Friday, April 28, 2006


is about procrastination.

Via the RevGals:

Name 5 things you do when you should be doing something else.

Heh heh.

1) Blogging. Either posting, wading through bloglines, commenting, going back and seeing if someone has replied to your comments, taking pictures, thinking about the next blog post, etc. etc.

2)The yarn experience. This is not limited to knitting and crocheting, as in the actual activity of. No, much time can be spent fondling yarn, buying yarn, looking at yarn pron on websites, leafing through patterns and catalogs, reorganizing yarn, dyeing yarn. . .there are endless procrastination activites available through the entire yarn world. Not to mention the spinning wheel and such that have taken up residence.

3)Reading. A finely honed procrastination skill is to go to the library and/or the bookstore right before I have to do something big. Because then I know I have lots of material.

4) Cleaning. Those who know me might find this shocking, but I find decluttering to be a good way of avoiding things I really ought to be doing more (ahem--sermons--ahem) because I feel so righteous about it.

5) When the garden is up and running on the patio, I find puttering around in it to be an effective technique for wasting time.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

the Harlot was in St. Louis (sigh)

I've not only moved here from STL in the last year, but I was there last weekend on a business trip.

Which is of course why the one and only Yarn Harlot picked this Wednesday to visit the St. Louis Knitters' Guild.

Drop over to my friend Beth's blog at Yarn Envy and you'll get a great story of the Harlot's visit.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

a drop of orange (Project Spectrum--April)

clutch from "The Happy Hooker"

One skein of Cascade Quatro-yummy color--just makes me want to have an orange.
Found some lovely orange ribbon and I even--sewed in a snap.

Followed the pattern exactly with the exception of leaving out a fabric lining. I couldn't figure out how to add it.

But I was really proud of that snap.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

of penguins, polar bears, and flocks of women in lime green

Usually the plane flights between St. Louis and Oklahoma City are uneventful, and given that I usually travel on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday evenings, underpopulated.

Until this last trip.

Apparently, St. Louis was hosting the annual convention for a fast-growing upscale skin care company.

I couldn't figure out, when I got to the airport on Wednesday, why there were suddenly so many well-kept women in trendy but modest outfits, hanging around the airport. I think the entire Oklahoma sales force of this company was on the plane.

I can also assure you that lime green is very much the color of the day among this flock.

The Saturday flight from OKC to St. Louis is usually a sedate affair, with many empty seats. With the returning sales force, it was now a lively, charged atmosphere, as they lime green flock continued to chirp non-stop about their experience at the convention.

I did have a chance in STL to enjoy a long walk in Forest Park. I posted some photos up at our walking blog. But I always enjoy a visit with the penguins at the St. Louis Zoo. And between Cardinals fans on their way to a game and a group of Trappist monks, the people-watching was also pretty fabulous.

After leaving tne penguins I spotted this polar bear entertaining himself with his big red ball in the pool. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself as he bounced it back and forth and batted it around.

The cats spent last evening under the bed when the tornado sirens went off. That is, until husband came home and Hootie, apparently still frightened of going to the vet (in the middle of a severe thunderstorm), headed upstairs to the official hiding-from-the-vet place under the futon.

Well, we should all have a hiding place under the futon for life's more stressful moments.

Monday, April 24, 2006

a meme

Just got back from St. Louis Saturday night, which will be my last trip for the Congregational Studies program I was involved in. I have photos but for the moment I will leave you with the A-Z meme that's going around:

Accent: standard Midwest (slight Chicago quality)

Booze: Gin and Tonic, margarita on the rocks with salt, or fruity something with an umbrella

Chore I Hate: cleaning the shower

Dog or Cat: two cats

Essential Electronics: computer, car radio, DVD player, digital camera

Favorite Cologne(s): I'm allergic to colognes/perfumes

Gold or Silver: silver

Hometown: Chicago

Insomnia: when the cats are chasing invisible creatures

Job Title: Interim Rector

Kids: If that is God's will

Living arrangements: spouse, cats, books, yarn

Most admirable trait: laughter

Least admirable trait (added): pessimism

Number of sexual partners: Nobody's business!

Overnight hospital stays: One, in a children's ward--and we caused a rebellion by demanding graham crackers and juice in the hallway after hours

Phobias: Swaying high bridges

Quote: It's at the top of the blog.

Religion: somewhere between high and low church in the Episcopal Church. That makes me via media in the via media

Siblings: I'm an only.

Time I wake up: 7 a.m.

Unusual talent or skill: liturgical chant

Vegetable I refuse to eat: lima beans

Worst habit: clutter

X-rays: Teeth, leg

Yummy foods I make: guacamole, buttermilk chocolate cake

Zodiac sign: I'm a fish

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Five

via the RevGalBlogPals--

today, right now my favorite

1) fruit--cherries

2) song--"Java Jive" (humming it along with a friend this morning)

3) beverage--water

4) shoes--my new cute Birkenstock sandals

5) flower--Easter lily

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

on the way to Emmaus

A funny thing happened on the way to Emmaus--

there were only two of us at church today for our midweek Eucharist--something I was a little down about.

Then I went to get the Gospel book and realized I had marked the wrong day in the book, and flipped it over to Wednesday.

The Gospel for today in the Episcopal lectionary was Jesus appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. That would be Jesus appearing to two disciples, interpreting Scripture to them, being made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Thwok--(the sound of the spiritual 2 X 4).

It only takes two.

Monday, April 17, 2006

for the record

Palm Sunday services--2
Holy Monday Chrism mass at cathedral--1
Holy Wednesday Eucharist--oops, no one showed up
Holy Wednesday emergency hospital visit--1
Maundy Thursday dinner and service--1, plus I dropped in on the stripping of the altar at husband's church.
Good Friday services--2
Easter Vigil--1, plus I dropped in on communion at husband's church.
Easter Sunday--2
Easter egg hunt--1
status of clergy couple on Sunday afternoon--doing nothing that would involve effort

Most fun moment--yeah, it's still the donkey.
Second most fun moment--watching the under-4s in the egg hunt.

Most hilarious rubric in the Altar Book--"the Exsultet is sung at a pitch convenient for the singer." (And just what pitch would be convenient in that glorious chant that covers a couple of octaves?)

Most hilarious children's liturgical moment--I announced we would read the Easter Collect of the Day together (apparently a St. C's tradition), and a little child piped up from the back, "Well, yay!"

Most stressful moment in liturgy--when I saw, out of the corner of my eye as I was in the middle of blessing the Paschal candle, the usher walk out the door with the pitcher of water we had stashed for blessing the water for renewal of baptismal vows in the service. (All was well--there was enough in there for its later use).

Best signs of God's abundance--quite a few. There are all the items we collected for the local domestic violence shelter at the Y. The miracle of the food at Maundy Thursday and the Easter Vigil (it seemed like we weren't going to have any, and then in both cases we had plenty).

Best kingdom of God moment--the Good Friday stations (see previous post)

Best Easter church smell--before the 8:00 service--the whiff of incense from the night before, mingled with the lemony scent of clean pews and Easter flowers

Best way to celebrate Easter afternoon--in the living room, with Prairie Home Companion on the radio, with significant other, cats, Project Spectrum knitting, and no guilt about not doing housework whatsoever.

Have a blessed 50 Days of Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

living stations

When you're in charge of a small(er) congregation--one clergy, assorted overworked laity, aging population, never enough money, sometimes it seems as if we're always scraping by, making do, improvising.

St. C's tradition is Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening (Prayer Book liturgy at noon). We gathered last night. On previous occasions, I am told the youth had done it, but on other occasions, I was told, people simply rose and read each station.

Last night, that's what we did. I started us off, then, one by one, people rose and went to each station. I looked round and there were people waiting at each station, wanting to take their turn. And there were teens and adults, well-off and struggling, accents from across the country and across the world, women and men, varying cultural origins. . .

When one of the women in our congregation, who I believe is originally from Ghana, and a mother of two beautiful young women herself, read the 13th station, (Jesus is laid in the arms of his mother), there was hardly a dry eye in the building.

In the quiet dignity, in the mix of those gathered, in the ancient collects and prayers--Good Friday was more real to me than hours of "The Passion of the Christ."

Thanks be to God.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Something different touches me every Maundy Thursday. It probably is one of my favorite services of the year--the footwashing, the emphasis on the Eucharist, the stripping of the altar.

This year I was finally able to do something I've always wanted to do as a presider on Maundy Thursday--to clean the altar itself. I remember a previous mentor sprinkling it with a leafy branch, then wiping it dry. We didn't have a leafy branch around, but some palm fronds (note to self--try something else next year), but I found myself so moved by the motions of the towel, wiping it dry.

Our actions on Maundy Thursday operate on so many levels, and this year what came out of it for me was the cleansing--the washing of feet, the clearing away of the chancel, taking away the clutter, right down to the washing of the altar. Cleaning out the Reserve. Starting fresh.

Ready for the baptismal water on Saturday night at the Vigil.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

in a Holy Week kind of mood

I got nothin'.

My brain feels empty and my current mood is just kind of crabby.

I always feel that I should feel differently during Holy Week--you know, holier, somehow, and yet empty and crabby seems to have characterized more of them than I can count.

I even can think of a couple of spectacular emotional meltdowns on Good Friday (not since ordination, thankfully).

It's not that I want to be in a good mood, just something profound and deep.

Perhaps, in the week leading up to the empty tomb, being empty is just where we're supposed to be.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Other tasks as assigned


Or, how I spent Palm Sunday between services. A parishioner said he'd bring the donkeys if I would get on and ride. . . Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 08, 2006

well, it was either this or write some sermons

I cleaned the house.

And it felt good, because I felt not just like I was cleaning the house, but that I was doing it to prepare for next week. At first I started cleaning because I didn't want to spend Holy Week looking for missing items (we probably still will, but I've reduced the odds slightly). As the day went on, I started to feel a real joy--not usually a sensation I associate with housework--something about being ready to start fresh on Easter.

I wouldn't say I scrubbed from top to bottom, but I did tons of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and did major work on the patio, so that after Easter it will be ready for some new plants. Handwashed some sweaters with some new Kookaburra woolwash from Gourmet Yarn, chased the Houdini down with antibiotics (yes, we're still coping with the eye infection) and even pitched some things out of the garage.

Oh, and I think I've solved the crucifix problem for Good Friday.

Houdini and Wilbur slept through the whole thing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

RevGal Friday Five

(insert humming from various bits of A Chorus Line. . .)

Songbird asked us to name five moments of performing arts that "touched or tickled you. . ."

1) Going backstage at the Chicago Lyric Opera on a tour with my parents. I've always been fascinated by "how things work"--to me it adds to the magic, not distracts.

2)Seeing a production of 'Julius Caesar' in Stratford, England put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The power of seeing Shakespeare done by people who have been doing it for centuries. . .it was done with television screens to amplify the political speechmaking. Oh, and there were all those famous British actors in it who I'd seen on Doctor Who episodes.

3) Are all my favorite moments Shakespeare? Perhaps they are. . .my family and I also took many trips to the Stratford Festival in Canada, and I distinctly remember seeing 'Richard III' with Brian Bedford and Maggie Smith. Shivers.

3) More Shakespeare--this time in high school. I was helping out on a production of 'Twelfth Night' and I distinctly remember our director telling the actors to understand everything they said, that Shakespeare was full of double entendres. You may recall that the central plot of the play is a woman dressing up as her twin brother. In one scene she is challenged to a duel, and part of the repartee that precedes it includes some reference to the fact that she doesn't have a beard. "Not on my chin," she replies. One night, the reporter for the high school paper was sitting in the front row, and he got the meaning of the joke (no one had yet), and he laughed out loud, a big, hearty laugh--and completely threw the young woman off for a good beat or so.

4)Breaking up the Shakespeare, one of my own favorite personal performing arts stories is about being in the University of Illinois Women's Glee Club when we were selected to sing at the American Choral Directors' Association national convention in San Antonio. A Very Big Deal, apparently. (Actually, I could fill my blog with many WGC stories, but I'll spare you). Performing our music for a knowledgeable audience was very cool, and hanging out in San Antonio for almost a week even cooler. We flirted with men from the Harvard Men's Glee Club and the Loyola Marymout Men's Chorus (we were the only English-speaking women's choir there).

Great fun.

One night, we went to the hot tub on the roof of our hotel. (We were staying in the more affordable 'motel' section.) So we paraded through the lobby in bathing suits and towels and up to the tub. A waiter brought us drinks and we regaled him with Brahms. Having gotten thoroughly soaked (and a few of us slightly sloshed), we headed, dripping, back downstairs. As we tried to glide through the lobby, the Japanese women's chorus caught sight of us. They were sitting in the nice restaurant in the nice part of the hotel. They indicated to us that they wanted to hear us sing. The wait staff didn't know what to make of this, but finally we went in to the restaurant to oblige them. My clearest memory is of my friend A., who was wearing a bikini and not much of a towel, and hearing the maitre d' say, "Will SOMEONE put a towel over this woman, please."

5) One final Shakespearean moment--a year after seminary I went to visit friends from seminary who were in Durham, England. After trekking to Normandy and back from Portsmouth, a night in Winchester, I arrived after a long train trip to Durham. When I got there, my friends said, oh, do you want to go back to London with us, we're going to see 'The Tempest' at the restored Globe. (I did get one full day in Durham at least). And it turned out this wasn't any production of 'The Tempest,' it was Vanessa Redgrave as Prospero, which, if you're not familiar with that play, is the lead male role. If I could own a tape of any production I've ever seen, that would be it. The staging was simple and effective, we sat on the wood benches and watched 'the groundlings' in 'the pit' and Redgrave blew me away.

Bonus: the extent of my own theatrical career. I was in 'Oklahoma' in high school and I had one line: "Looks like Curly took up with that Cummins girl."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

it IS all about Holy Week

Palm Sunday--planned. Need some thoughts for a brief sermon.

Holy Monday--we're going to renewal of vows at Cathedral.

Monday evening--Vestry meeting. WHOSE bright idea was that? Oh, yeah, cause I didn't want to change it to Easter Monday.

Maundy Thursday--a couple of things to do, basically planned. Need to write discussion questions for the tables (we're having the Ministry of the Word at tables in the Parish Hall after a simple supper).

Good Friday--some serious kinks to work out. Anyone have a decently sized cross/crucifix? Need a sermon.

Easter Vigil--Basically planned. Need a sermon.

Easter Sunday--Basically planned. Need a sermon.

Hm, I wonder what I'm going to be doing for the next few days. . .

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

blogging will be light

It's almost Holy Week.

Palm Sunday--ordo--done. Passion Gospel readings--assigned. Sermon--not so much.

Donkey--will be present. Palms--we hadn't received any as of last week.

Grab a towel and a Babel fish and don't panic. The answer is 42.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

a fine art

The Episcopal Church likes to say that we base our church business on Scripture, reason, and tradition.

Well, I'm not sure this is scriptural, but one time-honored Sunday afternoon tradition is the clergy nap.

You can actually take a nap, or you can just lie in a sort of semi-stupor watching sporting activities (the overachieving clergy napper might work in both). You might knit a bit, read a book, try and read the paper with the cat sprawled all over it.

Leave a comment if you have a particularly favorite way to indulge in a Sunday afternoon siesta.