Monday, March 16, 2009

Hello, Lovers.

A year and some change has come and gone since last I updated this blog and three years (how? how is that possible?) since I began.

The problem with being a professional blogger is personal blogging becomes an unexciting prospect. People who drive forklifts for a living rarely are expected to go home and wheel the Hyster around during their free time (a hyster is a brand of jack. Don't ask me how I know this).

So a quick update of my life in the past year:

The fibromyalgia was a misdiagnosis. I have psoriatic arthritis, which is being treated and is almost totally under control. That means I've been living pain-free for the better part of a year and thanks be to God (and Remicade)for that.

School is still puttering along. I'm more than halfway to graduating, thank goodness, but I've still got many a weary mile to go.

The past year I've lost my beloved grandfather; the one man I'll ever truly and unreservedly love, and two of my uncles. I presided over two of the funerals.

My younger brother had testicular cancer which spread into late stage II, but is in remission and aside from a bitchin' scar that zippers up his torso, the kid looks good.


Well, I've got a key to the building, and they want me to run for vestry next year which I may or may not do. I'm pretty damn burned out, to be completely honest.

I've started singing again in an organized choir. We'll have been together for a year in May. My journey from professional soprano to not singing at all, to folk tunes and back to professional soprano is a long and sweet story for another day, and one with not a small amount of romance, either.


Now that I'm moving away from other online distractions, I will try to give this a go one more time. I'll attempt to update once a week, probably more as Holy Weeks looms large and I need to vent/cry/brag/whatever.

A few housekeeping notes:

This time I am not interested in playing nice. I'm not interested in being in anyone's sandbox (worthy sandboxes though they may be) and I'm especially not interested in being kicked out of one because I don't play by the rules. This is my pony show and --since this is the last vestige of my life not hemmed in my social confines of niceness or gentility-- I plan on defending it until the end, and doing it, in the immortal words of The Chairman, My Way.

That doesn't mean that I won't BE nice; I'm a nice person, that's just how I roll, and I'm certainly not out to offend anybody. BUT I want to make it absolutely clear that Sunday! Sundae! Sunday! has a loving but strict "like it or lump it" policy, starting right now.

Anyone indulging in pearl-clutching outrage and shock is welcome to do so, but will be pointed to a collection of online vendors selling a variety of socks and hosiery, all suitable for following S3 protocol on pearl-clutching (see also: sock in it, putting a damn)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Prodigal Sundae

I don't think I need to tell anyone that God is funny, but God is FUNNY.

Since we last spoke I have been formally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which I've been battling for the past year and a half but am only now feeling the brunt of.As a result of that and the accompanying fatigue/stress/pain I nearly failed out of college --incompletes, not actual flunking-- and stopped going to church entirely. I knew I needed to get back to church because I always felt so good when I was there, but by the time Sunday would roll around I would be so exhausted from the fibro that I'd just sleep all weekend, so I just didn't go.

I don't think I realized how unhappy I was until I took my vacation. When I found myself driving from Nashville to Richmond and detachedly realizing that I really didn't care if a truck killed me right there on the highway because my dog was safe, I scared myself right back into sanity.

What I didn't know then was that I was terribly ill. Not just with the Fibro, but with some sort of mystery disease combined with good old-fashioned Exhaustion. Not lower-case exhaustion, although I was that as well, but Big E Exhaustion. The sort that lands you in hospitals.

I got sicker and sicker. Christmas came and went and I didn't see or speak to another living person. I lost my voice for several days. Actually, I lost everything for several days since I don't remember much between the 21st and the 29th. I went to the doctor who discovered I was so dehydrated that the RN escorted me next door to the Injection Center, afraid I would collapse if I had to walk alone. I've slowly recovered and have gone back to work, albeit in zombie mode.

Then last Thursday I got an email.

It was an announcement that the 18-week Extended Discovery Class I helped facilitate last year was to start the following Tuesday, and I would be expected to facilitate again. I nearly lost my mind. Then God found it for me.

On Sunday morning I went to church. Not to worship, but because I had a meeting for a refugee ministry I co-chair. I was getting ready to tell George that I couldn't be part of the class when guess who tromps down the stairs and melts my heart?

George. I have a soft spot the size of Texas for George AND he was wearing the silk tie I bought him at Canterbury Cathedral.

Then I had a sudden lightning bolt moment of clarity.

I looked around the lobby at all the folks I hadn't seen in months and realized THIS, THIS is what it's all about. THIS is my life's calling. To love and serve the Lord with all my heart with all my soul and with all my might. It doesn't MATTER if I don't start seminary until I'm 31 instead of 30. I almost died (yes, I said it) this month because I'd let myself get so run down and miserable, and for what? So I could graduate six months earlier? That's ridiculous.

So I've decided to take the semester off. I'm taking time to refocus, get healthy and just put myself back on the path from which --through impatience and vanity-- I strayed. It's the best decision I've made in years.

Oh, and the funny part? You've probably already guessed. Last Sunday when I had my great big realization...that was Epiphany Sunday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Further Adventures of a Control Enthusiast

Today I did not control things that desperately needed controlling by me me no one else but me could be handled by others.

No, I really did. Admittedly it sounds like a small thing, choosing and pricing out a keg of imported beer. But it's huge. I mean, it's the beer. What if it's the wrong beer? What if it doesn't show up at all and we've got 75 people who were promised beer and there is no beer to be had? What if what it what if…BOOM!

Here's the thing, I'm not all that controlling in day to day life, I'm just not that high strung (says the girl who gets electrodes shot into her body three times a week to force her neck to relax) but when it comes to important events --especially parties-- where I am in charge. Oh sweet Jesus, watch out.

I come by it honestly. For the most part I'm the only person I know who has both the genes for good taste and for borderline insane micromanagement. My colleagues with good taste tend to live on the breezy "don't fence me in with your schedules and dates, man" side of life while my colleagues who Get Things Done, angels though they are, all seem to have the aesthetics defined as Early Nurse Ratched.

Plus, I'm judgy. I eye with suspicion anyone who --without good reason-- fails to hang their artwork at the internationally agreed-upon museum standard of "57 inches on center." I do not suppose these people are inherently evil, but I shudder to my very soul at the thought of letting them pick out napkins without appropriate guidance.

Still it must be said in my favor that I do not give vent to my crazy very often. For example, if the person in charge of paper supplies shows up with (shudder) kitty-printed multiple hued paper napkins of the 400 for a dollar variety instead of the respectable and God-fearing plain ivory dinner napkins (artfully arranged into a helix of course) I will not say a word and eventually, with therapy and perhaps a vacation, be able to let it go.

I feel like Jeeves when he retreated into the kitchen in great alarm when Bingo Little --one of Bertie's friends-- was speaking to him. When discovered by Bertie, Jeeves replied "I apologize Sir, I shall be better directly, it's just… that Mr Little's tie has little horseshoes on it. It is sometimes difficult just to shrug these things off, Sir."

Okay okay I'm here, and vain as ever

Oof, y'all don't even KNOW. It is well that I get paid for writing, because otherwise I'd never do it again. The irony is of course when no one was paying me or when I wasn't getting press, I could not write enough. I crafted perfect marble sentences in my head while I was getting my eyebrows done. Whimsical short stories birthed themselves fully formed out of my noggin while standing in line for Communion. They rolled around perfectly in my head and poured out from my fingers. Now that I've got "Manolo for the Big Girl" and "Ayyyy!" and all my university requirements, well, I'm pretty useless. I'm still writing but only out of necessity.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I did a photoshoot with 666 Photography (disclaimer: they love puppies and children and help old ladies across the street) and here is what Gayla calls "the teaser photo" i.e. the first low res shot of a series.

I can't say I love the jacket --a silk velvet reproduction 20's robe coat-- and the flowers aren't really my style, but she's a great photographer and Lisa is a genius with a make up brush.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Serious and Thoughtful Entry? Say It Ain't So!

It never bothered me when my mother and father got divorced, yet when I think about my beloved Anglican Communion splitting up, I find myself on the verge of tears.

Maybe I'm so heartbroken because I'm part of the reason the Communion is tearing itself apart. After all, I'm a woman called to the Presbyterate and the idea of a female priest in the eyes of the Southern Hemisphere Bishops --and many in the north as well-- is repulsive. "These women are not priests, but a new order of transvestites" one man of God so nicely put it.

Um you know what buddy? You're wrong. You can say women can't become priests because we --since we have breasts and ovaries and whatnot-- don't look like Jesus and thus can't become in persona Christi in the act of consecrating the oblations and forgiving sins, but …and I'm just going to step out on a limb here… I'm pretty sure that when Jesus was doing that, he didn't do any of it with his penis. That's crass I know, but the point is valid.

I truly believe that Jesus was both fully God and fully Man, both a ripped Jewish dude named Eoshua, and Christ the Lord, Savior of All Mankind. But y'know…he's been the only one who's been able to pull that off. So it seems to me that the rest of us either have to pick one or the other to imitate and take into our souls and I can't help but think that it's his heavenly, not human, nature we want to replicate and I'm pretty sure that God, the infinite and unknowable, doesn't care if his disciples pee standing up.

Okay, so that's all doctrinal stuff, but what about the practical side?

When a woman loses her child in childbirth, who's going to stand there with her as she rails against God for allowing that to happen? Someone who's never been kicked by the child inside them or even had their body swell with just the possibility of new life? Or when a teenage boy is struggling with his faith because he can't understand why God would allow him to be born gay if that just meant he was going to be cast into Hell?

I don't have the answers, but I have an idea and that idea is there are a lot of experiences in this world thank goodness and no man or woman can have had them all. Maybe instead of focusing on whose hand basket will make it first down to Hell, we should concentrate on finding as many ways to spread the gospel of love to as many people --especially those who are traditionally marginalized-- as possible.

It's just an idea, but I think it's a good one.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Bag and the Lady

She's exactly 5 feet tall in striped Ferragamo slippers and Ralph Lauren jeans (she has the hips and waist professionally tailored but she cuts the cuffs off herself and leaves them raw and bedraggled.) What's left of her hair is Vivienne Westwood red.

Her name is G-- and she's quite possibly one of the most fascinating women on the planet. Born 76 years ago in Tasmania she went to boarding school in London and

Switzerland, reputedly took Dali AND Chagall as her lovers, became an art collector, moved to Hawaii, ran a nightclub and a private art gallery. When she retired and moved to Austin she opened up a small shop, which she keeps booby trapped in the most delightful way.

See, she puts out bits of real treasure here and there and uses them to test a potential customer's eye. Spot the exquisite Victorian mourning cameo half-hidden among the handful of pretty but ordinary 1940's ones or the lone Schiaperelli along a wall of other, lesser hats and you instantly become part of her circle. You become someone "who knows" and that is where the fun begins.

When I walked in last night, all I wanted was a pair of earrings.

The dress I was wearing didn't work without them and I didn't feel like going home before traipsing up to The Domain for the unending tedium of an obligatory but all-but-soul crushing boutique crawl.

I found a pair of earrings --freshwater pearl dangles-- and a fun but inexpensive watersnake clutch where the skins faded from dark red to smoky-gray in a very Prada F/W07 sort of way. I was just ready to have her ring me up when I spot what looked like the corner of a 1940's alligator purse poking out from a display behind the counter.

I asked her about it.

Her face lit up. As she revealed it to me, my face did the same. I'd found the biggest easter egg of them all a flawless --and I mean flawless-- alligator handbag. It wasn't Hermes, but it was close and the quality was almost as fine. I have never seen a vintage alligator bag in such pristine condition.

We talked for the next 2 hours. Her romances with various artists, our mutual adoration for Galliano, the blessing and curse of being born with "an eye", and what exactly was wrong with the dress I was wearing.

By the time we'd finished chatting she had knocked several hundred dollars off the alligator, comped the watersnake, the earrings AND the Schiaperelli and promised me a private viewing of her personal collection of art and jewelry.

I'm excited and honored to see her jewelry, but I *can't wait* to hear about Chagall.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Boy and the Belt

I am old fashioned in the sense that I think men should be able to Make and Fix things. I enjoy Making and Fixing things too (mostly cocktails) and I believe I've gone on record saying that if the priest thing doesn't work out I'd like to be a mechanic. HOWEVER just because I enjoy something doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy someone else doing it twice a much.

Enter the belt.

Like Style Spy who inspired me I have been lusting after this Mossimo belt since the F/W 07show. Unfortunately, I'd have to strap two of the buggers together to get one to circumnavigate my waist, and I just don't have $3000 to spend on a belt, no matter how divine.

So I did what any red-blooded American girl would do. I threw myself on the mercy of the handiest guy I knew and begged him to make me the damn thing.

Friends, I was pathetic.

I cajoled, I wheedled, I made weapons-grade puppy dog eyes. I even went so far as to offer him cupcakes which is as we all know is one half of the one-two punch guaranteed to get a girl anything she want. The other half --which is not on the table since I'd like to keep at least one platonic male friend-- is not suitable for a family blog.

And because he is with the exception of Jesus and the three Johns --Wayne, Cash and Galliano-- my favorite man to ever have lived, he agreed to make the it for me.

So hurrah. I will soon have a fantastical belt, suitable for all my modernist cage corset needs, which as you know are many. The victory is bittersweet though. See, soon he'll know my real measurements.

…and then he'll have to die.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's 2:26 on Friday morning and I cannot go to sleep. I can't concentrate on blogging either, I've just been immersed in trying on different tops which I've cut up and worn back to front with a DVF ballet wrap sweater I just can't seem to make work. I've tried on all my unworn shoes and ate a truly disgusting piece of banana cream pie which I bought --though heaven knows why-- at the grocery store while I was avoiding coming home.

I want to do something to keep my mind off tomorrow, or rather, today because today, Thomas goes to his new family.

This is how it went down. I got a call a week ago from my apartment manager, Steve told me there's a law against potentially aggressive breeds and for some bizarre reason, English Bulldogs are on that list. I needed to "remove the animal" or be evicted.

I'm still not sure that was legal, but my lease did say something about dogs over 55 pounds, which both Thomas and Dozer are, though just barely. I didn't want to risk losing Dozer too, so I did what I had to do. I found Thomas a new home.

I didn't want to do it, of course I didn't want to, I wish I could have said "go ahead, evict me" but I can't have an eviction on my application to seminary. They'd toss me out before I was even let in.

I'll be honest as well; he was too much for me. Too strong, too dominant, too stubborn for someone with a chronic pain problem so debilitating that sometimes I can't move my arms or walk across the room.

Even after six weeks of intensive doggy bootcamp --I only paid for two, but the trainer didn't think Thomas was ready after only two weeks. He was a tough nut to crack-- he obeyed the collar, not me.

I never bonded with Thomas the way I did with Dozer and I know it was my fault. I wasn't aggressive enough with him, didn't have the time to take him to the park every day like I did when Dozer was a pup. I love him SO much. but I failed him. I wasn't strong enough.

His new home will be much better than the one he made with me. He'll have a big family with a mother and a father and two adult boys, a couple of dogs to play with who can wrestle just as hard as he does, and a great big yard and tomorrow after a bath and a brush I'll deliver him there.

G'bye Tonkus, my handsomest hound.
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