Friday, February 29, 2008

It's been a busy week. I went to the gym 4 days, I've eaten out several times, got rental property business handled, paid bills, fielded new genealogy inquiries, busy, busy, busy...

I've also spent several hours watching the Democratic debate and political commentary on TV, including Fox, and reading political columns and blogs, and I feel more confident than ever that Obama is headed for a landslide in November unless he makes a major mistake. Do you know how excited people outside our country are at the possibility of a President Obama? Europeans see him as the perfect antidote to Bush's heavy-handed bungling.

His Mississippi HQ opened for our March 11th primary, but I haven't officially volunteered for any campaign duty. I've already stepped on my share of toes and ticked off more people than I intended, so all I plan to do is put a bumper sticker on my car, maybe wear an Obama tee-shirt, and otherwise, try not to be obnoxiously political (or politically obnoxious). I came close to being invited to leave our Weds. night choir dinner. Since I was not the one who started the very loud discussion about politics, I escaped with a mild lecture on appropriate dinner conversation from a sympathetic alto.

OH MY GOSH! I just saw McCain's slip-of-the-tongue. At a town hall meeting in Richardson, Texas yesterday, he called himself a proud conservative LIBERAL??? That's rich.

This may be easier than I thought, heh, heh, heh....

Today's quote: I'm always amazed at the way the Republicans and media have changed the word "liberal" into something bad - liberal really means willing to accept new ideas, shifting paradigms, thinking of new ways to solve problems - conservative really means never, ever, coming out of your comfort zone - I would rather be a "tax and spend" liberal than a "charge it and spend" conservative!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For the most part, my Republican friends are smart people. I get impatient when their views are so diametrically opposite to mine, but I listen to them politely and try to respond in a civil tone. However, I am getting sick to death of these urban myths that are being repeated as irrefutable fact.

Please, Republican Friends, check your facts. Obama salutes the flag during the National Anthem, he says the pledge of Allegiance to the flag, he was sworn into the Senate on a BIBLE, he is a Christian, not a Muslim, he supports English language learners...

For Heaven's Sake, quit depending on Fox to give you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You are surely not that naive. You have access to the internet, well, most of you do. (For my elderly friend I will print out pertinent information.) Don't be so gullible. If you don't want to read the information directly from the Obama website, go to Google.

Even Mccain himself has renounced most of these, most recently the remarks made by radio host Bill Cunningham.

Please! You are smarter than the fear-mongers!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I was just finishing with my bath when I heard from the TV in my bedroom Tim Russert's voice talking about Ralph Nader, his first guest on this morning's show. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. Then the snake himself came on and slithered up to the announcement - he's running.

The longer he talked the more peaceful I became, realizing that he will take votes from McCain, but he's not going to make a dent in Obama's support. He's so yesterday, and most people want to leave yesterday in the past. He himself thinks the Democrats should win handily in this election:

"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form."

And with that, I found myself agreeing with a man I've resented for over 7 years. He's not solely responsible for the Florida fiasco of 2000, but would it have occurred without his name on the ballot? I don't think so. What was that I said about leaving yesterday in the past?

And the beat goes on...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okay, maybe it's time for a reality check here. McCain is in the news defending himself against allegations for doing what??!!??

I hate to sound like the people who accused Obama of putting his youthful indiscretions regarding drug use out in the public to make himself more popular with the young voters, but I swear, this looks like something the McCain people might have floated to refute the "Tired Old Man" rap, to make him look more youthful than he is. Maybe he can do Bob Dole's Viagra gig after he gets beat.

Let's get real! For people who are seriously concerned about McCain's integrity, all they have to do is go back to McCain's campaign of 2000 to see how, since then, he has twisted himself pretzel-like to conform to Republican Party standards. This man is not the maverick with the straight-talk express that he used to be. McCain of 2000 called Falwell, Dobson, et al "agents of intolerance;" now he's sucking up to them. He voted against tax cuts for the rich, now he's for them. I admired him when he denounced the Swift Boat ads that smeared Kerry; now he's accepting donations from them. Talk about flip-flopping!

Well, enough about that. And I'll wait a little while to check my blood pressure.


My Wednesday's lunch bunch went to Parker House in Ridgeland where I enjoyed fried quail, cheese grits, fried green tomatoes, and butter beans. My first impression of the restaurant was a very good one. Then last night I enjoyed another fine meal with the choir. This is no way to lose weight, but it sure is fun. I'm taking off from the work-out this rainy morning to get caught up on "bidness" and to cook - something low-fat, low-cal, etc. If I've got to over-indulge a weakness, maybe it should be a less fattening one.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

He did it again! Obama's victory speech from Houston was rousing. Who can listen to him and not be inspired? Watching Hillary, I got the impression that she will be relieved to bow out and back Obama. She will be one of his primary cheerleaders by November, just wait and see. She seems tired and discouraged, resorting to petty complaints about her opponent. Her husband's legacy is too huge to overcome. If Ohio and Texas results are anything like Wisconsin, she's out. Whether she throws in the towel before or after those two primaries, she's not going to be able to stem the tide. He's built too much momentum.
Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

Go Obama!
(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Something about getting my teeth cleaned today made me crave a chocolate candy bar, so within about 15 minutes, my pearly whites were in need of another serious cleaning. Once again, I had to resist a sales pitch for expensive cosmetic procedures that I don't want unless my dentist will settle for the amount my insurance will pay, and on cosmetic dentistry it's zero. Of course, I'd love to have a perfect Hollywood smile, but not if it's costing thousands of dollars. If I were twenty years younger, maybe, but I'm not, so I won't! They ought to know by now that they're wasting their breath with these "plans." I wish they would just do what's necessary for basic dental hygiene and forget the rest.

I heard a story sad enough to make me cry last night on C-Span's Book TV. Frank Schaeffer was reading from his latest book, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. It concerned his mother who was not allowed in her younger years to dance. The whole program can be viewed here, but if you want to hear only the story about his mom, slide the timer to about Minute 22.

The whole segment is worth a listen, however. At Minute 46, he so succinctly describes what I've said about contemporary worship in mega churches and why I prefer the traditional litany we observe in the Episcopal Church. Even though he's talking about the Greek Orthodox Church, the sentiment is the same. The book has been added to my lengthening list of "Must Reads."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We had a storm last night for a couple of hours, so Jay-Jay didn't let me sleep until the thunder-boomers died down. He allowed me to hold him close to me while he trembled, something he usually won't tolerate, but he had about worn himself out with his pacing and panting. He finally went back to sleep curled against my stomach, and I did, too. Church time came much too early, it seemed.
After studying the dream I had of the wild, mischievous children, I believe it was a depiction of the young carefree parts of my personality that want to play (be messy, irresponsible) and I was trying to control them without much success. Skip, who has been a wise, father-figure, counselor to me for several years, was telling me to let them play and that whatever messes they created he would help me clean up. In other words, I'm going to need help resolving some of the issues involved in allowing uninhibited "playtime" for the wild child/children in me. Hope you're up for this, Cuz! It's about time you made another trip to see me, don't you think?
I got some more Mardi Gras Party pictures from my friend Jim Carrington, (thanks, Jim) some where the wild child side of me is very obvious. At 61, I'm just glad she's still kicking. See what I mean about our choir being short of "spring chickens." Yes, that's Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and John Travolta in front.
The closest thing we saw to a "spring chicken" that night was "Disco Duck," our most irReverant Father Tom Slawson himself.
And if you want to see the whole set of pictures, go to the slideshow on our church's website. I've got a few posted on my Flickr site, too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's been a busy three days since I posted on Tuesday. I got the Madison house rented by simply putting a sign in the yard, didn't have to fool with the classifieds. And I actually got the repair work finished before the new tenants move in this week-end.
I made a mad-dash to Memphis, arriving at Benji's at exactly 4:30, just as he had asked. They had an early dinner date due to Karen having an 8 PM class to teach. Pip and I wore each other out rough-housing on the bed while Shrek II played on the TV. I took a break to eat a snack-supper, went back to get him and he was sound asleep, much to his parents' consternation when they came in. Gramma's dirty diaper detector was out of order, too, so if I weren't his grandmother, they probably wouldn't ask me to keep him again.
I persuaded my unhappy sweetheart to let me make the trip without him. The stress of a joint trip is hazardous to my health, the BP especially, and I told him it was the nicest Valentine he could give me. So after taking care of business with the new renters in Madison, Mike and I had lunch at the Strawberry Cafe, and I hit the road around 1:00. I had boarded the dogs at the vet's earlier so they could get their annual check-ups, so that made it easier for Mike.
With everybody leaving for school before 8 this morning, my stay was brief, but sweet. Pip actually looked sad to see me go. I left him with a new duffle bag full of Play-Dough and PD implements for his birthday, which he seemed to really like. Maybe he inherited his grandfather's talent for sculpting. Richard, Robert and Clayton could make anything with modeling clay. One of their clay projects as children, and there used to be a picture of this, was of all the animals that went in Noah's ark. I don't remember if their ark was made of clay or not, but all the animals were. Marguerite saved some of them by baking (?) them.
Oh, remember when I said I miss the sound of trains during the night? Well, I know where to go if I start missing them again - Benji's house. Midtown Memphis must be a major switch site. I heard them plenty, until I went to sleep and every time I woke up. Nice.
Rather than taking I-55 back to Jackson, I got off in Southhaven and took Hwy 51 South, or the Scenic Route. I got as far as Grenada before I opted out for speed rather than scenery. Every other car headed South on 55 was from Illinois, which I learned later were mostly Chicago Bulls fans headed for New Orleans and the NBA All-Star game. Many fans are also putting in volunteer time on Katrina recovery efforts in the city.
I personally encountered "a fan" at a rest stop, a young woman who had "LEBRON JAMES" emblazoned across the seat of her pants. She was driving a very fast black Dodge charger (they had passed me earlier, so you know they were flying). She and her two friends were taking turns making pictures of each other, so I offered to make one of all three of them together, for which they thanked me profusely. They were headed for the Big Easy, and I hope they made it safely. Some of the volunteers?
I just got a note from Mary Ann saying she's been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Seems they spent Valentine's Day at the hospital ER. She had chest pains and there is a lot of heart disease on her mother's side of the family, so I'm glad they gave her a thorough check-up. Let's keep her in our prayers.
My dream this morning before being awakened by Benji's sweet kiss on my cheek was of sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, all were children who were trying to be as messy and naughty as children can be. I didn't know Karen and Mary Ann as children and have trouble imagining that they were ever naughty or messy, but in my dream they were all just wild with mischief. I was trying to get them to clean up their messes, but they were paying me no attention whatsoever. I was about ready to put them all in time-out. Then Skippy appeared and told me to let them play and that he would help me clean up later. Wonder what that was all about?

Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions.
Edward Cayce

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh, wow! Did you see it? Obama spoke to an excited crowd in Madison, Wisconsin, and gave an exhilarating victory speech. Immediately following was the Tired Old Man McCain. The contrast could not have been sharper. He had won in today's contests, too, but compared to the youthful Democratic candidate, he looked totally washed up! His crowd was cold beside Obama's; patronizing, polite. If this is what it boils down to in November, McCain should just hang up his spurs now. It's going to be humiliating, and as much as I don't like the thought of McCain as president, I do hate to see a veteran like him broken. It will be sad.

Daily blogging is a thing of the past until I get my empty Madison house rented. At the end of the month, I get to do this all over again with my Harbor View townhouse becoming vacant. We did get some good news about the Madison property yesterday. There is a petition circulating to get all the residential property fronting Highway 51 rezoned to commercial. And there seems to be no opposition from City Hall. Thank you, Lord!

I'm planning a trip to Memphis on Thursday, coming home on Friday, which is Pip's 3rd birthday. I'm planning to babysit while his parents celebrate Sweetheart Day on the 14th. Tomorrow will be full with gym, lunch with the Water Lillies at Olive Garden, choir rehearsal and dinner after that. Rather than going to the Lacy's, we're treating Judy to dinner at Trio's for her birthday. In between the fun things are calls from prospective renters and follow-up calls to check out their information. I'm getting too old for this.

We had another rough weather day, still haven't heard what damage was done, but I think there was some. Our street looked like a bomb went off around 2:00 after strong winds blew over all the cans filled with garbage that had not been picked up. What a mess!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is Obama on a roll, or what? His reception at the Jackson Jefferson Dinner in Richmond on Saturday was like that of a rock star. The man is just flat-out inspiring. He even had me chanting, "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!" as I watched him deliver his message of hope. Last I heard, Clinton still has more delegate votes than Obama, but he's a real contender, and still has a chance of winning the nomination.

I'll be ok with Hillary as our candidate, but I really believe that Obama has a much better chance of beating McCain, especially if Republicans stay away from the general election as they have done in the primaries; not much enthusiasm on that side of the fence.

I hate to admit it but I'm enjoying the frustration of my Republican friends over what most describe as "piss-poor" choices. A couple of people I know are supporting Huckabee, but they know he doesn't stand a serious chance of being the nominee unless McCain's clock runs out of time. It's proving to be the most interesting election year I ever remember.

For my sweet P'ville reader who asked about my brother and sister: Betsy was at St. Philip's this morning and went to lunch with our crazy bunch afterwards. First time I'd seen her in a couple of months. Paul was in the funny paper and then filed a much better report on his blog. I did the Old Testament reading in church - Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, and forgot to say NAY-kid, saying nekkid instead, much to the dismay of our proper English tutor. Oh well, you know what they say about taking the girl out of the country...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Our Ash Wednesday service last night featured Miserere Mei, Deus, not one of my favorite anthems, but we do it every year for this occasion, so I may as well get used to it. It's a setting of Psalm 51, not one of my favorite Psalms either, but would Christians have ever learned confession and repentance without it? For all the beauty of liturgical worship, I do get weary with these 40 days as "a time to repent, reflect, sacrifice and hear from God."

The Church of England has offered a modern alternative for this Season of Lent - The Carbon Fast. Can we be mindful for the next 40 days of our wasteful habits and make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint? Sure makes more sense to me than giving up chocolate.

I mean, how often do we need to berate ourselves to God for being human? I think Our Creator made us to be that way. When Jesus said, I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly, shouldn't we, the so-called "followers of Jesus," be about doing whatever promotes life, especially for those who live lives of scarcity?

Thomas Merton's Prayer is one of my favorites for Ash Wednesday:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Jim Carrington's pictures of Friday night's party have been posted at St. Philip's Website. (You may see some of these here after he sends the images without the proof numbers.) Talk about abundant life...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One of my very favorite people in the whole wide world died on Monday. Ruth Liveakos taught me in 10th, 11th and 12th grades at THS. I never knew a more brilliant, more talented, more fun person to be around than Mrs. L. I was always surprised and humbled whenever I encountered her in my adult years, she knew me and remembered what year I graduated. Of all the hundreds, even thousands of students she had, how did she do it? It never ceased to amaze me.

The last time I saw her was at the wedding of Ellen Souther and Father Shannon Johnston at All Saints in Tupelo. When was that, 10, 12 years ago? She was delighted that I had joined the Episcopal Church. She still knew me and asked about my children. I believe she taught both of them, didn't she guys?

Almighty God,
you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:
Grant that we,
encouraged by the good example of your servant Ruth,
may persevere in running the race that is set before us,
until at last we may with her attain to your eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

To open or not to open windows during a tornado watch/warning? Benji and Karen had conflicting views about this, so he called me. I've heard all my life that it helps to equalize pressure and prevents the house from exploding. Obviously now, that's considered a myth.

From USAToday Q&A:

Q. Some people say to open windows during a tornado and others say you don't. Which is correct?

A: Don't waste time opening windows. Several years ago, theory held that the low pressure inside a tornado made buildings "explode" as the tornado passed over them. When the pressure outside the building suddenly dropped, the higher air pressure inside the building would push out the walls. The idea was that opening a window would equalize the pressure and prevent this. Since then, researchers have found that tornado winds destroy buildings, often by first lifting the roof off. When this happens, the walls might fall outward. The sudden drop in outside air pressure wasn't "exploding" buildings. The current advice is don't waste time opening windows, get into a safe shelter such as a bathroom with no windows.

Sorry, Benji, you learned that erroneous info from yo mama! On his last day as a 30-Something, he took Pip by the Pink Palace where the child instantly decided that he did not like dinosaurs. Memphis had a tornado warning at some point this afternoon, he said, but no touchdown.

Super Tuesday coverage on MSNBC keeps taking my attention away from blogging. May as well quit this and do that.

Have a Great 40th Birthday tomorrow, Benji. Sorry I can't be there to celebrate with you!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Our official high today was 79*. Severe stormy weather is predicted for tomorrow. I've got the AC on in my bedroom, don't intend to be as hot again tonight as I was last night. It's a wonder we don't all have pneumonia.

I've had an uneventful Monday. Water aerobics with Pam and Jean this morning, lunch with Mike at Sicily's, a 2 hour nap with Gus and Jay-Jay this afternoon, and a very productive evening of house cleaning, bill paying, and washing clothes that I didn't feel like doing Saturday. I get so much more done after Mike goes to bed at 6:00.

My horoscope today was interesting, I thought: Your financial good fortune seems to be linked to home and family. That configuration could also refer to real estate. And, you're very intelligent now.

My elbow is hurting. I've got the ice pack and I'm going to bed. Manana!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"A day for each decade," the alto said, "that's what I've come to believe it takes to recover from an occasion of overindulgence." (She's turning 50 this year.) So by her calculation I'll be recovered from Friday night by Wednesday, right? Just in time for Ash Wednesday when the choir has another musically demanding service.
You would never have known we were tired this morning, however. One of our most challenging anthems by Herbert Howells, "Te Deum," was carried off without a hitch, another one of our "only by the grace of God" moments. Only the King's College Choir of Cambridge could have done it better. That's only a very slight exaggeration, and they're much younger than we are. In our choir of 24 members, more than half of them are older than me.
I heard people talking about Super Bowl and Super Bowl parties and was struck again by how much I miss having a sports fan in the house. Mike didn't even know what teams were playing. He did tune into halftime to see Tom Petty, however. Did you see the ad for Barack Obama? If not, you can catch it here. Thanks, Benji! Are you celebrating the BIG 40, yet? Only two more days to be 30-something.
Here's another picture of the Janis Joplin wannabe sent to me by my good friend Jim Carrington, one of the best photographers I know. Too bad he didn't have a better looking subject.

With 11 minutes left, the Giants just got ahead of the Patriots. Go Eli! Bye Y'all!

Here's another picture from Jim that came on Monday. Jean was saying something like, Tell your friend I don't like my picture made. Thanks, Jim!

And another...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Last night I felt 20-something and partied like it. Today I feel 90-something. Even my hair hurts. Janis was seen, but not heard. She started dancing at 5:30 and didn't stop until 10:30. No wonder I'm one big aching pain today.
Our second annual Mardi Gras Party was a great success. The choir's music turned out much better than any of our rehearsals, but that's usually the way it is with this group. I've come to believe it's a test of our director's faith, he's such a perfectionist and hardly anything is ever polished to his satisfaction, then it comes time to perform and our magnificent excellence comes shining through. (Notice I didn't say perfection.)
There was a little confusion about how to dress for the dinner and dancing portion of the party. Some in the crowd wore evening gowns and tuxes. Others were costumed, others in everyday casual dress... one of those anything goes nights. The jazz band we had was wonderful, gave a real New Orleans flavor to the amosphere and the Altar Guild had the Parish Hall decorated to perfection. (Yes, I said perfection.)

This picture is a real rarity. Jean, in the foreground, hates having her picture made, but for this one she acquiesced. Thank you, Pretty Lady, I will treasure it always. She and Pam enjoyed it all. I'm so glad they came.


Before I forget...CONGRATULATIONS TO LAURIE AND DEWAYNE on the birth of their fifth baby - Pearce McGuire Phillips, born yesterday. Check out the proud Granny's blog.

Happy Groundhog Day, Y'all!