Friday, October 31, 2008

RevGals' Friday Five: Positive Potpourri Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals, my friend will smama writes: Greetings friends! It's been awhile since I've contributed to the posts here at the revgalblogpals website, but I agreed to step into the Fifth Friday of the Month Friday Five slot. So here I be. As I zip around the webring it is quite clear that we are getting BUSY. "Tis the season" when clergy and laypeople alike walk the highwire from Fall programming to Christmas carrying their balancing pole with family/rest on the one side and turkey shelters/advent wreaths on the other. And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do? Lately, it's been "Head to church for more band practice." But the big gig is tomorrow night, so we should get a little breather now before getting ready for Christmas. Normally, though, it would be catch up with The Alpha and play with/walk the dogs (now back to plural).
(If anybody in town is reading this and wants to attend, here are details on the concert!)

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do? Go out to eat, or watch a DVD that's been sitting on the coffee table all week, or have an adult beverage. Sometimes all three.

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments? Not usually. But, this election season, I have suspended The Alpha's firm 10:00 bedtime rule to watch The Daily Show, and occasionally the first part of The Colbert Report.

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny? Last Friday night, we watched our very special copy of The Legend of Boggy Creek with some friends who hadn't seen it since childhood. With the lively running commentary we all provided, there were times I thought I was going to pee myself!

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not. Gotta agree with will smama on this one: Toilet paper.

Bonus: It's become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good? My sister's MS has landed her in our hometown hospital, a 5-hour drive from here, for the last week and a half. Since I couldn't go see her, I called the local bakery I loved when I lived there, and they agreed to do a delivery to her hospital room, which isn't normally part of their services. Two times now, they've taken cookies and brownies to her for me. Beats flowers any day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Whoohoo! Got my Goat!

This is shaping up to be a great birthdayfest. It kicked off with a dog -- who, by the way, loves The Alpha best... but he is The Alpha, after all. The Birthday Dog is the happy one, obviously. (The Dog Who Is Wondering What Happened to his Perfect World is on the right.)

Then today, I got a really nice card from my in-laws.

Guess what will fit in a birthday card?

A goat will fit in a birthday card! My wonderful husband's wonderful parents got my goat! I have wanted a goat just like this one for years. I got it! I got my goat!!!!

And tomorrow, The Actual Day, I get cake for breakfast. The Wonderful Alpha is frosting it right now. Scratch that. The Wonderful Alpha just finished frosting it, and brought me the pan to lick!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Collar, tag, and leash.

We bought all of the aforementioned items for Tuesday on Saturday.

No real surprise here: We're keeping her.

While there are many differences between her and her, we still do find ourselves freaked out by the appearance similarities from time to time. But she needs us, and that was the agreement: We would wait for a dog who needed us, and us specifically. Who else is going to adopt a 5-year-old, 60-something-pound dog? (In the last three months, no one.)

She truly isn't a "replacement." The grief, though subtle, is still around.

But Tuesday is around, too. She is gentle, and sweet, and beautiful, and she has a home now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Look Familiar?

This dog has never appeared on this blog before. She is about 5 years old, and today is the first time she has ever entered this house.

This is Tuesday.

(Creepy, ain't it?)

See those white toes? (You-know-who didn't have white toes.)

And her tail fur is longer.

And her ears don't stand up in quite the same alert fashion.

Totally different dog, really.

She's really soft, and very sweet so far, and she needs somewhere to live besides the vet's office, where she was left tied to a bench early one morning more than three months ago. So we have her until Monday, when we are supposed to tell them if we're going to keep her.

Tuesday on Thursday

Tuesday is what they've been calling the test-drive dog at the vet's office. They arrived one Tuesday in July to find her tied to a bench outside. I met her last Tuesday, The Alpha met her last Friday, and The Boy met her this Tuesday. They gave her a bath on Wednesday so she'll be all ready for The Alpha to come pick her up today -- Thursday.

So when I get home this evening, there will be two dogs here. Yes, at some point, I'll post a picture. (But you're all going to think she's Cub, back from the dead. The resemblance is uncanny.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Used Dog Test-Drive...

...begins tomorrow afternoon and continues through Monday. The vet's office is giving her a bath today in preparation for her stay with us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday morning dots of procrastination

  • I should be curling my hair right now. Curling iron's hot and everything.
  • Saturday afternoon we felt very urban. We dressed nicely and walked 9/10 of a mile to the district parsonage for a reception with the new bishop and his wife. We let several people know that we'd walked from our house (smug enviro-hippies that we are). Others who live nearby hadn't thought of that option.
  • On the way back, we stopped at the P.O. and bought stamps. (Trip consolidation, even on foot. We are so smug.)
  • We're thinking about adopting again. (Not a human, ya goofball!) We'll see how things unfold this week. She's been living at the vet's office since July, so I don't think she's going anywhere without us knowing about it.
  • We rearranged the den on Saturday, and are taking a few days to decide whether we like the new layout. Then we might buy a piece of furniture that would allow us to move the computer in there and hide it behind doors when we're not sitting at it (which is about never, obviously).
  • There's a lot of dust and dog fur behind things that haven't been moved away from the wall in 8 years or so.
  • Okay, okay, I'm going to finish getting ready for work.
Updated to add:
  • Dang it. I think my curling iron is busted. I did not want to run errands tonight, but I guess I will. With stringy-looking hair and all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More trip pics, and some randomness

For some reason, I don't feel like Friday Fiving it today, but I do feel like posting more weekend photos.

Pecans! Zorra sent them home with us. They're from the tree in her backyard.

House! One of the string of places where my family lived before I was born (we were military brats). I found it on the way back from our getaway. When I emailed the pic to my siblings, they weren't sure I'd found the right one... until I sent a shot I took from around the corner and my brother spotted the concrete back porch for which he helped build the forms.

Grave! (Yeah, not everybody would announce that with an exclamation point, but I have a theme going here.) The brother who was born and lost during that time. I'd never had the opportunity to pay a visit. Thankfully, that cemetery is meticulously indexed online, so I knew where to look before I got there. The Alpha marked the GPS coordinates when we found it, too.

I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother 10 years older than me. My mother grieved for this child until the day she died. Standing there at his grave, I started having all these space-time continuum thoughts: my other siblings were older, so their existence did not depend on his death. But my existence just might've. Had he not died, I might not have been. Odd to consider. (But then, I loved Quantum Leap. Except for the last episode -- I'm still angry about that one.)

There are two digits missing on the birth year. On some of the grave markers near his, the metal plate was missing entirely. When I saw those markers before spotting his, I worried. Makes me want to go out there with glue or cement or something and patch up all the loose ones.

The Boy! When I saw him all curled up and looking so picturesque at the foot of the bed in our B&B cabin, I had to take a picture, didn't I?

Randomness! Jolene, the black lab who is bigger than Frodo, is coming to stay for the weekend.

Remembrance! It's been six months today.

Happy pic! The Boy, cooling off after a morning romp around the B&B ranch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getaway and a Meetup

Much to blog, but only a little time this evening. So, for now, just a few pics from our recent travels.

One: Free-Range The Boy. We think he liked this particular B&B, where he got to pretend to be a ranch dog for a couple of days. (And we are glad the hen survived. That's a tale for another day.)

Two: Meetup of the blogging dogs. Amie and The Boy actually saw each other on neutral territory at the B&B ranch on Saturday, then on Sunday we all spent the afternoon and evening with Amie, Zorra and The Scientist at their house, which is where this photo was taken.

Requisite RevGal meetup shot preserving Zorra's anonymity.

Four: Rach, I saw this one on the way out of the cemetery and took it especially for you. (Also, Vicar, we found a geocache nearby.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five: Business Trip

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Mother Laura writes:
...So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
My job occasionally involves travel, and while the logistics can be burdensome at times, the people I get to connect with are a joy.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
The Alpha hasn't had a business trip in a while, but when he does, it usually involves the corporate jet. That mode of air travel is a lot easier than flying commercial... park your car in the hangar and go. Usually he's back the same day. Down-side: If the flight is full, the last person to arrive has to ride by the toilet (really, by the toilet -- as in, if anyone has to go during the flight, you have to get up and move to their seat while the lavatory is in use). Up-side: There's a cool little screen in the cabin that shows a real-time shot of where you are over the map. (Kinda like Indiana Jones, I think.)

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
Hmmm. Well... Congress on Evangelism 2007 was pretty cool, as there was a Methoblogger meet-up. Looks like we're headed toward another one of those for 2009.

4. ...and the worst, of course?
Well, it wasn't the trip itself. Back in my PR days I took a client on a mini-media tour to Chicago -- just one overnight stay. When we finished, we headed for our separate terminals at O'Hare, and there was a 30-minute rain storm... which resulted in a 5-hour delay for me. During that delay, they kept changing my gate from C2 to C32. Having come straight from meetings, I was wearing my big black dress boots, which were not ideal for tromping up and down the terminal. Grrr...

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
I'm hoping the plans we made yesterday have us headed toward perfect! Though we don't work together, Mid-Life Rookie and I are attending the same event in January, so we've arranged to split a hotel room, saving money for both of our organizations and making it more fun for us.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Prize from Songbird!

Wow, Songbird, that was fast!

Just Sunday morning, I dropped by her blog before church, not knowing I'd just become her much-awaited 200,000th Blog Visitor! (ElastiGirl tipped me off later in the day....)

And today, my prize arrived in the mail!

"It's a major award!" exclaimed The Alpha. But it was even better than that:

I'm now the proud owner of a $tarbuck$ Bearista who is all ready for trick-or-treating, a Maine license-plate refrigerator magnet, and a Portland postcard carrying a very special message from Songbird.

Thanks, sweet friend!

Church Nerd On-Call

We've had a wild few weeks at church, with the move to the new building and all the changes that type of transition brings. And our pastor's long-scheduled vacation began the day after our move, which wasn't the original plan (because we were thinking we'd move back in August).

Yesterday morning, I talked with Lovely, Talented, Dedicated Church Secretary, as is typical of mid-week for me. I'm the resident proofer of the bulletins, my qualifications being a) I'm a word nerd, b) I'm a church nerd, c) I'm involved in music ministry for both services, and d) there was a time when building this church's bulletins was actually part of my job, so I know what to look for.

Anyway, yesterday LTDCS was doing a great job of holding down the fort, settled in her brand-spanking-new office and preparing to email me the bulletins for review. But I never got them. I figured with all the moving parts of relocating, she just had to shuffle that task to today. In the afternoon, though, I learned that shortly after we'd talked, she'd wound up in the ER with severe and sudden abdominal pain.

The great news: It was one of the less-complicated things that it could've been, and the issue is pretty much resolved, so she got to go home (albeit drugged for the pain). Rejoicing and prayers of thanksgiving!

The relieving news: Two of us who are former church staff members had her back on the bulletins. Last night we were blowin' and goin', picking up where she had very suddenly left off (Word document and Bible still open and everything), asking just a few questions by phone. The bulletins for this Sunday are now complete and copied, so LTDCS can rest easy.

The amusing news: Neither of the Bulletin Elves will be present at worship this week, so it really is kinda like we swept in, worked a little magic, and dashed back off to the church attic or wherever it is that Bulletin Elves live. heehee....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dog prayers, please

Please pray for Twinkie, my canine niece. (Yes, my sister puts her in outfits for holidays. I do not condone this practice. This was the only picture I had on the computer, and it's from 2005.)

Twinkie had a run-in with a golf cart today. She's a dog of a certain age, and totally blind. When I talked with my sister this evening, Twinkie had decided to get up and hobble into the bedroom. That was encouraging, but they're not getting their hopes up until the 24-hour mark, which will be tomorrow afternoon.

So, prayers for Twinkie and her family, if you're the praying-for-dogs kind.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A new beginning for AUMC

Today was a momentous day for the church where we're members.

We worshiped in our new sanctuary for the first time today. This building has been a very. long. time. coming. (It was definitely on God's time, not ours.) So today was a celebration of joy, of faithfulness, of praise to the One who brought us to this point.

Here it is on Saturday morning, during the furniture-moving process:

I tried to take a few more pics this morning, before the first service, but only got a few shots because of all that we still had to do. Here's our pastor at our new altar table which, along with the lectern and baptismal font, was custom-made by a group of our members:

Here at the bottom of the frame you can see what I thought was the top of the baptismal font. But it wasn't quite the top. I thought the bowl would sit down in that opening, but a few minutes later someone brought in a large basin that rests on top of the opening. It's absolutely beautiful. Didn't get a picture of that, though, because we were doing sound check.

My fellow band members during setup:

(Yes, those are boxers...but at least they kinda match the jeans. Our drummer's 18 and we love him. Give him a break.)

It took a lot of restraint for me to resist taking a picture of the congregation while I was standing up front leading singing. The place was packed out -- the view made me giddy. And when we robed up for the choir-led service, it was packed for the second time.

Before the early service it dawned on me that I was going to be the one speaking the first official words of welcome to this holy place about to be consecrated to the glory of God. (No pressure, huh?) So, rather than ad-libbing it, I grabbed a pen, dashed out to the narthex, and sought out a dear friend's help. Here's the end result, with emphasis on the words I wanted to make sure people heard:

"Good morning! What a joyful day! As we celebrate our new surroundings, let's remind ourselves of the reason we're here. Let's prepare our hearts to worship God in this place."

(You can't have too many reminders that the church is not a building.)

At the second service, we sang a few verses of the Jane Marshall hymn, "What Gift Can We Bring?" One of the questions in the first verse is, "What words can convey it, the joy of this day?"

I've tried plenty of words here, but I don't think they really can convey it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grendel and his Golden Tail

I got out of bed because I couldn't fall asleep for thinking about and missing my Cub girl, and now I'm sitting here crying over a dog I never met. (I know other people did it for us; now I understand their perspective a little better.)

Grendel got his Golden Tail today.

He was a wonderful blogger. And a pretty great dog, especially for one who claimed to be misanthropic (he wrote a lovely elegy for Cub). We will miss him around here, but I'm sure he and Cub are glad they finally got to meet. And they're running and jumping and having gravy in Heaven.