Friday, June 25, 2010

YUM. Tofu tacos with pico de gaillo and cilantro and cheese and beans and hot sauce, from the Co-op, for lunch! And fresh raspberries for dessert! I'm making a pig of myself. And coffee.... mmm. Drank a little too much last night with CW and the film crew, so I skipped breakfast this morning... no real hangover, just a desire to fill up on coffee. Waiting for the crew to return for filming this afternoon...waiting for my husband to call so he can run over to Holland school with me to survey the north garden...waiting for the boss to return this afternoon to finish my Sunday assignments....waiting for the youth group from Kentucky...

Did I mention coffee???

And standing on the precipice of vapor-lock, trying to track everything happening financially just now. Far easier just to mull, and blog, drink, and eat... and wait.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

lazy Thursday

Ah, "working" at home.

I have given myself this quiet morning of lovely temps and sunshine. I may work. I may make art. I may not do anything more productive than fritter my time away on the computer (and if so that's a shame, but so be it.) My hyperproductive Monday has given way to a week of fretting over finance abstractions and suffering from the humidity (though that's clearing some.) Humidity makes me sleepy. Humidity makes me want to lay around, spend a day naked, or go sit by the lake. Humidity does not make me want to do cash flow projections.

It has become apparent that I'll be at work both Saturday and Sunday for at least a few hours each day, so that's another reason to lay around this morning. This weekend working really bothers my husband. And I admit, I'm not in the mood for it this week myself. Having the boss out of the office most of the week contributes to a feeling of whiny what-about-me I-wanna-be-out-too. So I'm OUT. But checking messages.

I have a film crew coming in to church tomorrow to start working out their shoot Sunday. It's a feature length independent film called "The Evangelist," directed by Walter Glass. Friend of a friend, a guy who lives down south somewhere whom I will meet for the first time tomorrow. He is using a couple local actors on this project, hence his in-town-ness. Because he has no money, he'll pay "rent" on the use of the space by cooking our Community Dinner Saturday night, he and the cast and crew. Sounds like fun, huh? Come hang out with the cool people at church... I also have a youth group from Kentucky stopping in on their way back south to do some gardening for us and to help serve the Dinner. So. Big weekend. Plus barbequing at the neighbors' on Sunday evening... all this activity is sure to make my husband cranky. Better deposit some more credits in the ol' good will account tonight...

Shoot. Gotta go take the pill.

Maybe I'll toddle over to True Companion and waste some time there now. Peace out.

Monday, June 21, 2010


A gift of cherries this morning from Bob, one of the counters. He always brings me something -- an apple, cherries, salad mix. Sometimes I eat what he gives me, other times I give it away, depending on the produce and the circumstances. He doesn't care what I do with it, though usually his gifts are only enough for one. Sometimes he brings things he thinks my son will like.

A busy morning at the food shelf. I was alone there, and it was non-stop; I had to restock several times. A good thing though since we are up to our eyeballs in produce right now, with lettuces and greens especially. Two sisters took all the collards between them this morning, and I did not care -- we'll close this week temporarily to prepare for the big move, and I can't bear to compost so much good food, all locally or oganically grown, donated by farmers' market vendors and the co-op. Raspberries!

I'd better be careful. I've gained five pounds in the last month, and I shouldn't kid myself with thinking that it's muscle weight from all the biking.

I'm taking an online course from Jude Hill, on the 15th, which will last the summer. I'm very excited about that! I admire her work. And SAQA is coming up in July as well, which gives me a deadline for the piece I've had on the table since last summer. Yes, I work rather slowly. Usually on several projects at once.

And there are other gifts as well.

I have some Father's Day thoughts, which I'll post a little later. In spite of all that must be done, it's hard not to feel as though it's because of what we're given today. Just like a bounty of lettuce must be cleaned, sorted, bagged for distribution; we are given so much that it takes all our time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday: parade politics

Northeast Parade next Tuesday night. Do I march with ArtShare (I'm on the Board) or the Eastside Food Co-op (we're members) or the Marcy School (my kid's school)? Too many damned choices! We're an involved bunch we are, here in Northeast. At least, "Upper Northeast" is involved. Our classist geography tends to exclude "Lower Northeast" where the poorest people live, sandwiched there between the gentrifying riverside neighborhoods and the increasingly-gentrified working class neighborhoods up the hill. An area criss-crossed with railroad tracks, light industrial zones and heavily-traveled thruway. High lead count housing.

Next year I should pull together my food shelf clients, and we'll march in the parade. The Little Kitchen Food Shelf float. What should that look like? A political map of Northeast made out of little tufts of tissue paper, depicting the 2nd Precinct crime map overlayed with annual income and number of single-parent households, perhaps. The parade marches right down Central Avenue, the north-to-south dividing line between the haves and have-nots, generally; between high-rental absent-landlord neighborhoods and generational homeownership. We'll carry a big banner: "We ALSO are Northeast!"

Not this year though. This year I'll march with the "haves".

Monday, June 14, 2010

"She can't sleep now
the moon is red -
She fights a fever, she burns in bed.
She needs to talk so
we take a walk,
down in the moonlight.
She says Maybe these emotions
are as near to Love as
Love will ever be.
So I agree.
The moon breaks, she takes the corner
that's all she takes,
and she moves on."


Another day in the life of a congregational administrator -

Wave as husband and son drive off to daycare. Brush teeth, grab my umbrella, walk four blocks to catch a bus to church.

Arriving early, call the food shelf volunteer to tell her she needs to stop by my new office for keys, because I can't be at the food shelf location to back her up this morning. She comes for the keys on her way in, and I hope for her sake that it's not too busy this morning. Later I realize I didn't give her the log book that she'll need to check in clients. This creates more work for me than for her.

Get the counting volunteers trained in on the new set-up. Get the data entry volunteer going in her new location. Finish setting up the duplicating machines, carry reams of paper up from the basement; notice that I have gotten spray-bleach on my sweater while cleaning the filthy table that will support the printer. Find an appropriately dark-blue Sharpie and mark out the offending bleach stains. Sort mail, return a few messages, field some calls. Confer with the Pastor about tonight's Communications Team meeting. After an hour, when all of these things are accomplished, take a break. Eat breakfast: trail mix from Target. Put feet up. Smilingly accept Pastor's gentle teasing about how busy I look. Wave goodbye as he leaves for his workout.

Blog. Because it's a rainy day and I'm alone here now, and there's a ton of financial management work to do which takes hours and requires a clear head. And then...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why is it that the tougher things get at work, the tougher everything else becomes? At some point, there has to be a place in my life where return exceeds demand. Shouldn't there?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

An untimely reaction to Avatar

"Out there, everything that walks, crawls or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubees." Yes, folks, it's the Industrial Revolution, and civilized Man finds nature to be occasionally lovely but intrinsically repulsive. We believe that Man is greatest among God's creations, and Manifest Destiny has replaced the Divine Right of Kings. (I won't bother with a plot summary, click here if you've managed to avoid seeing the film.)

James Cameron has it down. With "Avatar," he manages to encapsulate everything wrong with the history of Western Civilization. His answer to the unbearable vastness of our sin is a utopian vision that comes straight out of that West-of-the-Rockies spirituality, a Native American New Age Unitarian revisionism. The thing that sucks about "Avatar" is that the entire plot is dependent upon boomer cliches and stock characters, on every save-the-whales movie produced (sci fi or otherwise) since the genre was born.

"It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message. It is predestined to launch a cult," gushed Roger Ebert. He compares the film to "Star Wars," certainly worth mentioning since several scenes seem to be lifted almost frame for frame from the Lucas repertoire. But that's apples to apples; what about "Little Big Man," "Dances With Wolves," "Medicine Man." It's Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax"! it has the Deep Forest soundtrack! It's the classic commercial with the crying Indian and it is every generation of sci fi and effects advances since 1979 all rolled into one big $300 million dollar CGI masterpiece of brilliant effects and overripe neo-Environmentalist jargon with an afterthought of a script (written by Cameron without any help at all).

Poor Sigourney Weaver! Squandered in "Avatar" as a thin reprise of Ellen Ripley and the film's only big name.

Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to look at, this film. But to someone who started watching movies in 1970, it is difficult not to get distracted by its utter predictability. OK, let's be completely fair: Cameron actually directed "Aliens," "Titanic"and "The Abyss," so I'm griping about a seminal director doing what he does very well. But try to find a bad review of this flick! Fortunately the Academy wasn't lulled by the soft neon glow of exotic megafauna and big money, merely recognizing the movie for Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects. ("The Hurt Locker," directed by Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, took the Best Picture award.)

It's fun to watch, if you can ignore the rampant white guilt of it all. Interestingly, while there are lots and lots of blue people in the film, blacks are in short supply. There is a token Latina, who sacrifices herself for the sake of The People -- "I didn't sign up for this shit!" -- after rejecting the brutal aggression of the boys' club in their pursuit of oil, er, I mean, mineral wealth. While she does have a braid, she isn't fetched-up like an Indian princess until her final scenes. She sprays war paint on her helicopter that matches the marks on her face, before the big battle. Her last words are "I'm sorry Jake." All the bad guys are lily white in this movie.

It's fun to watch, because the beauty of the film distracts one from the fact that one is being whalloped upside the head again and AGAIN by the deafening native drumbeat of the film's MESSAGE. I like a good message, don't get me wrong. It's just that this one's been done, and there's nothing subtle about it here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

moving day

I am in the wrong frame of mind this evening. I want to throw my husband and son into their respective beds and tuck their covers in REAL GOOD and shut their doors. And enjoy some peace n quiet.

But no. My husband is listening to Screamin' Jay Hawkins singing "Constipation Blues" and "I Put A Spell On You," and somehow this makes me feel as though I live with a teenager. My kid is in the tub complaining about having to wash his hair, and there's a pile of laundry in the basement. And honestly, I wish everyone would just hush up and go to bed. I'm a little more serious, and a little more tired out, than I want to be. Came home early after the Big Move, footsore and sweaty, and would best have taken a nap after my shower, if I'd been smart. Instead I had a beer and a tuna sandwich, yum. But now it's time for "Alligator Wine," and I find I am just not in the mood.

We moved 126 years worth of church history out of the church building today, into three semi-trailers, with the help of professional movers. My job was to, you know, do my job -- answer the phone, stay in constant touch with the elevator tech (since the elevator broke down every half-dozen trips), break up fights between our volunteers and the volunteers hanging around on behalf of the church about to buy our building; catch up on correspondance with our utility companies and service providers, carry a load of boxes to my temporary office, answer a couple hundred incidental questions, retrieve lost keys, try to keep folks calm, etc.... Sitting on a step-stool, with my computer on a tupperware bin, mousing on my pantleg and grabbing the phone from time to time. Yeah baby!

I didn't do much of the heavy lifting, but was as tired and sweaty as could be by 3pm. Part of the fun had to do with our arrangements with the building's buyers -- sort of a you-scratch-my-back, I give yours a chemical peel and a massage and a chiropractic adjustment-type of relationship. At baseline it seemed simple: they allow our food shelf and two of our building users to stay in the space three extra weeks, and in exchange, we allow them to hold two weekend events in the next two weeks, in the sanctuary; even though we haven't yet closed on the sale. Seemed simple that is until they ripped out the altarpiece and tried to sell it to a local antiques dealer. And then chased our movers around the building today with a hired cleaning crew, telling the movers to hurry up and get out of their way because they are trying to prep the building for Sunday. They are painting, cleaning carpets and shoving our furniture into the hallways even as we're carrying the church records out the door. They dropped a dumpster behind the building this morning, and had our dumpster moved half way into the alley, where the neighbors immediately spotted it and raised a cry of protest. And on, and on.

And the move required twice the personnel and a fourth again the time anticipated, so with the extra attention from the elevator guy, I expect us to come in over budget on this effort. Dammit.

And now I'm just exhausted. So are a number of other people. And as my pastor and I watched the last semi-truck turn the corner and drive away, I almost felt I could cry. And a second later, I wondered how much it would cost to have the movers dispose of it all -- every last box and stick of furniture. In a month, when we close on our new building, we bring it all back and try to sort it all out -- 126 years worth of church history dropped into a forty-year-old elementary school building. 15,000 square feet of church stuff, which might fill the gymnasium in the 52,000 square foot school.

The future.

After a bath and a snack, my boy is finally asleep. His father is quietly watching the news and I will have one more drink before turning in myself. Another day tomorrow, of food shelf and temporary office set-up and phone guys coming and kindergarten graduation and an art opening that I have to attend. Sounds like FUN, huh? And parts of it undoubtedly will be, as well as tearful and stressful and wonderful.

The future.