Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Clothes Shopping Update

This week I'll enter into my fifth month of no clothes shopping, so I'm almost halfway through. I'm wondering if the second half will be more difficult, as so far I'm not really feeling anything. Catalogs go straight to the recycle pile, I barely glance at the windows when I walk past shops, and when I do I'm generally apathetic about the stuff in the windows. I'm looking forward to having more time to experiment with sewing after the triathlon.

to recap- since January first I've purchased:

- one pair of capri running tights, in London (after nearly passing out in fleece lined ones at almost 50 degrees in York)

- one pair of $5 thongs (the shoe version) at Target, for swim training

- one souvenir tee shirt at the Comhaltas convention - half price and just as dude was ready to pack up on Sunday.

And that's it :)

The Way of the Monk

Yesterday I went to a workshop sponsored by my church called "The Way of the Monk". We learned about several things I've been experimenting on my own with for the past couple years, namely centering prayer, praying with a prayer rope, and the divine hours - chanting the psalms.

It was very cool to finally try some of these things with other people, as I'm never quite sure if I'm doing something right when I'm following instruction from a book. Nothing covered was really new to me, which I think was good, as I could get straight to practically learning/improving.

After a brief introduction to the monastic orders and general way of life, we attempted centering prayer. We were instructed to remove our shoes (something I never have to be told twice - hate wearing shoes when sitting around, and the room was lovely with lots of rugs), and sit on the floor in a comfortable position but with a straight back. I have issues with the whole posture thing, so I cheated a wee bit by leaning up against a couch.

A helpful hint from the instructor was to use a timer. Otherwise compulsive types like me tend to be opening eyes to check clock every thirteen seconds. I was happy to learn when I got home that the watch I bought for the triathlon has a timer, with lights and lovely little bell. She also gave out "very powerful prayer tools" - earplugs! I've used earplugs for awhile, but generally to deal with snoring roommates on the road, never thought about using them for prayer. Makes sense tho - blocking out trains, traffic, dogs, my brother's radio in the other room (especially if the Whiners are on).

We started with six minutes, and it went rather well. After a few people discussed their experiences and we took a break. I wrote down the phrase and some stuff that came to mind in my notebook, but I don't think I will type it here. Suffice it to say that it was a good experience.

The next thing we played with, and I'll say played with because time was running short so we had no time to really experiment with them, was prayer ropes. I'd read about these in a couple places, and wanted one for awhile, but couldn't find one. I got a nice dark green one that is currently gracing the neck of Brother Ted (the monk bear I bought at Whitby Abbey). The instructor suggested as a use for them intercessory prayer, with each knot representing a person, and pray "Lord have mercy on so and so", which pretty much covers everything. I tried it this morning, and was amazed at what names came to mind.

The third thing we tried was the divine hours - chanting psalms. Was very cool. Half of the room faced the other, and sang the first couplet and then the other side of the room sang the second and so on, back and forth at each other. Absolutely gorgeous.

I signed up for both interest in starting a group to pray contemplatively, and interest in going on a retreat. So am very excited to see what happens next!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Picked up my wetsuit yesterday :) Then went immediately down to the village for Thai food with my fellowship group. One of the ladies in the group does restaurant promotions, and this was one of the places she's promoting. Which meant we had every appetizer on the menu, as well as all the desserts, and our main dishes. And huge Thai iced tea.

When I got home I decided to try on the wetsuit, figuring if it fits after an evening of stuffing my face, it will be fine on race day. Plus the Mets were in extra inning and I needed something to do while watching. The coaches recommend selling tickets to the first attempt to put the wetsuit on, as a fundraiser. Alas, I missed my opportunity, and had only Ronon Bear looking on in suspicious amusement.

A few piccies here. Could have used it today actually - the water at the gym was ice cold, apparently there's a problem with the pool's heating system. If only I'd thought to bring the suit - the temperature anyway gave me a good open water simulation tho I think.

Work tomorrow, then I need to decide whether to ride bike or go to a write in in Brooklyn, then ceili at 8. Sunday I am running in the NYRR run for the parks, and then slipping into the back of church and sitting downwind.

Now I will warm up my leftover Thai food - crispy chicken with peanut sauce - UberYum, and watch new Dr Who and BSG!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

sick day musings

Training was a complete bust this weekend. Yesterday's weather was gorgeous, but an allergy attack on Thursday has lead to a full scale sinus and chest thing, of which I will spare you more details. Went out last nite anyway, and a had a good time having dinner with friends from old church and then going to a praise night at new church.

The music was lovely but I couldn't get enough breath to sing properly and had a miserable ride home, as my train line is under construction and I had to do the subway shuffle. Went through an entire pack of tissues on the way home. Whoops, I said I was going to spare you more details didn't I?

This morning chest felt better but head did not, and I had to make a decision whether to go to church this evening or stay home. I wanted to go to church, I love going to my new church, plus it's communion Sunday and I love communion Sunday. But I finally decided that I would just be miserable and unable to concentrate, and make those around me miserable too with my constant coughing and blowing nose.

So I took it as a message from my body (and perhaps God?) to chill out and take a day. And here it's 6:00 in the evening and I am curled up on the couch my jammies with fluids and munchies and a Lord of the Rings Marathon on TNT. (Which I'm taking as another sign from God that it is totally cool to be home.) I have Stargate SG: Ark of Truth on loan and was planning to watch that, but, well, Aragorn + horse = nuff said.

I wasn't totally unproductive today. Over coffee this morning, okay really early afternoon, I read a few chapters of Karen Sloan's "Flirting with Monasticism." I took her workshop this fall at Off the Map and really liked her, so I bought her book.

In her chapter on Community a couple of quotes struck me: Talk about searching for a sense of community, "As the months went by I felt fragmented. Every life activity was with a completely different group of people.

That totally describes me. I have church people, Irish music and dance people, now triathlon training people, book club people, writer's group people, etc. Occasionally a person will cross over from one group to the other, but very rarely. And the people that know me best of all are miles, sometimes thousands of miles away. Which brings me to the next quote.

"Yet something is lost when we have to fly on an airplane - rather than walk across the street- to enjoy a meal prepared by friends." I would like to add that it is way more expensive as well.

Food for thought.

And now, back to Aragorn.