Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Worst (Best) Joke of the Year

Once upon a time, there was a Viking, Olf the Red. Olf the Red was a terror to behold, a dashing dangerous demon on the battlefield, a pillager of perfection. But his greatest gift was predicting the weather. Viking lords far and wide sent their emissaries to Olf to ask him what the weather would be upon certain days of the year- rain or snow, rain or snow, so they could know whether to go out and wage battle or stay home and eat meat.

Now Olf did not have a nicest personality, (I mean, come on, he's a Viking, hello!), nor the best table manners. But everyone let that slide because after all, every Viking had bad table manners. Sure, it bothered Olf's wench, Gertrude to no end that he was a total slob, cussed day in and day out, and belched the whole Viking alphabet for exercise daily, but she let it slide because he was such a good weather predictor, rain or snow, rain or snow, he always go it right.

The day came when Olf grew old and died, and to memorialize his unerring weather prediction skills, the Vikings made a rousing Viking song that we still sing to this day to honor the memory of Olf's skills:

Rude Olf the Red knows rain, dear....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thanking God for the Rice Cooker

Recently, after years of insisting I don't like single-use gadgets in my kitchen (with a notable exception for my olive oil/measuring thingie), I broke down and agreed to get a rice cooker. It has actually turned out to be super handy, giving me perfect rice every time, eliminating my inevitable burned pans and the excitement of one of us screaming "Oh my God, the rice! The rice!", and even steaming additional food (peas and shrimp, anyone?).

And right now it's saving my life. After two days of nibbling crackers, gingerale, and broth, I decided to go wild and branch out into a modified B.R.A.T. diet- I made me some brown rice, opened a jar of all-natural sugar-free applesauce I bought from a nice farmer at Whole Foods' farmers' market, and brown rice and applesauce it is for lunch. Probably for dinner, too. And likely for breakfast. Because right now, I can't imagine ever eating any form of egg ever again. I swear, food poisoning makes raw food veganism look REALLLLLY attractive.

But I picked up a Vegetarian Times at the market today, with a cute picture of what looks like a very yummy soup... in a few weeks when everything is normal and if my mom is nice to me, maybe she can get me to make it for family dinner!

PS- YES, the Christmas sermons are all set, and I'm just working on Christmas 1 (Sunday) now!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Which the Vagabond Makes Good Use of Sick Time

Well, I got in a few phone calls to cancel meetings that I am missing because I am recovering from having knocked at death's door. I mean, I totally spent most of yesterday in various stages of asleep-on-couch. Today I am feeling that much closer to normal, although I maintain that I will never eat anything ever again. Well, maybe saltines and broth soup. But that's seriously it.

In the meantime, I've been working on the revisions of my board certification papers, and hopefully will have those done by the end of today. I watched Coraline (it took me two days since I was so sick), and Inglorious Basterds (definitely Tarantino, though I think not one of his best). And that is about all I got done.

I've also been reading about triathlons and charity rides. Mostly because I am woefully out of shape, especially with this slow, slow, slow recovery from the broken hand. It irks me to no end that riders with much bigger injuries than mine could be back on the bike so much faster. The rest of me is physically fit. The problem is the slow return of gripping strength in the right hand, AKA, important brake and shifting hand. Anyone have a cycle trainer they want to donate to me so I can practice indoors for the rest of the winter? But at least I figure that nothing motivates a person like riding for charity causes, and benefiting other human beings. Ah yes, that helping-other-people thing gets me every time. Even when I say I want to take a break from helping other people and all I want to do on my time off is do something that just makes me totally happy without caring about anyone else, what do I end up doing? A few years ago, I was training for Unity Tour. Now I'm volunteering for Ten Thousand Villages. And I'm thinking about doing Team in Training, and maybe I'll think about raising some funds for the Fat Cyclist: Fight Like Susan. Partly because he has a great story but the way he writes about it is so human. And he makes me laugh. And he has some great photos of Lance Armstrong. :-)

But the really fun thing that I've just started researching that involves my own sweet M (who has by the way been my hero these past few days, what with the hard-core driving to the emergency room, and the making of soup and stuff) is going to be our next adventure over the summer. Disneyworld is going to be our big expensive vacation (it's amazing what you can do by literally saving your pocket change!), but we really do love our camping. So we are starting to plan a bike tour for next summer. Yes, as in, we ride out of our parking lot on our bikes, and we ride away into the far away lands, campground to campground, with a bike loaded with stuff. On the bright side, I am optimistic that loaded panniers will cushion any crashes. It sure sounds like fun to me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Survivor: Priest

I joked on my Facebook page yesterday about what a tough priest I was. As the Snow-pocalypse approached, I agonized over the weather. As I always do. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate being the one to decide to declare a snow day or not? It's so upsetting being in charge with stuff like this!

Finally, after a few conversations with wardens, I decided to head out to Southbury to hunker down in a hotel for the night and await the deadly snow. I also begged M to accompany me. This turned out to be a good thing, despite the fact that I had to pout a little bit to convince him to come. I also had to promise that I would absolutely not allow him to have any fun, but I would send him off to work.

We had a very nice dinner of Chinese food, where we even got a funny fortune cookie pack with TWO whole fortune cookies in one pack. Then we went to the hotel, where he worked and I goofed off. All the while, no snow fell. It was still dry when I went to sleep. It wasnt until I I woke up Sunday morning that I discovered the snow actually HAD arrived, though it was far short of the "still falling" predictions. I still canceled 8AM as the lot wasn't yet plowed.

We went to brunch. Such would prove my undoing.

By 10AM, I was feeling a little under the weather. By 11AM, it was full-fledged sickness. M picked me up and drove me home and by 4 or 5, I was in the ER being rehydrated from a nasty bout of food poisoning.

This is what I do so that my people can have their church. Yes, indeed. If they ever made "Survivor:Priest" edition, it just might come to me in that last final few...

Friday, December 18, 2009


For a long time, I'd been thinking about volunteering somewhere. True, I work insane hours. I tracked my hours for a few periods over the last few hours, and I usually just stopped counting when I hit 72. But I always felt like something was missing. Even though I work in a people-benefitting sort of job, I got paid to do everything.

I got the idea of volunteering. But where? I thought about the Humane Society, which I love and I love the mission, and I'd get to cuddle kitties and walk puppies and maybe do some dog training. But there were two main drawbacks: the drive over there (and I'm so sick of driving everywhere sitting on my tushie. I want to WALK AROUND ON MY LEGS, even though both my jobs requiring significant standing and walking. I love my Beetle, but I hate daily commutes. I miss my walking commutes!), and the fact that sometimes puppies and kitties dont get adopted and have to be put down. That would make me sad, and since one of my goals in volunteering was to do something totally happy, that could be a problem.

You see, in a parish that struggles with conflict, guilt-free joy can be hard to come by. In a hospital where my area includes the Emergency Department and Neurosurgery ICU, I deal with tragedy every day. Actually, I can sometimes handle 5 or 6 tragedies before lunch. A few weeks ago, I handled 6 deaths in my first two hours on call, and added four more before 7AM. That's a lot. The pager went off 27 times. I needed to do something where no one could get mad at me, or start to cry.

Enter Ten Thousand Villages. It's within walking distance, it's full of happy people buying stuff for their houses and as gifts for people they like, and it draws a crowd of folks who are fair-trade minded types who like to benefit the world with their shopping. And the shop is tiny and pretty and sparkly. I walk in, and as I pack boxes of gifts for customers, I am constantly saying "Oooh, I love these colors" "Oh, that's SO CUTE!" "Awwww, I have that cow tree topper too and it makes me laugh every time!"

In short, it totally fills the goal of no-stress happiness. At least for now. I like that. It's a big highlight of my week at the moment.

Actually, another highlight of my week, just so I can mention it, is when my Junior Warden shows up early at church and makes coffee. Because he's a really good coffee wrangler, and no one can make it like him, and he's one of those people who's got this gift of being upbeat and cheerful. No matter how hard I try to be in an early morning funk, he drags me out of it, even if I am kicking and screaming and trying to be in a bad mood. Actually, he could volunteer with me at Ten Thousand Villages, because he's got the great attitude down pat. But only if he can be the coffee wrangler, too!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

And a church that looks like you

And I suppose I should add that I have decided it is absolutely right to celebrate that Mary Glasspool is a lesbian. I bet people screamed themselves silly when Barbara Harris was elected, and I heard stories about how crazy the house went when Wilfredo Ramos was elected. It has nothing to do with their gifts and skills.

It's that the church finally started to look like you. So when you see the church, you see someone who looks like you and you know you are welcome here.

So I retract my earlier frustration for now, and I say let's celebrate it all, baby. Because it's time to celebrate that the church looks like more of us. Finally my lesbian sisters can look into the HOB and see what I see- a gifted, skilled person who shares their traits and who knows their struggle and pain and who can be their voice. And as a straight woman and an ally, that is something I should also celebrate. So I will not get frustrated with my sisters' celebrations. They have SO earned it, and it is time to shout it from the rooftops.

Thank you, LA- you did hard work.

PS, by next week, I expect that we'll be back to normal celebrating her gifts and skills TOO, right?

The Changing Winds

I just heard that LA elected two new BIshops Suffragan. I assume that both are open about their sexuality, though the news only mentions that one is lesbian. Personally, I would find it quite frustrating to be identified by my sexuality to the exclusion of any other gifts, skills, and sense of call that I bring to my work. Obviously, this is the big identifying feature that is making the news rght now, but I imagine she must be an incredibly gifted person. From the looks of the election, it was quite close. One twitter person called it a "diversity smackdown".

Now, even though I just said that I would be frustrated to be defined by my sexuality alone, can I just say: thank God that finally, Gene will have some company in the HOB! Finally, we are starting to elect people whose gifts we discern are right to be our various Bishops without fear of other parts of the world. Finally, we are letting the spirit call us in new directions. The fact that the election WAS so close, I think, shows how carefully that Diocese had to discern whither they were being called. So my congrats to LA. You did HARD WORK, people!

I think the winds are changing for us. The younger voices are starting to grow into their own voice. The voices that preached fear and limits have left the church for an even more rigid church. (I'm sorry for that. I wish we could have all stayed at the table, but I have found that I just cannot make everyone get along.)

This is the sort of church that gives me hope- this emerging church that risks seeing what could be. When I hear about a Diocese that discerns so carefully as this, I imagine a nationwide church that wants new things. It makes me want to run wild and rip up pews and put the altar in the middle amongst the people as all the people of God say Amen.

Of course, Epiphany will never let me pull up all the pews and they rather mumble Amen, but you know what? I see the winds moving across the face of the church, and I like to think that the winds bless Epiphany too... just as they are. Because the Holy Spirit and God Almight truly is JUST THAT BIG.

Wow, LA. Get yourselves a good stiff drink or an appropriately, attractively presented alternative of your choice, and I wish you a peaceful night, and a perfect end.