Thursday, December 30, 2010

Too Busy to Blog???!!

Epic last few days in between trying to finish "Difficult Client's" house.

All the kids and grandchild and youngest son and his "steady girlfriend" who is meeting the family (and who likes bacon... oh, yeah, she's "family"!) began arriving on Dec. 27. We will do "Christmas" together on Jan. 1 when everyone is here and the local kiddos are off work.

The Robinson Tradition is to pick up a Christmas tree on the way home from Christmas Eve liturgy when the tree lots are closed down and throw the leftovers out on the sidewalk for the pickin's. At 1:00AM there were none left. Apparently word got around with the economy around these parts. Wifey-who-cleans-up-the-old-tree-pine-needles says, OK, I'm done with that. So, on Dec. 26 we get a 7.5 foot artificial tree at Walmart for half price. The plan is to put up a tree BEFORE Dec. 25 next year. "The married man is concerned with the things of his wife, not Christmas trees", St. Paul says in I Cor. 7 (trust me, it's the Original Greek). Even artificial trees shed needles while you assemble them we found out.

We spent the last few days preparing for Dec. 29, youngest daughter's 18th and son-in-law's 30th birthday party. I bought a charcoal BBQ/Smoker for the Epic Event. I grilled hot dogs and burgers, Godfather Allan made his usual amazing smoked pulled pork and home made sauces, Godmother Danita made banana pudding. Awesome food, great friends, good cigars, Christmas pipe tobacco, and all of her high school friends who have graced our dinner table for the last 4 years who finally left about 2AM this morning.

Daddy and birthday girl daughter...
Family (with another grandbaby on the way....)

I am a man most blessed beyond what I have wrought and deserve in this life.
H/T Gomez for the photography

Friday, December 24, 2010

40 Bucks for Jesus

I finished up the stuff on "Difficult Client's" house so he could live in it for the weekend. I was running late to make it for Vesperal Liturgy so I decided to go to Home Depot to get stuff for the weekend instead.

As I parked my truck I saw among the dozen or more people loading their cars with stuff, a young girl with a baby weaving her way through the parked cars. I thought she was just another shopper looking for her car.

I parked and got out of my truck and I hear a choked voice behind me, "Sir... sir...".

I turn around and it is the young girl.

She is slender, small, maybe five six, and looks to be fifteen but her face has a weary, beaten look of more years than that. Her eyes are steel blue and glistening. Her clumsy mascara has smeared. Her nose, eyebrow and upper lip are pierced and as she wipes her eye with the back of her wrist I see tattoos on her hand, wrist and up her arm.

She is holding a baby, probably about a year old. His nose is crusted with dry snot. On his arms are "kiddie tattoos", the kind you buy at the Dollar Store or get from 25 cent gumball machines. He could use a bath, but isn't dirty enough to look neglected. She hoists him on her hip in her left arm as she wipes her eyes with her right hand.

"Sir..." She chokes. "Please...."

I reach over and put my arm around her shoulder. "It's OK, sweetheart. What's wrong?"

"We just moved here from Ohio. If I don't have 38 dollars in ten minutes they'll put all my stuff on the sidewalk."

"Who is they?"

"The Motel Six over there..." she points across the freeway.

I have a short conversation with her. She's alone, no boyfriend, husband or family. I ask how she's feeding the baby and she says she has food stamps.

"What will you do tomorrow?"

"I don't know."

"Tell me your name."


"What is your room number at the motel so if I can find someone to help you I can find you."

She looks at me. I see a flash of streetwise suspicion in her eyes. Then she says, "238."

I hand her forty dollars. She starts crying.

"Thank you, sir... thank you. I don't mean to be rude but I have to go right now because they are throwing my stuff out." She hoists the baby up and runs across the parking lot toward the motel. I turn the opposite direction and walk into the Home Depot and don't look back.

I don't want to know if she actually went to the Motel Six or not. I don't want to know if she bought shelter for a night for her baby boy or a hit of crystal meth for herself. I don't want to know if I was scammed by a band of gypsies or a young girl learning the ropes of panhandling.

All I want to know this day, the Day of the Nativity of God, is what it means to love without cynicism, to love the ones who will scam, reject and kill you, to give without expectation of reward or requital, to see the image of God beneath the scars and marks of human fragility and futility.

I want to know what it means to hope.

If I can get all of that for forty bucks, I'm the one who is blessed.

My New Favorite Song

H/T Silouan

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Phish, Whine and Grease

I got an email recently from someone who basically said, "You're account with Cox has big problem. Please reply with proper login and password and I will fix problem. Thankyou. Cox Support Team." Ummmm, yeah. I can't imagine the dope who would reply to this. And then Satan says to me, "You're life have big problem... do THIS and it will fix it for you. Jesus Support Team." And I fall for it. What a dope.

This week I almost bit my tongue off. Well, part of it. It happens every so often because of my inherited dental issues and my lack of health/dental insurance. The last dentist I saw said it would be like driving a Mercedes Benz into my mouth to rebuild my teeth. I told him, "At my age I have no one to impress and if I had that kind of money laying around I'd buy my wife the vintage 'Vette she's always wanted." Besides, I don't plan on having an "open mouth" funeral so people can see my 40K of dental implants. Anyway, biting a chunk out of the side of my tongue doesn't make for good diction or chanting of the Nativity services.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always anxiety producing for self employed construction people. Generally, no one builds stuff during the holidays, especially now during this recession. I've managed to get steady work since Thanksgiving, mostly "fix-up/spruce up" stuff, but it's work. This week I am working for a handicapped, old, anal, anger-management issues, angry, lonely man. We're remodeling his house that he will die in probably sooner than later. I'm there to paint the house. Last night he "hired" a guy in the plumbing aisle of Home Depot to put in a new shower valve for $20.00. If all went well, it would have taken about 30 minutes to install. I'm sure the plumber was thinking "Bonus! Christmas money!"

Short story: 6 trips to Home Depot and 5 hours later it was in and not leaking. The last trip the client insisted on driving me to Home Depot to get parts while the plumber disassembled the unit and prepped it. We drove in a rainstorm with the client in a blind rage. We almost got in several wrecks because he had to look at me instead of the road while he ranted and drove.

While the client (a former Navy man) swore like a sailor at every blip and drip, the "plumber" kept looking at me like "SAVE ME!!!" I could have walked out at any time because I'm only the painter and none of this had anything to do with me. But I stuck around to do damage control and, if nothing else, out of compassion for the plumber. To his credit, he stuck it out and finished the job he said he would do. I gave the guy some extra money "on the QT" and told him I would get it back from the client somehow. Merry Christmas, I told him.

This morning I got to the job and the client had gone to a local 24-hour Mexican fast food joint and bought Chorizo and egg breakfast burritos for me and the tile setters as kind of a penance/peace offering for his rages yesterday. I dared not turn down hospitality (neither did the Mexicans). Unfortunately the burritos were "nuclear" and I ended up painting the only functioning bathroom in the house in between 4 construction workers... well..... it wasn't a great day. Hopefully the paint will stick to the walls.

This is the world Jesus came into.

I missed the "Royal Hours" tonight, but I think, even though I missed the readings, I have a pretty clear picture of the state of the universe that demands the Incarnation of God.

May God grant me the grace to be a presence of peace and good will toward all men, even my client. Blessed Nativity to all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

They Found Him!

The original singer of the worst version of "O Holy Night" finally comes forward and proves it is really him by singing it live on video. Why? I guess when it comes to fame, bad breath is better than no breath at all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Keep your hands and feet inside the gondola while in motion....
clikonit to embiggen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Old Jewish Saying

Q: Why does God not speak with man face to face as He did with Moses?

A: Because modern man will not bow low enough to hear God.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"Rosetta Stone" for Christians

We definitely need an Orthodox one of these since none of the Archdioceses send the decoder rings to new converts anymore.
H/T Silouan

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


It's the perfect Nativity morning breakfast.

Perhaps it is fitting that the first reaction is one of dis-ease.

Perhaps the uneasy reaction is because it seems, well... scandalous.

Maybe even sacreligious.

Sacreligious because well, it portrays the Holy as wellll... common meat.

And everyone knows common meat isn't fit for God.

And maybe that is the point.

We've sacrelized the Incarnation and Nativity to the point of sanitizing it.

The scandal of God in flesh/God with meat has been lost because it has become religion, not history.

The scandal of eating His flesh and drinking His blood has been lost because we are fed it out of gilded cups with golden spoons by royalty in gold robes.

The Incarnation has lost its power because we've composed majestic hymns and painted reverent pictures and set cute little plastic scenes of it on white cotton cloth instead of beds of saurkraut.

Maybe this is closer to the reality of the Incarnation.

Perhaps the real scandal is what we've turned it into.

Dibs on the Three Wise Weenies.

A Good Case for Tradition

I'll never have to venerate one of these

H/T crescat

Monday, December 06, 2010


What you don't possess spiritually, you can't pass on to others.
If you are faking it, it is evident. It just takes some people longer to catch on than others.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Just Fun

My computer crashed in the recent AVG update debacle. Nothing they've put out has fixed the issue yet and I still can't access a lot of my programs and none of my files and bookmarks etc.  Ugh.  So here's something to lighten up the day. 

I hate it when a bird can dance better than I ... (how's THAT, grammarians?)