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

Appaloosa 2016 - Hillbilly Thomists - Wild Mountain Thyme

Pax et bonum

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Many Miracles of Solanus Casey

He is the patron I took when I professed as a Franciscan in 2011.

The Many Miracles of Solanus Casey: Many people have begged Fr. Solanus Casey for healing, during his life and after. Learn about the miracles that have led to his beatification.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Thorny Grace of it - Brian Doyle

I just finished The Thorny Grace of It by Brian Doyle, and really enjoyed it.

Doyle, who sadly died earlier this year after a battle with cancer, was a gifted essayist, and this collection of essays about being Catholic was not only well-written, but also rang true. He was devout, a committed Catholic, but was willing to address the reality of living out his faith, warts and all. He did so in a positive way, finding the light in even the darkest moments.

I want to find more of his work. I'm sorry that he died so young (60).

If you like short essays and a look at being a Catholic husband, father, and writer today, I recommend it.

Pax et bonum

Franciscan Quotation

I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him. - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Pax et bonum

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Beauty awakens the soul to act.

- Dante Alighieri

Pax et bonum

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ho Ho Ho

The season is almost upon us!

Pax et bonum

Amish Romance

Pass by the bookshelves in supermarkets - or the "Christian" shelves in bookstores - and you will notice a lot of Amish looking women on the covers.

I've been noticing these books proliferating in recent years. I read only one - a suggestion from a very religious student - but I have occasionally skimmed through some I've picked off shelves.

Some things are consistent about them:

They are clean. They avoid foul language and descriptions of sexual activity.

They are not graphically violent. People seek peaceful, respectful solutions to problems.

The characters are chaste. They avoid sex before marriage. They do not cohabit. They remain faithful to their spouses.

There's no confusion about gender or gender roles. Men are men, women are women, and they show respect for each other.

Family is important. The couples - married - work together to provide for their children and support each other. They have children if they are capable of doing so. They welcome them. They don't keep putting them off until they have all the "things" they want first.

Divorce, when it does come up, is viewed in a negative light and not as an easy out rather than dealing with problems.

The characters are religious in positive ways. Their faith nurtures and sustains them. While they live in the world, they are not controlled by the often selfish, self-centered values of that society.

Those are general observations. There may be some books that stray away from those traits - after all, I have not read a significant number of them - but I suspect they don't stray too far.

I've been thinking about why they have become so popular, especially among women.

Could it be that those women at some level recognize that they've been sold a bill of goods by our consumerist, self-centered, oversexed culture? Could it be that these women are longing for a more stable world where they are treated with respect and dignity? Could it be these women dream of dating and romance being about life-long love and not immediate-gratification lust? Could it be these women sense that a life focused on marriage and family and children are normal, natural, and good for you?

The thing is, such a reality is available for them. They can choose to live that way. There are such men out there. I see so many Christian enclaves developing where men and women work together to live out their faith. I teach at a school that was created by such people who wanted to provide a solid Catholic environment and education.

Here's hoping that the readers of these books don't settle for just fantasizing about such things while reading these novels.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Franciscan quotation

I shall never rest until I am hidden and enclosed in that divine heart wherein all created forms are lost, and, so lost, remain thereafter all divine; nothing else can satisfy true, pure, and simple love. - St. Catherine of Genoa

Pax et bonum

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Franciscan quotation

I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. - St. Catherine of Genoa

Pax et bonum

Abortion Increases Risk of Women’s Mental Health Problems (report)

More evidence, but it will likely be ignored by progressives and the main stream media.

New Report: Abortion Increases Risk of Women’s Mental Health Problems: The abortion industry and its medical and media allies constantly repeat the refrain that abortion is safer than childbirth and that it is an overall health ...

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Franciscan quotation (St. Charles Borromeo)

"Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head."
- St. Charles Borromeo

Pax et bonum

Friday, November 3, 2017

So ... Hillary allegedly stole the Democratic nomination?

The latest accusations are that the Clinton campaign basically hijacked and rigged the Democratic nomination process, which, if true, means she essentially stabbed Bernie Sanders in the back. Looks as if Donna Brazille's new book is going to top the best seller lists - if the NY Times and others bother to list it.

Now I'm not a Democrat, but if I were, I probably would have voted in the primaries for Bernie. Not because I agreed with him on all issues, but because I did not trust Hillary. These new accusations basically confirmed that I would have made the right choice.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Franciscan quotation (Divine Comedy)

“Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.”

- Dante (Secular Franciscan) The Divine Comedy.

Pax et bonum