Ok, I've kept my chin up for the past few months about not being full-time employed in a parish, but I have to admit that not being "home" for Advent is a sadness I was unprepared for. I didn't realize how much I look forward to Advent until this morning, which was my last Sunday supplying at Church of the Good Shepherd. There's something about Advent in the church that you can't get anywhere else. I have no idea if/when I'm supplying again or where, and although there are various job opportunities in the offing, it's all very confusing. While I would not describe the past eleven years as easy, since the day I finally said to my friend Suzanne, "Ok, I give in, I'll join your discernment group," in many cases, while the path was not always clear, there would be one option presented to me. Or if multiple options, one always stood out clearly among the rest. There were signs, if I would just pay attention (another good Advent theme).
Being one half of a clergy couple confuses things, but only slightly. In fact I'm excited about the possibilities of new adventures wherever we end up, or even if we're led to stay here. I try not to think about these things too much and take it one day at a time, but let's just say it's taking a lot of chocolate and a fair amount of knitting.
Speaking of knitting, I have taught myself three, yes, three, new techniques this week.
First, I taught myself to knit in the round on double-pointed needles. There were some hilarious moments trying to get it all sorted out at the beginning, and the distinct sound of frogging acrylic yarn, but I finally did manage to cast on, sort to the appropriate needle, and get a couple of inches of ribbing on those puppies. I used a beer bottle cozy pattern out of the Knit Kit, but I only had size 8 needles, not the size 6 it called for. That's ok, there are really no call for beer bottle cozies in this household, anyway. It was more a sampler to learn the technique. I was very excited. David was bemused at this development and the kitties ignored me.
Secondly, I made one half of a pair of fingerless mittens out of Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting. The sideways garter stitch ones. I committed the classic beginner error, although this was not apparent until the end. I have a lovely new red coat, which obviously needs black accessories to go with its black trim. The black Galway was fine through the short rowing, which went very well. It was not until the point when I was picking up stitches from the cast-on edge for the 3 needle bind-off (hey, that means I tried four new knitting techniques!)that I was cursing black yarn and black clergy clothing in general. Still, it is done and it is seamed together, although I'm not sure my seam could pass any sort of sniff test. Still, the total involvement of trying to pick up stitches with black wool kept me from thinking too much about more complicated issues.
One final note: after a viewing of Empire Strikes Back on DVD, let's just say that Han Solo still looks plenty good after all of those years. I don't regret spending a single dime on the bubble gum card Han shrine which still graces the room in which I spent my adolescence.
Random thoughts on the day before Thanksgiving:
I just the first snowflake of the season outside my window. Oh, how I want to drive through St. Louis traffic and pick up the last few items for tomorrow and make it to my appointment in Creve Coeur, which will leave me driving home in the rush hour and rain.
I have just finished knitting a pair of slippers from the little Knit Kit box of cards I picked up when first curious about knitting. They are in boysenberry Wool-Ease Chunky and have inspired me to do a little (very little, mind you) housework. I have swatched some of the leftover yarn which I intend to use in a raglan Mistake Rib sweater out of last year's Knit It (original in Homespun, about which I have already posted my ambivalent feelings).
Reading Yarn Harlot's blog this morning has made me realize I have set up my project table in the exact spot where we have in the past few years set up our Christmas tree (yes, it is artificial, which we have to have per apartment regulations,but it also comes pre-strung with lights. Hmm. I'm not going to point this out to David quite yet.
October was a terrible month. I can't really say too much on a semi-public blog but suffice it to say that it has taken until this time in November for me to feel rested and ready to tackle parish ministry again. In fact, I'm feeling a little fire and energy about it. We'll see what the next few weeks bring.
I'm responsible for cranberries (red) and vegetable (green) for dinner tomorrow. I need to pick up the berries as I'm not sure of the age of the frozen ones in our freezer and perhaps another veggie if I'm not up to the whole brussels sprouts experiment. Also there's some smoked trout fillets, which could probably use some sour cream or cream cheese to make a dip.
I have six skeins of cheap acrylic yarn which I need to use up, perhaps in a crochet lapghan. It's Wintuk Rosewine. This will cause me to spend a few happy hours browsing the charity patterns sites as well as Stargazer's and Crochet Pattern Central's sites. In other charity needlework news, I've got quite a few snuggles I need to package up and either mail or drop off in Granite City or St. Charles. Also need to take photos of all of the above. One of these days I will set up a gallery on the blog. Nobody hold their breath.
Houdini was deeply disturbed by the sight of me sliding happily across our wood floors in my new slippers.
the advent of Advent
One of the oddest things about preaching regularly is that you are on the one hand trying to pay attention to what is going on around you, in order to ask what on earth the Good News is in any given week, while at the same time, thinking about the lectionary for the week ahead. It's most strange at the holidays, when the stores are raging full of Thanksgiving preparations and I'm thinking about Advent, the cliche Christmas/Advent divide between the secular and religious world, not to mention contemplating the Passion while surrouded by Cadbury eggs and fluffy Hallmark bunnies. It does exemplify the challenge of being in one's culture while not being of it.
Meanwhile, I'm paying close attention to what is being said about the basketbrawl in Detroit on Friday night. Does anyone notice that very little, if anything, is being raised about how our overprivileged society overreacts at the slightest provocation. How uplifting, that having paid enough money for a ticket/parking/hot dog and beer that would feed God knows how many Third World children for a month, or being paid more money than anyone probably should be, makes us not more comfortable in our own skins, but apparently less. I watch the tape and the discussion with Terri Parsons' words at our recent Diocesan Convention about sacrificial living--ironically,she was preaching about the same time on Friday evening as that fight was going on--and I wonder if all of our money and stuff and entertainment does not isolate us more and more from the experience of being human and connected to each other--and so it is too easy to react to a foul with a punch, to react to the heat of the moment by the violent act of throwing overpriced beer (again, think of how much money each of those cups would be worth), to react to having a beer thrown on you as if your house was being set on fire. Then I hear someone say that Ron Artest's action of going into the stand is "unforgivable." Deplorable, surely, serious, deserving of consequences in this world, but soul-damning?
We have become to used to violence in our world, to violence on television, to the violence of our words "I'm going to kill him"--even not understanding that to say someone's actions are "unforgivable." So is it any surprise that we are doing violent actions to each other in the church--scattering the flock, withdrawing ourselves, condemning each other, stealing property and orders and authority. Sex is not the problem,it is the unchecked violence of a society that has so much it cannot find a posture of humility and gratitude.
End of soapbox. I am grateful, for husband and family, for the furry creatures who allow us to share their space with them, for being in the Diocese of MO, for what I have been given. For friends. For the resources I have and which I squander like anyone else.
There's probably a sermon in there somewhere :)
I did it all by myself!
I finally figured out if I opened IE instead of ancient CS program I could get into basic Blogger. And note, I have tidied up the sidebar and added some fellow bloggers. Very exciting.
Currently wrestling with Christ the King propers for Sunday and where they intersect with the lives of the people of Church of the Good Shepherd. Hoping to get out and do a little hiking this morning, despite general grayness and light rain. Of course yesterday was beautiful, sunny and warm, but no, hiking was scheduled for Thursday. Also, must thoughtfully plan knitting or crochet projects to take to Diocese of Missouri convention--after all, long church meetings were the whole purpose of rediscovering the fiber world in the first place.
I read somewhere that Elizabeth Zimmerman once wrote that every knitter worth her salt should have opinions. Well, I still count myself as a newbie knitter, but I do have some opinions developing:
Addictive. Completely. Now, on the constant debate between "cheap" yarn and "good" yarn. I love yarn. I wouldn't make an heirloom sweater out of Red Heart Super Saver, but it's useful for what it should be used for: hard-wearing items for animals and home use. I'm not going to use Cascade for a doggie ball.
Lion Brand Yarns: I like some of them, especially the wool-ease and cotton-ease. I have mixed feelings about Homespun. I hate the way it splits and melts. OTOH, thanks to the inspiration of a fellow lectionary knitter, I'm in the middle of a scarf holding two strands together. I like the soft thickness with the mistake rib pattern I'm using. But I don't think I'd trust a sweater made out of it. And don't get me started on anybody's eyelash yarns.
Although I can see possibilities with the kitty bed from SnB
Yarn Stores: Why do Michael's and Hobby Lobby not vary their selection a little more? Why don't they carry more colors? On the good yarn front, let there be versions of Myers House Weaving Dept. in heaven. Or Hearthstone with their friendly service.
Needles: Oh dear. Also addictive. I'm glad I bought the Denise set. It does simplify matters entirely and overall I'm fairly pleased with how yarn moves along on them. This morning I'm playing with my Brittany 10s. Their sturdy wood feels very comfortable and comforting. I like using the bigger size Brittanys better than my pair of 7s. They feel like they hold things up sometimes.
That being said, I have nothing against the trusty Boyes I started with. And then there's that pair of Addis. More, please.
My current project is Yarn Stash Reduction, especially I want to move out some of the cheap yarns to the Snuggles Project (trhat 14 x 14 small animal size is perfect for using up odds and ends). There's the aforementioned Homespun Mistake Rib scarf. This morning I"m going to design a Snuggles blanket out of some leftover Jiffy. There's a pretty blue eyelet pattern scarf out of a children's learn to knit book that's OTN as well. I still have to finish the ears and faces on the bath puppets out of Melanie Falick's Kids Knitting, another Christmas present.
the art of blogging
I've managed to squeeze in a little time at the computer downstairs. There's still no way for me to post to my blog from my own computer, so I must post snatches when I can grab time at other places. This also means my blog will remain without buttons, photos, or links to the blogs I follow (sorry, Beth!) until I can get some time at a place where I can work on code.
But now David has his package from downstairs, a new turntable apparently, so it's time to head back upstairs. We just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary (transferred, in good Seabury style, from yesterday).
For two days this week my identity became submerged by a number on a yellow badge. Yes, I was doing my civic duty as a registered voter of the city of St. Louis.
Wednesday morning I had to report at 8 a.m. to a building identified as 10 N. Tucker. For the uninitiated, this is the Civil Courts building that faces Tucker. I, of course, did not know that, and spent a few minutes wandering around the general vicinity of Tucker and Market, among the giant civic buildings, before I figured out where I was to report.
Finally, with my handy badge (#169) I was ensconced with crosswords in the big assembly room. Between juror instruction movies and announcements they played Regis and Kelly Live!!! for us. It was a little too Live!!! for 8 a.m.
Finally #169 was called into a pool of other potential jurors, and we were herded across the street to the Carnahan Building, where we assembled in yet another room (this one with even less character than the first) and allowed to smoke, go to the bathroom and visit the vending machines. People engaged in these acts in order of desperation, depending on physical need and/or addiction.
Then we were shepherded into a large woodpaneled courtroom. Now this is more like it. A courtroom setting worthy of a serious trial. A nation-changing trial, or of a notorious criminal.
Nope. A 22 yr. old young man was being charged under the accessory liability law with Attempted Auto Theft.
I'm running out of time at this computer, so I'll end by pointing out the concept of "burden of proof." As in the state failed to meet it. To be continued.