Monday, March 21, 2011

Mortality Moments

I made it all through the weekend and through a really tough day today, and here I sit blubbering after a father-centered How I Met Your Mother episode, even though it's a story that doesn't resemble mine in the least. I just ate almost an entire package of Trader Joe's Almond Clusters, and some lovely wine, and I'm totally exhausted.
It's just... my parents got so old, so fast! How did I miss that? I mean, I knew they were getting older, I've seen the difference over the years, but it still somehow seems so surprising.
I used to think about people getting old, and wonder- the very last time they skied, or did a cartwheel, or ran, or skipped, or played catch... did they know it was their last time? Would that make a difference? A major reason that I got the surgery two years ago now was so that I could run again before I die. That's so grim, I know! But I'm not ready to do things for the last time. Already I'm facing the mortality of my eyes- all my life I thought it would be so cool to have glasses, and now I do, and I can never again not need glasses. Same thing- I totally knew it was happening, but now that it's happened, and can't un-happen, it seems so shocking and sudden.
Today at work we met as a staff to plan for our pastor's absence, as he is having bypass surgery. We all prayed along as our Parochial Vicar anointed him. Outside, snow fell and interrupted our new spring, and I felt deflated, and adrift. I know I'm not the first or last to face mortality- mine or my own. I'm not leaning to the optimistic, nor the pessimistic side... both seem tempting, but both seem, well, too easy.
We read this Sunday's Gospel, where the woman at the well said “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” I thought, yes, that is what I want- I want to know how it all turns out. Also, I want to stop the clock.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Call now to pledge.

I didn't see much of the news today, even as I have been glued to it lately to follow the situations in Libya and Japan, and everywhere. It seems like a particularly doomy time in the world. But today I was spending time with my Mother and Scott, while my brothers were with my Dad, who was waiting all day and then enduring a cardiac catheterization. Mom had been sick and was dehydrated, and we were charged with getting her to eat and drink throughout the day, and keep her company while she (and we) worried about my Dad. The day was filled with looking for chores to do, walking Mom to the bathroom and back, and terrible, terrible pledge programming on PBS.
The news from the catheterization was less than stellar, but not completely doomy, so we are all letting it sink in and processing it in our own ways. I'm learning about myself and how I handle stress through all this, and today I learned how to make fish chowder (it's not hard!) and re-affirmed that I am not going to quit my day job and look for one in elder care; that is, it's not my gift. We did get her eating soup and drinking water, and not to fall down today, so I guess that's good, but all day I've felt like a bit of a bumbler, fish-out-of-water, not knowing what to do with my hands, that kind of thing. Being the caretaker means being a good soldier, too, and not meeting Mom on her way out of the bathroom with teary eyes and swollen lips (my lips swell when I cry. It's not pretty). I want to let Mom deal with this new reality in whatever way she needs to, even if it steps on my way of dealing with it. I reckon I'll process it all through on the way home, later.
Seriously, though, what is the deal with these PBS pledge shows? First there was a tribute to 50's music, with old people singing their old hits- some looked pretty good, but some of them? Wow, they look like they're straight out of the wax museum. That's not charitable. They still have their voices, I'll say that for them, at least the ones who were obviously mic'd and not obviously lip-syncing. But they sing for two minutes, then the viewer must endure 20-odd minutes of people harping at you to pledge, backed by people who are clearly using ten-year-old computers. This was a RE-RUN!!!!
And don't even get me started about Celtic Thunder. They are not fooling anyone under 70- there is no way that crowd was full of real fans, it was more like one of those info-mercial audiences, filled with ringers: "WILL! IT! CHOP!?" My mother swooned over the youngest one, which is a little disturbing but you know what? Attagirl.
Now we're all in bed, gathering strength for tomorrow and whatever that brings. I'm not great at seeing my Dad as anything less than virile, so I will have to pinch my earlobes and be cheery when he comes home. So many things changing in life right now- in the world and in our corner of it. Saturday we celebrate the patron saint of our marriage, Joseph, and will lean on him a bit harder in the coming months. St. Joseph, protector of families; pray for us!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I know I've written here how bad I am at dealing with anticipation... and here I find myself today with nothing to do but anticipate. Today I'm home from work, waiting for a 2:00 mammogram appointment, after which I'll come home (to put on deodorant!) and then wait for my 6:30 class to begin, and then home again for the night to wait until morning, when I head up to visit my parents and family while my Dad has a cardiac test.
In stressful situations, I want to do something. I want to get packed, I want to gather the stuff I need to bring up to their house, where I'll be cooking dinner- I want to find recipes, I want to go shopping for supplies. But, mostly everything I need will have to be gotten at the grocery store on the way up, so I can't gather that yet. My laundry is done and my packing almost done, and I can't do any of the cooking I plan to do, ahead of time, either.
I'm not nervous about the test, but I want it to be over because I want to be able to plan for what comes next. Denial of the possible outcomes doesn't help me in the way that planning for them does. It feels better to do something than to do nothing. So, my kitchen's clean, my bills are paid, the garbage is out, I'm ready to get ready- and I'm ready for what comes next. I just want it to hurry up and get here. the suspense kills me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Downhill Battles

Well, well, well. I guess it's fan-hitting season, and I didn't get the memo.
That is...
This Sunday, we will hear about the Transfiguration- wherein Peter, James and John follow Jesus up a mountain, get to see His Glorious Self revealed, and freak out a little. They try to come up with a plan to celebrate the goodness of this revelation (let's build tents!), and consider staying up there for a while, soaking it all up. Jesus, as Jesus does, says something like "dur, NO." He walks them right back down that mountain. Jesus really forces His followers to face reality- the reality of who He really is, and the reality of the real world off that mountain.
And here we are in Lent, which I get excited for every year, thinking it'll be this glorious time of spiritual growth, wherein Jesus and I will grow close and I will have warm feelings of happy religiousness. I always expect it'll be like a glowing 40 day retreat, but every year, it's a little bit more like... boot camp.
I want to imagine that a relationship with God is cozy, warm, and easy- I want to stay on the mountaintop, basking in His glow, but the truth is, it's hard. Ministry? Hard. Real life? Hard!
And I have a really, relatively, super-easy life. My house has, so far, not been wiped out by a tsunami, for example. Still, this life stuff, it's hard work. But... I'm willing to do the work of being in relationship with God, on and off the mountain, and I will lean hard on his assurances that I can be un-afraid.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Simple Woman's Day Book
FOR TODAY 2/12/11...

I know, I know, it's so cheap to blog using a fill-in-the-blanks structure like this, and I oughta just buck up and blog like a big girl, but for some reason the thought of cold-writing is just too much for me right now. So, you'll take the Daybook and you'll like it.
Outside My Window... it's almost hard to believe, and feels like I'm jinxing it just to even mention it, but Spring seems to be... springing. A LOT of the snow has melted, and the yard is a mess. Today I cleaned up the largest of the branches that were littering the lawn, and Scott couldn't resist doing a little sweeping out there too- the nice rocks that our landlord put down in the parking spaces last year are ALL OVER THE PLACE. It's going to take a serious amount of raking to get them back where they are supposed to go, but we're in that giddy, early-spring mood that makes us anxious to don our work gloves and have at it.
I am thinking... about my Dad, and a friend, who both are scheduled for the same cardiac procedure this week. As we get ready for Dad's, my siblings and I are maneuvering the visiting and worrying and whatnot. It's new territory for us, and there are so many of us, and we're all being careful not to be too pushy or too lax, or too impatient or too assuming, or... well, it's tricky stuff, made trickier maybe because we like each other and don't want to let this stress cause any damage to our relationships.
This weekend for Generations of Faith, we did a program that had a TON of moving parts- several speakers and locations and props and transitions, and we handled it as a team- but all evening as people ran up to me to ask last-minute questions about details unanticipated, I wished there was one central director who was in charge.
In both settings, my family and at GOF, it's harder to work as a team, but at the end of the day (night) it feels good to do high-fives all around (we actually don't high-five, but you see what I'm saying) and know we've really worked well together.
I am thankful for... my job! (Do I say that every time?) In our Archdicoese, we're looking at a reorganization, whatever that might mean... and, we really have no idea- there's no real information forthcoming from the Powers That Be, which leaves us with nothing to do but imagine outcomes, best- and worst-case. I'm so fortunate to be where I am, and it is scary to think things might change...
From the kitchen... NOTHING! I missed my weekly visit with my favorite baked-goods consumer this week, which left me with no excuse to bake, especially since Lent is here. Today's errands turned into kind of a long process, and we ended up having dinner at a great local restaurant, and I broke all my Lenten rules. Sorry, God. I'll do better tomorrow, or at least Monday.
I am wearing... I totally got dressed today. But now I'm back in my pajamas.
I am creating... a retreat, for women! I'm doing a day retreat for a parish nearby, at a lovely retreat center, and I'm so excited for it. I think it's going to be a really lovely day.
I am going... to bed soon. MY lovely doctor has given me a lovely prescription for lovely sleep medicine!! I never thought I'd need help sleeping, but I was waking up a LOT at night, just about every time I would turn over. It is heavenly to sleep through the night, and not feel drugged out- I still wake up if I need to, and wake up in the morning fresh as a daisy. I love going to bed!!
I am reading... Not much this week, as I have been on Spring Break. Woo! But I have been reading the news accounts about the earthquake in Japan and the Tsunami, and all the other bad news in the world.
I am hoping... for a little good news this week. For Japan, for my friends and family with their various medical issues, for warm weather, for lower gas prices. Whatever- I'll take any good news I can get!
I am hearing... Some silly movie that Scott is watching, and otherwise peaceful silence.
Around the house... the cats are still in hate with each other, but mostly just hissing and growling rather than the old fighting. So, I guess that's an improvement.
One of my favorite things... oh, I don't know, I'm tired. I'd better head to bed- daylight savings, you know, tonight. Oh! Daylight Savings is one of my favorite things, I guess.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
crazy work week, back to class, and up to Maine to be part of the parent-care. Don't let me forget to write that paper that's due Friday!
Here is picture thought I am sharing.
It's Pip! She loves to get into our bedroom closet, although she needs a boost up to the higher shelves nowadays. But when she's done in there, she still leaps out of the closet onto the bed, and I got a great shot of her this time!