Wednesday, October 31, 2007
There are black crayons stuck in Darth Vadar's light saber. He cries and rubs his tears away with the sleeve of his dark lord turtleneck. Princess Leia demands that Darth Vadar hand over some of his cereal to her. I make the poor guy share. His lip pokes out and I see the little Anakin within.
We get to Darth Vadar's school just in time, but he still has to run in his big black boots. But he doesn't fall. Leia keeps hollering, "I wanna' hear my song!!!" from her carseat. Calm is not the mind of this Jedi mama.
At Leia's pre-school someone dares to tell her she's a fairy princess. She scrunches her face and stomps her tiny pink boot. With hands on pink, shimmering tu-tu-ed hips she declares, "NO! I'm Princess Leia." Hopefully her daddy will be Obi-wan later and get her in line. Obi-wan her daddy is my only hope today.
I returned home and re-dressed a few times. Once in costume, sort of. I pulled out my old black shirt and priest's collar from my hospital chaplain days. Made me look kind of creepy. Gave up. Went with black and orange stripey socks and boring everywhere else. People who know me have already expressed their disappointment. I bite my tongue to keep from expressing my...
Tonight I'll be on the front porch in our giant Winnie the Pooh costume handing out the goodies. The Star Wars gang will be roaming the streets gathering loot. I'd better improve my mood by then. Nothing scarier than a Pooh Bear who growls like Chewbaca. Now that I think of that image, my mood is lifting already.
If there is any overarching theme to my career in ministry it is: Laugh through it! To be grumpy on Halloween? Now that I've mulled it over awhile... that's kind of funny. I'm the only person I know who gets to smooch on Darth Vadar, tickle Princess Leia, call a Jedi master "Cutie", and do it all in a giant Winnie the Pooh costume. What's not to like about this day?
Monday, October 29, 2007
|I took the "If You Were a Poet..." quiz on gURL.com|
Do you tell it like it is, even if "it" ain't pretty? Then Sapphire, (aka Ramona Lofton) may be your poetic predecessor. Sapphire is a jewel of a poet, but you won't find any precious language in her books. Read more...
Which poet are you?
Our first evening service was last night. Over 70 people came. We had a wonderful poet in First UU member Susan Williams. We had an enthusiastic and generous artist in Lori Valenti, who not only made art but encouraged children to make an artistic response. We had the 6 man band of the century. Only two of these dudes had played together before I put them in a band for a week. All of them said they'd like to do it again. They were fun to work with AND they are all talented.
We had teens, young adults, wee ones, grandparents, the thirty-fifty somethings, and one service dog who prefers not to have her age revealed. We had ten to fifteen visitors, one of whom came out wide-eyed and exclaimed, "Is this what all of your services are like?!?" In a word... no. But more will be.
There are some details that need some ironing, parts I want more or less of, mistakes I don't intend to repeat, but for our first time out the whole thing was, well... great.
Thank you to the many, MANY who helped behind the scenes. And for all who not only came out, but also brought your friends. See you again on January 27, 2008, 6:00 PM when the theme is The Blues.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
An energetic sprite of an artist.
6 men in a rock/alt country/ funk band.
A minister on the edge, hopefully the edge of something good.
And a great theme...
Why haven't I blogged all week?
Night after night of preparation for our first evening worship service.
6 PM. Tonight.
All ages are welcome.
We will rock you.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
If the observer thought any of these things, he/she/you would be 100% accurate.
I have just arisen from a much needed nap, am about to stand in my kitchen (whose days are numbered) and wolf down a snack, and I am thinking about friendship. I'll be preaching on it twice in November.
In recent days I have had very brief encounters with my friends. To be a minister's friend you need to be the kind of person who has many other things to occupy your time. You need to have a calendar to plan out months in advance for a cup of joe and a 45 minute visit. You need to be comfortable with last minute cancellations. And, MOST OF ALL, most days you need no ministering unto.
This week I've exchanged emails with the college buddy who is super-realtor in Manhattan. It is even harder being the realtor's friend than the minister's friend. We are perfect for each other that way, and he knows my secret college nickname, so I'll never cross him.
I had a great phone conversation with my maid-of-honor, college roommate, I-performed-her-wedding buddy who is 9+ months pregnant. WAITING was the theme of that one. Bless that darling. She missed our high shool reunion in June because she was working in the Cloud Forest. I was sure that was a euphemism for something, but it is just Costa Rica.
I took the long way home from work one afternoon and stopped by to see my favorite music guru pal at the local record store. Our friendship is sustained by a shared sense of humor, his constant presence at his place of business, and my constant presence at mine half-a-mile away. In the two years of our friendship, we've never seen each other when one of us isn't working.
I had a 2 minute check-in with my country undertaker from Dinwiddie county while driving back from a wedding. He was setting up his house for his youngest's 1st birthday party. We promised to talk again before November. Are you sensing a theme?
My friends are crazy-busy people. Friendship in my circles is no longer sustained by dinner parties, beach vacations, and weekly interaction. We are held together by the bonds of email, telephones, and eating standing up. Sometimes I am sad about this. Today I am just grateful that we are able to maintain any connection at all. Sound familiar? I hear that this has less to do with my profession than with our culture at large.
So that's me on friendship today. You want any more you've gotta' show up in Durham, NC or Glen Allen, VA in a month. (Like you've got time for that. The fact that you made it to the bottom of this post is a minor miracle, right? As a reward, I leave you with the funniest of all the friend stories this week, and this time the preacher is naming names...)
My friend Rex. I love this guy. Rex's life makes my life look like a slow inner-tube ride down a lazy river on an endless summer afternoon. I'm not even sure we are allowed to call each other friends. We spend YEARS trying to find time to have dinner. A glass of wine takes 6 months to schedule. I called him today to check in. (Yes, I was waiting for my next appointment, but don't be impertinent. At least I called.)
Here's Rex's voicemail: Hi, this is Rex. I am in the UK right now and don't have access to this cell phone. You can reach me by emailing me at .... or, if it is an emergency my UK cell phone is 5767877902-34847486189111-0076582490-940825739404-727553. Otherwise, leave a message on this line and I'll get it eventually.
I laughed so hard I triggered some system and it booted me, so I had to call back to rag on him mercilessly. Which, of course, I did. The funniest thing of all? The last time that I had time to call Rex was a month ago and then he was in some other foreign country with some other foreign cell phone with 43 digits. Good thing we're friends.
Friday, October 19, 2007
For those who have yet to go out to Glen Allen, it is a pretty place, nice views, kind people, and they serve snacks! Services are at 9:00 and 11:00. Meanwhile at First Church, my buddy Rev. Jeanne will be preaching at 9:30 and 11:15 on Creative Interchange. Gallery (our annual juried art show with 100 artists of many media) is up at First Church and is quite lovely. I have already been relieved of some of my cash.
Next Sunday I'm at the 6:00 PM service at First Church. This is a cool new service with a band, a poet, an artist, and yours truly. The theme is "Borderlands". All ages are welcome.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The photo cannot do this gorgeous piece of art justice. The colors called to mind chocolate and hibiscus. It felt softer than anything I ever wrapped my precious newborn babies in. And the cut looked like Versace himself was resurrected to tailor this suit! Gorgeous.
Our man Anthony had it beautifully accessorized, too. His tie probably cost the same as a meal at the Stratosphere, and the shirt... perfect. I know I'm going on a bit, but give me a break. I'm a Unitarian Universalist minister - unless someone dies, where the hell am I going to see a suit like this???
As for our man Anthony, as you can see he is friendly and nice. He is fourth generation funeral service. I met his daddy, and he was also just as sweet as can be. (But the fashion sense is the junior Papavero's forte; the papa is more subdued.) Anthony says that he is always stopped and asked about his clothes. He said that even at the New Jersey convention where they all have access to this kind of tailoring, he gets comments. The guy can dress, no doubt about it. If I should make my earthly departure suddenly, somebody call Anthony to pick out the suits for my entourage of funeral directors.
Anthony, thank you for setting the bar, and for not calling security when an amazon blogger descended upon you with her camera and notepad.
Sorry for the delay. Vegas ain't a blogging kind of place. Baby.
(See? I almost got that Baby thing down!)
Monday, October 08, 2007
“That place is the pus hole of the world,” said another.
Somewhere between the two is where I find myself at this moment after approximately 12 hours in sin city.
Not much to report on the sin side of things. The energy and water waste is abominable. The waste of human potential and spirit at the omnipresent slots and tables is deplorable. The second hand smoke is gag-rageous. But I am not here for any of that, so my spirits are actually quite high.
As a reminder, I am here for the 126th National Funeral Directors’ Convention. It is the oddest thing I do all year. And I love it.
Odd- The opening session began with a gospel choir led by a Chaka Khan look-alike in the most extravagant wedding dress I’ve ever seen. She accessorized with a white feathered hat the size of a wedding cake and a voice that could carve the Grand Canyon. In a good way.
Love it – I’ve already seen a guy in a “Men of Mortuaries” t-shirt. M of M is a calendar that combines beefcake, lessons on the death care business, and funeral director pride. Also falls under odd, but I own a copy of this thing and am glad to see that it has taken off. I’ll pre-order you a copy. As for the guy in the shirt: very cute but I’m not sure he’s your type.
Odd –There’s a whole lot of praying going on with this crowd. Lots of “God bless” and praising going on. And I am saying this as a preacher. If I feel it’s a little much, it is more than a little. I’m also sniffing some ou want to roll out the holy, let’s have the convention in Iowa. In Vegas? Baby, I ain’t buying it.
Love it – The women are all shapes, sizes, shapes and colors. Meanwhile, there is an unbelievable percentage of the men who you’d peg as a funeral director no matter what they did. And then there are my perennial favorites – the Mack-Funeral-Daddies-and-Mamas These folks are styling. Now it is a conservative chic, but it is still chic. And the best part is, I know that the shiny wingtips, silk ties, pocket squares and Gucci glasses are their version of business casual.
I am standing outside the exhibit hall this very moment so I have to make this brief - but a few highlights...
A giant convention center full of coffins, hearses, and embalming chemicals doesn't seem one bit weird in Las Vegas. (The convention next door is for car washes. Now that's weird.)
I had a great green burial discussion. Will be letting you know more about the future of that worthy and essential movement.
No, I have not gambled unless you count ordering a salad for lunch in a convention center. It was pretty scary, but it worked out in the end.
Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cher are all here. I think they all work for casket companies and hearse companies now.
That's it for now. Got some cool photos and products to tell you about shortly. Hope this made your day seem just a wee bit more normal.