Saturday, April 30, 2005


Who the heck invented days with only 24 hours??? My helper has been on Athos for 6 weeks discerning becoming a monk. I found someone to take his place for a week, but other than that I'm working solo. Mostly half days, 12 hours plus.

There's a painter I've known for two decades. He's a riot. He walks onto a job, a big warehouse.
There's electricians, plumbers, sheetrockers, laborers. He strolls to the middle of the huge open area and yells: "HEY!!!! ANYBODY HERE NOTICE HOW GOOD LOOKING I AM?"

He tells me he's supposed to have the job painted by Monday (I'm the drywall finisher). I tell him I'm working solo, so the job might not get done in time. He says, "I know how you can get done sooner." I say, "Yeah?" He says, "WORK FASTER!"

Our new Mission is going well. I've helped with several so the work is not a suprise, but it is still a lot of work. We're learning the Russian style of music etc. coming from 7 years of Antiochian Byzantine music and liturgics. The hardest part is getting my father in law up, dressed and out to the services. The "progressive supra neural palsy" steadily eats his brain and everything progressively takes longer and longer to do, and we can't leave him home alone. My wife is choir director and I'm the Reader and leader of the reader's vespers, matins and typika every other week. Gil is a trooper, sitting in his wheelchair for hours through matins, liturgy every week, and now Holy Week. I guess I know how we can get services done sooner... chant and sing faster.

I went to court to be arraigned for "contracting without a license", the outcome of a favor done for a member of the Church that went south and he turned me in to the State out of vindictiveness. No good deeds go unpunished. So, I go to the courthouse at 7:30AM for my hearing. Its a huge building with a grand entrance lobby full of security and airport type x-ray machines. I walk through the metal detectors and get wanded by the security guard. He asks me "So, do you know where you are going?" I say in a loud voice, "Not to jail I hope!" He stares at me for a second. I'm grinning, so he grins too. "Yeah, not a good way to start the day..." I go to the courtroom. I sit with several other people waiting for the judge. He calls my name, I approach the bench. "The charge against you is contracting without a license. Your plea is not guilty. See the lady next to me and she'll give you the court date." I want to go... "HEY...I'm guilty...." but I get gavelled and he calls the next persons name. I'm standing by the bench and I hear him tell the next guy, "The charges against you is assault. Since you bit someone in the process we can't resolve it here, your plea is not guilty. See the lady next to me... etc.". And on it goes. 10 minutes, he clears the courtroom. I guess that's what makes this country great. You can't even be guilty if you want to be.

A lawyer I talked to said I could counter sue the guy for extortion. Its a long story, but its tempting. Not a good thing to be telling me toward the end of Lent and I'm wanting some ribs and a chimichanga really bad. I won't do it. But vindictiveness, self justification, and resentment drives a big part of our psyches. I've known contractors who bypassed the legal system and just saw to it that the offending party spent the balance due them on medical bills or a new car or... sigh..... vigilante justice has its bright side when you're cast into darkness by someone rich enough to make your small life miserable and can out spend you in court. In the long run, its so much easier to just take the word of the Fathers: If you are accused, consider yourself all of that and worse. But I suppose "easy" depends on your goals in life. Humility only comes by being humbled, not by hiring lawyers to vindicate you before a bunch of people who really could care less. Those who do care, they could really care less about your legal status. One of my clients said he stayed up all night praying for me the night before my hearing. That is humbling.

My Toyota pickup is a little over 2 years old now and has about 70,000 miles on it. I think I've washed it three times. And once was a week after I bought it because it was brand new.

My right knee and left heel hurt. Not a good combination. I think they have about a million miles on them. The knee is probably developing the arthritis the surgeon told me about 26 years ago when I got it kicked in by a black belt who was losing a match to me when I was an orange belt. "There's no such thing as a humble black belt" my Sensei used to say, "its an act."
Hmmm...seems to be an issue with just about anyone who wears black in their vocation, I've discovered over the years.

It would be nice to have a faster computer. Doing the sound editing on the radio show for
the website and Ancient Faith Radio seems to take forever. Of course "forever" in computer time is minutes instead of seconds. I wonder what significant thing I would accomplish with those extra ten or fifteen minutes? I could justify it to my wife if she could be assured that I'd spend that time talking to her, I bet.... but I doubt that she'd believe me...

We now have two turtles. One I found one morning trudging along in the middle of the road. The other one a friend of ours found wandering in the parking lot of their condo. They live in our garden. One is a water turtle and we put it in the pond once whenever we can find it after it climbs out and hides in the yard. They're pretty cool. I wonder how many times God has found me obliviously wandering in the middle of the street about to be run over and picked me up, took me home and dropped me in His garden?

You'd never think to back up your cell phone's phone book. My phone died last week, less than 3 months old and just croaked. I think about it now. I wonder how much valuable information we lose by not talking to people, then they just croak unexpectedly and everything they had in them is lost and irretrievable. Sad....

Well, off to Holy Saturday....

Monday, April 11, 2005


Now I remember why I dreaded 6th grade. Every morning for an entire school year I told my mother, "I have a headache, stomach ache, toothache, I feel sick, I think I'm going to throw up,
my leg hurts...." I never landed on the magic body part that would elicit any sympathy. I went to school that year and got a perfect attendance award. My daughter is going through 6th grade social angst. Her best friend of 5 years, both from Church and school has joined a group of "popular girls" who all look alike. They've somewhat ostracized my daughter. Of course there are two sides to the story, but its 6th grade reality TV stuff. So....
I ask her tonight at dinner, "So how are you and J. getting along lately?"
She says, "She's hanging out with the popular girls. But they are only popular with themselves, everyone else thinks they're snobs and stuck up and stupid. They don't talk to me because I hang out with the other girls who don't look like them."
"Hmmm...." I say in daddy-ese. "So you don't want to be popular?"
"No. I'm glad I'm logical. They think they're popular, but no one else does. Why would I want to be part of a group like that? There's better people to hang around with at school."
"Hmmmm..." I say again. I want to say "Can you put that in writing and can I show it to you in a couple years?"
Instead I say, "Its hard to be insecure. When people don't know who they are they depend on other people to tell them who they are. I hope you'll always be yourself, not what other people tell you to be so people will like you."
"Yeah", she says, "pass the peanut butter."
I hope that meant "Yeah, I already got that down, dad, tell me something new" and not "I didn't understand a word you just said".
I guess I'll see.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Things I Miss

Joe, my dead best friend and bass player.
Playing the blues with Joe and Jesse in the carport.
Sunset Church of Christ Wednesday night college class. 500 people, acapella.
"Lead Me Gently Home, Father", "I'll Fly Away", "O Lord, Our Lord How Excellent Thy Name",
"O Sacred Head", "The Spacious Firmament on High", "My Stubborn Will at Last Hath Yielded"
Collecting guitars.
Mark, Dr. Dan, Allan at the Plantation on Sunday nights.
Clay and Janet's living room, trying to become Orthodox.
The Tempe Church of Christ Sunday morning adult Bible class. 120 of the nicest people I've ever had the honor of teaching.
Reading novels.
Writing until 3:00 in the morning.
My Hawaiian shorts.
My red Bugatti replica and the leather aviator's cap and goggles.
Dirt bikes on Saturday morning with Craig.
Tuesday night Bible study.
Thursday night dates with Britt.
more later.... off to lead Typika......