Friday, October 17, 2003

The first order of the day was to mail three books. As often happens on Fridays, I went to the post office just as a very expensive book was selling online and therefore will not ship until Monday. The book that sold while I was in line at the post office was "Reverence for Wood" which is about the joys of whittling. $30. The three books that did ship were "Abandonment to Divine Provedence," "The Q Document" which is a novel about the uncovering of the mythological book of Q on which the gospels was based, and Snoop Dog's autobiography. I like juxtapositions like that.
Then I went to get my hair cut at Golden West College. They're cheap because they have students cut your hair. My student wanted to know all about the kinds of books I sold after she learned what I do for a living. After listening patiently for a while she asked, "Do you sell any sex books?"
My mouth moved like my fish's mouth usually moves for a few seconds. My mind drew a blank. Finally, and I know that it wasn't one of my proudest moments as a minister, I recommended "The Story of O" to her. Because, when somebody asks me about sex books, the only thing I think of are extreme fetish stories. Now what does that mean?
Lucky for me I forgot about those two De Sade books that have been sitting on the stacks for months.
My hair looks a lot cleaner.
I got another small load of books and three movies to watch at a library. I inputted the books and went out to watch the sunset. It's been powerful smoggy in these parts lately which makes for astonishing sunsets. The kinds of sunsets that make men fall in love with the sun and run after her as she sets until they pass out because the air is so bad.
My folks took me out to eat at a place called Apple-A-Peel. As far as I could tell, they had no apple items on their menu and, in fact, their menu claimed that they were "famous for our strawberry bread." Indeed, the strawberry bread is toothsome.
I called my brother and we talked about Calivinism vrs. Armenianism again. A lot of people boil down the two points into "free will" vrs. "predestination." It's really not black and white like that (so little is.) Joseph Armenius wrote his "five points of Armenianism" stating that a person comes to faith by one righteous act, which is the only righteous act that sinful humans can make, and that humans can then lose their faith if they fall from grace by their own choosing. John Calvin, who was young while Armenius was terribly old, responded with his "five points of Calvinism" which stated, amoung other things, that God alone can lead us to salvation and that we are not to know who is damned and who is elect, which is why we should treat everyone as though they were elect. A person who is elect cannot lose salvation because if somebody loses their salvation, it must mean that they weren't elect in the first place. Also states that we are all sinful all the time and therefore cannot make a righteous choice on our own, but that God leads one to salvation. My brother put it, "Imagine that sin was the color blue. Everything we do would be a different shade of blue."
Anyway, we went on like this for two hours without answering anything and without getting any closer to choosing which side seems to make more sense. My brother and I like to do that.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Everybody is sick except for me. And my father. I don't often get sick, but it's ubiquitous this year.
Put some books on line. Boxed some books and washed the car. Ate with Charles, Phish, Yod and Jessica at the Thai place after learning that the new place up the street that was rumored to be a gay restaurant is not gay at all at all. It was very expensive though. So we went to the Thai place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Woke up this morning to a call from Nissa. We talked for an hour, which I believe is the longest we've spoken since she's been gone. Which is actually good. One of our problems in the past was that we used to talk everything to death with one another. I think we're both getting better at saying what we need to say and then putting the turgid analysis aside. It was really good to hear from her. She's doing well.
I went to a library bookstore to get some more inventory. I got $300 worth of books for $15. I got a $57 book on Saint Francis by Kazantzakis. It cost me a quarter.
The rest of the afternoon was pricing and putting the books online. When I finished I fell asleep in my chair for about ten minutes. One of those "just resting my eyes" going too far type of things.
This evening I went for a walk on the beach. Or rather, by the beach on the sidewalk.
Sure enough. Well, you get what you pay for I suppose. Sorry about that.
Whee. I wrote this blog last night and for some reason it doesn't seem to have posted. So I'll post it again at the risk of it being posted twice.


The post office line was gianormous. Post holiday traffic. I inputted a lot of books and found that I had a $130 book that I hadn't been aware of before. Another rare occult book that took a lot of research to find out how much it was worth. It's very good because rare occult books, unlike say rare mysteries or rare psychology texts, actually sell quickly. Them and rare cookbooks move.
I had a kinesthetic lesson in power today. My father asked me to take his truck into the tire store because he ran over a nine inch nail (no kidding.) He said it'd take a half an hour. It took two hours. But that was okay because I didn't have anything better to do.
But the lesson came in driving the thing. It's his hunting truck. It's a Ford Lariat 4X4 with a tricked out varmit hunting camper shell on the back that's big enough for a shorter man to stand in. Like Napoleon. Driving the thing I passed SUV's that were much smaller than the truck I was in. And I began to think of them as being much smaller than me. And the cars that darted in and out of traffic like gnats I thought, "Go ahead and hit me. I might even feel it."
And I thought, "If I'm thinking these things with just a few minutes in this hulk, think of how it must change a person who drives one of these all of the time."
I meditated on the people I've encountered who drive SUV's.
Then I thought about the power behind a title like governor or president or CEO.
I told this to Charles and he thought it was heartening. He thought that if these power items or titles can change a person, perhaps taking time away from these crutches can change them back into something like a human. Like the Ring of Power. Charles wheezed, "My Precious SUV."
Just some thoughts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The post office line was gianormous. Post holiday traffic. I inputted a lot of books and found that I had a $130 book that I hadn't been aware of before. Another rare occult book that took a lot of research to find out how much it was worth. It's very good because rare occult books, unlike say rare mysteries or rare psychology texts, actually sell quickly. Them and rare cookbooks move.
I had a kinesthetic lesson in power today. My father asked me to take his truck into the tire store because he ran over a nine inch nail (no kidding.) He said it'd take a half an hour. It took two hours. But that was okay because I didn't have anything better to do.
But the lesson came in driving the thing. It's his hunting truck. It's a Ford Lariat 4X4 with a tricked out varmit hunting camper shell on the back that's big enough for a shorter man to stand in. Like Napoleon. Driving the thing I passed SUV's that were much smaller than the truck I was in. And I began to think of them as being much smaller than me. And the cars that darted in and out of traffic like gnats I thought, "Go ahead and hit me. I might even feel it."
And I thought, "If I'm thinking these things with just a few minutes in this hulk, think of how it must change a person who drives one of these all of the time."
I meditated on the people I've encountered who drive SUV's.
Then I thought about the power behind a title like governor or president or CEO.
I told this to Charles and he thought it was heartening. He thought that if these power items or titles can change a person, perhaps taking time away from these crutches can change them back into something like a human. Like the Ring of Power. Charles wheezed, "My Precious SUV."
Just some thoughts.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I'll now post the journal entries I made while I was away.

10/8/03
Jonathan died around 7 this morning. Pat and Andi were up all night with him almost dying and coming back over and over. They fell asleep with him in their arms at sunrise. At seven, Andi woke up to the sound of the front door screen slamming shut and he was gone. The body was still warm.
I woke up at seven fifteen to the phone call. The morning was a blur of shipping and packing. Nissa called and gave me a prophetic and great piece of advice. "Be gentle on yourself. And think of me being gentle with you."
My folks were not gentle with themselves for the nine hour drive. If Nissa hadn't suggested my path I probably would have joined them in their day of exploding at one another.
Perko's Diner in Yuba City is one of those diners that if you filmed a movie there the critics would call it cartoony and unrealistic. The walls are bright lime. There are currently about three dollars worth of Halloween decorations along with the yard sale caliber landscapes on the walls. A gorgeous hunk of Americana. They've got a chocolate lava cake that appears to be a normal cake until you cut into it and hot fudge comes oozing out. On our way out they had a mystery sticker dispenser for 25 cents apiece. Mine says, "Track Star" in sparkly letters.
Pat almost immediately got in a pillow fight with me. Then he showed me their house and the enormous space they want me to move into. Pat is one of those amazing people who has truly found joy and wants to share it with everybody. (Later in the weekend, if I may break up the narrative here, when somebody at church came up to Pat and said, "I'm sorry for your loss." Pat smiled and gently said, "There was no loss.")
Abi has the croup. They say Lilly has it too, but she seemed happy and smiley.
Pat said that he had a real cry for the first time in years when they saw the body for the last time at the morgue. He also recalled when we were kids and our maternal grandfather died. Pat and Andi showed us the final pictures.
Services are set for Friday.

10/9/03
Woke up early with the sun. We got Krispy Kremes for the family. I also insisted on getting them all paper hats like the donut makers wear.
Today was mainly jumping on the trampoline with the girls while Pat & Andi made the preparations. Abi is over the croup. I'm exhausted.
I've eaten more fried food in the past 48 hours than in the previous 48 months. But one does not complain in these situations.
I'm very tired and tomorrow will most likely be a lot, so that's all for now.

10/10/03
Early morning. We met at Pat's and drove to the cemetary for the graveside service for the family. I don't know if you've ever been to a baby's funeral before, but when you walk up and see the tiny coffin with a baby blue blanket over it, it's one of the heaviest sights you can experience.
Moriah had a very hard time at both services. She's just at the age where she understands what's happening, but not yet at a point where she can deal with it. Faith was afraid because after the service Pat and Andi stayed behind and she thought she might not ever see them again either.
The second service was at the church, which is actually an old movie theater converted (no pun intended.) It makes for a church with the comfiest seats ever. This is sometimes a problem on early Sunday mornings.
I helped pass out the bullitens. My father lost it more than I'd ever seen him lose it before when Pat told them that they'd buried the praying lamb doll, the one we'd bought right before he was born, with Jonathan. I lost it during the slide show at two points. One was at the picture of the whole family taken professionally at their home on day 14 of Jonathan's 20 days. The second was the final picture of the slide show which was of the whole family happy together as they are now, the four girls, Pat and Andi. It was also hard to see pictures of Jonathan wearing the navy blue beanie hat that Pat and Andi carry with them everywhere right now and occasionally smell because you can still smell Jonathan in it.
The pastor's words were an elaboration on what he'd said at the graveside. Mainly about Lazarus and how one never knows God's will. Which is what I've been saying. I usually add that knowing what God knows would be too awful to bear.
Pat started with "coram deo." For all of you not fluent in Latin, that's "before the face of God." Pat said that on that morning when Jonathan had passed, Pat thought "he's now coram deo." He also pointed out that we'd all been praying a lot more and had been much more spiritually minded in Jonathan's lifetime. So there's a lesson in there.
After the service we gathered in the great hall and ate like Henry the VIII. This is a helpful tradition. A service like that wears one out and a meal like that brings one back into the realm of the living.
Mammy and Aunt Ginger started their drive back right after the meal, still in their mourning clothes and promising to stop off and check on our cat's food situation.
We got Appleby's for dinner. Pat reminded me that the best way to combat my father's put downs (which were in full swing this weekend as his defense mechanisms kicked into high) is a constant stream of humor.
We chatted with Pat and Andi for about two hours. The girls have gymnastics in the morning.

10/11/03
This morning the girls had gymnastics class. Faith and Moriah's class is at 9. At 10 we went to Krispy Kreme. At 11 was Abi's class, which I participated in with her. Also we saw Stephanie, the instructor, do crazy back flips like Yoda when he fights.
We went to Pat's home and all took naps. When we woke up, Mom, Andi and Stephanie went shopping. I jumped on the trampoline with Moriah, then listened to Pat win a debate with my father on Calvinism over Armenianism.
We left the girls with a sitter and went to Olive Garden. We laughed a lot.

10/12/03
I like church humor, especially the accidental type. The pastor did his sermon on Matthew 16:1-12. He could have done half as many verses and got us out on time. He spoke at great length. Then a long prayer. Then the music director led us in the praise song "Let My Words Be Few."
The other funny part was that Dad went to the church book store to look for a book for the drive home and came out with "The Five Points of Calvinism."
Faith caught the croup. Lilly was all smiles and hugs for the whole saying goodbye process. Moriah cried a lot. Abi was in her Abi-land. I think the weekend did a lot of good for everybody involved. More healing went on than any of us were aware we were in need of. And our visit visibly raised Pat and Andi's spirits.
The drive home was tremendously tedious.
I got home around eight thirty. At nine thirty I was onstage with the Ahmish at the Liquid Den. I drummed and sweated. It was an awesome show. Afterward I came home and crashed for a long night's sleep.