Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Evening News

Today's breaking news...

First from my sainted mother: "A van parked next to me at my mother’s day care recently had this written on the side:

Temple Image Paternity and Infidelity DNA Specialists
For a reflection of the truth

For what it’s worth, it had a wheelchair lift."

Now there's a joke here my mama isn't saying. I'm not sure how the joke reads but it probably involves viagara, alzheimer's, a paternity test and a punchline along the lines of... "But she can't remember."

Not that I would ever tell a joke like that.

This just in from the parking lot: My poor and formerly sweet, Alzheimer's plagued grandma cussed me out in the church parking lot yesterday. This morning she was really glad to see me and wants to go to the State Fair with me. The one good thing about Alzheimer's - moods can be forgotten. God bless that gal.

And speaking of the State Fair, I just saw on CNN that my son won 5 ribbons in the youth arts and crafts competition. Neil Cavudo (sp?) of Fox Business will be doing a 25 minute in depth interview this afternoon. Senator Barack Obama has decided to put his campaign on hold and come to the Miles family ribbon celebration in the living room this evening.

Auspicious Jots - keeping you hip to what's hot, baby.

Fresh-faced Global Ripple Effect

It occurs to me that conspiracy theorists may be onto something.

I am multitasking in a coffee shop. The men beside me have determined that the war in Iraq and the "imminent economic collapse of America" are part of Presiden't Bush's rabid xenophobic plan to eradicate immigration. "Mexico is looking mighty nice now, isn't it?" one just asked the other. They appear to be drinking Sumatra.

I'm a steamer gal. All milk, no coffee. I thought this made me immune to conspiracy theories. I just arched my eyebrow at the guys next table. However, I have come to a theory concerning my religion, Unitarian Universalism.

The greatest untapped vein of potential UUs are the vast unchurched. Depending on which poll, study, or worldview theorists cite - predictions are that the UU numbers could double or quadruple if we could just introduce unchurched America to our commensurate beliefs. So why is this not happening?

I'll leave the rational discussion and well-thought-out arguments to the other UU bloggers. Somebody spiked my steamer this AM, so I'm going out on a limb. It's the cosmetic companies. They have bonded together in a secret conglomerate united by their need to keep the UUs down.

Evidence? Refute this, baby.

I had my portrait made yesterday by a professional photog. (I'll reveal why in a future entry.) In preparation for this event I realized I needed to wear makeup. It's gotten to the point where the need to wear makeup is so rare it causes the need to buy makeup. My so-called friends called for two days in feigned worry on my behalf.

My hair artist: "Sweetie, shouldn't you have someone with some training apply that stuff?"

From a male funeral director: "Let me do that for you, hon. I have a lot more experience in the handling of cosmetics than you do."


I will admit to calling the photographer and asking him to please hurry up for our appointment. "Dude, I'm wearing eyeliner here." But I can put on makeup. I got married, didn't I?

After the shoot (Lizard Eater, cue "Girls on Film" here) I went through the rest of my work day. At the church supper I showed everyone the makeup. (It was like having a baby dinosaur in my hand. Oooohhhh. Aaaaaah!) and this was the first hint of the conspiracy.

As lovely UU woman after lovely UU woman bent her face to look into mine I noticed... not a jot of make-up on them. In four hours I spotted only four women in make-up and I really had to look for it. There are six other women in the coffee shop right now. Four of them are in make-up. The other two are this chick with the computer and steamer, and the UU gal behind the counter who is one of the reasons I like coming here.

Let's do some math, my fellow conpiratheorists. If 600,000 more Americans became UU, over 300,000 would be women. If 250,000 of them decided to stop wearing make-up... it could start a fresh-faced global ripple effect the likes of which has not been seen since the eighties ended and men stopped wearing eyeliner to the grocery store. Imagine the losses. Only Aveda would come out unscathed. (I seriously doubt Aveda is in on this. My steamer is not strong enough for me to cast my suspicious eye on them.)

Not evidence enough? In order to have the make-up I accidentally went to the headquarters of the cosmetic conspiracy: Sephora. I like Sephora. The lipstick tastes like raspberry gum. (Conspiracy!) As I was picking out the necessary paints and crayons I got a sudden uneasy feeling. I was being watched.

"Can I help you?" she asks oh-so-sweetly. "I'm good," I nervously reply.

A few moments later she silently swoops in. "Are you finding everything ok?"

I look at her face. Perfect arched brows. Lovely lashes. Pink lips and expertly applied eye hues. Then there's the fact that she seems to be genuinely helpful. A helpful sales person in a Richmond, VA mall? Something is not right here.

She smiles and blinks once. Aha! Conspiracy. In that perfect blink all is revealed. Not only are they out to get the UUs. They are using defense industry technology. I watch "Sarah Connor Chronicles." I know a robot when I see one.

Stay alert, UUs. Now that we are onto them - who knows what they will do to retaliate? But I am ready for the battle. Once I get my steamer refilled.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The P and E files

P is for paper. E is for electronic.

I made a pilgrimage of sorts last week to the home of our minister emeritus to peruse his files. Rev. MacPherson has over 50 years of ministerial files that are better organized, more useful, and more diverse than the mess of 14 years of ministerial flotsam I call a filing cabinet.

I had serious file envy. In addition to being labeled, alphabetized, and separated by drawers according to theme, many of the pieces of paper are identified by the date filed and the date used in services. I was swooning by the end of the tour.

Rev. MacP is from a different era, and within that era he was a unique bird. So I do not imagine that I want to go back in time to be a minister in the 1950s. The sex change alone...

While looking through the evidence of another ministry, however, I was struck by how different ministry has become. Rev. MacP's files reflect the changes he saw - from stencilling to xerox, from photo to slide, from biblical quotes to satirical cartoons on service covers - he had to roll with several changes in technology and worldview himself.

But I cannot imagine having the time to do the meticulous work he did to keep these files. He was no office mole, either. He was active in the community and with his congregants. He and his wife hosted events at their home. He travelled for ministerial training. I, on the other hand, with all the benefits of technology... am swamped. And I am always looking for something I can't find.

I've asked the gender question. What if I hadn't been pregnant or nursing for 39 months of my career? Or what might I be had I been married to the venerable Dottie MacP? Or what any of us might be capable of with a partner like that? I have a great partner but he also has a great full-time job and community obligations of his own. The expectations of a male partner in 2008 are way different than the expectations of a 1950's "minister's wife".

I have asked the personality question. I know other ministers who are still in full-time ministry who have great filing systems. I hate them. (Just kidding. Again - it's the envy talking. I hate that you don't visit and get bossy with my files.)

And I have asked the E question. Do I have more information in my two computers, external hard drive, this blog, Facebook, and now YouTube than could fit in a file cabinet? Am I well-organized in a non-visible way? (HA! That's great. I'm using that again. "It's not clutter. I'm organized in a non-visible way!")

The E files are a big part of it. But there is alot to say for the P files. I am making up a faux library card to check out P files from Rev. MacP. I am inspired and enriched by the content of his files, but the files themselves are inspirational, too - their mere existence and permanence. I just don't get the same feeling scrolling through my virtual folders and directories.

Let me close with a personal note, E style: Happy 80th Birthday, Rev. David MacPherson. You have been an inspiration to me for 23 years. I am honored to know you as a mentor, colleague and friend. Keep up with those computer classes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fab List Making

What if we all had cool to do lists? What if instead of: clean kitchen, pay bills, find dog we had things like: get yet another amazing massage, put Nepal photos in scrapbook, return Prince's email TODAY ?

I come up with these things when I am not well and have health envy. I'm having a whopping load of health envy today and not just for myself. I have half a dozen people on my fret list who are going through all sorts of nasty treatments and diseases. (Wait. Make that a dozen. Ummm... hold on. Can we say twenty and leave it at that?)

Meanwhile, I know some amazingly healthy people who are doing or have done feats of bravado, strength, or sweet radness that I can only dream of. So, for those who are not at full speed right now - an impossibly cool list of things inspired in part by the healthy crew. And if you can do and desire to do something on the list, get off your booty and do them. Vicarious is ok by me.


1) buy season tickets and attend all shows of (Insert theatrical or performing art company here. If it were me - it would be the Firehouse Theatre.)

2) ride bike all over town

3) roller blade

4) do chin-ups in public place and enjoy the admiration

5) eat your favorite food without guilt, indigestion, or hives

6) dance all night

7) read a book a day for a week

8) comb hair (for my bald friends in treatment)

9) have a beer. In Hamburg. (that one's mine)

10) laugh (for my grandmother)

Photolude with quilt

And for those of you needing a little spiritual experience... the fine Quuilters of First UU Richmond with one of our group projects.

Photolude Denver style

Finally opened my buddy's pics from the DNC in Denver. Here's my fave campaign poster.


I haven't been posting enough photos lately. Here's a few to keep you going. I call this one - The Seventies only Hurt when you can't find your Sweater Vest. The fine studs flanking me are still studly. The one on the left was roller derbying this weekend while my son cheered him on.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Arts and Crafts Hell

I have become a State Fair Stage Mom. How did this happen? The child is only 6!

Since I don't know how I got here let me just say where I am. I live in a house where three hours a day are spent supervising a 6 year old as he sews, draws, constructs, and paints 10 entries for the state fair arts and crafts competition. (Activities he greatly enjoys, I will add to save my soul.)

I live in a house that has some drying or half-made project in every room. Let me formally declare that the papier mache robot hanging from the shower curtain rod looks like a voodoo homunculus.

In our house, when mama comes to wake a little boy by climbing in his bed, she does not mumble "Time for school" or "Good mornin' punkin'!" Mama says, "You gotta' sew before breakfast." Oddly, he jumped right up.

The only good that can come of this is that I will not be a dance stage mom. When I took him to dance class on Saturday I spent the 90 minutes calculating how he would finish these projects before Friday. I saw him dance for 3.2 minutes.

Next year I will repent. Really. In the words of Paul Simon, "I don't find this stuff amusing any more." I will not allow 10 entries unless he starts on them in June. I won't. I mean it.

As for the kid, he gets double TV time for a week or so just to get him back to normal. And I may have to go to the evil Chuck E Cheese. But not this week. It's all glue guns and embroidery thread this week.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Decorating Techniques for the Weary

Fridays are no longer fun. I take my nasty meds on Fridays at 12:30. I then call or text my husband with something along the lines of "Snow White has bitten the apple" or "I am Three Mile Island". And then I feel crummy for a day or two.

I have been inspired by the congregants I know who find clever ways to enjoy life in the face of health routines far worse than mine. In their spirit I invited a few friends over on Friday evening for cocktails that I couldn't drink and snacks. I thought the company would be a nice thing to look forward to instead of just cataloguing side effects.

This was a good idea with some drawbacks.
1) The house needed straightening.
2) I had no energy.
3) The guest list started to grow.

The end of the story is that the guests came and we had a very nice time. My family greatly enjoyed themselves. The house was mostly ready. Everyone got to meet people they did not know. I ended Friday thinking it was a good day.

One major thing did not get done, however. There is a huge pile of magazines, cards, junkmail, children's art, and random paper on a bookcase at the front door. I had no energy to deal with it. So I left it there. Right in the living room where we were all sitting. But to show some hostess decorum I put a big note on it so my guests knew that I would have done something about it if I could have.

The note read: Picture a Tasteful Floral Arrangement Here.

Do turtles have little hands?

We have jumped up on the "Why" season with my daughter. I like the why season. It makes me curious again. And when the questions are like the title of the post, I just smile.

Is fog really clouds that fell down? Can cicadas bite? How do they make Golden Grahams? The answers aren't nearly as satisfying as the questions. I wish she would answer some of my questions.

Why do you like your brother's shoes better than yours even when they make you fall? Why have you become so cuddly at last (not that I am complaining)? Why do you cry so much? What is the magic about bandaids? Why do you like foods today and hate them tomorrow? How do you get your hair to do that? Why doesn't "Thriller" scare you?

She'd probably answer mine with the same choral response I give her sometimes when I've run out of answers and almost out of patience.

Mystery. Mystery. Life is a riddle and a mystery.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Poetry Wednesday

Funeral Langston Hughes

Carried lonely up the aisle
In a box without a smile,
Resting near the altar where
Folks pass by and stare -

If I was alive
I'd say,
I don't give a damn
Being this-a way!

But I would give a damn.