Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week Three

Day 16, to be exact, and it seems that the days of crying all the way home are done. I mean, it may happen again at some point, but I feel less at sea, less homesick for my former parish, less in need of curling up against Scott for deep want of familiarity. Good things are starting to happen, and I'm meeting great people and starting to get my bearings. 
This week I went over to one of my parishes to attend the noon Mass. I got there about 5 minutes early, and found the chapel locked.  In the parking lot, a car (almost) full of older ladies in rain bonnets said "oh the priest is just late sometimes, get in our car, it's starting to rain!" I climbed in, and they all introduced themselves to me, saying "Oh I read about you in the bulletin!" Soon, I realized I had a key to the chapel and let us all in. Inside I met another older lady, and we all mused about who would have to say Mass if the priest didn't show up (he did, thankfully). 
At Mass that day, we were joined by a young mother and her two year old, who was wearing a St. Michael shield and new the last few words of every prayer of the Mass. They sat right in front of me, and he would whisper to his mom "what's he doing now, Mom? Is he gonna drink?" She taught him the word chalice and he used it: "Ohhhhh he touched the chalice!! Wow!!" The ladies (including me) were delighted by his presence. 
That afternoon, I had a full-on conversation with the spanish-speaking custodian at our rectory. Here it is, word for word: 
"Oh Margo! Como estas?" 
"Muy bien! Como estas?" 
Pretty good for my first spanish conversation. Later that day, I downloaded this cool app (http://www.duolingo.com/) and I'm going to work on a few words a day. Unfortunately this app does not teach Polish, which would be really handy. Ah well, first things first. 
Today I spent the morning at one of my parishes meeting with the RE director there. She and her office mates were so gracious, generous, and warm, I felt so welcomed. I got a tour of the rectory (a HUGE old building, three floors and an attic! Huge!) and the school, also huge, which is used for religious ed now. They served me a deeeelicious lunch and invited me to move in. My former pastor (my first ministry boss!) is retired and living there, and it was wonderful to catch up with him. 
This afternoon, I met with my pastor and we traded some good feedback for each other. I'm feeling really hopeful about how we'll work together. I'm loving going to Mass during the week, and loving having appointments all over the city every day. The people are lovely, mostly, and the whole city seems poised on the edge of growth and depth. I think this is going to be good. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


Last Sunday I spent the day being "live waked" at my former parish- my last day there after 6 and a half years was spent hugging people, being given gifts, receiving good wishes, being blessed, and weeping. Over coffee and donuts, so many people came to say good bye and good luck to me as I left for a great new job in another town. Even my family showed up! It was an emotional and overwhelming day, and it was affirming that the work I'd done there had made a difference. 
This past Sunday was my first in the new job, where I'll be managing pastoral ministers and volunteers- a brand-new job in a brand-new collaborative of four historic churches. I'm excited about this job- the job description is one I'd have written myself, and supervising pastoral ministers is something I love to do. So far, the people have been lovely. And there are a taco place, a soup place AND a hot dog place (among many others!) within walking distance of my office. 
But change is hard, even good change, and after one full week I feel... tender. Hopeful, excited, proud- but homesick for my former parish and achy to not be working with Scott every day. Today he called to tell me that he misses me and I wanted to leap back in time and be in my comfy basement office where I know every nook and cranny of the church building, and everyone's name. First weeks are hard for everyone, and maybe especially so for introvert like m'self, and I've come home at the end of each (good, really! All good!) day exhausted and trying to resist the urge to crawl into bed (okay some nights, I haven't resisted. But to be fair, our landlord was having the living room painted so it was a mess... and there's an electric comforter on the bed! AN ELECTRIC COMFORTER! THOSE EXIST!!)
The other thing about this new job is that I'm working 9-5, like the regular folk do! I haven't worked 9-5 since I was a social worker, and I think it's going to be a different experience in a job I like, as opposed to... those days. I have a 12-or-so minute commute home and after a walk with Callie, I'm just... free. For hours. Time to cook dinner, do some chores, and... who knows what else? I think once it starts to get warmer and brighter, I'll be more productive. And, I think, once I get past the first week of crawly-to-bed-iness.
So how's it going at the new job? Great! And lonesome, and exciting and fun and sad. And thrilling! So, you know, so far so good. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

7 Quick Takes: New Year's Edition

Okay, it's Friday, right? Good. This week, between New Year's Eve and Day and the Snowstorm of the Year, I'm a little off-kilter. I was a little freaked out by all the work hours I was bumped out of by the snow, but it was also really nice to not be able to work. I have exactly 15 hours off between my old job that ends Sunday and my new job that starts Monday, and was wishing I could have grabbed a vacation day or two between, and BAM! 18 inches of snow later and I'm in my pajamas, snuggled up in bed watching a marathon of Dance Moms.  I still have work to do before I can call my current job done, so I'm going to sneak in tomorrow and crank it out without anyone knowing I'm there. Shhh. Now, on with my 7.
1)  I posted yet another cute picture of my dog on Facebook the other day and a friend said "you two are having so much fun!" and she is RIGHT. This dog is a dream, too old to get on the furniture (seriously, not even when you invite her- she makes a face like "pulleeease") and young enough to be peppy and fun. She loves the snow and hurls herself down to roll around in it.  She has been with us since early July and is really just now coming out of her shell with us- learning to look at us when we ask her to, and giving snuggles- when we first got her, she was kind of aloof. I really am having fun with this nearly-perfect and adorable dog.
2)  I have two new year's resolutions this year. First, I'm going to stop thinking so hard about what are the right socks to wear every day. I know this sounds weird, but I have lost precious minutes being paralyzed in front of my sock drawer in the morning, trying to remember the rules- are they supposed to match my shirt? Can I wear blue with brown? Pattern with a pattern? I don't know what's right, but I do know that giving this much energy to sock choices is wrong. So, I'm just going to pick some socks and go with it. I think it'll all work out.
3)  My other resolution is "use it or lose it-" which means, if I don't use it, I'm getting rid of it. Cleaning out my office has been a huge job, after 6 years of being at this parish. Some things were very easy to clean out, but some were tougher- a block of wood with affirmations scrawled on it from a retreat, a pillow signed by my last youth group, candle holders... so many candles. They were given in love from lovely people but do I really want to drag them to my new office? I look around my house and see SO MUCH STUFF. So much of it has a story or a meaning behind it, but it all just piles up. So I'm going to shed five things a day. So far it's been canned food (donating it), refrigerator magnets, and (ironically) socks. I know, I know, I'm threatening to shed over 1500 items but you know what? I can do it.
4)  www.conversiondiary.com, who hosts this blogging meme, is toying with the whole New Year's thing, and like her, I've gone "word for the year" instead of resolutions. I don't have a word yet for 2014, but she is asking what word would I retroactively assign to last year... and the word that pops into my mind is "CHANGE." This year so many changes came along that I did NOT see coming. They've been hard changes but I can see that they were important changes that moved me forward.
5)  I've been so concerned with leaving well, after having taken my current job from someone who left it a discombobulated mess. I'm probably over-doing the bow-tying, trying to make things perfect and easy for the person who's taking it from me, and I'm trying to strike a balance between making things good for her and trying to control how she takes it all on. I don't know what she knows and is expecting, and don't know what she's ready or not ready to do, but I do know that she'll have a GOF to lead a mere 4 days after starting, and I want that to be doable and go well for everyone involved. I don't want to undercut her, but don't want to leave her hanging.
6)  This week, while doing very little else, we've been bingeing on carbs. I know the tradition is to start one's diet on New Year's Day but I like to be a little renegade. Okay, that's not why we haven't started yet. It's more that we indulged in the spirit of these snow days, knowing that days of reckoning are coming. I don't regret one bite, except for the last bites of Chinese food I stuffed in my gullet tonight. I'm almost to the point of looking forward to getting my low-carb life back on track. It'll feel good to be healthy again. Whenever that happens.
7)  I am so excited for my new job, as much as I will miss my old job. I am in the curious position of having no vision for how it will go- I haven't seen my future office, don't know what my first days will entail... I wonder about how working in four parishes will be. Will they hand me a key ring on my first day with 24 keys on it? Should I be spending time in each building? Where should I be going to Mass? Where will I eat lunch every day? I can't wait to be on the other side of the wondering. I can't wait to get started.

Maybe with my new job and new schedule, I'll be able to blog more? Clear your schedules and set your bookmarks, people.  I have been reticent to blog for a couple of months while this new deal was being struck, but now I feel like I'll have a lot to tell. And I'll let you know if I get that word for 2014. LUNCH, maybe? KEYS? EXHAUSTION? NEW? Protein???