Angels We Have Heard
Are High

angelic kitsch...from Hell

Cavalcade of Bad Nativities
it came upon a midnight weird

The Passion of the Tchotchke
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Stations of the Kitsch


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Friday, October 31, 2003

good happy stuff

The fear piece is coming along more slowly than expected. Sorry for the tease!

Good news: I quit the job at Stumpwater; I don't expect to be working there past this weekend. Yay!

Other good news: After a somewhat immature and pathetic freakout re: my workload at St. Ned's a couple of weeks ago, I now have volunteer helpers in the afternoon who answer the phones for me and do whatever else I can offload. This means that I am free to focus on my work with 70% fewer interruptions. Next week, I'll start moving to a more remote office (as opposed to the front desk) for two days a week so that I can be totally heads-down. This is so very cool. Yesterday, I ran the Sunday bulletin at 4:00 in the afternoon, which is about three hours earlier than usual. I got to get out at a reasonable time and go watch The Mole People with Ryan and Leigh and see all of Leigh's fabulous pumpkins.

Ah, heck, she can't read: I'm really excited about the Cutting Food Box I ordered for my niece's 3rd birthday next month. It's so cool - the food pieces have velcro holding them together, so when you cut them with the knife, they make a sound. I am easily amused.

Happy Halloween! I'm going to a show tonight with Dennis, in my super-dorky eyeball deelyboppers and my pirate shirt.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Here's an uncomfortable thought: how much of what you do is motivated by fear?

I have more to say on the subject, but it is late and I need to sleep, so I'm going to leave just that bit hanging here.
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Sunday, October 26, 2003

we praise you for your...dum dum dum da dum dum dum da dum da da dum

I always leave my cel phone in the car when I go to church. Well, almost always. Today, for example, I didn't do that. I remembered when I heard the theme from the Simpsons. In the middle of the eucharist.

Arrrrgh. I'm glad I was sitting near the door.
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revisiting the work thing

I sewed frantically after I got home from Job II: Electric Boogaloo last night; the pink genie whose outfit is pink costume for MacKenzie is nearly finished. There were stupid moments of doing stupid things and I think the zipper application could get a kid kicked out of 4H, but it works.

At around 9 I just wanted to get out of this house so I drove a bit and ended up grabbing a McBurrito at Chipotle (yes, I try to avoid them because they're owned by McDonalds and we have better local tacquerias, but I was right by there when I remembered that I was hungry) and then I ended up just sitting at the table and staring at the stupid scratched urban-edgy stainless steel table top for like way too long.

I have to do something about Job II. The last time I had a full day off was October 5th. I have now worked three weeks without stopping, and it looks like I'm just not strong enough to handle it. I'm only working 15 hours, spread over three shifts per week, which just doesn't sound like much to me, but my stress level is out of control, and I'm not even teaching Godly Play right now. I add that back in next week, and it's exhausting enough on its own.

What it comes down to is that my life is just out of alignment. Obviously, I've completely lost the concept of sabbath. The other day I found myself thinking that maybe I just wasn't made to work seven days a week, and then I had to smack myself when I realzed that, duh, I think that's pretty much in Genesis and I just taught that same concept in Godly Play a few weeks ago. I wonder...is the storyteller even listening to herself?

Working retail isn't clicking for me the way it used to. I can't really put my finger on what has changed, but it all seems pretty empty. I'm still good at it, and I can pull off looking happy while I'm there, but I used to get a bit of a buzz off the work itself and that's just not happening. I can't tell how much of that is the specific to Stumpriver (yes, I know, I suck at pseudonyms), the store where I'm working, though.

There's a desperation in the store that can almost be seen if you squint hard enough, and that's hard to be around. I think the manager may be in trouble with corporate since we're way off from last year, and her anxiety spills over into everything. It's not a great atmosphere, and they prohibit conversations between co-workers, so it's not as though I've built a bunch of great relationships with the other people.

It may be that I need to find a different job, say for 10 hours a week, and see if that changes anything. I would be sad about leaving after Stumpriver put all that effort into training me, except, well, they didn't, so I don't know why I feel guilty about wanting to leave. If I leave now they will be able to hire someone else and have her trained in time for the Christmas rush. And I should still be able to find something else.

The original reason I got into this mess, as those of you playing along at home will remember, was to finance a new place to live and get out of Bad House early next year. This is still a goal. I've been praying about it, though, and I feel like a solution is going to happen whether or not I work myself to death for the next two months. I don't know what it will look like at this point, but I do have faith that this situation isn't going to last forever. It would still be a good idea to lay away some extra cash so I'm ready for it, but this single-minded thing that I MUST make enough money to get my own apartment by such-and-such date is really rigid and wrongheaded and has gotten me into my current exhausted state.

At least tonight is PumpkinFest, and I will get to see Leigh and her terrifying cake!
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Saturday, October 25, 2003


So, if you're making a movie about Jesus and people keep getting hit by lightning, is that a bad thing?
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From WBEZ in Chicago...

If you're a fan of This American Life on NPR (and if you're not, you should be!), they're doing a special pledge drive to help pay for the RealAudio stream on their website. Although I subscribe to TAL via Audible (so that I can hear it on my mp3 player in my car) I still pledged 15 bucks because it is the right thing to do and because they're sending me a super cool flaming squirrel patch. To understand the squirrel patch, go to the website and listen to show #115.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

state of the Sara

I'm being happy about Dennis' new job; I'm feeling cranky about both of my jobs; I'm thinking that working seven days a week is not sustainable; I'm being in need of a corkscrew because one of my roommates finally finished moving out and took hers and it was a nice one and now we have one that's like a nail on a stick; I'm being impressed that Oakland said no to Wal-Mart; I'm laughing over this ebay auction (hope the listing doesn't expire); I'm loving the b-movie purses; I'm feeling a little nervous about going back to teaching Godly Play in a week and a half when my rotation comes up again; I'm feeling sad that Elliott Smith is dead; I'm thinking that Kaya is a fabulous baby after knowing her for three weeks; I'm experiencing a crappy patch in my prayer life (in the words of Over the Rhine - when I try to pray, it's like a game of Red Rover; I take a real good run at it but I can't break through) and I'd like that to be over at some point because I suspect it's directly linked to some really stupid self-absorption that is keeping me from seeing solutions to many things; I'm realizing that Dennis is a wonderful boyfriend, not that I ever forgot that, but he's been especially great lately; I'm panicking because I haven't been doing much sewing and I'm very behind on the nieces' Halloween costumes; I'm feeling happy that I got my pledge card in; I'm loving Tomato Nation; I'm wondering what my trip to Michigan for Thanksgiving is going to be like; I'm wanting to curl up and have a nice nap.

[edit: alert reader Mia sent me this photoshop wonder of a corkscrew. Eeek! There are some really cool images on that site!]
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if you cut the cake, does it not bleed?

Hey, it's almost Halloween, and that means bleedycake!

Leigh, bleedycake artiste to the stars, is on her way back to the bay area and will be here in a few days (yay!) but I don't know if that means bleedycake this year or not. She's driving here from New York and that's kind of a long way. On the other hand, what better way to occupy your mind as you drive across the country than to imagine delicious new ways of making cakes bleed?

I am very excited that Leigh is coming back!
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Friday, October 17, 2003

Whoo Hoo!

Life is good. Dennis got a full-time job. If I were picking the perfect place for him to work, it would be in a giant independent record store, and now he has been snapped up by the World's Greatest Record Store to do amazing things with their movie and video department. Yes! And right before he starts, he gets to go visit a friend in Chicago and see Gov't Mule (who seem to have forgotten about that thing called the 'West Coast') and have a grand time. Also, a weekly newspaper bought some of his CD reviews for actual legal tender, meaning he's now getting paid to write about music.

Pssst, darlin - this is the life you wanted. You're living it.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

and there was morning and there was evening, baby

The new job is not too bad. I worked Saturday and Sunday last weekend, which will probably be my usual schedule, along with one or two nights a week.

Sunday was frantic but fun- I had a store meeting at 8 (which was useful for figuring out who is and is not easily freaked out by things like where people leave their sodas in the back room), then I raced to St. Ned's to go to services, then I went back to work, and then I drove back to St. Ned's to go to the new Sunday evening Bible study class we have. It's based on the Bethel Series, which as far as I can tell is mostly notable for the Truly Hilarious Illustrations in the study binder. Seriously, the last time I saw artwork like this, it was on black velvet. I just want to shine a black light on them and call them groovy.
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It's stewardship month. We sent out the stewardship letters last week. Those bright blue pledge cards are out in the world.

I tithe at St. Ned's. I mention this because whenever I see tithing conversations come up in online forums and other places, people always say, oh, no one really does that. No one can afford to give 10%. Actually, people do it all the time.

Ok, I may be using some slightly Enron accounting to come to the conclusion that I tithe, since I'm not sure my last raise is factored in, so maybe it works out to 8.5%, but it is probably close to 10% if I throw in incidental giving and stuff I don't ask to be reimbursed for. I don't count those beans all that closely. Yeah, I'm justifying. But I'm working on a calculation for a straight 10% off gross for 2004.

It's kind of weird to be throwing a chunk of my paycheck back where it came from; I know a lot of lay employees of churches don't tithe. Our salaries are at least 10% smaller than they'd be in the real world already; it's not hard to make the argument that the disparity is a tithe. Except that if I decide I'm already doing enough, I lose the whole point of the exercise.

I watch people struggle with this issue every October. In order to get your head around the tithe, you have to rethink your entire attitude about money and that is just about the least comfortable thing you can do without one of those colonoscopy tools.

Look, it's not my money to begin with. It all belongs to God, just like I belong to God. Tossing a bit of it back out into the world to be a blessing to someone else is a really profound way of demonstrating that I believe this to be true. My faith really doesn't ask all that many measurable things of me. Love God - sure, how much and who gets to quantify that? Do I get a couple of demerits for the snide comments I made earlier today? Be kind. Ditto. Sell all you have, take up your cross and follow me. Um, I will get riiiiight back to you on that one. How big is that cross again exactly? Does what I have right now count?

Give the first fruits to God, in the form of check. Yes! That I can do. That is concrete, and easy to understand, and in doing it month after month I see the blessing of it. Which makes the rest of it a bit less scary and remote and impossible. It's a good thing, this discipline. It gets you ready for whatever comes next.

The hardest kind of giving is the open-handed type. I know this really, really well. There are some months when I feel myself holding on to that money a little too tightly, thinking about what it could mean to my lousy financial picture if I didn't pay my tithe. I've even given in to that temptation a few times, and what usually happens is I end up in the same crappy place by the end of the month that I would have if I had authorized the payment to St. Ned's. I have it set up on electronic bill pay on BofA; it's supposed to just go at the beginning of the month and be gone, but I haven't been able to bring myself to make it automatic. I'm not really at the Perfect Trust point yet.

The thing is, tithing never works on paper. It just doesn't. You can't decide to spend 10% less and give that to the church. You can't wait until you can afford it because...you can't afford it. You can never afford it. It's not like that. You just have to do it, and have a tiny little mustard seed-ish bit of hope that it's going to work out. I don't know why it works, it just does.

This is probably one of those things that is going to separate the believer-readers from the non-believer-readers. If you're reading this and thinking that I'm completely mad, or that the church sounds like Amway or something, don't worry. I'm not going to be coming after you with a pledge card.
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Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Yes, I live in California. I voted, and not for what we're getting.

I turned off the TV when I heard a commentator say, "when he gets to work it's going to be Terminator 4!" - without a shred of irony.
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Monday, October 06, 2003

Cough Cough. Cough Cough. All you do to me is cough cough.

sincerest apologies to the band Talk Talk

Still sick. Whee. I thought I was going to fall asleep in staff meeting this morning. I slept really badly last night. I'm a big cranky phlegm monster.

I have nothing intelligent to say, so I will send everyone over to Real Live Preacher. Sorry if your monitor gets blurry.

The Creator says, “You might never call my name, or you might call me every name in the book. You may search for me all of your life, or you may never give me a second thought, but you WILL know how I felt on the day I made you.”

“You might deny my existence, but you will never be able to deny the mark of my palm on your soft hearts. Your hearts will rise up and call you blessed.”

“Your hearts will tell you who you are, and whose you are.”

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Sunday, October 05, 2003


I have a cold. Stupid cold. I just got back from Safeway with nice tissues with lotion in them, because my nose is getting abraded, and my current supply will not last the night.

I got through Godly Play this morning; overall, it went pretty well, even though I really just wanted to take a nap. Afterwards, some people tried to talk to me, but I think my glassy-eyed stare put them off a bit. I wanted to go to the 5:00 service tonight, but figured it was best to keep my cooties off the communion chalice. Also, baby Kaya will be there and it would suck to have to keep away from her. Oh, and I get woozy when I stand up. That last part is probably the most important.

I have an interview for a retail job tomorrow evening. Brilliant. It's not the job I most want, but they were the first ones to call me and it seems like a pleasant enough gig. It's clothes, though, clothes that don't look like ass on me. Danger.

I left my cel phone in Berkeley. Crappity. I am not well enough to go pick it up. Double crappity.
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Thursday, October 02, 2003

sara vs. her brain

Hey, you know what's a really good idea? Being awake and worrying about life and money after midnight. Yes indeedy, you do some of your best thinking about financial matters at that time. You're all rational and shit. Yeah.

Ok, it's not really money that's stressing me out. See, I really need to find another place to live. I grabbed the first thing that came my way after Dennis and I split up last April and I had to move out, and now I'm in this weird House of Tension with two to three other people (one is moving out, but since I haven't actually seen her in three months, I'm not sure why this matters. Except apparently the toaster oven was hers, and its disappearance cuts into my taquito habit). I have my own bathroom attached to my room, so I don't need to venture out all that often, but, really, the suckiness sort of permeates the place. This is not a house where happy people live. I don't belong here. I can't relax. Something is just off and I think it was off long before I arrived and it's nothing I can fix.

I think I can make it through the end of the year, but after that I have to find something else. And that is going to require money. Fortunately, 'tis the season to find retail work, even in this craptastic economy, and I can probably earn enough to have a security deposit in hand by January. So, my plan is to sell off my evenings and weekends for the rest of the year in exchange for not having to live here anymore. I'm going to go on a massive application-filling binge on Friday. I just want something stupid that I can leave behind when I clock out. I'm thinking maybe a Pottery Barn or a Restoration Hardware kind of deal...someplace where I don't have to wear their clothes, and I like the merchandise enough to sell it but not enough to want to buy all of it.

I secretly enjoy doing retail at Christmas, but shhhhh don't tell anyone.
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