It’s a cold and sunny day here in central Merlin. I don’t have a docket and am spending the day getting organized for the onslaught that will be next week. A three-day trial I thought was going to start Monday was postponed until mid-May, so I feel like one who has been granted a reprieve:). So of I figured I’d update this thing. When last I posted, dear readers, I was clinging for dear life onto the handle of a the passenger side of our car as we were careening through the snow-covered roads of central Connecticut. We had visited with my brother Dan in “Joysey” on the way (he looked terrific, BTW!!). We got off that dratted I-95 North parking lot posing as a highway when we realized that John had left his good suit hanging in the garment bag on our hall closet door hook! Thanks to my trusty i-Phone app (AroundMe – I highly recommend it), and a search on Kohl’s (yes, even though they never sell decent skirts for the old fart in your life), got an address and phone number and verified that they were open until 11 pm. We took a rather long detour which included sections of the Merritt Parkway that seemed to have never experienced the effects of a snowplow, and finally made our way to a Kohls, where, wonder of wonders, they were having an enormous sell on men’s wear! A couple of pairs of pants, some shirts and sweaters later, we were back on the road. Thankfully, we were only about 15 minutes away from New Haven at that point – something for which I will be eternally grateful, my nails having already dug four holes in my right palm to avoid screaming during the ride. Did I ever tell you I was very glad that John had waken up and taken over the driving before we got to the Merritt Parkway? Oh, well, I’m telling you now – and I was glad he was behind the wheel or the panic would have gone into nuclear mode.
We made it to the hotel, unpacked and found a Mexican restaurant around the corner (after being warned away by a local gendarme from doing too much exploring in the neighborhood at night). We had a terrific meal and then todddled off to bed. Dinner with Vicki was not to happen until the next night.
The next morning, we headed to the Church of St. Paul and St. James (“St. PJ’s”) and immediately saw Vicki in the middle of the thick of things. After many hugs and happy words, Vicki showed me where the choir was practicing and John pitched in to help in the kitchen. (He’s a good guy, my hubby.) The choir was great and we had a wonderful time singing some of Vicki’s favorites and mine as well: “Yes, God is Real,” “Siyahamba”, “I am the Bread of Life,” the Taize”Veni Sancte Spiritus” and various hymns from the 1982 Hymnal. There was a guest organist and an excellent – and I mean excellent jazz band that goes by the name of Theodicy. It always comes out sounding like The Odyssey when I say it, though! The pianist, Andy Barnett, is the parish Director of Music and Art and is currently himself in seminary. Everyone had something good to say about Vicki! As I said to another friend of mine, it was wonderful to see her in a community that appreciates her charisms and her wildly sick sense of humor as only my dearest friends have:)!
While practicing with the choir, I made the acquaintance of two friends from Vicki’s home church, St.John’s in North Haven, who have retired and moved to the Delmarva Penninsula in Virginia (near Merlin’s Eastern Shore)! They, like us, had an interesting adventure braving the snow to get there!
Then of course the awesome part – Vicki’s Ordination. She has been waiting for this moment for so long – about 40 years – and it this was just the beginning. She will be a wonderful priest. She has known the joys and suffering of life and I do believe she will be a force for good in this world. Congratulations, Vicki! May God bless your ministry! After the service was over, we met more of Vicki’s fellow congregants at the reception in her honor in the church hall. This is a city parish, serving rich and poor alike, right near prestigious Yale University. It’s an eclectic group and I very much enjoyed the privilege of sharing a meal with them. Afterwards, John and I did a very little bit of shopping for the grandkids – of course Yale-related – why not? We had dinner with Vicki, her sister Kate and Kate’s family. It was so great to see them all and catch up. John was laughing because Vicki and I have known each other for almost 40 years now, but with huge gaps of time between seeing each other – sometimes as much as a decade – yet the one-liners were still flying! I think he had a great time too. And I realized how much I miss New England! I’d move there tomorrow if all my kids didn’t live in Merlin! Sunday, we went to the 8:30 service at which Vicki presided over her first Eucharist (after concelebrating at her Ordination, of course). There were three of us at the service probably because of the snow. We all gave Communion to each other as we stood in a circle – I received from John and Vicki received from me (irony of ironies, LOL!). Immediately afterwards we were packed, checked out and on the road to Merlin. After that hair-raising eight-hour ride on Friday, our trip home was only four hours!We even had dinner with some of the “kids” and grands. That weekend happened so quickly but I know I will remember it as long as my brain works!
As if we didn’t receive an embarrassment of riches that weekend, right before we left to go, I received an urgent message from a fellow St. J’s choir member. Tom plays tympani for the choir and was drafted to play percussion for the Orchestra of St. John’s next concert, the regular percussionist having demurred due to a gig already in the works with the Baltimore Symphony. Apparently, when he finally got his sheet music, he realized there were too many parts even for Spike Jones to play. So, given that we have some marching band experience between us, he called me to see if I’d be interested. Hell yeah! So last week, between the duties and obligations of work, I had a number of practices with Tom and a CD of just about every Strauss and other waltz I’ve ever heard of! By Saturday, we were ready for them! (Well, sort of!) We practiced four hours with the orchestra and it was heaven! My life could have been over and I’d be satisfied I’d really lived. My only concern was that I didn’t sound professional enough. Tom certainly did. The next day was the concert and I had a blast, although I was grateful once or twice that Tom actually knows how to count – unlike yours truly! Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself. Even if I did, it was worth it!
John, bless his heart got out of bed to see it, though he is decidedly NOT a classical music fan! Now that’s love! For fans of the waltz, this was a wonderful concert – it actually sold out in a matter of minutes! It was a multi-media event: as the orchestra played the waltzes, a large screen played videos of local historical and other places of interest in Howard County (central Merlin); There were real dancers from the Columbia Ballet Company waltzing up and down the aisles. At one point, some of the male dancers invited women from the audience to dance with them. And the crowd went wild.
Ron Mutchnik, our Maestro and Concert Master wrapped into one, had composed a lovely little “St. John’s Waltz” to which he had written lyrics for the audience to sing. They did very well:) Of course, you cannot have a Viennese waltz celebration without ending with the Radetzky March and an audience of clappers and stompers. Tom had the snare drum for that one and I got to boom on the bass drum. What a hoot.
On a more mercenary level, it was enouraging to see that most of the audience were adults, which means our fan base is increasing.
Immediately afterwards, the choir was going to sing for a church-related activity (the Orchestra is affiliated with the Church, but it is a non-profit, not a religious organization) – the welcome of Bishop Rabb into our midst. It was a nice pot luck and again, a nice time.
By the Reverend King’s birthday holiday on Monday, I was just a weeeee bit tired.
This week I am finally up and running again, with the usual stuff going on. Tomorrow I am babysitting the grandgirls in the morning, helping with the “after” at the choir-sponsored lunch for Discovery weekend and then having little Johnny over for an overnight visit (with his Mommy) to get him more used to Pop and Gramma’s house as they get closer to the Due Date:). Sunday, I get to play flute with the Junior Choir and then run to our firm’s holiday brunch.
So, that should catch me up as far as the highpoints of the past few weeks.
If you haven’t fallen asleep, I have some knitting updates. For the most part, I have been working on two projects – the Westerwick cardigan for Nancy and Jared Flood’s Terra shawl (sometimes I have to work on something relatively mindless, so the Terra has been my portable go-to project this time around.
I have finally completed the first sleeve – did not machine stitch my steek for this sleeve, but picked up stitches, knit a row, then promptly sewed under the excess to make a sleeve facing. It didn’t turn out half badly. I still have two more steeks to go: the right sleeve and the central (my technical term is the big-assed) steek for the button band facing, both of which I am facing with some trepidation – well at least for the latter one.
I used slightly different colors for the sleeve ribbing than what was called for in the body ribbing. Now I have to be careful to use the same colors, LOL! I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully this sweater will be done before February! There are projects I am chafing at the bit to get started, but have exercised some self-discipline to get this done properly first!
My one bit of self-indulgence has been the Terra. It is a fairly simple pattern and one that knits up quickly in contrast to the complex fair isle above. It’s a basic triangle and Jared Flood uses a combination of stockinette/stocking stitch with garter to create a ribbing pattern on the body and a very simple lace patter for the edge. I have about another 200 yards and 26 rows and the bind off to go before it’s done and ready to be blocked. Not too shabby. Now the question: do I keep this for myself or give it to the Prayer Shawl Ministry?? Please vote! I will post a poll on this blog for anyone who cares to give their opinion!
Well, dear readers, I don’t have much more to share. Stay safe out there and God (however you understand Him/Her/It) be with you ’til we meet again!