Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Last weekend, I heard the closest gunshot I've ever heard in the city.

It was really close. Less than a block away or so? It didn't sound like someone was shooting off of our porch, but it was close enough to reverberate. And it was definitely a gunshot; I grew up with guns, I've got a cousin who spent most of high school training for the Junior Olympic shooting team, and a gaggle of brothers, a dad, grandfathers and uncles who are enthusiastic outdoorsmen. Part of turning twelve at my house meant being taken to hunter's safety classes with the PA Game Wardens. (Which, by the way, instilled a healthy respect for firearms and wildlife management, but due to the most frighting educational video in the world, also years of nightmares about getting lost and hyperthermic in the woods. Kids, tell people where you are going, when you'll be back, bring a snack,  a whistle, fire-starting equipment, and a black plastic bag! I still do.)

And so, I know it was a gun, not a backfire, not a firework. And not shooting a celebratory clip into the air after a sports victory, like we sometimes heard on H Street and have heard here. Just one, really close shot. I looked out the window, but didn't see anything, and then a few minutes later a cop car slowly trolled by. Silence.

Maybe I should be more frightened, but really, I was just unsettled and reflective. Until I moved into DC, my experience with guns has been mostly "gun as tool" -- a dangerous tool, but so are power saws and pickup trucks. Guns in the city are tools, too, but they seem to be tools for intimidation and violence. Which really, really bothers me.

I'm still wondering how to respond, but the one thing I know I can do is get to know my neighbors to the best of my ability. Even though the ones that have seen me must think I'm a crazy person; wearing clergy blacks and seven months pregnant, most days I feel like the walking punchline to an unfunny joke. But slowly, we're working on getting to know our neighbors by name. And I was delighted when Husband sent me this article in The Atlantic which backs up what we had figured intuitively: that knowing your neighbors matters in ways that cause invisible ripple effects for good.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Life Updates

Well, it's been a while. I owe everyone an apology for not properly signing off and letting you know when I'd be back, but honestly, I didn't think it would be that long myself. I'm not one for excuses, but maybe we have a good one:

A wiggly baby girl (that's why the profile pic is so blurry)
Jan. 12, 2015

Of course, Husband is just thrilled and has been absolutely wonderful through everything, with the exception of the sudden proliferation of dad jokes. He says he's practicing. I say it needs to stop.

We're expecting on April Fool's Day, which, appropriately for a clergy person, is Holy Week this year. If you're not familiar, Holy Week is the week leading up to the celebration of Easter, and is hands down my favorite week of the year as we move through Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. It's a time of intense reflection, and joy, and somehow being due that week is the most perfect and most terrible timing possible. I'm blessed to work for a wonderful (and flexible) priest and parish, so we're playing it by ear.

I promise not to turn Vicar of H Street into a mommy blog, although I'm sure becoming a mother will change me, because pregnancy already has. For one, I have new appreciation for anyone who lives with chronic pain, insomnia or nausea, and how hard it must be to actively participate in all the demands of living. I had no idea how much energy it takes to not feel healthy for an extended period of time -- for me, it's been difficult to think, be social, to function, and tend to my important relationships for months now, and I keenly feel those shortcomings. Even being on Facebook took more energy than I had, and honestly, I'm sure I've only experienced an extremely small piece of what many people live with, day in and day out, for years. Now I know just a little better, and hopefully this understanding will make me a better priest. I'm also reminded of how much control is an illusion, how embodied my self is, and how time rushes ahead and then stops still. In all, it's been a very bewildering seven months, and I'm sure my remaining eight to twelve weeks will hold more surprises in store. And then, you know, there'll be a baby, so there's that.

One other thing that I should mention -- because the apartment we were renting on H Street was a baby death trap, we decided it was time to move. Finding a two bedroom apartment suitable for a family and that allows dogs was like looking for a unicorn. And if we did find something, it was far too expensive for a priest and a civil servant. We discovered that buying a house in Ward 7 would be way more affordable than anything that would meet our needs near the H Street corridor, so, we did. More on that later, I'm sure. But for now, I'll still be blogging as the Vicar of H Street.

I'm hoping to blogging through what has been promised as my seventh and eighth month wind -- but I'll keep you all posted this time.