Wednesday, June 27, 2007

That's right. Death.

Whoa. Everyone at the blogging dinner was talking about their blog rating according to mingle2. Mine is rated PG which is fine by me, but according to them I have only one reference to death. Ha! That'll be the day.

Went to the site and while I was there used the cadaver calculator. I'm only worth $4225 as a medical specimen. Bummer. Then again I guess it is nice to be confirmed in the knowledge that one has more value alive than dead.

Yeah, that's right mingle2. I said it. Dead.

Which reminds me, while at the funeral convention, I picked up some state anatomical board information for donating one's body to science. This will be available at the church next week along with more of the final wishes forms I handed out at services two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the groovy hearse pictured in my previous post will not be at the church on Sunday.


Sorry for the LONG silence. I had a funeral convention followed by a church convention. Aren't I just the party girl? (In other words: could I outgeek myself any more?)
Funeral Convention was a blur. I didn't get to stay as long as I have in the past and I missed seeing some of my favorite funeral directors. But it was at the beach, which is always a good thing. Beautiful weather, hearse displays, over-worked bartenders... would have been the perfect vacation had I not been working.
Then again, this is me "working"after dinner out one night, so I guess I actually had a blast and would prefer not to admit just how much I look forward to this convention EVERY year.

The next day I headed off with Little Man to Portland, Oregon for the national convention of Unitarian Universalists. Bad news: the exhibit hall displays were better at the funeral convention, AND I had neither the time nor money for a tattoo. Good news: lots of good workshops, good speakers, great food AND I had neither the time nor money for a tattoo.

I went to the UU bloggers dinner complete with cheese on fire and a belly dancer. That was a great time. Got to finally give Ms. Kitty a hug in person. Chalice Chick was a sweetie pie. Rev. Ricky was a delightful meal mate. Philocrites was friendly and helpful. And Never Say Never is beautiful and funny, as well as a great writer. The UU Update king put up with the antics of Little Man (my "4 and 7/8ths" year old) as he was putting the moves on Update's lovely wife. And those were just the folks sitting right beside me.
Great night! When in Portland, go to Alexis. Friendly staff who look like models and yell fiendishly every time they set food on fire.

And then there's the belly dancing.

Other highlights of the trip included visits with various Portlanders including college buddy Chris, his wife-thanks-to-me Megan, and their beautiful tiny baby Mira. Multiple visits with my dad's other brother Uncle Dick, and his family. This included two laughter-filled nights with my wonderful cousins Cathy and Shari and their families. (No belly dancing or fire cheese, but some chicken stories that are too amazing to write. You'd never believe me. And a snake.)

And then there were over 30 hours of workshops, worship, meetings and such at the convention. Little Man accompanied me for all of it and was a total trooper. I can never thank the Young Adults enough for all the many times they made him feel welcomed and treasured. The most amazing was at Soulful Sundown where he was a featured worship artist (along with the delightful Kimberly - shown here), but there were many other times. It meant the world to both of us.

Before we flew out we had Dim Sum at the House of Louie in Chinatown and got soaked at the incredible disappearing fountain of the Pearl District. Great city, Portland is. We loved the weather, the public transportation, and the food. We were a bit thrown by the 10PM sunset and 5 AM sunrise, however.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Blog Sublime

It took awhile, but I caught the blogging bug. I now greatly anticipate the postings of certain bloggers. I look forward to hearing what they are up to, how they are doing. They become friends of sorts as I hoot and holler in support along the margins of their blog life.

And every now and again, one strikes some gold and writes something just beautiful. So is the case with my Canadian agent Guy Wonders who blogs neighborhood life in Cul de Sac Blues. Now, I've been a fan of "the Sack" for over a year. Mr. Wonders makes me laugh myself silly with his aptitude for capturing conversational nuances. I know that this kind of blog isn't for everyone, but he struck gold this week so I have to share.

Head on up to the Sack. I know all the characters, but you don't have to for this entry. A jogger has begun running through their cul de sac and everyone notices. Guy Wonders could be a woman named Sherri who lives in a high rise in Nairobi, but this posting is so true, so sublime, and, as is the Wonders way, so damn funny, it transcends space, gender and time.

Thank you, Guy Wonders, for this wonderful window into your life. Print this one out. Put a copy with your will. Have it read at your funeral services. And for the rest of you, if the Sack reminds you of any other blogs, send me a link please.

Speaking of the Beloved Family...

The superhero Uncle Dan rolled through town this week with Super-aunt Sharon. They are doing a whirlwind summer tour visiting family in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Georgia. I didn't talk him into fixing the front door, the doorbell, the broken light fixtures, or doing yard work. I did get him to play in the front yard for over an hour, however.

We played one of those childhood games in which the rules, equipment, and teams change with every round. It was like horseshoes, but with a scoring system trickier than Bridge, and equipment from the toy chest. The kindergartner was amused by it all, mostly because we made him in charge of rules and scoring. The rising seventh grader was willing to stoop to our level and was a good sport.

But the ones who had the most fun? The ones laughing until we almost cried? The ones doing the most G-rated but still adamant trash talk? You guessed it. The two retired guys and the mouthy minister.

That's what makes superhero Uncle Dan super. He's seen too much life to take any of it very seriously. He's absolutely devoted to his family. He brings out the kid in us all. For me and my Daddy, that's our best side. We have a tendency to get a little too serious and bookish and Uncle Dan smacks us right out of that. (Aunt Sharon was using her superpowers on the toddler, thus allowing me to play lawn toss for over an hour. Wonderful woman.)

I realize that I'm pretty sentimental these days. It's been a hard year with too much loss, illness, and close calls. But the flip side is that I'm really appreciating the time my family and friends have together. Savoring it more than I have in years. The weddings, the front porch dinners, the super yard toss tournament, the thunderstorms... it's all feeling like the sweet nectar of life right now. For that I am incredibly grateful.

Got a sermon on this topic tomorrow at 10 if you want to come. This is probably the better version, though. Lord knows it is SHORTER. And there are pictures!

Oh, one more thing. For the record, my Daddy cheats. Rematch!!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Adventures in Reading for the Wedding

The Auspicious Jots clan journeyed to PA for my brother's wedding last week. The drive was horrible. The rehearsal dinner was great. My bro looked like a stud muffin and his bride was beautiful and gracious. (Trust me on that one, none of my pics turned out of her.) The groomsmen wore matching brown Converse. The band at the reception played that oldie and goodie whose chorus is something like "Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like I love you" and the singer sang it to me. (Yeah, I'm a sucker for that move. If you're not, your heart has turned to cold slick granite. Or so I told my husband when he returned to the table after the song and asked me why I was grinning like a fool.) All around blast.

Lots of pictures were taken. The cousins pulled a few pranks, mostly goaded by yours truly. Nothing like a minister to up the practical joke ante at a wedding. Luckily my cousins range in age from 16 to 26 and they were down with the program. Below is the masterpiece that awaited me after a trip to the ladies' room. They tell me it was a group effort.
My sister is always up for some fun so she kept the rug cut out on the dance floor, had a hawk's eye on our rambunctious children, and looked like a goddess in a bridesmaid dress. Honest to holy, I do believe she could wear that dress again. No, really. The sunglasses, however...

Weddings are times for nostalgia. Many of us talked of Grandma Frances who died a few years ago in her nineties. We sorely missed my brother who could not make it, but whose son stood for him in the groom's line. We marveled at the fact that Grace can legally drink a gin and tonic. ("For Pete's sake, I'm 26!") And some of us quietly said prayers of thanksgiving and hope for the family member undergoing radiation treatments who was loudly shaming the rest of us to join her on the dance floor. We could barely keep up with her.

One of my favorite moments of the weekend, I uncharaceristically managed to capture with my camera. There was a thunderstorm after the rehearsal dinner. My son and I were still awake and he watched the spectacle out the hotel window.

This picture speaks volumes about my life, and about my family. His little askew jammies with astronauts. His sister's little pink sandals and his father's big shiny shoes together. His attempts to be the big man, but still being amazed by all kinds of little things I take for granted. My attempts at capturing some of the dozens of charming, funny, sweet things that my family does every single day. It's all there. Luckily, wedding nostalgia had a hold of me and I got a picture of it.

Mazel Tov to the bride and groom. Last I checked they were in Istanbul being mistaken for American soap opera stars. Long live the beloved family. Somebody find that lead singer. I want to hear Cole Porter's "So in Love!"

Shameless plugs and Unintentionally shameless plugs

Found a great post at The Cleaner Plate Club. Attention single women who are pro-organic farming, looking for a male mate, and ready to work your tails off. This guy is uber impressive. (If only I could find an umlaut on this keyboard...) Bravo to Cleaner Plate Club for giving him a shameless plug. I include his photo as an encouragement to head over to her site(for the farming info, of course) and also because he bears an eerie resemblance to one of my best buddy funeral directors who is about the same age, but hanging out in rural Virginia.

Speaking of shameless plugs... it would appear that I am not an unbiased, common gal on the street reporter. Went back to Kitchen 64 for a quick lunch with the kidlets today. Turns out that I know most of the honchos and honchettes around that joint. Distantly, but I still know them.
Oops. Please believe me when I say, I really didn't know that when I posted before.

But now that I know, please let me also say that these are REALLY nice people. I mean REALLY. Hard working, kindhearted, haven't been home in 3 weeks because they're slaving over the labor of love that is Kitchen 64 kind of people. And thanks to an anonymous comment on my last post I checked out the entrees. Wow. So what do ya' say, Northside? Let's keep this one going after all the tourists stop filling it.
Shameless plug transmission ended.