I’m sure any links to a youtube clip posted on the church facebook page this morning were chosen because Mr Rogers is awesome, a clergy member in our denomination, and saying relevant thing. And not not because Republicans want to cut PBS. Yeah. That never ever entered my pretty little head.

You know what? I don’t think I’ve ever been on even one date with someone I liked who wouldn’t like being on that date with Carrie Brownstein more. I’m not saying that extends to all boys I’ve ever been out with, just the ones I like. The joke’s on them, of course: most of them pale in comparison to her as well. I introduced OGfPS to Sleater-Kinney. He should’ve known them, but, you know, whatever. He’s now minorly obsessed.

And I’m obsessed with the amount of anti-women legislation in Congress right now. I’ve been writing a bunch of angry emails to everyone I can think of to email. I’m also working on an essay about the Christianity and the pro-life movement.

This song is my response to both. And one of my top five covers ever, by the way.

This is in the women’s restroom at the church.  I don’t know if the Bible’s being presented as a toilet reading option or as a decorative object.  And frankly I don’t know which idea I’d prefer.

Right now I’m trying to decide between calling up teenagers to nag them or doing something myself.  The youth decided to have a food drive, which I have been promoting in church publications.   They were supposed to think up something cool for the church if the food drive goal was met.  It was their idea to do this.  But they haven’t.  It’s something I need to put in the bulletin today.  I’ve already sent a number of facebook messages.   Frustrating.  I wonder if this is what having children is like.

The pastor just handed me new hours for the local food pantry, so I took down the sign I made listing the old hours and started to make a new one.  The hours said this “Tuesday-Thursday 9 to 12 and Wednesday 9-12.”  This, quite rightly, confused me.   I called and asked the food pantry what was going on.  I found out a) that the pantry’s founder thought this was a perfectly reasonable way of organizing this information and 2) that she’d give that flier to the pastor nearly a year ago.  My sign was the up-to-date one.  She had my job before I did.  I really have no idea how this place used to operate.

A while back OGFPS bought me tickets to a thing.  It was thoughtful if a little unprecedented.  And it was weird because this event is in May.  Yesterday my sister called to ask me what she thought of the plans she’d made for her graduation weekend.  That’s right.  Graduation weekend.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I was unaware that family members are obligated to attend any graduation beyond high school.  I certainly didn’t know that one could be reasonably expected to dedicate a weekend to a sibling’s receipt of a professional certification.   I kind of thought it was a “come if you’re able and we’ll have cookies after” sort of a thing.  My mistake.

Wait! I said.  When is it?  She told me.  Dude, I’ve had tickets to a thing that weekend for weeks.  I’m so sorry.

Bullet dodged.

Yesterday I went to drop some stuff off at a homeless shelter in a nearby town.   I’m one of those reusable shopping bags people, as if you couldn’t guess that by now.  I was carrying three mismatched ones and had left my coat in the car.  It was quite cold out, but I don’t like to drive with it on and didn’t see the use in putting it on for just a minute or two.

I waited in a long line at the shelter’s front desk, shifting my bags from finger to finger.  The woman in line ahead of me had three children, two of whom were having a meltdown.  I crouched down to flirt with the baby lolling in his stroller.  When it was finally my turn, I explained to the friendly girl at the desk that I’d spoken to Sister Mary Roberta and that she was expecting me.

Go down the hall here, make a left, and you’ll see her.  She’s in the coat room and the only nun on the place.

The shelter was once a grand hotel.  Then it was a flophouse.  Now it’s been nicely restored with original paint colors and plastic crystals strung over the gaps in the chandeliers.  The radiators were heating the building to temperatures north of 80.  And everything smelled like commercial disinfectants and noodles.    I’d never been inside before yesterday.  It was pleasanter than I expected, really.  I found Sister Mary Roberta just where the girl said she’d be.

Hi, there.  I think you’re expecting me? I’m–

Oh, of course! She chirped.  It was gratifying to hear a nun chirp, just like in the movies.  Miranda, it’s so good to see you again.  Let’s find you a coat here.  I think there’s a nice one in your size right here.

I was, well, gobsmacked a second.  She’d mistaken me for a person from the shelter.

No! My um coat’s in the ca– My name’s Churchrat.  I’d emailed you yesterday about bringing these things by.

I lofted my shopping bags.

Oh, yes, of course.  You certainly have a double here.  My, my.  So you’ve got stuff for the kids for school?

Yes, that’s right.

I followed her down another hall.  We unloaded the bags onto a low, red table in a brightly decorated playroom.  She thanked me, and I left.

One of my best girl friends was homeless for a while.  She left her very bad husband and had no where to go.   She is smart and good looking and resourceful and reasonably well-educated and funny and a really good mom.   And she lived in her car and on people’s couches and in emergency shelters for almost a year.   A women’s shelter got her off the streets after almost a year, helped her find care for her kids so she could finish school and get a job.  A church gave her a car so she didn’t have to spend four hours a day with a double stroller on mass transit.

Today she sits on the shelter’s board and gives speeches about domestic violence and homelessness.   She owns a house in a posh suburb, although she’ll take pains to explain it’s the second ugliest house in town and she puts up with the ugly house and the snobby neighbors because the schools are good there.   I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a friend of this amazing woman.

Her shelter is having a Valentine’s Day thing.  They’re soliciting donations so that every woman staying there or using their services gets flowers and a card.  It’s a lonely time for a lot of them.  The shelter also urges people, wherever they live, to find something similar to do in their own hometowns.

I emailed Sister Mary Roberta to see what I could do.  She said the kids needed cards to give to their classmates, and I was able to spend some of the money from my housesitting gig on several boxes.  I was really happy I had the housesitting money to spend like that.

Because, as Sister Mary Roberta reminded me so poignantly, the poor, the homeless and the hungry are fundamentally no different than we are.   Cataclysmic misfortune could happen to almost all of us.

I know I don’t speak with a huge amount of moral authority here.  Mostly I whine and bitch, but I’d like to urge you to celebrate this Valentines Day by sharing some of your abundance–even if it doesn’t seem all that abundant–with someone who needs it more.

Also, sign this petition.

 

 

I have a guilty habit of reading Quiverfull bloggers.  One recurring features on these blogs is a concern with feminine modesty.  A lot of bloggers post pictures of their outfits each day.  Other bloggers offer to weigh in on whether or not your outfit is suitably modest.  The latter are almost always single men in their thirties, in case you were wondering just how creepy these things are.  But I do find the whole genre tremendously interesting.

This morning I’m wearing cable-knit tights, a calf-length skirt,  a tank, a thermal henley, and zippered hoody.  It’s really, really cold out.  It’s been cold out for what seems like years.  I’m in the middle of cleaning out my closet and 90% of my clothes are in a pile awaiting sorting.  Those two facts have made getting dressed a bit of a challenge.  I look like a teenage Quiverfull girl, I’m sure of it.

Except for the motorcycle boots.  Motorcycle boots are menswear.  Wearing men’s clothes in any form is unfeminine and thereby not modest.

‘Cause what you wear is what really matters in the Christian life.

Yesterday a lot of people ventured out in spite of–or, more likely, because of–the weather.  The roads still suck, but people were sick of being home.  There were many people in church.  I pulled in late, because my housesitting gig ended Sunday.  I had to empty the dishwasher and strip the bed and so on before leaving.  The parking lot was jammed, and I parked far away.

Yesterday I wore a mod-style mini dress with the boots I actually hate.  I bought them one winter when I was visiting a boyfriend in a big city.  I’d packed badly and left my best winter shoes at home and then walked clean through the soles of my Chucks.   Duct tape patches didn’t hold up to slush and salt, so I dragged him to every damn shoe store in town looking for something that still alludes me: really cute, versatile boots that are comfortable for walking and have a decent sole.  After a whirlwind quest, I ended up spending twenty five bucks for a pair at Target that I didn’t love and that didn’t really match my clothes.  There are pictures form that trip where I look like a lady pirate.    I still have these boots because I am cheap and poor and they are not yet worn out.

Anyway. I wore these damn boots, but I waited to put them on until I pulled into the church parking lot.   As I was struggling with the challenges of knee-high boots and a steering wheel, Dapper Man tapped on my window.

I’ll walk you in.

That’s nice, but go ahead.  I’ve got to put my shoes on.

That’s okay.  I’ll wait.  The parking lot’s pretty icy.

Putting on boots isn’t glamorous.  Dapper Man is a little.  I don’t know about you, but there are people I’ve had vague, life-long crushes on.  Dapper Man is about twenty years older than I am and, you know, dapper.  He’s married to the daughter of a friend of the family.  To be clear I’ve never really gone through a phase of writing his name and mine on notebook paper.  I’ve never wanted to date him or someone like him.  I just think aimlessly think he’s attractive, sort of like, oh, Cary Grant is attractive.  The problem with people like Dapper Man–whose nickname, I realize suddenly, gives him the same initials as my cat–is they tend to make me feel oh so slightly teenaged.

I finally got my boots on and out of the car.  DM (not the cat) held out his elbow.  I put my gloved hand in its crook and we walked across the parking lot as dapperly as two people could, if one of them had a nose running down her lip because it was cold outside.  I almost fell once.  He almost fell once.  But neither of us did.

Once inside, he said Thanks for walking with me.  I don’t think people’d recognize me if I showed up without a tall and beautiful brunette on my arm.

This sounds like a creepy thing to say when I write it out.  But his wife is six feet tall and slim and, well, beautiful in a Breck Girl sort of way.  His daughter, who is a few years younger than me, is her slightly-fairer double.  They are all extremely and obviously fond of one another.   So it was a lovely, flattering thing to say.   And, you know, not a creepy one.

It kind of made my day.

 

 


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