Saturday, January 31, 2009

Too Long

The sermon was taking extra long this week. It's Saturday and I had just finished the first draft last night. Checked the word count. 3900. I wrote 2 sermons again. Oops. I've spent the morning trying to get it down closer to 2000. No wonder it took so long!

Friday, January 30, 2009

30 days

My partner and I have amazing (almost)news. We are now officially under contract to buy a music store that my partner will manage. How cool is that! This is not a sudden decision; we have been plodding along at this since before Thanksgiving. Nor is it a done deal; until we trade a check for the front door key anything could happen. But getting a signed Memorandum of Understanding was such a huge milestone after so much work that I wanted to tell the story as we come to the end of the 4th quarter, if you'll pardon the football metaphor.

Yesterday we met with the Insurance guy to try to figure out our "exposure." We don't want to be exposed. We want to be covered. Today I have to research worker's comp to figure out whether we want the owners to be excluded. Seriously, it's been 2 months of this. Neither Seminary nor Music School prepared me. We are learning ever so much!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jack Mendelssohn

I am reading today about Jack Mendelssohn and the role he took after "the walkout" at the UU General Assembly in 1969. I am so amazed by a minister who was able to be so, well, ministerial in the middle of crisis. What an amazing role model. I know there are many sides to this controversial moment, and I was not there, but I aspire to be in such a frame of mind during any conflict.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday during my yoga practice I was looking out my second floor window at a stunning bright red cardinal who was eating the seeds off the topmost branches of the tree in front of our house. He didn't seem to mind me watching him, but the second I pulled out my camera he flew away. This has happened almost every time I have tried to take a picture of the birds in my neighborhood (ducks not withstanding). I wonder why birds don't like to have their pictures taken?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Run or Not to Run

Last year when it got cold and the sidewalks got icy I joined the neighborhood gym for the winter. This year we are conserving money, and really running on a treadmill is like... running on a tread mill. It's practically a metaphor for it's own tedium. Instead I am doing yoga on days too cold to run, and consequently I haven't run in 2 weeks. It was the warmest day of the week today, which means hovering around 20 at running time. And gray. I rolled out my yoga mat again.

By some lovely serendipity, I had scheduled myself months ago to preach my first ever yoga sermon "Lessons learned on the Mat." I've got my stack of yoga books by the computer, and am finally finishing Iyengar's Light on Life. I was looking for a story to tell during the "Lesson for All Ages" and realized that we should just do a few asanas together. I am more nervous about this than the sermon. What poses will hold the interest of our elementary school kids and be accessible to our elders?

I am a little worried about how hard that first run will be when the temperatures get back up into the high 20s or even 30s. But living seasonally is something I believe in, so perhaps winter is the season of yoga. Maybe I just need to have faith that the sun will come back in the spring and I will burst out in my running shoes like those little crocuses bursting through the frozen ground.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've been worrying a lot about money lately. So has most of the world I guess. I grew up in a frugal household that hated waste, and though I had kept the desire not to be wasteful I have been able to loosen some of the tightness that came over me whenever it came to money. It's back. It's not that I've stopped spending, it's just that we've cut back, and that I worry. I think about what we can cut back on next, and then think about what we will cut back on later if the economy doesn't turn around. I want to learn to be frugal without being tight, without living in a sense of scarcity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Could it be hope?

With my husband and all of America I watched the Inauguration with wet eyes, a lump in my throat, and a strange feeling of hope in my chest. For an hour I let go of the jaded cynicism that has been my companion the last decade or so, as I heard that we need not set down our idealism in these hard times. I will have to unpack that and dust it off- I had so much of it when I was young. I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

As the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery urged us in the inaugural benediction:

"Let all those who do Justice and love Mercy say Amen"


Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter Mojo

Back in California a yoga teacher offered classes in "getting into your [insert season here] Mojo". None of them involved getting ready for months of dark cloudy days, or sunny days with temperatures in the single digits. I need help getting into my North East Winter Mojo. If anyone has any advice for getting a winter groove on, please leave me a note so I can find my winter mojo.

Carrot Ginger Muffin

Right at this very moment I am savoring the taste of a bona fide Carrot Ginger muffin from Peet's Coffee & Tea. "How is this possible?" you might ask. "Are you in California where Pete's Coffee & Tea sells such delicacies?" Why no, my friends Lou Jones and Guy fedexed them to me for my birthday. It tastes exactly like I remember. It's totally a muffin worth naming a blog after.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Put Them On

At my eco-book group I made a joke about how cold it was.

"That's Ithaca"
they said
"Long underwear."
"Long underwear?"
"Long underwear- I'm wearing them right now"
"me too"
"me too"
"I'm wearing tights."

Let me get this straight, every one of you is wearing long underwear or tights under your pants right now.


Then everyone showed me their wool socks.

All winter I've been huddled under an afghan trying not to turn up the thermostat.

Apparently what I really need to do is put on my long johns, get myself some Smartwool socks and turn the thermostat DOWN.

I have them on right now.

I am finally not cold.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Car Idling

When I went out to the car yesterday to take my son to school, I realized I hadn't used it since I went to get groceries for our New Year's Eve celebration 5 days before.

(I feel kind of weird about this- it's the rental I got when our real car slid into a snowbank and pulled out without a front bumper. I feel weird that our insurance company is paying $30 a day so that we can go out each night before bed and move it to the other side of the street.)

Still, I'm pleased that our 2 part plan of walking and hibernating have gotten us out of our car.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dr. Atomic

Last night we watched Dr. Atomic "live" from the Met. My partner, a big John Adams fan, had turned it on. I was surprised to notice that the opera-aversion that I had experienced for the last decade and a half since dropping out of my program at the Peabody seemed to have gone. We sat and watched the strange beast that is contemporary opera "all the fun of sitting still, being quiet and listening carefully without benefit of traditional melody". But still it was cool- Adams did a great job of imagining what it must have been like to wait for the first test of an atomic bomb. The stage and light design were also very cool. (very little blocking- mostly standing still so the singers can sing over the orchestra)

Then I headed to bed and started to ask all those questions again: Why did I leave that one voice teacher and stay with the other one? Why did I listen when that crazy teacher told me to stop singing while I had orthodontics?

It's funny how the past heals in layers. I wish I could let go of all the "what ifs" and "whys" that cluster around that time in my life when I was preparing to be an opera singer, but it seems more time must pass. At least I can listen to Opera again.

Sacred Space

After almost a year and a half in this house, I finally created some sacred space for myself. I used to have a fold-out desk in a built-in book case great for making a seasonal altar above and storing things-you-might-put-on-an-altar underneath and safely out of site. In the new house, the one flat surface I managed to set aside is just above eye level, and not truly accessible for short altar-makers. Last night we hung up a set of tiny shelves that used to serve as a spice rack (Hand made by someone in Pennsylvania I think. A gift form my mother in law years ago). Now my seasonal altar has 5 tiny windows and a narrow shelf. What was harder was finding a safe place for all the little bits and pieces of shells and rocks, candles and polished glass, bells, incense, and figures of the sacred mother that accumulated so casually on my folding self at home. They are now safely packed in a drawer. The altar is nothing special, but it feels really good to have that space again. Space to put a star that reminds me of my friend who has cancer. Space to remind myself of my intentions, to let objects hold ideas and feelings and dreams in process.