year. Or perhaps it's because I read an opinion piece in The Atlantic that claims the syllabus is dead. (Because you can make an update-able electronic version? Because now it's customary to put a lot of policies on it, which somehow dilutes the scholarly value of the reading list and schedule?)   I am trying to resist. I have been seriously unbusy for the last 10 days, leaning into the joy of being away where I can't clear o ..read more
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Re-created
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
9M ago
I am recreating. I am down at the New Jersey shore, ocean breezes blowing through the door, the susurration of the surf punctuated by the shrill shrieks of sea gulls excited by the potential snacks being toted onto the beach to keep toddlers (and teens and twenty-something offspring and their parents) from getting peckish.  I have read six books, walked miles each day unplugged from books or podcasts or the news, floated in the sea, eaten ice cream, laughed with my kids until the tears ran down my face, lingered over dinner at an outdoor cafe. Soaked in grace until the creakiness of the ..read more
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Two universes
Quantum Theology
by Michelle
10M ago
I started The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz last night. It's about a couple who meet online but turn out to be living in (slightly) different universes. In another timestream Tom and I would be married 42 years today. A friend who was married a week before we were posted a picture from their wedding a few days ago. In the background was Tom, who had been a groomsman. It was if he had casually dropped into my universe for a second, to say hello. The story is leaving me to wonder a bit what my life would have been like in that other universe. Would that Michelle be here at the shore this week? Mi ..read more
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