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home turf September 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in family, marriage, road trips.
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Just got back from The Motherland, where I attended my cousin’s wedding at Big Fancy Downtown Hotel. The wedding was held outdoors on the terrace…it was a little hot, but fortunately the ceremony was blessedly short. In the days leading up to it, I was so excited to be getting to go to a dress up event! with grown ups! that I didn’t really stop to think how watching two people make those vows and speak those words, making that lifetime commitment would make me feel. I think what sent me over the edge was that my cousin, who was the groom, held it together completely cool-like until his bride appeared at the end of the aisle…and then he just lost it. This 29 year old man was crying like a baby, and you could see that they were such happy tears. He just laid his naked joy out there for everyone to see. The minister spoke to the couple of yielding themselves completely to each other, and I had to bow my head so it wouldn’t be obvious I was sobbing for myself and my loss, not for their joy. I felt churlish and mean.

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On the flip side, as we were driving to Big Fancy Downtown Hotel, I got an up close and personal look at the amazing amount of progress and growth in my home city. A new convention center and new hotels are going up near my favorite water sculpture garden, restaurants and bars and condos are springing up everywhere, and people were walking all over the place – yes, walking! Not driving! One of my favorite theaters has reopened and in all my focus on the ocean and the beach and how WRONG it is that I’m not going to get to move there RIGHT AWAY, I realized I had forgotten how much I love my very OWN city and all the parks and lovely neighborhoods downtown and around the University whose mascot is the horned frog. I had forgotten how much easier I breathe in these places that are familiar to me, and it was a gift to feel the ever present anxiety I am experiencing of late melt away, at least for a short time. So, I find that, in spite of myself, I am truly looking forward to going HOME.

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meetup July 23, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in friends, road trips.
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So yesterday, I got to have a little meetup with someone I’ve been wanting to hang out with for a long time – Mary Beth from the RevGals, who blogs at Terrapin Station. I went to college where she works, and I hadn’t visited there in a long time (bad, bad alumna!).

Boy-o spent the weekend with dad, so I headed down on Friday to visit some family near the middle part of the state I used to live in. On Saturday, I decided I needed some solitude, so I headed north to my parents’ house (they are on vacation at the moment). I swam in their pool and read Harry Potter, hung out with my best friend and had some wine, and then got up yesterday morning to head home. I pass through MB’s town on the way, so we went to church together, and let me tell ya, it was exactly what I needed before heading back into the fray here at home. Her church reminds me very much of the one in which I was received into the Episcopal faith, with a lot of icons and a lot of Anglo-Catholic features to the liturgy, beautiful music, and architecture that drew my eyes, and thus my whole spirit UP UP UP. One of the big differences I noted was that instead of having the lectionary readings printed in the service bulletin, there were pew Bibles and the relevant passage and page number was printed instead. We Episcopalians have a bit of a reputation for our attachment to our Book of Common Prayer, and I’ve never been in an Episcopal church with pew Bibles before. Still, I’ve never found anything unusual about our treatment of the Bible, as I know everything in the lectionary that is read every Sunday comes straight from the Old Testament, the Epistles, and the Gospels. The idea that the Episcopal church is not a “Bible church” has always made me laugh. It reminds me of the joke that goes, “Why do Episcopalians like the Bible? Because it has so much Prayer Book in it!” Anyway, I visited the church bookstore afterward and bought a small icon of St. Benedict, and then we went to lunch, where I had muy delicioso shrimp enchiladas and black beans (I wasn’t quite brave enough to try the squash enchiladas that MB had!). After that, we drove/walked around downtown a bit, and I was very sad at all the changes to the funky street of shops and restaurants where I spent a lot of time eating and drinking, playing pool and dancing, participating in drum circles and selling my music collection to finance both my education and various road trips, and generally wasting time, both by myself and with friends. Time marches on, though…and I GUESS the world can always use another CVS. *sigh*

I had a wonderful time visiting her, and if she’s up for it (schedules permitting, of course!), I plan to stop in every time I pass through. We both talked a million miles a minute about our families and jobs and the things that are happening RIGHT NOW, and she seems really cool and really fun – so, I’d love to know more about her and where she came from and give her the chance to see that I’m not the complete mess I portrayed myself as *all* the time!

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I take my son to his aunt’s house… March 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life, road trips, theology, thoughtful.
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…as she has agreed to watch him for a few hours until his dad gets home from work. I am about to embark on my first non work-related road trip in quite some time, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I’m anxious – there’s something about leaving my child in someone else’s care that does that to me, even if it’s only for a few hours to go to a movie or out to dinner. I suppose I’m fortunate that I don’t let that anxiety cripple me to the point of not being able to leave him. I’m also feeling anticipatory. I don’t have any enormous plans, just a short 3 hour trip down to the state I grew up in see my friend S and to go to the Irish Festival, but it is time for myself, time I have needed since my husband began full time grad school on top of his full time job and I became our son’s primary caretaker. We pull into a visitor parking spot at his aunt’s apartment and he immediately throws down the toy computer he was playing with in the back and announces, “I want to see Foxy!” That’s the sweater-wearing diva dog in residence, of course, and the boy always has a grand time when he gets to play with her. We walk up the stairs – he is just starting to be able to alternate his little legs on the stairs, and in no time we are knocking on the door. The minute he lays eyes on Foxy, I cease to exist. Somewhat grudgingly, I’m given a good bye kiss and a “see you later!” I’ve been banished, and so I trudge back to my car and pop a Peter Murphy CD into the player.

“…listen boy, it’s a long way down… down to heaven’s gate
to heaven’s gate the steps the steps to the tower of pride, the devil lied…dive up to the highest point, where our lives are saved…”

I back out of my parking spot and head down Mississippi Street to where it will meet the highway. I light a cigarette – I don’t ever smoke with the boy in the car – and call the husband to let him know that I’m off. He says he’ll miss me, but he wants me to have a good time. He hears the music and asks what I’m listening to. I hold the phone up to the speaker for him, and he says, “Is that the Sisters of Murphy?” I start laughing so hard I have to pull over to the side of the road for a minute. That’s the man I love – he’s always “almost, but not quite” got it.

“…don’t get shy, don’t get caught with the world and its thoughts
I’m not asking for worship or lazy sleazy thoughts…”

I inhale and exhale, and tap the ashes out the window. The turnpike stretches out ahead of me. Not too long ago, my sister-in-law hit a deer on this road, in broad daylight no less, and so I’m a little more observant, a little more wary, even though in the course of my daily life I spend so much time driving that I do get lazy sometimes. I sometimes joke with people that I’m a tad bitter because my mother lied to me as a child – in 1980, she told me that in the year 2000, cars would be flying in the air like planes and that their drivers would be able to sleep while they were traveling. I reach the toll gate and drop in my 55 cents. Green light – hit the gas and keep going.

“…I twist a shade to my right, and spit at Beelzebub on sight and go on loving all I see, for here I live on patiently…clearly now, I tell you man that all I say is all I can
for I am nothing but my sin until I learn to caste them in
…”


My thoughts drift to some emails I’ve gotten lately from an old friend, someone that I only talk to a few times a year, even though, if I’m really honest with myself, I wish it were more often. I was 25 when I first met this friend, and I was fresh out of a very needy, traumatic relationship that had finally run its course. At this point in my life, I knew that I wanted to get married and have kids, and I was fairly certain that I was done with getting into relationships that had no shot at permanency – and I had pretty high standards for the next contender to meet. This friend – and oh, I loved him and wanted him to be more, yes I did – was beautiful, intelligent, funny, had a job, and didn’t live with his mother. He introduced me to new music and new food, made me think about things that I had never thought about, taught me a few things about insight, and helped heal some of the shame that I had been carrying with me for years over some poor decisions that I had made in the past. I give him a LOT of credit for getting me ready for the man who did become my husband. He was bizarre in quite a few ways – he took me to meet his parents, but he was so secretive he would never show me the house he lived in, and a few short months later, I knew that I didn’t have the wherewithal to figure this enigma out. We had a tearful conversation in my car on the last night that I ever saw him, and I drove away, my heart in tatters. The whole 7 hour drive home, I alternately screamed and sobbed. I had to pull over several times because I simply couldn’t see through my rage to drive.

“…hot tears flow as she recounts her favourite worded token, forgive me please for hurting so don’t go away heartbroken, no…”

This is the trip that comes back to me as I’m driving now, and I’m not completely sure why. While the process took me a good two years, obviously, I *did* heal. I went on to marry someone else, someone who is my partner in every sense of the word, who created a beautiful son with me, someone who knows all the scary bits and ugly bits and loves me anyway. I talk to my old friend a few times a year by email, and he always asks about my family and always skillfully deflects any questions I have about him and the state of affairs in his life…and that’s okay. Not everyone is the open book that I am. Since it’s a bit chilly AND I’m headed to an Irish festival, I stop at a convenience store and get myself an Irish cream cappuccino. I get back in my car and laugh, remembering several long drives that my friend and I took together when I would drink the same drink. These drives usually took place in the dead of night, and since I don’t like regular coffee and needed help staying awake, this was what I would choose. I punch out a quick text message informing him of my beverage choice so that he will know I was thinking of him, and very shortly I get back “Haha! You should have gotten a red soda.” I shudder at the memory of his oh-so-vile drink of choice and keep on driving.

“…the moon and the sun, partners in light separating reflecting one light, hearing this confusion wanes, no need to ask for wealth or one thing more now…”

By now I’ve reached a major interstate and the rest of my drive will be due south on this multi-lane highway. I don’t drive on highways like this much – most of my work takes me down one or two lane country roads. My pack of cigarettes is emptying at a more rapid pace than I would like, but I need something to do with my hands…I’m not content to keep them on the wheel where they belong. I try and decide if I want to do anything tonight when I arrive at my destination. Briefly, I consider stopping to pick S up and informing her on the spot that I have decided to keep driving…all the way to the nearest beach. She might actually go for it, being from California…but she might not, and she’s been looking forward to the festival as much as I have. I sigh and decide to stick with the plans as scheduled, but know that I will have to get to the nearest beach as soon as is reasonably feasible. I’ve lived in a completely land-locked state for the last two years, and I need to be near the water in the very near future or I may lose it. I tell people that often, and they say, “This state has lots of water!” Yeah, it does – but man-made lakes ain’t the same, kids, and I don’t care how big they are.

“…a white light blazing deep through the wasteland searching we soaring birds now hunt the brow as thirsty gripped with hunger now clear sighted painful ends to win, the battle of the me so wafer thin, the line between the devil’s teeth and that which cannot be repeat…”

A book that I am reading for my Benedictine study group at church – Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey Through Lent – falls out of the passenger side visor when I have to brake suddenly, and as soon as I get back up to speed and replace everything that fell, my thoughts turn to Lent. It’s no understatement to say that I hate Lent…but lately, it’s been bugging me that I don’t really know why I hate it so much. I have no problem in theory with the concept of sacrificial love – I *am* married, after all, so I get a new lesson in some aspect of what it means almost every day. At the same time that I am reading this book for my study group, I am also re-reading (on what little personal time I have) an old favorite, Kathleen Norris’ The Cloister Walk. She says in the introduction to the book that a pleasant surprise for her in writing it is the way her marriage “came to weave in and out of it. It seems appropriate, as my life vows are not to a monastery, but to matrimony, and marriage has been for me a primary instrument of conversion., a “school for love,” to employ Benedict’s metaphor for the monastery.” A few pages after that, she writes, “As I walked back to the hermitage in the dusk, I was suddenly glad, and not despairing, that in just a few days I’d be back with my husband, to take up life in the ruins.”

The highway stretches ahead of me, seemingly without end, and as I cross the state line and enter the Motherland, I mused for the next little while on what “life in the ruins” has meant for my husband and me. We’ve encountered our share of challenges, to be sure. We’ve both had trouble finding our niche professionally, and this stress was compounded by knowing we had a child to support and therefore no luxury of time to figure it out. We’ve both targeted the other in times of extreme stress, and been slow to forgive each other. We’ve moved often…in search of the perfect job, neighborhood, and proximity to family/friends…and ultimately ended up somewhere my husband swore he would never return to, which I turned out to be the place that I have experienced the deepest happiness of my life (in spite of the lack of God-created bodies of water).

“…yeah on and on it goes, calling like a distant wind…through the zero hour we’ll walk… cut the thick and break the thin, no sound to break, no moment clear – when all the doubts are crystal clear, crashing hard into the secret wind…”

Back to Lent. It starts with Ash Wednesday, when I am reminded of my nothingness in the grand scheme. It ends with Holy Week and Easter, a time of high pageantry when I experience in “real time” what it might have been like to be a disciple. In between is where I get bogged down. No meat on Fridays…take something on or give something up?…repentance and discipline on the brain, concepts I strongly resist in the best of times…getting bogged down with thoughts of evil and hell and WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Is Hell for REAL? What kind of God does that? Is God’s “YES!” stronger than my “NO!” as I heard one pastor say, or can I keep backing away and backing away until I fall over the edge into a Hell of my own making? Surely it can’t be the pit of fire and brimstone with a red devil with horns and a pointy tail, or Dante’s “Inferno”! And why can’t I figure it all out? And on top of that, why do I experience this pathological obsession every freakin’ year?!

When I was a child, my dad heard me say under my breath, “Damn you!” to my sister. He immediately made me get out the dictionary and copy the definition of “damn” one hundred times. If I remember correctly, it was something to the effect of, “To condemn someone to hell.”

That’s a lot of power to give a little kid.

“…there is no middle ground, or that’s how it seems for us to walk or to take…instead we tumble down, either side left or right, to love or to hate…”

I arrive at S’s house, and take my bag in. She’s tired and not in the mood to go anywhere, so we open a couple of beers and settle in for “Iron Chef” on The Food Network. We can laugh at anything, and we do. The secret ingredient of the evening is peanuts, and the contenders appear a little *too* excited about it. At the end, one of the judges says that one of the dishes was so good it made him “cry like “Beaches”, and we spend the rest of the weekend using that over and over and over again. The next morning, we go to the Irish festival. We look at every single bit of jewelry for sale, and I promise myself once again that one of these years I am going to buy myself a full length hooded cloak. Instead, I satisfy myself with some dragonfly earrings to remind myself that it is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not. We listen to the bands and the session players and watch the dancers. We eat…and eat…and eat some more. I drink Belgian beer, because in spite of the framed Guinness poster on my wall, I don’t like to chew my beer. I let a beautiful boy speaking in a true blue (green?) brogue bum one of my cigarettes. I have a wonderful, relaxing day with an old friend, and briefly I think again of the friend who was on my mind during my drive and wonder if I will ever lay eyes on him again. I head home refreshed, renewed, and ready to take up my own version of “life in the ruins.”

“…on a long and winding grey paved street, your breath the only friend, chattering others surrounding you, you’re going out again…”

i’m completely zonked. April 2, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in birthdays, Boy-o, family, road trips.
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we drove to slightly larger college town northeast friday night to spend some time with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Boy-o and i hung out with my sister-in-law while husband geeked out and went to a con for some LARP’ing (live action role-playing). i think i got the better end of the deal. husband hung out in a cramped hotel meeting room with gamers who don’t shower regularly, pretending to be something called a changeling. i went and ate sushi and hibachi vegetables, read some more of The Last Week, took a nap, watched the movie “Derailed”, walked 3 miles, chased their weiner dogs around the house with the little man, and took him to get a haircut. we drove back this morning to finish cleaning up the house for Boy-o’s birthday party, which we had this afternoon. i can’t believe he turns 2 next week!

next weekend i get to join in the geekiness when we head down to the state i grew up in to hit the opening weekend of our local renaissance faire. it’s an annual tradition for us and has been for the last 5 years. i make a pretty merry wench, if i do say so myself. 😉 i’ve been really lazy about posting pics of all our goings on, but seeing us in our renaissance garb is definitely photo-worthy, so perhaps i’ll remedy that next weekend.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Spring Break March 17, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, Canada, family, Friday Fives, life, road trips, The Princess.
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5 memorable Spring Breaks:

1) Well, there was the Spring Break in 1993 when I was 17, during which I had my daughter (see my profile – she’s the almost-13-year-old who lives with my parents). I was much too young to be a mom, but the experience of bringing her into the world is seared into my memory forever. I know that most moms will say the same about all their babies, but for me it’s especially poignant because I haven’t raised her, so I hold especially tight to the memories I do have. When it was announced at the crucial moment that she was a girl (I had chosen to be surprised), I was crying and laughing and I said her name and, “she’s here! She’s here!” I felt so much joy at that particular moment. I felt God around us when I looked at her and kissed her nose. I absolutely can’t imagine my family’s life without her in it. My parents probably can’t say the same – if not for her they would almost certainly be “empty nesters” by now, and there are probably days when they can imagine that peace and quiet quite well!

2) Ahhh, my erstwhile trip to Canada from December 1997-March 1998 (age 22) definitely encompassed Spring Break. I took some time off from school and drove 21 hours to Canada to meet some folks I had met chatting on IRC…you know, back in the days of dial-up Internet when that kind of thing was considered weird. 🙂 Home base for most of the trip was Winnipeg, Manitoba, but a friend and I embarked on a trip across country (and boy, is it a big country), landing in Montreal before heading back west. I made the tragic mistake of falling in love with my friend on the trip, so when he broke the news that he’d had a fun few months, but it was time for me to go home and he wasn’t coming with me, it was awful. Ugh, I will never understand why some people want to be young again

3) There was my one and only Spring Break trek to South Padre Island in 1999, when I was 23, and on my first senior year in college. It was miserable. The beach was wall to wall with tanned look-a-likes sporting tribal tattoos and belly button piercings. There were beer cans everywhere. And I…well, I was Goth during that period. To this day I’m clueless as to whatever made me think I would like South Padre, anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I love the beach, but South Padre was not my scene. My boyfriend at the time and I left and went camping on Mustang Island, instead. Much nicer – less spoiled, quieter – you get the picture. The weirdest part of that trip? I ran into my little sister in one of Padre’s many t-shirt and swimwear shops. She and I didn’t talk much then, and I had no idea she was going to be there!

4) Last year’s trip to Wisconsin took place in February, so it wasn’t quite Spring, but let’s call it “close enough”, shall we? My husband and I were founding members of the young adult group at our big church in the big city. Our group’s mentor was Mother Barb, and wow – she was just awesome. She came to all of our gatherings – the BBQ at our tiny apartment, theology talks at local pubs, etc. When I met her, my whole understanding of “vocation” changed radically. Anyway, she left the big city and moved to Wisconsin, where she was originally from, and when she was installed as vicar of St. Luke’s in tiny Sister Bay, Wisconsin, the group made a road trip and I got to go (husband stayed home with our Boy-o). We rented a Suburban and drove straight there, attended the installation and the banquet afterwards on Friday night, had Saturday to tour the town, and drove straight home right after church on Sunday, narrowly avoiding being trapped in town by a blizzard. I was gone a total of 4 days, but when I got back, my son, who was drinking from a bottle when I left, had been switched to a sippy cup by my husband! What I wanted to know was, why wasn’t he potty trained, too?! (Just kidding – he was only 10 months old)

5) This year, in June (again, not really Spring, also again, “close enough”) we will be taking our monster to an anime convention in the big city we used to live in. It’s a massive anime and gaming convention, and if you don’t know what anime is, well, this is the Internet – go look it up! 🙂 Anime is really my husband’s thing. He even prefers it in Japanese with subtitles, instead of dubbed over in English. He also plays all these weird role-playing games with dice and costumes, so he’s looking forward to it. Since we don’t actually live in the city this year, we will be staying in the convention hotel for the first time instead of just going to the events and then going home. I like some of the anime, but I like the art show and the dealer room more, and I also like hotels. I’m putting up with the convention, and in return, we get to take our little monster to Sea World in San Antonio when it’s over! Now THAT I’m excited about!

in a dark room thinking dark thoughts January 15, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in friends, movies, road trips, thoughtful, worship.
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driving home tonight from visiting with ally, i used the turnpike. in most places, it’s a two lane road. i don’t think i actually passed through any towns on the drive, but occasionally off to the side i could see a trailer or a small home lit up in the dark landscape. it was a *very* dark landscape. i used my brights most of the time. my son was asleep in the back seat, and i stared at the road in front of me, remembering a long ago and far away impulsive trip across the country (in what i like to call the bad old days), much of it on roads very much like this one. i began remembering all the feelings i had on that drive as well. all the fear, all the uncertainty about what kind of welcome i would receive when i reached my destination, all the desperation to impress. i don’t know why a dark road would make feelings like that rush back to me, but it did.

i’ve been very sad this whole weekend. i miss my home state, even though i’m not that far away. as much i as have grown to love our life here most of the time, at this moment this whistling wind is getting to me. the endless small-town, no-street-lights-and-lots-of-cows darkness weighs heavy on me. i had ugly words with my husband this morning and this afternoon. i haven’t been to church since christmas eve. i missed once simply because i was tired, and i continue missing because i am too embarrassed to go and kneel at that altar rail and risk crying from relief at being back. i’m afraid everyone will ask, “where you have been?”, forcing me to lie about “not feeling well”, or “busy”, or to make up other conflicts.

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i rented some movies last night. this morning i watched “millions”, a british film directed by danny boyle. the main character, a 5-year old boy whose mother has recently died, simply wants to do good (spoiler: a bag of money from the country’s largest bank robbery ever is thrown off a train and lands in a field near the boy’s new house. he finds it, thinks it is from God, and begins quizzing everyone he meets to find out if they are one of the “poor”, so he can share it with them). i was mesmerized by his chats with the saints, by his desire to know if any of them knew his mother, and by the interplay betwen brothers – the older, entrepenurial anthony and the younger, pure-of-heart damien. it was a beautifully done film.

this is an insight into my life… September 6, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, family, life, lyrics, marriage, road trips, The Princess.
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driving back here from the state where I used to live yesterday (we went down to see my family and visit with friends for the labor day weekend), i felt the most profound sense of relief to be coming home. it scared the ever-livin’ shit out of me, because try as i might, i haven’t managed to get on board with considering this place “home”, and when we crossed the state line and i exhaled my big sigh of relief, i didn’t know what to think. was it because i was simply tired of being on the road? was it because there was a lot of tension between my parents and husband, and that made ME feel tense and i was just glad to be leaving it behind? or was it because i am starting to genuinely appreciate this place – the slower pace, the lack of drama, etc.

the aforementioned tension was primarily because every time husband sat down this weekend, he fell asleep, and my parents view people who sleep during the day as lazy. to tell the truth, the sleeping annoyed me too, but i was able to temper it by telling myself, “for god’s sake, angel – he just finished working 15 straight days of 12 hour shifts – he’s TIRED.” but he also sleeps when he’s bored, and my family bores him with our constant chatter about news, people we know, politics and religion. it used to just make me absolutely fry with anger that he could sleep through all the talking, but moving in with his parents helped me to realize that him not “getting” my family is really no different than me not “getting” his family with all their silence. when his parents do talk, it’s about hunting, or fishing, or baking, or louisiana – and i can’t stand it. it’s the most boring thing ever to sit on the couch on a saturday afternoon and watch a fishing show. it makes me want to sleep the afternoon away. a ha! i get it!

the secondary reason for the tension was Boy-o. he wasn’t feeling well, and he threw up in his bed on friday night, which made The Princess’s room smell of vomit. it all went downhill from there. i wasn’t overly worried about the vomitting, because even though this child is a human vacuum cleaner, as his mother, i know when he has had too much to eat. and he had too much to eat on friday evening. so he threw up. i’ve also had a touch of a stomach virus myself, and i figured he caught it from me. so, husband stripped the bed, and i opened the windows to air out the room and gave him a bath, and The Princess lysoled the crib rails and febreezed the carpet around it. mess taken care of, right? wrong – we didn’t wash the crib mattress with lysol. we didn’t act worried enough. we didn’t let him nap long enough, or feed him the right kind of food for an upset tummy, or play with him right. news flash – the kid was not in the mood to play. and no, i haven’t ever taken him outside to play. he just started walking about 2 months ago, and i don’t like heat. i live in a nominally southern state with an average summer heat index of 105 degrees fahrenheit. we’ll go to the park and play when it cools off.

sunday night after we put Boy-o to bed, we went out to the club that was my old stomping ground. it’s the goth night there. cheap cover, good drinks, and enough weird people to keep the whole thing interesting made it my twice weekly stop throughout my early twenties. in the last several years though, i’ve gone once or twice a year, just to hear the music and look at all the pretty people. but you couldn’t pay me enough to actually talk to anyone there, and it’s not for the reason you’d think. i’ve just…moved past it, i guess. no matter how open, honest, and tolerant i try to be in my day to day life, all i have to do is walk through the doors of that place and my nice self gets flushed down the toilet. suddenly i’m a fashion critic who can’t believe what those people are wearing or how they’re dancing. i’m not a nice person when i’m there. i watched a group of friends who all came to the club together, and one of the friends was blind. instead of admiring their friendship – the willingness to get the guy drinks and the helping him to navigate the crowd, the laughter on the faces of the girls as they danced and had a good time – all i could focus on was one member of the group’s mullet haircut and his white socks and jean shorts. it was just shitty of me. shitty, shitty, shitty. i enjoyed the video bar, and the comfy couches, and the company of my dear husband, which was all good, because i didn’t enjoy my own company.
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“This is an insight into my life
this is a strange flight I’m taking
my true will carries me along

This is a soul dance embracing me
this is the first chance to put things right
moving on guided by the light…”

Depeche Mode – “Insight”

we’re gonna make it after all… February 13, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in road trips.
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call me nuts, but i have just committed to a last minute trip to the cold, cold north. more specifically, to the little village of sister bay, wisconsin. it is on the very northern tip of the peninsula part of wisconsin that sticks out into lake michigan. i will be road tripping it with some friends from our former church. we are going to see the installation of one of our former priests and great friends as rector of her own parish. mother barb left our parish a few months ago to move back home to wisconsin, and we miss her terribly. when i first began to explore the idea that i may be called to serve as clergy, she was my spiritual director and lent me many of her favorite books. she’s a wonderful woman, and i am excited that this opportunity to go watch her special day has fallen into my lap. thursday afternoon, the 9 of us will throw our stuff into a rented suburban and embark on our 18 hour trip, planning to return monday morning. but oh my gosh, check out the forecast! there is a distinct possibility i will freeze to death and that will be the last any of you hear from me.

crikey, can you believe i’m giving up my trip to convergence 11 in sunny san diego to do this???!

road trip July 19, 2004

Posted by introspectreangel in Episcopal, faith, friends, lyrics, marriage, music, reading, road trips.
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what a weekend.

we made sure everything was packed on thursday evening as soon as we got home from work, and then went straight to bed at 8 pm, planning to get up at 3 am and hit the road. instead, we lay in bed, staring at the ceiling fan, completely unable to fall asleep, for the simple reason that we were trying to. so, we talked for a little bit, and i got up and watched some tv, and finally at 2 am i hopped in the shower and got ready to go. we got the baby up, set him in his carseat, and took off. i drove, since i was more awake.

we crossed the state line about an hour after we set out, and the sky was just starting to lose some of its inky quality and take on more of a midnight blue. we stopped for gasoline and coffee at the superette convenience tore in some small town. i was waited on by a girl who couldn’t have been more than 17 years old. she was mopping the floor when i walked into the store, and the loudspeaker was blaring eminem. it was weird – she turned around to face me when she heard the bell jangle over the door, and she had a vaguely challenging look on her face – it was a very hard look, though like i said, she couldn’t have been more than 17. i smiled at her, and oddly enough, she blushed and ran to turn down the music – like i was her mom and had just caught her doing something she shouldn’t have been. i told her the music was fine, paid for the coffee and snacks, thanked her, and left. husband took over the driving so i could feed the youngster.

we merged onto the interstate not too long after that. the sky was gray by now – the only vehicles on the road were truckers and farmers. we came over a hill and suddenly the amazing lake was all around us. beautiful! but truly, i was holding out for the mountains. since the baby now had a full tummy, i resumed my place behind the wheel and took us into the next state. we moved from the interstate onto the north loop that would take us up into the mountains and to our eventual destination.

what took us there was the very nice, very low-key wedding of our friends ally and bobby. we knew they had a lot to get done, so we arranged to arrive early friday morning so we could help them get their house ready for their bachelor party that night. to that end, we spend the morning and afternoon moving their things from the garage into a storage unit, then we had lunch, and then we rested before going out to dinner with the happy couple, their baby, and some other friends. by this time, other people were starting to arrive in town and show up at the house, so everyone met there and a nice, laid back little party got started, complete with video games, conversation, and a few bottles of wine.

the next day we had planned to go out on our own and see some of the town, maybe go to devil’s den state park or do some sightseeing and souvenir buying until the wedding that evening, but those plans went by the wayside when bobby called us around noon asking when we were coming over to the house. turned out they needed more help getting ready for that evening. husband and bobby ended up taking more stuff to storage, while i made the wedding cake (red velvet with cream cheese frosting, yum) and cleaned up the living room. finally, we made it back to our hotel room with barely enough time to get ready for the ceremony and drive to the park where it was being held. the weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding – sun shining, but not too hot – and it was truly a joy to see this couple who have encountered their share of obstacles (some self-imposed, others not) join together as husband and wife, and to know that they will face all their triumphs and tribulations together.

unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy the reception because my dearly beloved got sick! so, we went back to the hotel, ordered pizza, watched “13 going on 30” on the pay-per-view, and got some desperately needed sleep. in the morning, we went to services at the local episcopal church. it was much smaller than our own parish and it was a rite 1 service, which we weren’t used to, but they had pretty stained glass and the priest stopped in the middle of the altar procession to bless the baby as he passed us. pretty neat. 🙂

i don’t blog about my faith that often (but i’m about to now, so stop reading if it’s not your cup of tea!), because i believe that in this day and age when evangelical christians and “mega-churches”are getting most of the media attention, the body of Christ still has a need for people who live their faith quietly. but that simple action on the part of the priest reminded me of everything i love about being episcopalian. i love that my church seeks and serves christ in all people. the following is taken from “the ethos of the episcopal church”.

“…as Episcopalians we are known for our tolerance and our willingness to embrace paradox. Episcopalians trust that the truth of God embraces and transcends all of the partial truths that our limited human minds can grasp. We accept that there is divine mystery at the heart of life, but we believe that mystery can best be known through love, particularly the love revealed in Jesus Christ. Ours is not a gospel of fear and guilt, of moralism or threats of hell. We see Jesus as the incarnation of God who loves and delights in humanity. God becomes one with us. We celebrate a God who has created every human being in God’s own image. We seek to call forth the fullness of that divine image in every person through the disciplines of Christian life. God wants us to become the loving, trusting, giving people God has created us to be. Repentance, conversion, and growth are daily events. It is a life-long process to become holy, to become fully human. We believe that the process of growing into our full humanity is best done in community. Together we pray, worship, study the scriptures, and explore the richness of twenty-one centuries of Christian experience.

Theologian Thomas Hooker described Anglican authority as a three-strand cord, not easily broken: Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.

The Episcopal Church honors the Bible as the first witness to God, containing “All things necessary to salvation.” It is the love story of God’s relationship with God’s people. We respect its complexity and its origins in the communities and histories of our ancestors. We look to the Bible as the written source of our revelation of God.

We also honor the experience of God throughout the history of humanity, and especially among faithful Christians for these two-thousand years. We look to the tradition, teaching, and experience of the whole church as a manifestation of God’s revelation. The ancient Creeds are alive and well in the Episcopal Church.

We believe God created human beings with an innate capacity to know God. We honor the God-given faculties of reason, intuition, intellect, and emotion. We believe that human experience is one of the ways God communicates and reveals God’s intentions for us.

Our worship is centered in the celebration of the last gift Christ gave us, the gift of his presence and life through the shared communion of bread and wine. This powerful ritual renews and strengthens us. We believe that in this shared holy meal, we are fed by Christ and united in his life.”

anyways, to wrap up the story of my weekend, after church we had a delicious lunch with the bride and groom in which i worked valiantly at avoiding any political or religious discussion – they are both activists in both areas! – all the while reminding myself that you can love and care for people who have different viewpoints from your own. God’s creation is big enough for all of us! we finally got on the road back to our home state, taking the scenic route down through the mountains. when we stopped for gasoline again, i was scanning the radio stations and managed to find some pretty irish folk songs. when my dearly beloved came back to the car from paying, he shook his head in disgust and commented that i was the only person on planet earth who could find irish folk songs on the radio in the mountains. he’s probably right. heheheheheh.

to kill some of the boredom of scanning more radio stations, i picked up reading aloud where we had left off with anne rice’s “the witching hour” over a year ago. finally finished that one and got started on the next book in the series, “lasher”. we arrived home exhausted with only enough energy to climb out of the car and grab what we would need to get ready for work in the morning.

my little girl

drive anywhere

do what you want

i don’t care

tonight

i’m in the hands of fate

i hand myself

over on a plate

now

oh little girl

there are times when i feel

i’d rather not be

the one behind the wheel

come

pull my strings

watch me move

i do anything

please

sweet little girl

i prefer

you behind the wheel

and me the passenger

drive

i’m yours to keep

do what you want

i’m going cheap

tonight

you’re behind the wheel tonight

well i know 5 years is a long time… June 3, 2004

Posted by introspectreangel in road trips, thoughtful.
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so, i went back to work last week. nathan’s gone, and mark has arrived to take his place.

i’m sleepy. and i just wanna see some palm trees, to quote an oldie from everclear. hehehehe, i always liked that song, even though it wasn’t SYNTH POP (insert sharp gasp! of horror here). when i was in canada several years ago (what a cold, cold country) i used to sit in the sauna and crank it up until it felt like a good old summer at home and sing that song. i joked with the guy I was with at the time that all i needed was to bring a cactus plant and a flag from my home state in there with me and it would be a little piece of heaven.

typical me – always wanting to be somewhere i’m not. when i finally got back home, i immediately festooned my apartment with a CANADIAN flag. go figure.

so, where do i wish i was right now? hmmm…oh, i know! i wish i was behind the wheel of my car, heading south towards the coast, and that i had just rolled down my window and gotten that first whiff of salty smelling ocean air, even though i’m still an hour or so away, and that the smell makes me press down on the gas so i can get there that much faster.