Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fogot to mention...

...that I got new glasses this week. Wanna know where?
I bought them online.
I've written before about my travails with Eyemasters,  but I don't think I mentioned that the spring in the other temple of my glasses broke, again while I was sitting at my desk. I called Eyemasters, but they had gotten rid of the frame they took the other temple from (which never did fit right, by the way, but I was welcome to come in, get a new eye exam, and buy new glasses from them.
Well, I can't get a new eye exam because my insurance only covers one every two years, even if the ophthamologist says it should be every year because there is a deep and profound history of eye disease in my family, and I have pretty bad vision.
Anyway, none of the brick and mortar stores would take a prescription that is over a year old. I know people who have had success buying glasses online, and I decided to give it a try.
I went to the place that has the best reputation, 39 Dollar Glasses. And yes, if you don't have a very strong prescription, or if you don't mind thick lenses if you do, you really can get glasses for $39. I however, have a very strong prescription, and I hate thick lenses. So I sprung for high-index lenses, which I never did before because they are always super expensive. I picked out a frame that is pretty simple, and the whole thing, incluing shipping cost me about $90.
The frames are a little bit heavier than I like, and a little bit darker than I was expecting. But other than that, they are perfect. The lenses are a much better quality than my old ones. I don't have to squint to see the numbers on the calendar across the room anymore (remember, this was the same prescription). Plus, the lenses are ultra thin, and they did a free edge polish, so a) they barely stick out from the frames, and b) where they do, you can't really see it.
All in all the experiment was a success. I plan to buy sunglasses from them soon, too, to replace the ones I bought at Eyemasters that never did seem right to me - something is off with the lenses and they wouldn't check them or fix them when I insisted the day I picked them up that something wasn't right.
Oh, and by the way, for the lenses and frames I bought, I would have paid at minimum about $200 in a brick-and-mortar store, and that is with a sale on.
I think I'm done with physical stores for my eyewear needs.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This 'n' That 'n' Church Chat

Lots of stuff I've been meaning to talk about, but haven't. Here we go.

My Car

It is a 2007 Chevy Malibu. I like it, I think, though part of me is waiting for something huge and bad to go wrong. See, according to Carfax, it has been in an accident, which is why I got a really good deal on it. I honestly couldn't find a thing wrong with it on the lot, though, and it runs really nice. (I've since discovered through a whole lot of detective work that the driver's side front door was replaced. If you weren't looking for it, though, you would never be able to tell.) The loan I got is very, very subprime (the interest rate is about 4.5% higher than I was expecting), but I figure if I pay faithfully on it for a year or so, I can refinance at a better rate. My car insurance more than doubled, though. And with rates in Louisiana as high as they are (the highest in the country, in fact), that's a lot.

My Job

Still doesn't suck. My manager and I talked about my frustruations when I wrote that I was ticked off with him a couple weeks ago, and found a compromise. That is what makes him a good manager. I feel slightly like I am betraying my feminist sisters, but working for a man is so much easier than working for a woman ever was (this is my first male boss ever - which is a little weird, in hindsight).

My Church

Well, interesting happenings on that front.

Our pastor announced to the congregation in January that he was planning to move on. He's approaching retirement (might even be over 65), and while he isn't ready to stop working altogether, he doesn't want to do full-time ministry any more either, and he and his wife want to move somewhere where they are close to at least some of their kids and grandkids. I can't blame him at all. Being a pastor is tough work, even in a small congregation like ours.

Anyway, this weekeend, he announced that May 31st would be his last weekend at our church. There was a kind of "Woah!" that passed through the congregation. We knew it was coming, but suddenly it was a reality. And the reality is, where we are located, an interim pastor may be hard to come by. There is one non-active pastor in the area, though, who would probably be willing to help out on Sunday mornings, but that's about it.

So, we are having to face the grim reality that we will be without a pastor soon, and may be without one for a long while. As a result of this, the
council is trying to get more people involved in active ministry in the congregation. So last night, and with several other opportunities, members of the congregation were invited to do a spiritual gifts inventory, as a way of discovering where the gifts are in our parish and encouraging people to use them.

It was an interesting evening. The woman who led the reflection before the inventory part had an...interesting...theological perspective. It was a mishmash of all the mainline Protestant theologies with a sprinkling of Catholic and a dusting of Baptist/Fundamentalist thrown in for good measure. A couple of times I glanced at the pastor and noticed him kind of wincing with something she said, but he was pretty committed to staying quiet as part of his leaving process.

Anyway, I've done these inventories before, and the areas that come up strong for me are always pretty much the same: teaching, evangelism, pastoral, and exhortation, but I got a surprise last night and got healing thrown in there, too. When I thought about it, though, I guess that makes sense. I abhor conflict, so I'm generally the consensus builder on any committee I'm on. I can usually bring about compromise with limited hurt feelings, too.

It was also interesting because except for a high school senior who is leaving for college in North Carolina in the fall, I was the youngest person in the room by 10 years, and I was the only one who wasn't already active in 87 ministries. By the end of the evening, some of the old ladies had me
chairing two committees and serving on three or four more. I didn't commit to anything, of course, because I believe that discernment is important, even in volunteer ministries like these.

The timing for this thing was pretty good for me. I have been looking for a way to get more involved in congregational life. My self-imposed "waiting period" has ended. You are asking yourself what I mean by that. I will tell you.

When I made it official and joined this congregation, and simultaneously embraced a new denomination, I intentionally wanted to wait before I became involved in any ministries. I wanted to get to know the congregation as a member, and I wanted to learn more about Lutheran theology. I know my primary calling is to teach, and I didn't want to do that if I wasn't sure about what I was teaching.

I also wanted to wait because I didn't want to fall into the trap of deriving a big part of my identity from my involvement in church. Now, when I say that, that doesn't mean that my identity isn't formed by Christ; ultimately, my faith in the Triune God is the most fundamental part of who I am. No, what I mean is that I didn't want my "church (with a little "c") life" to become the be-all and end-all of who I was. It's been that way for most of my adult life, owing partially to my introversion, partially to the fact that it is easy to "be someone" in a church congregation, and partially because I worked professionally in ministry.

But I think I am at the point in my life now where I have more going on. I have a job I love, I have a novel in progress (that actually made some progress over the last couple days), I have friends in Baton Rouge. In short, I have something approaching a life. The one thing missing from that life is a formal opportunity to put the gifts I've been given to work for the Body of Christ.

But I'm pretty sure I don't want to chair the Faith Formation committee, or the Worship committee. And I'm pretty sure I don't want to serve on the Care committee, or the Resource committee, or the Facilitites committee...

Yes folks, this is what happens when you are under 40, belong to a relatively small congregation, and show any interest in any ministry at all.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wholey Crap! I bought a car!

I'm like a real grownup now, with a car payment and all. All I need is a kid and a mortgage and a dog, and I'll be eligible for permanent certification.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dear Democratic Party:

You know what this long, drawn out, protracted campaign has done for me? It has made me not care who the nominee is, as long as the damn campaign ends alread. It has been going on for a year, for crying out loud! Just end it!


P.S. Actually, I almost don't care who the next president is, if means ending the campaign insanity. Almost.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bad mail day for Sheryl.

My primary care doctor, who I really like, is moving to North Carolina. That sucks.

But what sucks more is the fact that I got a jury duty summons for May 5. And here in lovely Louisiana, when you are called for jury duty, you serve for an entire week. I was planning for leaving for vacation on the 9th. Vacation is not deemed a valid reason to be excused from jury duty, so I had to cancel my plans.

That sucks big time. I was looking forward to getting out of this city for a few days.

Stupid, sucky parish court, with your stupid sucky timing.


Friday, April 18, 2008

I wonder...

...If I could wear the same glasses as Tina Fey.

This is Pretty Cool

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I still love my boss dearly, but he really, really ticked me off today.

Perhaps I shall share more later. The quick summary is that he decided that today would be a good day to micromanage me. It was not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've cooked three days in a row. I made steak with a salad on Sunday, tilapia with corn and broccoli on Monday, and spaghetti with meat sauce and salad and focaccia bread today.

It was good.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So I got my rejection letter for financing from my own bank today. Know why I was turned down?
Because I don't have a mortgage.
My own bank, with whom I have had an account for nearly six years, with whom I have a money market account and a credit card that I use responsibly, won't finance me to buy a car because I don't have a mortgage.
Because I was responsible enough to realize back when people were giving away mortages like candy that getting an adjustable rate mortgage on a house I couldn't really afford was a stupid idea, I'm being penalized by my own freaking bank.
Despite the fact that I have lived in the same place for the last six years and I have paid my rent consistently and responsibly instead of defaulting on a mortgage, I can't get financed for a car.
Stupid banking industry.

Monday, April 07, 2008

This is more what I expect from The Onion, not that crap I linked to last week.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

An Open Letter

To the giant, multi-national toilet paper conglomerates and Albertson's Grocery Stores:

I am addressing this letter to both of you because I don't know who's to blame.

Is there a reason that you no longer make and/or carry four packs of toilet paper in anything other than the store brand? I don't like the store brand - it doesn't hold up to...well, what toilet paper is designed to do. But no other brands come in four packs. You can get 8, 12, 16, or 24 packs. But not four.

Not everyone in the world is part of a family of 6 living in a five bedroom house with four bathrooms. In fact, most of the people who shop at grocery stores right outside a college campus live in apartments, with one bathroom and no storage. We are outside of our homes 10-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. We don't use that much toilet paper. The 12 pack we are forced to buy (for $10, by the way) will last us three months.

We want four packs that we can buy for less than $4. They will last us a month, and then we'll buy another one. They will fit in the tiny little storage spaces below our sinks, and won't have to sit on the dresser in our bedrooms because that is the only freaking place they fit.

Is this yet another example of the attack on American singleness? Will the single people of this country have to mount a protest movement against economy sizing?

Please bring back the four pack of toilet paper. The single people of the world will thank you.

Friday, April 04, 2008

It's ridiculous that the police are involved in this incident. They are kindergartners for crying out loud! They play "I'll show you mine and you show me yours." Parents should be told, and the kids should be taught that there is behavior that is inappropriate, but police investigation? Give me a break!

I don't know if any of my readers here know who Dan Savage is. If you do, great, if you don't, that's great too. I'm not going to talk about him or what he does.

I am going to let you know that his mother passed away this week, and he wrote a remarkable memorial to her. I am not going to link to it, because the site where it is posted has some adult content (rough language and frank discussion of sex), and I won't link to that in case anyone underage or who may be offended by it reads this. If, however, you would like to read his tribute, drop me a line or leave me a comment and I'll send you the link.

I don't quite know what to make of this article, but I think it makes me angry. In fact, I'm pretty sure it makes me angry.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

If you'd like to see some fine artwork in an unusual place, go look at this slideshow of the murals in St. Nicholas Church in Millvale (just outside of Pittsburgh). They are stunning - even moreso in person. Here is the link (sorry - submitting this from work e-mail, and I can't figure out how to stick in a hyperlink).