Everything Has Changed

Stained glass at St. Nick’s OF St. Nick.


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.

There are many reasons. The most important one is that nearly every aspect of my life has changed, and I dare suspect for the better.

Also I’ve been working on a short new book that will be out soonish, so watch this space!

The first thing that changed is that my boyfriend of the past three years moved in, which is actually not something that I wanted, but made sense. It has been a blessing despite my many objections. If you’ve known me long enough, you know that things I object to frequently turn out to be blessings whether I like it or not.

The second thing that’s changed is where I attend mass. I now go to Saint Nicholas—not because there is anything particularly wrong with Saint Thomas, aside from its location.

As you know, Saint Thomas has been my spiritual home for more than four years now. I have made some of the best friends I’ve had in my life there, and I love Canon Davies. I was confirmed there & I know I am genuinely loved there. But I also have fibromyalgia, which is a fact I kept forgetting, hurling myself into projects, volunteering for every damn thing, and generally making myself physically miserable.

The discovery of another AngloCatholic parish not three minutes from my house was nothing short of a miracle. I had heard about St. Nick’s before, from not only my friend Robert, but also St. Thomas itself. Father Michael used to be assistant priest at St. Thomas, so the transition has been fairly seamless.

There are some distinct differences. St. Thomas has Dr. Jeffrey Parola as Master of Music, a 100 year old organ, and acoustics. The music is en pointe. St. Nicholas’ musical choices are both simpler and much more diverse, taking cues less from classics and more from what will resonate with the largest number of parishioners, who speak both Spanish and English.

I have found this to be as equally moving as, say, Durufle’s requiem mass. During Holy Week, St. Nicholas had a lovely singer who was mixing English, Spanish, Latin & opera (which I think was in Italian; I don’t know because I was sobbing). And there was a violinist as well as a pianist. If you want to immediately tap into someone’s heart, you play a violin!

The simplicity of some of the music at St. Nick’s makes for some rather magical spontaneous musical moments from the parishioners. During Maundy Thursday, we had a couple of chants that inspired improvised harmony from a few, including Father Michael. I can’t begin to describe how moving that was.

There are a lot of families attending St. Nick’s, too. Encino is more suburban than Hollywood, so it is delightfully common to hear little boys whisper in Spanish or English during mass, or see little girls burst into tears because they want to be crucifer this week, or hear kids running around the playground outside. 

My first visit was Ash Wednesday, and a precocious little boy who normally attends the Spanish mass said to me “You have a dark cross on your forehead!”

I replied, “Do I? Yours is very light. It’s probably because you’re young and haven’t sinned as much.” He smiled. His mother laughed.

Unsurprisingly I have already been recruited to do things. I started attending at the beginning of Lent, and by the very end, the Easter Vigil, I was already lectering. The beauty of this arrangement is that St. Nick’s is so close that attending & volunteering are no problem at all. I haven’t missed any work since attending St. Nick’s because I have not once gone into a full fibro flare.

Which brings me to change number three: my job. Quite by the grace of God, a writing gig dropped in my lap, and I now work from home following and writing up news stories. This is pretty much exactly the perfect thing for me at this time in my life. The salary, benefits, and people are amazing. Plus the clients I’ve served over the last seven years can now be my friends. It’s a win/win!

And when I’m in pain, I can still work because I don’t have to worry about driving or sitting in one position all day. And I learn something new every day. Ask me anything about the special election in Kansas’ 4th district. Go on! Ask me!

God is good, He is risen, & life doesn’t suck. I pray the same contentment for you all.

Wonderful Things Heard Over the Weekend

  Everybody is better & funnier than me, so I will steal their words & share them out of context & without attribution, as God intended:

“I love my girlfriend. I don’t want to be with anyone else, ever.”

“Is it hot or am I weird?”

“Yes.”

Schubert’s “Ave Maria“. For free. But with organ.

Bowie’s “Blackstar“, at least five times.

My sister saying the rosary.

“O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness”

“Nobody hugs Arthur.”

“I said hello to him this morning.”

“I remain correct. Nobody hugs Arthur.”

“Oh, I’ll hug you, Arthur.”

Arthur, hissing at me: “What did you do?

“I got dragged to an Eagles concert when I was a teenager & it was just old people. And cougars. That’s what turned me toward homosexuality.”

“And cougars’ll turn you right back, if you let ’em.”

“What’s the Latin for ‘Fuck it?'”

“Father would know.”

“We got engaged last night!”

“The wait is almost over. The new X-Files is next, after the NFC championship!”

(That last one was a bit of fiction, as there was a game recap, but still.)



Today’s Work Out Music

I’m doing a new thing that is way more motivating, to me, than a set work out. I put on music & then do whatever exhuberant activity comes to mind until I need to stop. Today was the recumbent bike & some bicycle crunches, plus push ups & ring pulls. Sometimes it will be dancing around or going for a fast walk.

The important part is that the music makes you push.

If you’d like to do today’s 27 minute work out after talking to your doctor & making sure it’s ok, play the following:

Hollow Moon (4:27)

Hey Ya (3:54)
Start Me Up (3:40) 

I was gonna stop here (hence the cool down), but I wanted to keep going. So, I turned it up and…
The Walker (3:50)

I should have played something slower to cool down, but at that point I wasn’t peddling & was doing strength training, so I figured it was ok. I am not a doctor & you should not listen to me.

I am very glad I had a trainer for a couple months to teach me proper form so I can bust out moves at home! I recommend it even if you can only afford a couple of sessions.

Yes, my novel is finished & is awaiting some edits. This is not me procrastinating. Also I’m sick of being fat. So shut up. I can’t be 

Everybody Be Propelled Through a Hurtling Vortex, Now!

C&C Music Factory probably didn’t have synesthesia or migraine with aura in mind when they paid an obese woman to sing “Let the rhythm move you” (& then filmed a super skinny chick lip syncing it because the general public have no idea how diaphragms work).

At this very moment I am recovering from a migraine that woke me at 4AM this morning, unfortunate as I fell asleep after midnight. It was also accompanied by the usual sense that the world is blurrier than usual & the desire to pop out my right eye & hurl it with full force at the wall. There are also other sorts of hurling.

Sometimes all I can do in the midst of it is put something black over my head & shove ear buds in my lug holes. This may seem counterproductive to some of you, as noise can exacerbate migraines. As I also have fibromyalgia, I have to distract myself from the exaggerated pain or I get a little suicidal. Because it’s bad, & it shuts off my ability to reason. So I have to block out all light, but to keep from being bored & focusing on pain, I listen to music. It is very carefully selected music, as tunes I normally adore in wellness drive me batty in sickness. There will be no “Uptown Funk” or “Fly On The Windscreen” today.

Just now I was listening to “Synchronicity II” by The Police & had the sensation of moving rapidly backward through a tunnel during the “many miles awaaaaaay” bit at the end. As I am also nauseous, this was not as fun as it sounds. I am now trying to sort out if feeling like you’re moving with music is another thing that comes under synesthesia, or is just a basilar migraine happy fun time thing.

I also saw a man standing over my bed during Aha’s “Minor Earth Major Sky”, but I realized it was just a man shaped shadow sculpture, which is a thing I see during migraines. Sometimes the walls melt, too.

Meanwhile the cats continue to vigorously wash my elbows, as they feel this helps somehow.

Mission From God

Listen: http://curve.bandcamp.com/track/mission-from-god

“Call me a colour
That only appeals to you
Any one, it doesn’t matter
It’s the easiest thing you could do
Could do could do could do

I’ve gone & messed it up messed it up messed it up
Again
One more time, one more time &
You won’t be my friend

Please don’t let me down
Please don’t let me down

Life is just a series
Of relative disappointments
But I will be waiting and my mission is
To help you…”
–Toni Halliday

This is my favourite Curve song, obviously because it’s luscious, & it’s called “Mission From God”, & I’m all about serving God. But what sucks right now is that it perfectly exemplifies my life at this time with regard to a friend. And I don’t know how to make it right. So I’m just waiting for my friend to tell me what to do.

Also I’m not entirely sure what I’ve done.