Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas was quite wonderful this year, after several years when it was emotionally difficult.
My homily went very well, thank goodness. I hadn't been conscious of being unduly nervous about it; nonetheless, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. yesterday after a night of intense anxiety dreams. But many people, including our bishop-elect, told me that they enjoyed the homily very much, and its metaphors wound up being knit throughout the rest of the service. Our deacon prefaced the Prayers of the People by asking us to pray for those who are disconnected from the fabric of society; Bishop-elect Dan, before beginning the Eucharistic Prayer, talked about how the eucharist is one way the infinite God takes intimate form. When it was time for the blessing, he discarded the traditional Christmas blessing and instead offered an extemporaneous (and quite rhetorically dazzling) wish that all of us discover how tightly we are knit to God, each other and our own depths. This man knows how to take an image and run with it!
I think a few people thought the homily was merely cute; nevertheless, I didn't embarrass myself or my parish, which was what I'd been worried about.
I also got a great deal of really wonderful Christmas loot from Gary, including a gorgeous set of interchangeable circular knitting needles from Knitpicks. The needle tips are multicolored, laminated birch, inspired by multicolored wooden cooking spoons. They look beautiful and feel fabulous, very smooth. They also join very smoothly to the cable, which has almost no memory and thus stays nice and straight right out of the case: no dipping in hot water to try to get the coils out! I love working with these needles, and since I now have every tip size from 4-11, I'm sure this set will serve me for many years. The only drawback, noted in other reviews I've seen, is that the length and size aren't printed directly on the cables and needles. This isn't an insurmountable problem, but it is annoying.
Gary also got me the DVD of that 1980 cult classic, Flash Gordon. This is the unbelievably campy one with the Queen soundtrack, newly rereleased and subtitled, "Saviour of the Universe edition." I have especially fond memories of this movie because I wrote a paper about it for my "Bible and Literature" class in college, and the professor gave me an A+. Rewatching it last night, I caught scriptural echoes I hadn't been aware of the first time; turns out I also could have used it in the paper I wrote about Milton's Paradise Regained in grad school, although that professor was somewhat less enchanted than the first one with pop culture. (His comment on that paper was, "This is a great sermon, but only a so-so essay." At the time, I was devastated. Now I realize that he was talking about formal, generic issues; he would doubtless be amused by the fact that these days, I write more homilies than pieces of academic literary criticism.)
I was equally delighted to get more lavendar products from Ali'i Kula Lavendar in Maui: a new container of their wonderful body butter creme, since I was almost out, as well as some bath soap and liquid hand soap. This is truly yummy stuff. There's a lavendar store in Reno, quite close to our house, but while I love their dried lavendar and their hand balm, their bath products aren't as nice as Ali'i Kula's. And anyway, I love anything that reminds me of Maui!
Beginning with my last birthday, when he gave me a stethoscope, Gary seems to have started a tradition of giving me a medical gift every holiday. This Christmas, it was the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, so that if I'm fretting about a kitty symptom, I can look it up. This edition was designed for pet owners rather than veterinarians, which means it's in everyday language.
I've been using Gary's wall calendar to track the progress of knitting projects, so he got me my own, a beautiful Nevada Wilderness Calendar. I can't seem to find an image online, but trust me, the photographs are stunning! Also: Leo Kottke's "best of" album, since I love his music, and a new pair of flannel PJs, since some of my old ones are literally threadbare.
Thanks, Gary! And I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful holiday!