Tuesday, October 31, 2006

True Love Tapes



One of my dirty little secrets is that I love the tv show Dancing with the Stars. I just think it presents the most bang for my reality tv buck. This year there is the added bonus of watching boy toy crushes Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez gyrate around the dance floor.

TDH allows me this Tuesday evening fetish and usually places himself in the other room where he can still watch the tv and make the occasional comment without the risk of losing his Heterosexual Man Card.

So imagine my surprise when I went home today for lunch and he put in a tape with all of the dance routines on it one after the other from last week's show. Now, I didn't ask him to tape anything for me while I was away since one of the concesssions I have made to try and cut down on the tv habit is that I don't watch things on tape. If I missed it, too bad. But how could I turn down this truly romantic gesture?

And so I watched and not only enjoyed it, but in doing so gave TDH the justification he needed for having watched the show while his wife was away... you know, just in case they stop by the house to pick up his Heterosexual Man Card.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

9 Days Later...

Being home is good.

St. Casserole is awesome - funny, strong, courageous and wise.

The Boy is at least 3 inches taller and full of hugs.

Thanks for your comments and prayers. Peace.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gone South


So this will be my last post for over a week. I leave this morning for D'Iberville, Mississippi in order to help in the continued rebuilding effort from Hurricane Katrina.

I am excited and nervous. The bus ride is 20 hours over two days and my small group gets on there last so I am guessing I am going to have to find a way to pretend I don't smell the bathroom. Of course the good news is we will be the first ones dropped off on the way home.

Actually the real reason why I am nervous is because I will be unveiling my knitting project to the public for the first time. My hope is that I get at least a good chunk into it before I screw it up so badly that it needs to receive TLC from my Mom.

As a former Youth Director this will be my first adult mission trip and I am hoping the other folks going from my church will be patient as I adjust to not having to worry about what other adults do. We already had our first laugh over it when I suggested that we meet the group where they are going to initially leave from in order to bond with them. The adults kindly suggested that 20 hours down on the bus would most likely provide enough bonding opportunities thank you very much.

TDH has also been running drills with me:
TDH: "What do you do if during the road trip someone from your group runs across the street to a different restaurant?"
WS: "Um threaten to have their parents pick them up? No, no that's not it - leave them alone!
Let them go!"
TDH: Good. Now what happenes if someone is late for the bus one morning?
WS: Assign them the chore of cleaning out the bus... no wait... it's their problem, not mine.
TDH: Phew, that was close but you got it right in the end.

I am hoping that I won't have to worry about what to do when you realize that people are honking at you because they are being mooned by half of the people in your vehicle (but that's a story for another day).

From what I hear my days will be filled with dry walling and painting although I am hoping to spend one afternoon connecting with a friend who I hear is in need of crucial pastoral support worthy of my time away from my assigned project.

My main job is to keep myself as busy as possible so I don't have time to think about The Boy who I am sure will learn how to talk in complete sentences, begin running 5k's, and rise to the top of his field in chemical engineering while I am away. I am hoping the good-bye at the bus will not be too heart wrenching.


Have a great week friends, Peace.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Job 38 Edition

From the revgalblogpals:

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

whirlwind: I think of an older friend of mine who cannot sit still. She is always trying to make things better for all involved and squeeze so many details into everything that things inevitably get lost in the shuffle. Her saving grace is that she has a heart of gold. The saving grace of our relationship is that I don't live near her so I don't have to deal with her boundary stomping on a regular basis. She is a diehard Mets fan and so my heart goes out to her this morning.

foundation:
Sing it with me now! The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord...

lightning:
I played softball in Florida in college and I was always amazed how in the lightning capital of the world, coaches would pay no mind to the fact that they were sending their players out into a flat field with one of them holding an aluminum lightning magnet.

den: Oh how I wish someone with a gift for it would come into our small den and guide me in how to make it look beachy and also be a playroom and a place to keep some things. Right now it is just a clutter trap and it makes me sad. It is wasted space and we need the space.

prey: I, of course, have plenty of things that relate to the other spelling (pray) so let me think... ah yes. One of our favorite cat stories is from back when we had three of them and we were in between seminary and this church. We moved 7 times in a year (I'll give you a moment to reflect on that...). One of those places was a friend's half basement. It was cramped.

I heard the cats making quite a ruckus so I went around the corner to check on them and I was disgusted that they had cornered a bug - a REALLY big bug - and then I realized... it was a mouse.

iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw - iw

Here was the thing that made us laugh. Two of our cats were just going ballistic trying to catch this thing - batting it around, pouncing on it, howling, etc... The third cat was fully stretched out on our bed alternately yawning and looking at the other two with utter disdain as if to say (with appropriate Morris the cat enunciation), "Heathens. I receive my food in a bowl."

Epilogue: For all of you PETA people out there we did manage to 'rescue' the mouse and he was last seen running outside (admittedly assisted by a broom).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Peaceful Monkey Tree

That is the nickname I have given to a children's show on PBS called It's a Big, Big World. Its main character is a sloth named Snook who frankly sounds a bit like a slightly more mellow version of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

I really like the show and admittedly have found the link to the closing song which to steal a phrase from my friend, 'gives me peace'. Check it out.

Try to Touch the Sky

Except for the part about me hanging upside down, it really makes a great 'see you later' song.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Crazy Like a Fox

I don't know about you other pastors out there, but I am used to occasionally getting mail sent to me that is most likely from someone who is suffering from mental illness. Please believe that as someone who served as a chaplain in a mental health facility for a year, I am in no way, shape or form cracking a joke.

I have received everything from scrawled ramblings to a a bound book entitled "The Gospel of Owen." I know other pastors who have received various things like this and I've never really worried about it.

But last week I received something that made me just a little bit nervous. What made me nervous was that the ramblings were written on the back of our church newsletter and then placed in an envelope and sent back to me using the address cut out once again from the newsletter. Huh. Not so random when the diatribe is written on a piece of paper that we most likely first mailed to them.

IT was fairly nonsensical except for one sentence which I can't get out of my head: "A cruel father sacrifices his own son."

I gotta tell you, I never thought of it that way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ethics 102b - Part II

I wanted to fill in the back story (and the ending) of the post below.

Yesterday I had a bunch of errands to do and found myself at a fast food chain for lunch (I justified this by concluding that their yummy shake would feel very good on my throat). In front of me in line was a VERY pregnant woman lugging her 30+ pound toddler. She came up short cash-wise and so I threw 2 bucks up on the counter. It was too crowded for her to argue so off we both went.

My next errand was the secondhand clothing store. I needed a couple more pair of jeans to bring down with me on the mission trip I am going on at the end of the week. As I tried a pair of jeans I put my hand in the pocket and felt something. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head about what might be in there and I kind of flinched as I pulled my hand out. Of course you already know that I pulled out money and you have probably guessed it was - yup - 2 bucks.

There was a Seinfeld episode once about how some folks just break even when it comes to losing and getting money. I think this was just fun coincidence.

So here is how I handled it. I was buying the jeans so I kept the $2. I admittedly did not put it back in the pocket but rather in my own pocket. If I was not going to buy the jeans, I would have left it in the pocket. That way it could be a pleasant surprise for the next person (kind of like putting pennies on the ground face up so that kids can find them).

Now what if it weren't $2 but was $50? Easy, I would have bought the jeans - whether they fit or not - and considered it a sign from God that I was supposed to also buy the leather jacket that I looked PHEN-OM-EN-AL in but remained disciplined and did not purchase. ;)

And um, some tuna like you all suggested!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ethics 101

There have been a few times in my life where I have faced a minor ethical dilemma and one of the key factors in pushing me to the 'right' choice is what I do for a living.

I have been undercharged for things and corrected them. I have been given too much change and gone BACK in to hand over the extra (laziness not greed was pulling me to the 'bad' choice as I really didn't want to get out of the car and drag myself back into the store).

The one time I didn't do the right thing was as I was being rung up in the express lane with a few items the kid moved the ice cream around the scanner and told me he was pissed at management so I should have some ice cream on him. I had a raging headache and was thoroughly exhausted and remember thinking, "Oh man, why did he have to do this to me? Now I have to do the right thing... but then this kid gets fired... sooooooo..." by the time I reasoned the whole thing out I was already home with my free ice cream.

So my question to all of you is, when you are trying on jeans at the second hand store and you find money in the pocket do you:

1) Hand in the money
b) Keep the money; leave the jeans
or) Get the jeans, keep the money.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick


Has anyone seen Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - the new show on NBC about a show similar to Saturday Night Live? Did you see the second episode which featured prominently a clock that ticked down to the launch of the tv show they were writing and producing? The clock ticked down to '0.00.00.00' and the show began and it went great and then they showed the clock and it was counting down again.

That is what it feels like to be a pastor in charge of Sunday morning worship.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Creature Comforts

Perfect timing by the revgalblogpal Friday Five on creature comforts as I am sick and home for the day (well, minus that meeting at 3... might even shower for it)


1. Comfort beverage
After a long day of physical work: ice, cold beer
After a long day of mental work: red wine
After a long Sunday morning: diet coke
While sicky: ginger ale

One of my comfort foods is Chinese which should be arriving in about an hour.

2. Comfort chair
My friend's big comfy chair that you can curl up in with an afghan (handmade by my Gram, of course) and read a book.

3. Comfort read
Coastal Living which I love, love, love although every once in awhile I get frustrated when people interviewed mention how easy it was for them to create their dream home when he is an architect and she is an interior designer. Uh, ya think?!

4. Comfort television/DVD/music
Notting Hill - it is nice and slow and romantic. I also will watch any cheesy movie they have on tv. My friends and I think they should make a channel which shows a movie in an hour with all of the clips we love and then the final 15 minutes.

5. Comfort companion(s)
The cat. The dog.

And I would be majorly remiss if I did not mention that during tragic times our friends the Onion Rings have called to ask us if we would like them to come up from Scarlett O'Hara's state. The last time we said yes and having them here was an incredibly great comfort.

Off to grab the afghan, the movie and the ginger ale. My guess is the dog and cat will follow!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back to reality

Well, the giddiness is over. Today I was called ma'am by a guy I am pretty sure was older than me. Stupid mock turtleneck and blazer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Should be Insulted but...

A church member has been letting us borrow his truck while we try to find a 2005 Honda Accord with under 25,000 miles on it for less than $10,000... or a unicorn, whichever one we come across first.

The truck was at his office so I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and ride my bike over to get it. He is an accountant and I know he is quite busy with some deadlines right now so when I arrived I just poked my head into the front of the office and told the Administrative Assistant, "Tell Jim I took his truck." She looked at me a little confused which I attributed to me being sweaty and wearing dorky bicycling gear and then she moved to get me the keys from under the counter. I waved her off and told her, "It's okay, I already have a key." And I left.

I just got this email from him:
Forgot to tell you when I came out the high school girl came back and told me that “some girl” just stuck her head in the door and said she was taking my truck. Some girl!!!

I know I should be insulted, but just between you and me - I am elated!

Monday, October 9, 2006

More from Random Thought Woman

I have introduced you to her before. Her is my latest phone conversation with her:

ws: Hello.
rtw: I didn't understand what you wanted.
ws: Random Thought Woman? (I knew darn well who it was.)
rtw: When you told us, where do I buy those?
ws: Uh....
rtw: You know in church.
ws: Do you mean the candy for the Fall Festival?
rtw: No the cards for the trip.

And finally it clicked. A small group of us are going on a mission trip to D'Iberville, Mississippi and I encouraged the congregation to bring in Lowe's gift cards for us to bring down with us.

Can you get a D.Min in rural church linguistics?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

An Affirming Flame

I live near Lancaster county. Very near.

The Presbytery has sent out information about prayer vigils throughout the area and other efforts that are being made. At the bottom of the list, this one stood out:
Two funds have been set up by Old Order Amish. They are both through the Coatesville Savings at 1028 Georgetown Road, Paradise, PA 17503. One fund is the "Nickles Mines Children's Fund." The other is the "Roberts Family Fund, for Children of the Roberts Family."

What an incredible testimony to their faith and committment to who it is God calls them to be that they would set up a fund not only for their own children, but for the Roberts children as well.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May, I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair
Show an affirming flame.
-- W.H. Auden

Picture of the Week

This will be the last vacation related post, I promise.

On Monday morning I woke up at the same time I would normally wake up to take care of The Boy only The Boy was spending quality time with Gram at the beach and I was in NYC. So I left a note for TDH and took off for the taping of The Today Show.

I had done that before with a friend of mine and it is pretty fun. All of the segments outside are done at various places around the crowd so the key is to use the time Al Roker is filming his weather in one spot to get a prime front row location in another spot.

The concert series that day featured The Doodlebops; a Disney tv show creation featuring young folks who dreamed of being Broadway or rock n' roll stars but instead are having their faces painted every day and their instruments unplugged so that they don't interfere with the music playback.

Another guest that day was Billy Bob Thornton and my first nominee for Picture of the Week would be the one that happened off camera as Billy Bob ran over to the Doodlebops in order to have his picture taken with them. Iw. To me it was the same as if Pamela Anderson ran over to have her picture taken with Santa's elves.

Some groups should just not intermingle.

I got that picture but only on my cell phone and only from the back (if you happen to have that episode on tape I was behind the Doodlebops to the far right wearing a green hat and a red shirt).

So instead of that weird moment I offer this as my pick for Picture of the Week:

Monday, October 2, 2006

Would that be an irony or a coincidence?

So we had a really great vacation. It included time at the beach and TDH and I went into the city for a couple of days as a belated celebration of our
10th anniversary. My 'hopefully-future-brother-in-law' used his abundant Marriott points to hook us up with lodging at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Then once we arrived we were upgraded to a suite 43 floors above Times Square - A.W.E.S.O.M.E! This upgrade included permission to use the concierge lounge where I handed a certain celebrity a sugar packet AND managed not to ask him if he was wearing purple socks (I am showing my age with that comment).

TDH and I went to see Avenue Q which is Sesame Street for grown ups. We also saw Martin Short's Fame Becomes Me. Avenue Q was great. Martin Short was PHENOMENAL!!! I cannot even describe how incredibly great and fun and hilarious it was.

Here is where the irony/coincidence comes in. Every show, if available, a celebrity is brought up from the crowd to be interviewed by Martin Short's character, Jiminy Glick. A lot of folks have taken the hot seat: Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Nathan Lane, Rosie O'Donnell, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Regis Philbin, etc... On our night it was......... Bill Irwin.

That's right, Mr. Noodle.

I am totally blaming God's unbelievable sense of humor for that one. She just couldn't resist.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Thanks

Hi all. I just wanted to thank everyone for your kind words in relation to the post I wrote right before I left on vacation.

As well as that evening went I am the same pastor who has since lost Tori's phone number (don't worry, I'll get it) and who once tried to let a family know about some arrangements that would need to be made for a funeral for their loved one only to realize with horror that they were not in a place to accept that a funeral was imminent. Not exactly great pastoral care.

Truth is, I think we all win some and lose some; sometimes we get it right and other times not so much. Thank you for the many lessons of compassion and ministry done right that I have gleaned from your own writings. Thank you for your kind comments and thank God for the grace that every once in awhile allows us to get it right.

Peace.