Ill-Advised Crushes, Thoughts on Reciprocity, and Sleepiness

Thing the first: I have a crush that is really just…I was going to say stupid, but that’s too harsh. It’s just that I’m not even on this guy’s radar; he knows who I am and we speak sometimes but, seriously now. It’s really just one of those chemical things because it hit me the day I met him. I don’t even know if I’d like him if we spent an evening or a whole day together. I just know he makes my insides flip over.

Trying to decide whether I’m a complete dork for that, or whether I should just enjoy the flipping insides and the fact that I’m obviously not dead yet despite my advanced age.

Thing the second: Proceeds from my musing on thing the first. I was thinking about how this guy makes me woozy, and yet I believe he actually might not like me very much. Since we don’t have a lot of interraction, I can’t really tell, but sometimes I get the impression that he indeed doesn’t care much for me. And yet — the woozy insides-flipping experience. It’s a complicated thing, and one I’ve run into before.

How can a person have feelings (of whatever sort, whatever intensity) for someone who doesn’t reciprocate? It’s all well and good to say, “If he doesn’t want you he doesn’t deserve it” or “Why would you want someone who doesn’t want you?” But it doesn’t seem that simple to me. It makes me want to be the kind of person that person would like, for awhile at least, until the “but would you want to be with someone who required X, Y, or Z?”

Which is my stance for awhile longer, until I consider that everyone has their X, Y, and Z.  I don’t generally care for blue eyes or blond hair; I like a man clean-shaven or with a goatee but no full beard or, horrors, a standalone mustache; I will put up with a lot of crap (unfortunately) but I will not put up with stupidity. So what if a blue-eyed blond guy with a mustache and not much in the way of smarts were to fall for me?

Actually really only the last is a dealbreaker. Besides, facial hair can be changed.

But still. I just would not be feeling it for this person, but that wouldn’t make me evil. And it works both ways.

Yet, disliking me is a fatal flaw in someone I am crushing on, obviously.

I think I will just enjoy the wooziness and not worry about it, since it’s not like I’m going to ask the guy out or anything.

Which brings me to thing the third: GOD I’m sleepy. It’s New Year’s Eve; we got out early and I tried to hit Trader Joe’s but the parking was impossible. I need to make something for tomorrow when a friend is coming over to knit, but all I want to do is turn on the electric blanket and go to sleep. I’m really hoping I get a second wind.

Advertisements

Arglebargle

What a bloody waste of a day. It was crap from the moment I woke up until the moment I finally got home and featured not one but two bouts of crying.

Yeah, work totally got me down today. And it’s actually a much better job than my previous one. But how did an English major who wanted to be a novelist growing up end up working with numbers all day? And unfortunately I currently have a supervisor who seems like an all right person underneath it all, but we don’t see eye-to-eye on things. I wasn’t feeling well to begin with this morning, and things went downhill from there.

I have a coworker who lets this person’s stuff roll off her; I can’t do that somehow. Everyone I talked to today (a goodly number of people) were supportive and kind and quite annoyed with supervisor person. It made me feel good, under the misery of the matter at hand.

Bah.

But now it’s the weekend, although I have to go to the dentist in the morning.

On a goofy happy note, Walgreen’s (!) was selling big, soft, pretty scarves, 56% rayon, for $6. I bought a plum one. It’s lovely. Six bucks!

I also got a few socks in the mail today. Two are pairs that can be over-the-knee on the short or slender and are knee socks on the tall or voluptuous of leg (and I’m slightly taller than average, definitely voluptuous of leg), and they’re cushy, comfy, and, in the case of the lilac pair, pretty. (The other pair is black and therefore “pretty” by default in my eyes, but not exceptional vis-à-vis color.) Then there are these sparrow socks. They’re slightly tight, but I think they will stretch a bit and they do go up to my knee. I ordered a couple more pairs of the two plain-colored types and a couple pairs of lacy trouser socks to wear with non-clompy shoes. I think they’ll cheer me up and also make shoe-wearing easier on the skin of my feet.

It’s 9:30 and I’m going to bed. Crying, frustration, anger, self-recrimination, depression: All exhausting.

Poltical liberal, theological moderate, liturgical conservative

That’s me.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I’ve gone back to the Episcopal Church after nearly nine years as a Roman Catholic.

ETA: I realized later that, as long as this is, it’s still just the nutshell version. There are so many tangents I could go off on on all three of these aspects. This is just the “quick” explanation.

Politically

It’s tough to be a liberal Catholic. There are, actually, some fine-by-Rome opinions that are considered liberal in the US — guaranteed health care, for instance, or being opposed to the death penalty. But whenever you get into matters sexual, you’re walking in a minefield. I simply could not force myself to try to be on board with the no-birth-control, no-abortion-ever-n0-matter-what-n0-way-no-how, civil-unions-for-gay-folks-spells-the-end-of-civilization mindset. I heard the president I voted for compared to Hitler in a sermon — I am not even kidding. That was the beginning of the end for me. I think this may be different for cradle Catholics who are liberal, because it’s been their church since birth and they feel freer to disagree and yet remain. I felt, as a convert, that I should try to follow the teachings of the church as outlined in the catechism and encyclicals as best I could. I really did try.

Theologically/Canonically

I’m not a theologian, and I’m not even a gifted amateur in the field. So what I have to say is not the sort of thing I’d submit in a paper if I were taking a theology class, but just my own current take.

I began to disagree with the primacy of the pope even though I agree with apostolic succession; I was not able to swallow the infallibility argument either. I read Humanae Vitae and thought, “No. Just…no.” I could not agree with the belief that if you didn’t want to have children for whatever reason (didn’t care for kids; didn’t think you’d be a good parent; were dirt poor; had conditions you didn’t want to pass on; had conditions that might make childbearing deadly for you) then you should be relegated to celibacy and solitude.  I found the argument that you could follow your conscience, but you needed to “correctly form” your conscience, and if you did so you’d be unlikely to disagree with the church, to be completely unpalatable to me.

I began to have problems with mandated confession, although I think the existence of the sacrament of penance is a good thing. I like the Anglican “all may, some should, none must” view of it. Because I was having so many internal disagreements, right down to the requirement of the sacrament of penance itself, I found I couldn’t go to confession. Since I couldn’t go to confession, I knew I ought not to take communion at Mass. Do most Catholics skip confession and still go to communion? Yeah. And I did too for the first few years, but then, like I said above, really tried to toe the line. So for the last year or so, I took communion only once or twice, after I had forced myself, all twisted up inside with guilt, anguish, and ambiguous feelings, to go to confession.

Amongst the devotions of the folks who did seem to be trying to toe the line, I was finding an awful lot of stuff I couldn’t accept. I read the life of St. Gemma Galgani, and I just kept thinking, “This girl was mentally ill.” She may very well also have been a saint — actually I believe she was — but I still find her life disturbing, some of the tales about her unbelievable, and I’m still convinced she was mentally ill. I enjoyed St. Faustina’s Diary, but some of what she says flat-out contradicts Scripture as I understand it, and I don’t believe that, for instance, someone reciting the Divine Mercy chaplet (which I do love) at the bedside of a dying person will save their soul. At least, not simply by its recitation; it’s quite possible hearing the chaplet might move the dying person to a moment of conversion, certainly. Then there was the priest who called Obama akin to a Nazi — he would also recount pious legend as actual fact in his sermons. He’s a very sweet man, but…

The space left for reason and common sense in the Episcopal church is a relief to me. I do like me some mysticism, but more on the lines of St. Teresa of Avila or Julian of Norwich, who were both some pretty commonsense women along with the mystical gift.

Liturgically

A toughie for me.  I always felt like I was being shallow, but I’ve been at RC parishes whose liturgies were, well, awful. I was on edge, irritated, certainly not loving my neighbor, especially if he were the choir director or a  lay Eucharistic minister in a Snoopy sweatshirt. I’m not saying they weren’t valid Eucharists; they were. Rather than list all my dissatisfactions, let me just say that I love the organ, traditional Western hymns (and singing the whole thing!), traditional language, vested acolytes, vested choirs (who can sing well), chant, incense, beautiful vestments, traditional church architecture.

OK, I do have to mention I went to Mass once at the cathedral, and when they broke out the tambourines for the Gloria, I got up and walked out and drove to my usual parish. Also, liturgical dancers in the Western church — oh please, no, no, no. I understand they may be traditional in other cultures; not this one.

I was married in the Episcopal Church, although not the one I’m attending now. I had the highest of high-church weddings. We had gorgeous music, incense, a nuptial Eucharist, a priest and deacon, the works. It was awesome. I could have had a wedding like that in the Catholic Church, but only in the parish where I heard the Obama/Hitler sermon. The parishes I knew who were more liberal were not likely to have folks who knew how to handle a thurible.

I did always feel, and feel still, that those folks who could be faithful Mass-goers under these circumstances are much better people than I am. I admire them.

And so then

About six months ago I threw up my hands and said, “I can’t do this anymore. I just don’t believe a lot of the things I’m supposed to believe in order to be Catholic. I can’t go to confession and I can’t take communion. I can’t do this “square peg/round hole” business anymore, where to get a liturgy that doesn’t make me want to stab myself with a fork I have to listen to reactionary politics from the pulpit and pretty much be told outright, ‘You can’t be a Democrat and a Catholic.’  There is no place I fit in here, and although for a few years I was convinced that if one were to be Christian one ought to be Catholic or Orthodox, I don’t know what to think now. I simply can’t do it.”

So I didn’t go anywhere.

However, in a forum I read, there’s an Episcopal priest and a couple of Episcopalians. One of them had just left the Lutheran Church for the EC. Apparently a seed was planted deep in my brain.

After awhile, I checked out Episcopal Churches in the city I live in and the city I work in. There’s an Anglo-Catholic parish near my office, which looked interesting, but I didn’t think I wanted to commute on Sundays too (although I could hit Evening Prayer or holy days after work). I didn’t want to go back to my original Episcopal parish; I read the Web sites of others. And I decided to visit the one I’ve been going to. They’re traditional but not high church (Morning Prayer once a month, no incense, that sort of thing). It’s okay about the lack of high-churchiness. I like that a lot, but that’s not a requirement for me. The facts that the music is wonderful, the liturgy is dignified (Rite I, the liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated ad orientem; the 8 AM service and the monthly MP service are out of the ’28 prayerbook — and if you live in my area you can now easily find my parish), the preaching and the writing in the bulletins and newsletters is serious and reverent where appropriate but also contains humor and even-handedness; that the Peace is controlled and calm and not a free-for-all; that no one applauds the music; that we’re allowed to intinct; that I can go to communion without having had to go for formal confession — all these things make me feel like I’ve taken off shoes that were too tight and put on a good pair.

Actually, that’s exactly what I felt when, several weeks before I went to this church, I got myself a BCP (not sure where my old ones went) and started saying Compline before bed again. It had been ten years since I had, but the words rushed over me and I thought, “Ah! Yes!” I wanted to test these waters before I got back into them. I didn’t want to be a Church-hopping dilettante. So I said Compline for about three weeks before I got up my courage and walked into an unfamiliar — and small! — church. As shy as I am in these situations, I still felt relaxed and at home.

I find that I feel freer to pray now that I did before. I still like formal prayers, of course, but for a long time as an RC I relied solely on them. I felt distant from God and really unable to simply speak to Him. Now I am better able to pray both formally and informally. I realize that God doesn’t change, but my perspective has.

Disclaimer

This is just me. It’s not an indictment of Catholics or Catholicism; I’m certainly not anti-Catholic even as I disagree with some of the official teachings of the church. I realize the more stridently orthodox will say that I’m a heretic and an apostate; that I am overly concerned with liturgy and not concerned enough with being in a state of grace; that my discomfort with mandated confession is just evidence of my unrepentant sinfulness; that my comfort with Anglicanism is just me settling into moral laxity. I disagree, of course — but for those who believe that, I say, good for them and God bless. I certainly don’t mind if they pray for my soul, because certainly we all need that. And surely, if I find myself unable in good conscience to be a faithful Catholic, would it not be better for me, again in good conscience, to attend a church whose tenets I do believe, and try to do the best I can there, rather than simply give up on faith altogether?

Also, the question may be asked: “Uh, didn’t you know what you were signing up for when you converted?” That has a “yes with a but” answer that will have to wait for another time.

And on that note, I am going to bed!

My favorite part of Compline:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Ah, a Sunday that’s Really a Saturday

I have a day off tomorrow, so tonight is really the same as a normal Saturday night. Yay!

About half my Christmas shopping is done. There are some folks I find it very difficult to buy for, and it’s not helped when all their Wish List stuff starts at $30 and we’re not that close but I still must get them something. I have definitely had some crazy stuff on my WL, but it’s balanced out by books around $10 and the option to buy a gift card at any price.

I did not start the final homeless-project scarf today as I’d intended. I slept badly last night; dreamt I’d bought a house with a pool but my ex-husband’s name had to be on it for some reason. Then the house turned into a condo, and I was living there with someone apparently, but he was really in a relationship with a guy down the hall and they were scheming to kill me to get me out of the way. I kept telling them I’d just leave; I think I woke up around the time I thought I’d locked them out but turned around and they were both there. Also, in order to get my mail, I had to reach up high into a cubbyhole that was suspended over the open part of a stairwell, which meant my mail ended up falling out of my grasp.

Dreams about houses and nice apartments are a very, very, very frequent occurrence for me and why is really a no-brainer. However, this was not the sort of dream I woke up disappointed (“oh, I’m still in this charmless cubbyhole of an apartment”) from.

Having slept like crap I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning, but it’s Advent and I got myself up, dressed, and off to church. There was a baptism and the priest has a sense of humor I really like, so it was all good. And I’d really missed the awesome music and singing in the Episcopal Church; it’s so good to have organ every Sunday and to sing all the verses to hymns and have them not be the 1970s-80s pabulum I’d been getting a lot of in the RCC. (I know, I need to cover that whole church issue at some point.)

I futzed about, met a friend for a latte and the handing-off of some yarn oddballs she’s going to donate for me, then I went to the store and got dinner. It was supposed to be a pork chop, some green beans and a baked potato, but the potato didn’t get done in time so it was pan-fried chops and beans I’d popped into the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Nom. I’m going to take the potato tomorrow, cube it and pan-fry it for lunch, I think.

It rained ferociously late this afternoon — we were sitting outside (but under the overhang)  at Starbucks because there were no indoor seats, and watched the heavens open up. It would let up slightly and then it would crash down in violent torrents. We finally realized we were just going to have to schlep back to our cars in the deluge. We were both wearing Chucks and they’re not the most waterproof of shoes, alas.

And here I am, at 9:15 on a Sunday night, not having the crushing Sunday despair. It’s odd, since I will start to feel slightly that way and then realize — oh wait, no! Tomorrow night won’t be quite like a Sunday, since one workday is already down, and Thursday is a short day for our Christmas party. I do wish that were on Friday, but at least we’re having one, offsite, and it’s not some truncated workplace thing like at my old job. (It used to be a 90-minute luncheon/singing contest at my old job but last year they cancelled it altogether, although we were allowed to have potlucks if we wanted to.)

Then I have next Monday off too. The week after that is short for Christmas. Then I’m back to full weeks til mid-January, but that’s how it goes.

I heard a quick thing on NPR tonight about how having kids and retiring early don’t mix. Dodged that bullet at least! I have a pension from my old job; if I stay here long enough I will have another; soon my deduction for our 457(b) plan (like a 401(k) for government workers) will kick in. I assume a portion of what I’d be entitled to under Social Security will still be available, even if only half or so. I definitely want to stop working at 62 if I can. If I stay where I am, I could retire from there at 62 and take that pension and my 457(b) — and I could go get another part-time job if I wanted to, since I can continue working as long as it’s not with the entity I work for now. At 65 I could collect my other pension, and 67 is my full SS age.

I so want to make sure I have a good chunk of living left after I can stop spending most of my waking hours working! My current job is fine; I like it. But I don’t want to be getting up early and going off to work and only getting home ten hours later for the rest of my life, you know? My dad had only about a year or so of retirement before he died. That would, quite plainly, suck.

I really should start that last scarf. I only have a week!

Knit from Stash 2011

I just rearranged my stash, starting the other night and finishing this afternoon. I’ve got like yarns all together (by weight and manufacturer, not color), have spicy and/or lavender sachets in their bags, and they’re relatively nice and neat. I have a bag of oddballs I’m not sure what to do with,  but that’s stuffed away in a bin in the closet.

I don’t have the world’s biggest stash — it takes up two dresser drawers and an underbed bin (haven’t gotten to that one yet). But I also don’t have an extra bedroom to put crafty things in; my life dream is to have an extra room I can use as a library/knitting room. At the moment, though, I’m about at capacity, although I do have a small KnitPicks order coming in; I went in together with a friend for the free shipping. (And I have some yarn on my Christmas wish list — Fantasy Naturale cotton yarn which is gorgeous stuff.)

There is one project I want to work on in the New Year that will require new yarn. I’ve never made a sweater and I found a simple cardigan in my size (and the pattern was just gifted to me by the friend I ordered from KP with!). It’s going to take 1980 yards of DK weight yarn.  (Oh man, remember my “All DK Yarn Is Not Created Equal” debacle? Eek.) It’s probably also going to take me six months and some hand-holding.

I also have a super-seekrit pattern for something I want to knit for someone for their next birthday, and I will need some yarn for that as I honestly have nothing suitable.

Other than that, though, I am determined to knit down my stash this yarn. I have cotton yarns I can use for stitch-experimenting dishcloths and baby things; I have sock yarn for (uh, yeah) socks and stuff from my soon-to-be-arriving  Sock Yarn One Skein book; I have fingering weight stuff for the Christmas ornaments I’m working on; I have a kit for some fingerless gloves I got on Etsy; I’ve got several hanks each of different colorways of KnitPicks laceweight; I’ve got a small Koigu collection. (But Koigu is so pretty to look at, I could just pop it into a bowl on the coffee table really.)

I could have about six to eight months of knitting without going shopping. It might be good if I only had one drawer full of yarn, you know? At least unless the surplus was earmarked for something specific — something specific that got knit.

That last part? Yeah, well…while putting stuff in order I found the Winter 2004 Interweave Knits that has a pattern for some awesome colorwork mittens, along with all the exact yarn it called for, which I bought at the time.  I wanted to make sure I got the yarn because I loved the mitts exactly as they were and I was afraid if I waited til I was good enough the yarn might have changed or gone out of production. So I have the pattern and about ten (small, thankfully) skeins of yarn. And have had since 2004. I put the clear plastic bag they live in on top of my living room bookcase, so it will chatter at me to knit the damned things already. I have a pattern for plain mitts to start off with, and I need to get cracking on that practice pair.

Hopefully this time next year I will have a much smaller collection of yarn and a much bigger collection of FOs!