Friday, January 29, 2010

Simple Woman's Day Book- lotsa links edition

FOR TODAY 01/29/10...
Outside My Window... The wind is blowing like crazy, and it's wicked cold out!! Today I ventured out to the grocery store but my list blew out of my pocketbook and away. I had to wing it, but I think I got almost everything we needed. I managed to spend plenty of money. Anyway, outside my window, it's cold.
I am thinking... about how good my life is. I met with friends from my old parish this week, and they had lots of stories to tell and good good gossip, and I had nothing. It's because my life is so good right now. Nothing big to tell, except for all I have to look forward to. I'm getting together with friends tomorrow and will have no stories to tell. Ah well, such is the good life.
I am thankful for... my job. We are hosting a three-night workshop this week and have over 70 people registered. It's going to be so good!!! Nowhere else can I imagine this working so well. I'm so thankful to be part of this community, working with my husband, in a great parish. I am truly fortunate, and truly thankful.
From the kitchen... I just made chocolate caramel bars with sea salt on top, for tomorrow's gathering. I am DYING to try them but they're supposed to be in the fridge overnight. I'm also going to be making puff pastry/cheese/onion thingies tomorrow too. YUM.
I am wearing... jeans, shirt, blah blah blah... but not for long, because Kate is here to give me a massage!!!
I am creating... just the food stuffs, oh and I've been trying to Linkmake a crocheted giraffe. I'll keep you posted on that.
I am going... to a friend's house tomorrow, to dip in her hot tub and drink wine and eat great stuff and see wonderful friends.
I am reading... I was called to Jury Duty this week, and brought all my homework with me, and took a pretty good stab at it, but after a while I had religion fatigue and switched to Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea... by Chelsea Handler. It's a chuckle-out-loud kind of book, simultaneously funny and horrifying.
I am hoping... that all the people who registered for the workshop show up, and love it.
I am hearing... Scott's playlist while Kate gives him a great massage... also Scott moaning... :)
Around the house... the caramel bars are in the fridge, taunting me!!
One of my favorite things... is a weekend off. I had the craziest week! Three classes in three days, plus lunch, plus meetings and the usual whatnot, and jury duty Thursday. I was thrilled to sleep late on Friday and to look ahead at a nearly empty day. Maybe the free-ness of my weekend this time around is accentuated by the near-miss of almost being empaneled on the jury for a child-rape case. It was pretty close!! I think they dismissed me mostly because of my Catholicity. I'm so glad not to be going back there Monday.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Our Called and Gifted workshop, of course! I'm so excited. I think it's going to be great, but of course I do have Hostess Anxiety. I hope I've thought of everything, or will, in time.
Here is picture thought I am sharing.
It's the chocolate caramel bars, all set up and salted. Don't they look good?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Retreat of My Own

Scott's away this weekend on the yearly Sophomore retreat, and I stayed home with GOF responsibilities. It was my first time back in the saddle of Youth Ministry after a couple of years now, and I was excited and nervous to be back, even if temporarily. I pulled out all my greatest YM hits and had a couple of extra go-to goodies in my bag, just in case, and I think it went fine. It's well-timed for my annual retreat season mourning period for my Youth Ministry days. I get another shot at it tomorrow.
Meanwhile, between GOF's I've had a whole day to myself. Oddly enough (and maybe I've written about this here before?) I think that at heart I am an introvert, well, a little at least- I crave days like this, where I don't have to talk to anyone, or hear any noise, or be anyplace at anytime. Even when we travel, at some point in the day I feel a real need to head back to the hotel room, to touch home plate in some way, and once I have, I feel ready to go back out there. Today is an elongated version of that, I think.
So I slept a little late, had my usual low-carb breakfast (I have a one-egg omelet every day- usually with spinach, mushrooms and goat cheese, but when I run out of goat cheese like today, it's with cream cheese. And bacon. Two strips.) and then puttered around a little. I had considered day trips- maybe to Maine, maybe a drive to parts unknown with my camera- but as the morning went on, I was feeling pretty good where I was. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and took a shower and then went out into the world.
I have ordered all my school books but not all have arrived, including Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer, which I am to have read by Tuesday noon. So I went to the Barnes and Noble nearby, bought a coffee, and sat down and read the whole darn book. (Is that stealing?) It's a great book, it turns out- I can't wait to get my own copy so I can scribble in it, there are lots of great lines.
Home again, I cooked up some cheddar cheese crisps (oh my GOSH they're good! And so easy! Nothing better than a new way to eat cheese!!) and did my chores, finished all my reading for school (!) and now here I am at last in my chair, snug in a sleeping bag and dreaming of dinner.
I know Scott's weekend is going well, and I like the idea of my day being full of prayer for him and his kids and team. I simultaneously love the staying-in and lone-ness of this day and can't-flippin'-wait for him to come home.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Word!

Yes, Virginia, I did find my word! (At least, I'm pretty sure- this is the word that keeps coming back to me... so far) My word for this year is...... wait for it....... REACH.
I know, it doesn't sound all that exciting, but to me, it has intriguing meaning. I think it means that I need to reach out to more people, in ministry and in my personal life (heck maybe I'll have a #1 next year if this works out). I think it means that I need to spread out and reach new areas and ideas in my work. I think it means that I should reach beyond my comfort zone, beyond the things in my life that hold me back.
When I explained it all to Scott, he said "that's very positive!" and that is all the affirmation I need. So here I go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today on my way home from class, I got a call on my cell phone from a number I didn't recognize. I often don't answer my phone even if I do know who's calling, as you may remember... but especially this evening, I decided to ignore it and wait for a message. I was on Storrow Drive and it was dark out and busy, and that's a crazy road!
A while later (it took quite a while, so I should have known...) I got the beep for a message. I dialed it up (on a much saner stretch of my route) and heard that I'd been butt-dialed. I think it's happening more and more nowadays, with people using touch-sensitive, non-flip phones.
I couldn't help myself, I listened to the whole thing. It was probably a minute long, and I couldn't recognize the voice that I heard, muffled, in the background. But I could tell that they were... closing drawers? Yes, I think that's what that sound is... I pictured the caller in their bedroom, putting clothes away after finishing their last load of laundry. I imagined it was a busy Mom, probably telling her kids to clean up their room or finish their homework, or that dinner would be ready any minute. I bet she'd just come home from work and squeezed in that last load between picking up her kids and getting dinner on the table.
Of course, I have no real idea. But I can't be the only one who will listen to a butt-dial message. It's a sneaky glimpse into the life of a stranger, a misty hint of a life's story. I think I like butt-dial messages better than voice-mail messages!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Year Still New...

One of our youth group-ers asked me the other night "how long into the new year is it acceptable to say 'Happy New Year' to people?" After some serious thought, I said that 5 days in was the limit. He told me he had wished someone in a store Happy New Year and she had seemed quite taken aback. But he confirmed that it was on the 7th, and therefore my 5 days answer was right on.
But here I am still mulling over the newness of the year- I can't let the resolution thing drop. I have started backing my car in to spots, a little (once) and I think I'm not all that good at it, so the resolution will be good for me, I think. I picked it because I have this vague worry that I have done something in my life for the very last time before I die, and have not known it. I know, seriously, what a crazy fear, huh? But I wonder if my Dad knew, that last time that he skied, that he'd NEVER do it again. It's why I want to try running sometime.
This year I did not publish my Top Ten Friends list. I have more than ten friends, and fortunately it was not hard to come up with a bunch to place on the list, but I realized in the process of it that I don't have a #1 this year. I have a clear #2, and following, but no #1. I don't consider this a sad thing, because my list and dinner schedules are otherwise full. But without a #1, does that mean I should, de-facto, promote my #2 to #1? I think my #2 would be a little weirded out by being told s/he is my #1. I just haven't decided how to proceed, so everyone will just have to try and survive one year without knowing how they rate in my life.
Today I found a blog article about choosing a WORD to focus on for the year, rather than a goal. Ooooooh!!! What a neat idea!!! I don't know what my word might be, but I'm intrigued. I think I'll ask God for a word and see what comes to me. Or maybe I'll field suggestions, that ought to be interesting...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hurry hurry hurry hurry..... (run!)

I visited my spiritual director this morning, and as always, came away with lots to chew on. I was telling her about my whole hurrying on of time that I've written about here, and how I've become more and more aware of my tendency to do this over the past couple of years. I told her that it had been a lifelong trait of mine, described how my walk home from school was usually 20 minutes (while I dallied and played and sang songs to the trees and visited the neighborhood pets on my way down the hill) if I'd had a good day- but when I knew I'd be getting in trouble as soon as I got home, I would somehow unconsciously race there. I remember cursing myself (slow down!! Enjoy your freedom while it lasts!!) but I almost couldn't help myself, I just wanted to get it over with. The anticipation was an uncomfortable place for me to linger in.
Now I find I am worse than ever in this way- I have little patience for the introductory chords at the beginning of songs, preferring to jump right to the words- I click ahead on youtube videos that take too long to start. I have no patience for opening credits.
I even find myself checking IMDB for the ending of movies so I won't have to wait to find out.
The same thing happens with my relationship with God. I don't like to tarry in the unknown and unknowable, I want to get TO it. I am happy to learn from God and happy to do what God wants me to do, but come ON, just tell me what you want and I will DO it already!
The weird thing is, I find myself in a section of life that I am enjoying so much- I am so happy right now- that I pray for it to go on for a while. But it is a tension that I see and fight in myself constantly. It can very easily translate into a fear or doominess, a waiting for another shoe to drop.
But the good news is, I know that no matter what, I end up okay. I end up loved and grown by God. I'm curious to find out how it will happen each time, but I always do know that it will. I guess that's what they mean when they talk about waiting and hoping "in joyful expectation."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I like to sing-a!

When I was interviewing for my social work job at the Department of Social Services, they asked me how I handled stress. They wanted to know if I had things that I would do to deal with high stress. Any habits, techniques, rituals? I told them that when I'm stressed, I sing really loud in my car.
That is still true- when I have a hard day, and get into my car with tense shoulders and a tight throat, I find just the right song to belt along with, full throttle. By the time I get home I am looser, more relaxed, and happier.
I love to sing when I'm happy, too- I love to use my whole voice- love the feel of it bowling out of my lungs. It is cathartic. The words of the song can help, but it's that feeling that really makes it real and good and important to me.
We finally did have our Lessons and Carols concert, just in the nick of time, the very last night of the Christmas season. The concert went well and I benefited from the extra rehearsal we got between the other two postponed dates. I had a lot of fun singing with the group, and stretching my brain again to read that alto line, and I had the BEST time with my friend Kristen, who (whom?) I dragged along with me- an absolute blast.
I like to sing-a!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Scratch that.

Well, I've blown through two or three New Year's Resolutions already. The first one was "Be nice." I haven't necessarily been MEAN, but I have been un-nice. The second day of my new way of life was a less nice day than I've had in a while. Ah well. No point in keeping on trying, right?
I think I'll take a break and put all my resolve into my Lenten promise. Lent is just around the corner.
But true to my form, I'm looking forward to a lot of great stuff in my future. In February we get back to LOST- did you hear that they rescheduled the State of the Union Address because it was scheduled for the first night of the new season of LOST?
And of course, I'm looking forward to Lent, and then to Easter, and then to the week after Easter when we will be heading to Vegas for the National Conference of Catechetical Leaders.
And by then, I'll probably be better in many ways, due to my wildly successful Lenten promises. Link

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY 01/02/10... my first time writing the new year!
Outside My Window... The snow piles up, slowly but surely. It's been snowing since forever but there's not a huge amount of snow... tonight the wind is supposed to whip up and more snow is on the way.
I am thinking... about whether or not I'll get to work on time tomorrow morning. Sundays are not good days for snow when one works at a church, and the first Sunday of each month is especially busy for our parish. Baptism registrations, Coffee and Donuts after Mass, Baptism class, and this weekend was supposed to be the Lessons and Carols concert, postponed from December because of... snow. We shall see what goes on and what doesn't, but I'll be glad to get in there, having made it through the morning commute.
I am thankful for... the amazing blessings/fortune surrounding me, including a husband who calls me "my love" and laughs at my jokes, a cat that is playing, literally, with a ball of wool, and a fridge full of food.
From the kitchen... Yesterday I made a family heirloom recipe, Potpourri Soup. It's a tomato-based pot of yum, with barley, celery, hamburger, carrots, and cabbage, and it's deeelicious and perfect for weather like this weekend's. Tonight I have a wee chicken to bake. Nothing like the smell of chicken baking. Yum.
I am wearing... fresh pajamas! I've pretty much been in pajamas for two days now, but I did just take a shower after frolicking in the snow and have nice clean jammies on for the night.
I am creating... not much these days! I have a half-finished scarf for Scott in the works, and I haven't been baking much lately... I'm taking the break from school to heart and doing very little, overall.
I am going... nowhere. Scott is starting to get antsy after a few days lounging but it takes more than that for it to get old to me! Home is my favorite place to be.
I am reading... Nothing. See a theme here? I'm between semesters, so no compulsory reading, but Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates is sitting next to my chair tempting me.
I am hoping... that the new year will be blissfully wonderful and peaceful for everyone.
I am hearing... You've Got Mail (I was watching Lawrence Welk but Scott turned it off...) and Scott puttering around in the kitchen. Oh and there is that wind they warned us about.
Around the house... cats are snuggling up to radiators.
One of my favorite things... we got a fake tree this year, finally a Christmas plan to stick with (rather than the haphazard ways of yore, where we'd get a little one for the tabletop one year, then a big one, then one that Scott wouldn't allow us to put ornaments on, or the year we decorated our dress dummy.) I love how our ornaments from our lifetimes are mingled now on it. Another one of my favorite things is the way Christmas lights look peeking through snow in our neighborhood. Oh and the sound of a snowplow.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: things grind back up into normal pace this week, and I look forward to the return to regularity that comes finally after this holiday season. I'm looking forward to my shows being back on first-run, and eating like a normal (albeit low-carb) person, and having a schedule to my day.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Aw heck, why not- here are a few:

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Decade

I guess I didn't notice how bad the aughts were. I personally had some great times and some tough times, for sure, a true adult kind of life, with challenges and cheers. But I guess I didn't realize how overall badly this decade has been for the world.
It's not that I haven't been paying attention. I listen to the news, including the Canada news, all day every day- so much so that I do pretty well at the Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me news quiz every week.
But now that they're doing end-of-year and end-of-decade lists and reviews everywhere, I'm hearing everyone say that it was a bad decade. Of course: 9/11, war, Bush (there I said it), the economic crash, you know, etc. Even Daniel Schorr on NPR declared it good riddance and hoped for better in the tens. (Read 'em and weep!)
I remember as a kid, reading about WWII and imagining what it would be like to live in a time of war, and it didn't look, in my mind, like my life looks now. I thought war time would be a time of banding together, being hopeful, supporting the war effort, sacrificing to that end. None of that seems to happen these days. I wondered what it would be like to live in "hard times," and I guess, now I know.
But I'm hopeful for 2010- I am willing to compartmentalize life into decades and leave one behind in favor of starting another. So here's to Twenty-Ten, and beyond. Even if the aughts were really great for you and yours, I hope the tens will be better.