Monday, November 03, 2014

Lacrimosa -- Full of Tears...

This beautiful chunk of Mozart's Requiem is one of the most famous pieces of music. 

And it is just how our church family feels. Our beloved organist and friend, Tom Secor, died on Saturday about 9:30 p.m. after a long fight. He took a fall about 5 months back, and thing spiraled from there. He wasn't that old, either. He just had a compromised system, being on the list for a kidney transplant. An infection got in, settled in and took its toll. 

Mass on Sunday was a "mess." We have had a substitute organist for a while; after struggling with those of us who could barely find our way around a keyboard (for a group of musicians, we are remarkably untalented with keyboard instruments!), we got her to play regularly. She's a pianist, and every pianist worth their salt will tell you "I don't normally play the organ." They are two distinctly different instruments, and most pianists find the feel and the set-up a little overwhelming. Several organists I know are also pianists, but it doesn't translate backward. 

She was shaken up; our choir was shaken up. You could hear a pin drop when Fr. Matt announced Tom's death. It shook our church to its roots because so many people knew him for so long. That being said, we've only been members of the church for not quite 3 years. And I can't stop crying. 

This is what I see when I let my mind wander. When my friend (and another organist) Janet's son died, she commissioned a painting like this of her son being hugged by Jesus. Is it sappy? Likely. But if it gives you comfort, you go with it. 

The funeral will be next Sunday and we're expecting an over-packed house. We have some music and luckily, some "choir ringers" -- many people who are talented musicians want to "Sing Tom Home" and we're very happy with that. That being said, I'm conceding my status as an Alto. There are soprano parts I'd been able to sing easily, but lately, those high notes are beyond my grasp. I guess I need to just accept that and be happy that there will be more than 2 Alto singers for this funeral. 

I'm meeting with Fr. Matt about Christmas and I'm not sure what he has in mind. There are a few people in the choir who don't want "slappy-happy" music, and frankly, I'm not exactly sure what that means. I'm thinking it means anything dated 1970 and forward. And while I adore the old pieces, I have to say - there's gotta be room for something else as well. Tom was accepting of my guitar, but not to the extent I used to play in my other church. And that lack of playing has started to show. As well, the sound system at St. John's isn't conducive to a guitar...hauling an amp is a pain in the sit-bones, but it may be what we do for a while. We shall see what he's got up his sleeve. 

St. Julian of Norwich...

This keeps going through my mind as we as a congregation reel from this loss. And as I deal with a lot of personal junk going on. Losing my job in December (it looks like nobody's listening to our claims that they're going to need us at the new location) is hitting me hard. I'm not sure what I want to do. I've signed up for some job search places online and I'm working with a freelance writing group. Maybe it's a sign that I have indeed been spoiled. I mentioned to Hubby last night that this job I've had for the past 8 years? It's spoiled me. Yes, I have a lot of skills, but after all this time, to an employer, my skills are "old." To ME, they're old. I did marketing and PR in the world before SEO and social media marketing. 

Yeah, I know blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. But that doesn't mean I know enough to attract an employer, when there are a car-load of new graduates well-versed in these things. I don't know what the future holds, and it is bothering me. 

But I look to Julian and I hope that the appropriate solution will present itself to me. I'm not saying I'm waiting for someone to hand me something. I'm saying that I'm trying not to clutch my pearls and panic... I'm 56 years old, and jobs don't grow on trees for folks like me. I'm essentially over-qualified for a lot of things, yet under-qualified almost in the same breath. But I need to do what I've done before: consider things that are a little off the beaten path. You'd think I could get through this relatively easily, but you'd be wrong. 

Things hit us differently each time they happen. This is certainly not my first time at a lay-off. It's actually Number Five. It doesn't make it any easier. Familiarity in this case does not breed acceptance. 


If I hear one more "gloom and doom" poll telling us that the Democrats have lost the election BEFORE it's even Election Day... I may scream. 

I'm secretly wondering if this really IS Venezuela, where they announced, several elections running, that Chavez had won by "unanimous" consent -- two days before everyone voted. 

Really. Let's get some perspective. It's not going to be an ice cream social. Nobody ever said that. But I'm really beginning to believe that people are waking up and smelling the coffee. 

Frankly, I can't see why any WOMAN would vote Republican. Let's face history. It hurts, but it's necessary. Republicans shut down the government last year. They have vowed to (yet again) REPEAL the Affordable Care Act. What? We don't have anything else pressing in this country? 

They deny the climate change staring them in the face. They are at the whim and behest of corporations - even all the way to SCOTUS (and why do Supreme Court Justices have contributions given to them by rich people???). They want women back in the kitchen, thank you very much. 

They penalize the poor, at the same time as they decimate what's left of the middle class. Mostly because the politicians themselves have already been taken care of by their own corporate overlords. 

Can we individually fight Citizens United - arguably the absolute worst decision to come out of the so-called unbiased Supreme Court in ages? No, we can't. But we can't afford to sit on our rear ends tomorrow because we're discouraged. 

Look at the graphic, you women especially. Our foremothers fought. They were beaten, arrested and humiliated. But they persevered. And we got the vote. 

Two countries don't allow women to vote: Saudi Arabia (and that's changing in 2015, finally) and Vatican City (yes, Vatican City is a country). 

Technically, women have had the right to vote well before the Amendment. In 1869, Wyoming actually allowed women to vote. The 19th Amendment wasn't ratified till 1920.

We could watch our civil liberties being sucked into the vortex that is Christian fundamentalism at its worst -- because that's what they want. They want us to be depressed and discouraged. They want us to throw our hands up and say, "Well, my vote doesn't count." 

It does. It truly still does. In spite of gerrymandering. In spite of commercials to the contrary. In spite of anything any local news reporter or newspaper says. 

Your vote is important. And it's important that you exercise that right. Tomorrow. If you've already voted early, then see if someone needs a ride to the polls. Don't be a bystander to your own destiny. Get into that voting booth and vote. 

And don't be a chicken about reporting irregularities. I've seen some reports where some voting machines are tallying (D) votes as (R) votes... Yep, hacked in and tampered with. Look at your ballot and watch, if you have electronic machines, what it says. Your future depends upon what you do in that voting booth. 

Einstein said something that should put all of this in perspective: The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. 

Don't let someone else vote for you...because THEY show up and YOU decided not to. 


Well, I couldn't stand it. Let me backtrack. I sent the clothing out to the new baby, who should be here tomorrow, if he's on time... But I put an IOU in the card for the blanket. And I took this out because I needed a large break from baby knitting. 

Yep, the St. Charles Sock and also my music. Which, by the way, I totally screwed up on Sunday. Mind you, I could sing this in my sleep. But as I said, Mass Was A Mess, and I totally blew the song right off the page. In a bad way... 

Anyhow, the sock has now got its heel turned, and I'm in the process of doing the gusset decrease. I've got probably 10 rows before I get to the foot. I'll intersperse this with the blanket and get both of them done soon, I hope. 

I want the blanket out of my house by Christmas, though I may have to have Fr. Matt do a blessing on it, because I haven't had exactly sweet thoughts as I've been working on it!! 

Christmas Creep...

So as I go to buy a baby card on HALLOWEEN, I round the corner of my local CVS and this is what I see. 

Yes, I jumped. My friend Deb called it "The Attack of the Zombie Santas." Really. Halloween candy was still at the front of the store, but this was in the card aisle. 

And I'm already sick of holiday commercials. 

I wish to register a new phrase. It's not Christmas Creep. It's Christmas Chaos or Christmas Conquering. 

Because it's conquered all the way up to the week BEFORE Halloween, especially in Target, where the ghosty background was still up whilst they put up Santa, snowmen and reindeer. 

I really would like to see a pilgrim and a turkey. Just one. Sometime after Halloween and before Thanksgiving. 

Just one. There's gotta be one somewhere. Besides the flag that I have in my garden, I mean. 

I'll have to break down and buy one of those illuminated turkeys, just in protest. 

Sad News...

Well, Arlo went to Canary Heaven this week. He was fine in the morning, but when it was time to put him to bed, we saw he was dead in the bottom of his cage. 

Canaries usually live 10 years. He lived to 13 years, so in the last 2 or 3 years, he didn't do much singing. Arlo was a Roller Canary. That meant that when he sang, it could last 5 - 10 minutes. Seriously loud, too. Often, phone conversations ceased when Arlo started singing. Here's a YouTube of a Roller. I think we may have a file somewhere, but I can't lay my hands on it. 

He was a beautiful bird, called "blue" but actually white with grey-blue accents. Again - I do have a picture but not handy. 

Random Picture...

And to end this very sad blog on a high note, it's the always-crazy Raisa. Yes. Under my knitting chair. 

Why? Because she can. 

She's a rare breed: The Siberian Husk-Cat. Able to leap nearly 6' from a standing position. Able to cram herself into the smallest of places. Eater of anything not nailed down. Howler extraordinaire. 

And at this point, just the comic relief I need. 

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