Sunday, November 26, 2006

Knitting Again - Yay!

Having finished the shawl/scarf for StrongOpinions while in Windy City, I have started a pair of socks. Feels good to be knitting again...I just have a couple of papers to complete this week that may interrupt the knitting fiesta. Dang!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Windy City Adventures

Thanksgiving. Wow.

Way too much food, especially of the carb-laden variety. My mother-in-law made the food extravanganza yesterday, while some of my generation and some of the littler ones went downtown to watch the parade. The Lawn Chair Dads precision lawn-chair drill team was the high point. They wore red union suits with sleeveless t-shirts and print boxer shorts over them, furry arctic bomber hats with earflaps, and black socks and sandals. Truly a sight to behold. We kept ourselves warm with a thermos of coffee for adults and of hot chocolate for the kids. I was surprised by the number of vendors giving out freebies (Naked Juice, for example, and free porta-potties with 7-11 logos plastered all over them!) Great fun, and not overly cold for Windy City on Thanksgiving.

I should have gone out walking each morning, but didn't. The jeans are definitely feeling snug.

I've got a pot of turkey wild rice vegetable soup on the stove, to get the last bits of flavor out of the carcass, and to give us something a little lighter on the digestive system for supper. There's also a butternut squash soup in the works. My veterinarian brother-in-law (a man of many talents) has a pumpkin cheesecake in the oven.

We went down to the great big art museum today. No icons per se, but some early Italian religious images in tempera on board that clearly were influenced by them. I successfully avoided buying stuff in the museum store. I did fall victim to a great buy on a Norwegian sweater in the store for all things Swedish. Here's the advantage to being short - you can fit into kid's size clothes sometimes. And a kid's Norwegian sweater is one-third the price of a grown-up one. And I never knit something for myself - I only knit for others, so I have to buy for myself (poor me!).

Speaking of knitting, I'm slowly getting back into it. Hadn't knit a thing since August when I started seminary. But StrongOpinions had asked for a combination shawl/scarf thing, and I saw some great bulky yarn, so I whipped that off. I should get back into gear on my sister-in-law's Norse sweater (it's about 1/2 done). I had planned to give it to her for this Christmas, but I'm afraid she'll get it next Christmas. Ah, well. It feels good to be knitting again, though.

Tomorrow we'll get up, have a bite, and head to the airport and back home to Your Nation's Capital. It's good to be with family, but it's also good to be home.

So where are you?

Monday, November 20, 2006

News update on break-ups, mess-ups, and speak-ups

On the breakup of StrongOpinions and Semi-Useless Boyfriend:
I was worried about my girl, so I cashed in some frequent flyer miles, went out to Buddhist University last weekend and made sure she was eating and such. I took her out to eat a couple of times, made a batch of vegetarian chili and put it in the freezer, adn took her for some retail therapy. she seems to be doing better. SUB called last week, though, and wanted to get back together. SO is appropriately skeptical. I'm hoping she decides it's over once and for all, but mothers can't push about such things. She can do better, though.

On the Congress:
No sooner did Nancy Pelosi ascend to the Speakership than she tripped over her (very chic) Armani pantsuit and backed Jack Murtha for her second in command. The predictable result was that he lost, and her former rival, Steny Hoyer, won. An embarrassment, since she expended much political capital trying to get her candidate the job. She should have done better, but I'm still hoping she can do better.

Our new Presiding Bishop, Katharine, sent a very crisp letter ( to a bishop who, unhappy about the past 30+ years of ECUSA's decisions, was threatening to pull his whole diocese out of the church. It was the letter I was hoping someone, somehow, someday would write. Finally! She has done better, and I'm proud. You go, girl!

On school:
I am busily writing, and reading, and translating, and memorizing. I'm trying to NOT feel guilty about going to PH's family in the Windy City for Thanksgiving. Rationally I know I cannot get it all done, even if I stay home chained to the books and the computer, but irrationally, I worry. (mumbling to myself: "all will be well, all will be well...")

I will do better at managing my own expectations of myself.


(And you blog-lurkers, c'mon and check in with me. I love to know you're there reading my pithy prose.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gray Day

It's wet, the leaves are mostly on the ground, and I'm tired.

StrongOpinions and Semi-Useless Boyfriend broke up yesterday (his idea), and I've been fielding calls from far away from her as she deals with the pain. She called last night at 2:30 am. I am not at my best at 2:30 am (who is?) so I tried to comfort her and get her to sleep. More similar calls during school today. It's so hard when you lose your first love.

I managed to stay awake in classes today. Barely. I hope I'll get a full night's sleep tonight.

I'm feeling swamped by the amount of reading the profs are expecting this semester, but I think I'll survive. The good news is that Hebrew is such a gas that I end up doing more work than required since it's so amazing.

The other good news was the changeover in the House of Representatives - I'm not fond of one-party government. The bad news was the passage of a marriage bill in our state - marriage defined as one man and one woman - that seems to be legislation at its worst. It's mean-spirited, it has a number of unintended consequences not only for gay couples but for straight couples who are not married, and it does nothing to help the body politic.

Don't these folks have more important things to worry about?

Meanwhile, our bishop left this hospital this morning - they thought he might have had a little stroke, but he is doing fine. He doesn't have an easy job, and he does it with grace. I'm hoping this was just a blip on the radar screen.

I had to take the car to the body shop this afternoon after school. It was parked on the street in front of our house, and someone backed into the side of it and scraped the whole driver's side. It goes without saying that the guilty party didn't leave a note on my car. $1725 worth of damage. Thank goodness for insurance.

Yes, I know the good news items outnumber the bad news items. It's still a cold rainy gray day, though. Now if the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth would just certify that Jim Webb has beaten George Allen, I think I'd feel like the sun has come out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Investiture and Seating, and Why I Don't Like Liturgical Dance

On Saturday, I watched the investiture of our new Presiding Bishop, the incomparable Katharine Jefferts Schori, on my computer. We were supposed to watch it at Big Old Seminary on a big screen, but the technology failed us. That's fine, because my house is only five minutes away, and the service was two hours long. You can check it out here if you'd like:

It was marvelous. Amazing music across many different cultures (you haven't lived until you've seen a couple hundred bishops - mostly WASP - in chimeres and rochets and all that, bopping to Siyahamba), beautiful liturgy, great sermon.

And then there were the liturgical dancers. I am admittedly a curmudgeon, but I just don't get a bunch of people running around whipping pieces of cloth in the air. None of these folks were Baryshnikov or Twyla Tharp by any stretch of the imagination. It all seems a bit forced to me. Maybe the more visually oriented people can explain what I'm missing, but it seems too 70s for words. I lived in the 70s the first time around, and it wasn't any more attractive then.

I could have done with something with a bit more gravitas than the tie-dyed look vestments (I'm turning intoPeaceBang) but other than that, it was wonderful. Very moving, and the sermon was powerful.

Then on Sunday, I went down to the Cathedral for her seating and Eucharist. Several fellow seminarians were part of it, and a number of us were among the congregation. Another amazing event, with many of the same features as the investiture (including the dancers, darnit) - it was great to see and feel it from another angle. Many of us were moved to tears by the import of it. Who'd have thought even 20 years ago that we'd see this moment?

God grant her strength for the time to come. It won't be easy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Both ends of the spectrum

I got back my Hebrew final...

(drum roll, please)


Now you know exactly how geeky the prof is, that I ended up with a grade like that.

I got an A for the semester, since we started in August term. glad; it was hard work, and i loved it. Still, I'm taking the second semester pass-fail, since it will only get crazier.

I did my Liturgics mid-term. Sixteen questions, multiple choice, open book. A half-hour to take it.

Piece of cake, right?


Only two questions referenced what was covered in the lectures. The rest were obscure factoids from the readings, and we're talking obscure here, not the main themes.

My grade? 75. And I was grateful to get that, given what some of my classmates got.

This was a lesson in humility. Also in not getting too wrapped up in the grade thing. It's about the skills and about grace, and not about a number. I need reminding of that on a regular basis.

As for the other exams and papers, none have yet been returned. Another lesson: patience. Drat.

PH is off at a conference this weekend, so the cats and I are alone in the house. I have gotten a few movies from Blockbuster, and I intend to do studying/reading/homework and videowatching. Tomorrow at 11 I'll join a bunch of fellow seminarians in one of our auditoriums to watch the investiture of our new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Sunday, a number of us will go to the Washington National Cathedral for her seating. I am thrilled!

RevGals Friday Five: Toofies

Friday Five: Toofies

Please share your thoughts on the following:

1) The Tooth Fairy
I got quarters, too. My kids got a buck a tooth. now I hear that some little ones around here get a fiver per tooth. Seems a bit high to me - does that make me a curmudgeon?

2) Flossing
I don't like to floss, but I do love my little steel curved toothpick that does the same thing, only better. I use an electric toothbrush that's supposed to stimulate my gums.

3) Toothpaste Brands
StrongOpinions, being Miss organic, uses Tom's of Maine. I like plain old garden variety Colgate.

4) Orthodontia for Adults
If you need 'em, get 'em. Lots of folks (like RM's friend) come from families that didn't have the resources when they were kids. Go for it. PH, who grew up a missionary kid in Africa, dodged the bullet, but others he knew didn't. Since they were home on itineration for a year, all orthodontic work had to be completed in that timeframe. It was a painful thing, getting what took the rest of us three or four years all done in one. Poor things. I wonder if they would have preferred to have waited until they got home for college.

5) Whitening products
They often make the teeth look unnaturally white. Seems a bit much for me, but I think we've already established that I'm a curmudgeon.