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simple as that July 30, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in death, prayer.

Aunt Dee Dee gave up her fight last night around 7:00 PM. When I last visited the hospital on Friday evening, I spent some time with her granddaughter (who is very close to my husband) who had been camped out for most of the week. I kept her company and invited her to tell me more about Dee Dee, and the thing that sticks with me the most is this: “She was – is – an amazing woman. All you had to do was tell her you loved someone, and then she loved them, too. You loved them, she loved them. Simple as that.”

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our sister Dee Dee. We thank you for giving her to us, her family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: hot hot hot July 28, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.

1. What’s the high temperature today where you are?

100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is actually kind of cool compared to the last few weeks!

2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat.

I like to turn on the lawn sprinklers and play in them with Boy-o. If I’m feeling social, we’ll go down the road to the local national park, where the spring water is cold, cold, cold!!! (and supposedly has healing properties according to local lore)

3. “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Evaluate this statement.

“Humidity feels like hundreds of strangers touching me.” – Ethan Jarlewski in the Douglas Coupland novel, JPod

4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage.

During the 4 months that I spent in Canada during the winter of 1998, I was so cold that I spent a LOT of time hanging out in the apartment building’s sauna. I joke with my friends that all I needed was to put a little cactus in there with me and I’d really feel at home!

I had a warm-stone massage once, when I got a gift certificate for one for Christmas a few years ago. It was niiiiiiice. I should do it again sometime.

5. Hottest you’ve ever been in your life.

Houston,Texas in August. ‘Nuff said.

Non-temperature related bonus: In your opinion… who’s hot?

My husband…but John Cusack is a close second!

my husband’s Aunt Dee Dee suffered a massive stroke… July 28, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in family, life.

…a few days ago, and she is upstairs being watched over lovingly by our many family members. i work in the records department of the local hospital, so i’m able to pop my head in from time to time to see how everyone is holding up. Aunt Dee has been going downhill for awhile now, and this is her second large stroke in the last two months. she’s comatose and unresponsive, and there is a living will and a DNR (do not resucitate) in place, so the hospital is only providing supportive care in the form of IV fluids and suction for her congestion. she’s also on a low dose of morphine, so we’re fairly certain she’s not in any pain.

i haven’t had the opportunity to know this woman very well, but husband is extremely close to her daughter and granddaughter and i have gotten to know them well through him. the three of them all work for the state social services department, and so they have lots and lots to talk about when they get together. when i went up to the room last night after i got off work, everyone just looked so weary. i felt at a loss for words – i wanted to be able to make their pain go away, and i knew i couldn’t. my son provided a momentary distraction for them, because they wanted to hold him and say hello, but he just wanted to hang close to mommy and daddy after a long day at day care. he warmed up though when they offered him food, and everyone got to laugh for a bit, so i was glad that was able to happen.

“Almighty God, look on your servant Dee Dee, lying in great weakness, and comfort her with the promise of life everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

one word answers (stolen from Mrs. Infamous) July 26, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in blogthings.
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1. Cigarette: quit
2. Sex: female
3. Relationships: complicated
4. Your Last Ex: odd
5. Power Rangers: tim
6. Marijuana: past
7. Crack: foundation
8. Drink: water
9. This President: puppet
10. War: hell
11. Cars: Japanese
12. Gas Prices: ridiculous
13. Halloween: candy
14. Bon Jovi: crush!
15. Religion: Episcopalian
16. MySpace: annoying
17. Worst Fear: alone
18. Marriage: life-giving
19. Fashion: comfortable
20. Brunettes: natural
21. Redheads: freckles
22. Work: boring
23. Pass the time: blogs
24. Football: Friday
25. One night Stands: disrespectful
26. Pet Peeve: misspellings
27. Pixie Stix: yuck
28. Vanilla Ice: werd
29. Porta Potties: smell
30. High school: nightmare
31. Pajamas: hot
32. Wood: stock?
33. Surfers: dude!
34. Pictures: avoid
35. First Love: bad-boy

Today is my 31st birthday… July 26, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in birthdays, Episcopal, weight loss.
1 comment so far

…and to start this new decade off with a bang, I’m thinking about presents. I’ve received several in the form of encouraging words in the comments to my post about falling off the weight loss wagon, and those were the best because they prompted me to stand up, dust myself off, and hitch a ride on the next one that passed. I like this new wagon a lot better. In addition to a high speed Internets connection (essential, we all know!), it has a library, exotic belly dancers, tons of comfy and colorful pillows, trained dolphins, a masseur at my beck and call, and a machine that spits out an unlimited number of exciting and innovative healthy recipes that use only the ingredients I already have in my cupboards and don’t require me to shop for anything! MUCH better than that old wagon with its worn out papasan chair and stacks of old Reader’s Digest magazines in the corner. Nothing against papasans and Readers’ Digest – I have loved them both in my time, and when I first got on that wagon, I thought I was in heaven with nothing to do but sit and read all day! But let’s face it – those chairs are so hard to get out of, it can be easier to stay put. And let’s just say that repeated readings of the old Reader’s Digest “Drama in Real Life” feature made me a bit ummm…histrionic. 🙂 I guess in the long run, it could be a good thing that I fell off. I’ll just have to wait and see, won’t I?

Will asked me where I wanted to go eat for my birthday, and after lining up his sister and her husband as babysitters for the day, we spent some time scouring the websites of the restaurants in the touristy area of the capital city to the north. It’s a neat area with a little canal, and some of the restaurants have waterside dining. There’s also a big new movie theater within walking distance of everything, and as those of you who are parents can attest, movies + a toddler = no go. I’m aware that “dinner and a movie” isn’t the most creative thing on the dating spectrum, but get this – we’re gonna see TWO movies!! Whatcha think about that, huh?

In other news, I prepared my request to the Presiding Bishop’s office in New York for tickets to the investiture of Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori in November, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Epsicopal News Service says that the requests cannot be postmarked any earlier than August 15, but I want to be ready! They also say that requests will be honored first-come-first served based on the date the request was mailed, not when it is received. I guess that’s their way of saying, “don’t waste your money on overnighting it.” The minute I heard of the election, I knew I would have to do everything in my power to get myself to the investiture. It is, after all, an historic event. Even if we turn around 9 years from now and elect another woman as PB, she won’t be the first. So, I’ve already requested the time off from work and made hotel reservations. A little compulsive, perhaps, but organized. Yes. Definitely organized.

I completely forget where I found this, but it was fun. July 24, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in blogthings.
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create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

I am an awful, horrible, selfish, petty jerk. July 23, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in weight loss.

This story is by no means a unique one.

I’ve been “chubby” almost all of my life, but as I moved from adolescence to adulthood (chronologically, anyway), “chubby” became “overweight”, and then “morbidly obese”. I love food. I love meals out, and entertaining with food in my home, and Mexican food and Italian food are particular weaknesses of mine. Six months ago, I joined Weight Watchers. Since then, by using all the awesome tools they provide and exercising every weekday, I’ve lost a total of 57 pounds. I weigh in every week, and I’ve only had a gain one week out of 26 – the week when I went on vacation and refused to pay attention to what I ate. I think Weight Watchers is pretty simple: drink your water, eat your fruits and veggies, snack sensibly and often so you don’t get too hungry, and most importantly, watch your portion sizes. These last two areas are where I’ve made the most progress, and the ever decreasing numbers on the scale have been my reward.

My 31st birthday is this week, and I was bound and determined to lose 3 more pounds so I could say I had lost 60 pounds by my birthday. As a prize, I was going to make husband take me out for Italian. But, I began celebrating the big day a week early, with a pint of dutch chocolate ice cream. I haven’t eaten regular full fat ice cream in months. It was really tasty. So the next morning for breakfast, I ate chocolate chip cookies instead of yogurt and a banana. The next day, I had Burger King for lunch, the night after that I had several glasses of wine over a game of Risk as I laughed with some new friends, and finally, this morning, I had a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit and a chocolate milkshake for breakfast and then went out to dinner with my sister-in-law and another friend and her kids. There I proceeded to eat a large appetizer plus an enormous plate of pasta, chicken, and garlic bread. As a result, when I finally got brave enough to step on the bathroom scale this evening, I had gained 5 pounds in less than a week. I burst into tears.

My husband tried to talk to me about it, but he is thoroughly puzzled by my explanation that all that eating was my reward for how good I had been doing. I told him I felt I deserved a break, and that I felt that I was somehow better than all my co-workers who started WW with me in January and dropped out by February. I like making them jealous the morning after weigh-in, and I like telling them how many clothing sizes I have lost. Understand that I try not to volunteer this information, I wait until I’m asked – but the weight loss is quite noticeable now, and I get asked a lot. I’ve succumbed to the sin of pride, and now it has come back to bite me.

Have I worked so hard for nothing? In the beginning, my motivation for losing the weight was pure: for health reasons, and so I can keep up with my ever more active toddler son. Somewhere along the way, I got all twisted up in everyone saying how proud they were of me. I enjoyed buying smaller clothes. I began to preen. I felt bulletproof. That pint of ice cream wasn’t going to kill me. Neither was the burger and fries and milkshake. I deserved them, after all.

So what the heck do I do now? I know I have to get up tomorrow morning and go back to the yogurt and banana for breakfast and the sensible lunches and dinners and the power walking. But I don’t know how I’m going to manage it. I really don’t. I don’t think I can do it. Especially come Tuesday, which is weigh-in day, when I will have to step on that scale in front of my group and acknowledge that this is what thinking you’re better than others gets you.

Friday Five: RevGalBlogPal Anniversary Edition July 21, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.

Happy 1 year anniversary to the RevGals!!!

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals?

I had written a very stilted, awkward, and rather frightened-sounding entry about my beginning to explore the idea of a vocation to the priesthood, and Emily, who actually first got in touch with me through the Blogging Episcopalians webring, invited me on over to check out the RevGals.

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life?

Alas, no, but what a meeting that would be!

3) Of those you haven’t met, name a few you would love to know in person.

To use a dooce-ism, I’d love to meet ALL of my friends from inside the computer! Especially Emily, since, as stated above, she is responsible for bringing me here…Teri, because I think she has a wonderful sense of humor and is amazingly grounded for someone her age…Lorna, because she encourages me…Rachel, because I love love love her “newbie Christian” perspective on the sacraments…RevHRod, simply for the fact that the title of her blog cracks me up, and Ann, because her bravery and commitment to the people of her church in spite of seemingly enormous obstacles reflects what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life?

My SD (spiritual director) told me when we first started meeting that I needed to make it a priority to get to know some female clergy. (A little aside: when I told her about this webring, she was so pleased, and yet, so puzzled! She’s older, and the Internet isn’t really her “thing”. This medium is a very tempting one for introverts like myself who prefer to think everything to death before being forced to speak, but J forces me to use the phone instead of email for scheduling appointments, and it definitely keeps me on my toes!) Looks like I took her advice, huh?! I love this community: I love meandering through the different blogs and learning new things and being forced to entertain a perspective I might not have considered before.

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing.

Oh, I think we should DEFINITELY look into slumber parties.

the smartest decision I ever made July 17, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in funny, marriage.
1 comment so far

…was moving the alarm clock to my husband’s side of the bed.

When I met with my spiritual director… July 7, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in prayer, theology.

…this past weekend, she asked me if I was still interested in a class she will be conducting come October called “Retreat in Daily Life”. It had been several months since I had thought about it last, so I asked her to refresh my memory. She said it uses the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to teach people how to open themselves to God. It will mean committing to driving to her home (about a one hour drive) once every week for seven months.

I felt bad that I hesitated. This class sounds like it has the amazing potential to open me up to something I’ve deeply desired for a long time – a more meaningful prayer life. But hesitate I did, and J saw it on my face. She asked what I was worried about, and I blurted out something to the effect of, “What if I can’t do it right?”

See, that’s how I’ve always been. I want to be an expert the first time I do something. It was apparent when I was a child and quit every activity that my parents put me in, from baton-twirling to gymnastics to piano lessons and Irish-language lessons. It continued as an adolescent and young adult when I began running away from home after fights with my parents, and later on when I would periodically take a semester off college when I ran into troubles in my personal life and relationships. The first two years of our marriage scared me to death because I was constantly conflicted – I had an inner voice telling me, “This is HARD. Maybe you two should just admit you made a mistake and get out while you can.” and it battled with the other voice that said, “Who ever said marriage was easy? You’re old enough now to know that in marriage, you made a commitment to see it through the rough times. So get that “divorce” word out of your head and go apologize.” Our culture is completely wrapped up in the idea of instant gratification. I want my food fast, my photos in one hour, and a perfect body within a week of beginning to exercise when I’ve never done it before.

The same has been true of my prayer life. The first time I made a decision that it was worthy of improving, I tried to do Morning Prayer, Noon Prayer, and Evening Prayer, and I said I would do it every day forever and ever, and that was that. That lasted for about the three days that I was on the Walk to Emmaus retreat. J told me to pick up a “Forward Day by Day” booklet at church, and to read the daily commentary as well as the Gospel reading for the day, to find five minutes every day for solitude and silence, and that we would go from there, working up to one hour a day by the time class starts in October. I’m afraid…afraid I won’t have the time, or that when I’m trying to pray I’ll feel other things trying to call my attention away, or that I won’t get anything out of the experience – I’m afraid I won’t hear God if I try too hard.