The Starting Rotation
This was our second freebie preview screening from the mailing list off attending a Buffalo International Film Festival screening. The first, Philhomena, was dark, powerful and gut-wrenching- but we knew that going in. This film? Supposedly telling the story of the making of Disney's Mary Poppins? It was pitched as a light-hearted tale from theMad Men era, with Mickey Mouse sight gags, Dick van Dyke casting jokes, and Jackie Kennedy pastel outfits.
We lasted all of 90 minutes, as its backstory of P.L. Travers's Aussie upbringing was darker than Dickensian England. Sheesh- people brought their kids- babies- to this preview! Imagine how the alcoholism, multiple firings of her father and her mother's attempted suicide went over with the little tykes. All with the familiar soundtrack of the final film, which we already knew by heart, wrapped around (or even accompanying) the intense scenes of her youth.
It didn't help that we both have to be out of here at relatively redonkulous hours in the morning- and I will henceforth turn down these preview offers if they come on such a Night Before. I'll also do a lot more vetting of the subject matter to ensure that we won't be blindsided again.
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A potentially defining moment for a dying congregation seems destined to go forth, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
I lost two-plus hours of my life tonight at our church's mandatory annual meeting (which I will always call a Charge Conference even though it apparently isn't called that now). These are typically held close to year-end at our church, either after a Sunday service or on a weeknight. This year, the District (read: diocese) decided to cluster (finish that with any word beginning with F you choose- like "fudge") six rag-tag fleets of Methodists in a single Charge Conference Mania event at one of the biggest, and furthest, venues. The combined worship and rah-rah session took well over an hour, with gardening metaphors in serious need of being blocked, and with our church possessing the smallest contingent and, clearly, being the neediest bunch of the six. Were we among the three of the six who met our 2013 goal for apportionments? No. Were we among the five who at least paid more than we paid last year? Apparently not. Still, this is church, where everybody gets a trophy, unless you're marrying gay people- and we got props for admitting more than two new members, starting a new outreach project, and baptizing at least one baby- "don't say the kid's name, Vic!".
Then we were herded into six separate corners for the dull and mandated business of the faith: minutes, motions and filing of reports. Including one of mine, possibly the last one, because it is apparently near certain that I will need to take close to a seminary semester load of courses to retain my current certification after 2014. I was yawning gapingly by the time it all came to an end, when we got to the "any other business" part.
Well, yeah, I said: our congregation's decision to affirm the sexual-orientation rights of all members, specifically and out loud, which I've been advocating since July and was supposed to have been voted on a week ago at a last-minute-canceled council meeting?
Turns out, they did vote- by email. And positively. But they also are holding off on proclaiming it until the congregation has seen the wording and been given an opportunity to comment. Possibly there'll be a survey- or a committee. I at least got them to put it into a "it happens unless" stance rather than a "it will happen when" one- because I've seen so many good ideas go to die in that place we could convert the entire fellowship hall into a graveyard.
If I see it in Sunday's bulletin, I'll post it. Pray, if you're so inclined. Or just marry two gay people if you've got the creds- if only to piss off the Bishop.
ETA. Yoinks. Just saw this at the bottom of the minutes of last year's Charge Conference, which we approved last night without objection (and with objection being discouraged because, and I quote here, the 2012 recording secretary is an armed police officer):
"If any of your ideas bares fruit, pass it on."
Sheesh. Indifference and intolerance are bad enough, but can we at least work on our goddam grammar?
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This book has tons of great stuff in it! Thanks, Junior League of Portland, Maine!
Henry looks like she's ready to eat me.
Aw. Striper is so perfect and sweet.
Faux mink throw plus tablet = cozy evening
Isn't there a 15-yard penalty for "piling on," God?
In just over 24 hours, I acquired a significant estimate for canine surgery, a brand-new car payment for a car that's not brand-new, a possible claim against me for damage to the Rental from Hell and a lot of uncertainty about Eleanor's medical situation for the coming weeks....
So why not just have my phone die in the middle of all of that?
Except it didn't. It was just restin'. Look at that plumage!
Pissed at the world and pointing way too much of it at my beloved, I headed out, sure I was looking at a new two-year contract, an immediate payment for an iSomething and probably a bunch of accessories.
Or not:P Phone Lady gave it a hard reset by Pushing Both Buttons at once (a fine change from my previous hour of banging the crap out of each one individually) and it fired right back up. It even plugs into a jack in Kermit's dashboard and plays iTunes beautifully through the speakers:)
Even better, this was on my way to a nuisance visit to a collision shop, where by state law all used cars must be photographed before they can have physical damage coverage confirmed for them. This took mere moments, but was just long enough for me to see the wrecks in their parking lot- one looking spookily like Emily's dear departed ride- to make me realize that, yaknow, it's really not that bad after all.
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Ebony slept most of the day after her stressful close-up with Dr. DeMille. We wound up a lot busier than she was.
( *Early afternoon: Seeing greenCollapse )
When we got home, it was my turn to drop everything:
( *Afternoon into the evening: Being greenCollapse )
Now I just have to drive Kermie over to- where else?- a collision shop, to get his state-mandated used-car picture taken to prove it wasn't a wreck when I bought it. That will keep the collision coverage on him, and after last month, we know better than ever how important THAT is.
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Ebony's vet visit today was.... challenging. There's nothing really wrong with her (that we know of), but try telling her that. I really dislike the drill where you are hauled quickly from the comfy lobby into the confined exam room for the vet tech pre-workup, and are then left for "just a second" (where the seconds are apparently measured by the rotation of the planet Venus) for the actual vet's arrival. By that time, the poor puppy was worked up into a serious lather and she was not getting back up on that table come hell or high treat. So Dr. Dirge* came down to floor level to check out her growth, her muzzle and her paw.
The growth, despite looking pretty big, is actually hanging by a pretty teeny thread, so its removal has been classified as "easy." Yet the quote for it is almost exactly the same as what it would have been for a much more invasive and delicate removal of one on Tasha that we considered several years ago. So much of the procedure is dependent on fixed costs surrounding whatever the actual drill is- the anaesthesia, pain management, even the Cone of Shame are estimated down to the nickel.
The nosy stuff seems to be improving, but we can have that biopsied as well when she's under for the other procedure. Likewise, we're putting off her annual heartworm test until O.R. Day, since she was so wound up after the waiting, poking and prodding that she would not hold a paw still for the blood draw. Her final complaint (a pretty compulsive gnawing on one paw) is going to be treated with an OTC antihistamine for starters; if it's more emotional, the Cone will break it for at least the duration of the recovery and we'll see how it goes from there.
They then made us wait another good 10 minutes for everything to get written up. I was on the verge of hauling her out to Iggy just to get her away from all the smells and scares of being in there. They've done incredibly good work on all our aminals over many years, and their cageside manner is impeccable, but as Tom Petty once said, "the waiting is the hardest bark."
* Not her real name but an unfortunate autocorrect thereof when I sent in a pre-consult picture of it to her through my iPhone. I apologized today, but she said it was okay- she's been called worse.
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The Christmas season officially began on the church calendar today with the lighting of the first Advent candle. As I understand the traditions, it is a much bigger deal in the UK than here, but the Methodists always at least make a respectful stab at using these four Sundays as a demarcation of the season. Rich preached on the parallels between the Bedlam of Black Friday (face it- Black Whole Freakin' November now) and the contrasting Little Town-ness of Bethlehem (which the word "bedlam" actually derives from, since the London asylum that became the synonym for such craziness was originally the home of the New Order of St Mary of Bethlehem).
For me, it basically marked the end of five days off (mostly) from work. I'm sure I will pay for that in the coming days, and other distractions lie ahead, as well. Tomorrow morning, I take Ebony in for a routine heartworm test, and for what will hopefully be a routine consult on some skin problems she's got. The biggest of them is a growth on her tummy which has gotten bigger and uglier in recent weeks- one we hope, at a minimum, won't be uncomfortable to remove and, at most, won't be evidence of something worse. She also has bruises on her muzzle and something on one paw that she keeps gnawing at.
Eleanor and I will need to switch cars for this Advent-ure, since the rental has a no-pets restriction on it. Yes, I'm still driving the damn thing. Even though I got them the title virtually as soon as physically possible after they advised of the settlement amount, the news came too late for a check to be issued before the holiday, and so it'll be Tuesday at the earliest if they overnight it and more likely Wednesday or Thursday. (They at least extended the Mafia Staff Car rental through the 5th.) But it just pushes back the half-day it will no doubt take to switch the plates, sign the docs and get everything all in order.
Finally, I have to get in my new health insurance paperwork this week, along with the first quarterly payment for 2014. I will no longer be a Redshirt, as Independent Health isn't offering policies through the Chamber of Commerce or the exchanges to individual subscribers. I looked into two different options from two separate Blue divisions, and settled on one closest to what I have now- a slightly lower quarterly premium, but a $600 deductible before I get any benefit out of it. (It's essentially what Eleanor has had since the start of this year, and long as you sock away that $600 to cover meds and such at the beginning, it goes quickly and then just about everything's covered).
I only had two court gigs this week, and one of them got postponed, so that will help with all this distraction. And speaking of distractions, it's feeding time at the zoo here, so....
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The height of catladyness: I just bought a $1 app for my iPhone to transform it into a remote for my Roku because I couldn't reach the remote because both cats were asleep in my lap.