Just sayin’

January 15th, 2013

Things you can never, ever, ever say to your vestry/board/elders/whatever, as a woman in a leadership position:

“Hey there, guys, we’ve got some big stressful stuff to talk about and I’m a little worried that tomorrow night’s meeting may coincide with my monthly hormonal peak of feeling really emotional and overwhelmed and feeling like small problems are BIG problems and big problems are COMPLETELY INTRACTABLE AND HOPELESS. So maybe we should meet next week instead?”

Can’t say it. Just gotta bring some chocolate & take my chances.

$5 or under stuff I love, #1

September 3rd, 2012


School starts again tomorrow for Zag – a change that affects the whole household. Morning scrambles to get Zag and me out the door to work & school, then some degree of peace and quiet for Tilt and the Bean (though the pup will add a certain X factor to that, but he’s settling down, slowly, to a better pleasantness/troublesomeness ratio). The past couple of weeks have felt a bit frenetic, squeezing the last drops out of summer. Today the kids have been in each other’s hair all morning – helping the parents avoid any unnecessary sentimentality about breaking up the team by sending Zag back to school.

The upshot is that I haven’t completed many thoughts lately. I had a good one in the shower the other day, but frankly it’s too serious and I just haven’t been in the mood to type it up. I want to keep up occasional blog entries, but I don’t always have much to say. So I’m giving myself permission to start a new category of post: Stuff I own & love that cost me $5 or less. Mostly thrift store & garage sale scores, but now and then perhaps a genuine retail find. This may be interesting only to me, but I have to say, if there were a blog or a tumblr completely on this theme, I’d probably follow avidly. Assuming the other people on it had good taste. By which I mean, my taste. (Isn’t that always what we mean?) I figure it will always be fun and easy to take a few pictures of something around my house that I love, run ‘em through Instagram so they look classy, and write about it a little bit, so this will be an easy way to keep myself in the habit of tossing off a blog entry now & then, in between times when I actually have something to say or ask or ponder. Read the rest of this entry »

In which she praises “staycationing.”

August 14th, 2012

It’s a horrible neologism, but I’m loving the concept. I’m smack in the middle of nine straight days off work. Look, I made this:


It’s a child’s T-shirt (made by the underpaid garment workers of Old Navy), decorated with the help of my trusty digital cutter & my iron. The tree trunk is a freezer-paper stencil, the leaves & deer are flocked iron-ons – drawn with the drawing program on my iPad, cut with the digital cutter. The deer is heavily based on an image from the endpapers of a children’s poetry book I had as a child, still floating around just barely in one piece. I wouldn’t sell something that closely based on another artist’s image (unless it’s from pre-1923; then all bets are off), but I will happily use it for gifts. Which this is. I made three, actually – one for the Bean, one each for two little girls who turn five this summer and fall, and whom I regard as extended family. Read the rest of this entry »

In which she reflects upon her daughter at age 2 and 3/4.

August 13th, 2012

The Bean is rapidly closing in on 3. Right now, as I type, we’re deep into the bedtime routine. I’m monotonously singing her old, many-versed folksongs and lullabies, and she’s having lengthy conversations with the animals in bed with her – tonight, a stuffed baby doll and a white cat. (We’ve been talking a lot with Zag about who is and is not the dog handler, with respect to training the puppy. The Bean just told me, “I am the cat handler.”) Or she’s quietly singing her own song selections: the Imperial March, various Hallelujahs, a sort of chant of “Dance, Dance, Revolution,” and other songs all her own. She is quite Frances-like in her habit of making up little songs of things – it’s delightful in the daytime, less so when the endgame is to get her to sleep and successfully extract the adult from her bedroom.

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In which she muses on change.

August 11th, 2012

We’ve had lovely cool weather the past few days – very Septemberish, not August-ish at all. Downright chilly when we first wake up, crisp by mid-morning, warm verging to hot at the afternoon peak but easing off again quickly to a pleasant evening. I’ve been dressing myself in jeans, and digging out a few items from the Bean’s fall wardrobe to dress her warmly enough for the mornings.

As recently as two weeks ago – late July? – I was still counting up how many weeks of summer were left to us, reassuring myself that there was still a solid month and more before school starts and I return to my full workweek and we fold up summer and put it away for next year. And now we get this little foretaste of fall and – it tastes good. I kind of want more. I love jeans and apples and sleeping under blankets and cool mornings. There are things to anticipate and appreciate about sending G back to school in a few weeks. The end of summer no longer feels dreadful.

I’ve long been fascinated by the slow alchemy of emotions. The way, so often, we’re ready for things by the time they come around. The end of a vacation. A change in season. The end of a school year, even a great one. Weaning my children – I never thought I’d be ready, and then I was, gracefully and gratefully, with only a few tears. Accepting that our old dog is, in fact, old – I fought off that idea for a couple of years and now, well, there she is, our creaky old lady. Letting my little kid begin to become a big kid, and my baby begin to become a little kid.

Not everything works like this, of course. But the kinds of changes and losses that are somehow within the scope of normal human existence, of an essentially happy and blessed life… so often, seen on the horizon, they seem a great and threatening shadow, darkening the whole landscape; but as you approach it becomes clear that all that was only a trick of perspective and light. The looming shadow turns human-scale and ordinary, a kind-faced stranger or even a friend, and you greet in passing and walk on.

In which she forms a new resolve.

August 6th, 2012

I woke up sometime in the wee hours of last night needing – well, needing to wee, as it happens. And quite out of the blue, during the course of that four or five minutes of consciousness, I thought, I should start blogging again. It was hard for a while because I didn’t really have a computer at home after my old laptop became crippled, but now I have a lovely little Macbook that frequently comes home with me and is easy and pleasing to pop open and use. And life is rich and full and lovely and challenging, and blogging was good because it encouraged me to record and reflect on some of the best and most important moments, and to actually finish my thoughts, sometimes.

As my head hit the pillow I thought, OK, if I actually have this thought again when I’m really awake, maybe I’ll actually do it. Maybe I’ll resurrect my blog and start trying to toss off an entry somewhat regularly again. And then I went back to sleep.

Well, I had the thought again by daylight, so here I am.

I make no promises. I could add a reminder to my reminder app on my iPhone – Blog! it would tell me, insistently, once a week or so – but I already have too many of those reminders; my phone runs my life and don’t think there isn’t some resentment there. So: no reminders, just an intention. We’ll see where it leads. But I’d like to try.

If anyone’s still reading, hi.

When I am old, I shall wear midnight.

February 7th, 2012

I recently marked the anniversary of three years of priestly ministry. Thanks to a colleague preaching this Sunday, I’m taking my usual Tuesday-morning sermonating time to reflect a little on ordained ministry. I carefully brought all my journals with me, the lovingly-handmade-by-Tilt notebooks that I filled with doubt, joy, perplexity and hope while going through the discernment process and, more intermittently, in the years since. Then I left them somewhere – at home on the cabinet in the dining room, I think. Ah, well – I can muse without props.

Here is one musing: noticing what I’m wearing today. I’ve been working hard on my wardrobe, the last few months. I started exercising with some regularity – nothing dramatic, and I’m not looking for dramatic change, but it’s changed my sense of myself. I have some confidence that I’ll stay the size I am or possibly a little smaller, so I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things that were really a little bit too big and thus looked baggy and dumpy on me, and I’m gradually replacing them with things that fit well and look, I think, pretty good. I’ve also gotten more and more confident about being able to shape my own style. I remember vividly a session in the changing room of a consignment clothing store in the town where I attended a preaching conference, in the months between graduating from seminary and beginning my first job. They had several suits in approximately my size, and I was utterly convinced that I Needed Suits. I ended up buying two suits that day – both fit me tolerably well, & though expensive, they were cheaper than new. I even paid to have them altered – the sleeves were too long. Read the rest of this entry »

What we do.

January 5th, 2012

We are wrapping up a visit with my parents and brother – drove here on Monday, heading out tomorrow, Friday. It’s been lovely. We have read to and played with Zag and the Bean, and built blanket forts, and constructed a ghost pirate shop, and gone shopping, and played with our clearance Zhu Zhu Pets, which are strange and ridiculous. We have cooked, ordered, and eaten fabulous food – Thai take-out, adobo salmon, gingerbread, goat-cheese jalapeno grits, Dutch spiced marzipan cake. We looked at all of these, on our respective Apple devices, and laughed about them. We talked about sewing. We read this poem out loud to each other. We talked about Biblical interpretation, and romance, and liturgy. Tilt consulted with my mother extensively on design for a flyer for a workshop she’s planning. We went to see the Tintin movie in 3D, which involved wearing wonderful dorky black glasses. Right now a discussion of public opinion and religious belief is circling around me. Life is good.

W the f$%k WJD?

December 23rd, 2011

This is long and probably deeply boring. But I’d welcome your advice. Even if this situation resolves, I need help thinking it out, because other ones like it will come along.

Ben came to church on Sunday. Nobody had ever seen him before. He looked slightly scruffy but not outside normal range – unshaven, wearing a somewhat shoddy down parka. He hung around for coffee hour and chatted with some folks. When he finally got my attention, after working over pageant plans with the pageant team, he told me that he’s unemployed and really looking for help and for work. He lives nearby & said he’d often passed near our property and thought about all the work he could do here, on our many trees – he worked for a pruning and landscaping company for a long time. I thought, Hmm, this could be useful, and told him I’d talk with our Buildings & Grounds folks about it. I tried to be clear that we have a process for hiring contractors, we don’t just jump into things – and that our funds are tight and we hadn’t been planning to pay to have any of that kind of work done this winter, though we know it’s needed. But I let him think there was a chance something might work out, because I thought there was. I also gave him $20 – explaining as I did so that I can’t and don’t usually give away cash. In the Episcopal Church, clergy generally only have access to their charitable funds via check – which works fine for paying someone’s rent or water bill, but limits other uses. Sometimes that’s frustrating, but overall I think it makes good sense.

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Stuff I’m proud of

November 28th, 2011


First off, my daughter. She turned two recently, and she’s fabulous, she really is. I just wrote her a second-birthday love letter, a habit I’m trying to keep for both kids. I thought of posting it here, as I’ve done in the past, but it somehow feels too fragile and private, talking about how much I love my child out here in the odd echoing anonymous public of the internet. I suspect I’ve just fallen out of my previous habits of self-revelation, since I now write a blog entry approximately once every two months. Ah, well, perhaps the pendulum will swing back. Anyway. My daughter. The Bean. Two. Fabulous.
So I sew her things. It’s fun.

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