Monday, January 30, 2006

Why I Changed My Avatar

Why yes, she is rather different from the dancing water sprite I had up before, isn't she? But in truth, both represent aspects of me.

On the surface, part of the reason I changed pictures is an acknowledgment of my newfound "evilness" from my post a couple days ago. Just being silly, and looking for a different picture.

Part of it goes deeper, though. I have parts of my spirit I'd rather not see. And I have on occasion had flashes of insight when dealing with others, and realized things that they would rather no one knew about, including themselves. An acquaintance put it this way, when I asked her candidly why she had such trouble looking me straight in the eye. She said, "You see things I don't want you to see."

It is not right to be so focused on the light that it is all we can see. Nor is it right to use light as a way of hiding from darkness, for we are all made up of both. We are beings of twilight.

So this new avatar of mine, this dark elf, is a reminder to me to look steadily into the darkness so that I may neither fear it nor be snared by it. The beings of twilight do not do well when they focus on one side to the exclusion of the other. I am learning to live in both parts of life.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My Obnoxious Brain

I have noticed that there are times, fairly frequent times, when my brain will just not shut up.

It seems to enjoy making obnoxious commentary at the most inopportune moments, thus leaving me struggling not to laugh in a serious situation.

It gets its jollies most often by trying to make me laugh during choir practice-- or even worse, during choir performances!

For example, last year we sang a song called "Lord of the Dance."
Dance, then, wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the Dance you see; I will lead you all, wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the Dance said he.
And of course my brain immediately conjured a mental image of Jesus and the disciples riverdancing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

I mean, I found out later that this song was the one on which Michael Flatley based his "Lord of the Dance" step dancing show, but it didn't change the absurdity of the mental image!

Or how about the song we did based on Psalm 23? Actually, just this one line of it:
My table God has spread, in the presence of my enemies.
And my brain thought, "Hey, God must have hit the weekend sale at Gardner White!"

Then there was an actual performance error. The line of the song was:
Hail, thou Universal Savior.
So what did my obnoxious brain have me sing?
Hail, thou Universal Solvent.
And as any high school chemistry student can tell you, the universal solvent is water. Yes, I sang a hymn to water. Which I suppose could have worked if we were doing baptisms that day, but we weren't. I don't think anyone heard me, at least, or if they did, they didn't say anything.

These all happened last year. But lest I get comfortable and think that maybe the obnoxious part of my brain has decided to nap during choir, it started acting up again at Tuesday's practice. The song (which is really very pretty) was thus:
Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling. Calling, O Sinner, come home.
And my brain's response? "Gee, I hope Jesus isn't calling collect. That's really long distance!"

At least I'm not the only one whose brain does things like this to them. On one of the Advent Sundays, we sang "O Come O Come Emmanuel," which I believe is listed in church law as being required during Advent.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.
I don't know who did it, but I very, very distinctly heard someone sing, "and ransom Captain Israel."
*doo-doo-doo-DOO!* Captain Israel! Here to save the day from the Canaanites! More powerful than the Dead Sea Scrolls! Able to leap the Sea of Galilee with a single bound!

I'm just glad I didn't sing that one!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My Descent into Evil

I have a friend whose name is Joe. Joe is Evil.

At least, he says he is.

He claims to have Top Secret Evil Plans to take over the world and rule us all with his iron fist from an orbiting luxury space station. Granted, they’re very vague plans as of yet, but he figures he can fill in the details later.

Naturally, I must oppose these plans. I mean, Evil must be fought in all its forms, right? Even in the form of a friend with whom I exchange rambly emails on boring days at work. So I am now Joe’s arch-nemesis, as well as his friend. (Just because we’re mortal enemies, it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, you know.)

Today we were discussing the prevalence of snarkiness on the internet, and wondering what should be done about it. I suggested that once Tirithien gets through med school, we have him invent a type of surgery called a snarkectomy, which would render people incapable of further snark. Joe quite rightly pointed out that surgical removal of snark would be difficult to do, as surgery requires such things as consent. But a snarkectomy would be a mad scientist type of surgery, I explained. Therefore, there would be no need for consent at all. What mad scientist bothers to get the consent of his victims?

Apparently with this I broke character from my “good” persona, because Joe sent me this:

Ah ha! Encouraging non-consensual surgeries! You're coming around to my evil ways. Soon it will be entirely unnecessary to defeat you, since you will have become as evil as I am! BWA HA HA HA!

Okay. I guess I’m Evil now. Fear me. :-P I am Evil. I am wicked. I am immoral and malevolent. I kick puppies… wait, no I don’t. Even if I’m going to be Evil, I still have my standards, darn it!

I’m sure it won’t be so bad. Villainesses get much better costumes than heroines do, most of the time.

But Joe still will have to defeat me... if he can! I’m not giving up the arch-nemesis gig. I mean, if I’m Evil, I’m taking over the world for myself. Evil people don’t have to share. ;-)


Today is a day of incoherence.

For the past two nights, my neighbor has stayed up until 2:30 AM, loudly playing the same two Doors and Lynyrd Skynyrd CDs over and over.

And singing along.



Out of key.

It would be hilariously surreal if I wasn't so tired.

I'm not sure what has inspired this neighbor to suddenly become the neighbor from hell. He's always been very quiet-- I might have occasionally heard his TV, but that would always be during daylight hours. He's normally a nice, quiet, stoner-type of guy. But apparently now he's practicing to audition for American Idol.

I really hope this is not a new trend, or else there are going to be problems. Badgers might have to be involved.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Council of Elders

Yesterday was my church’s “annual meeting.” This is the day when they combine the 8:00 and 10:00 services into one service so that all voting members of the church can be there to take care of business for the year. Usually this involves a review of the budget and of the annual reports from various committees, along with elections for the delegates for the following year’s Diocesan Convention and for new Vestry members.

The Vestry is an Episcopal Church parish’s governing body. It’s what my brother calls the “Council of Elders.” Because that sounds much cooler than Vestry. Usually at Grace Church, we have nine Vestry members, and each member serves a three year term. They rotate the terms, though, like the Senate does, so that each year, three people finish their terms and three new people come in.

We’re in kind of an odd situation, though, because we don’t currently have a rector. We didn’t elect new Vestry members last year—each person who was on when our former priest left agreed to stay on for an extra year so that we would have some continuity of leadership and stability. It’s very difficult for a church without a full time priest to maintain its focus, and this would help.

We still don’t have our new rector, but we’re expecting to call someone by Easter. (I’m on the Search Committee, and that is a hugely involved process, but I’ll not get into that now.) So they came up with a novel idea. The three people who would have gone off this year will stay until June, but three new people would be added.

I was one of those three, voted in by secret ballot.

I didn’t want to run at all. First of all, church government makes me more than a little uncomfortable, and second of all, I may not even be here next year. I’m going to grad school. I don’t yet know where, but I am going. I may be as much as 5 hours away! It’s not right of me to take on a three year obligation when I may be gone by this fall. But the Senior Warden (Vestry Chair) and Secretary kept at me and at me when nominations were being taken. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they nagged me. But being the absolute wuss I am, I couldn’t bring myself to say no. I would keep saying maybe, or I needed to think about it, and never gave a straight answer, so my name showed up on the ballot.

Other nominations were taken, aside from the ones printed on the ballot. All I would have had to do would have been to raise my hand and ask that I be removed from consideration. But oh, no, I couldn’t do that either. Too scared, too nervous, too shy. I prayed like you would not believe while the voting was going on, that they would decide other people would be better suited than I.

Didn’t do a bit of good.

So now, if I go away to grad school, I’m going to be in the rather craptacular position of having to resign from the Vestry. Now, I’m sure I’m not the first person to have done so for reasons of moving away, and it’s not like they don’t have plenty of experienced people to step in and take over. Still, no one’s going to like it.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty disgusted with myself today. :-(

Friday, January 20, 2006

We have a birthday boy!

Happy 29th birthday to our own Bougie Black Boy! Yay, Stephen!

Of course, now he's probably going to pull this thing he does every year where he decides he's too "mature" to talk to me anymore and he doesn't have to listen to me until I catch up to his age in May. Oh well. Historically, this lasts less than 15 minutes each year. :-P

Happy birthday, Stevie!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that she was falling in love with a very sweet guy, and they talk on the phone all the time, have so much in common, and are getting very close.

A few days ago, another friend of mine told me the same thing.

About the same guy.

The girls, of course, don't know about each other. The guy very likely is doing this just to be flirty and friendly, and doesn't think anyone is taking this seriously.

Why do I suddenly feel like a minor character from a Shakespearean comedy?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I want this....

Okay, I really, really, really, really want this dress.

I have absolutely no reason to have it. There is nothing to which I would wear it. I just really want it.

Maybe I should join the Society for Creative Anachronism so I can play with people who won't think I'm too old to be playing dress-up. They'd teach me sword-fighting, too. And that would be really cool.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why dost thou tempt me so?

I already have more books than I have shelf space. The shelves are jammed full, and my apartment's one closet is mainly full of the boxes of overflow books.

So you'd think that I'd be sensible and refrain from buying more books until I have a place to put them.

But oh, no, I am not known for being sensible. I think that book clubs know this. They can sense my weakness, and they prey upon me, sending me catalogs of the most delectable books, the ones that cause my synapses to fire in delight! Oh yes, they know. They know exactly what they are doing.

Most of the time I manage to resist the temptations these book clubs lay before me. Reading the fine print is a help for that. Oh, sure, I might get 6 books for $1 each today, but tomorrow you'll come demanding my firstborn child? No thanks!

But today in my mail was a catalog from the History Book Club. This one is new. This one I'd never seen before. "Get 4 books for $1 each with membership!" it proclaimed. "No obligation to buy more!"

I read the fine print with a skeptic's eye. Well, what do you know? They were being honest. Plus if I wanted a 5th book, I could order it for 50% off the publisher's price.

I flipped through the catalog itself. I think my brain may have begun to drool at this point. Ancient history, medieval history, church history!

Well, what's a bibliophile to do?

Really, $29.73 for five hardcover books (the $4, plus the half price book, plus shipping) is an excellent bargain.

I'll find places for the new books somewhere or another. Not sure where, but somewhere.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

An Utterly Surreal Voicemail

At about midnight-thirty, my cell phone rang. NO ONE calls me at that hour, so I figured it was an emergency and jumped out of my sickbed to answer it. It was just a wrong number. The caller apologized and hung up. The phone rang again just seconds later, but I let the voicemail pick it up. I figured that would convince the guy that he really did have a wrong number.

Surprise, surprise! He left me a voicemail, so this morning I was greeted by a message from some guy who apparently feels he is God's gift to women. Here are some of the highlights, bad grammar left intact:

"Hey, girl, I know this a wrong number and all, but you gots a really beautiful voice and you sound like you could use some male attention...."
"I don't know if you gots a man, and I don't care. I can take care of your needs better than he can..."
"So if you wants to get down with your man Jay, I up in DEE-troit, and here's my number...."

Truly a WTF moment! Did the guy really think this would work?

To make it even more surreal, he had kind of smoothed out his voice from the first time he'd called, and sounded now like a bad imitation of Barry White and/or the Ladies' Man from Saturday Night Live.

So, just a note to any wanna-be Casanovas who think that leaving voicemail with a wrong number is a way to meet women: it's not going to work. Instead, it's just going to get your skanky message posted online for all the woman's friends to ridicule.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or be disgusted. I think I'll laugh. But if he calls back again, the cops will be getting a phone call from me!

And I still feel sick. On my way back to bed now. Nighty-night.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I'm sick. I have a stomach bug. So between sleeping, trying to keep down fluids, and wishing I could be at least temporarily dead, I haven't really felt like blogging anything. Maybe tomorrow I will be back with you and feeling at least partially human.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I swear I am not making this up.

Background: Usually I have choir practice on Tuesday nights, but this week it was Saturday morning because the director had to be out of town on Tuesday. We had a new member join us today, a lady of around 50 or so (old enough to have a grandbaby, because she was showing off pictures of him). She wound up sitting next to me, and during a lull, she started talking to me.

Lady: So, what grade are you in?
Me: I'm not actually in school anymore.
Lady: (confused) How old are you?
Me: 28.
Lady: What? You're kidding! I was thinking you were, like, 17 or 18!
Me: (trying not to laugh hysterically) Nope, I'm a fair bit older than that. And done with school. Well, maybe grad school in the fall if all goes well.
Lady: Wow.

Either I look very young or I am very immature. :-P

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Blog!

Or, really, a sub-blog. This one's going to still be my primary blog for all my personal journaling, but I've started a new one called Glorious Convergence. This will be for all my ramblings and musings about theology.

I'll warn you all right off, I don't have a whole lot in the way of formal theology training, so it will be less a collection of scholarly papers, and more the verbal wanderings of someone who annoyed the Sunday School teacher by asking too many questions. Except that I didn't ever go to Sunday School. But if I had, I probably would have been that kid.

So I hope you all will stop by and visit me there!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A History of Dreams

This is going to be a long post, so please bear with me. In follow up to my two recent posts about dreams, I am posting some dreams I have journaled over the past couple of years. These dreams are of a different quality than my normal dreams; they have a sort of clarity and sharpness that most of my dreams lack. The coloration of the dreams is brighter even than real life, and they seem to contain colors that waking eyes can't even see.

Dream #1, 4/29/04 (repeated exactly 5/3/04)
In this dream, I was a seminary student. I was sitting outside somewhere on campus with a group of other students on a sunny afternoon, and we were having some sort of deep discussion about some bit of theology or philosophy.

This dream happened when I was preparing rather intensively for my Confirmation, so the first night I laughed and thought it was because I'd been spending too much time with the priest and parish coordinator. When I dreamed it again, it became cause for thought.

Dream #2, 5/17/04
In this dream, I was kneeling at an altar in some unknown place. There was a Being of Light before me with its hands on my head in blessing. There were also other beings in the room behind me, whose presence I could sense, but I could not see them if I turned my head at all. (Ghost People.) It was nearly unbearable to be in the presence of this being—it was wonderful and loving, but it was impossibly intense. I would have probably fallen away if the Ghost People had not been behind me propping me up.

Fragments of this dream were repeated during the course of that summer. This is the first part, apparently, of the dream I reported here a few days ago.

Dream #3, late June 2004
In this dream, there was a battle raging somewhere in the distance. The sky was red from fire. I was far away from the battle, but aware that it could come to my little area. I was in a sort of alleyway, and I had a sword. Behind me was a group of small children, all around age 4 or 5. They were remarkably calm, considering what was going on. I don’t know who they were—there weren’t any kids I recognized from waking life. My task in the battle was to protect these children, because they were somehow vital to the outcome of the ongoing war.

This dream appeared on two consecutive nights but has not been repeated since. This one I'm almost hesitant to include, because it doesn't quite fit with the others, but it has the same quality as the others, so I put it in.

Dream #4, 10/8/04 (repeated periodically)
In this dream, I was wandering in bright autumn woods. It was a very idealized sort of forest—it looked similar to areas of West Virginia, but there were no steep areas to give me trouble with climbing or falling. There wasn’t any underbrush, and there were no pesky bugs. It was afternoon. As I was wandering along this path, I came to a river. The path split there—I could go alongside the river in either direction, or I could cross a rickety, claptrap, unsafe-looking bridge. On the far shore I could see a clearing where an altar had been set up. The altar looked ancient—it seemed to have been made of stone. It was set up as if for a Sunday service, though. The chalice was brightly polished silver and the cloths were gleaming white.

I wanted very badly to get across, but that bridge was a mess. I looked upstream and downstream a little way, but didn’t see any other bridges. The river was too wide to jump across and looked like it was too deep and had too fast a current to swim. I stepped towards the bridge, and when I got closer I saw that there was some sort of carving on a large rock near the side of it, but it was mostly covered with moss. I cleared away the moss and saw that someone had carved, “None may cross who be not willing to surrender into love.” I took a deep breath and stepped onto the bridge as lightly as I could. The old rotting wood held. I took another breath, then stepped forward.... and woke up!

This one changes a little each time I dream it. The moss stays cleared away from the stone, and I can see my footprints from previous "visits." I get slightly further across the bridge most times, but I've never made it across before waking.

Dream #5, November 2004
In this dream, I was trying to find my pregnant aunt in a crowded mall. (My aunt is not pregnant in real life.) She was always just a little ahead of me in the crowd so I could never quite catch up. She kept going down levels and levels, like the miles of underground mall in Montreal or Toronto, until we finally came to something that looked like a combination of a family room and a church. It was a long cozy room with lots of big pillows on the floor. There was an altar set up along one of the long walls, but it was off to the side, not centered. A lot of people were sitting down getting comfortable, so we sat down too. Most of the people there were people I know or knew, from church, school, or past jobs.

My church's former rector was there getting ready to preach, but he was on the opposite side of the room from the altar. He gave a sermon, which I'm going to have to confess I don't remember a word of, and then moved over to the altar to start Communion. There were no EMs to help him, so he called me and another lady from church up out of the crowd to help serve. But when it came to the time that he would have handed me one of the cups, he instead handed me the plate of bread, kissed me on my forehead, and said, "It's your turn to do this, little sister." So I served the bread to the people, one by one. There were so many people that I couldn't count them, but the bread didn't run out until the last person had been served.

I only dreamed this one once, but it's quite full of many types of symbolism.

This was right about the time when my ex and I started having horrible problems, and the dreams of this strange clarity backed off. But now it seems they are starting again, now that I am safe and can listen.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some Photos of Christmas Gifts

Since I know you've all been wondering....

This is what a Christmas Armadillo looks like.

The Badger Brothers! Belshazzar is on the left and Melkior is on the right. (Please note that we would not saddle human children with such names. Badger children are tough enough to handle the teasing they would get at school.)

A sgian dubh. This is not the specific one that I got for Tirithien, but it looks very much like it!

And the mysterious and beautiful Oaken Chalice of Rockwood.