Succumbing to Tea-tation

"A cup of tea! Is there a phrase in our language more eloquently significant of physical and mental refreshment, more expressive of toil and restful relaxation, or so rich in associations with the comforts and serenity of home life, and also with unpretentious, informal, social intercourse?" --Francis H. Leggett and Co., Tea Leaves, 1900


Jive N Wail

If you make reservations for a fairly large group of people (say, 10) at the Jive and Wail dueling pianos bar in St. Louis, don't expect a table. But if you ask the right server, he might just set you up with a great spot to stand and free shots (or swallows) to go around. Our reserved "area" was the alley/ramp that led to the backstage area, and after we got situated he sent us a round of shots in paper cups-- a liquid a bit too sweet but tasty. I was a bit wary, since I only had one good foot to stand on and because we were to the side/a little behind of the stage of the piano guys. But after the pianos vamped up, I realized we had the best spot in the house. We weren't in the overcrowded general area, smashed up against people who shouted with the music. We had a ledge to lean on and put our drinks. We saw enough, but not too much of the over-confident audience members intoxicated enough to do anything for a laugh on stage. (Like the woman who got up on the piano and fell off, injuring herself so that she had to be taken away in an ambulance). It was like we had our own VIP lounge (without the velvet couches), with a decent view of the piano guy who looked like Ben Folds (really. If Ben Folds was from St. Louis I would have wondered if the guy was his brother. See picture below, but sorry for the side view. I didn't want to hound him paparazzi style for an up-close.)

In the end, we did get a spot at the end of a table up front, but I really didn't mind the alley. In fact I recommend it.



The past two weeks have spun as fast and unpredictably as the tornados that almost reached my brothers and grandparents in Seward, NE.

A couple of weeks ago I learned from a fellow un-employed friend that she had gotten a job through a staffing agency nearby. Apparently that's how companies hire out here. With a jolt of adrenalized ambition, I headed home and applied for interviews with two staffing agencies and the very next day got a call from one of them, telling me about a job that he thought would be perfect for me. He described the company and I realized that I had come across the company's profile through a few other job search sites--in fact I thought I had applied for an online content manager position with them already. But the position my staffing agency rep mentioned was in the marketing/editorial dept.

I interviewed with the rep on Thursday. He passed the tests/info on to the company who interviewed me the following Monday, then called for a second interview on Tuesday. I met with the president who told me about two positions they were considering me forwere for--an Admin Assistant position to the president and a Webinar Marketing Coordinator. I was confident that I could handle the jobs, but not extremely interested. However, I knew I wanted to work for the company in whatever way I could, because I really appreciate their mission, management style, philosophies and size--lot's of opportunities for growth.

I left on Thursday for a St. Louis trip with my college girlfriends, and on Friday heard that the company wanted me, but didn't know in what capacity or when. Finally I got a call this last Tuesday from the rep, offering me the position of... (drumroll please...)...Online Editorial Content Manager! Surprise! Not expected, but definitely appreciated. Funny that it was the first position I applied for. (Am still confused how I got it, since my first app for it went in their junk mail and so the position was filled before I got in for an interview... but I won't question a good thing.)

On Monday I'll start work with them, a pharmaceutical publishing company that publishes two national (and for Canada) newsletters on the latest drug and natural medicine research--one for pharmacists and one for physicians. I'm excited that I'll be doing editorial work, that it's with an industry that's not really effected by the recession, and that I have a friend who just got a job at the same company and we can carpool! God's taken care of all the details (as always) and four months have been worth the wait.

So to all of you who have listened to me rant about unemployment stress, daytime television ("who's Bonnie Hunt?") and cabin fever, thanks for sticking with me. Now I can move onto new rants. :)


"gather my insufficiencies/place them in your hands"

A few minutes ago two little kiddies stopped on the sidewalk in front of my townhouse. I watched from the couch as they stepped onto the porch, inches from the door. One of them stared into the dark entryway, confused. "Is this our home?" she asked her brother. "No, come on!" Her brother said. And I guess they ran off together in search of their real home.

How do you know you're home? Is it your favorite city? A house that smells like homemade bread? The comfy flannel sheets you got for Christmas? Family and friends who get you through a hard work week?

My faithfulness to Lodi has been tested since I sprained my ankle last Thursday. Nothing like an incapacitating injury to purge me of self-sufficiency and to teach me to rely on strangers and neighbors and friends alike. I admit I've thought often about how nice it would be to have family around, people I can call at a moment's notice, without feeling guilty, to drive me around for daily errands. Because that's what family is for, right? The only family I have here (aka Jonathan) has been gracious enough to take a lot of time from work for me, but I can only ask so much of him. So I've been forced to turn to friends.

It's hard to ask for help... in my case, I'm guessing it's a pride thing (I hate to admit it--but that just proves it's a pride thing.) So I think it's been good for me.

I was blessed to have immediate help after I sprained my ankle. Just a few houses down from my fall were two roofers and an older gentleman who drove me to my complex and then literally carried me halfway through my complex to my door.

I'm blessed with a friend who will let a friend drive her car to drive me to an interview, even if that means she'll be late to an appointment.

I'm blessed with a friend who will leave work and drive an unfamiliar car to take me to work, and then wait for an hour until the interview is finished.

I'm blessed with a friend who not only picks me up and takes me out to lunch, but who then drives me to the dentist and comes back for me to take me home.

And I'm blessed with friends who are on standby, waiting and willing to help when they can, shouldering me on their back through the airport if they need to.

It may take me awhile to feel comfortable in Lodi, but now I guess I would add "sprained ankle" to the list of things that makes a home.

Free Music

Does it help or hinder the music industry? Read more on Hounds to the Music.


Book Winners Announced!

And the winners of Susan Isaacs's Angry Conversations with God are:

Allen L

Winners: to get your copy, please email your mailing address to amykopecky(at)gmail(dot)com. Congratulations!


Angry Conversations with God (and contest!)

Many spiritual memoirs or biographies I've read are crafted like a novel or a major blockbuster. What I mean is that the camera focuses in on a slice of life from the protagonist's life, usually when they make a big mistake or struggle with some kind of conflict. The story moves effortlessly along as the plot is seeded with hints of divine guidance along the way, and eventually the protagonist's eyes are opened and God's redemption of their struggles is visible in their lifetime. In most of these books the conclusion wraps the whole story up into a big tidy bow that's meant to be inspirational.

But often I don't find these stories inspirational because I don't relate to them. I think most people's lives read more like an epic--a rambling, messy, confusing maze of interconnections and surprises and dead ends and scenic views that ultimately lead to the one thing we can't live without: God's grace.

If you're looking for a book like this, I've found it: Angry Conversations with God is by actress/comedian/screenwriter/author Susan E Isaacs. It's her story of taking God to couple's counseling as she deals with the one thing every relationship must come to terms with: what it means to love God not just for the better, but for the worse. She, like me, grew up Lutheran but tries out many different forms of the American Christian church and becomes disillusioned, confused about the extent of God's involvement in her decisions. When her life falls apart outwardly, she decides to take God with her to a counselor. Together they confront God about his love and will in her life.

You may be thinking it sounds edgy, heretical, even a bit blasphemous. But after a lifetime of wrestling with God, Susan's foresight into God's purpose for her life is meaningful, funny, shocking, convicting and comforting because it's told from the perspective of a real person in the real world. She writes honestly and painfully about her life experiences to come to terms with one of the greatest obstacles in our Christian life: what it means to have faith when you can't always see the big tidy bow at the end.

So here's the thing: I've been given four copies of Susan's book to give away FOR FREE on my blog! All you have to do to win is to be one of the first four to comment about what you'd tell God if you took him to couple's counseling.

Susan's book came out March 12 and is published by Hachette Book Group's FaithWords division. You can buy it on Amazon.

A Series of Unfortunate Medical Mishaps

I don't usually like to recount stories of illness, but after this week...

March 1, Midnight: After a few weeks of weird chest pain, light-headedness and dizziness, the chest pain gets bad and I think I'm having a heart attack. Jonathan takes me to the ER where, after five hours, I'm semi-diagnosed with Pleurisy (lung membrane inflammation) and given a prescription for pain meds.

March 1, afternoon: After a church lunch of hot dogs and potato salad (I'm regretting it even now) I get painful stomach cramps and wonder if it's food poisoning or related to Pleurisy. It gets worse and I lay in bed the next two days.

March 2: Jonathan's down with a bad cold.

March 3: The doctor tells me I need to have an ultrasound, take more pain meds, and get my two infected ingrown toenails removed at a podiatrist's (one on each side of my left big toe).

March 4: Jonathan gets bit by a dog and the owner runs away.

March 6: Ingrown toenail surgery for me, and Jonathan sees a doctor about the bite who tells him to go to a clinic and get a vaccine. After five hours in the waiting room, the nurse at the clinic tells him our doctor overreacted and that she won't give him a shot because she doesn't know how his body will react.

March 7: I come down with a cold and a plugged up earache and almost lose my voice while leading worship on Sunday a.m.

March 9: Ultrasound (later I get good results)

March 12: On my second run since the toenail surgery, I roll my ankle on a curb and it swells to the size of a tennis ball. My first job interview is scheduled just a few hours later. Thankfully some nearby roofers support/carry me to my door since I don't have the gate opener that would allow us to drive to my door. Now I'm on crutches and unable to drive to a possible new job. *sigh*

To say that Jonathan golfing today and me traveling to St. Louis for a girl's weekend on the 19th makes me slightly nervous would be flirting with understatement. Pray for us.



Old castle stones wither through the vines on a Glastonbury plot.
Once where Cathedrals proudly towered, protecting tired pilgrims,
it bore the brunt of Protestation,
stripped, buried--
resurrected as a tourist site.
Will I be next?


Notice to all Dog Owners

In the event that you, the rightful owner, take your dog for a walk, and your dog should:

a. be attached to some member of you, the rightful owner, by a leash, or
b. be roaming freely within eyesight or earhear of you, the rightful owner, and
c. bite an innocent passerby,

then you, the rightful owner, should at least have the courtesy to:

a. apologize
b. discipline the dog
c. inquire about the seriousness of the wound on the passerby.

If steps a, b and c are not undertaken by the rightful owner, ill will can be legally issued from the injured passerby onto both the dog and the rightful owner. In the extreme event that the rightful owner and his or her dog runs away from the injured passerby and does not inform the injured passerby of the dog's vaccination history, the dog is entitled to a drop kick from the injured passerby with no protestations or complaints from the rightful owner.*

*Each hour that the injured passerby spends in the ER for a rabies vaccination results in either a drop kick** or the discipline of the injured passerbyer's choice.

**of the dog or the rightful owner