Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some Long Awaited Photos

I know. I owe you some photos. I often promise photos on Auspicious Jots and don't deliver for months. Obviously I have not worked out a system of ease with my digital camera. And I'd feel worse about it if I didn't know that 80% of all digital camera users feel the same way. (Of course, I made that percentage up.)

First up - the before and after shots of Tyler the Sexton's haircut. In review: Tyler needed to be shorn and didn't want to spend the moolah. He came to the kitchen one night, which is not a clever salon name. He came to my kitchen and I cut his hair.

BEFORE: note the tangles, the disarray, and mocking glare of the small pajama clad child.

AFTER: See the carefree happiness in the sexton's eyes. See the Superman curl at his brow. See whatever you want, the haircut lasted less than 48 hours. Seems that Tyler suffers from PSLD: post-stylist let-down. This is a condition in which your hair looks great in the salon (or kitchen) and then you can't figure out how to recreate the magic. This occurs in 88% of all women (made it up - it's the year I started dating my husband). Percentages for men: unavailable. But Tyler got the ole' PSLD bad and shaved his head which is why no one saw my handiwork.

And speaking of no one seeing my handiwork...

For Easter I made matching clothes for my family. My daughter had pants. Shorts for the son. Hubbie had a snappy bowtie and I got a skirt. You can see none of these items in the one photo of the four of us and my husband's hat got smushed giving him a Yosemite Sam air that says many things, but not Easter.

In unrelated news, that purse was mistaken by a golfer in Williamsburg for being real grass. At first I thought he was a ding dong, but then I thought - ART! Or Ahhhhhht as "Cute with Chris" genius Chris Leavins likes to say. Nothing says going green like a living purse. 73% of Jots readers agree.

Finally, I had a great photo of my dad and his brothers from 1961. It relates to today's sermon. It was the reason I decided to blog at 7 AM on a Sunday when I have to preach in two hours.

I deleted it somehow while typing. Do you ever feel like the dude behind the family at the Easter parade? I do right now. And you thought I'd lost my Luddite ways...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Lizard Eater visit

Prelude: Two bloggers arrange a 5 day visit after a couple of years of e-communication. They have never met. They have never spoken. Most say they are out of their minds. They retort - "Yeah, and?"

Enter Lizard Eater: A cute as a bug Texan with impossibly long, pretty hair and the pariah of her high school reunion because she looks so young. She comes bearing gifts - LOTS of them. Toys for children, shirt for hubby, funny car hats for me, food, and something that looked like a weapon from World of Warcraft (yeah right, as if I would know) but which benignly mixed hot chocolate.

Boring Plot Twist: Of course we didn't hate each other. Didn't dislike each other. Only found more things in common. She does have this freaky fruit aversion, but even that didn't keep us apart. More fruit for me.

Divine Intervention: We had the most beautiful weather while she was here. Cool, breezy, beautiful cloud patterns with plenty of sunshine. Have you ever seen a Texan weep for joy in May? Put them in 70 degree weather and hand them a free beer.

How to win me over for life:
Blurt out that I look like UU Barbie. (God bless that sweet, blind woman!)
Be discreet in your blog posts about my napping habit. (Reclining at both outdoor music venues, fell asleep in the car, on the sofa, in the recliner, in my daughter's bed.)
Wait until the end of the visit and then with diplomacy gently pronounce, "Your bout with viral meningitis is definitely nearing completion. You make SO MUCH MORE SENSE now than you did when I arrived!" (It sounds sweet when she says it.)

The Cupcakes: She's known for her cupcakes. Big deal these cupcakes are. She doesn't brag, but she does admit that people place orders for them by the dozens. It was the lack of bravado that made me beg/cajole for her to bake cupcakes on Friday. I am not overstating it one bit when I say: those were the best cupcakes I have EVER had in my ENTIRE life. (And, yes, my NYC friends, they are better than Magnolia.) We chose chocolate with chocolate icing. Absol-flippin-magni-stupendo-licious. She claims the caramel ones are better. I'm a bit of a Puritan and not sure people are allowed to be that happy, so I am sticking with choco choco delight. This was the point in the visit when the children started calling her mama and the husband tried to steal her return ticket home.

Ordain her now: I introduced this gal to the full breadth of my "eclectic" friends, neighbors, family, and congregation. With ease she bantered with the musicians. She talked sex education with a retired priest and his wife. She entertained my children, charmed my parents, helped my husband out when I was on my latest nap. She laughed at my best friends' jokes. (Not funny ones either.)She fell in love with our minister emeritus only moments after I said, "Liz, you are going to fall in love with our minister emeritus." AND she beautifully read the poetry of Lynda Hull and Mark Doty at the evening service. She's a Texan with theatre experience, four children, and a lifelong UU. Seminary education ain't got nothin' on that.

Boring Plot Twist 2: She will tell you that I was a great hostess. She lies. I did not make a single meal while she was visiting. Luckily, several meals came in from my mother and the church care committee. And it turns out that cupcakes can be a full meal.

God's work got done, too: We are religion geeks, after all. We talked theology, religious education, polity, ethics and more; all with my feet propped up on the couch and her in the recliner. That is the only civilized way to do something that geeky. We also compared music libraries of apocryphal holy music. Her best contribution: "Jesus loves me, but he can't stand you" by the Austin Lounge Lizards (I think.) My best contribution: "Whiskey or God" by the Texan Dale Watson.

Closing Credits: We boo hooed at the airport. I cried all the way home. I then took another nap and slept ten hours. We have plans for Houston in the Fall or maybe meeting in Mississippi. There's always New York. And the children want her back where she belongs - in the guest room - as soon as possible.

Photos to follow as soon as I can find the camera. And the thing to plug into the computer. And get the internet to stay up. This could be awhile. Check out her blog "The Journey" while you wait. I've paid her good money to say nice things about me.

Yes! Magazine

One habit formed out of years of ministry for me is magazine subscriptions. I have 10. I refuse to admit that this might be excessive because
a) some of them come only 6 times a year
b) two of them are gifts
c) I save, recycle or regift many of them
d) I don't wanna

One of my favorites for sermon study, general enlightenment, and enjoyment is Yes! magazine. I met the delightful crew that run Yes! in Portland, Oregon at the General Assembly of UU's that was held there a few years back. They were incredibly friendly which is my highly discerning way of deciding to subscibe to a magazine.

Check them out online and be sure to enter their cartoon caption contests. Can I put on my resume that I have placed in the "favorites" category TWICE? Surely that's relevant.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lizard Eater and Auspicious Jots join for Blogging Super Power

(Insert choice curse words here) I forgot the whole reason I turned the computer on in the first place. Lizard Eater is coming! My long lost twin is coming to visit! This is the choicest thing I have done lately as a grownup. I mean producing life twice was cool and all, but this is over the top.

Lizard Eater is my blogging buddy (see the sidebar for her link.) Her sweet, deranged husband gave her a ticket to visit me for Christmas. I say deranged because he knew that he could email me and I would agree to it, even though I don't know him from Adam.

Have Lizard Eater and I ever met? No. Have we ever talked on the phone? No. Can I remember the names of her posse of children in the right order? No, but I am working on that one.

Is my house fit for company after two weeks of my being bed ridden? Heck no. Do I want her to come anyway and has she agreed? Hell yeah! My husband has already asked if it is ok to call her Liz. The children think I am kidding that a Lizard Eater is coming to live with us.

She asked me for a packing list awhile ago. Those of you who have seen my daily fashion choices know that she should probably raid her Halloween costume stash. I told her to bring all the clothes that she doesn't feel gutsy enough for at home. And her dance shoes. Let's hope I am well enough to live up to the fashion.

This is like a pen pal coming to visit. Or for those of you who have not been mated since the dawn of time (as both Lizard Eater and I have) it is like long distance internet dating. It is also imminently bloggable. So stay tuned to hear both versions of five days of infamy and giggles.
Here's her link to the first installment. We welcome all ideas for activities and mayhem.

Melange de Malaise

Ever notice how you finally call for help, the villagers come running, and as soon as they get there the wolf disappears? Or maybe that's just me and my computer tech.

Sorry to leave everyone in the amnesia lurch but it would seem that the one area in which my viral meningitis is contagious would be my relationship with my computer. This really feels inappropriate to share, but my computer had a Trojan, whatever that means. One of the many problems from this was that I was not allowed to log in to Auspicious Jots. Bummer.

Or as my husband says, "Thank God!"

But I bring it to Mr. Fixit this AM and he calls Auspicious Jots up no problemo. Durn Trojan Wolf.

Thanks for the emails, comments, etc. as I have been mending my brain. I've been comforted by the other viral meningitis sufferers who healed up fine and let me know. I probably have another week of semi-cluelessness before I resume my normal level of clueless. Ongoing headaches with a side of amnesia continue to be my chief complaints and truly, if you're going to be sick for two weeks, this is the way to do it. For those at the Center for Disease Control, YES I missed my Mississippi trip and kept my Virginia germs at home. I'd be mourning that loss more if I could remember it.

I have tried to think deep thoughts during my two week convalescence. I came up with a lot of ideas about memory loss. Most of them forgotten, naturally.

I came up with a few cogent ideas on why Anne Coulter was an inappropriate choice to comment on Sarah Palin in the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People issue. Then I remembered that I couldn't care less.

I also had many things to say on why Elizabeth Edwards coming out about her emotional process in light of her husband's affair was not healthy in any way. It sounded like it would be healthy, but when I read it - wow. Just my opinion, but I think the betrayal of publicly sharing details as she has done is an equal betrayal to the one she received. It didn't seem like that was her goal, but that appears to be the consequence. Then again, maybe I should re-read it in a few weeks. That one can be found in Time magazine, too. (Thanks for the subscription, Dad!) I would hyperlink but I have a headache coming on, so you need to seek it out on your own.

The election for the head honcho at the Unitarian Universalist Association is driving full steam toward June. My choice is Peter Morales and I can be found on YouTube saying as much a year ago. This is the first time I have chosen to endorse someone, but I felt strongly about Peter's strengths particularly on the subject of membership attraction and retention. I'd love to say I remembered the election on my own, but they sent me an email.

Ok, here comes the headache. The lesson of the last two weeks - stop talking when the headache comes because you can't remember what you say. When I was a bartender I longed for people to follow some version of that rule.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Turns out temporary amnesia IS funny


I've been in bed for 6 days. Bed also means sofa. Bed also means guest bed.

I have viral meningitis. It started as a simple ear infection and with the loving support of a compromised immune system spread to my sinuses, bronchial tubes, and spinal fluid. My immune system is compromised because it attacks itself (rheumatoid arthritis) so I put it in timeout (by taking a drug called methotrexate which is also a chemo drug.) It responds by no longer showing up to work when infection calls.

What was I saying?

Oh, yeah. Viral meningitis is some bad juju. I am able to move around for less than three hours a day. Those three hours feel like I have a cold. The other 21 feel like a have a medium case of Alzheimer's with a side order of concussive brain injury.

But am I worried about this? NO, dear reader! Let me bring you in on a little secret: amnesia is your friend.

There are reports coming in from rather reliable sources that I have been absolutely miserable this week. Tears, pain, yelling in my sleep, not sleeping, loss of appetite, agitation. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? But here's the thing: what you don't know really WON'T hurt you!

144 hours I've lived with this and I remember maybe 12 of it. And those 12 are really iffy. What I do recall is this: people are very funny. I feel like I have laughed a ton. My family assures me that I have not. In fact they say this rather grumpily. Wonder what that is all about?

My point is... and by my point I mean what I am thinking at this very moment, not whatever was in my head when I started this, whenever that was.

What was I saying?

Oh, yeah. You are so funny. You could do stand up.

Friday, May 01, 2009

VM - what are you thinking?

I had a lot of hopes for keeping a blog. Good writing practice. Connect with church members. Get discovered at long last by some blues band.

Little did I know that my blog would have a different legacy: Evidence for some future epidemiologist that I was patient 0 when the big one came.

Had a swab stuck up my nose and tickling the back of my eyeball yesterday so that I can say I do not have swine flu. Seemed like that would have been simple enough, but they kept asking questions. And more questions. And a lot of eyebrow lifting by the doc.

Then the pronouncement: Viral Meningitis.

Now, for my regular readers, here's the funny part. The telltale symptom was confusion. Guess I've had viral meningitis for at least 6 years and it seems to be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, and motherhood.

As usual, the blessing of knowing a lot of people means I know a lot of people who have had viral meningitis. The prognosis is great. Only half of them wear bibs in public because of it.

I did not go on the arthritis walk. Thank you to everyone who pledged. I would like to recommend to the Arthritis Foundation that those of us who raise $1,000 by selling indulgences earn the right to keep our weary, wobbly cartilage in bed on walk day. (I did do a memorial service and a wedding that day, but neither required ambulation before 9AM. Say what you will about the UUs, but we are civilized about mornings.)

My prescription is to stay in bed until Monday morning when I may or may not go down to Mississippi. We'll see. Hint to the epidemiologist of the future: people who are willing to admit in public that they have viral meningitis that they had tested for swine flu and that they will go from their sickbed to a mission trip are most likely to cause the global germ apocolypse. But please note- I took all of my antibiotics and did not show my face in public with a fever. So, nyah.

I've also been out of touch blogwise because my internet at home has been "erratic." When will customer service reps finally say the word "broken?"

Then again, maybe I am evidence for some future programmer that I was techno idiot 0 when the big one came.

My husband has just received his third "I dunno" from me in response to a question. Not my fault. He's grilling me. When did the internet start working? What time did I eat lunch? Where is our 3 year old? Geez.

He has also pointed out that the swelling around my brain should keep me from making public pronouncements via the erratic internet. Would there be any blogging in this world if we all followed that rule? There he goes with the raised eyebrow. I seem to have an illness that causes other people's eyebrows to leap.

He has also pointed out that when searching my compacted brain for the name of my diagnosis the other night, ole' tight skull came up with: Vehicular Manslaughter, Virginius Mobeley, and Vagina Monologues.

Put that eyebrow back.