Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vestment-optional Sunday

Today it hit 80 degrees with 90% humidity. I pulled out my tropical weight vestments that I bought with specifically this type of weather in mind (ah ha, to all those classmates who thought I was being silly in Seminary when I spent all that money buying two sets of vestments! NOW they are coming in really handy!). Then I turned to the choir, the lay minister, and the acolyte, and said, "Look, I have tropical vestments. You don't. Why don't you not wear your vestments today?" The choir sighed audibly in relief. The lay minister smiled. The acolyte, well, she's 9, so she does her thing. The lovely ushers procured ice water and had it ready in the back for anyone who felt they needed it.

And we had ourselves a story on Abraham and Isaac. If you want the text, you may email e a b t e s i at mac.com, all one word, no spaces.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Decluttering

We got accepted for our new apartment! Whoo hoo! With a low security deposit, too. I was worried, actually. Over the past two years, I've moved 4 times, with this one making it 5. I knew one was temporary. But each time after that, I thought it was a settle-down-for-two-years thing. And each time, life has conspired to change on me!

I don't much mind being a nomad. In fact, being a 7 on the Enneagram scale, constant change is right up my alley. I get a little antsy if I'm not moving. I'm looking forward to the gleaning.

I'm reading massive amounts on decluttering, downsizing, and building storage. We are going to supplement the totally insufficient closet space in our new digs, but we (meaning me) are going to clean out our (meaning my) closets of stuff. Yes, I think it's finally time to let my junior prom gown and my tight, belly-baring "club shirt" go on to a new home. Maybe I'll give the shirt to my sister, who MUST go clubbing in England next year. Maybe I'll send a lot of it over to the Upper Room Thrift Shop.

We are really working towards a philosophy of less and simplicity. I would like to have my home clean, clear, and filled with those things I actually use. I wanna have one of those cool homes that you walk into and you say, "Wow, this is a cool place!" with neat throw pillows, a cozy cat, and a aura of awesomeness. (And not of "hello, I can't accept that I'm no longer 21!")

I'm also trying very hard to impress this philosophy upon my parents- yes, both of you!- who think they are downsizing. Not so much. This past week, I cleaned out the cupboards down in the basement of expired items and old canning. As I filled up the back of my dad's pickup with jars destined for the Southbury recycling (since there was no way they could fit it all in their home recycling), I caught my dad "rescuing" some bottles. He fairly ran for the basement, swearing every which way that he really USED them for storage. My mother also "rescued" a chipped glass bowl. Their days are numbered, you guys. Just wait!

I'm not unreasonable. I will not argue that you should keep your family photos, the military awards, and your gorgeous vintage handmade wedding gown. But you've got to toss the unused school notebooks and the brand-new, never-used sewing maching cart. And I've got to let go of the bridesmaids gowns and the blah books and the suitcase I keep saying I hate.

Just you wait.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bubble Water

And per popular request...

Bubble water, fizzy water, selzter, soda water... whatever you call it, I love it. I got hooked when I worked at Friendly's when I was 16, and I could get endless fizzy water out of the soda fountain.

Enter the coolness. I have gotten hooked on Apartment Therapy and its sister blogs, and one sister blog is TheKitchn. That blog talks about delectable food, and had a post on soda siphons. I had no idea! But you can actually make fizzy water at home! Nirvana, it seemed, was just a CO2 canister away.

So I researched and read reviews, and settled on the Soda-Club. Ahhhhhhh....

No kidding. If you love fizzy water, it IS nirvana in your kitchen. So far, I had made about 12 bottles of plain fizzy waters, and two mojitos. You can control how much fizz to put in the H2O. It's weird. It's a niche item. It's probably a little eccentric.

And it's one of those things I'll take with me if I ever have to, say, flee an oncoming tornado or run from a tidal wave. "No, wait! I don't have my fizzy water machine!"

Okay, maybe not THAT bad. But I love my new toy. It's happiness in my kitchen!

Good Times...

I was just checking a friend's page on Facebook, and ran across her blog, which is super-well-organized. And she has a very detailed wedding blog section from her wedding in Australia. And it was SOOOO much fun, since I was her Maid of Honor, and she and her husband brought me all the way over to Australia.

Coolest. Wedding. Ever. (Actually, I'm blessed to know a bunch of people who have had cool weddings, very individual and awesome... like Diane and David, Emera and Ian, and Jenny and Johnathan. They have bucked the cookie-cutter trend and had something unique and gorgeous. But only Eleanor went to Australia!)

It was such great fun- we had to organize the wedding mostly by email and internet, as we were all scattered all over the world. There was family stress and high drama. She mentions that we were nice and didn't play any tricks on her wedding hotel room... what she doesn't know is how narrowly she escaped! We were one phone call away from having the stinky cheese platter delivered to the newlyweds... when her (very good) sister remarked that since she was newly engaged herself, that she'd better play it safe or reap what she sowed!

At the time, I was single and job-searching for the perfect job. It's great to look back, four years later and see how far we both have come. It makes me think that now it is time to make some paper cranes for my own Christmas tree!

With her 4th anniversary coming up, here's wishing a very, very happy 4th to Eleanor and Westley!

(The above photo is one I shot while El was showing me around Sydney. I just hope that I was able to gracefully make myself scarce at the right times so she could spend lots of time with Westley!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

And the BIG CHANGE...

Well, after the coolest Vestry meeting ever, it's official. I'm remaining at Epiphany (we all knew that, that was never in question, and that bridge is few fords down the river now...), Martin has his new job, and the commute is unholy.

We are going to be moving house, from very pretty and spacious but somewhat remote Southbury to tiny and compact West Hartford. We just got approved for an apartment in the cute Brooksyde Apartments on Loomis Drive. The grounds were well-maintained, the corporate apartment that is used as a show apartment is spotless and clean, the entryways and sidewalks and parking lots are free of trash and junk, and the staff are quite nice. We'll have a two bedroom townhouse. (Move date is Aug. 8).

I think the day has also come when I must buy new bookcases. Our books have outgrown my old bookcase. RC probably knows my pain on that account!

But the great part was the Vestry meeting. I mean, going in, announcing you have to move, and asking for a housing allowance can be a recipe for disaster. In fact, I knew someone in a similar situation whose apartment raised the rent beyond a point where she could afford it. She announced she planned to move in with friends and rent their 'in-law' space, and was promptly dismissed.

Instead...

Epiphany's leadership just blew me out of the water. Their conversation was grounded in reality, but also hope and expectation of God's grace. It was about what is good for both Epiphany and for me. I have rarely had the opportunity to feel like a church actually cared about me as much as they cared about their bottom line.

It was truly an example of loving your neighbor as yourself.

The results will be fantastic. M is thrilled, I'm enthusiastic, my other job is breathing sighs of relief... The only folks who aren't totally thrilled are my family, who can't figure out why I'd give up a gorgeous , historical farmhouse. Sorry guys, the flying squirrels and racoons just don't pay enough rent to make the commute worthwhile!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cool Lunchbox!

So, I recently have become addicted to this COOL blog on home design, and I discovered this morning that it also has a kitchen blog! And on that blog...

The coolest Lunchbox I have EVER seen! My current lunch box is pretty cool- It looks like a fabric version of a paper sack. I found it at Crate and Barrel in Alexandria- that outlet store that has all this funky stuff that is gone from the normal store.

This one looks like a space capsule! Ooooooooo!!!!!!! big eyes... very big eyes. Especially looking at the Amazon reviews and what people write about packing! And they pack snacks! My doctor told me I need to eat snacks. Therefore, I can justify this lunch box on the basis of snacks!

Actually, to be fair, all the math is right. If you tally up what you WOULD spend in the cafeteria or buying lunch each day, then lunch boxes are far and away the most economical option.

And you make your co-workers jealous. And I bet this can be easy to take on a plane! (If you pack all dry food.) oooooooooo...

Readers will kindly not mention this to M right away. I'm afraid he'll take away my computer so I can't read the cool blog as much. So far, I've imaginarily redesigned our bedroom, our shared office, and in real life, made throw pillows out of curtain scraps and a worn-out shirt of his...

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Change... is OFFICIAL!!!

And now the news you've all been waiting for! (We had to tell the official people first, of course! It's called life under authority to your Bishop, and all that!)

M has a fan-tab-u-lous, freakin' awesome new job... as the Museum Educator for Children's Museum in West Hartford! (yay!)

His first day was today, and he got to make slime. Yes, it's probably every guy's dream job. "Dude, you got to make SLIME? No WAY!"

We'll be figuring out over the coming months what this means in terms of commutes and gas prices (AI-ya!) But He and I are super excited. It's taken a long time for a job like this in this area to open up, and it's exactly what he's been preparing for for years. No more substituting, no more "schools for bad kids", no more lessons plans designed to teach to the No Child Left Behind laws and standardized tests.

It's all slime from here on out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reports of my demise... are not true!

Wow, so I just heard that apparently rumors are circulating that I've left Epiphany! Readers may rest easy... those are just rumors. I have no plans to leave Epiphany at this point in time. I mean, we've just started some great conversations about what our mission IS at Epiphany. Who are we, and what are we there for?

Perhaps the confusion arose because it is true that my Letter of Agreement is for one year. At the end of that year, we make mutual decisions about how we are doing as a team.

There is indeed some exciting news occurring, but I have to finish informing the proper parties first. It doesn't involve my job or anything like kids (back off, wanna-be grandmas!), but it is exciting for me and M as a couple. We have not, unfortunately, won the lottery or the Powerball. Announcements will follow in this space probably next week.

Don't worry about the cranky tone of the last post- there have been so many exciting things happening, I just get a little frustrated when people choose to focus on the miniscule things like vestments and being upset because a priest won't wear what doesn't fit, rather than celebrating the fact that the priest does have other vestments that fit and that the choir has doubled in size in one year, and that three people who previously didn't contribute to the church have demonstrated that their passion is in heavy-duty outdoor work. There's been some awesome stuff happening...

And the vestry is having some cool conversations...

And the Diocese is giving me some exciting work to do...

I plan to be around here for a while longer!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stubborn Priest

In other news, I sure hope that the parishioner who spoke to me was not as peeved as she appeared. One of my parish ladies appeared a little irate that I was preferring my green chasuble over the church one. On Sunday, the altar guild had put out the church one, and I replaced it with my own.

What I won't say is that I don't like the church ones... I think they have a distinctive 70's vibe. I call the purple set "Disco Lent". Yeah, it's like that.

What I did say was that (truthfully!) the church set doesn't fit. It's too big and too tall (from what I see). Having been made for a man, it does not fit a woman of my stature. And I'm fantastically average in so many ways. I'm a medium everything, including hat size.

I have a number of custom vestments made to fit me. I simply refuse to wear the things that don't fit. I wouldn't wear a pair of too-tight jeans out on the town. I wouldn't wear my husband's shirt as a dress to go to dinner. We all understand why a civilian would wear clothes that fit to go out in public.

That's the main reason I don't wear church vestments. They never fit me. The end.

Slow on the blogs, fast on the changes...

Ah, yes, it has been a while since the last post. We had a lovely week of vacation in Acadia National Park, complete with the camping and the sleeping bags and the cooking outside. It was very nice. We pretty much ate our way up and down the coast of Maine.

Then I was at the First Three Years' residency in VA, where a number of us recent Seminary grads reflected back on our first 3-6 years and discussed how the residency had been helpful. Sounds like the consensus was that:

We like having a mentor, a person who was typically (though not always) outside our own parish, who could teach us some ins and outs of our jobs. This person could be hard to find. Mine was great. He was my field ed supervisor, and one of his great gifts was his ability to challenge me in a safe way. He called me on my own unhealthy behavior, but he also tried to help me see the other side of the story. I like that he's a different race than me, and he was a safe place to discuss issues of minority and race. As a minority myself, it's hard to discuss sometimes! P. rocks the priestly world. I also really appreciated that he took a sabbatical in the middle of my residency, and afterwards, he really started modeling healthier behavior in a better way.

We like support groups. My fantastic group of women were the ones who taught me what healthy behavior looked like in an unhealthy parish. When I got off track and was giving up my days off to bogus emergencies and when a guy dumped me for just that, they were the ones who let me know I deserved to get dumped and that I was not behaving in a healthy, differentiated way. If I wanted to have a life, I had to draw my own boundaries. I would wish that everyone had a rabbi, a UU, and a Presbyterian who could do for them what my friends did for me. It takes a true friend.

We love our residencies! Having everyone together is amazing, since the peer support and the discussion about what has happened and how we've progressed is invaluable. After my first parish blew up, I spent a lot of time feeling as though I had failed as a priest. It's great, affirming, and blessed to be able to be with people who say things like, 'Wow, you look great! Your job sounds cool! You are doing SO much better than you were! Things are going well for you now!' and to be able to realize that, hey, they are right.

Changes will still be happening, but they are very positive ones... Stay tuned!