Angels We Have Heard
Are High

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Cavalcade of Bad Nativities
it came upon a midnight weird

The Passion of the Tchotchke
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Stations of the Kitsch


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Friday, July 30, 2004

Whenever two or three are gathered in my name...there will be second-guessing of TheRev's decisions

I haven't been to church very much this summer; I haven't even been honest enough to be actively avoiding going, I've just let any small excuse justify skipping a Sunday.

Church kind of sucks for me lately. This entire year has been all about giant upheavals - the liturgy is getting changed, service times are being shifted, and the music is getting an overhaul.

The changes are right, they're essential if St. Ned's is going to keep growing and have a place for kids who are older than toddlers to worship, but no one is in their comfort zone anymore. A lot of people I care about seem to be angry or hurt or anxious. Some are leaving.

I don't think there's any way for change to happen without pain, so in the largest sense, what is happening now has to happen this way. The choices are not to change, or to change and go through a big messy time. There is no easy way.

Which all sounds reasonable, but it turns out I'm not very good at the messyness part of it. I'm so bad at dealing with other people's negative emotions about the changes. I keep taking it personally when people vent to me. I feel like the enemy.

I don't actually bear a lot of the responsibility for what's happening, but I do support what TheRev is doing, even if I'm not enjoying the birthing process even a little bit. I believe it's the right direction, but I'm having a hard time reconciling that with the actual hurting people I encounter. I feel so useless.

I don't know what this says about me and my fitness to lead, honestly. I'm bothered that I can't do a better job of shaking it off when people start dumping on the parish, that I start getting defensive right away. It's hard because it's the first time that I've really felt my 'other-ness' - when being on staff and being a parishioner have collided. So the little voice in my head says that it's only going to get worse when I have a collar, and that I'd better figure it out now.

Mostly I'm just really sad today.
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comprehensive deductible

I feel like such a grownup today. I've been on the phone with Dennis' insurance company (USAA) and have confirmed that our renter's insurance covers my swanky sewing machine and new laptop, and switched over the car insurance to them, saving like $500 in the process. Go me. I may get this adulthood thing yet. I mean, just having renter's insurance should get us points in that area. I admit that I didn't have it before we got married

If you ever buy something at Cost Plus and it says 'minimal assembly required' it is a lie. A big honking two-and-a-half-hour lie. I picked up a baker's rack thingy for the kitchen to create more counter space and was still putting it together at 11:00 last night. It's lovely, though. Clyde the Wonderkitty was sitting on the bottom shelf this morning looking very pleased with herself. Operation Less-Sucky Kitchen continues.
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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Thursday Randomness

I got my official Skool for Deacons acceptance letter yesterday. I did cackle and yell, fools! but mostly for dramatic effect to amuse Dennis. I've been very quietly freaking out this week because it suddenly hit me that going to school will mean things like, you know, classes, and papers, and projects, and sometimes it feels like I'm barely holding my head above water now. I mean, normal, functioning adults do their laundry a hell of a lot more often than I do, so that it isn't like this huge parallel-laundry-processing event which involves taking over half the laundromat.

So, I guess that means August is going to be Get Your Shit In Order month. I need to finish re-assembling the kitchen, which is still exploded all over the house because as soon as we finished painting, we started getting leaks from the apartment upstairs. We think it's fixed now, sort of. I need to finish carving out the dining room, which will mean finding room for all of my books which are in boxes where the table is supposed to go, and since I'm paying for skool now, solving this through Ikea is not an option.

The fairy godchild is being baptized this Sunday - naked if I don't finish her dress. Actually, it's coming along very well, except that I have to go to Lacis to buy some entredeux (silly swiss trim which is holding up this project) and they are only open when I'm at work so I can't finish the sleeves until Friday, when I can get there.
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no, seriously. $25.99.

Kabbalah Red String

A centuries-old spiritual tool used by Kabbalists, this red string is believed to protect against the evil eye, a negative energy source. What makes this particular piece of string so special is, in part, the fact that it has traveled to Israel, to the ancient tomb of Rachel the Matriarch, and returned, imbued with the essence of protection. The string is tied to the left wrist—the left being the body and soul's receiving side—and worn to essentially deflect the negative energy brought forth by unfriendly and envious stares, unkind glances and looks of ill will. A feeling we've all experienced, the evil eye is considered by Kabbalah to be a powerful force and an influential factor in regards to achieving goals and everyday well-being. The string draws upon the connection to and awareness of Rachel and must be tied on by a loved one and sealed with Rachel's protective energy by reciting the Ben Porat prayer (included on a card). From The Kabbalah Centre. 72L".

I guess the nice thing is that maybe it means that Christians don't have a lock on the stupid religious crap merchandise market.

Oh, and it's at Target. I get a lot of shit at Target, but religion...not so much.
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Monday, July 26, 2004

Monday randomness

Really cool new object: the Lapinator, which makes my laptop compatible with shorts. That thing is a furnace, and this provides a more leg-friendly surface. I really love my laptop, like a big loving thing with a ton of RAM.

I have a new non-huge-crackity windshield on the bug. Finally. It's much less of a hoopty now. The guy who put it in told me not to wash the car for a couple of days. Yeah, like there was any danger of that happening.

Dennis is Mr. Rocking Husband. That is all.

I started taking a serious multivitamin a few weeks back. It's called Ultimate Woman or something ridiculous like that. After hearing about my grandmother's bones cracking every time she moves, I thought, hey, I don't actually consume a lot of calcium myself, and my diet probably is missing a lot of other stuff, so I got these big blue horsepills and choke down a couple a day. Thing is - I think they're working. I have more energy, anyway. So, hey, health.
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Friday, July 23, 2004

oooh, pick me!

Weird dream: I was at Skool for Deacons, and they announced that we were going to have to go to gym class. And the sport of the day? Liturgical Dodgeball. I woke up just as we were all getting into our white albs to start playing.

I have no idea what this means, but I think Liturgical Dodgeball is my new favorite band name.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004


Speaking of being twelve years old, did you know that "Is the pastor available?" sounds an awful lot like, "Is the bastard available?" if the person is speaking quickly and the connection isn't top notch? A mature person would not giggle about this. I am not a mature person.
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Whoo hoo, my new laptop just arrived. Dennis hung around at home this morning to sign for it, since I couldn't convince HP to deliver it to me at work. I can't wait to get home and unpack it.

I managed to delude myself into believing that I NEED to have a laptop for skool, and my old computer really just isn't cutting it anymore. It doesn't run Photoshop so much as it casually jogs. I mean, it's four years old and it was $500 then, so we're talking Celeron, and one-fifth the storage of Larry the iPod. Still, I will clear it off and take it to my parents next month, since it's more than they have now and it will get them online so that my mom can experience the wonders of eBay addiction.

Mmmmm...2.8Ghz Pentium 4...60GB hard drive...512MB of RAM...15.4" widescreen...DVD...wireless...drool.

The sad thing is, in four years, I'll probably be upset because it doesn't have a neural input like all the really cool new laptops. Of course, that will probably only be available on a Mac anyway.

This was all made possible by the insurance settlement from my accident last year, which is kind of weird. It's not blood money, exactly, just, I dunno, back pain money.

Oh no, I just got new yarn in the mail, too. I need multiple hands like Shiva.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Well, guess who managed to get herself all freaked out and stomach-knotted over what was ultimately a non-event? Show of hands? You, in the back - was your guess Sara? You are correct. Here's a cocktail monkey.

I have so many cocktail monkeys left over from the wedding. They're everywhere.

So, I had my Skool for Deacons interview this morning, which is why I was wound up and cranky and difficult for the past 48 hours, since I was pretty much convinced they were going to say, "Hey, God called...said you're kind of a fraud and we shouldn't talk to you. Toodles." as soon as I arrived. And then the stoning would start right away. But that didn't happen. It was a perfectly good conversation.

I wore Actual Makeup as a reaction to stress, which made me remember why I shouldn't put stuff on my eyes. My contacts got all gunky and my eyes were being all twitchy and I probably looked coked up. I couldn't find my Benefit cream shadow, and used a crappy old powder. Big mistake. Will be throwing that riiiight out.

Dennis was completely fabulous and drove me up there and fed my parking meter and walked to work afterwards, just so I didn't have to worry about all that. He's amazing. He also did the dishes this morning, which is supposed to be my job, and since I didn't do it last night the ants came and invaded and it was really really gross. He gets huge Husband Points for this morning.
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Saturday, July 17, 2004

will you take a dollar for it?

Today was garage sale day.  I got rid of a ton of stuff and had a very good time and acquired a smashing farmer's tan.  Ryan and I started setting stuff out around 8:00 this morning and the crowd formed almost immediately and stayed pretty steady for the first couple of hours.  

One of the things I found while I was pulling together stuff for the sale was the notebook I used for my solo trip to France in 2000. It was fun to look back on reflections such as:

Time elapsed between arrival and having someone call me a bitch: 25 minutes.


Tonight I got dinner at a Tex-Mex place (I know, I know) near the Republique. I got an enchilada with beans on the side. They were green beans.

I also put aside some childish things, or more precisely, sold them off for a quarter. Many of the toys from my old cube at Excite left with new owners. This was oddly satisfying.

The usual amount of group-sale horse trading happened; I got a modem to put into my computer before I give it to my mom (I have a new laptop on the way >>preeen<<), Sarah the Braisin' Hussy got some of our old mixing bowls and a D&D manual, and Ryan got some of my books. My car is full of the best leftover stuff, to go the diocesan mission in San Jose. Ryan has the rest of the books to take to the used bookstore, and odd bits to go to Goodwill. That box got a bit lighter after I did a fabulous klutz move while we were loading the car and eliminated the need to find a home for a glass ice bucket and a couple of goblets. What good is an ice bucket that doesn't bounce, anyway?

I know I've been a bit surface-y lately; there's all kinds of stuff going on in the head right now, most of which isn't formed enough to write about with any clarity. I'm having relationship questions about me and the Episcopal Church...not because there's anything wrong, but because I'm about to make a deeper commitment and I have to decide if its more annoying habits will drive me mad down the road. It's how I am in so many relationships...so focused on getting them to like me that I'm taken by surprise when I realize that I also have to decide if I like them. I am so twelve years old sometimes.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004

2 months!

We've been married for two months as of today! I just love it.
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Here is my renovated Handspring Edge, featuring several gross of Swarovski crystals glued on in a somewhat slipshod manner. I'm rather pleased with the outcome.

I went looking for my old favorite palm game, Dope Wars, and couldn't find a working link to it, but I did find Solar Wars, which is pretty much the same game set in space, with some extra features. It is rather addictive.
I took Dennis to the doctor this morning for his 50,000 mile tuneup.  In addition to getting a fabulous spouse, by marrying me he also returned to the Exciting World of Health Insurance.  So we got him checked out since I want to be married to an old man someday, instead of being a sassy widow.   Everything appears to be in working order.
While I was in the waiting room, I started knitting the new lime green Fun Fur yarn I bought recently.  Now this is a muppet yarn.  I was going to make a bag for the Handbling, but I don't think the yarn is compatible with the rhinestones.  So I'm not sure what I'll end up doing with it.  I have several inches of it so far.  Maybe it will be a scarf, or another sweater for Larry the iPod, since I keep giving them away.  Larry is smoother than the Handbling and less likely to get tangled in the fur.  I think I will use googly eyes for the buttons on this one.  
(later) done!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

larry's sweater

The Larry the iPod's cozy, knit in Boa yarn:

It's 17 garter stitches across on size 8 needles, over and over and over until it's long enough, then decrease at the end of each row to make the poiny part, and then crochet 15 chain st (for a big button like this one) and slip stitch into a loop. Sew up the sides. Add button.
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visit scenic Easter Island

Today's weird item: Tiki Head Tissue Box Cover

Rather appropriate since everyone around me seems to be sick. I'm doing ok, although I am STILL dealing with vertigo at night sometimes. It's just plain stupid.

I bought a ticket to Knoxville yesterday, and am going the first full weekend of August. My grandmother is dying in the hospital there, and my mom is trying to take care of everyone and everything and is having a rough time of it. So hopefully I can be useful for a couple of days. I wish I could go sooner, but that's the first weekend that I'm free and the flights are reasonable (yay, Hotwire!). I'm hoping that my grandmother doesn't hold on that long; she's in a lot of pain and is slipping in and out of reality (mostly out) and the doctors are trying to keep her comfortable but not doing anything else. My mom is up at the hospital every day, waiting for her to click back into lucidity.

When she's lucid, she's very funny. People have been flipped off. My grandmother was a hoot. One of my favorite memories of her is from my cousin's wedding, where she had an audience out on the smoking deck as she told all kinds of off-color stories. She has a scar on her forehead from where a vase of flowers fell off the bookcase headboard while she and grandpa were going at it. She was too embarrassed to get stitches until the next morning, so it scarred.

She played golf well into her 80s, and was really pissed off when she was downgraded to the B league from the A because her game started suffering when Parkinson's kicked in. She ran with a fast crowd of kids in their 60s, and outlived most of them.

She and my grandfather have been married for over 60 years, and they always seemed so in love with each other. Grandpa didn't go to war because he was blind in one eye...from a BB gun. Yes, you really can shoot your eye out.

I'm just a bundle of emotions this week. I really want to celebrate who Virginia was, because Virginia rocked like a big rocking thing that rocked a lot.
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Thursday, July 08, 2004

going going....seriously gone.

My ebay addiction has kicked back in again lately, no big surprise. I've been selling off a bunch of stuff (magazines! People will give you $40 for old magazines!), and then getting things for the kitchen, and maybe I've been dabbling in lace trims a bit. We're having a garage sale a week from Saturday, though, so that's when I'm really going to clear out some clutter.

The oddest auction site I've found is The Property Room, which runs police auctions of evidence and seized property. If you're looking for a set of grow lights, a computer with its hard drive removed, a set of bolt cutters, a very precise scale, or a cheap cel phone...it's all here.
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she's crafty

I have aquired a new superpower. I knit.

My friend Rita brought me yarn and needles last week and gave me a quick lesson. I worked on swatches for a couple of days, using Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook as a reference. Then I got bored and started making little iPod cozies. Yes, Larry the iPod has a sweater. I made a wool one, using the yarn Rita gave me, and then I got some eyelash yarn and made one for Ryan. It looks like I skinned a muppet. Very silly.

The wool one features a buttonhole, which only took me an hour and a half to figure out. I crocheted a little button loop on Ryan's, since it has a big plastic flower button. Anyway, it's a very satisfying thing to do with my hands while Dennis and I plow through our Freaks and Geeks DVDs. Best show ever.

My other small project right now is I'm glueing rhinestones to the flip-cover of my Handspring Edge PDA. It's a Handbling. I don't know why I feel so very driven to do this, but I got the unit really cheap on ebay because the cover is kind of scuffed, and pink and orange rhinestones just seemed like the best solution. I have about a third of it covered so far. I'm using 12ss stones, which are teeny, so it's taking a while, and involves tweezers. E6000 adhesive is doing a fine job, though. Once it's finished, it will need a little knit muppet-skin cozy for sure.
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Lord is all that

Hip Hop Mass.

"My sistas and brothas, all my homies and peeps, stay up -- keep your head up, holla back, and go forth and tell like it is." With this proclamation, Bishop Suffragan Cathy Roskam of New York sent people on their way at the Bronx's third Hip Hop Mass, held Friday, July 2 at Trinity Church of Morrisania.

Other highlights included versions of the 23rd Psalm, adapted by Ryan Kearse, and the confession, adapted by Tom Mercer.

The 23rd Psalm

The Lord is all that, I need
For nothing
He allows me to chill.
He keeps me from being heated
And allows me to breathe easy.
He guides my life so that
I can represent and give
Shouts out in his Name.
And even though I walk through
The Hood of death,
I don't back down
For you have my back.
The fact that you have me covered
Allows me to chill.
He provides me with back-up
In front of my player-haters
And I know that I am a baler
And life will be phat
I fall back in the Lord's crib
For the rest of my life

Confession and Absolution

Merciful God
We confess we have sinned against You and our Neighbor.
We have not done right by You.
We have not done right
by other people.
We are sorry.
We want to change.
Remember Jesus, Your Son.
Have mercy and forgive us.
From now on may we try to do what you want,
To the glory of Your Name. Amen.

It's Cool.
God has forgiven you.
It's a done deal!

Things like this make me happy. We're trying to re-imagine the liturgy at St. Ned's, and while this particular approach doesn't really work for the Whitest Church in Whiteville, I like that someone is taking everything out of the big Serious Church Stuff box and playing with it. We Episcopalians do love our liturgy, but sometimes we sort of love it too much, and get upset when something new happens.

I think if the liturgy is just The Way We Do Things, it keeps us from asking WHY we do them. It's easy to just start going through the motions, because this is when we kneel and this is when we stand and this is where we sing the Gloria and we know all this because we're in the club and have gotten through the awkward part when we didn't know it. It's not comfortable when things change and all of a sudden everyone is a newbie again, but it does create opportunities for new moments of grace, for a certain phrase you've said a thousand times to hit you with its full force because the words have changed slightly and you have to pay attention again.
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coffee? tea? nap?

On Sunday, Dennis and I did coffee hour at St. Ned's. The person who usually does it wasn't available, and the people who usually fill in weren't available, so I called Dennis and he agreed to take it on.

It all went pretty well (except for the getting out of bed at 6:00 a.m. part, since we had to drive to St. Ned's and be set up by 8:30 a.m. for the early service folks). The only thing we couldn't figure out was the art of working the giant 60-cup coffeemakers. I couldn't find anything which said how much coffee to put in them, so we just kept making pots on the 15-cup machine and filling carafes. Dennis said that the big percolators can make really bad coffee if you don't know what you're doing, and the church wasn't going to serve bad coffee on his watch. He seemed to have a pretty good time with it; hospitality is definitely one of his gifts. We went home tired and covered with little bits of coffee from the grinder, but content.

Everyone thought we were being swanky because we used the china coffee cups instead of paper ones, but actually we arrived Sunday morning and realized that we were out of paper cups and had no choice but to get out the china. Really, it wasn't that much more work, and it did look nice. I think the no-paper thing may have technically been my fault, since I didn't place a supply order, but um, yeah.

Fun fact about me: I am incapable of making Tang. Not just because it's hard to get the astronauts into the juicer, either. I think the breakdown was in the difference between 'heaping' scoop and 'level' scoop, but I made it so strong the nursery sent it back to the kitchen. Ooops. Dennis fixed it, and we made three correct pitchers out of my two crazy-strong ones.

All in all, not a bad way to make $75.00 for a morning's work. It's weird; last month I was starting to feel kind of stressed out about money, because I will have to pay for Skool for Deacons somehow, and now it just seems like little cash sources are popping up everywhere. I've got some housesitting gigs, and sales are way up on my t-shirts, and the insurance company finally settled my accident from last September, so we're going to be just fine. I wish I could have a custom message pop up when I log into online banking. Maybe something like, "God Provides, Twit. Stop Worrying."
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Sorry I've been MIA for a bit. I have much backfilling to do on the events of this weekend, which was a very very yellow kind of time, since the kitchen has finally been painted.

So, it's a Tuesday that feels like a Monday because of being off yesterday. It also feels like a Monday because I dropped my entire diet coke all over myself at lunch today. Nothing like wearing damp jeans to make a person feel cool. At least I was able to snag a dry St. Ned's t-shirt back at the office.
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