Saturday, January 29, 2005

clergy anxiety dream

There are advantages to being un(der)employed.

I used to regularly have clergy anxiety dreams--you know, showing up without a sermon, madcap liturgical hijinks, preaching naked, etc.

I only have them off and on these days but this one this morning was a classic:

Somewhere I segued from some idyllic camp setting to a church I didn't know, but suddenly was in the new priest in charge (a large Gothic structure). Although I recognized people in the crowd from the Diocese of Missouri, I really didn't know anybody in the nave. The chancel party, of course, included the Canon to the Ordinary of MO and George, the former Interim Rector at Alton, who is a wise and savvy priest. Apparently I had nothing to do with the Liturgy of the Word, but was to preside at the table. So I'm struggling to get a chasuble on but in the process fall down hard on my butt. George offers me his green chasuble (I was trying to get a white one on). There's a thurifer roaming around but I can't get a clear answer as to whether the altar has already been censed. I get to the altar and it's a small rectangular shape, and covered with stuff. There are two vested chalices, stacked on top of each other, and piles of altar books, some like small personal prayer books, and others like missals with pages of writing, none of which look like any other altar book I've ever seen. I ask the Canon what Eucharistic Prayer we're using and he whispers back "A." Ok, great. I can do this. So I blithely announce, "Eucharistic Prayer A begins on page..." but then I can't remember what page in the prayer book it's on, and I'm flipping madly through all of these books, and they're all numbered differently, and none of them have the BCP page numbers in them. (At some point I get a look at the host and they're covered with chocolate frosting, which should have been a clue that this is a dream). I'm paralyzed and I can't say a word, can't choke out, "The Lord be with you," and everybody is waiting on me and suddenly someone in the crowd pipes up with a fraction anthem (out of Enriching our Worship, no less) and everyone comes forward for communion. At which point the Canon hustles me to some crypt/side chapel to say "that was yucky" (a direct quote) but I can't tell if he's angry or laughing. And I say, "I'll get my altar book up with the right page numbers" as if that will solve the whole problem.

Thank God I woke up before someone started passing out unconsecrated chocolate covered wafers.

I'm sure this dream is pretty easy to diagnose, that I've got some anxieties about starting over in a new diocese, in an as yet undisclosed location (undisclosed by God, who is being pretty closemouthed these days). And that I won't know what to do and the congregation will run right over me and we'll end up in a mess.
Certainly much more entertaining way of expressing these anxieties, anyway, and I woke up in a good mood and to the light snowfall which has blanketed St. Louis overnight.

A couple of responses to comments. E suggests doing two sleeves on a sweater at one time, which I had thought of but decided not to on my first time out, as keeping track of the one ball of yarn was enough. But I may try in the future. As it was, splitting the sleeves up and doing one after the back and keeping very careful notes, worked well.

Beth says not to be sad, that my friends at Knitorious are around. Yea!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

confession, part 2

continuing this pre-Lenten theme:

When I was running into a continuing ed workshop today (run by the Lutheran School of Theology, here in St. Louis, and a very good and worthwhile workshop it was, Edgar Krenz of Seminex on preaching Matthew in Lent), I was frantically looking for some paper to take notes, and came up with my green spiral Spirituality for Ministry notebook out of the crate in my trunk. Why would I be driving around with my seminary notes in a crate in a trunk, you could ask. (They're heavy and I live on the twelfth floor--and the little elves are going to take them and file them for me any day now). I digress. There seemed to be a number of empty pages in the back (it was a very experiential class, after all), so I took it in with me.

Well, it turns out that in addition to taking such very good notes in Spirituality for Ministry, I was shocked and surprised (ahem), as I'm sure the Seabury faculty would be, to discover that I also spent some time writing notes back and forth with a fellow seminarian (who shall remain nameless but whose initial are KB) who also shared my predilection for the back left table in the corner of Classroom 22. And I am stunned (no, really) to find out how much energy and passion went into discussions about issues of WORSHIP TEAM and EASTER VIGIL and other such life changing matters.

It's a good thing I'm all grown up, and that Iwe don't spend such energy debating trivial church issues, and I certainly made NO side comments to my neighbor today (although they were all spurred by the revelatory nature of Edgar Krenz' presentation).

And certainly being the mature, thoughtful, reflective person that I am, I didn't hop in the car immediately after class and squeeze in a trip to the lovely yarn shop at Myers House, conveniently also located in North County, and only a brief drive from our meeting space at Unity Lutheran Church in Bel-Nor.

No, I certainly would never BUY MORE YARN. But at least I bought five fewer skeins than I've used in the past week, so stash reduction is still theoretically in progress.

The sweater is completely finished and now only needs 3 needle binding off and mattress stitching and such. But our last class at Knitorious was this past Tuesday and I'm very sad. I'm so sad I'm making an upside down smile.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

confession time

Bless me Father (or Mother, whatever), for I have sinned.

It has been (x) days since my last blog entry. Nor have I managed to update my list of links on the side, nor have I been a faithful ring owner (master? mistress?) in that I have not been checking and leaving witty, pithy comments.

I have been immersed in the institutional church for a few days. It was all good, but I could tell I was running out of even my extroverted steam yesterday afternoon. Somewhere in the middle of yet another session on boundaries (and my second or third introduction to Percept) I started to hit the cranky wall. Just needed to not be thinking or doing church. (God is fine. Sometimes church all day everyday is a little much. And I'm even underemployed.)

I have managed to avoid my major temptation, which are the local yarn shops. Repeat after me, I DO have enough yarn in my stash. I DO have enough yarn in my stash. Even the concept of "my stash" seems theologically problematic. But I digress.

I am knitting like a crazy woman, have been knitting basically all day in order to finish the pieces of my first sweater to bring to our last Intermediate Beginner (or Advanced Beginner--still not quite clear which title it was) class. I have learned so much from Beth the Knitting Goddess (another link to add) and yet there is still so much to learn. Also, it's clear that having a deadline, as in homework, is very useful in the actual FINISHING of projects. I may have to become serious about finding a local knitting group.

Blogging Episcopalians continues to grow! I'm having so much fun seeing the different blogs.

Well, in order to be done with my sweater, I have 65+ more rows to knit on the front, and 60 rows of a sleeve to finish. After thinking about the concept and challenge of an ENFP actually finishing two identical somethings (i.e. sleeves) I decided to make the first sleeve inbetween making the back and the front, to break up that process. The handdyed Araucania Nature Wool Chunky is still beautiful and soft, but the variations from skein to skein are driving me nuts. At this point I'm just trying to make the sleeves look similar. If I wanted perfection, I would go to the store.

Must knit. . .Must knit. . .

Monday, January 17, 2005

random thoughts

Go Illini

I'm now rooting for the Patriots because I like the way they play football--teamwork and because it looks like they don't just mechanically run plays, but play smart. Also, I enjoyed cheering for Tedy Bruschi when I lived in Tucson (he played for Arizona). When he made a play we would all yell "Broooooo-ski!"

Sign seen on Hwy 61 in southeastern Missouri on my way home from Sikeston: Immaculate Conception Multipurpose Building. It took me a few minutes to realize it was the gym for a Catholic school and not some sort of bizarre fertility clinic.

Other sign seen on Hwy 61--Lithium, Missouri--5 miles.

Random knitting content--I've finished about half the back of the sweater I'm working on but want to Beth the Knitting Goddess' supervision when adding the next ball of yarn. I've taught myself how to add yarn but it always a little dicey and that's why I'm taking a class.

Highlights of yesterday's sermon--I got to work WUECM's t-shirt--"MMM-locusts" (John the Baptist) into the sermon.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Knitting Content

I went into a local yarn shop in West County while running errands and did manage to stick to my goal of acquiring needles but no new yarn. The Illini Scarf proceeds apace, although slowly--I have to be doing something else while working on it--25 rows navy, 25 rows orange of Knit 1, Purl 1. Have made it past the dreaded halfway point. Today, per Beth's instructions, I will wash the original swatch for the roll neck sweater to see how it holds up, and try it on size 11 needles to see if I can get closer to 13 st./4 in.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Non-Knitting Content

Reading: "The Best Sportswriting of 2004." If you want to be thoroughly chilled, read Lynne Cox's description of her swim in Antarctica in this collection (originally published in the New Yorker). Her description of her life and training for this swim puts the reader in the water alongside her. Wear warm slippers and sit under a cozy afghan while you read this one.

"Americana. " A collection of writing by Hampton Sides. These pieces are best taken, in my opinion, one at a time. I'm halfway through the book and have journeyed with him on his adventures interviewing Airstream caravanners, zippies, and runners who throw their bodies into the Marathon of the Sahara (I don't remember its French title).

Watching: "Angel" Season 4 on DVD. A Christmas present to ourselves. Much broody angst. We love it.

Doing: Supplying in Sikeston this Sunday. Ruminating on the John lesson for this coming Sunday. Enjoying reading the blogs I've discovered while working on the Blogging Episcopalians ring. There are many, many deep thinkers (many of them Episcopalian) out there. I don't pretend to be one of them. My gifts run to other areas, but I'm glad to be reading them and having my thinking challenged. And Barbara of http://topmostapple.blogspot has offered graphic design help--yay and thanks!

On my mind to plan: Set up eagle watching excursions. Pick up knitting needles w/o buying more yarn (easier said than done).

Knitting Content

I took my first class this week at Knitorious, a new yarn shop which opened last year on Southwest just off Hampton. A dangerous place, since it is only ten minutes from our home. Too close to all that yarn. I'm excited for the owner, because these days they're always busy when I stop in.

Our teacher, Beth (http://yarnenvy.blogspot.com), was enthusiastic and great. I've taught myself what I can out of books, but there's really no substitute for someone talking to you directly. There were three other women there as well, and they all seemed very interesting (including at least one other Episcopalian--well, it's a small world).

I picked up some gorgeous cherry red yarn (Nature Wool) for my first sweater and did a swatch yesterday. The good news is that my gauge is right on for what the ball band says--the bad news (you guessed it) is that I'm a stitch off for the project gauge. Sigh. I'll have to get out the 11s today and give it a shot.

Currently OTNs: my Illini scarf is just over the halfway mark (an important milestone, as both DH and I have a theory that getting to and past the halfway point on any project--a large book, knitting, etc. is crucial to actually finishing it); a wavy rib scarf from a Kennita Tully design in a little BHG knitting booklet (also just past the halfway point) and a teddy bear scarf to use up some Homespun for my beloved Benjamin Bear, who has been sitting around in his bathrobe since DH and I brought him home from Build a Bear last year (a St. Nicholas Day present).

Monday, January 10, 2005

immersed in the Jazz Age

Just finished rereading "The Great Gatsby." I had to read it in high school, during the dreaded year of "American Literature." In a year of what seemed to me depressing and boring literature, Gatsby stood out. It was still a sad story, but I enjoyed Fitzgerald's relatively straightforward writing (I never really recovered from the whale-hunting specifics of "Moby Dick" or Thoreau's shopping lists from "Walden").

I enjoyed reading it again, although found myself dreading the end, as I've always found Gatsby's character somewhat sympathetic. But this time I was much more sensitive to the nuances, foreshadowing, the underlying class issues which had escaped me as a teenager. (I know, I know, but when you're 16 the fact that Daisy's voice was full of money may not have registered fully). Also having recently been whisked through New York on a job interview, I was able to visualize settings a little more clearly. All in all, I found reading it much more revealing of the human experience than I ever could have understood in 1983.

But I still don't want to reread "Moby Dick."

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Unintentionally Eventful Evening

So in the middle of last night's little St. Louis snow storm, David and I had dinner at Duff's (mmm good--the genetic German in me enjoyed pork chops in Dijon mustard sauce with braised red cabbage) and then walked across the street to Left Bank Books (to burn a calorie or two off). I was looking for a copy of "Great Gatsby" in the downstairs used book section when I heard the door slam upstairs and people shouting and someone yelling. It turned out someone had shoplifted two books, and had started running when the sensors had gone off at the door. The employee told us later she went out and yelled at him "don't ever come back to this store again!" In the meantime, he dropped one of the books (Amber Frey's tell-all).

Unanswered questions: why did he want Amber Frey's book so badly that he wouldn't pay for it? Is it worth shoplifting? What was the other book that was worth hanging on to? Or did he just grab whatever for the thrill of it?

The employee told us that he was very talkative the whole time he was in the store, saying "this is the first time I've been in here," and so on. Look, if you're going to shoplift Left Bank, which is a great independent bookstore, why not go for it with something meaty, not something you can get at Waldenbooks or Target?

Wes pointed out the top link on Blogging Episcopalians didn't quite work, I've gotten it corrected on my page.

Friday, January 07, 2005

no creative title here

because I've been busy with Blogging Episcopalians. Woo hoo. We have 5 official sites and 1 in the queue. I've had to wrestle with my fears of code--not that I have any deep issues from having to write early BASIC programs on cards back in high school and college.

Meanwhile, DH and I were off at a MO Clergy Day on the Windsor Report yesterday. The more I look at it, the more I like the vision of communion and the theological underpinnings laid out in parts A and B, but not sure that C and D (the recommendations) live up to it. Especially the addition of structures based around a bishop in a small northern country selected by the government. I assume the Holy Spirit can move in the lives of Tony Blair and the UK Parliament, but I'm not sure that's what the apostles had in mind (although since they picked Matthias by lot, who can say?).

I'm still wrestling with the idea of what, exactly, is Anglicanism? And while I think the description of the Communion in the Windsor Report was pretty full (I especially resonate with the web of relationships, which is what putting a webring together is designed to enhance), I feel there's something missing. There's a poetic spirit in Anglicanism that I have not found in other denominations, as I roam. Julian of Norwich, George Herbert, the other Divines, even the language of Cranmer, there's an attention to beauty and aesthetic as part of our theological reflection. At our worst it gets watered down to a sense of "good taste." And I'm not sure how to define it in theological terms.

Today, however, I am taking a dear friend for part II of her Christmas present, which is a trip to Myers House to pick out fabric for a needle case for her sewing supplies. And if we happen to wander upstairs to the yarn, well. . .

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Limits Stretched and Passed

I have managed to successfully add my own blog to the Blogging Episcopalians webring. Whew!

So the link is active to join. Anytime.

Stretching the Limits

If you look on the sidebar to the right, you can see I have successfully imported ring code.

Now I'm going to try to join my own ring with this blog and see how that works!

Speaking of clicking on the right, Stephanie of Yarn Harlot, whose link is on the sidebar, has challenged the readers of her witty and thought-provoking knitting blog to a fundraiser for Doctors w/o Borders. Her brother-in-law works for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Canada. NOTE--this is NOT a tsunami fundraiser--this money will go into their general emergency fund. Kudos to Stephanie. I'm taking on the challenge of discerning between "needs" and "wants" through Thursday, and will send any savings to her effort. So far we're at $29 knitting related wants.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Blogging Episcopalians

For some time I've wondered about a webring for those of us bloggers who are also Episcopalian. I've started the process for one on netsurf. This has pushed me to limits of my Internet savvy! If you're interested, let me know with a comment. Also, I'm looking for help with some graphics, as that much HTML is REALLY beyond me (changing my sidebar stretches me to the limits).