Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sometimes my horoscope makes me laugh out loud. Today's was one of those: Sagittarius Horoscope for Jul 31 2007 Sun is in Leo, Moon is going from Aquarius into Pisces. It always helps if you really know what you're talking about. This means extra effort. Yes, you do have to do the homework.

Just this week-end, several of us at the reunion were lamenting the amount of homework we had in the 4th grade. Mrs. Gooch, who taught us, attended the reunion (shown here in the pink pants and floral blouse), and Freddy Grant greeted her, as he's done his whole adult life, as "the meanest white woman in Lee County." She laughed good naturedly about it, still showing no remorse for the suffering she imposed on us as children.
George's class had the misfortune of having her in the 4th grade and 5th grade. If I'd known she would go from 4th to 5th grade with our class, I would have cried all summer. When Ricky and Benji had her at Lawhon, she was still just as hard as she ever was. I almost kept Benji out of the gifted class because I knew with her as his primary 5th grade teacher, he didn't need anything extra to do. She appeared to be in good spirits and she knew just about everybody who spoke to her.
The lady in the purple sweater who is speaking to her, Niecy Grant, is another Senior whose mental faculties have not diminished with age. She's still as smart and funny as she always was. I sat across from her Friday night at dinner and we enjoyed a lively conversation.
Another person pictured here is Johnny Repult, one of the 4 men my age I saw whose looks have definitely improved with age. The others were Freddy, John Alan Estes, and Scotty West. It hardly seems fair how men get to look distinguished with their gray hair and women of the same age think they have to depend on bottled hair color not to look old. If enough of us called gray hair "beautiful", maybe we could reverse this trend? I don't cover my gray, but I don't worry much about looking young, either. I still attract plenty of flirtatious once-overs, which gives my ego regular boosts, and in turn, makes me feel much younger than I am.
Now what was this about homework?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

There is something about walking through the halls of yesterday that puts a person's whole history into its proper perspective. Now I remember, so much better than just two days ago, who I was and how I became who I am today. Seeing people who made over half of that journey with me, those who encouraged me, influenced me, helped me, included me, admired me, loved me, I wish I had known then how uncommonly blessed I was. Maybe I would have stayed in touch with them better than I did. They far outweighed those who hurt and betrayed me. It was almost overwhelming to be flooded with so many good memories in such a condensed span of time. The homesickness I always feel after I've been there hit sooner and was much more intense than usual, a longing that can't be denied. I should have allowed myself more time to absorb it all.

Today's realities can't be denied either. Expecting Mike to care for two dogs, two cats and himself in my 30 hour absence was pushing the limit. I confessed my deceit to him when I returned and he soon forgave me, still insisting that he would have been okay with my going alone, and my knowing he wouldn't have. Gus bathed my face with puppy love and Jay-Jay's tail wagged happily until he went to sleep last night. I spent most of the night in my Plantersville Dreamland, riding my bike, hitting tennis balls, struggling with homework, dressing up in silly costumes for the school play, forgetting my lines, forgetting my recital music, etc.

I only shot 5 pictures this week-end before my camera's batteries died. A couple of people promised to send theirs to me. George posted a few before taking off for Florida this morning. If we have another event like this, I want a photographer to make each person's picture immediately after they sign in and get their name tag. I knew a majority of them, but some I'm still not sure about. I wanted a group shot of those who attended, but they were too spread out in the gym and several were not able to climb the bleachers. I estimate at least 150 people were there. Some didn't stay for lunch, some didn't come until after lunch. Some stayed all day like I did, some didn't stay nearly long enough to suit me. We had plenty of food, and it was delicious.

George, you deserve a lot of credit for a very enjoyable reunion. Thank you for all the worrying and planning that you did, along with Burma Jo, Bill, and others. Principal Kenneth Jones, Asst. Principal Bill Horton, and custodian Jerry Hall were helpful and hospitable, too. We couldn't have done it without them.

The old school looks better than I ever thought it would. Only one building remains of those where I attended classes. We called it the "old high school building," with auditorium. The exterior was recognizable and parts of the interior, but a library is in the space where the auditorium used to be, and offices are in the stage space. A few of the old composites of senior classes are on the library walls, but I remember there being many more adorning the hallways at one time. Wonder where they are? Several people brought old pictures and I could have spent the rest of the day poring over them.

Another suggestion for the next event: Have a scanner and computer with someone scanning and uploading old photos to a reunion website. We could have kept someone busy doing nothing but that all day, 2 or 3 people, in fact. It would need to be someone not interested in visiting, a non-P'villian, perhaps, even though, it would be unfair to expect anyone not to be interested in talking to one of this world's most fascinating groups of people.

Oh, what a foretaste of Glory Divine!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My car has been serviced, my clothes are ready and the house is almost clean. I still feel like I'm forgetting something. Mike relented and took care of my car. Camera, batteries, photo album, old pictures, road music, what else do I need? Maybe it will come to me.

Benji and Karen are packing to move back to Memphis. They've each earned new degrees, enjoyed a semester in Ireland and produced a baby boy while in Illinois. Not bad for their 3 year stint. Congratulations to both of you. Benji, remind me again exactly what the degrees are; I'm sure my memory is not sharp enough to relate it accurately. I know yours is another Master's and Karen's is a Ph.D., but in what?
He has an interview for a full-time teaching job at one of the Memphis colleges tomorrow, so everybody send their prayers and best luck wishes in his direction. If they are serious about their students being "challenged every day to think critically, grow spiritually, and change the world," then Benji is their man. I just hope his critical thinking, his spirituality and his world-changing ideas are the brand they're looking for. I'm afraid they may be too conservative for his liberal bent, another square peg/round hole situation, but maybe not. It's a place to start. What happened to the job offer from Ole Miss? The commute may be worth it.
I did think of something else I need to do before leaving - clean the inside of my car. I hope everybody has a great week-end like I'm planning to do. I may not post again until Monday. We've got a full day Sunday including a birthday party to attend. Look for lots of pictures next week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mike has gone to lunch in Crystal Springs with Ron, and I'm trying to decide exactly what all I need to get done before I take off Friday for Tupelo. Laundry, for sure, but I need to do some housecleaning, too. Ron is coming to stay with Mike while I'm gone and he's like a fussy old maid when it comes to a messy house; at least, that's what Mike said. The carpet has new stains from sick puppies and from their being inside so much recently during all the rain we've had. That professional carpet shampoo didn't last nearly as long as I hoped it would. Replacing all the carpet in this house with something more pet proof is close to the top of my wish list for home improvements. I'm sick of this nasty carpet. I do appreciate Ron agreeing to come while I'm gone and helping out with the dogs.

I also need to get the oil changed in my car, the gas tank filled, and the car washed and cleaned inside. Mike usually does this for me, but asked this morning if I would mind doing it myself this time. See what I mean about the favors being so out-of-balance around here?

I went with Mike to his aquatherapy this morning. Anna, his OT, made a one-handed shoe spoon for him last week that has come in so handy. I thanked her profusely. Now if she could just figure out an easy way for him to get out of his wet swim clothes without assistance, I could stay at home when he has these sessions. It's still more than he can handle with one hand.

I'm making the trip to Tupelo by myself, even though he thinks Betsy is going with me. It's the only way I could get him to stay at home. Nothing would bore him more than a reunion in my hometown, and nothing would diminish my enjoyment of it like having him with me. Rather than telling him up front that I'm going by myself, I'll wait until I'm already in Tupelo or after I get home and tell him that Betsy backed out at the last minute. It's the only way I know to do it without a fight. He would insist on going with me for safety reasons. I'd rather stay at home than take him. Either way, I would be terribly angry with him, and I'd rather avoid fighting with him, if at all possible. I wish I could level with him and get a cool-headed, mature response from him. Unfortunately, he seems incapable of that. His short fuse would ignite and ugly words would be snarled and shouted. I'll skip that every chance I get.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The kennel cough has spread to one of my neighbor's dogs. Paden, Art's Pomeranian, got sick last night, so now he's had a vet visit, a shot, and he's got medicine to take, except he got pills instead of drops. There is a vaccine for this, according to Art, which Paden had in May, but it's not 100% effective. I know now why I didn't have children and pets at the same time.

I got a sweet note from Tarah today, along with some pictures they took when they were here last fall. I thought this was a good picture of this beautiful niece and her twins, Sawyer and Griffin. This was made a couple of months before Cyrus was born. We were at the nursing home visiting Mother.Here's one of me and the grumpy old man I live with, made on our family excursion to the Jackson Zoo.Thanks, Tarah, for the pictures and the invite. I would love to visit Boston sometime. It's on my list of places to see before I die.
I got a haircut, a manicure, and a pedicure today, so I feel feminine again, amazing what a little pampering can do. I've lost another pound, too, so that's a total of 7 since June 7th. The exercise really does help, in case any of you skeptics out there doubted it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I had the pool to myself for this morning's exercise, Pam and Jean were busy doing other things. The water was cooler than it's been, but it got down in the 60's last night, so I should have expected that. The sun was warm though, and it took my body no time to adjust. After a 2 week spell of no exercise, I was very tired at the end of my hour. I worked all my major muscles and a few minor ones, and my tan got rejuvenated, too.

I'm listening to the Beatles Abbey Road album and ripping a few of my favorites to my computer, including Paul McCartney's "Oh, Darling." The album is described extensively on Wikipedia with an article on each cut, interesting to read while listening, but difficult to do that and type a blog, plus I've got a Scrabble game going, too. And "Golden Slumbers" is bringing tears to my eyes. No wonder it takes me so long to type 3 paragraphs sometimes.

My neighbor Art loaned the CD to me yesterday so Mike could make a copy of it, which earned me the title "Hero of the Day," by my hubby. Even though he has the album on vinyl and the necessary gear for transferring it to CD, he didn't want to go to the trouble to find it and do it that way. From CD to CD is so much easier, and it's one of his all-time favorite albums that I've heard him wish for several times.

What is it about reunions that makes me want to listen almost exclusively to old music? I've been preferring that ever since George started planning for our shindig in P'ville this week-end. Strange how the brain works sometimes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The St. Philip's Choir sang for a large wedding yesterday, an SRO crowd. Lester Hailey's daughter got married and it was the biggest wedding I've attended there. I heard several compliments on the music afterwards. With a full choir, David on the pipe organ, and the string quartet, it was a lovely affair.

David was not playing for church this morning, but had called Adam to fill in. Adam must have been having an off day, he played as many wrong notes as right ones. I probably should volunteer to fill in for David when he's gone. If he would give me a few lessons on how the pipe organ works, I could get us through a Sunday service adequately. I might not be able to do anything fancy, but I know I wouldn't hit more sour notes than we heard today. It was embarrassing. The few choir members who were there were rolling their eyes and giggling. Poor Adam.

I sat with Betsy, who had the nerve to compare us to the sisters in today's scripture - Mary and Martha. According to her, she was always stuck in the kitchen while I was in the living room chatting with the guests. I'm not sure that's right, but that's the way she remembers it. I've been stuck in the kitchen plenty while she buzzed around socializing. We had lunch after church at McAllister's. Mike is having a Bub day with Jon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

There are times when, in the course of caring for my husband, I begin to feel resentment and self-pity. The scales get out of balance with my giving all the care and him enjoying all the care. I need to feel cared for, too. At those times, it helps to review this Caregiver's Bill of Rights:

Caregiver's Bill of Rights

I have the right to take care of myself. This is not an act of
selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of
my relative.

I have the right to seek help from others even though my relative
may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and

I have the right to maintain facets of my own life that do not
include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were
healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this
person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.

I have the right to get angry, be depressed, and express other
difficult feelings occasionally.

I have the right to reject any attempts by my relative (either
conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt and/or

I have the right to receive consideration, affection, forgiveness,
and acceptance from my loved one for what I do, for as long as I
offer these qualities in return.

I have the right to take pride in what I am accomplishing and to
applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of
my relative.

I have the right to protect my individuality and my right to make
a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my relative
no longer needs my full-time help.

I have the right to expect and demand that as new strides are
made in finding resources to physically and mentally impaired
persons in our country, similar strides will be made toward aiding
and supporting caregivers.

A good deal of ambivalence comes with taking care of my own needs. Maybe it's all that self-sacrificing I was programmed to do in my younger days. If I were a real saint, maybe it would have taken, but I'm not and it didn't. Frequently, I'm reminded how very unsaintly I am. I've questioned values that I took for granted and I've reached conclusions never before considered. It's not just certain connections in the stroke victim's brain that get altered, but professional, personal, and social connections, too. I've been forced to re-define our marriage and it's nothing like I ever wanted.

Am I abandoning my husband who still needs so much help? No, I could never do that and live peaceably with myself. But I am once again detaching and trying to do it in the most loving way I know how. It's not the first time, and it probably won't be the last. I get so enmeshed in him and his needs sometimes that I quickly lose sight of Cathy until she's angry or depressed about being neglected.

Then I take her on a solo flight for some much needed R&R and fight like hell not to feel guilty for enjoying myself without him. I usually find the caregiving is easier after I've concentrated on me for a little while and that alleviates the guilt that nags around the outer edges of my conscience. The scales feel balanced again until the favors I do for him far outweigh those he does for me, so then I do enough favors for myself to catch up. It's not quite as methodical as it sounds, but that's basically how it works.

Every once in a while a friend shows up who offers to do some favors for me, and it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to turn them down. It depends on what is being offered and how needy I'm feeling at the time. The hard part is not attaching more significance to these random acts of kindness than is there. Just be grateful and kind in return and try not to let this scale get unbalanced, too.

For everything there is a season...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why do I always feel saner after talking to Skip? Not only is he my favorite cousin, but he's also a good friend and counselor. No one accepts me totally the way he does without judgement, without interference, without lecturing. He's like a new and improved version of Daddy, a father-figure who sees me as a grown woman with adult needs and problems, not as a darling daughter in need of protection from the cold, cruel world. My most unconventional thoughts are safe with him; my life is richer with him in it. Thanks, Skip, for being here as often as you are and for being who you are. The only thing that would make me happier would be an increased frequency in your visits. And yes, I know the highway runs in both directions. Maybe I can slip off to Folsom the next time I need an escape from my mate's madness. You wouldn't mind if I brought Gus and Jay-Jay with me, would you? I'll make sure they're not sick when I come.

Speaking of sick puppies, mine are still harking and coughing. When I cooked hamburgers for lunch and they didn't come to the kitchen begging, I knew they were still feeling very poorly. Gus had a really rough night, spent most of it under the bed. I was hoping to see improvement in their condition before now, but have learned since then that it takes several days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Skip just called from Georgetown. He's been delayed by a flat tire, but is on his way. He's stopping in Crystal Springs to buy BBQ for our dinner. He finally has a cell phone! Welcome to the 21st century, Cuz!

I met George for lunch today at the Visitor's Center on the Trace. He brought his own sandwich and I picked up a Santa Fe Salad at Arby's. Our picnic table was much more conducive to conversation than most of the noisy restaurants where we've been. I always enjoy talking to George. It's a regular connection to our hometown that I don't share with anyone else.

This is the first day it hasn't rained in about two weeks, but the day isn't over. There's still a 40% chance of showers, they say. The grass in our yard grew halfway to my knee in the past week. I sure am glad we have a dependable yard service to cut it regularly. The rose bushes that I trimmed so radically just a month ago are bushed out with buds already. I've always heard that roses love water and sunshine. Mine should be very happy and give me roses in a few days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mike had aquatherapy this morning, so I had to go and help him get changed to his swimsuit, then back to his clothes. We had lunch at Ryan's afterward. It came a downpour while we were there and has been raining steady ever since.

Gus and Jay-Jay are still coughing, but not as bad as they were. They don't like their medicine, but are taking it. I have to hold them while Mike squirts the medicine in their mouths with the dropper. They seem to be sleeping more than usual, or maybe it just seems that way since Clay and Cooper left. Our whole world seems to be slowed down since they left. Thanks to sharp-eyed Cooper, who noticed my garage door opener still clipped to his Mom's van's visor before they got out of town.

The radio station I'm listening to this afternoon is 1970's Top 40 Hits. Some of this I don't recall ever hearing before. The ones I enjoyed singing along to came to be called Bubblegum Pop, or the softer side of rock, but I liked the more hard-hitting rhythym for dancing, which keeps pulling me out of this seat and to my feet. Right now it's Sly and the Family Stone on "Thank you falletin me be mice elf agin." I understand that Shrek III included this being done by Shrek and Donkey. Sorry, but I can't sit this one out.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Company's gone, husband's gone, and the dogs are in the hospital. It's too damn quiet around here. It was quite a shock to my system when I realized how all alone I was.

The dogs were sick all night, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, trembling, so I took them in first thing this morning. It's probably just a bad case of kennel cough, but the vet has been in surgery all morning and hasn't seen them yet. His assistant Carol thinks that's what it is, and she has a lot of experience with dogs, but she's not a vet, so until Doc Adams examines them, we won't know. 2:00 Update: Chronic tracheobronchitis, aka kennel cough, so Carol was right. They each got a shot and some medicine to take twice a day. Total bill? $214.00! Whoever said there's no such thing as a free puppy was right.
I've really enjoyed my grandsons, two of the brightest, sweetest kids I've been around since their dad and uncle were that age. Clay's ADHD is not being treated this summer, so the silliness factor goes way up and impulse control goes down, but he's got a huge appetite when not on Adderall and needs the growth spurt he's experienced since the school year ended. I have a new understanding of why the little blue pill comes in so handy, at times.
We didn't do much Saturday. It rained for several hours, so we just hung around the house chilling. We went to the bowling alley that afternoon, but the waiting list was longer than I wanted to wait for. On Sunday, we tried again, this time with Mary Ann, and got a lane after about an hour. It's a super nice facility, no cigarette smoke, no beer, no bad language, families with children everywhere, quite different from the way I remember bowling alleys. The bowlers and the spectators enjoyed the two games they played. Afterward, we went to Sicily's Italian Buffet (I've never seen Clay eat so much), then to Wal-Mart.

Cooper designed some hot cars while he was here on a video game he has. It's similar to the building and customizing of model cars like Mike's generation used to do, but without the glue to sniff, and not a Mustang passes on the street without his notice.

I've got to get back to my exercise routine, and get my house ready for more company on Weds. when Skip will be here. Praying friends remember Gus and Jay-Jay today and Mary Ann and the boys on their drive back to Baldwyn.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Today's Scripture includes the story of the Good Samaritan. I like the way Barbara Crafton of GeraniumFarm.org tells it, so with her permission, I'll use her version of it for today's post:

The Right Answer

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?"

He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live." -- Luke 10:25-28

Almost everyone thinks that faith involves believing the right thing. Jesus' questioner was a lawyer, one who made his living by defining his terms. He must have thought that faith was like everything else in his life, a matter of getting it right: the right answer, the right conduct, the right opinion. Tell me what's right. I want to know.

But no. It turns out that faith is not a secret code of rightness that will unlock the treasure of eternal life. It turns out that faith is a relationship with God and with the world, and that the name of this relationship is love.

Again, a lawyer would be frustrated here: Well, what is love? A feeling? An obligation? A decision? He would need some specificity, he felt, in order to understand. No further explanation was forthcoming.

Instead, a story: a man is in serious need of help, and a stranger whose people are at odds with the injured man's people helps him, when his own religious authorities won't. The two are brought together in the story for a moment and then we hear no more -- nothing about eternity, no angels, no voices complimenting the Samaritan on his good behavior. He goes on his way with a promise to come and finish his good work, if need be.

It turns out there's no secret code, no hidden key. There's no need of one: eternal life isn't locked. Anybody can live as a lover of God and neighbor, just by walking out his front door and looking around at what needs to be done. And then doing the first thing that presents itself. And then another. And another. As many as you want -- they're all your neighbors. And the Christ who lives in you also lives in each of them.

+ Pentecost 7, Proper 10, Year C
Amos 7:7-17 or Deuteronomy 30:9-14 * Psalm 82 or 25:1-10 * Colossians 1:1-14 * Luke 10:25-37

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This column by Dr. Dobson from today's paper explained some of what I went through as a child, who probably had some sort of ADD. I was very rarely described as quiet, withdrawn or sedate, though. I was more of a smart-aleck, class clown and quite often reprimanded for daydreaming, not paying attention, not finishing my work, performing poorly on tests, not turning in homework. Most of my teachers called me lazy and scatter-brained. "You are smart enough to make straight A's if you would work at it," they told me often. The repetition required for most students bored me to tears, of course, my mind was a million miles away! "Underachiever" appears in several places on my transcript.

Question and Answer

My daughter has some of the symptoms of ADD, but she is a very quiet child. Are some ADD kids withdrawn and sedate?

Yes. ADD is not always associated with hyperactivity, especially in girls. Some of them are "dreamy" and detached. Regrettably, they are sometimes called "airheads" or "space cadets." Such a child can sit looking at a book for 45 minutes without reading a word. One teacher told me about a girl in her class who would lose every article of clothing that wasn't hooked to her body. Nearly every day, the teacher would send this child back to the playground to retrieve her sweater or coat, only to have her return fifteen minutes later without it. She had forgotten what she went after. A boy or girl with that kind of distractibility would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get home night after night with books and assignments written down, and then to complete the work and turn it in the next morning.

Frankly, the "faraway" child worries me more than the one who is excessively active. She may be seen as a good little girl who just isn't very bright, while the troublemaker is more likely to get the help he needs. He's too irritating to ignore.

Those who are and are not hyperactive have one characteristic in common. It is distractibility. Even though they flit from one thing to another, the name attention deficit disorder is not quite on target. It's better than the old term ("minimal brain damage"), but there is also misinformation in the current designation. The problem is not that these children have a short attention span. At times, they can become lost in something that greatly interests them to the point that they aren't aware of anything going on around them. Instead, they have an insatiable need for mental stimulation during every waking moment. The moment they become bored with what they are doing, they dash off in search of the next exciting possibility. One father told me about his four-year-old son with ADD. He said, "If you let that kid get bored, you deserve what he's going to do to you." That applies to millions of children.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Clay and Cooper had fun playing at Vance's today. They fished, rode his ATV and shot their slingshots and BB pistol. They were quite muddy when they came home.

He's putting in a swimming pool complete with hot tub, which should be completed within another week. It's really nice. Harlee wouldn't have anything to do with me until I asked if she wanted to go outside.

Clay and Cooper are in favor of building on the lot next door to Vance. They foresee a 4 wheeler and dirt bike in their future in Mississippi. Now if by some miracle, AT&T could move Rick's job to Jackson, we'd all be happy, but the latest on that is not very encouraging.

Tomorrow I'm planning to take the boys to the new bowling alley that was just opened in our neighborhood over the Memorial Day week-end. Sunday, being THE DAY OF REST may be nothing more special than going to the swimming pool here.

It's been raining steadily since about 4:00. We had strong winds earlier, up to 60 MPH, according to the weatherman, but no tornadoes. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the trees and grass have turned a vibrant green again. The high temp was only 86* today under a mostly cloudy sky. Sweeeet!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Our Thursday started kinda slow, but picked up speed after the boys got up around 10:30. Rather than eat breakfast, they decided to wait until we met Mike for lunch and ate a good meal then. Then Mike took them to the movie while I went shopping. I picked them up after the movie and took them to the Bass Pro Shop to buy Clay's birthday gift, a soft air BB pistol. He was 13 last month.They also got a slingshot each. These pictures show them shooting from my back porch because it was raining. We made a target on cardboard with spray paint.They shot several rounds in the laser gallery at the BPS and got several hits. I played one round and got 2/20 hits. Cecil would not have been proud of me, but it was the first time I've shot a gun in several decades. I used to get at least 4 out of the 5 squirrels on his practice target, sometimes all 5.

I don't think they went to sleep until after midnight. I went to bed around 11, meaning to check on them after a short while, but didn't wake up again until about 3:30. They were sleeping like little angels together in the big bed in our guest bedroom. For some reason, they decided to do that rather than sleep in the single beds in my office.

We went to the pool about a half hour before sunset last night, and stayed for an hour, so we got to see the closing day's colorful sky over the lake. It was beautiful. I got my exercise done, and they swam and played. We were all quite hungry when we got back to the house, so I fixed waffles, pancakes, and pizza.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Clay and Cooper are due to arrive this afternoon. Ricky has asked that I keep them busy doing things other than watching TV. I may let them help me paint my screen doors, maybe a mural on the hot tub side panel and the door to the storage room. Wonder if they have any experience doing graffiti with spray paint? My garage walls could use some color. Does anyone see messy in my future? We'll spend plenty of time at the pool, too. Vance is taking them fishing Friday. Mike wants to take them to see Shreck III. They may not get to see much TV at all.

I have a new appreciation for the people who have sent back the survey. I love learning things I didn't know about people whom I thought I knew well. They seem even more multi-faceted to me now than before. I have a bad habit of classifying people by stereotypes, but the truth is, no one really ever fits the mold I try to put them in. Something atypical is usually there to make me take a longer look.

It's been raining most of the morning, so I didn't go to the pool. Maybe that's why I'm getting more e-mail this morning than usual. Is everybody stuck inside avoiding the rain? Oh well, whatever the reason, I'm enjoying it.

Mustang Sally has been grounded, she was about to get me in a heap of trouble. Mustang Mama (the original title of the hit song, changed when Aretha Franklin suggested Mustang Sally) had to take the keys away from her. It's a good thing she doesn't come around very often. It had been so long since I saw her outside my dreams, I thought she was gone for good, but she's still here, trying to entice me into reckless and careless behavior. I can't control how often she shows up in my dreams, but I can control how often she shows up when I'm not dreaming, thank God. Maybe a smidgen of wisdom came with the gray hair?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mary Ann came and spent last night with us. She left this morning going to a Premier meeting in Texas. Lori is bringing Clay and Cooper tomorrow as she drives back from their mother's to Gautier. They will be here until Sunday or Monday, then are going back to Jeanette's after Mary Ann returns on Saturday night. Ricky chose to stay in Tampa with Shelties Tucker and Maggie as his only company for the two weeks his family is in MS. He's going to get really lonesome while they're gone, if I know my son as well as I think I do. I was really disappointed that he elected not to come, but he thought two weeks was too long to be away from home, even though he works remotely while he's here. I hope he eventually gets over his aversion to Mississippi and decides to use his Brandon lot for a new house.

I got stopped by the Flowood police this morning going 58 in a 40 MPH zone, and this time they didn't let me go with a warning, even though I begged him not to write the citation. I was driving Mary Ann's van on the new road between Lakeland and Old Fannin. I don't recall seeing a speed sign, but I didn't argue with him. Flowood police are notorious when it comes to speeders and I was totally oblivious to the speed I was doing until I saw blue lights. Simon and Garfunkle's "Feeling Groovy" immediately started playing itself in my head:

Slow down, you move too fast,
you've got to make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobble-stones,
lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy
Feeling groovy
Hello lamp-post, what's cha knowin',
I've come to watch your flowers growin'
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me,
do-it-do-do-do, feelin' groovy
Feeling groovy
I've got no deeds to do,
no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life I love you, all is groovy.

Should I read more into this than is there? Do I need to slow down with anything I'm doing other than driving? Probably. I'll consider myself warned. Driving away from this unfortunate encounter, I heard a different song, Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally:

Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down.
Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down.
You been running all over the town now.

Oh! I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.

One of these early mornings, oh, you gonna be wiping your weeping eyes.
I bought you a brand new mustang 'bout nineteen sixty five
Now you come around signifying a woman,
you don't wanna let me ride.

Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down.
You been running all over the town now.
Oh! I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thunderstorms and nervous dogs, they go together at my house. Last week it was thunderstorms, fireworks and nervous dogs. I'm loving this rain, even though it cut our pool time short this morning. I wonder how much rainfall deficit remains, not the 17" they reported last week, surely.

I had a very pleasant Sunday except for the little while I had to put up with the petulant Mr. Hyde side of Mike's Dr. Jekyll, who had been to Margarita's for a Bub Day with Jon and Trish. Katey, one of his favorite trainers from the gym, was also there, so in addition to drinking too much, he also sat in his car listening to music with Katey after lunch. Maybe she was trying to make sure he was sober enough to drive. Katey is 22, much too young, cute and smart to get involved with someone like Mike as anything other than a friend. He seemed terribly flattered that she was interested in hearing the CD of his old band. I just hope he didn't make a fool of himself.

I'm glad I have diversions of my own to help keep my mind off my husband's problems. Sometimes he is like a stranger to me. He's nothing like the man I married, that's for sure. He probably says the same thing about me. Since he had his stroke, I feel much more like "nurse to a stroke patient," or "mother to an adolescent," than wife.

In sickness and in health, isn't that what we promised? I still love him, but it's nothing like the love I felt 15 years ago. I was so hoping that our relationship would grow and be enriched over the years. I think we wrung most of the good from it early. I used to say divorce is not an option because he was on my medical insurance and due to his health problems, could not get insurance elsewhere, but now that he's on Medicare, I don't have to worry about that. If I have to endure one more blistering tirade of temper after he's been out drinking with his buddies, I'm leaving, for a few days, at least. I went out driving and shopping yesterday while he cooled off. He called several times and left apologetic messages, but I didn't answer my phone until I was on my way home.

Betsy and I had lunch at Sun Koon, then I went shopping at Steinmart and Michael's. She has again decided she likes the Episcopal Church more than the Methodist Church. After moving back to Gardner St., she tried to get used to walking across the street to Broadmeadow, but just wasn't comfortable there. Whether it was the indifferent attitude of their Choir Director or their theology or just what it was that disturbed her, I'm not sure. So she's back at St. Philip's. I hope this time she stays.

I couldn't believe she came home from New York without an autographed copy of Sarah's book. She read most of it while she was there and really liked it, she said. They are planning a trip down here in October. By then, I will have my own copy for Sarah to autograph. Maybe they will be here when we have the Goat Roast at St. Philip's.

I've gotten a couple more replies back on the "Just for Fun" survey I sent out. My brother's made me laugh out loud. He's really a great writer.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Waking up to rain and 72* in July in Mississippi is a blessing of mercy from our Creator. Thank you, Lord. According to the earlier radar, there were three wet systems headed straight for Rankin County. They seem to have morphed into one large system and one small one. We may get a soaker, yet. I just hope the Texas floods don't come with it.

I always hesitate to thank God for the good weather without wondering how that same merciful God allows catastrophic weather. Seeing his hand only in the good weather and not the bad seems rather hypocritical to me. Jesus said the sun rises on good and evil alike, the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. In other words, don't read more into it than is there. Those who were quick to blame the gays in New Orleans for Katrina were, I believe, very short-sighted. The Apostle Paul struggled with this issue, too:

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. (Romans 9:14-16)

He goes on to say we shouldn't question God about his seemingly capricious nature. In the previous chapter, he says that those who love God will see good in whatever happens, no matter how catastrophic the situation may be.

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (BCP)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thanks to my friend LaRue for this interesting survey. I did learn new things about her and about my daughter-in-law Mary Ann, the only one who has responded to the one I sent out. She sent it out last year, she said, and I was the only one who didn't respond. I don't recall ever seeing it, but that doesn't mean I haven't. Sorry, dear, I must have been in one of my foggy funks, and thanks for indulging me. Since I've nothing else much to say today, I'll let this be today's post.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Cathy from my mother Cathryn, Jo from my father Joseph
After I dreamed about losing my dog Gus.
Yes, it’s one of the things I get compliments on regularly.
Deli-sliced lean ham
Two sons, Ricky and Benji
It would be a challenge.
A lot, I’ve tried to use it less, but it’s pretty deeply ingrained.
No, not since 1953, or was it 54? My sister and I were in the hospital at the same time Aleene Sample was giving birth to Marilyn.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Only if it were a matter of life and death.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? South Beach Cinnamon Raisin Cereal Bar. I have one every morning with coffee.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? I very rarely wear shoes with laces. Even my “walking shoes” are slip-ons. I hate chunky athletic shoes. I’ve never seen any that weren’t ugly.

My faith is strong, which has brought me through several life threatening events. My father likened me to a cat, always landing on my feet.

Butter pecan

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Whether they seem comfortable in their own skin, they’re usually smiling and friendly.
15. RED OR PINK? My nails are usually red, but I love pink, too.

My sweet tooth
My children, Plantersville friends
Yes, please
Hot pink shorts and flip-flops
Homemade vegetable & chicken soup
NBC Evening news
Boiling peanuts, cornbread cooking, cinnamon rolls, too
Very much
Whatever my grandkids are playing
Dark brown with increasing gray
Sometimes blue, sometimes green, depends on what I’m wearing.
Boiled shrimp
Happy endings
Dream Girls
Hot pink tank top
Spring and fall
Hugs and kisses, all I can get, love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em.
Caramel cake
French Women Don’t Get Fat

A New York Life website ad

Classical sacred choral music

El Paso, Texas

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Do something patriotic today: watch this video.

Happy 4th of July!

I had the most unpleasant dining experience at Corky's I've ever had. I was seated in a booth facing the bar and one of it's 3 TV sets, which was tuned to ESPN's hot dog eating contest. Yuck! I can't think of anything more unappetizing to dine by. I should have asked for a different seat or for the TV channel to be changed. I seemed to be the only customer or employee paying any attention to it. I tried not to watch it, but, like a hypnotized idiot, I couldn't make my eyes focus on anything else. It's no wonder the rest of the world sees Americans as gluttonous couch potatoes. And when did binging and barfing become a sport worthy of coverage on ESPN? Surely this has to be an "only in America" event.

The neighborhood cook-out was going strong at the pool earlier, but it was way too hot out there for me. The temp is only 86, but the humidity is around 70%, so I'll leave it to those who enjoy sweating more than I do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

After many more hours than I intended to spend, the kitchen floor mat is finished. There are numerous spots I'd paint differently if I had a do-over, but I've promised myself not to tackle anything this large again for a long time. It was a messy, awkward process and I have a new understanding of the high price tags I saw in the gift shop where I got my inspiration. Much like the fireplace screens I built and painted, the material is inexpensive, but the labor is very time-consuming. I would not give these items to anyone unless I knew for sure they would be appreciated. They aren't works of perfection, the flaws and mistakes are too easy to spot, but they are originals, and they're valuable to me. I'm not to the point of wanting to mass produce and market them. I usually get tired of the projects before I finish, so I'm ready to move to something entirely different.

The second picture shows the wallpaper border in the kitchen from which I selected the colors.

Dubya seems determined to go lower in the popularity polls than any president in the history of our country. Giving Libby a get out of jail free card has angered folks in both parties. The albatross around the necks of the Republican candidates gets heavier as a win for the Democrats gets easier. The revelations that will come from this corrupt administration once it's over will be fodder for several best sellers. As Joe Wilson says, "Nothing surprises me anymore." Keith Olberman's Special Comment should be rich tonight. That's on MSNBC at 7 pm CST for you Fox fans.

I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July. Mike and I are planning to eat BBQ at Corky's, our tradition since Gridley's closed. And Happy 3rd Anniversary to Benji and Karen.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Being back at church after my 5 week hiatus was a real treat, like finding an oasis in a desert. I didn't expect the choir to be singing; last I heard, we were given the month of July off. David's mother and brother from North Carolina were visiting, though, so we sang in exchange for the first Sunday in August off plus the rest of the July Sundays. I didn't go to the 9:30 rehearsal, but got there in time to get my robe on and sing anyway. The two anthems were familiar, so I didn't have any trouble remembering them. David seemed extremely pleased with our performance on each of them. If his mother and brother have an ounce of the musical talent he has, I'm sure they were impressed.

Mike and I had lunch at Arby's after church, then went to the new Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild Gallery in Ridgeland. It's been open less than a month and houses some of the most exquisite handiwork! I must take Skip there when he comes. He will love it.

The weather channel keeps predicting rain showers, and the radar shows showers all around us, but so far, nary a drop for us. We got lots of thunder and lightning last night, but no rain. The Pearl River looks low enough below the dam to wade across from one bank to the other. A reporter from the Clarion Ledger called Friday to see if, as a Reservoir resident, I was concerned about the water level on the lake, and whether or not it had interfered with my boating or fishing. I told her to call my brother about the boating and fishing, but that I was concerned about our lack of rain in general, not just on the lake. We're still several inches below the average rainfall for this time of year. Judging by the number of boats and jet skis we saw on the lake, though, it doesn't seem to bother many of them.