Friday, November 24, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Birdmen from space and Thanksgiving Day

birdmen from space
land in peace, then declare war -
Thanksgiving Day

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mall Santa Blues

I admit it.

I have a bit of a temper - especially when I feel used or mistreated, and when there's time for what I'm upset about to fester.

It just usually doesn't happen with my gig as a mall Santa. (Mind you, I've been doing this for more than a decade.)

This year's problems began as we approached the season. I had signed my contract long ago. I was waiting to hear from the manager to set schedules and to get into the changing room to make sure the costumes were set.

I waited and waited through October and into November, but no word.

Finally, I came home to find a message from the regional manager on our answering machine. I called him back immediately, and he said he was going into a mall and would call me back in half an hour.

I waited.

No call.

I waited to see if he would call the next day.


A weekend intervened. Then I had other activities keeping me busy or getting home late.

Finally, after a week, I called him again.

He said the local manager would call me the next day to set schedules.

Of course, I got no call.

I was so ticked I was weighing calling yet again, or just saying forget it for this season.

Finally, two days before we opened, the regional manager called to ask about my availability. He mailed me a schedule for the three Santas working at our mall later on - with no one assigned to open on Wednesdays.

But the hours on the schedule differed from the ones we had discussed. I e-mailed him back immediately to get a clarification.

He never responded.

Finally, I went on the mall website to check the hours they listed. This resolved my question - but I also discovered that my first shift included a pet night that would keep me two hours beyond my scheduled time. No one had told me about having a pet night, and if I hadn't looked on the mall site I wouldn't have found out until I showed up for my shift.

I worked that long shift - 9 hours - then came back on Tuesday night for my evening shift. That was fine, but when I got home there was a panicked message on our answering machine from the local  manager asking if there was any chance I could do the opening shift the next morning as no one had been scheduled. I called back to say I would do it to help out, and she said she had managed to get one Santa who was dealing with health issues and who had to drive a long way. I said given his situation I would do it.

I showed up to open - which was scheduled at 11 - and one of the security guards made a comment that I was late. I wasn't - I still had a half hour to go, plenty of time to get suited up, so I was puzzled. I later learned that the supervisor the night before had put up a sign saying that Santa would be there at 10, and that some people had complained when there was no Santa there at 10.

Once my shift started, the local manager admitted that she did not know the schedules of the Santas as the regional manager had not sent them to her and was not responding to her requests.

At that point I asked if and when we would be doing Santa Cares, a program for special needs children that we had run before outside regular hours (my concern was as a church musician there was one Sunday I was absolutely not available). She informed me that it was this Sunday - when I was the only scheduled Santa - and that it was running from 8-10 a.m. I pointed out that my shift begins at 11, and that the program normally runs the two hours before that time - 9-11. I asked what I was supposed to do between 10 and 11 as the mall would not be open (plus, that would mean I'd be there from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). She tried to contact the regional manager - no luck. I pointed out that if I hadn't asked I would have planned on showing up at my scheduled time, and that if they tried calling me in a panic when I didn't show on Sunday at 8 I would have been at church.

As I was leaving after my shift, I asked her if she'd gotten a clarification about the time, and she said that she had not , but when the regional manager got back to her she would have him call me.

I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, I went on the mall website when I got home. Sure enough, they are publicly promoting Santa Cares as running from 8 - 10, so I suspect that's when it will be.

I'm irate right now. I'm tempted to say I will do the Santa Cares, as I would not want to disappoint those children and their families, but that they should find another Santa to take my place after that as I was quitting. I certainly have opportunities to play Santa for organizations and private events - I've had to turn some down because of my mall shifts.

Good thing I have a day or two to calm down.

Pax et bonum

Sweet and Sour Lentils

Being a vegetarian, I don't eat turkey at Thanksgiving. One of the foods I substitute is Sweet and Sour Lentils - something that has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our family.

2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1 cup washed lentils
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons cider or pineapple juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
3 tablespoons vinegar

Bring water to a boil, add salt, bay leaf and lentils. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and mix well. Cook until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Pax et bonum

Monday, November 20, 2017

Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Solanus Casey

Canonization Prayer
O God, I adore You. I give myself to You.
May I be the person You want me to be,
and May Your will be done in my life today.
I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.
If it is Your Will, bless us with the Canonization of
Father Solanus so that others may imitate
and carry on his love for all the poor and
suffering of our world.
As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,
I ask You, according to Your Will,
to hear my prayer for… (your intention)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Blessed be God in all His Designs.”

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
May 2017

Pax et bonum

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Santa season begins! (A Mall Santa's Prayer)

A Mall Santa's Prayer

As I hold each precious child
let me treat each one
with the love and care I'd show
Your most holy Son.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Blessed Solanus Casey

now Solanus
Casey, holy doorman,
may you inspire us always to
give thanks.


Blessed Solanus Casey was officially beatified today. Alleluia

Pax et bonum