Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lunch at Amerigo's was enhanced by the excellent service of Josh, a good looking 26 year old waiter who already has his daddy's silver highlights in his hair, but with his beautiful brown eyes and winsome personality, it's an asset, broadens his appeal to a much wider age range of females, and he's so good-natured about it. Can you imagine how gorgeous he will be at 40? I can. I know the young waiters sometimes go to the kitchen and laugh about the old biddies who flirt with them, but I don't care. Rather than bringing us a piece of key lime pie, he brought us a quarter of the pie, and Jean, the key lime expert from Key West, gave it a 7 on her 1 - 10 scale.

Pam sat across from me, and her mother Jean was on the same side of the table, so I only got her profile, except for one I snuck in without flash, which explains the shaky image, but you can still see the blue eyes, which can be green if she wears that color, but most of the time they're blue.

Please don't be too mad at me, Jean. You're a beautiful woman and I needed to satisfy the curiosity of a couple of readers who were having trouble imagining how my new surrogate mother looks. She was dressed in a navy blue suit today, which had a ruffle around the hemline, her flirt skirt, Pam called it. I wish I'd gotten a picture of it, too. She looked so cute!

A few of us wore our rainbow ribbons this morning to remind ourselves and others that we still believe in FULL INCLUSION in the Episcopal Church, no matter what statements the Bishops issue. Actually, restating Resolution B033 is about all the Bishops could do, since we are not governed by them, but by the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies when they meet every three years for General Convention, kinda like in Washington where the Senate and the House of Reps have to agree to pass a bill. An Executive Committee handles matters between conventions and our Presiding Bishop does not have veto power.

Wheels of progress turn slowly, progressive wheels move slower...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pictures from last night's 50th birthday party for Tony Berry. From left to right, our hostess Debbie Greenhill, me (can you believe that tan!), and Terri Berry, wife of the honoree.
And here I am sitting in the birthday boy's lap. He liked the original painting I gave him. The rest of the photos are posted on my Flickr site. The best way to view them is to click on the set titled "Tony's Birthday Party" and then click slideshow. Enjoy!

Thank goodness for the Greenhills! Without them we wouldn't have much social life. They have a new Viking Kitchen that is out of this world! Debbie is a gourmet cook and so is their son Michael, who was there last night, so our food was much better than the average birthday fare. I've promised to paint a portrait of their dog Nell, who died about a month ago with a heart attack. She was a beautiful, affectionate golden retriever. Her absence was very conspicuous; everybody missed her. If you live in the Jackson area, you are probably still seeing the commercial of Mike with his dog Nell; makes me want to cry every time I see it.

Today I've been shopping while Mike spent the afternoon with Ron. I was supposed to go to Jean's to meet Neal and Sandra, her son and daughter-in-law, but I got back from shopping too late. They had already left on their way home to Birmingham. Maybe next time.

Art helped get all my shopping bags from the car to the house and said he would come back later to help me install the new handheld shower head I bought at Lowe's. Gus and Jay-Jay went walking with him and his three - Paden, Sophie, and Bella. I wish I'd gotten a picture of him with the 5 dogs following along behind, kinda like the Pied Piper.

Friday, September 28, 2007

One of the problems I've always had in reading fiction is that I get so emotionally involved with the narrator that her story becomes my story, her thoughts my thoughts, her feelings my feelings, etc. Maybe that's why I've preferred non-fiction over the years. It allows me to maintain my own voice while I learn something new. I'm not overcome by someone else's trials and triumphs. Fiction is a stimulating escape, but who will take care of my life while I escape? I get lost in a foreign country and have trouble finding me again. It's probably some sort of personality disorder.

I have so completely absorbed Up Island this week that my dreams have been full of Martha's Vineyard, harsh winters, hostile swans, dying neighbors, and a taller version of my father who drinks scotch. To add to this miasma, this morning's dream included Bishop Gray and the dog I met at Roger's on Monday - Rusty. Oh well! At least I wasn't scratching out anyone's eyeballs. We were all crowded into my neighbor's Jeep and I was trying to keep Rusty from licking the poor bishop to death. The dog was being quite a pest, an affectionate pest, but still pesky.

Coming back to real life was almost an out-of-body experience this morning. My conversation with Mike had an element of the outsider merely observing. I was writing a script and we were enacting what I wrote. I knew his responses before he spoke them, and he delivered the lines exactly as I imagined them. I was very unemotional about a topic that would normally make me indignant. It was scary.

So to please my surrogate mother, I'm reading some of her books. And I'm being entertained. And I'm enjoying an escape I wouldn't otherwise enjoy. If I'm going to be a good surrogate daughter, I need to appreciate some of the same things she likes. One of the characters in Up Island is a disabled man with a surly temperament who reminds me a lot of Mike. I suspect that prompted her recommendation of this particular book. I'm also learning how others draw the line and set the boundaries.

I went with Pam, Jean, and Beverly to Total Woman yesterday and couldn't sign up fast enough. I love the salt water pool, the hot tub, the gym, the Smoothie Bar, and the easy camaraderie that occurs when it's just "us girls." It's a very different atmosphere from the Y, where beautiful bodies of young men and women can be intimidating.

Jean stuck out her tongue when they made her picture. Why is this beautiful woman so camera shy? She was quite annoyed by all the paperwork required for joining and would prefer they make an exception in her case, something she frequently wants, and, more often than not, gets. She's like a glamorous Granny Clampett, a fiery little sprite, but with style, class and refinement, and much better looking. And she's gaining fame as a blogstar! Smile, Jean! You're on candid camera!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Garrison Kiellor said: Writers never have bad days. Everything is material.
What I want to know is, "This does include bloggers, right?"
My horoscope today says what my mission is, and tells one of my secrets (that I can't be trusted with a secret), but I'm never quite sure whether I tell too much or not enough in my blogs. It's hard for me to know, since I can be quite a blabbermouth sometimes. (Remember Chatty Cathy?)
Sagittarius Horoscope for Sep 27 2007: Sun is in Libra, Moon is in Aries. You're not the best person in the world to trust with a secret. Your mission in life is to disperse information, but you could try. That's one of your lessons to learn in the next two weeks. Practice discretion.
Since I have a wide variety of friends, acquaintances, and family members, I try hard to voice my opinion without being offensive. If I step on your toes, I wish you would let me know. It's not intentional, I promise.
Being the church news junkie that I am, I've read a good bit in the last couple of days about the House of Bishops' Statement issued at the conclusion of their meeting in New Orleans. Bishop Gray of Mississippi issued this response. Reactions to the N.O. Statement run the gamut, which just goes to prove that not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but so, also, is perception. For those of you who are interested, I would start reading here: Episcope is a blog which includes good essays from different sources, and that lists links from left, center, and right viewpoints. The comments on some of the blogs are especially blunt and full of raw emotion.
One of the things I love the most about the Episcopal church: DIVERSITY! I will be glad when homophobia is passe.
Now! For some comic relief, click here. Thanks to Mary Ann for passing on this hilarious video, a mom's rant set to William Tell Overture. I love it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jean gave me one of her library books to read, Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons, an author I've not read. It's a difficult story for me because it involves an unfaithful husband. Naturally, when I took a nap break this afternoon, I dreamed about Don and Linda, one of those where I'm clawing eyeballs and pulling out hair. Siddons portrays the emotions of the betrayed wife so accurately, that it resonated deeply with me. Maybe that's why the dream was so graphic.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of their wedding. I knew something had happened that night, even though I was in Jackson and nobody had told me. I came in from work that day, tired and depressed, lay down on the sofa and went to sleep. I dreamed that Don was in trouble, afraid, crying, wanting to see me, needing to talk to me.

When I awoke, I called my friend Sandy in Tupelo to see if Don was ok, explaining I'd just had a very distressing dream about him. Sandy started crying, and told me Don and Linda were getting married that night, and that he had not seemed very happy about it when she saw him the night before. My hope that he would come to his senses and that we would be reconciled was crushed. I cried myself dry that night, and called in sick to work the next day.

Divorce is hell. Twenty-two years later the feelings still make me ill. I never want to go through it again.

I just heard from Pam that we're going on Thursday to try Total Woman, formerly known as Fitness Lady. She and Jean went to check it out and liked what they saw. Our first swim in the saltwater pool is free to see if we like it. It's been two weeks without exercise, and I've gained back most of the weight I lost this summer already, very discouraging.

I did get a really nice compliment at the doctor's office yesterday. The woman who handled the paperwork took one look at my form, then looked at me, then started looking for something else. Finally, she came back to my form and asked, "Are you Mrs. Garrett?"

"Yes, I am," I replied.

"You are not 60 years old, I know!" she said very emphatically.

"Yes, I am. I'll be 61 in a couple of months."

"Girl, I thought I had the wrong form. You sure don't look 60!"

I giggled, then thanked her. I don't get to hear that very often, but I love it when I do.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why is time spent with a lawyer so exhausting? I've been with Roger all afternoon and have been extremely tired since I got home. We worked at getting Mother's affairs ready to settle, and there are so many little nit-picking details to include that it drains me of all patience and energy. I'll be so glad to soon have the whole thing behind me. I was at the doctor's office for a couple of hours before that, thinking I may have a kidney or bladder infection, getting tests run, a check up, etc., so I already was not feeling well. I guess I shouldn't blame all the tiredness on the lawyer. Nothing diagnosed yet, but a couple of test results won't be in for a couple of days.

I'm ready to get back into an exercise routine. Pam was going to check out the rates at Fitness Lady today. They have a saltwater pool, which is supposed to be very therapeutic and several water aerobic classes. We're still not sure which gym we're going to join. She and Jean are really enjoying St. Philip's and were joined yesterday by another of their friends, Carol, who also is looking for a new church home, so there were four of us at Amerigo's for lunch.
Mike had to eat Sunday lunch alone, but I've done that plenty, so I know it won't hurt him. Rather than having their regular Sunday Bub day at Margarita's, they had it on Saturday instead. Our rector spoke to his Sunday School class yesterday about the current controversy in TEC and said he doesn't think a split will occur, which made me feel better.

Speaking of controversy and church, my friend Ed was back in the news yesterday. Seems the IRS has concluded their investigation and decided to let them keep their tax-exempt status. This is the picture from today's LA Times. He's speaking to an SRO crowd, and the sermon is inspired and inspiring. Give it a listen.

BEWILDERED: The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr., rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, told congregants during morning services today that he and other officials were relieved that the church no longer faced the imminent loss of its tax-exempt status, but were bewildered by the IRS' seemingly contradictory conclusions about the case.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

On the day that my 9/11 tribute to Father Mychal Judge aged into archives, I got a comment from a reader in Massachusetts identified simply as Mychals Prayer. I'm using that comment here for the additional information it gives about this saintly priest. The blogsite has more, plus one link that I hope all my Baptist friends and family members will take the time to visit, one of the most reasonable discussions I've read on Bible interpretation and our responsibility as 21st Century Christians to address the issue of sexual orientation without prejudice. It's written by a Baptist minister and has been endorsed by several Baptist pastors and educators. It's lengthy, so please take the time to read it all. I appreciate my reader sharing his thoughts, his blog, and this link, in particular. Here is his comment:

Most of us first heard of Father Mychal Judge, the late New York fire chaplain and "the saint of 9/11", from that iconic photo of his body being carried from Ground Zero.

Yet even prior to his heroic death on 9/11, Father Mychal was widely seen by many New Yorkers as a living saint for his deep spirituality and his extraordinary work not only with firefighters -- but with the homeless, recovering alcoholics, people with AIDS, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and others rejected by society.

This often annoyed the church hierarchy. But like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, Mychal reported directly to a Higher Authority, as evidenced by several miraculous healings through him.

For more information about Father Mychal, I invite you to visit:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One of the most annoying differences between Mike and me is his opposition to a light, bright, airy, open house. He much prefers that everything be closed, locked, shuttered, secure. It drives me crazy! And when he leaves the house for an afternoon with drinking friends, one of the first things I do is open the doors and a couple of windows and let the curtains blow in the breeze, especially on cool days like today. If we lived in West Jackson, I could understand his insecurity, but our neighborhood is very safe. He reminds me so much of my mother sometimes! Strange how that works, isn't it?
I got up earlier today than I intended, but the dogs started barking and wouldn't hush, so I couldn't sleep. I took a long nap this afternoon, sandwiched between Gus and Jay-Jay. I can always count on them sleeping soundly in the afternoon.
News from the Bishops' conference in New Orleans is looking more like schism with every meeting that is held. The moderate/liberal majority are digging in their heels, giving no ground to the demands of the dissidents. We (TEC) may be kicked out of the Worldwide Anglican Communion after this is all over. I was really hoping the conservative element would honor their commitments to TEC, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It just seems terribly disloyal to me.

The nail on my left big toe finally fell off, the one I killed with a can of soup back in the spring. At least, it grew out a good bit before turning loose. The new nail will be as long as the right big toe in 2 or 3 months, but for now it looks really weird, don't you think? The color of this enamel is "Mustang Sally," a name I can remember next time I go to Holly's Nails. Vrooom! Vrooom!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I took Pam and Jean to a Whisperings Concert last night at St. Philip's, an evening of beautiful piano music with David Nevue, David Lanz, and Michael Dulin. (photo by Jim Carrington) They seemed to enjoy it, I know I did. And you, Dear Readers, can, too, by tuning into their internet radio station.

I introduced them to several church members and let the members know I would love to make Philipians out of my guests, so they got warm invitations and encouragement from all. Jean flirted with all the men, and they loved it. She has a charming way of instantly disarming them with, "Oh, Honey, you're such a good looking man. Mind if I give you a hug?" And of course, they all smile or laugh and gladly comply. St. Philip's is full of huggers, so she fits right in with the affectionate crowd. She even told one man she needed to remember his name so she could write it in her will. What a character!

I made the mistake of not eating supper before going to the concert, so by the time I got home around 10:00, I was famished. I fixed one of my favorite quick meals in the microwave - chicken tenderloin topped with beans and salsa and cheese. I heat it for 1 minute which is all it takes to heat the meat, the salsa, and melt the cheese. Super easy, super delicious. I buy the big bag of frozen chicken tenderloin pieces at Kroger, then cook several on the Foreman grill to keep on hand in the fridge for sandwiches, quick meals like this one, and dog treats. I mix Pace Chunky Salsa with a can of Tri-Beans (kidney, pinto, and black). The cheese is a slice of 2% sharp Cheddar. So the meal not only tastes good, it's nutritious and low-fat, as well.

I had the pleasure of my neighbor's company while I ate, he'd just come in from refereeing a ballgame, so the late meal included good conversation, too. It's a rare day when I can enjoy 3 meals with 3 different men. I had lunch at Primo's with George, which always includes a stimulating chat, and breakfast with Mike. All of that plus a concert with 2 of my favorite friends, it was an unusually good day for me. Mike spent the night with Ron, but I was not the least bit lonesome, and went to sleep smiling.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I had a couple of interesting conversations last night at the choir dinner. One concerning TEC's meeting in New Orleans, the other about "the little blue pill" being popped like candy these days by men who need the help it provides. I felt compelled to warn them that they should be sure they are healthy enough before relying on modern medicine's most popular magic bullet.

It has bothered me for three years that Mike took a Cialis about 36 hours before he had his stroke. Both doctors that I mentioned it to downplayed the possibility that there was a link between the two events, but I'm still not so sure. If the pill increases blood flow, and that is its primary function, as I understand it, is it not possible that it was a factor in moving a blood clot from one part of his body to his carotid artery? I'm no MD, RN, or pharmacist, but it seems logical to me.

Naturally, it was not something the guys wanted to hear, but if it helps one person avoid something as devastating as a stroke, it's good to know. Today is the third anniversary of "The Day the Music Died."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Skip mentioned in his email this morning the big meeting of Episcopal Bishops taking place in NOLA this week, seems it made the front page of the Times-Picayune. I'm using my response to him regarding the controversy for today's post. Conservative friends and family members can stop reading here unless you're ready for elevated blood pressure. I'm about to expose my left leanings.

For a better understanding of just what is at stake in the NOLA pow-wow, read Bishop John Spong’s letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams. Spong represents the most liberal viewpoint in the Episcopal Church, but I more often agree with him than not. The conservative element wants to take TEC (The Episcopal Church) in a direction which is most un-Anglican. With the Church of England being founded on a more moderate theology (based on Scripture, Reason, and Tradition) than the mother church in Rome, a lot of us are wondering why this recent turn back to, what looks to a lot of us like, the Roman Catholic way.

It’s all about patriarchal power and control, in my opinion, and those who have been dissatisfied ever since TEC began ordaining women priests, then women bishops. A few got their noses out of joint when the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal were updated. The final straw was the ordaining of the gay bishop in New Hampshire. Even though it was approved by a (dare I say praying, Spirit-led) majority in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies (lay and clergy, we’re very democratic), a small percentage of our bishops has been crying “heresy” ever since. They’ve done everything they can to derail the train headed for Progress in the 21st Century. Yes, it caused some defections, but it also attracted a lot of folks who felt disenfranchised by other denominations.

Most of the dissidents are located in areas where – surprise, surprise – Southern Baptists dominate. You can imagine the grief and ridicule our priests and bishops got from their local Ministerial Associations, letters to the editor, etc. when our General Convention left all the other Protestant churches in the dust of yesteryear by adopting a more inclusive doctrine. I can’t help but believe they are being heavily influenced by their ultra-conservative peers.

Our local parish continues to keep the conflict out of our day-to-day operation, but we have a handful of unhappy parishioners, all of whom are heavily involved in Cursillo, and who are not in total agreement with our progressive direction. That they have stayed with a parish that welcomes, even employs a female priest, a gay staff member, and elected a couple of gay vestry members, as well as female vestry members, is encouraging to me. I just wish the others who are unhappy could be as reasonable and as charitable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wonder why I'm getting more visitors since I'm not in the mood to blog than I did when I was? Seems strange. If you're a new regular reader, I'd be pleased to know who you are. One of you found me by googling "Plantersville Mississippi," so there's a good chance I know you or your family.

Not much happening around here. I've splattered paint on a couple of things today, but will probably redo both of them. I was dissatisfied with the end results.

Jerry Grace is back online at SBC Outhouse, still full of spit and vinegar, funny as ever. Welcome back to Blogdom, Brother! I've missed your humor and insight. Glad you're feeling well enough to write again.

And now for your viewing pleasure, I give you the Pipster! Thanks, Benji!

Monday, September 17, 2007

When inspiration hits me to paint, I try not to waste it, so it is with immense satisfaction that I have spent several hours of the last two days, paint brush in hand and paint on several different surfaces including hands, hair, and clothes. I'm very messy when I'm having fun. Nothing I would call a masterpiece, yet, but whimsy and novelty abound. The other side of this coin is zero interest in the computer, blogging, etc. Our weather is so perfectly gorgeous that it would be a personal affront to Mother Nature herself not to be in it and enjoying every minute of it. My back porch is very comfortable except from 2 - 4:30 pm, but that's naptime here, so it's just as well.
The water in our swimming pool was much too cold after a couple of nights that dipped into the 50's. We'll have to join the Y again to use their heated pool or do something else. None of us want to quit the regular exercise we've been doing, and since water aerobics seem to be "the best kept secret of physical fitness," I vote for that. Pam and Jean haven't decided, yet, but are leaning toward the Y.
This morning I gave Jean the old hymnal that was given to me when new hymnals were purchased for our choir. She seemed really appreciative, saying many times she wished she had one so she could reread the words to some of the hymns we sing. I've found it to be a wonderful meditation and prayer tool. I hope she enjoys it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sagittarius Horoscope for Sep 15 2007: Sun is in Virgo, Moon is in Scorpio. The more you check things off your lists, the more clearly you can think. Oh, that it were the other way around, but it's not. Be comforted by the knowledge that your chores will get easier.

Another Saturday with enough chores to take up most of my time. Procrastination ruled another of my weeks, so I've got laundry, vacuuming, and all the other household duties nagging at my conscience this morning. It's a cool 68* outside, so I'll start with cleaning the front and back porches.

3 hours later. I've made a dent in all that needed to be done, but that's about it. It's still not clean enough to invite anyone over for a visit. Jean doesn't believe me when I tell her I'm a slob, but I am. Her house is so neat and clean, I'm afraid she would be very uncomfortable in mine. Another couple of hours might be all I need to finish, so before I lose momentum, I'm going back to it.

I hope the rest of you have a more fun day than I'm having.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sarah's book is rated 5-stars on and I understand why. It's a very good story, well written, a spellbinding tale of some of the most colorful, dysfunctional Rednecks I've ever encountered and their tendency to overreact to "the other." Even though set in Maine, they are not much unlike some I've known in Mississippi. That was an eye-opener for me, that ignorance and prejudice of this sort are not confined to the South. Evidently, there are enclaves of the suspicious type everywhere. Thanks, Sarah, for a very entertaining and thought-provoking read. Jean called this morning to tell me how much she enjoyed it, too, and is looking forward to meeting you.

For those of you who are sick of the "War on Terror," as I am, the President's speech last night did nothing to provide even a glimmer of hope that it will one day be resolved. He got as close to honesty as he's gotten so far about the reason we went there in the first place - to occupy the country. He clearly intends to leave the solution to the problems he's created to his successor. His legacy will be one of the worst ever recorded for American presidents, mark my word, children, but that gives me little comfort in the wake of his destructive bumbling and fumbling. And the Democrats in Congress won't stop him because they don't want to be tagged as the ones who "lost the war." Can't say I blame them, but I can't condone their calculated cowardice, either. I see no heroes on either side.

And to my grandchildren: I never want you to fight in America's misbegotten wars. We, as Christians, are called to be peacemakers. Use your energy, your influence, your resources for social justice and a better way to resolve conflict than military quagmires. I'm sorry my generation was unable to do that, or your fathers'.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. " Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A misty rain was already falling when I walked to the pool this morning. With 100% chance of rain in the forecast, not sure why I bothered. Yes, I do. I needed to connect with my surrogate mother. Pam was in the clubhouse with another neighbor and they were cleaning windows. They've planned an Arbonne get-together for tomorrow night and invited me to come, if for no other reason than to have a glass of wine. She said her mother was still at home, didn't want to get in cold water this morning.

When I went by Jean's house, she pulled me in out of the rain, and immediately apologized for not letting me know she wouldn't be at the pool. I had a gift for her, Sarah's novel View from a Burning Bridge, which she seemed to be very grateful to get. "I've just finished my last library book," she said, " and have nothing left to read. Thank you, thank you, thank you." By tonight this voracious reader will have read the whole thing. It's no wonder that at 85 she's still sharp as a tack. I ordered two of the books and I'm thoroughly enjoying mine. Sarah, I hope you've already started on the next one. You will have a very successful writing career for as long as you want it. And when you come next month, I want the whole story on the dedication, and an autograph, two autographs, one for me and one for Jean.

Jean invited me to lunch, she'd made some of her famous chicken salad, but I asked for a rain check. I already told Mike I'd fix his lunch. Maybe I should just fix his, and then go to Jean's for mine. Nah, it's supposed to be raining hard by then and I want to finish Sarah's book. I love curling up with a good book on a rainy day, one of those pleasures that fell by the wayside when depression took control. And I'd rather eat lunch with Jean after she's read the book so we can talk about it.

I enjoyed choir practice last night, but was disappointed to learn that the Lacy's were out of town and that there would be no dinner afterwards. I'd forgotten she told us that last week. Mike was not expecting me home until 10:30 and I tried to find some trouble to get into with my "get out of jail" pass, but couldn't. It's just as well. I had a good book at home waiting for me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The first of the fall fronts is moving through our area, so today will be cloudy and cooler - 85* high instead of yesterday's 89*, but with today's cloud cover compared to yesterday's sunshine, it seems much cooler. Yes, I'm trying to talk myself out of going to the pool today.

I stayed up until 1:30 finishing the novel Susannah's Garden by Debbie Macomber, so I'm feeling sleepier than I usually do. And I dreamed about the dadgum book all night, it seemed. I so envied the mother-daughter relationships portrayed by the author, just a reminder how cold and indifferent my own mother was, so my dreams were not happy ones, and left me with some sadness and melancholy. I tend to internalize stories I read more often than stories I hear, or movies I watch, not sure why. It also reminded me of the trying time I had getting Mother moved out of her house and into assisted living, not a chapter in my story that I enjoy rereading.

Well, I took a break after the last paragraph and went to the pool just to visit with Pam and Jean, didn't wear my swimsuit, didn't get anything wet but my feet, but I feel better. I took the book back to Pam, who has yet to read it. Jean thought it was "a piece of fluff," "an easy read," "light entertainment for a day." I envy their relationship, too, but I'm included enough to feel loved and cared for. We talked about childbirth, always a bonding topic among females.
I need a change of scenery, think I'll go shopping.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Memory of Father Mychal Judge

and the other innocent victims

who died on September 11, 2001

Monday, September 10, 2007

My email box was full this morning of lengthy messages, messages with attachments, and messages with links to interesting articles and one serious survey. Already I've spent several hours reading and I'm not through, yet. Benji and Karen, I don't know how you do it with all those papers to grade. Don't you just go cross-eyed after a while? And I've not finished the Sunday paper, plus I've started a novel that Pam brought me to read. I won't have to worry about insomnia for a while, as sustained reading always makes my eyelids get verrrrrry heavy. Hmmm, is it time for a nap already?

Jean was in a snit at the pool this morning over something her Democratic son said last night, something about wishing Bill Clinton could have a third term? I don't know you, Neal, but I like you. It still astounds me when Republicans harp on Clinton's lie about adultery, but they refuse to admit that Bush's lies have done so much more damage. Clinton lied and his wife cried, Bush lied and thousands died. How can that not be more serious? I will never understand the unflinching belief in and regard for the current administration in certain circles. Well, maybe this article, an attachment from one of today's emails, gives us a clue: Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain. Thank goodness, the scales have fallen from many Republicans' eyes. Ok, I've stepped on enough toes, I'll get off my soapbox now.
One of the more interesting links in today's email was from my Hotty Toddy son to an article on the South's obsession with football. Made me miss all the testosterone that used to characterize my household. Mike has less interest in sports than any man I've ever known. ~sigh~

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Happy Grandparents Day to all my grandparenting friends out there! It's not a day that gets much attention, but it has been a national holiday for almost 30 years. I've always been so thankful for the grandparents I had, I think they deserve a special day for remembrance. From the official website I copied this:
The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. For 2007, Grandparents Day falls on Sept. 9th..
We had a glorious service at church this morning. With Sunday School back in full swing, our attendance was higher than the average summer Sunday attendance, and the hymns sounded as if everyone were singing very enthusiastically. I sat between two opera singers in the choir and tried to absorb some of their talent through osmosis. If I suddenly break out in a Madame Butterfly aria, I'll be sure to let you know.

Lunch at Amerigo's with Pam and Jean was very enjoyable, as always. We had a "great minds think alike" occasion with all of us dressing in black and white without any of us knowing what the others were wearing. That happens in our choir sometimes, too, when most of the women show up wearing lime green or a red/black combination or something else, all uncommonly similar. Is there a mischievous little fashion-conscious angel that flies around whispering in everybody's ear? Or is it just plain old-fashioned coincidence?
This was the 3rd Sunday for Pam and Jean to attend. I still don't know if they're planning to become members, but it's looking more promising with every Sunday they come. Jean asked me what book the New Testament reading was from (she didn't recognize it). Our reader called it FILLY-mohn (Philemon), which also caused all the former Baptists in our choir to cast frowns around to each other, there are several of us. "That's not what we called it in the Baptist church, is it?" I whispered to my neighbor on the left.
"No! It's Phi-LEE-mohn," she whispered back, emphatically.
Glad to know I wasn't the only one who learned that pronounciation. Jean was impressed that I knew it was a one chapter book toward the end of the NT. Try as I might, I could not come up with the before and after books.
Ah me! Not only am I not as smart as a fifth grader, I could also be beat soundly by most Baptist Bible Drillers. Baptists do still have Bible drills, don't they?
Molly closed today's service with the Franciscan blessing that is one of my favorites:
May God bless you with a restless discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to them and turn their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you, and all you love and pray for this day and forever more. Amen.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I slept for 9 hours last night, soundly, not like the night before when I had a nightmare about being forced to marry a Ross Perot look-alike, and no, he didn't have Ross Perot's money, just his cartoonish looks. I had been abducted by his family, a branch of the Deliverance family, no doubt. It was terrifying.

Six loads of laundry await my attention. I've put it off long as I can. Mike will be out most of the afternoon, so I'll clean the downstairs while he's gone. My life is so exciting, isn't it?

It's been a fun week. In addition to eating out with Pam and Jean on Tuesday night, I ate dinner with the choir on Weds. night at the Lacy's. Pam discovered a billing error in our check at Kathryn's, so we all got some money cheerfully refunded, which makes me like the place even more than I already did. (I was thinking they must have the most expensive house wine in town, but I didn't question it.)

We did 4 days of water aerobics. I went shopping on Weds. afternoon and bought a new swimsuit, originally priced at $78.00, marked down to $18. I love end-of-season sales! All the new fall fashions in the stores made me wish for cooler weather so I could wear the new sweater and slacks I bought earlier this summer, but I'm going to miss the warm temps and pool time I've shared with my new friends. We've probably got another 3 or 4 weeks of warm enough weather. I hope so anyway.

Tomorrow our choir is performing the anthem, an SATB version of Ave verum corpus composed by Gabriel Faure, that was bought in Mother's memory. It is in no way indicative of her personality, but it's a nice gesture, something the choir members routinely do to build up our music library, rather than contribute to flowers for funerals.

Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum vero fluxit cum sanguine;
Esto nobis praegustatum, mortis in examine.
O pie, O dulcis Jesu, Fili Mariae.
Tu nobis miserere. Amen.

Hail, true body, born of Mary Virgin,
truly suffering, was sacrificed on the cross for mankind,
From whose pierced side flowed with true blood;
Be for us a foretaste In our final judgment.
O pious, O sweet Jesus, Son of Mary.
You have mercy on us. Amen.

Friday, September 07, 2007

There are days when the Solo Piano music on is so beautiful it makes my heart ache. Some days it doesn't affect me as deeply, but this morning, it's getting to me. Why are we humans susceptible to emotional response more on some days than others, like the moon pulls on the tide? Maybe today's horoscope holds a clue:

Sun is in Virgo, Moon is going from Cancer into Leo. Conditions for expansion are excellent. This ought to be fun. Your success is practically guaranteed so set forth with confidence. You always do that anyway, but this time, even more so. On a scale of 1 (most challenging) to 10 (easiest), here are your levels for today: Love 9, Work 7, Communications 8.

So for me, and hopefully for other Sagittarians as well, it's an expansive day, which tells me my heart is more open to love and beauty today than it usually is. As long as it doesn't go to this extreme I'll be okay:

expansive - marked by exaggerated feelings of euphoria and delusions of grandeur.

Maybe, instead of a 9 day for love that would be a 10.

Piano Art by Troy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Monday's work on the hot tub resulted in a cleaned tub and filter, but no jets. Evidently, the pump needs to be primed again, but by following instructions in the owner's manual, I still have no working jets. Maybe I should just call a repairman. I really would like to get rid of the monstrosity, but have been unable to find a new home for it. I've even tried to give it away. Benji, don't you want to come down for the week-end and see if you can get it started? It always seems to work for you.

I went to a new-to-me restaurant for dinner last night - Kathryn's Steak House. Pam and Jean invited me to go with them. We're getting to be a regular threesome, but we're very compatible, so I'm enjoying their friendship. I ate one of the best filet mignons I've had in a long, long time. It's been years since I felt like making new friends and socializing. Depression does that. It feels good to be back in the technicolor world. The dark cloud is not entirely gone, but it's far enough away that I don't expect rain on my parade anytime soon. No one is stealing my sunshine today!

Pam and I are considering taking a course at Faux Finishing Institute, located about a mile from where we live. I have limited experience with it, as does she, and have wanted to learn more. Hand-painted wall murals are commanding big bucks in today's new (and renewed) houses, and I'm curious to know if I've got what it takes to do that. There is also a class being taught at Millsaps in their Adult Enrichment Courses. There's all kind of fun things to do in the PM besides sit around here and feel sorry for myself.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thanks, LaRue, for giving me a kick start on today's post. Here are my answers to the "Four Things" quiz:

Four jobs you may not have known I have had in my life:
1. Accounting clerk @ Baptist Sunday School Board, Nashville
2. Receptionist @ University of Tennessee, Nashville
3. Messenger @ Federal Reserve Bank, Nashville
4. Hostess @ S.O.B., Tupelo

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. Chocolat
2. Fried Green Tomatoes
3. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
4. Mona Lisa Smile

Four people that email me regularly:
1. Lisa
2. George
3. LaRue
4. Barbara C.

Four places that I have lived:
1. El Paso
2. Noxapator
3. Plantersville
4. Nashville

Four TV shows I like to watch:

1. Countdown with Keith Olberman

2. Hardball with Chris Matthews

3. Law and Order with Jack McCoy

4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Four favorite places I have been on vacation:
1. Asheville, NC
2. Hot Springs, AR
3. New Orleans, LA
4. Ireland

Four favorite foods:
1. pizza
2. seafood
3. fresh vegetables
4. desserts

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. I'm actually quite happy to be exactly where I am

Hmmm...this may not be as easy as I thought it would be...

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. Goat Roast Sunday
2. Laura and Sarah's visit
3. seeing Ricky and family
4. seeing Benji and family

Four friends who I know will respond:
1. Since I didn't mail this out, I doubt that anyone will respond

I'm having a lazy Labor Day. My neighbor is coming over later to help me clean the hot tub, but that's as close to hard work as I intend to get today. And since he's the one wanting to use it, I'll let him do most of the work.

Our Sunday was pleasant with church, lunch at Sicily's, a long nap, etc. Pam and Jean were back at St. Philip's yesterday. I'm hoping they move their membership there. We'll see.

I have unofficially adopted Jean as my 2nd mother. We seem to have more in common than I had with my first one. She looked so pretty yesterday dressed in a white summer suit, I really would like to make some pictures of her and get her involved in the writing of her life story that I've started (on the sly). I've written out these 50 questions and try to work at least 2 or 3 of them into every conversation I have with her, then come home and type them in while her remarks are still fresh in my memory. It will take many more conversations to get them all answered, but it's an excellent way to get to know someone better.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

This came in an email from my friend Sandra in Plantersville, and I liked it so much I'm using it for today's post. There are a couple of alterations, but nothing major, apologies to the unknown author.

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the double chin, the flabby upper arms, and the cellulite on my thighs and butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.

As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own best friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avant-garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 & 70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How, when a child suffers, can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Is it really September? There's something romantic about the sound of this month's name. Maybe it's the songs I associate with it. Neil Diamond's

September morn . . .
We danced until the night became a brand new day
Two lovers playing scenes from some romantic play
September morning still can make me feel this way...

or Frank Sinatra's

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn't got time for the waiting game
Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days I'll spend with you
These precious days I'll spend with you

Did you see Bill Moyer's interview with Robert Bly on last night's Journal? For those of you who enjoy poets and their poetry, watch it. You'll be glad you did. The transcript helps make out some of the speech that was not clear to me. I love his observations on the greedy soul, war, and depression.

Ricky sent this info on Cooper's season opener:

We Win! Bulldogs 11 Crackers 8
It was a great performance by our brand new team the Tampa Bulldogs! Dressed in Maroon and White, they really looked great and played scrappy, heads up baseball and didn't let the 4 defensive errors hurt them. We are playing in Tampa at the AAU First Pitch Classic (11u division) with Rain threatening all around all weekend, but weren't hampered by rain or lightening last night. Weather outlook today doesn't seem so good, but we'll be there ready to take the field at Noon provided everyone's on schedule.

Hope today's game is a win for the Bulldogs, too! Wonder where they got the idea for the name Bulldogs and the colors maroon and white? Hmm...

Update after today's game:

We Win! Bulldogs 8 Hawks 0

Led by a strong pitching performance again today, the Tampa Bulldogs won 8-0 in 4 innings (Mercy Rule). Joey gave up a single to the #2 hitter of the Seffner Hawks, and that was the only hit off him…….a One hit shutout in 40 total pitches with 7 strikeouts.
The Bulldogs are now 2-0 in the tournament, and we're awaiting the Championship Bracket to be finalized to start the single elimination games in the morning……weather permitting.