Friday, August 31, 2007

On August 24, 1985, I was sailing with a friend on Sardis Lake when a sudden storm appeared. The wind was strong and reversed its direction, making it impossible for us to tack our way in the tiny two-seater to the shore. A park ranger sat on the hill in his car blinking his lights as a signal for all boaters to get off the water immediately. There was a bass tournament going on, so all boats but ours were fishing boats with motors. Seeing the difficulty we were having, he sent one of the fishing boats back to tow us in.

In the confusion of trying to catch the tow rope tossed to us, my friend lost his footing and went overboard. The rain was coming down hard, the wind was strong, and lightning cracked dangerously close. The fishermen managed to pull Mo from the water, but in the meantime, the sailboat was blown further in the opposite direction. Rather than turn around to come rescue me, the four men in the fishing boat headed to the shore, leaving me to fend for myself. "Better one drown than five," they concluded, as I watched them disappear in the darkness that enveloped me.

I, who had never been in a sailboat in my life before that day, prepared to meet my Maker. "It's up to you, Lord, whether I live or whether I die. I'm ok with whatever you decide." A peaceful calm settled in my soul as I was tossed by high waves on a lake that had just an hour before been so serene. There was nothing left to do. The rain was so hard it stung, so I wrapped beach towels around me. And I began recalling Baptist hymns about storms, so I began singing.

I’ve seen the lightning flashing, I’ve heard the thunder roll.
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul...
He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone!

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me...

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o'er the wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,
The answer is blowing in the wind...
(okay, so that one hasn't made it to the Baptist Hymnal yet)

For the next 90 minutes, words came to me that I didn't realize I knew, and couldn't recall afterward, and I sang them loudly in defiance of the destructive force swirling around me. The park ranger contacted the sheriff's office to bring the dragnet, so sure he was that I was gone. Mo sat in his truck crying throughout the whole storm. He had tried to persuade the fishermen to go back for me to no avail.

Finally, the storm blew away and the sun broke through. The sailboat had been blown out of the bay into the larger lake, completely out of sight of those on the bank, but I heard the boat motors when the fishermen started out to search for me. It didn't take them long to find me. My relieved and elated friend Mo was in the second boat that arrived, and he made sure his friend and sailboat were towed to safety. Needless to say, I've had no interest in sailing since that day.

I relate this favorite August story to preserve it for posterity. I've always thought it was the tailwinds of Hurricane Juan, but according to Wikipedia, Juan did not develop until two months after this occurred, and there were no hurricanes blowing through Oxford on that day. There were tornado warnings, I learned later, so maybe it was just one of our pop-up summer storms. I know the remembered date is correct because it was midway between LaRue's birthday on the 21st and Don's on the 27th, one of those trivial facts that floated through the flotsam that day. I could probably dig into the Oxford newspapers for that week and find exact data for the weather conditions, but is it really that important? Just another reason that stories need to be written down when the details are still clear.

The important thing I want my grandchildren to know is that your Gramma has enjoyed the adventures of life. They didn't all turn out like I hoped, but I survived, with the help of the Good Lord, and usually learned a thing or two from each one. This particular adventure taught me that sailing is not my thing. Praying always helps, as does singing.

But the main thing is:


O, God Thy Sea Is So Great And My Boat Is So Small
Prayer of the Breton fisherman

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We started choir rehearsal again last night after two months of having Weds. nights off. It's always been two of my favorite hours of every week and I've missed it. I added a third hour to the routine last night, eating dinner at the Lacy's afterward, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Why I've deprived myself of that pleasure for so long is incredibly tragic.
I had to set a firm boundary with Mike, telling him not to sit up waiting on me to come home. I'm not a teenager with a curfew, I said, and I don't want to be treated like one. To please him, I heretofore have been coming home and skipping the choir dinners, so he could go to bed and not worry about me. Codependent to the core! Resentful and depressed, too.
Something has happened to the depression, though, and I've been happier this summer than I've been in a long time. Has the Zoloft finally kicked in? The sunshine and pool time? What? It's like the Eeyore cloud has finally left me. I've got more energy and a much brighter outlook on life. Actually wanting to socialize more is an about face for me.
Maybe it's just realizing that I've catered to my stroke patient long enough. He can be demanding, controlling, even manipulative, and the more I give in to that, the worse he gets. I've got to live my own life and quit thinking of myself as a trapped 24-7 caregiver. I've given him the freedom to go and do exactly what he wants to do, no questions asked, no nagging, no restrictions, and he will afford me the same courtesy, whether he wants to or not.
I made this declaration of independence to a few friends last night and got nothing but positive feedback and encouragement, something else that helped me feel really good about the new direction I'm taking. If any in my small group of readers notices any whining or self-pity, please call me on it. I want Eeyore to take his cloud back and keep it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I have picked up a regular reader from Mississippi, Department of Information Technology, and I'm not sure who it is. Please, dear reader, would you identify yourself to me? I know you aren't a creepy lurker, but I get a creepy feeling from realizing you know so much about me, and I don't even know who you are. You must know me, or else you wouldn't find much of interest in this blog. So which of my friends/acquaintances are you? My curiosity is getting the best of me. A simple email acknowledging this request would be much appreciated.

I got a phone call from Mac Vance, one of my mom's first cousins, this morning. Originally from Newton Co, MS, he's living in California and was back in Mississippi for a 50th class reunion for Union H.S. graduates. I wish I'd known ahead of time he would be here, we could have had lunch and visited in person. He had not heard that Mother died in March or that Mary Lou lost her house to Katrina. He told me of meeting one of our Vance cousins from Newton Co. when his wife was in a California hospital. She was a nurse at the hospital. It's a small world, after all...

And now for some long, overdue Gramma bragging... I got this from Mary Ann regarding my very smart grandsons Clay and Cooper:

Just thought I would make your day!!!!!
We got Clay and Cooper's FCAT scores for math and reading for last year.
BOTH boys scored in the top 99% on both subjects only missing 1-2 questions on each exam!!!!!! (out of 50-60 questions!)
Isn't that amazing! We were really excited for both of them since this helps them get into smaller hands-on classes in Middle School and High School! This also helps them get 1 step closer to FREE College in Florida! Yeah!!!!!!!!

Way to go, guys! I'm thrilled to hear it, just wish Mississippi could offer free college, too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

After considering the possibility of recording my neighbor's personal history, I began some Internet research to find out how others have done this and quickly discovered that there are now professional "Personal Historians" who do this and make hefty fees doing it. Why am I not surprised? It is the American way.

Of course, it can be done without the professionals getting involved. offers free websites for the DIY amateurs, as do many others. Youth groups in conjunction with their public libraries have undertaken similar projects. Public radio has promoted different programs to encourage preserving these stories. Garrison Keillor said, "My mother told me the other day that there's a lot she'd like to know but there's nobody left to ask. The door to the past is closed."

I was also reminded that there are no boring life stories.

“There was never yet an uninteresting life.
Such a thing is an impossibility.
Inside the dullest exterior,
there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.”

- Mark Twain

Two hours later. My pool conversation today included some talk with Pam and Jean of getting Jean to write down her life story. Pam had gone so far as to buy her a journal with all the pertinent questions, but she hasn't written in it, at all. When it became clear that her writing anything down was not going to happen, I proposed my interviewing her with a camcorder, which she also was against. She didn't express as much resistance to an audio recording. We, at least, got her to thinking about it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

An old African proverb says that every time an old person dies, another library burns down. I realized at the pool this morning that I've been given access to one of the most fascinating libraries I've ever visited. At 85, my friend Jean has a story that has to be preserved. Has she made an effort to write down or record any of her life experiences? I don't know, but I intend to find out. And if she needs my help in doing it, I would feel honored. Allowing her story to die with her would be something I would always regret. I should talk to Pam to see if there is a family member interested in helping me, and what, if anything, has been done, so far, like photo albums, journals, etc. I've got a couple of write-your-life-story type books around here that I could use as a guide, but I'd really like to make a video of the interviews, so as much of her brilliant personality can be captured as possible.

Agatha Christie once said: Autobiography is too grand a term. It suggests a purposeful study of one's whole life. It implies names, dates and places in a tidy chronological order. What I want is to plunge my hand into a lucky dip and come up with a handful of assorted memories.

Every day that I spend time in the pool with Jean is a "lucky dip," as she comes up with a handful of assorted memories every time. I should have been writing them all down, or at least making an effort to remember more of the details. She told me today of witnessing a violent act of road rage, then she and her daughter-in-law Sandra took off after the criminals to make a citizen's arrest. And that's just one of many she's shared with me. I can't allow them all to simply evaporate.

Blogging triggers memories and stories for me and one of the reasons I do it is so I can leave a record of my own experiences, told in my own way. We told Jean yesterday that she needs to get a computer and learn to "surf the web," but she reads 8 books a week, so has very little time to learn anything so complicated. "Besides," she said, "I believe computers are the work of the devil!" She's definitely one of the more colorful character's in my life's story.

Speaking of daughters-in-law and interesting characters, Mary Ann sent a copy of the flyer for the conference they're doing in October, featuring Amy Carroll of the Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you click on the link, it takes only a few seconds to download the PDF, which has a picture of Mary Ann's Praise and Worship group Mosaic. She is the beautiful brunette. Way to go, Mary Ann! That should be a birthday to remember!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I love the images evoked by our Old Testament reading today, especially the watered garden:

Isaiah 58

9 If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call the sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;
14 then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

I was reminded of this passage when I went to visit my neighbor Jean after lunch. Her little courtyard is lush with greenplants, and a water fountain bubbles for the perfect finishing touch. I want to make her picture in it, but she insists she hates having her picture made. She had a pair of shoes she wanted to give me. They were a perfect fit, black Peau de Soie sandals with a medium heel, and from Talbot's, no less! I was flabbergasted! She's a real sweetheart.
She and her daughter Pam visited St. Philip's today and liked it - our church is beautiful, the kneeler is spaced exactly right, the temperature was perfect, the children were not disruptive, the readers were excellent, the homily was great...They were especially complimentary of our choir, our organist, and the music in general. Not many churches are blessed with as much talent as we have. I think they liked it well enough to come again, I hope so. Their only complaint was about the lengthy announcements, which are already on the worship committee's chopping block. In fact, I think today was the last day we'll hear them.
And our lunch at Amerigo's was delightful. Jean is obviously one of their favorite regular customers, there were several other regulars and employees who came by to speak, and our waitress was intent on giving us her best personal service. The Mimosa and the cheesecake were two extras I didn't need, but tremendously enjoyed.
Mike got to hear the Intangibles version of Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," and said they nailed it. He ate at Margarita's with Jon and Trish where several of the St. Philip's crowd were. He's had a nap since he got home, but I haven't. I think I will forgo that pleasure today. Art brought me his Sunday paper, so I'm planning to read that instead.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Beginning tomorrow, I'm drinking more water. Consider this:

Given that your brain is about 80% water, the first rule of brain nutrition is adequate water to hydrate your brain. Even slight dehydration can raise stress hormones which can damage your brain over time. Drink at least 84 ounces of water a day. It is best to have your liquids unpolluted with artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. You can use herbal, non-caffeinated tea bags, such as raspberry or strawberry flavored, and make unsweetened iced tea. Green tea is also good for brain function as it contains chemicals that enhance mental relaxation and alertness.

I probably drink about 84 oz of water a day, but it's all "polluted." I have believed for a long time that stress hormones trigger overeating, for me anyway, so if increased water intake can keep the stress hormones down, that may help with calorie restriction. And I certainly want to keep the gray matter functioning properly. For more good brain nutrition info, read this.

Saturday was a busy day for me, cleaning house, shampooing carpets, etc. The idea that fleas may have made their way into my carpet probably motivated this sudden burst of energy for me. I hate those pesky little buggers and will do whatever I have to to prevent their taking up residence here. I didn't see any indication that they may already be here. I checked the dogs again and didn't see them there either.

Pam and Jean told me they're coming to St. Philip's tomorrow, and asked if I would like to have lunch with them afterward at Amerigo's. I told them I would. Mike is planning to go to his Intangible buddies' church, then have lunch with Jon. It should be an interesting day.

We got some much needed rain yesterday and today, bringing our late afternoon temps down to comfortable enough for sitting outdoors, very un-August-like. We're still way behind the normal average rainfall for the year, though, about 16". We could stand a monsoon month in Mississippi, for sure.

Hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just when I thought we were in the clear with our dogs' health, I hear from my neighbor Art that there is a serious flea infestation in our neighborhood. Paden kept him awake all night clawing and gnawing, he said. Gus and Jay-Jay have been treated and I haven't noticed them scratching more than usual. We had to call an exterminator a couple of years ago to come get rid of them here, and I will again if I have to, just hope I don't have to.

I went to a new place for lunch today, one of the most quaint little cafes I've been to yet. Pam and Jean were going to Friends in Brandon and invited me to join them. It's a tiny, hole-in-the-wall spot, seating maybe 50 or 60 people, at the most. I had their plate lunch, broiled chicken with gravy, rice, English peas, corn and roll. Jean and I questioned whether two starches should have been served on the same plate, all three of us learned in Home Ec. not to do that, but it was good.

Suddenly Senior has become one of my favorite websites. I especially like the jokes, and since I always like to think I'm leaving my readers with a smile, here's one guaranteed to get exactly that reaction:

Fred and his wife Joyce were having dinner.

Out of the blue, Fred said, "Honey, if I die, I know you'll eventually remarry. So as soon as I'm gone, I want you to sell all my stuff."

Joyce asked, "Now, why would you want me to do that?"

Fred replied, "Well, I don't want some other asshole using all my stuff."

Joyce smiled. "What makes you think I'd marry ANOTHER asshole?"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

After yesterday's warning to pinch pennies, today's horoscope is the exact opposite:

Sun is going from Leo into Virgo, Moon is going from Sagittarius into Capricorn. Money seems to be flowing into your pockets effortlessly. Actually, it's more likely because of something you've already done. The effort part's in the past.

I like this one much better. I'll let you know how it goes with the flow. I did dream last night that I met J.L. Kraft and discovered we were related through my Wilkins ancestors. Maybe there's an Uncle J.L. out there who plans to endow an unsuspecting, but most deserving, distant relative with a windfall. And maybe it's enough to buy a new Buick Lucerne and the Hollywood smile my dentist proposed for me. Hey, as long as we're dreaming, why not dream big?

Did I tell you that the cost of a full set of crowns was more than some new cars cost? You're right if you think it took a nosedive off first place on my wish list. Suddenly, my own teeth never looked so good. A set of perfect teeth would look out of place on a very imperfect person such as myself, don't you think? Besides, it's our imperfections that give us character, or something like that.

Revel in your imperfections,
Be entertained by your problems
And know that once you looked ahead
And wished you were where you are now,
And once again you will look back and smile.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Trying to find a common theme among the horoscopes I read is like trying to find the common theme throughout our appointed scriptures from the daily lectionary. IF there is one today, I don't see it.
Sagittarius Horoscope for Aug 22 2007
Sun is in Leo, Moon is in Sagittarius. The experience you've gained from your recent exploits can help you advance your agenda. You're gaining notoriety, er, publicity, er, name recognition.
Quickie: There's no such thing as being too cheap today -- you've gotta pinch those pennies!
Overview: Try not to worry too much about whether or not you're in the right place -- you should be able to feel the love coming from all around you. Now is a great time to reflect on the people that make your life what it is.
As a Sagittarian, you are a very self-confident individual who can deal easily with situations as they arise. But sometimes, you lose your confidence and you feel lonely. Today, you will ask yourself questions about this problem, and you might start looking at how you could change your approach. For starters, you might want to open up more to others. They will help you if you ask.
Just which "recent exploits" are advancing my agenda? And what is my agenda? I was out for about 3 hours today and spent around $300.00, so it has not been a penny-pinching day for me. ($178.50 for the speeding ticket I got back in July.) I have been picking up good vibes from the people around me, maybe that's the love I'm supposed to feel. I haven't felt lonely today, but confident, and if I opened up to people more than I already do, I'd be blackmailed. If anything, I need to open up less. So much for the silly Zodiac.


George and I had lunch at Walker's. It's been 10+ years since I've been there. The place filled up quickly after we entered around 11:00. We gave up our table when we finished eating and took our conversation to the outdoor terrace where the temperature in the shade was about 100*. Our sympathetic waitress brought us fresh tea and diet Pepsi so we wouldn't totally wilt. Let's hear it for Southern Hospitality!

As a former restaurateur, I have a pet peeve with customers who hog a table after finishing their meal, if there are people waiting, and I compulsively keep an eye out for that. I ate fried green tomatoes with crawfish, and I would give it 4.5 stars on the 5 star scale. The fried green tomatoes with shrimp that I ate at Que Sera a couple of weeks ago get the full 5.
We had fun, as we always do, but today we rehashed some of July's reunion. Most of George's time was spent with a completely different set of people than those I visited. He is refusing to chair another event due to the fact that he didn't get enough visiting time, but had to take care of administrative duties, and I don't blame him. Somebody who lives there should do it next time; after all, they get to see most of those who attended a lot more often than we do.
We also talked about the community revival they had and have been having for the last few years in our hometown. The two white churches and the two black churches all come together for a service in each of the four churches for four nights and each of the pastors takes a turn preaching. The choir is a mix of singers from all four churches, and from what I heard, the music is glorious. It's encouraging to hear that the walls of racial bias are coming down.
Which reminds me, Plantersville recently won the City Spirit Award in the Mississippi Municipal League's compe-tition among commu-nities with a pop-ulation of 10,000 or less. It was based on the recycling efforts begun by Jack Wuichet several years ago, who collected and encouraged others to collect aluminum cans to recycle, using the proceeds to support a playground and ballpark for its children. Pictured here with Jack is our good friend and mayor of the town Gloria Holland. A belated congratulations to all the fine folks who made this recognition possible!
A full page ad recognizing all the Mississippi towns to win awards was published in the August 12 Clarion Ledger. Here's the part featuring Tupelo and Plantersville.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Today it was just Jean and me at the pool. She's one of the most scintillating seniors I've ever known. If I live to be as old as she is, I would love to know I could be just half as vivacious as Jean is. What a blessing to be able to maintain cognition and a sense of humor, as she has. She and Pam are planning to visit St. Philip's in the near future. I hope they like it. It would be so nice to have neighbor friends who attend the same church.

Happy Birthday to my friend LaRue! Sorry you're feeling blue today. Something tells me that you will have been cheered greatly by the end of the day. For what it's worth, your horoscope today says:

Something big happens in your love life and you can hardly think about anything else. It could be someone new, or maybe a milestone of sorts with your current partner. Whatever it is, keep smiling!

That would put a smile on my face for sure!

Mike got a good report on the lipid profile he had done this morning at the doctor's office. The numbers were all good, he said, which should be encouraging, except for the fact that the numbers were good when he had his stroke, too. I don't put much faith in the numbers. He's gone to Terry for lunch with Ron and will probably spend the rest of the afternoon with him. I'll probably spend the rest of the afternoon napping with Gus and Jay-Jay. Where is that backdoor man when I need him?

Monday, August 20, 2007

I was not the only Democrat at the pool this morning. We were joined by a neighbor who turned out to be from Tupelo, a Presbyterian minister and a Democrat. I hope she continues to come. Our conversation was most lively.
After downloading all that music this week-end, I didn't want to listen to any of it today. I chose the Jazz Piano channel on Sometimes its just easier to let someone else make the decisions about what songs to play.

I'm kinda moody that way, and not just about music. Something (or someone) might have me fired up one day, and fall totally off my radar the next. Fickle, some call it, mercurial twists of temperament, but it's been part of my nature as long as I can recall. Or maybe it's that I pour so much energy into things that intrigue me that it doesn't take long to exhaust that interest, for a while, anyway.

Today's post is puny, I know, but it is Monday. What can I say?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I know y'all get tired of hearing me brag about our choir, but take a listen to this anthem; it's not sung by us, but it is the same arrangement, and we learned it in 15 minutes this morning and performed it a cappello. Then tell me we're not "way above average!" David rewarded us with a silent "Perfect!" when we finished and the biggest grin I've seen all day. We are blessed, truly blessed, and hopefully we bless others in return.

Locus iste a Deo factus est,
inaestimabile sacramentum,
irreprehensibilis est.


This place was made by God,
an inestimably holy place.
It is without blame.

Molly preached one of the best sermons I've heard her preach to date, on a Gospel passage she has managed to avoid preaching on for 27 years, she said.
Luke 12:49-56 (NRSV) "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, "It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, "There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
She presented the fire from heaven as "the father's passion" rather than a destructive force; God, not as indifferent to us, but rather caring for us passionately and wanting us to care for him passionately. I like that much better than the hellfire and brimstone sermons a lot of preachers like to preach on this scripture.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I knew this music downloading would become an obsession and sure enough, it has. I've never had so much fun buying music. Being able to pick and choose, then listen to them in the order I want them is like the fulfillment of a dream I didn't even realize I had. One song reminds me of another; one artist leads to the next, and like a kid in a candy store, I've been darting around grabbing at least one of everything. It's like a gathering of old friends - Carole King, Carly Simon, James Taylor, BeeGees, Chicago, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Etta James, Ray Charles, Barry White, the Hollies, Rod Stewart, Emmylou Harris, etc. I'm trying to pace myself and be discriminating, not bust the budget first thing. It's hard.
(Free clipart here.)

The other thing I've been enjoying lately is youtube, videos of anything that can be imagined, and some never imagined, by me anyway. The best part is it's free! The quality among them is very inconsistent, but other than that it's great entertainment. Seeing live performances of favorite musicians doing favorite songs, it doesn't get any better, does it? When I figure out how to put a playlist together for public sharing, I'll post the link.

My apologies to those of you for whom this is nothing new. My world has been enlarged by these discoveries, and I'm excited by all the possibilities that have suddenly opened up before me. Being able to listen to my favorite songs, read the lyrics (something I've never understood well), and then read articles about the artist and/or songwriter simultaneously is better than any TV show. If you haven't mastered these abilities, I encourage you to try them. If a technophobe like me can do it, anybody can. Really!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I had a pleasant 4 hour drive from Jackson to Memphis, and no trouble finding Benji's house once I got here. He and Karen were glad to see me, but Pip still hates me. I took him for a walk around the block in the stroller, so Benji could make his get-away, and he screamed himself to sleep, then took a good nap when we got back to the house.

I called Randy to see if we might arrange a visit the next time I come to Memphis. He and Bridgett have 4 boys. He sounded pleased that I called and quite agreeable to a visit if I let them know in time to plan for it. They were expecting their first baby the last time I saw them over 12 years ago at his father's funeral.

Gus and Jay-Jay are spending the night in the kennel. They looked so sad when I left them, it nearly made me cry. Mike is spending the night at Ron's and will pick them up around noon on Friday. I sure do miss them.

I made two new CD's from the downloaded music, and thoroughly enjoyed them on the drive up here. It was a live concert with Bonnie Raitt and friends, and some old torch songs by Diana Krall. Now that I've learned how to do it, I can think of so many songs I want. This will be fun, compiling my own favorites without buying the whole album.

Another first for me today - using a Mac! Today's post is from a Mac. It really is pretty simple.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I was reminded yesterday, after writing about the Good Samaritans who have stopped to help me, of a call I got back when Benji was still attending IJC. (Was that really 20 years ago?) Anyway, a woman, who also worked for Bellsouth, called to tell me of her experience the night before.

She was on Hwy 25 when her car went dead. Stranded on a dark stretch of highway before the days of cell phones is not something any woman in Mississippi would relish. She had not been there long when a nice young man in a VW Fox passed her, then turned around and came back to help her. It was Benji, and he had noticed the Telephone Pioneer sticker on the back bumper of her car. "That could be my mother," he'd thought, so he did the chivalrous thing and went back to check on her.

"Normally, I would never get in the car with a strange man," she told me, "but this young man was playing Frank Sinatra on his stereo and said his mother works for Bellsouth. I can't tell you how relieved I was and what a truly helpful gentleman he was in my dilemma. As a mother, I always like to know when my children do good things, so I'm just calling to say thank you for raising this particular boy to be so thoughtful. You should feel very proud of him."

And I was. I think it was the first time anyone had described Benji as a gentleman to me, and it obviously made a strong impression on his mother. In all the less-than-stellar times we've had since then, I remind myself of his core goodness and continue to believe he will do the loving thing.

Love, does indeed, cover a multitude of sins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We took my car to Tire Depot to have the tires rotated and balanced, possibly replace a couple of them. Mike insisted I do that before leaving for Memphis. Just the thought that I might have a flat tire en route to Benji's has been the only excuse he needs to send him into a panic attack. "Jesus is my co-pilot," I tell him, "talk to him."

Rather than alleviating his anxiety, that usually inflames him further, so today I agreed to have them checked before leaving. I can't imagine that having him along in case of a flat tire would do me any good at all. I've never been on the side of the road needing help when a Good Samaritan did not stop and help me, and with cell phones, it's not nearly the scary proposition it used to be. Blanche DuBois is not the only daffy damsel to "depend on the kindness of strangers."

The tire store just called to tell me that I do need to replace two of the tires. It's not the two he thought needed replacement, but I'm glad it's being handled. Something tells me that Mike has known for some time that my tires needed attention, but until I planned this trip, he didn't say or do anything about it.

As much as I like to imagine myself a liberated woman, I still fall back into that deeply-ingrained Southern Belle syndrome sometimes, thinking that my sweet daddy will take care of things like this and that real ladies shouldn't worry their pretty heads over such mundane mechanical matters.

Good grief!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The anticipated high for today is 103* here, but 107* in Memphis and only 94* in Tampa! I just hope everybody is staying hydrated and cool. Dog days are here, for sure.

Jazz, swing, blues, and lounge music are featured on the internet radio station I've been enjoying lately, Redlounge. Their top ten artists are:

1. Michael Buble
2. Norah Jones
3. Frank Sinatra
4. Diana Krall
5. Ray Charles
6. Jamie Cullum
7. Joss Stone
8. Erin Bode
9. Etta James
10. Dean Martin

Is that an eclectic mix, or what? It's where I discovered Marcia Ball . How she's escaped my notice until now, I don't know. One of those bluesy piano player/singers from Texas/Louisiana with a truly unique sound, I'm trying to decide which of her songs to download. I like being able to pick and choose from different albums. I should have some new travelling music when I go to Memphis on Thursday, if I can figure out how to cut a CD from the songs I've downloaded.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Being back with the choir today was refreshing. Singing with other good singers, such as I'm surrounded by in St. Philip's choir, makes me a much better singer. We're so tuned into one another and to David that our sound is always blended smoothly. And with only 15 of our 24 regulars there, our sections were still perfectly balanced.

Mike and I went to McAllister's for lunch after church, and then straight home. The temperature gauge in my car was registering 102* as we drove across the spillway, too hot to do anything but go home and take naps, which we did.

I learned something yesterday that I've been wanting to know for a long time - how to buy music online and download it to my computer. Finally, it clicked! It's too easy. I'll be spending too much money if I'm not careful.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yesterday with Skip and the girls was so much fun. What precious children! And of course, my camera batteries were MIA again! Note to self: Get some new batteries. This is a picture Skip made last Thanksgiving of the two of them. Lydia had just turned two. She will be three in October. It was hard not to take off with them for Atlanta, then Asheville, just to spend more time with his sweet granddaughters (and to help the old grandpa with the bad back). He was going to try to make it to Birmingham last night, before finishing his trip today. They were here for almost 3 hours and we made the most of the 100* afternoon in the pool. The girls are both like little fish.

Speaking of grandchildren, LaRue tells me there's another one in her family due in Febuary. Congratu-lations to Laurie and Dewayne! This will be No. 5 and they're happy about it, so I'm happy for them. Maybe Marlee Kupcake will have a little sister.

And congratulations to LaRue for what her plant has accomplished! Some good management going on there, obviously. Way to go, girl! And if you're off next Friday, too, maybe you would like to go to Memphis with me? I'll be glad to come through Tupelo and get you.

I've got a ton of laundry to do today. IOH!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Skip just called to say he's running late. He had to make a trip to the chiropractor this morning before leaving. He's hurt his back. Hmmm! Grandchildren and a hurt back, don't they kinda go together? I've got sandwiches and salad ready to eat. Surely out of peanut butter, pimento cheese or tuna, his "finicky" eaters will find something they like. I may do some grilled cheese, too, and add ham, pineapple and lettuce for those who want it.

Mike has been in an extra-cantankerous mood this morning. I told him a couple of days ago that I was going to Memphis alone and he's been upset ever since. Now you see why I didn't tell him the truth about the trip to Tupelo? He is "the control freak from hell" by nature. Nothing raises his level of anxiety like not being in control of whatever he wants to control. Most of the time it's me. Those of you who know me know how my independent nature finds that so intolerable. It ain't easy keeping the lid on to avoid ...

Maybe I'll get a few moments alone with my favorite counselor while he's here. That's always a good way to blow off steam. Blogging helps, too. Just exposing his nastiness to cyberspace sorta takes the power out of it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another sobering anniversary (as posted in today's NY Times):

"On Aug. 9, 1945, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, Japan, instantly killing an estimated 39,000 people. The explosion came three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima."
May God forgive us for what we keep doing to each other, regardless of the reason or justification. All things considered: No one ever really wins a war.
Thanks to Bruce Garner of Atlanta for this eye-opener. Until I read his email, I did not realize that the Borden twins' births occurred between these two earth-shattering events. Benji says I brought him into the world during a terrible year, 1968. What must it have been like for Clayton and Marguerite to realize their sons were ushered in at the dawn of the atomic age!
Deedo was always proud that my mother's birth occurred the day after WWI ended. I never heard Marguerite mention her thoughts or feelings about the world events surrounding her children's birth. With her two, she probably didn't have time to think of world events.
Mike has pool therapy today, so this is it for now. Hope everyone has a good Thursday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Skip just called to say he's coming by Friday on his way to Atlanta. He will have granddaughters Lydia and Grace with him and they will take a break here, have lunch, maybe a swim, before heading once again toward their mamas. Grace was only 6 or 7 when I saw her last, she's 11 now, and I've never met 2 year old Lydia, or is she 3? I had a premonition earlier today that I would see Skip soon, so I was not too surprised when he called. He's had the girls since Saturday and says they're wearing him out. Believe me, Cuz, I understand.

Those bad Borden boys are 62 today. Robert was at the reunion with wife Jackie, but not Richard. They're not nearly as chummy as they were in their young years. As children, we never saw one without the other, inseperable twins, if there ever were any! Double trouble, my father called them. They did have a reputation as mischief makers, mentioned by a friend at the reunion who said it was a good thing Richard and Robert never went to summer camp with us, they would have torn the place apart. For all his faults, I'm still glad Richard was the father of my children, but I must say, the term "Borden Boys" got a much needed cleanup when my two came along. That doesn't sound too biased, does it?

In reading about Leo characteristics (I'm still trying to figure out what it was that appealed to me) I found this interesting list:

Generous and warmhearted
Creative and enthusiastic
Broad-minded and expansive
Faithful and loving

but on the dark side

Pompous and patronizing
Bossy and interfering
Dogmatic and intolerant

My daddy was a Leo, too. Yesterday was the 99th anniversary of his birth. I see more of him in these traits than Richard. But Richard had those dreamy brown eyes and that cute dimple when he smiled...
Thanks to Sandi for this clever cartoon. I had to insert it here after yesterday's post.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Yes, exercise works, but so do extra calories consumed from all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants. After Sunday dinner at Western Sizzlin' and Monday at Ryan's, my scale showed me the error of my ways this morning. Ugh! How does someone who enjoys eating as much as I do stop enjoying it? There's no denying it, especially after I saw the picture Mike made - this size 12 mini-skirt wll look better when I am 20 lbs. lighter. Why do I look so much fatter in a photo than in my full length mirror? In it, I thought I looked like a groovy Gramma, but the picture, by contrast, looks like a happy hooker has-been. Oink! Oink! With apologies to my sons, it's not the first time your mother has embarrassed you and it probably won't be the last. I'm trying to motivate myself to stay away from places where I overeat. You'll have to admit, it's a nice tan.


Election Day in Rankin County has a few Democrats on the ballot, but I'll probably wait until the general election to vote. Judge Pepper's voting restrictions don't go into effect until next year, so this is the last chance Mississippians have to cross over and vote for candidates of the other party. Unless his ruling is overturned by a higher court.

Today I'm mad at both parties. After the Democrats caved in to Bush's demand for the warrantless wiretapping bill, I'm sick of them all. I believe Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." And to those who think it's helping to make us safer, I say BALONEY! To quote a cybernet wise man:

" terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11 makes me laugh. I haven’t seen any elephants in my backyard since I bought that anti-elephant spray from the guy with the slicked-back hair, either. It must be working!"

Just look at who New York City Police were spying on prior to the Republican convention:

Beyond potential troublemakers, those placed under surveillance included street theater companies, church groups, antiwar activists, environmentalists, and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies.

If NYPD can do this, who wouldn't fall under the National Security dragnet?

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

by Martin Niemoeller, a German protestant minister who was put in a concentration camp for opposing Nazi control of the church.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Our liturgy at St. Philip's was very dry yesterday with no music, nada, zero! All the Mississippi musicians and a few of our choir members were at the final performance of the mass choir of last week's state music conference. Bruns called it "Music Appreciation Day," since, in its absence, everybody at St. Philip's felt a new appreciation for the richness that music adds to our service. We got out a full 30 minutes earlier than usual, which tells me that 1/3 of our service is music. If we abbreviated the hymns like other churches do, it wouldn't take as long, but I've never been in an Episcopal church that didn't sing every stanza to every song.

Betsy and I had lunch afterward at Western Sizzlin', then I went shopping. I bought something I haven't worn in years - a denim mini skirt. Since my legs have a respectable tan on them this year, I don't mind showing them. When I modeled it for Mike, he said it looked kinda "sixtyish", not sure if he meant 60 year old or 1960's, hopefully, the latter.
My pool pals told me this morning that they plan to check out a new Episcopal church which has been started downtown not far from the Cathedral. With just a little research I found it. St. Alexis was started last year as an informal alternative to our traditional style of worship. I can't imagine they would be comfortable in an evening service in a high crime area of Jackson with the Stewpot crowd. I probably should warn them, but my guess is they will never go once they find out where it is.
We got into a rare discussion of politics today, and once again, I'm in the minority. In Rankin County, you make friends with Republicans, or you have no friends. They are two of the more tolerable. They're actually a lot of fun to be around until they start poking fun at Democrats.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

For once Mississippi is not on the bottom of the list. We're No. 31 on the "percentage of deficient bridges in each state" list. Minnesota is No. 5, which just goes to prove that statistics don't show the whole picture. One collapse of a bridge like the I-35 in Minneapolis is one too many, especially when the cost of replacing and repairing our nation's current bridge infrastructure is a paltry $9.4 billion annually over the next 20 years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. (Photo: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/Pioneer Press, via Associated Press)

We're already pouring over $12 billion into the Iraq war every month! I really don't understand how this administration and Congress arranges its priorities. I, for one, had rather my taxes go toward health, education and yes, the long overlooked maintenance of our infrastructure.

I also don't understand why a bridge would be classified as "structurally deficient" unless it means what it says. According to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, "'Structurally deficient" means some portions of the bridge need to be scheduled for repair or replacement. It doesn't mean that the bridge is unsafe." Ah, what?

Closer to home, I was comforted by the news that Rankin County has the fewest number of "structurally deficient" bridges in the Jackson area.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I've been feeling out of sorts for the last couple of days, probably a combination of homesickness, summer blahs, and toothache; dog days, maybe, needing more naps than normal. I did go to the pool this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it, but came in more tired than I usually do. Or it could be pure-old-dee laziness. With nothing exciting to anticipate in the near future, maybe it's boredom.

Benji called to see if I could come to Memphis in a couple of weeks to keep Pip when they will both be tied up all day with orientation. That should be fun. Pip has been stressed this week with their move. He was afraid they were planning to leave him in Makanda, so he got in Karen's car to play before they left and to make sure they didn't go anywhere without him. He did that when they were here, too. They started packing to leave and he was in the car with the first bag and wouldn't come out. I guess being left while they went to Mexico made a lasting impression on him. He's also transitioning from crib to twin bed since they moved, so I'm not surprised he's feeling out of sorts, too.
From Charlotte in P'ville, I've learned that their Methodist Church is having its 100th Anniversary celebration in October, the 2nd Sunday. Unfortunately, it coincides with our church's annual Goat Roast and Bluegrass Mass. My heart is pulling me toward P'ville while my head is reminding me I have choir duty. Maybe Betsy will sing in my place that week-end.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I was merrily making my way down Hwy 471 toward Brandon yesterday to get my new car tag, listening to Bonnie Raitt, chewing sugarless bubble gum and yes, blowing bubbles, when the crown on #3 molar came loose. "Uh-oh!" methought, "TODAY your sins will find you out!" Those regular dentist visits and teeth-cleanings I've neglected for the last several years will now be exposed to the glaring light of Dr. Applewhite's examination.

And sure enough, 3 hours later and $1300.00 poorer, I left his office with a new root canal and not one but two new crowns being made to cover what was left of the teeth being eaten by decay. It was actually the easiest root canal I've ever had because it wasn't preceded by days of dread. We maxed out my yearly allowance ($1400) on dental insurance with that one visit, so I told him he would have to wait until 2008 to check the rest of them. He made $2700 for 3 hours work, so he shouldn't complain. I just hope no other emergencies occur until next year when, I promise, I will be getting regular check-ups and cleanings.

In addition to the bubble butt my mother gave me, I also got a mouthful of terrible teeth, a dentist's goldmine. Daddy's weren't real good either, but Mother's were terrible. After we get all the current problems solved and paid for, I want the new porcelain veneers, Lumineers. I've been so self-conscious about my stained, crooked, metal-filled teeth that I don't smile nearly as much as I would if I had these. After I read the brochure, it went to the top of my wish list.

I didn't get the tag, so I've got to go take care of that now. I'm hoping there's still a grace period and that I don't have to pay a penalty for waiting past expiration day to get it. There was a wreck on the highway that had traffic snarled, so I turned around and went to the dentist instead. Hope everybody has a good Wednesday and no surprise root canals! Go get your teeth cleaned and checked if you're past due. Procrastination does not pay.