Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our power was out from 9:30 pm until 4:30 am, so we got a rude awakening when it all came back on, an appropriate boo for Halloween, I guess. My neighbor Art said a car hit a power pole, he wasn't sure if there were serious injuries, or not.

George posted a picture of the cutest little pirate I've ever seen, also my Halloween recollections. I can't guarantee they're 100% accurate. All that stuff kinda runs together after all these years. He reminded me of one of the Borden twins' antics that I hadn't thought of in ages. They were always into some sort of mischief. My Borden boys tossed a few rolls of TP through some trees, but as far as their mother knows, that was the worst of it. Benji and Johnny Horton used to scare the younger kids who were trick or treating. Benji loved playing Dracula, then went on to star in that play at ICC. He did a great job with the role, maybe those years of Halloween practice came in handy.

I'm back to using my old mouse this morning. Mike killed the new one yesterday. He borrowed my computer to do some CE, pitched one of his hissy fits, and even though he says he didn't touch the mouse when he was beating his fist on the desk, it died. Maybe he scared it to death. Oh well, I got $3.95 worth of use from it. When I go shopping for a new one, I'm looking for a new scanner and monitor, as well, but not at Big Lots. Best Buy was advertising several discontinued models marked way down last week. Maybe I can find something in my price range. I'm not one who cares about having the latest and greatest gadget.

I've reached my weight loss goal for Nov. 1 and that was without very much walking. My fall on the 10th caused another concussion, the 2nd in 6 mos., so I've been wary of walking with the dogs. Some of us are not coordinated enough to do that and pay attention to where we put our feet. They've been running loose except on Tuesdays and Fridays, when a few of our neighbors still use bags instead of cans for their garbage. One of them had emptied a freezer full of pizza and lasagne, which Gus and Jay-Jay would have considered a banquet. Thank goodness, I found it before they did.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Since the home of my childhood comes up so often in my dreams, and since George's recent picture of that house looked so dreary, I thought I would post this watercolor that I painted back in '96 to show the younger generation what it looked like in the 50's when we lived there. I based this on a b&w photo made from Cecil's driveway. The colors were filled in from memory, and I artistically deleted the telephone pole and lines. No, it wasn't beautiful by today's standards, but it looked a lot better than it does now. Daddy did his best to beautify the yard with roses, day lilies, wisteria, etc. The oak tree in front of my bedroom windows was cut down by Brooks Lindsey. I cried the day he did it.

My most recent vivid dream about this place was Saturday morning. Deedo was in the tiny kitchen of this house turning out huge amounts of party food. How she managed to make so much with so little still amazes me. Anyway, there was a party going on with a house full of people. I was the age I am now and I was surrounded by more friends than I ever hoped to have. There were Plantersville friends, Tupelo friends, Jackson friends, cousins, children, grandchildren - people everywhere! The wine was flowing and the music and laughter meant all were having a good time. The doors and windows were open with a cool breeze lifting thin white Priscillas in a flutter. Somebody called out, "Richard is here." I went to the front door and found a jealous teen-ager who wanted me to leave the party because I was having too much fun. I laughed and tried to get him to come in. He turned and left in a huff. For some reason, I ran out after him, not wanting him to be mad with me. I called to him, but he kept walking. Then I woke up.

And I felt really sad. To know how much of the good times he missed still makes me sad. It's a recurring theme in my dreams - trying to get him involved in the things I enjoyed, and to enjoy them with me. "Unequally yoked," Daddy called it, a phrase I came to detest. To hear him tell it, all my marriages were that way. Would any partner I cared about ever have been considered an "equal yoking"? I doubt it. He was a wonderful person in many ways, but sometimes I wonder if I weren't set up to be eternally dissatisfied.

A similar attempt to squelch my free spirit occurred this morning with Mike. I guess that's what reminded me of all this. The disadvantage of the new time is that we have an additional hour together before he leaves for the gym. That's enough time for him to interfere in the routine I have with the dogs, when I leave the back door open and let them out for as long as they want to stay out. (They don't understand all this clock stuff.) It's usually no more than 30 minutes, or so, then they come in for a nap. Mike is comfortable with this for about 5 minutes, then he wants me to go find them. My comfort with the fearful, anxious, and insecure is even shorter, so fireworks erupt. Ah me, those words of my father haunt me once again.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What a gorgeous fall day we're having in Central Mississippi! Clear skies and 72*, and Daylight Savings Time is behind us. How much more perfect could it get?

Our singing of the anthems in church this morning, if graded, would get an A+. David had big smiles after each one, and Mike described them as "moving," Nunc dimittis in B-flat by C. V. Stanford and The eyes of all wait upon thee by Jean Berger. I wish there were someway to record and then play them on this blog. Even though I'm glad we don't use any electronic gear in our church services, I would like to be able to replay our anthems sometimes.

Mike and I had lunch at McAllister's after church, and I was grateful for his company. He's gone to Jon and Trish's to check out their new surround sound system, and has promised to limit the beer drinking while there. Last Sunday bothered him almost as much as it did me, but it was the next day before it did.

The pictures from last Sunday's dedication of the church's new playground have been posted. It was built as a memorial for the Mader baby who was stillborn (mentioned in my Mar. 16 post), and for the Crump baby who died last year from heart failure. http://www.stphilipsjackson.com/photos.html
When Tom was consecrating the equipment with holy water, the children wanted it sprinkled on them, too, which he did. The picture of him laughing about this is directly under the Wyatt Waters painting.

Speaking of Faith on MPB was especially good this week, I thought. The Religious Roots of American Democracy made some historical points not often heard in the current "values voting" debate. Here's the link for those who missed it. http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/democracy/index.shtml

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Women, know your limits! I got this link from a friend and had to share it.

And to think some of the younger women want to return to this, according to Maureen Dowd. Please say it isn't so.

The Cards are the champs! First time since '82. I tried to generate some excitement in Mike about it and his response? "Well, to quote one of my favorite philosophers, Bugs Bunny said, don't take the world series, you'll never get out alive." It took me a minute to get that joke, too.

The Little Engine that Could came to mind when they named Eckstein the MVP. At 5'7" he never let his small size deter him from going all the way. That's the part of sports that I really like, the human interest stories that pull on the heart strings. He's had so many opportunities to be discouraged and a lesser man would have quit along the way, but he just kept plugging. I hope he enjoys that brand new Corvette, he deserves it. (Photo by Elise Amendola/AP)

In that other contest that claims more of my attention than baseball ever could, some good news for the Democrats - contributions are increasing significantly, especially from the business sector, as more and more voters voice their support for a turnover in Congress. I just hope corporate donations don't corrupt them like it did the Republicans.

Mick spent last night outside, and it got cold. I made several attempts to get him in but he was nowhere to be found. Opening the door for the dogs this morning, I was greeted by a grouchy kitty. He came in and fussed for five minutes or so, hopped up on the piano to get to his food bowl, then settled on Mike's lap for some petting. One funny little black cat.

Friday, October 27, 2006

There's a first time for everything, I've heard, and today I did a first - went to the corner C-store in my pj's for a cold Dr. Pepper. Made me sorry I ever laughed at Virginia Jutman for pulling similar stunts. She was usually there for a pack of cigarettes. And of course, I ran into a neighbor. Oh well! Who cares? Nothing cures a Dr. Pepper headache like a Dr. Pepper.

Last night I had another first - an interest in watching the baseball game, and no family sports fan with me to explain what was happening. I only saw the last 3 innings, but that was evidently the best part. I got so excited when Eckstein hit his double that I actually cheered aloud. (Is it considered a hit when it was the result of an error?) Will the Cards go all the way? It could happen. I was disappointed to see Pujols walked. He's one of Ricky's favorites and I was hoping to see him in action. (Photo by Charles Krupa/AP)

George asked for Halloween stories on his website, and I was reminded of all the fun Daddy used to have scaring the trick-or-treaters who came to his door. He dressed up in his old army jacket with a cushion underneath on his back. He stooped over and drug one leg behind him, and with an old hat pulled down low and a stocking over his face, he did look pretty gruesome. He would wait for the kids to get their candy, then step out of the darkness as they were going back to their mother's car. With a macabre laugh that sounded like The Shadow and in his deepest, most devilish-sounding voice he said:
Fee, fee, fi, fi, fo, fo, fum
I smell the blood of little children
Be they live or be they dead
I'll grind their bones and make my bread.

The screams and squeals as children took off running never failed to delight him. Every once in a while we would hear a mother's shaky voice call out, "Brother Johnson, is that you?" (Feel free to use this if you want to, George.)

Why Halloween fell out of favor among the fundamentalists was never quite clear to me. My children enjoyed it immensely and I don't think it had any detrimental effect beyond the sugar high they always got. I don't remember trick or treating as a child, but I do remember Halloween Carnivals being held at Plantersville School - cake walks, fishing pond, raffles, etc. Did we dress in costumes? I don't think so, but I could be wrong. I had several costumes as a child, but seems most of them were for plays I was in. Daddy didn't like the raffles, said it was gambling and didn't let us sell tickets, but seems his attitude on that softened with the years, as long as it was for a good cause.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, I like this one: Sun is in Scorpio, Moon is in Sagittarius. Just when you thought all was lost, you come up with something that works. Are you a genius, or is it a miracle? Well, both, of course.

Even though I wasn't thinking all was lost, I did get my puppies to do their business this morning outside in the pouring rain. I took them under a tree so they felt somewhat protected, I guess. It's supposed to rain all day. Let's hope this method works every time. Now that will be a miracle!

Another miracle I'm hoping for is that Harold Ford is elected in Tennessee. The Playboy bunny ad is one of the most dispicable dirty tricks I've seen yet. Race baiting 101. The talking heads who see nothing racist about it have obviously never lived in the South. They need to be dropped off at an all-white Memphis bar on a Friday night when that ad is played on TV.

Rush Limbaugh better hope he never gets Parkinson's, either. Making fun of Michael J. Fox is bad karma. He's asking for it, if you ask me. I mean, just because he disagrees with his political views is no justification for ridiculing the poor man. If he were half-way decent, he'd be ashamed and apologize. But nooooooo!

Enough of the politics, Cathy. Shut up and whistle. Here are a couple of items that caught my interest from all the different news sources that come thru email everyday:

Denmark researchers recently analyzed 3.5 million grocery store transactions from nearly 100 stores. Grocery store patrons were classified as “wine only,” “beer only,” “mixed,” or “non-alcohol.” The results?
The wine-buyers purchased: Foods associated with the Meditteranean Diet, like fruits, veggies, olives, poultry, olive oil, and milk.
The beer crowd favored: Chips, soda, pork, butter, and frozen food.

I wonder how closely Americans buying habits mirror those of the Danes.

Recently Gallup asked respondents if they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the “way things are going” in the country. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said they were dissatisfied, with only 30 percent saying they were satisfied.

I just hope Democrats use this national pessimism to their advantage. I know - shut up, Cathy, and whistle.

Mick came in from the cold and wet and made himself comfortable under my desk lamp. Smart kitty, he loves the warmth (and the classical music ?). And that reminds me, in the contest between the cats and birds, Rick is pulling for the Cardinals. Still haven't heard from Benji on the subject, but my guess is he's a Cardinal fan, too.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One of the most mystical events in my life occurred in May 1992. After switching to the Episcopal church, I had gotten back into the habit of Daily Bible Readings, but rather than the one select passage I'd done as a Baptist, the Daily Office required four passages - OT, Psalm, NT, Gospel - it's the same everyday. Regular practice of this discipline will take the reader through the entire Bible and some of the apocryphal passages every two years.

The four passages appointed for this particular day were Exodus 3:1-12, Psalm 66,67, Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 10:17-24. I was having trouble concentrating, so I began reading aloud. Softly playing in the background was sacred music from WLIN radio. Just as I got to "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground," the radio came in, as if on perfect cue, with "This is holy ground, we're standing on holy ground, for the Lord is here, and where he is is holy..." My attention was riveted as never before to the music, and I transcended my surroundings as the sunlight flooded my living room. (It had been raining.) The choir continued with this medley:

This is holy ground, we're standing on holy ground, for the Lord is here, and where he is is holy. These are holy hands, we're lifting up holy hands, for the Lord is here, and where he is is holy.

We are standing on holy ground, And I know that there are angels all around, Let us praise Jesus now, We are standing in his presence on holy ground.

O the glory of your Presence, we your temple give you reverence, so arise to your rest and be blessed by our praise as we glory in your embrace, as your presence now fills this place.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are filled with your glory, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.

After this heavenly visitation, I drifted back down to earth and finished my Bible readings. Needless to say, I paid close attention to THE WORD OF THE LORD. That afternoon I opened a package from Integrity Music which contained a cassette tape of the very same music I had heard that morning on the radio. I don't believe this was all coincidental.

I relate this story because today's Gospel reading was the same passage from Luke 10. I never read it without thinking about that day and I still wonder about its personal significance to me. I discussed it with Ed Bacon, who was my priest at the time, and he had a few suggestions, but basically told me it was something that God and I would have to figure out. Was God calling me to a special ministry or was he just blessing me with a unique worship experience? I'm still not sure, the possibilities are endless.

Art by Rosemary Babikan "Angel in the Meadow"

http://www.gracecathedral.org Click on Daily Meditation, and rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Everybody woke up to sweater weather this morning, even Ricky's family in Tampa has 46* temp, it's 27* where Benji is. Bbbrrrrrr! I dressed in a turtleneck and sweats first thing, so I could walk the dogs. It's garbage day, and the last thing they need is garbage scraps. Both have been puny for the last day or two.

We didn't have frost, though. My rose bushes are loving the cooler weather and the rain. I performed radical surgery on them in August after everything turned brown. They immediately put on the healthiest new growth I've seen all year, with buds and blooms in abundance.

Betsy says Tara and Steve are coming with their boys the second weekend in November. Mother will have her 88th birthday on the 12th. Maybe I can get some pictures of her with Tara's family then. Betsy said Mother did not recognize her when she last visited, but she thought Richard was "pretty."

Blogger is down again, I just found out. Hopefully, it will be back online soon. This is getting very frustrating. I tried out MySpace over the weekend and really liked it. I may switch if this keeps up.

Once again, my horoscope was right on - I am behind schedule on a number of things. Better get busy. Sun is in Scorpio, Moon is going from Scorpio into Sagittarius. Life's not fair, but what does that have to do with the price of tea? If you're behind schedule, it's your own fault, so don't complain about it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sun is going from Libra into Scorpio, Moon is in Scorpio. You don't have to do the whole job by yourself, and you don't have to suffer. Those are options you can avoid by getting your friends involved.

Maybe this is my signal to reach out, rather than isolate. Isolation seems to exacerbate the depression, rather than relieve it. I've learned that from experience. The miserable martyr is just not me, so why am I going in that direction? "Little Miss Sunbeam" wants to shine. That's what I call my inner child, the one I care for when nothing else seems to matter.

Daddy called me that, said I was the inspiration for the picture on the Sunbeam Bread truck. When he took me with him to visit elderly people, I was always asked to sing the Sunbeam song, and I gladly obliged. I loved seeing the sad faces of the old people turn to joyful smiles. He said making people smile is a special gift that I have, a way to bring sunshine to the dark corners of the world. It became my raison d’ĂȘtre.

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, to shine for him each day
In every way try to please him, at home, at school, at play.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, I'll be a sunbeam for Him.

George posted a picture of Daddy from 1966 on his site. At 58, he still had a youthful look, slim and trim, virile and fit. Skip was blessed with skinny genes from the Wilkins side of the family, too. Just seeing Daddy's picture,
smiling and sweet, made me smile and lifted my spirits. Thanks, George.

He's babysitting his granddaughter this week and I'm green with envy. I'll be so glad when my children and grandchildren move closer. Maybe by this time next year, it won't be so difficult to see them whenever I want. Benji and Karen will be back in Memphis, and Ricky and Mary Ann will be building a house in Brandon. I can hardly wait.

Blogging has helped shift the funky mood I was in to the sunny side of the street. It happens more often than not. This has become a sacred space for me, an altar of sorts, where I can pour out my heart and be comforted by the love of friends and family. And I made more than one reader smile. God is meeting deep needs for me here and I feel blessed. May all who enter here be blessed, as well.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Even though I was very angry with Mike, it didn't last long. After he was dressed, he went downstairs and began listening to King's X. After a few minutes, he called me to come listen to "It's Love." He was crying, which always stops me in my tracks. "Oh, honey, what's wrong?" I asked.

He started boo-hooing. "Do you realize what a great guitar solo that is?" he finally blurted.

"Sounds like something you might have done," I answered, realizing it was intricate and advanced.

"I'm no Ty Tabor, but I learned to play that," he said between sobs; "Larry Brewer couldn't even do it, but I did. I want to play my guitar again," he wailed. I held him and let him cry.

The stroke had robbed him of his greatest ability and his favorite pleasure, and the alcohol had erased what little control he had over his feelings of grief about the loss of his music. I just couldn't be mad at him anymore. I'd probably get drunk every once in a while, too, if I had suffered as much as he has.

Dear God, in your mercy, please restore the strength to Mike's arm, hand, and fingers. Let him enjoy playing his guitar again. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Blogger is down, so I'm putting Sunday's entry on MySpace until I can copy and paste to Ms. Sippi. Seems Blogger.com has had a rocky week. And I was blaming myself and my computer for the problems I had. Don't you know by now, Dear, that not everything is your fault?

I was awakened from my afternoon nap by my husband, who, once again, stayed too long at Margarita's and drank too many of the same. He was ranting and raging because he couldn't get his pants unbuttoned. He had wet himself, so all his clothes had to be changed. "This is the last time I'm helping you when you come home in this condition," I told him. "Why a disabled man would want to make himself even more disabled is beyond me." His response was obscene. I picked up his belt and whopped him hard on his backside. I need an Al-Anon meeting.

He told me last week that we would go to McAllisters for lunch after church, instead of meeting his drinking buddies. I've missed the Sunday lunches we used to share. Obviously, he'd rather get drunk. This is that gray area where it's hard for me to distinguish between Christian duty and co-dependency.

I enjoyed church this morning. I went with low energy and even less enthusiasm. But by the time the choir finished rehearsing, I was beginning to feel human again. Coming home alone to a lunch of leftovers took all the wind out of my sails, though. It was seasoned with plenty of self-pity and recrimination, so I felt lower than a snake's belly by the time I finished. Should I have gone with Mike to make sure he didn't drink too much? Why didn't I let choir friends know I wanted to join them for lunch? Depression still rules on some days, even though I took my Zoloft. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I was bothered, too, by guilt for spending way more than I intended to at the Arbonne party yesterday. What on earth do I want with all those skin care products? Mother Nature blessed me with good skin. I never put much thought or effort into caring for it. Why would I start now? I wonder if Pam would hate me forever if I cancelled my order due to buyer's remorse. She knows we're living on a shoestring and that I can ill afford many extras. I need to go down there first thing tomorrow and talk to her.

I enjoyed meeting a couple of neighbors I'd never met before. One of them has a retired racing greyhound from the Rescue program in Texas. They were out walking when I came in from church, so I stopped and visited. Her dog Doc is 10 years old and very gentle and affectionate. He's the same tan color as Jay-Jay with big, sad eyes. She said he can still run like the wind. When I let Gus and Jay-Jay out, I could tell they were already acquainted with Doc. They used to bark at him, she said, but Doc didn't react, so now they just sniff and nuzzle and go their own way.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I cooked pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs for breakfast. At my house, it's not nearly as heavy and rich as it sounds. We use low-fat Bisquick, skim milk, Eggland eggs, Jimmy Dean low-fat sausage, etc.

I scrambled enough eggs for the dogs, too, and they loved it. I've decided Jay-Jay's itch may have been caused by Beneful, the new food I bought for them this week. It was the shiny coat formula, so it contains an ingredient that affects the skin. There was some mention of that on the discussion boards I googled last night. Anyway, we'll try a day or two without it and see if it helps. The rash went away during the day, but came back last night after he ate. I applied some hydro-cortisone ointment to his chest and tummy, and that seemed to help. At least, we were both able to sleep.

Happy news from LaRue this morning - Laurie's 4th baby will be a girl! Maybe she will be a gorgeous redhead like her mom (and her granny). Laurie's cousin Carolyn just had a beautiful baby girl on the 3rd. She and her husband both have great blogs. I hope these girls grow up to be good friends, as well as cousins, and can sing like little angels the way their mommies did. Congratulations, Ladies!

Benji has discovered the joys of observing life through the viewfinder of his camera. Thank goodness he doesn't have the expense of film and developing like I did when I went through that phase of my life.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older,
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze . . .
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears . . .
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears . . .

Sunrise, Sunset lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
from Fiddler on the Roof

My neighbor Pam is having an Arbonne party this afternoon and I told her I would come. Gotta wash clothes and do nails first. Better get busy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Jay-Jay has a rash on his tummy and chest that made him miserable all night long. Neither of us got much sleep. He got into something that gave him an allergic reaction, so he has paced the floor and scratched himself for the last 12 hours or so, poor baby. I hope it wasn't the new dog food I bought. The red splotches appear to be going away and he's finally relaxed on the day bed enough to sleep. I need to get some doggie Benadryl while I'm out today.

George posted a picture of Forrest McFatridge Jr. on his website. He was the son of a Plantersville Baptist pastor before Daddy. That name is so unique that, on a whim, I decided to google it. I found his genealogy and I also found in Nashville's Christ (Episcopal) Cathedral newsletter that name listed as a chalice bearer for last Sunday's service. Wonder how many there are of us - former Baptist PK's who became Episcopalians? In my small circle of acquaintances, I know 3. I'd love to find out this man's history and the story of his spiritual journey. I wonder if this is the son or the grandson of the Plantersville pastor, there has to be a connection.

The St. Louis Cardinals made it to the World Series again. Remember when they were the closest thing to a Southern team in pro baseball? I guess that's why Cecil and Daddy were such big fans. Before Cecil fi-i-i-i-nally got a tv, he used to come over and watch the games with Daddy, who was so animated and excited that he was a show unto himself. Maybe that's where my boys get it. Wonder who they're rooting for? I should know, but I don't, fill me in, Guys. I really miss having at least one sports fan in the house, whooping and hollering, jumping up and down, rolling in the floor, they were a sight to behold. I'm a fan of sports fans, you could say. Mike had rather watch paint dry than watch a ballgame.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mike's shoes were completely refurbished at the clinic yesterday after they made the adjustments to his brace. What an improvement! He managed ok for several hours without them, better than he thought he would, in his high top sneakers. Getting out of that brace altogether may not be as difficult a transition as he thought. Maybe some of his therapy will include walking in regular shoes.

I lifted another shot of Pip from Benji's pictures. This is the wagon we bought for him Christmas '04. I hope he gets plenty of enjoyment from it. Papaw Vance bought one for me when I was a year old and hauled me all over Walnut Grove in it. It's one of my earliest memories. Ricky and Benji had one that they literally wore out. Ricky pulled that wagon with his little "brudder" riding for miles. Benji was a demanding little passenger, too, getting very upset if Ricky wanted to quit before he did. One of their favorite things to do was load Daddy's driveway gravel in it, pull it to the other end of the driveway and dump it, over and over they entertained themselves doing this. Back when county supervisors delivered gravel for private driveways, I remember how excited they got with all the "new rocks," inspecting them closely, looking for the especially pretty rocks to give Mama. Red wagons, every kid should have one.

Mike's friend Ron became a grandfather around 4 am today. His daughter Stacy had a 7 lb. 4 oz. daughter, Ashley. Mike is meeting him after his workout at St. D to visit the new mother and baby, and to have lunch.

I had an epiphany while reading today's devotional. The Gospel reading was Luke 9:18-27, with the emphasis on this verse: For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.

My new insight was this - rather than beating myself up for being so duty-bound, accept it as the opportunity for growth that it is. I feel like such a sap sometimes when I deprive myself of things I want in order to "do the right thing, the Christian thing." The regret and resentment do not enhance the learning experience, but diminish it. Our devotional had this paragraph:

Challenging and frightening as new realities in the world and in ourselves may be, the most difficult times in our lives are when we do our best growing. Times that have an edge compel us to deal with the destruction of cherished ideas and relationships and risk giving them up in favor of renewal. It can seem chaotic and dangerous, but if we don't face that chaos and danger, we don't gain anything; we only lose what we have. Stasis, staying the same, is not an option. If we avoid the shakeups, we give up our chance to grow and become a new person in Christ.

With as many shakeups as I've had in my life, I'm sure my mind already knew this, but today my rebellious heart understood.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

We have a 10:00 appointment today with Willie, the technician who built Mike's shoe and brace. Wendy, his PT, wants an adjustment made to the brace before they do any more work on his gait. Susan, the hand therapist, was very encouraging yesterday, telling Mike what an excellent coach I am and how he needs to relax, be patient, and be thankful he has someone at home to help him. I asked her if she would call him once a day and tell him that.

The sky was glowing when I let the dogs out this morning, so I grabbed the camera and took a couple of shots. By the time I got to the lake, which takes less than a minute, the sun was up and the glow was gone. I love those magic moments at dusk and dawn, especially if I happen to be by the lake and can catch the reflection in the water, too; they appear suddenly and disappear just as fast, and I hardly ever have my camera handy. Ah well, beauty is fleeting...

Sun is in Libra, Moon is in Virgo. Sagittarians, don't get into telling stories, even if you've got a good one. Keep a straight face and do what's expected, quickly. That's my cue to end here, I guess, get my bath, get dressed, get on with the business at hand.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mike has a 9:00 appointment with his hand therapist that I have to go with him to, new at-home exercises I'll have to help him with. She wants to show me how.

We had a slow steady rain all day yesterday, then gusty wind and thunderstorm last night. Jay-Jay was pacing and hyperventilating so badly that I shut him up in the bottom drawer in the wardrobe next to our bed. He seemed not to mind. It was darker and less noisy in there, I guess, his own private storm shelter.

I didn't go to the store, so not much cooking got done. I still had soup in the freezer from the last batch I made, so we ate that. Today we're out of everything. Rain or shine, gotta go today.

I got sweet messages from both sons yesterday. That's unusual - both on the same day. I tried to upload one of Ricky's photos that he sent from their weekend in Dallas, but couldn't get it to work. Don't have time now to figure out why not. More later.

8:45 pm. Ok, it worked this time, not sure what I was doing wrong. I thought this shot was exquisite. Ricky is a pro with the artist's eye.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My computer is doing strange things again. It sounds like it has indigestion, way too much noise going on in there to suit me, and response time has slowed way down.

It was raining when we got up this morning and is supposed to rain all day. No thunder and lightning, so Jay-Jay's ok. I'm hankering for homemade vegetable soup, but need to go to the store first. I gave half of the last batch to my neighbor Art, who really enjoyed it. He usually stops at Quiznos, Subway, Sonic, or Pizza Hut for his supper, so he just added the soup to his sandwich for a more nutritious meal. Mike wants me to make chili, the 3 bean chili that he likes so much. Maybe I'll make both.

And I need to send recipes for the cookbook at church. They've had very few recipes turned in, and don't want to publish until they get about 200 more. I promised them yesterday I'd send mine. I'm obviously not the only one who has procrastinated about this. Homecooked meals just aren't the source of pride they used to be for us ladies. Too many of us are satisfied to do like Art, stop on the way home and get something to go, or pull out a Lean Cuisine, or Lean Pocket and pop it in the microwave. It's enough to make our grandmothers shudder.

I said when I retired that I was looking forward to having the time to cook more, even bought a new gas range. Sadly, my enthusiasm was short lived. Just one more example of following my mother's example. She quit cooking years before we moved her to Jackson. She would eat a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast for breakfast, then go to a Tupelo restaurant for her other meals, usually Morrison's or Golden Corral. They were gathering places for several other retired people she knew, so I can understand how that was more appealing than eating at home alone.

I really don't want to end up in a nursing home with no teeth, no memory, no quality of life. And I don't want to turn back the hands of time. God, help us to find better options.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Experimenting with the self-timer on the digital camera. I tried to post this one to my profile, but it wouldn't take it for some reason. Oh well, I'll just leave it here. Most of my readers know very well how I look. At 45 days ahead of the big 60, and still smiling.
There is a new picture of Cecil's sandbox on George's site that includes Ricky, Benji, and me (weighing about 70 lbs less than I weigh now). It's an old black and white, kinda fuzzy focus, hard to tell for sure about the one I think is Ricky. I wonder if my kids still know the names of the other kids shown. Their faces are so familiar, but I couldn't come up with any names except Tommy Lindsay, Chris Williams, and Darrin Grimes. That must have been about 1972. I really don't want to be that skinny again.

Church was back to normal this morning. I'm glad. The choir sounded good, David was pleased. Mike's class started a new book study on The Creed. He said they had a lively discussion, but I haven't had a chance to ask about it. He went to Margarita's for lunch, I came home. I've sworn off restaurant food until my weight starts going down again. I need to lose 2.5 lbs by Nov. 1. I put Mike's name on the prayer list again since he's started a new round of therapy. Several people asked about him, thinking he had some sort of setback. Some of them told me they still pray for him even though his name hasn't been on the list in a long time. There are some really sweet people in that church. This picture was made on Goat Roast Sunday when everybody was dressed in jeans. That's David on the piano and the choir is rehearsing in the background.

I need to find out what book the Red Hat Readers are reading this month and go back to their meeting on Tuesday. I haven't been since Mike's stroke. It's the only group other than choir that I've been involved with since moving to St. Philips. I would really like to know more people there than I know, and unless I get involved with some of the other small groups, it ain't gonna happen.

Betsy and Richard have decided not to move, yet. I was dreading the hassle of getting a new renter. Thank goodness, my property manager takes care of most of it. She's worth every penny of the 10% fee she charges.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's cool enough to turn on the heat, but by this afternoon we'll probably switch back to AC. I plugged up my portable heater by my desk because it got down to 65 in here last night; it's 45 outside. This house really needs better insulation.

Sage advice for sags today: Sun is in Libra, Moon is going from Cancer into Leo. Friends are enthusiastic, and only want to play. You're usually right up in front of the pack, but this time, lag behind. Only do the free stuff. This Sag lagged behind long ago, when she learned how much free fun she could have. She does miss some of her playmates, though. I wish they had been interested in more than just the fun stuff.

Speaking of fun stuff, I was really embarrassed after George posted a picture of some kids playing croquet at Cecil's and didn't recognize my own brother! I looked at that kid several times thinking, I know him, who is he? The fact that Ken was in the picture should have been a dead giveaway. He and Paul were best buds for years, we rarely saw one without the other. Then I realized the picture was made around the time when I was so in love with Richard that I wasn't aware of much else.

I wonder if kids these days would have any interest in a park like we enjoyed. Tennis, croquet, shuffleboard, ping pong, cards, how could that possibly have any appeal to the gameboy generation? If I had lots of money, I would love to recreate that park, build a big bed and breakfast where Cecil's house is for all us retiring boomers, and invite all the Pville kids who loved that time and place to come live with me and play with me, and invite the grandkids to learn the joys of "free fun."

Fantasy - some of my favorite free fun! (Photo by George Morris Kelly)

Friday, October 13, 2006

This picture of Pip was so cute, I just had to steal it. He's eating Fruit Loops.
It was 48* when I took the dogs out this morning, high today should be about 72*. We still have not seen any significant rain this week, even though there have been showers all around in neighboring counties. Skies are clear today; no more rain predicted until Monday.

My horoscope has cautioned me all week about unfortunate circumstances. With today being Friday the 13th, maybe I should just stay in the house. I'm not usually very superstitious, but since I fell on Tuesday and had headaches every day, believe me, I'm being more cautious.

I added a couple of links to this blog, one to Benji's pictures and one to George's Plantersville site. I changed this site to public, rather than private, to see if it gets more traffic. I also added an email feature that allows posts to be sent directly from the site.

The discrediting of the Kuo book has already started. Just like Bush, his fans find it almost impossible to admit they made a terrible mistake. I'm not surprised. If they would just read this book, or the Woodward book, or the new Colin Powell book, maybe they would see the light.

6 hrs. later. I had to stop this morning and go find Jay-Jay, then fix lunch, go to the nursing home, the bank, the grocery, the post office, the wine store, all the normal Friday afternoon errands. Mother was asleep in her wheel chair when I visited right after lunch. She woke up and gave me a beaming smile when I kissed her on the forehead. Her appetite and swallowing are better this week, the nurse told me. I forgot to ask if they're serving smaller portions to her as I suggested.

Mike and Ron went to the fair this afternoon. I reassembled his wheelchair and put it in his trunk, so Ron could push him around the fairgrounds. Man! Am I glad those wheelchair days are past. He really has come a long way since his stroke. They were planning to go to the car show at the Trade Mart, then walk around and see the sites, and eat supper at Costas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Finally, someone has written a book exposing Bush's hypocrisy in dealing with evangelical Christians. David Kuo, in Tempting Faith, which goes on sale Monday, says Bush has played this base for suckers. His public glad- handing is offset by his private expressions of contempt and derision. Even though I'm not a member of that voting block, I have friends and family members who are, and the evidence that Kuo has compiled turns my stomach. There is nothing more dispicable than manipulating the faithful, whether it's a despotic pastor or president. If James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Ted Haggard turn their followers against Bush, we might actually get the bastard impeached. They had to know, at some level, they were being played. Will they get the message or destroy the messenger? It will be interesting to see.

The messenger, in this case, is a conservative Christian who served in Bush's Faith-Based Initiative plan as its No. 2 leader. David Kuo made up-close and personal observations of this president's tactics that few others are in a position to see. His endorsers include Bill Bennett and John Ashcroft, so he's no outsider looking in, but a former insider who escaped the quicksand of sanctimony with a strong dose of truth to power. I just hope they accept this truth and that it sets them all free from the bondage of Bushlove, which looks a lot like idol-worship to some of us.

I could tell from Bush's press conference yesterday that he is becoming more frustrated by the moment by not being able to control the topic of conversation among Republicans. When he inadvertantly called Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House, I knew he was feeling defeated. He's dug himself a grave with all his fabrications, and yet, he keeps on digging. God help us!

George has posted new pictures of Cecil and his park on his website; thanks to Carol (Jean) Mitchell who sent them, and to her mother Ms. Chic for taking them. The Plantersville Connection got recognized at the Methodist Church last Sunday, so it has attracted several new readers. I hope George finds that motherlode of pictures that Cecil had. Was it his 65th or 75th birthday when the community pooled our money and bought him a 35mm camera? My kids were small, so it must have been his 65th in 1973. There were some really good pictures that he made, and a lot of them, I remember that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I replaced my computer mouse with a $3.50 mouse from Big Lots, and I can't believe the difference it makes, so much more responsive than the original. Maybe I can also get a new monitor soon, and figure out a way to make my old scanner work, or get a new one.

Rain is promised for the day, then much cooler temps, down to 44* by Friday night. One of the fair workers said last night on the news that he always expects this when he comes to Jackson. By the time they leave, they will have had a range of 44 to 94 degrees. Mississippi weather, gotta love it.

The bump on my forehead is not as pronounced today as it was yesterday, but the joint and muscle ache is worse. Gus just climbed into my lap. I've got to give them baths today and apply their Frontline. Several loads of laundry need to be washed, ironing is piled high, and I bought fall veggies to cook - greens, cabbage, sweet potatoes. Take your Tylenol, Cathy, and get busy.

I learned yesterday that my sister is looking for a larger house to accomodate her and her ex, so I'll soon have a townhouse for rent if she finds one. Benji was called for jury duty this week, too. What are the odds of that happening? He would have been excused from their first trial since he believes pot should be legal. I'm still trying to work out a few days when Mike and I can go to Tampa, but with his new round of therapy just approved, it may not happen. I should fly down by myself, but I don't want to leave the dogs here with him. The carpet was filthy when I got back from Ireland, he doesn't let them out nearly enough. And there are budget constraints, making ends meet is more challenging than it used to be.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jury duty lasted all of 30 minutes for me. I was the 3rd one excused after the judge asked, "Are you seriously ill, disabled, or the primary caregiver for someone who is seriously ill or disabled?" There was only one case on this week's docket and they had a pool of about 60 Rankin countians from which to choose, so they had more than enough people without me.

I tripped and fell while out walking the dogs this morning, knocked a knot on my noggin, skinned my hand and elbow, and bruised my knee. My neck, shoulders and back are aching like I twisted something, or maybe it's from the jar. I hit hard on the sidewalk, even though I tried to fall on the grass when I realized I was going down. I've fallen on that part of our uneven sidewalk before, but going in the opposite direction. That's another reason I didn't feel badly about getting excused from jury duty.

Maybe I should have read my horoscope before taking the dogs out: Sun is in Libra, Moon is going from Taurus into Gemini. Conditions are unstable for a while, so pay attention. Use experts and other associates to help, to minimize frustration.

Mike got a movie he wants me to watch with him this afternoon, but my puppies want me to take our regular nap with them first. My aching body is telling me it needs a nap, too. The movie will have to wait.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My horoscope for today had this ominous warning: Sun is in Libra, Moon is in Taurus. Familiar routines are best for a while, as often as you can manage. Minimize the items you have to think about; do as much as you can by rote. I guess it's a good thing I didn't have to report for jury duty on this holiday. I may have had to think outside my "familiar routines."

Bush just finished blustering through a condemnation of North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons. Thank God, he urged the UN Security Council to take action, rather than Rumsfeld. I don't see that much difference in the George Bush policy of unilateralism and that of Kim Jong Il. It's just more evidence that Bush's claim of promoting peace and security in the world is not working. His "axis of evil" is even more evil, not less. Let's see, that was Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, wasn't it?

And who was that American hypocrite condemning North Korea's disregard for the welfare and security of its nation's poor? Not until we're spending as much on the welfare and security of our own poor as we do on our military should we be critical of anyone else's handling of this issue. I'm not defending North Korea, but the way I see it, America has lost its position of influence in world affairs.

So much for normal routines.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Goat Roast Sunday has come and gone; fun, fellowship, and food were had by all. Once a year of "noisy" church is enough for me. I much prefer the more reverant atmosphere we normally have. Walking into the nave where people are talking, laughing, visiting loudly, rather than quietly on their knees praying is always a little disconcerting to me.

We had standing room only again with another hundred or so people milling around outside, setting up food tables, etc. Tom said we have 3 big services, rather than the 2 big services that most churches have - Christmas, Easter, and Goat Roast Bluegrass Mass. His sermon was unusually good today. Pictures of today's event should be on the website soon. www.stphilipsjackson.com

Georgie was at our church today with her brother Jerry and his wife Sherry. Jerry was serving communion. I can't imagine what it would be like to have communion served to me by my brother. Sherry has a brother named Silas and a nephew named Silas, who were also guests with her today. I've never known anyone else named Silas but my father and my grandson.

My weight loss has completely stalled out, none to report for the last week. I've got to quit eating so much in the evening.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The state fair has come to Jackson and brought cooler weather with it, as usual; I don't remember a time when it didn't. If I weren't counting calories, I would want to go, but it doesn't appeal to me like it once did. Mike invited Bonnie to go down there this afternoon, but she's got a stomach virus, so fair food is definitely out, and that's what she enjoyed the most. He told Ron he would meet him at the casino in Vicksburg for lunch. Ron goes so much, he gets "comped" meals.

I've put off housework all week, so I'm planning to do that today, and read. I love having the house all to myself without Mike's tv noise. It's a lot more peaceful. I installed my old Scrabble game which has more features than the one I downloaded from the game site, so if I can pull myself away from that I may get something done. Or I may just play Scrabble all day.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The swallowing test Mother was given yesterday showed she has no medical reason for the choking and coughing observed by the speech therapist. Being passive-aggressive like she is, my guess is she feigns choking and coughing rather than saying, "I don't want any more to eat." She was not allowed as a child, nor would she allow her children, to say, "I've had enough," before all the food on the plate was eaten. She still can't say it. (Neither can I, most of the time.)

The 15 minute out-patient procedure at Baptist Hospital took 2 hours from time of admission to discharge. It was made more stressful by my husband who insisted on tagging along because he didn't want to eat lunch alone. He can pick the most inopportune times to need my company. My options were to walk very slowly, so he could walk with us, or put him in a wheelchair so we could navigate the halls of the hospital more quickly. Thank goodness there were enough volunteers around to help me. I couldn't figure out how to push two wheelchairs at once.

Mother did not balk when asked to swallow the different substances. She smiled and talked some, but was mostly disengaged, like she had been tranquilized. Her condition seems to worsen by the day. I just don't see how she can last much longer.

Benji says my blog has sounded "pissy" for the last several days. Maybe that's why my readership has dropped off, especially among my Republican friends and family members. Please don't take my grousing personally. Elections do tend to put me on edge, especially when we Democrats have to "whistle past the graveyard" for the next few weeks.

Happy Birthday to one of my very favorite Republicans, Mary Ann. God blessed us by adding you to our family.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mother has an appointment today with Weegie for a modified Barium swallowing test. It will require her cooperation, so she may balk. She looked frail when I saw her yesterday. She knew who I was but couldn't (or wouldn't) tell me the name of my sister, my brother, my daddy.

I talked to all my Tampa folks last night. Clay had been to karate and Cooper was at baseball practice. Both sounded even more mature than they did the last time I talked to them. They grow up so fast. I felt more than a twinge of jealousy about Mamaw Jeanette being there for the week. I wish I could be there, too.

Lunch with George was at El Chico's yesterday. He always has such interesting stories to tell. I took one of my photo albums and loaned him a picture of the Plantersville Sunshine Club which included both our grandmothers. He's posted it on his website. He had dinner with Butch Sunday night, first time they'd seen each other in over 30 years. They were inseparable friends through about 9th grade, then were at Ole Miss together. Butch's mother Aleene is getting frail and forgetful, too, but still lives alone, thanks to help who comes every day to cook and clean.
http://plantersvilleconnection.blogspot.com is the link.

He recognized the pictures I had of LaRue and her daughter Laurie, said he got acquainted with Laurie when she worked in a Tupelo bookstore. I get so homesick whenever I spend time with him. The cemetery memorial service is this Sunday and once again there are no flowers on my grandparents' or my father's graves. Is the service still held in the shade of the tree? I should have asked. I know those people think we are awful because we are so negligent about things like that. I really need to designate someone to do this for me, and I also need to send regular contributions to Hilton for cemetery upkeep. Their graves are so far from the main walkway, maybe most people will not notice them. The headstones are small and nondescript.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cooper is 10 years old today. He's such a sweet, cute, smart kid, and that's not just Gramma-talk. Ask anyone who knows him. He's destined for greatness. Will it be in baseball? Music? Academia? Or some other field? He's good at most anything that catches his interest. Ricky and Mary Ann have done a good job of giving him the support, encouragement, and training he needs to excel. He and Clay both have a broad range of potential, and I'm expecting great things from my grandsons.

I'm hoping we can make a trip to see them soon, maybe the week before election when, I predict, the gas prices will miraculously be lower than they have been in a long, long time. It's about the only trump card the Republicans have left. I just hope the Dems don't blow the advantages that have suddenly come their way.

The talk shows were full of the Foley story last night. His lawyer made a statement about his being abused by a clergyman as a youth, and he made a public admission that he is gay. He claims these are not excuses and that he's not asking for sympathy, but that seems disingenuous to me. Of course, his supporters were busy hurling reminders of Clinton, Studds, Franks and others who made headlines with their salacious behavior. The difference, as they well know, is that Democrats have never held themselves up to be paragons with impeccable moral fiber; Republicans have.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I've come to dread those days when Mike has an appointment. He usually wakes up earlier and more anxious about everything. Yesterday he had one at 8 am, today it was 9 am. He worries that I'm oversleeping, that I won't help him get ready, the dogs will run off and not return, etc., etc.

I've tried to reassure him, but that usually makes him angry. Today I threatened to beat him with his own cane if he didn't shut up and calm down. He was ready to go an hour before he needed to leave, so he finally relaxed. "Thank you for ..." he started. "Not beating you up?" I concluded. "Yeah," he laughed, "for not beating me up." We both laughed.

When Jerry Lee Lewis started with "Whole lotta shakin' goin' on," (on Imus), I started dancing, and we laughed some more. If anything ever happens to my sense of humor, or his, we're sunk. I don't think I could physically abuse the poor man, but thinking about it sometimes gives me great delight. Then my conscience kicks in, and I feel really ashamed, but not for long.

Mother Nature surprised us with rain yesterday, and enough thunder and lightning to make Jay-Jay tremble for about an hour. The weatherman described it as a "summer shower in October." Not unusual in Mississippi.

I said I wasn't going to watch as much tv news this week, but it's been too captivating to turn off. I love it when the lid is blown off scandalous cover-ups, especially if it's Republicans' cover-ups. This latest story about Foley and the pages just really creeps me out. Seems there should have been red flags all over that playing field.

And how did the 9/11 Commission miss the smoking gun in Condi Rice's hand? To think she gave George Tenet and Cofer Black the brush off when they tried to warn her 2 months before the attack is, like she said, "Incomprehensible!" But they went back and found the testimony that was given in a private session under oath. Why was it not in the summary? I've said all along that Bush's secretive administration will be leaking like a sieve by the end of his term. I just didn't expect the timing to be so fortuitous.

I probably shouldn't feel too cocky about all this, since the Democrats probably have as many skeletons in their closets as the Republicans. October surprises may not be over.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Reading has been much more compelling than writing recently. I have an upstairs book, Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd, a downstairs book, Watchdogs of Democracy, by Helen Thomas, and since Bob Woodward's last book came out, I've read as much of it and about it as I can on the internet. Currently, my favorite authors all seem to be journalists, and they all write discomforting things about Washington. Maybe that's why I had trouble sleeping last night. At least, Maureen Dowd makes me laugh.

We're back to hot weather again in Mississippi. At 2 pm, it is 92*, no rain or cooler temps forecast for the rest of the week. We're having our annual Goat Roast at St. Philip's next Sunday, and it's supposed to be sunny and warm. Last year, the afternoon temp was low 70's, which is perfect for sitting under the shade trees and listening to bluegrass. The music for the liturgy will be atypical, old gospel hymns with piano, guitars, fiddle, and banjo, sounds like a Gaither Homecoming program. It's the only time we draw a full house. It's packed! Last year they left the doors open while the scent of the outdoor barbeque wafted through. Now that's a Southerner's heavenly delight!

A few of our stuffier NE Jacksonians refuse to participate, claiming it's too close to "tacky" for them (Episcopalians are traditionally uncomfortable with "tacky"), but it attracts new people every year. It shows the relaxed, casual side of us that one does not easily see the rest of the year. High church is very intimidating to people accustomed to less formal services. Actually, I've been pleasantly surprised by the warmth and sociability of most of our parishoners.

I got my weight down to the Oct. 1 goal, then blew it by pigging out on Mexican fare yesterday. Today it was Chinese. I feel so conflicted! Eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we diet!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I've had headaches yesterday and today, top left quadrant, same place I used to have migraines, but it's not migraines; no nausea or sensitivity to light, smells, sounds. Unusual, since menopause I very rarely have headaches. I've taken Ibuprofin, which relieves the pain for a couple of hours, but it comes back. Maybe a Sunday afternoon nap will help.

Church was like a Comedy of Errors this morning. Tom is on vacation, Molly presided, Bruns preached. Several places during the liturgy found us looking back at the bulletin, scratching our heads, and saying, "huh?" Mike said it was not noticable to him, but several in the choir had muffled giggles, and the rest of us were praying that the derailments did not lead to a trainwreck. Somehow, we got through it without a REALLY BIG BLOOPER. It's a good thing our services are not recorded. The a cappela anthem went much better than I expected it to. And there was a group of five adults on the back row who looked suspiciously like a search committee. I can't imagine they were favorably impressed with anything they observed. Well, the sermon was good; maybe they were there to see Bruns.