Monday, April 2, 2012

A satisfying St. Stupid's Day

Nobody April fooled me! That I know of....

Sunday was utterly gorgeous, after a very soggy week! So naturally, I spent the day hauling boxes of paper I don't need right now out of my office, sorting current papers in the file piles, organizing this big project that will consume my life until August, laying in some necessary supplies, etc.

Also cooked a nice dinner, including a very sinful mac & cheese (with brie that was somehow neglected and needed using -- how did that happen?). Anyway, here is my plan for avoiding sheer panic: alternate manageable tasks with comfort, happy diversions, and going for walks. And get out of that committee that makes me crazy.

What's cooking up your way?


liz said...

Recipe, please.

kathy a. said...

i improvised from this -- added garlic and a little this and that, used a different pasta, and most of the cheese was brie. forgot to save cheese for the top, but sprinkled on some parm under the bread crumbs.

liz said...

Yum! Thanks!

esperanza said...


W: went to our new grocery store today (it's twice as big as the old one). Double checked list before I checked out. Got all the way to the car before I remembered the milk (clearly written on the list). Had to go back in. People realized that I had just been there.

AW: at least I didn't get all the way home...

Sue said...


AW: Tax return arrived today! I went to pick up one of those fancy one-cup coffee makers. I've wanted one for a long time. It makes tea and hot chocolate too, which is nice for my son when he visits, as he's not a coffee drinker.

AW: It's RED!

W: Very very sad funeral this week. I think i mentioned the family last week. The complicated siblings are bringing their "A" game entirely. I'm so proud of them. Their mother, who also has Alzheimer's (which is coming very close to fireplacing cancer as Most Despised Illness) is not doing well.

I visited her yesterday and she spoke about her deceased husband of 56 years as "that poor man across the hall who died". Heart-breaking.

However, not as heartbreaking as the fireplacing CHURCH that we have rented space from before and are doing so again. In the past, it was an easy rental of a larger space (because our space is not large) - same denomination. ie - our service, just relocated.

They have a new minister who has talked her Board into insisting that she foist herself onto the entire funeral, even if the deceased has never had anything to do with that church. Basically, the family doesn't want her there, I don't want her there, but she will be there anyway.

The worst part? There isn't anything she can do in the service except the welcome and closing blessing - the family wants to do the readings and I am NOT giving her any other part. She can fireplacing sue me.

She's not the one who sat by his bed for four years. Or the one who knows that his grandson is having brain surgery the day of the funeral. Or that his grandaughter's birthday is the same day. She's knows nothing about this family, nor has she asked about them. Therefore, she does not get to be "involved" as per her policy. She can bite me.

So she gets to say hello and goodbye and suck $200 out of a grieving family. I hope she can sleep at night. Clearly, she missed that class on Ethics in seminary.

Because the family has to pay HER, I'm not accepting my usual honorarium. I just can't. The family is getting royally ripped off by a church that is making me ashamed of my own denomination. I can't drain them anymore than she already has.

AW: Live and learn. Hell will freeze over before I suggest that church as a venue again. The puzzled funeral director who called to vent about how ridiculous it all is - he won't be suggesting it either.

Extreme Anti-Whine: After Sunday - SABBATICAL!!!!!!!

kathy a. said...

esperanza, have so been there and done that. usually don't figure it out until later.

fist to universe whine: cut it out with school shootings, okay? NOW. IMMEDIATELY. I.MEAN.IT. why yes, i do have an attitude about guns.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Kathy a. about guns.
And, Sue, Yay for Sabbatical. But a big BOO HISS for that minister. What a blessing it is for the family that they have you by their side.
Esperanza, I have done that so very many times!
--Neighbor Lady

kathy a. said...

oh, sue. how heartbreaking about the funeral stuff -- like losing this family member and friend isn't difficult enough. glad the kids are bridging their differences for now.

isn't there a "first do no harm" kind of deal in ministry? and funerals -- really, it is upsetting (not comforting) when a strange minister does not know the deceased or understand the family. sometimes that is unavoidable, but not here. xoxo

esperanza said...

Sue--what the what?? what?? huh? Why would you butt in on a funeral? That's beyond bizarre. What?? And during Holy Week? Doesn't she have other things to be doing?? What?? I'm sputtering, can you tell? Cluesticks to her for sure.

Sorry you have a funeral during Holy Week. There should be a rule against that, for sure.

kathy, as far as I'm concerned, there's an unwritten rule that you do whatever you can to make the family comfortable and as happy as can be expected under the circumstances.

Sarah at ratatat said...

Sue - wow. That is just too appalling. It makes my head hurt. I hope yours does not. And Sabbatical! Yay!

Kathy - you make the projects alternating with comfort and walks sound so manageable.

Esperanza - I hate going back into the grocery store for the 1 stupid thing I forgot.

Whine: mostly unbloggable. Husband is making some choices. I don't like all of the choices. But that's how we are so close to divorce. Just letting it all roll out. And I am trusting someone who I think I can trust, but it may backfire. And it is does, I'll whine a lot :-)

Not sure if this is a whine or AW: I am stirring the pot, just a little, because I think I have to stand up for me. If I call it respecting myself and my boundaries, it sounds better. But I know I am wading into dangerous territory. I promise to be as good as I can be without being a doormat?

(sorry that whine is so vague. But writing it out makes me see where I have to be good and where I can be better.)

kathy a. said...

((( sarah ))) i think standing up for you and your kids, and enforcing boundaries -- those are good. you're trying to do that with diplomacy? xoxo

Sue said...

W: school shootings. They leave me speechless. So much pain....

Esperanza - the only thing worse than forgetting one thing at the grocery store - going there in a blizzard to buy one food. The clerks didn't even wait for me to leave before the snickering began. Yep.

As for funerals, in 14 years of ministry I've yet to have a holy week without one. We have a small church, so I can go six months without a memorial......but I kind of know I'll have one during Holy Week.

W: Rain. Head hurting, but not unbearably.

Sue said...


liz said...


(((Sue))) what everybody else said. Getting my cluestick out.

Sue said...

AW: Save the cluesticks. The other minister just called to say she will not take part. She met (for the second time in two days) with her Board and they realize that the new policy, while fair for their own people, is punitive to families who happen to attend tiny churches and need more space sometimes. They are going to revamp the policy entirely.

W: I feel like a complete ass-hat. I know that if it had not been me who pointed out the utter stooopidity of the policy, it would have been someone else. But really Universe? Does it always have to me who stirs the waters? I'm supposed to be an introvert. Why can't some elegent extrovert point these things out in a better way than I can?

For the Record: I was never rude. I was never unprofessional or unkind. So why do I feel so awful?

psssst.....Sue, you may have gotten your colleague in trouble with her Board. Oh, that. Ya.

kathy a. said...

sue, i think you can stop self-flagellating. she and the board had not considered this circumstance; to their credit, they reconsidered promptly -- that almost certainly happened because the other minister went to the board on an emergency basis, and accurately described the problem. so, kudos to them! and to you, for helping them understand the problem for this family in grief.

i imagine the policy was meant to keep their church from being interchangeable with any old rental hall. ("the wiccans will take care of the prayers. we'll put the polka band in the choir loft. you don't mind if we burn herbs during the interpretive dance, do you?")

liz said...

Sue, please remember that it is not your fault if others get in hot water for making errors of judgment that you happen to call attention to.

If the person had not made the error in judgment in the first place, they would not have any thing to get into hot water about.

You merely drew attention to it, and created an opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes.

Some people would call it "natural consequences"

Sue said...

Thanks kathy and liz - your words mean a lot.

So I guess I should cancel the polka band, eh? :)

Thanks pixies.

esperanza said...

LOL polka band. There is a church near here that has polka mass once a month. Not even kidding. But maybe not for a funeral....Or, you can get a mariachi (Mexican band) mass too. We're quite eclectic.

And Sue, ditto what the others said. Anyone with a brain and/or heart could have foreseen that the policy shouldn't be applied without considering the circumstances.

kathy a. said...

esperanza and sue -- to each his/her own! i'm kind of partial to the NOLA jazz funeral tradition, although as i understand it, that doesn't happen in the church part of the proceedings.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others, Sue.
You were fighting the good fight, sticking up for your parishioners and the dignity of the service their loved one deserves. Good for you! and good for them for being thoughtful and open to the reconsidering.
Change is hard, whether you have to do it, or you're the one who brings it about--but it is also what improves the world.
--Neighbor Lady

liz said...

I'm thinking of Esperanza and all the other Texas pixies. I hope you are all okay.

Sue said...

Ditto that Liz. I have never experienced any kind of natural disaster and I can't even imagine how frightening that must be.

Stay safe!

kathy a. said...

esperanza -- you OK? xoxox

Anonymous said...

Sue - the good fight wins. Yay! You're an inspiration. :-)

Yoga tonight will be very good. That is a big anti-whine.

Sarah at ratatat said...

Oops - the anonymous comment above was me. Sarah.

esperanza said...

This Texas friend is fine, had no idea what was going on 300 miles away. However, the tornadoes were within a couple of miles of my parents's house, so quite scary.

AW: what sweet friends to think of me.

W: loooooooong day and looooooong week pretty much solo with the Baboos.

Emily said...

I'm tired of nature.

DH was doing some gardening (a few days ago) and noticed some squeaky baby like sounds coming from an area from where he was digging. He left the site. Yesterday, we were outside and noticed a dead small rodent thing right where he was. I hope the rest of the family is ok!

Then we found the remains of a bird scattered over another area of the lawn.

The other night I almost hit a deer. (While driving. I've been able to restrain myself from punching them when they are in the yard munching on our flowers).

Someone remind me--what's so good about nature? :-)

I live in the suburbs, relatively close to a major city. What's up with all the wildlife, anyway? (All kidding aside, the deer are becoming a serious problem, especially for drivers)

kathy a. said...

hi, emily! excellent nature whine!

Sarah at ratatat said...

Emily - seriously! I always used to joke I like nature just fine, but only on the other side of glass.

kathy a. said...

nature's OK, as long as it isn't dead babies in the yard or suicidal deer in the road.

how is it that there is only one post on WEDNESDAY, so far? did we really cover the universe of whines and antiwhines already??? ;)

oy, busy day. and it appears we are having guests for easter dinner! eeek! yikes! major cleaning needed!!!

aw: spotty the lovey shy former feral cat is beg beg begging for lllllluuuuurrrrvvve, since i'm now sitting in my desk chair, a safe spot. (a human standing up is scary.)

esperanza said...

W: too busy to whine

Further W: Holy Week. Hubby gone every single night this week. Esperanza could use a little break.

And further W: I am trying, without success, to find a redeeming quality to an Easter egg hunt. Seems to me it promotes greediness, entitlement, "me first," etc. Apparently some people find them fun, but I am an Easter grinch.

Sue said...

Hi Emily - I hear you on the nature whine. Especially deer! They are a problem here too....

Esperanza - I would LOVE to come and give you a break. Sadly, with the addition of one very complicated funeral, I am the female version of Hubby. Out every night until sabbatical time.....

W: Longest. Four. Days. Ever. Where's time travel when you fireplacing need it anyway?????

W: Fireplacing Alzheimer's.

W: Formerly civil colleague at Big Church We're Just Using For Space decided that Tuesday is "Let's Learn From All This" day. Wednesday on the other hand is "I'm Back to Being a B-word from Hell" day.

AW: She was a no-show at the visitation tonight. No one missed her. Of course they didn't. The family still hasn't so much as spoken with her. She didn't even call them with condolences!!! Aaaaaaaaacccckkkkk......

AW: The family is being so incredibly cool about all of it.

Is it Sunday yet????

kathy a. said...

i really like low-key easter egg hunts, especially where the bounty ends up shared in the end. the kids just loved spotting eggs! we used plastic eggs with just a candy or two in each, so we could hide LOTS. and we encouraged cooperation. but it's funny, they had different spotting strengths -- one would look up high, another checked behind couch cushions, etc. we "hid" a lot in plain sight, too, so nobody went without finding some.

kathy a. said...

sue, sunday's just around the corner! xoxo

esperanza said...

With on you teh fireplacing Alzheimer's, Sue. Saying goodbye has been going on for years--the funeral is just the tip of that iceberg. Peace to you and his family. So hard.

An excellent friend and colleague is also starting a sabbatical Easter afternoon. I'm counting down the days for both of you!

AW: going to bed early

liz said...

My son likes hiding Easter Eggs better than finding them, so he encourages the other kids his age to join him in the challenge of who can find the sneakiest hiding places that have the eggs in plain sight. Then they get the joy of watching "the babies" find them (or not!)

Makes it much easier to combat the grabbies if the big kids are in on the hiding.

W: Sneezed really hard on Tuesday and popped my jaw out of whack. Fireplacing TMJ.

AW: Getting lots of good ideas on FB and Twitter of things to eat that don't involve chewing. Tonight is shepherd's pie.

liz said...

Saturday night may very well be a certain sinful mac & cheese mentioned by our gracious host.

kathy a. said...

liz -- i heart muffin man!

so sorry about the TMJ. you won't regret the mac&cheese. i don't know how i got to my station in life and didn't know this, but tempering in an egg makes all the difference. go forth and be cheezy! ;)

esperanza said...

AW: Five years ago, on the Thursday of Holy Week, also on April 5, we learned that we were expecting the Sweet Baboo. For pixies who were around back then, you'll remember it was after a long and fraught infertility journey, though not nearly as long and fraught as some peoples'. I had a hard time being appropriately somber at that evening's worship service. I was overjoyed, and not smart enough to be scared. That would come later...

Thanks for being friends along the way, and people I can share this with today.

kathy a. said...

xoxoxo esperanza. and cheers!

liz said...

Raising my pixie glass to you, Esperanza!!!

AW: I have a date for lunch two weeks from tomorrow with a far-flung pixie!!

kathy a. said...

woot! liz!

liz said...

WHINE: Roy Zimmerman is playing live in DC. Tonight. And I can't go.


Sarah at ratatat said...

Aww Esperanza - that's sweet to remember that moment of joy, when it all seems possible.

Liz - wow, that was a bad sneeze. And TMJ is terrible. Enjoy the mac & cheese. (giving up dairy and gluten, I miss my mac & cheese, which was decadent)

Whine: unbloggable...but I am not cursing (anyone) anymore.

AW: we're surprising the kids with a mini-getaway to a waterpark hotel. (we being my mom & I). The kdis will be delighted. It should break up spring break. yay! And while we only planned it last night, we're not going to tell them until we leave Monday, so they can think I planned it weeks ago. ha!

kathy a. said...

kudos, sarah, about the great getaway!

Liz said...


Sue said...

Yay esperanza!! April 5th is also our youngest son's birthday - he's 28 today. Gulp. How on earth did that happen so fast?????

Liz - ouch on the TMJ, but double yummies on mac and cheese. I miss it. The gluten free variety just isn't the same, no matter what the zealots tell you.....

Yay Sarah for the getaway!

AW: The funeral went really well. Lots of people, great eulogies and stories, all of the siblings kept their "A" game going and the surviving wife did really well too. She was sad, which means she understood where she was and what was happening.

When friends started to greet her, it was amazing. She knew the ones that she had attended grade school with, but was fuzzy on the more recent acquaintances. Still, she hasn't lost a bit of her grace and politeness. She was working at it, so I am sure she's tired tonight, but she did a great job.

W: Other Minister really did pull it off. Full pay for a greeting at the beginning and a blessing at the end.

AW: I took the high road and focused on the family. I'll let the politics of all this happen while I'm on sabbatical. It will blow up and involve churches and funeral homes and it all started with lil ole me calling them on a really bad policy that cheats vulnerable families.

W: My feet are fireplacing killing me. I've been in heels since last Sunday. I'm seriously considering no shoes for this Sunday's service. Maybe I'll work it into the children's story or something.

kathy a. said...

sue, so glad the service went well, despite all the obstacles.

liz said...

Sue, I am so happy that you are there to minister to that family. It sounds like you really understand their needs and their dynamic, and you made what is one of the hardest parts of life easier for them, not just by being there, but by being present.

So glad also that the politics of that church will play out without your further input. That headache you don't need.

What if you were to wear flat sandals this Sunday? After all, that's what Jesus wore.

Sue said...

Thanks Liz. I may just do that! I've had so many good suggestions on fb that I'll have a hard time deciding which to use. Flat sandals are definitely on the short list though. *snerk*
Short list.....I'm 5 feet tall........heh.

esperanza said...

Preacher's dirty little secret: I always say a prayer right before the sermon, during which I slip off my shoes. And a prayer at the end of the sermon, when I wriggle them back on.

Glad the funeral went well. Sorry your colleague was so uncollegial.

And HOORAY for sabbaticals!!

liz said...

Sue, you are tall compared to me!!

Esperanza, I love that idea!

liz said...

AW: My friend Shaun used my punchline for a joke he set up.

Sue said...

W: Good Friday services at Odd Church - Same One as Funeral Yesterday. I was the only North End clergy type who knew that we were all (five of us) expected to participate in this morning's service. As of yesterday, not-so-collegial-colleague didn't have the material ready.

At 10:25, we were handed our parts. Service began at 10:30.

AW: I was the only one not freaking out. Srsly - after this week, a little reading is SO not a big deal.

AW: Good service despite chaos.

W: All is ready for Sunday. I have a day off tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sue said...

Wait.....Liz, did you just say I was tall?


kathy a. said...

you guys are making me feel tall! (5'2" normally puts me in the very short range.)

sue -- you are kidding! she seriously handed 5 clergy their parts 5 minutes before service???

prizes will be along sooner or later. this work thing has been getting in the way.

Sue said...

kathy a. - sadly yes. I felt kind of sorry for her - she was such a flustered, tangled mess. I'm glad for her sake that it all came together.

Good luck with the work kathy!

esperanza said...

I knew I liked y'all! I'm 5'2" and never feel tall.

And I'm just tacky enough to say this: Non-Collegial Colleague might have had more time to prepare for today's service had she not been butting in to other peoples' funerals.