Everybody’s hugging!

First, I’d like to thank the five decent Philly fans out there who acknowledge that both teams played an amazing game. You’re the real MVPs. You are doing what Jesus would do, I’m pretty sure.

Now that that’s out of the way…

What a weekend. Three masses: one a funeral for someone I admired tremendously in the short few months I knew him before he was too sick to come to church, one a Latin mass with early Mozart chorale at my old haunt, St. Thomas. And, of course, Sunday mass at St. Nicholas, which was small and intimate today because #SuperBowlSunday.

Despite my team losing, it was a pretty phenomenal weekend, with tears & laughter & guacamole & cheesy dips & tremendous affection. I’ve been hugged by everyone and their mother. I was told, in a torrent of earnest & fervent love, that I should be a priest (I should not). I’ve stacked a lot of chairs. I’ve washed some wine glasses. I’ve read from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I’ve had a very good conversation or two with people I respect tremendously & for whom I have deep affection.

I don’t even know how to thank Jesus for all the really lovely things I heard & did this weekend. I hope my constant little random smiles are received as gratitude to him.

Even the cat was slightly pleasant.

Oh, a short funny thing before I go. I let the Fitbit wake me up, which means instead of an audio alarm that might disturb the others in my home, my wrist vibrates me awake.

Today that was perceived in my dream as me being sucked from work (I was dreaming about work) into the parish hall at St. Nicholas with my friend Janice yelling at me, “Hey! Hey! Hey, Kellie!”

I awoke laughing. That’s never a bad thing.

I’ve written some books if you like any of the stuff you read here.

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Purity

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, & from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, & worthily magnify thy holy name, though Christ our Lord. Amen.

Isn’t it amazing what you take on board & find playing on repeat in your mind at 11:27 PM on a Tuesday night?

Whenever we say this prayer at the start of mass, two things happen. First, it doesn’t matter what priest is leading it. I will always hear Father Davies’ Welshy Londony voice in my head.

Second, I tend to place a lot of emphasis, when I recite it, on the “all desires known.”

This is because I literally have no idea what I want half the time. I figure God knows what I will not admit to myself. I have ideas about what I want, & then I move toward those things, & then God laughs & says, “Oh, child, that is funny. My dear creature. Hilarious.”

He’s not wrong. I’ve talked about babies & dusty crackers in one of my books. God does not want me to put that wretched thing in my mouth, & I let him lead. Now I am trying to let him lead completely, without even trying to do anything.

This is producing results that have me saying things to him like “This makes legit zero sense.”

And God responds enthusiastically, “Oh, you think that was crazy? Hold my beer!”

If God knows all my desires, and this is where I’m going, I am a much stranger person than I thought. Like, seriously, flawlessly bizarre. I wouldn’t even know how to describe some things that have happened without sounding like I was trying to story board a fourth season of Twin Peaks.

It’s all real, but it’s not normal.

It’s certainly not bad. It is a series of gentle, free (or nearly free) and sometimes ludicrously joyous happenings that are seemingly unrelated. A teenager tells me after five minutes of conversation that I am now her best friend. A small child describes sharks and yogurt to me in grave, exacting detail. A friend sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper” to me the same way Carol Burnett might. On a warm afternoon, I am somehow the center of a very attentive universe, when my plan that day was to serve. I get sick again, & the cat kneads me for the first time since I rescued him. I have a job I love, friends who care, and a DJ who just mashed up David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” with Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie.”

I don’t even know who I am any more.

Is this what #blessed looks like? It’s weird, you guys. Smiling randomly to yourself all day is weird.

All desires known.” Well, what else do I want, Lord? Where TF does this crazy train go?

If you have that opening riff in your head right now, I have won.

A Day At St. Thomas

“HOW ARE YOU EVEN DOING THIS?!” you scream at your screen. “You’re doing NaNoWriMo, writing pieces for Phantom Sway, and now you’re going to subject us to your personal blog again?”

Yes. Shut your gob. Because as luck would have it, Len & I sat together in the parish hall today, waiting to have our glucose & cholesterol looked at, & she asked me about my writing.

“Which thing?” I asked.

“All of it,” she replied.

Long story short, she convinced me (in a gentle, subtle, possibly psychologically adept way) to keep some sort of daily diary on my blog. Like I used to. And that became a self published book that has helped a few people with fibromyalgia feel less alone. So why not now, when my life is infinitely more interesting?

I told you about lying around in pain all day in Reno, hopped up on goofballs. I can’t tell you about freaking Hollywood?

Well, part of the reason is that my job requires me to listen to confidential material all day. So I can’t tell those stories. Those are others’ stories. But I can drop a couple paragraphs here each day, right? Sure! 

hold me to it

So let’s start with today. Today I woke from a dream in which I was petting a penguin. It was soft & darling, like a kitten, which I imagine penguins are not actually in real life. The alarm woke me & I was so cross to have to set the penguin down.

I rose, showered, dressed, and ate this, which is irrefutable proof of something many people are jerks about:  

Appetizing.

That is a gluten free breakfast sandwich. That dotted disc is meant to be a biscuit. You know, those warm, flaky things you Norms smother in sausage gravy? Not so for the celiac sufferer. So those of you who think gluten stuff is a fad, you can blow me. If I have to get out the door quickly, I have to heat this up. This. This…disc.

It actually tastes ok. But still! Disc. And the company knows celiac people will eat it because we don’t want to die. A death proceeded by crapping in church. So they can get away with selling us convenient discs.

I then brushed my teeth & did my eyes & took my hair out of the bun I slept in…NO. I cannot wear an Anglo Afro to church! I cannot be both Weird Al & Carrot Top at mass. People behind me need to see! So I wrestled all the curls into yet another bun & somehow made it to rosary on time.

 

15 minutes peace with the Virgin.


After saying the rosary with Stephen & John, I took my place in our usual pew with my sister Caroline & her boyfriend Sam, who joined us today. Jimmy sat in front of us (as usual) & told us a beautiful story I’m not sure I’m allowed to repeat. It was very personal, but demonstrated how God moves in our lives. 
The pews filled, waves were exchanged, phones were turned off, and I blinked at the sculpture of Jesus over our altar because my new contacts do not correct for my worsening astigmatism. The familiar echo of substantial boots came down the aisle right before the procession; Robert was in the house.

We then had a lovely Remembrance Day High Mass in which it was announced that Brit had been accepted by our diocese to pursue holy orders. This is magnificent news. Brit was in the same catechism as me & Caroline. I am inordinately fond of her & had the privilege of writing a recommendation for her. It would not shock me if she were made bishop of Los Angeles by the time she’s 40. She is a universe of love in a 5′ singularity. We are all of us blessed by this decision, across space time.

We sang one of Canon Davies’ favourite hymns during communion, & one of mine at the end. We listened to Jeffrey play us out, & then waited in the reception line with Christopher, who was wearing a penguin tie. So I told him about the dream & he sang “Soft Penguin”. If you’ve even heard of Big Bang Theory, you know.

We had a health fair today so the parish hall was packed with nurses ready to measure us and stick us & give us flu shots. My friend Salvador & our parish nurse Debbie worked hard to put it together (it was our first) & I think it went fairly well. The poor gal who stuck my finger was alarmed at how long it took me to stop bleeding, but I’m B12 deficient so I just kept assuring her it was ok. And it was.

Then Dee, Rodney, David & I had a civil conversation about politics, proving it is actually possible, no matter what social media will have us believe.

Achy & starving, I got home finally & made buffalo chicken dip with celery for football lunch. And now I’m writing this. And soon I will Nano again.

Things I learned today:

  • I’ve been without contacts for so long that there are a number of people at my church who had no idea what I looked like without glasses. Many remarked that my eyes are very big.
  • Don’t use mozzarella for buffalo chicken dip. The bleu cheese is essential.
  • It doesn’t matter what I wear; my Pats will always win. This is a relief.

My subsequent entries will be much shorter because church is always more fascinating than anything else I do. Promise. Well, probably.

 

Best. Birthday. EVAR.

Yes, even better than the birthday a beloved TV star ordered pitchers (literal pitchers) of the best tequila, followed by a separate event in which I received countless gin & tonics & a lesbian lap dance (which was not so much a dance as my lap was a bounce house for a tiny butt).

The deciding factor was of course the presence of my boyfriend, who was able to drive down for the weekend. Plus also Jesus. I shall explain.

A theme was set Friday when a beloved client popped in with this: 

 

and if you know me, you know I love me some flowers. Especially roses. My camera phone cannot do them justice & my arrangement skills are for shit, but trust me, these are gorgeous.

Saturday was my actual birthday. I turned 41, if you must know, & I happened to note about a month before that my beautiful church, Saint Thomas of Hollywood, was having a Latin vigil mass the same day with none other than LASchola. They are a choral group that sings ancient church music with such sacred harmonies that you will cry. Shut up, you will. Anyhow, a number of my friends keep making noises about joining me for a church service, as it is pretty much the only thing I ever talk about, but few have followed through.

So I thought “What better way to spend my birthday than with Jesus & my boyfriend & my family & 200 of my closest LA friends?” Out went the Facebook invite. “Come! Reception to follow. Bring cash for the plate in lieu of gifts. Jesus gives infinite plus ones, so bring everyone!” but more articulate, sort of. 

The Los Angeles rule of invites is it’s ok to invite everyone because maybe ten people will respond & of those, 5 will show up. Well, not including church friends, I bagged exactly 7! And we partied hard, y’all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, 7 of my non-church friends, plus my mum, brother, sister & her boyfriend came to a Latin mass, the most massy of all masses, on a Saturday night, when they could have done virtually any other thing with their time. I am blessed & honoured.

We always have a reception in the parish hall when LA Schola sing, so we walked up in da club to a wine bar. I am abstaining for Lent, but my friend (acolyte, vestryperson, future bishop of Los Angeles if there’s any justice) explained to me canon law & how yes, absolutely I can & in fact ought to have some wine. She then handed me a giant bunch of flowers, as did my sister (left to right, respectively):  

 

so we took over a table & piled flowers & presents & were joined by my dear church friends & talked & laughed & ate cheese & delicious gluten free cupcakes for hours. My brother signed (in ASL) that he was happy, bear hugged Father, challenged us to a mild dance off where we had to wiggle our bums, & displayed his ominous psychokinetic powers when Father turned to the exact page in his birthday book that is my brother’s birthday.

I was achy, so we didn’t stagger around Hollywood after as suggested. We eventually made it home, watched Lost Highway (one of three David Lynch films gifted to me by my roommate, which she now probably regrets), & finally went to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning very sore, but to glorious cuddles from the boyfriend & Persephone (Girl Cat) on his chest. We decided brunch at Hugo’s was in order, & he got me my favourites: gluten free eggs benedict & almond energy pancakes. (Celebrity sighting: Jackson Galaxy). We then drove up Mulholland Drive to Outpost to see a house we had fallen in love with online. Impressed by the secure, high walls (i.e. you can’t see shit from the street), we returned to the Valley in a circuitous route taking us past unique & beautiful homes. A set of octagonal pod apartments jutting over a canyon here, a house entirely covered in mosaic tile there. 

We came home, & my roommate consented to Blue Velvet, which again, you know, she probably regrets.

The boyfriend & I had dinner at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, watched The Walking Dead finale (highly satisfying), & said goodbye to each other as he was returning this morning.

I got to spend my birthday with many of the people I love, & it was fantastic.