Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christine Gibson, Rest in Peace and Give 'Em Hell

Okay, Auspicious Blog regulars: a quick test.

Does anyone recall how I always say, "Go see live music! You never know what you might miss. GO!"


The life of Christine Gibson, punk goddess and cool chick extraordinaire, is the latest in my long line of examples of why you need to see bands live. Christine was the front woman for one of Richmond, VA's proto-punk bands Beex.

Christine in her younger years was known to throw a punch or two if things got too rowdy at a show. Christine was known for her showmanship, her gutsy growl, and her wide knowledge of rock-n-roll. Christine was about as wide as a pencil and was known to carry a box cutter in her pocket at all times. Just in case.

In recent years, Christine was known for her longevity on the music scene, her love for all canines, her career with Vatex, and her phenomenally successful work as a wife to Tom and mother of Maria (two more of Richmond's coolest residents).

If needed, she could whup yo tail on the game cube, too.

Before I understood the complexities of motherhood, I used to pray to the goddess of all mothers that I could be a punk rock mama. I am not up for the job. Christine Gibson was up for it and is the image I had in my mind.

Chrisine Gibson died this week at 55. Her husband says (go to video - click on photo of Christine in glasses) that if you didn't see Beex live, you just can't get it. On January 13, 2007 they had their last show at Alley Katz. The Offenders played, too. I was supposed to go and didn't. My life is a little less bright because of that omission.

This Friday at 1 PM at Hollywood Cemetery Christine's family, friends, and fans will gather to celebrate her life. We are going to do this woman up right. If you would like to visit her remains before she is cremated there is a visitation this evening at Bliley's on Augusta. She is wearing sunglasses, as usual, and has a box cutter. Just in case.

May she rest in peace AND may her spirit keep on kickin' ass and giving 'em hell.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I would be a dreadful Buddhist. This makes me kind of sad. I know some great Buddhists. The ones I know are smart, compassionate, and surprisingly calm people. They smile frequently. They are good listeners. I like to think that I have some of those characteristics, but I would still be a rotten Budhist.

I have been thinking these thoughts a lot lately. I'm not sure why. I mean, I have never claimed to be Buddhist nor have I had conversion in mind. So, I don't exactly know where all of this is coming from. It's probably the reading.

I read a lot of Buddhist stuff. Books, articles, blogs. I like reading Buddhist stuff, that is - until it reminds me that I'd be crappy at it. I have attachment issues. Big time. Chronic terminal attachment issues. Here's how this has been going.

I put my daughter to bed. I read a rhyming bedtime story. I sing some songs per request. I rub hair, back, legs per request. I tolerate the not-so-subtle hints that Dada does it better, because I love Dada, too, and can see her point. And then I gaze at her face and fall in love some more and I think, "I wish this moment could last for the rest of my life." Shortly followed by, "I would be a rotten Buddhist."

I have been in the bed more lately due to a seasonal flare-up of my joint problems. I invite my children to join me. My son was upside down in the bed explaining his life philosophy and how I should let him watch more TV. His foot was in my armpit. I picked it up and fell in love some more. And I thought, "This foot is huge. I remember smooching on his newborn toes. He's growing up too fast." And then, of course, "I would be a rotten Buddhist."

I visited a dear friend this afternoon. I have not seen him much this year. His work, my work. He fell in love, had his heart broken - all the usual things that will keep adult friends apart in spite of the fact that they live three blocks from each other. As we were catching up and laughing I worried about how much weight he's lost. I fretted over his decrepid and lovable dog. I wanted to put out an all points bulletin for a new girlfriend. I thought about offering to help paint his house... Bad, bad, rotten Buddhist would I be. Monkey mind indeed.

What put me over the edge, though, was the report from this friend regarding another friend of ours. "More chemotherapy," was all he had to say. My stomach turned over. Twice. And I fell in love with both of them and the stinky dog some more.

If I had to boil down my philosophy of life into simple instructions it would be this non-Buddhist tenant: fall a little bit in love with everyone.

Good philosophy, yes? Based in some pretty sound theology, too. In fact, it is almost Buddhist in its universal regard except...


There's no such thing as "a little bit" in love.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holy Precipitation

It is snowing. First snow of the season. Big gooshy happy harmless puppies of snowflakes dancing down from the sky.
As the children and I left the house this morning, we saw approximately five flakes. My son began to dance. My two year old daughter used her newly acquired sentence formation skills to holler, "I get to put the nose on the snowman!!!" She repeated herself a few times in case someone in a ten mile radius hadn't heard the news.

I had a staff meeting and the religious education director looked out the window, smiled and said, "Should we cancel Sunday services?" Yes, it is still Wednesday and the temp. should reach 65 degrees by Sunday, but I told her I would consider it.

Now the church is empty. The snow is sticking to the grass more than when I took this picture 20 minutes ago. The sky is dark. The snow is steady. I've opened the window a little so I can feel the snow breeze. It is very quiet because I am at the "country" church today and in between appointments.

When I dreamed of becoming a minister, this is what I imagined. Quiet snowy days of thinking about life and being grateful. I think that's happened half a dozen times in the 13 years I've been working this holy gig. The job is mostly people, not much quiet snow. I often like it that way, but today, today is something different.
Sloshy snow. Silence. Gratitude. And because I've become the people minister, not the quiet snow minister, I thought I'd share it with you.
Brrrr. I just went outside to take this one for you. Thanks for joining me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dirty Dozen Brass in Richmond

The fantastic Dirty Dozen Brass Band out of New Orleans is playing TOMORROW night and no one seems to know it. I bought my NINE tickets today and even the people at Plan 9 were surprised.

So go get your tix now. I will see you there. Canal Club. Doors open at 8.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

As the soon-to-be leader of not two, not four, but FIVE Christmas services and one Hanukkah service, I had to get that holiday ball rolling early this year.

There was shopping on Black Friday for the first time in years. (It was online. But the money was out of my account by dusk, so I'm counting it.) There was a Saturday post-Thanksgiving trip to see the jolly man in red for list delivery and thanks for last year's presents. This weekend there was the Illumination downtown followed by the Ukrops parade followed by tree decoration and Hanukkah preparation.

And this morning I continued the decades long holiday tradition of sewing at some crazy time to finish a project in the 13th hour. This year it was the Advent Calendar I promised my son.

Yes, I am perfectly aware that this is December 2. The child brought that up both yesterday and today. He was quickly appeased when I pointed out that he gets twice as many treats today.

But here's the weird thing. Today is December 2 and I have 95% of my holiday shopping finished. The cards are ready. The house is 2/3 decorated. The rush is averted and the hip satellite radio holiday station plays in the car. We may put up a second tree just because we can...

And this really doesn't feel like the holidays.

Holidays to me are exhausted gatherings where the glitter is still stuck to various body parts from an all-night craft extravaganza. Holidays are the simultaneous delivery of the card, the present, and last year's thank you note. The holidays are about giving up and getting a gift certificate. The holidays are about being so stressed out for weeks of frenzy that "all I want for Christmas" becomes a nap.

Wait a minute. I have six services to do, then I drive a 2 and a 5 year old 13 hours to Florida for a "vacation" to do four more services at church camp, then drive the 13 hours back to throw a 40th birthday party for my husband. That feels EXACTLY like the holidays.

Happy Holidays!