Friday, April 28, 2006

I just visit the gutter when the mood strikes

Although I promised myself a long time ago that I would never write about work on my blog, I can't help but share this snippet of conversation with you. One of the lovely ladies with whom I work was taking care of some items that a customer returned. When we do returns, we have to fill out a card that has the item number and the color on it. We have 75 bazillion color choices, so chances are, we won't know every single one. My co-worker asked, "What color is F-R-T?"
I replied, "I don't know, fart?" There was this short silence and then she BUSTED out laughing. All she said was, "From my brain straight to your mouth."

It was frosty taupe, if you really need to know.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sick at the Coop

I wish I could say The Rev. and I have been basking in the post-Easter glow that comes with the pronouncement of our Saviour's victory over Satan, death, hell, and other apocalyptic judgements, but we haven't. The Rev. has been battling another cold (a byproduct of teaching is a refillable prescription for Keflex, Amoxicillin, an other antibiotic goodies) and I have been under the weather a bit too.

There is nothing worse than a sick man. And I don't mean that in "awww, let's feel sorry for him" sort of way. I mean that in a "I don't feel well either, so quit complaing and MY WORD if you have to cough, aim the other way."sort of way. Call me cold-hearted, but as I was battling the chills and nausea on the bathroom floor, The Rev. was telling me how bad he felt.

The Rev.: "My head hurts. I can't breathe. My tastebuds are dead."

Me: "BLECHHHHHH" And this noise is amplified as it hits the proper receptacle.

The Rev.: "What are you doing? Wow, it stinks in here."

Me: "BLECHHHHHHH" Noise again amplified.

The Rev.: "I'm going to fix my breakfast now and then I'm leaving. Are you going to call in?"


We both felt better at the end of the day, but we were both still battling whatever toxin had decided to take up residence in our immune systems. The Rev. was snorting and sniffling again and REFUSING TO TAKE ANY MEDICATION. YOU WANT ME TO PET YOU AND FEEL SORRY FOR YOU AS YOU DROWN IN YOUR OWN MUCUS BUT YOU WON'T TAKE ANY MEDICINE. AND YOU HAVE TWO DEGREES AND YOU CAN READ GREEK, HEBREW, LATIN, GERMAN, AND SPANISH AND YOU CAN'T READ THE BOX OF ALKA-SELTZER??

I was beginning to enter the bliss that happens when you have taken about 8 times the recommended dosage of any medication just to make the pain stop so you can sleep and The Rev. says, "Well, at least Pookie (our dog's nickname) loves me."

What ensued was a discussion involving his decision to ignore his wife curled up on the bathroom floor covered with damp, clammy perspiration as he fixed his breakfast. I won't belabor the finer points of the discussion, but I basically told The Rev. that I could have used a little bit of sympathy because I was ready for Jesus to come and take me home. Or at least take my digestive system home. THIS IS THE RESPONSE I GET:

"Well, I told the dog you weren't feeling well."

"You told the dog."

"Yeah, didn't you hear me say, 'It looks like she's not feeling well, Dixie."

"You told the dog I wasn't feeling well."

"Yeah, basically."

"Oh, I'm sorry, I must of missed that conversation because I was deafened by the echo of my stomach contents being hurled into a garbage can."

While we are having this conversation our dog is listening to every word and cocking her head from side to side like she understands us. I think she even rolled her eyes a few times.

And he tells me that I over-exaggerate and that I am too dramatic.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Chicken and Beer

Listed below are the ingredients needed to effectively remove 1 crepe myrtle and 5 cedar trees from one's backyard:

1. 6 smoked chickens
2. a case of beer
3. 2 bottles of tequila
4. fresh corn tortillas
5. rice and beans
6. fresh pineapple upside down cake with rum whipped cream
7. 3 willing friends
8. a chainsaw

These ingredients are not listed in any particular order, but I would strongly advise having the food prepared before hand to act as a visual motivator. Beer should be added with precaution, or at least until the trees have been chainsawed. Save the tequila for last.


Tomorrow we are bribing some of our friends with cerveza y pollo to come over and help us cut down some trees in our backyard. The Rev. is already outside thumping his chest and using a chainsaw to begin some preliminary work. I am in charge of cleaning the house and preparing the other items needed for the meal, namely sangria y margaritas. Who knew learning Spanish could be this easy?

I hate housekeeping, so I used the excuse that I had to go to the grocery store and run a few errands to put off the inevitable hours of dusting, vacuuming, and straightening. I worked up an appetite and resisted the temptation to stop at our favorite hole in the wall to get a breakfast burrito. Instead, I came home and re-heated some menudo and added some fresh onion, cilantro, and chile peppers. Of course, I made it too hot and I was forced to get a beer to quench the burn. If we were still living in the South, I would not normally drink an alcoholic beverage (save for a Bloody Mary) before noon, but because we live in California, we must do as the Californians do.

I don't think anyone will notice the dust in the corners, I'll just pour them another margarita.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lost in Translation

"Did you comment on my blog yesterday?"

"No, I didn't even know you wrote a blog; you've been so crankypants lately."

"Well, someone commented in Spanish."


"Do you practice saying these things to me? Si hable no Espan-olay."

"You just said 'Yes, I have no Spanish' with a terrible accent."

It's time to start learning the language.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Because learning Spanish is directly related to my hearing

The Rev. has been taking Spanish classes at the local community college. He is doing this for several reasons:

A. 60% of our town is Spanish speaking. We don't want to be known as the gringo church on the corner, even if our roof looks like a sombrero. Personally, I think it looks like a Moroccan tagine, but the outreach opportunities to Moroccans in SoCal are limited. We'll stick to sombreros. It's all about being all things to all people, isn't it?

B. See A.

C. See A.

Since he has started the classes, he has been speaking to me in Spanish. Let me remind you, I am a white girl who was raised in the South. I don't pronounce English correctly, much less possess the ability to decipher what someone is firing at me in a foreign tongue. The other day he was telling me about a woman who sat in front of him in class:

The Rev: She is muy intelligente.

Me: Did you just say she is hot?

The Rev: I said, intelligente. Intelligent.

Me: OHHHH. I thought you said caliente. It's that stupid McDonald's commercial.

Maybe I should start taking Spanish. Maybe I have no business taking Spanish, at least until I get a hearing aid.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Feliz Pascua

I got back from the O.C. last night, people, and I only drove 85 part of the way. Well, most of the way. I did slow down on residential streets, so an innocent housecat or a small child would not get smooshed under my rental car. I don't think that is covered in my rental agreement.

I didn't see Mischa Barton or anyone famous, but let me tell you, people cannot drive in Orange County. Maybe they can't see over the steering wheels of their ginormous Mercedes SUV, or maybe their chauffeur had the day off, because I saw more near death exeperiences in my short .63 mile drive from my hotel to my workplace than I care to admit. I am glad to be home, and I don't have to go back to the O.C. except for a quick trip tomorrow.

This is the first year that I did not fix a full Easter spread of ham, potatoes, green beans, rolls, relish, and and an assortment of desserts. The Rev. and I didn't have any plans for after "He is Risen, Indeed" except to go home and take a nap. Maybe we would scavenge for leftovers, or order a pizza.

Our plans changed after one of our ladies invited us over to her house for menudo. She had invited us over before for posole, and being that I am white girl from east of the Mississippi who can't speak Spanish, I didn't know what I was eating. Think spicy red broth with meat and then you add a heaping handful of shredded cabbage, fresh salsa, a squeeze of lime juice, and fresh cilantro. A bowl of chopped jalapenos made the round at the table also, and it all got washed down with beer. Sinus clearing and GOOD. Some of the meat was still on the bone, and I said, "This meat is so tender, and that is an unusual bone. What cut of meat do you use?" She replied, "I use the spina, the pig's spine, and sometimes I use the feet." I had been shredding the meat off of one of the vertebrae. She promised that the next time she made it she would teach me and have us over. Your stomach may be churling now, but I have to tell you there is much joy and reward in being an adventurous eater. Besides, these are our church members, and I didn't want to refuse what they all considered a great delicacy. I wound up making a new friend as we compared notes on soup making. We both agreed that a good broth was important, with lots of onion and garlic, and when you are boiling the meat, you have to constantly skim the scum that floats to the top of pot. Somehow the conversation turned to menudo, and she again promised that the next time she made it, she would have us over for a taste test.

For you gringas y gringos, menudo is tripe soup. For those of you who do not know what tripe is, it is the stomach lining of a cow. It looks like an enlarged honeycomb and because it is so tough, you have to simmer it for a long time to make it tender. It is also considered a delicacy, and the Mexican restaurants that advertise it for sale on Fridays and Saturdays always have a line of people waiting to purchase it by the gallon. The lines of of people and the way their faces became blissful and glazed when I asked about it, just piqued my curiousity about its taste. It's considered a hangover cure (maybe why its for sale on the weekend?), and everyone says you have to know someone who makes it and is willing to share in order to get the full effect of its powers. Ha! I know someone! And she is willing to share!

I had never had tripe before, so I didn't know what to expect. I ate two bowls sprinkled with fresh chopped onion and cilantro, fresh lemon juice, fresh chopped serrano chilies, and a homemade hot sauce that made my lips tingle. Again, a spicy red broth, but this one had hominy and pieces of tripe floating in it. She also gave us the pig's foot and told us to wrap some of the meat in a fresh tortilla and eat that. A cultural experience for sure. The conversation veered from food to Tijuana, to mispronouncing Spanish words with disastrous results, and back to food again. The Rev. and I both enjoyed ourselves immensely, but a nap was required when we staggered into the house. We also brought home a pot of menudo, and I am sure that will be dinner tonight.

I missed the Easter ham this year and I missed Mom's coconut cream torte, but I had a great afternoon making some great connections with some lovely people. And they were so nice about my terrible Spanish pronunciation. There is a BIG difference between churros and chorros. You don't want to order chorros when you are ordering churros.

Feliz Pascua, ya'll.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy Early Easter

Ya'll, I am leaving for the O.C. tomorrow and I will be gone (except for a brief sojourn on Sunday) until Monday evening. I hate missing out on the most moving services of the church year, but I will make it home in time for the "He is risen, indeed."

Go read the hymn "Awake My Soul with Gladness" by Paul Gerhardt. I want it sung at my funeral, along with "It is Well with My Soul" by Horatio Spafford. The line about my sins being nailed to the cross gives me chills.

One more opportunity for you to impress me with your feedback. What is your favorite hymn? Don't be shy, you know you have one, and you sit up a little straighter in your pew when it is sung in church.

Bonus points to the person who says "The People who in Darkness Sat."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happiness is...

Today was a good day. Why, you wonder? I got to attend a whole worship service and attend a Bible class. Not having to leave the church service early to get to work on time, and not having to get up extra early to attend an early service across town makes for a happy Pastorschick. The Rev. and I also got to visit an orchard tended by some church members, and we left with several bags of fresh lemons, oranges, tangeloes, and avocadoes. FREE. One of the many perks of living in Southern California. If anyone wants to come by next week for fresh guacamole and margaritas, come on down, but we may put you to work with all of the home improvement plans that are on the to-do list.

My last post caused some...concern amongst a few of my readers. Some were worried about my mental well-being, others commented on how I shouldn't compare myself to others. My mental well-being is always in question, and as far as comparisons go, I know that I don't possess the same gifts and talents that others do. And that's okay. If God wanted us to all be the same, he would have created clones. It is just another testament to his power that he created all of us as unique individuals. Would I like to be more involved in my husband's ministry? Yes. Does it bother me when I do miss church functions? Yes, and I hope it will always bother me. I think I would be more bothered if I didn't mind not going to church functions. Like I have said before, The Rev. knows where I am, and what I am doing is keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, which in its own way, is a contribution to The Rev.'s ministry. For the moment, that is good enough for me, and I promise, this will be the last post about any guilty feelings I may have about making brownies from a box to bring to potluck, or not singing in the choir. Just know that I am bringing brownies from the box to potluck and I will not be singing in the choir.

Now that I have said my piece, share with me. What makes you happy? I will post all responses under the comments tab.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Let's add patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control to my areas of opportunity.

It's been one of those days.

Selmer, Tennessee

Maybe it is because of curiousity or maybe it is because people in California think everyone in Tennessee knows each other, like some weird, intermarried family, but I have been asked on numerous occasions if my family or I know the family in Selmer, Tennessee. You know the one, the charismatic pastor who was shot in the back by his wife. People, we don't, but our heartfelt sympathies go out to the children, who lost not only their father, but their mother. To say they will have issues in life is an understatement. We should be thankful that the Dear Lord kept them safe during those volatile hours after the murder, and that they are safe with their grandparents.

I have been fascinated by the media coverage of this story, and it amazes me how people have salivated for more news of this tragedy. Paparazzi photographing the three daughters at the funeral of their father to feed a morbid curiosity we all have on these situations, just shows how depraved the human condition can be. I was interested to read an article in a popular magazine on the difficulties associated with being a pastor's wife. Life in a glass house, no close friends, a husband with a demanding job, and financial strain were but a few of the stresses she listed that can cause friction in a pastor's marriage. Duh. Any one of these can cause friction in any marriage, it just so happens that we look to pastor's families to be the examplar. Pastor's have a direct line to GOD you know, and when they sit down for a meal, there is a place reserved for Jesus at the table, and they have all the answers and my goodness, if they aren't the pillars of the community, then to whom can we look?

How about Jesus?

Don't get me wrong, because of their calling, I think we should hold pastor's to a higher standard. We are dealing with the spiritual welfare of a congregation, a community of believers, and their leader should be someone who lives by the standards set forth in the Bible. By default, his family is also included with him. If you are looking for specifics, read 1st Timothy. The Rev. and I read it together before we got engaged, just so I would know what I was getting myself into before I said, "I do." It's a tall order, and there are days when we both fall short of those expectations. Okay, I admit, I fall short more often than The Rev., but he is always ready with a sense of humor and a dose of forgiveness. Forgiveness. It is a bigger word than sin, and harder to swallow. You can add grace, humility, and peace to that cocktail, and you can see what I call "my areas of opportunity."

We live in a glass house, and my shades are up and the door is open for all the world to see, because we all have issues and we all haves ways of dealing with them. It is the way we deal with those issues that matters. The Rev. is privy to more information about what goes on in people's houses than I am, and the days he comes home and gives me a hug and says he loves me, usually lets me know that the issues we have are NOTHING compared to the problems that someone has just shared with him in his office. And my glass house just happens to be made out of magnifying glass. Good for zapping ants, but I've been burned. I am thankful for a husband whose patience far exceeds my own, and balances my tendency to worry and wring my hands with a willingness to listen and give advice.

I am not the typical pastor's wife, dear reader. I don't direct the choir; I don't play a musical instrument; I don't serve on any committees at church; I sometimes miss church. I work in a field that demands my time in the evening and on the weekends. Do I have guilt about this? Absolutely. Do I want to be more involved? Yes. Are there days where I feel like I have no part in my husband's ministry? Give me a calendar and a red pen. I will show you the days, beginning in January, including today, and extending to December. Guess what? I am still honored to be married to my husband. I am still in awe of him on Sunday mornings when he is in the pulpit, doing what he loves, bringing the good news to people on a personal, heartfelt level. I adore all of our friends in the ministry, and feel so blessed to know good people doing tremendous work in their churches and in their communities. And when we get together, we have FUN, and it usually involves a gin and tonic and we laugh until our eyeballs hurt.

People, hug your pastor. Pastors, hug your wives. Wives, hug everybody, and make sure no one gets left out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They shall know you by what you say

The Rev. and I are attempting home improvements. Given that demolition is infinitely easier than the act of creation (if you need an example, read Genesis), The Rev. and I are hesitant to begin too much destruction, because we don't like to live in any more sin and squalor than necessary. Believe me, I create enough sin and squalor for the both of us. Ask my mother-in-law about my housekeeping skills.

With the extra hour of sunlight and the scent of spring in the air, The Rev. has been itching to get outside and demolish nature to make way for pavers, a water feature, a bird bath, and blah blah blah. If I had my way and I had the money, I would pay someone to do it. However, since we live in California and neither of us are pulling in the big money, we are entering do-it-yourself city. That's fine. I've made peace with that. Just make the decisions and tell me what to do to make it happen. I really don't need to know about pavers. My head is full of enough useless information as it is and because I am human and by nature sinful, the sin and squalor hasn't bothered me that much. Hey, sanctification is an ongoing process. You have to drown your old Adam everyday, not just when you feel like it.

The wifely side of me, the side of me that understands my husband's long hours and his dedication to his profession, sees this as an opportunity to bond. Perhaps I would even dig deep and get poetic and say that as we work together to create this new home together, we are also strengthening our bonds as husband and wife as we share in this creative process.

Let me break it down for you--I got dragged to Home Depot last night to look at plants. Green things that on more than one occasion I have killed because of neglect. And looking at the price tags on some of those dwarf fruit trees, I was torn between getting in touch with creation and not wanting the hassle of taking care of something that has to be picked, pruned, and sprayed for infestations. I like the idea of fruit trees, but I really like the idyllic idea of fruit trees. Trees that are straight out of an orange juice commercial, no bug infestations or rats in sight. The Rev., however, played his ace. He pointed out a black mission fig tree and said, "There's your fig tree, honey." He knows how to get me, that man. I love figs and when we moved to California, I told The Rev. I wanted a fig tree in my yard. Not only because I love their taste, but because there was a fig tree on my grandmother's farm and many of my formative, primary year memories are of that farm. If I close my eyes at this very minute, I can see that fig tree, laden with fruit, right next to the door of the corrugated steel barn that held my grandfather's shop equipment.

The Rev. and I were still talking about it today, and his final comment to me on the fig tree was, "And honey, we can always sew the leaves together for clothes." I think I better start working on my sanctification, because I need to be ready when God comes through in the cool of the evening.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Evidence of my public education

I went through the public school system. I attended grades K-12, graduated, and then attended a public college. After so much public education, I attended a private, liberal arts graduate school, and didn't see much difference in the education. There was just more money and the undergraduates drove a better car than I did. One more difference, I attended the public college courtesy of a state sponsored scholarship, and I am still paying for the private school education. The diploma is in a drawer somewhere. When it is paid in full, it will go on the wall--right next to my free one. Even the rich have to go slumming sometimes.

For all the tomatoes thrown at the public school system, I think I turned out okay. I can read; I can balance a checkbook; I know I have opposable thumbs. The only area that I am sufficiently lacking is in the area of music. I wasn't in the band in high school, and musical terms were not part of my everyday vernacular. The Rev. and his church peeps start talking about hymnology and measures and quatrains and 4 over 2 and my eyes and thoughts immediately glaze.

Evidence of my lack of musical ability (and probably taste) became more evident to me yesterday while I was driving to work. I was listening to a Christian artist (it was Sunday, I don't listen to gangsta rap or death metal on Holy Days) and the next song was beginning. The opening bars of the song sound just like Outkast's "Hey Ya!". I'm already singing "My baby don't mess around..." and the artist starts singing about Jesus. I thought I could follow, but it got worse because the songs sound so similar. The Christian artist is so sanctified, singing about one faith and one mercy and I'm humming the refrain of "shake it like a Polaroid picture."

I don't think that one will make it into any contemporary worship service anytime soon.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Halfway going is better than not going at all

I usually don't post on Sundays because it's a day of rest, but I am working today, so that rule has been suspended for the time being. I had planned on attending the early service at a church closer to my work, but I combined daylight savings time with going to bed at midnight and then sprinkled the top of the combo with a broken coffee pot. Can't. function. without. it. I was rushing out the door and by the time I got to the first stoplight, I decided to go to church here. These are the thoughts that raced through my mind as I broke speed limits to get to church on time:

a. I had no lunch because I was too worried about getting to the church across town on time. This would cause me to have to buy lunch, which The Rev. always makes a comment about because we have a refrigerator full of food. He is capable of eating 26 pounds of turkey by himself, but he would prefer it if he didn't have to do so.

b. I had not eaten breakfast, either.

c. I had only had half a cup of tea and I was expecting a headache in the next hour. How could I concentrate on church with a pounding headache?

d. By the time I got to church, I would be at least 5-10 minutes late. By the time I got in a pew, got settled, said a prayer simultaneously thanking the Lord for getting me to church safely and asking for forgiveness for breaking the speed limit and probably saying something under my breath as I get stuck behind someone driving 45 in the passing lane, the service would be half over anyway. I'm sure deep breathing techniques would be used somewhere in there, too.

e. As I was putting on my sandals, I noticed that the polish on my toe was chipped. Chipped nail polish bothers me and I knew I would be too focused on my toe to concentrate on the service.

So, I turned around, went to Starbucks and drove home. I drank my coffee, packed a lunch, ate breakfast, fixed my toe, and shared it all with you.

Know that my prayer when I get to church will be, "Dear Lord, give me the strength to get my act together so that the weaknesses of my sorry bodily needs won't prevent me from coming to your house and worshipping you."


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fowl Love

When I am stuck in California traffic, I do one of two things. I usually call The Parents or I think. Sometimes I think about 26 pound turkeys and other days I think about putting words together for this blog. Some days I think about creative ways to express myself to my fellow motorists. Don't worry, I haven't waved any digits. I also have inner debates on whether I am setting a good example by peppering my posts with fragments, or if I use too many similes and metaphors. I am sure the thought will pop into my head this week if I should have shared my use of an aforementioned finger while driving. Someone, I'm sure, will be calling me.

For some reason, I recently had a random thought about how many fowl references occur in my house. The most obvious would be the title of my blog. I have been discussing the idea of a logo with a friend of mine, and he suggested I look for an image that I liked. I made the mistake of googling the word "chick." I toe the line on the gauche, I admit, but I would rather not make a full on dive into the offensive. Let's just say that I revised the search to "baby chicks." I am still looking for an image that I like. Stay tuned.

Another example of fowl love is my dog. We named her Dixie, but after witnessing her behavior with other dogs, she was renamed Dixie Chicken. She has poultry DNA, I am sure.
I also demonstrate fowl love with The Rev. by calling him a turkey on occasion. He calls me an impatient chicken. Sweet, I know, but you have to understand the logic (if that's what you want to call it) behind it.

Me: Knock, Knock?

The Rev: Who's there?

Me: Impatient Chicken.

The Rev.: Impat.....

And then, before he can get out the whole phrase, I "bwaaakkkk" like a chicken. If you haven't tried this with someone, YOU HAVE GOT TO DO IT. Just for kicks and giggles. So now, whenever I am flustered and mashing the elevator button because it won't hurry up and open up for me, I get called an impatient chicken. Or when I am waiting for the coffee to finish perking and I am drumming my fingers on the counter, I get called an impatient chicken.
"Are you almost done with your sermon so you can pay attention to me?" Impatient chicken.

Fowl love is the best love.