Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some of the pundits were not impressed with Obama's renouncement of his former pastor yesterday. Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's Morning Joe said he looked like he was reading a recipe for cheesecake. Can you imagine the outrage had he delivered his message with fire-breathing passion?

What I saw was a man in a lot of pain. Rather than soft, I saw wounded, injured, hurt deeply, a man who had just been knee-capped by someone he considered a friend. And he had to make a break from this long-term relationship, maintaining his composure, before a bank of microphones and cameras while the whole world watched. Can you imagine the pressure he was under?

But he kept his cool! He didn't raise his voice, he didn't show much emotion, he did what he had to do in a very measured, reasonable manner. It made me admire him even more. I hope it translates into new support from some who were undecided.

Most of the undecided voters in this year's election are white, middle-aged men, some usually identify as Independents, most say they are Republicans. They feel left out of this year's contest which is usually dominated by white, middle-aged men. I guess we'll get to see which bias gets less support - age, sex, or race.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

As most preacher's kids can attest, it's hard for us to take seriously the words we hear any preacher say. We've heard them say so much. We've heard the high and holy homilies, right along with the scoldings, the sarcasm, the silliness. We know their clay feet extend all the way up, and that they are nothing like the revered saint on a pedestal as some of their parishioners see them.

There is a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde in all of us, but the minister's struggle between the two personas is more pronounced. When he succeeds in giving Dr. Jekyll more time than Mr. Hyde, it can be quite unnerving when Mr. Hyde sabotages the righteous image. This is how I see the current dilemma for Obama's former pastor.

Wright's Mr. Hyde got jealous of the younger church member who was getting so much attention and so many accolades. His Mr. Hyde got greedy when he realized that this younger church member had made millions on a book that was inspired by whom? the older pastor! He listened to the temptations of the green-eyed monster and succumbed. It ain't pretty, but it sometimes happens. The landscape of our mostly Christian nation is littered with the sad remains of ministers who gave into their lower natures. They couldn't quite measure up to God's requirements:

What does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and
to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8)

Obama's former pastor performed many acts of justice and mercy, but just could not be satisfied with a role of humility. His ego longed for the spotlight, the headlines, the attention, so he did what he could to obtain it. He hurt a lot of people in the process, but so far, it doesn't seem to bother him. Maybe one day he will realize the harm he's done. I hope so.

Barack Obama denounced him in no uncertain terms today. It's not easy to turn your back on someone you once admired and respected. It usually doesn't happen unless there has been unbearable heartbreak and disappointment. He even says he's saddened by "the spectacle we saw yesterday." Watching a high-flying hero go down in flames has to be devastating. I know he hoped it wouldn't happen. I think he suspected all along that it might and that's why he has been putting distance between them from the beginning of the campaign. I pray that he and his wife Michelle find peace and a new direction in their spiritual journey.
Okay, I admit it, I was wrong again. I cut Jeremiah Wright way too much slack. Yes, he loves the USA, but his USA is


He's writing a book and is much more interested in making millions from that than he is in supporting his former parishioner Barack Obama, the one who stands the best chance of correcting some of the injustice he's built a career on railing against. Wright should have taken his own mother's advice, “It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Monday, April 28, 2008

I got word through Mike that two of our friends have been studying Bible prophecy and decided that Obama is the Antichrist. "But don't tell Cathy," they said, "we know how she feels." He laughed when he told me, like it was a funny joke. Oh, by the way, these are the same friends who threw gasoline on the charcoal grill when the fire wouldn't start.

I took a deep breath, I smiled, I took another deep breath, I counted way past 10, then I went about my business, marvelling at how deeply threatened some people are by the prospect of having a president who is so different from them. I feel sorry for them. What can I do but pray for all who feel threatened by this gentle man?

Thanks to MSNBC, my contemplation was interrupted by the Reverend Wright's appearance at the National Press Club. Then the talking heads begin their sensational commentary. "He's going down! He doesn't stand a chance! Wright is an albatross around Obama's neck! His campaign is sunk! Clinton will clobber him! McCain will clobber her!" And the band played on.... with Dubya leading the band. Geeez! (Photo from CNN)

The Gallup Poll has Obama and Clinton in a neck and neck race. We've got about 4 months to go to the Democratic Convention in Denver. If I'm going to have any sanity left by election day, I need to turn off the TV. I'm fast losing my appetite for politics. Maybe I should study Bible prophecy, or learn to read tea leaves.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who but the Good Lord knew that my Saturday path and my Sunday path would intersect, and how easily He could give me the help I asked for with the dream I mentioned yesterday? He knew that Rogation Sunday was coming up at our church today, and that I would be singing the hymn with this verse:

Christ is risen, Christ, the first fruits
of the holy harvest field,
Which will all its full abundance
at His second coming yield:
Then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before Him wave,
Ripened by His glorious sunshine
from the furrows of the grave.

It practically jumped off the page to me! Yes! Yes! That's it! I showed the alto who had been in the same workshop, and she agreed. I had tried to formulate that same idea in my own clumsy language and there it was in beautiful poetic form. "Exactly!" I love those Aha! moments.

It also led me to see the part of me that is represented by my grandfather. The part of me that enjoyed gardening, seeing new life come from buried seed, that was from Papaw. The part of me that appreciates the balance of the seasons (for every thing there is a season), that was from Papaw. The part of me that appreciates the ordinary, the common, the "down to earth," "salt of the earth," the simple life, I got that from Papaw.
Okay, so I didn't pay much attention to the homily, but I got what I was supposed to get, don't you think? I think I did.

Let us present yield high praise to our Creator
that he may crown the year with his goodness.
For from God comes every good and perfect gift:
the rich soil, the smell of fresh-turned earth,
the keenness of the winters frost,
the rumble of the machine,
the gleam of a cutting blade;
the blistered hand, the sweat of the brow,
the skill of those who plow;
the beauty of a clean-cut furrow,
the sweep of a well-plowed field;
all reveal the mind of the Creator.
Blessed be God in all his gifts,
and holy in all his works. Amen.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

I spent the day at a Dream Workshop studying how Jungian psychology can help us interpret our dreams. I did some of this in the early 90's, so it was sort of a refresher course for me. Carl Jung believed that God still speaks to us through our dreams, and I've had dreams that convinced me it's true. One of the most vivid dreams I ever had occurred in 1990 and led me to seek a new direction in my spiritual life. We used it today in our discussion and I discovered there are several elements in the dream that have never been explored. Here's the dream:

I'm about 12 years old and asleep in the bedroom that I shared with my sister Betsy in the old Baptist parsonage. I awake suddenly, excited about seeing the sunrise, and I run through the living room, the dining room, I have on white socks and actually slide across the hardwood floor in the first two rooms, then make the 90* turn into the kitchen, the back porch, and out the back door, yelling all through the house, "Wake up! Wake up! You're going to miss it!" I bound from the house, jump the ditch, and land in my grandfather's cornfield just in time to see the most glorious sunrise. I fall on my knees in rapturous awe of its beauty.

Upon awaking, I realize that I've just seen the sun rise in what would have been the North, not the East, hence, the "New Direction." The other very unrealistic element of the dream is that I woke up before any of the other occupants of the house, something I doubt ever happened in real life. I was usually the last, not the first, to drag myself out of bed, and it never happened with exuberance. But very unrealistic things happen in dreams, so we take what we're given and try to find the meaning.

Today I learned that the sleeping people in the house are important and each relates to me in a unique way - my sister, my brother, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather. There are aspects of each lurking in my subconscious that I need to acknowledge (wake up) and bring into "the light of day." So I plan to do some more work on this one.
We're starting a Dream Work Group at St. Philip's, and I'm really looking forward to that. Tonight I googled for images of cornfields and found one similar to the one in my dream. With some tweaking and special effects I got close to the brilliant golds, reds and oranges that appeared in the dream.

There are several websites offering information and guidance in the Jungian method of dream interpretation, in case you're interested. I would start here, then check out some of the links, especially Tallulah Lyons' guidebook at the bottom of the page.

Friday, April 25, 2008

At the risk of stirring up that hornet nest again, I'm going to ask that all who read this blog please take the time to watch the 55 minute interview of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright by Bill Moyers on PBS, if you haven't already seen it. Talk about a high-tech lynching! This man has been so vilified. I'm embarrassed, no, I'm ashamed to admit that I caved into pressure by one of my friends and said he might be right about Obama's pastor. At least, it stopped the arguing for a while.

Ever since 9/11 happened, I've been concerned about well-meaning Christians who bow to the god of nationalism. Some of the so-called patriotism I've heard expressed is simply idolatrous. I'm as patriotic as any American, but I don't believe our nation is perfect, or that we owe blind allegiance to it. I also don't believe that the wearing of a flag lapel pin is a true indication of anyone's patriotism, any more than the wearing of a cross on a necklace symbolizes a person's devotion to Christ.

I attended the funeral today of "Bubba" Fowler. He and his wife Dot were some of our sweetest encouragers after Mike had his stroke. From his obituary: He served his country faithfully during World War II, taking part in the June 6th D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Dr. Fowler was in the 2nd Armored Division and served under General George S. Patton. He also served in the 1st Army under General Omar Bradley. Dr. Fowler fought in 5 campaigns in the European Theatre of Operations and earned a Bronze Arrow Head, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He retired from the Mississippi National Guard, obtaining the rank of Colonel.

The funeral was at our former church St. Peter's By-the-Lake, so I volunteered to sing with the choir. It was a moving service, but until I heard the trumpet playing "Taps" and the flag being handed to his widow, my tears didn't flow. Something about the reality of what that "greatest generation" went through has always stirred my emotions. If Bubba ever wore a flag lapel pin, it was backed up by lots of sacrificial devotion, and it stood for more than most flag pin wearers can claim.

Yes, I love this country, but it's not perfect, uncommonly blessed, but not perfect. I believe Jeremiah Wright loves this country, too, but he doesn't worship it. Watch the interview.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I knew when we got to 8:00, with only 30 minutes left of our 2 hour rehearsal and only 4 of the 12 listed songs rehearsed, that there would be a special rehearsal called before next Thursday's Evensong. Our choir director is such a perfectionist. I'm not complaining, it's the reason we sound as good as we do, but on Sunday? immediately following the 10:30 service? Man! I am always famished when I get out of church, and I've really missed going to Amerigo's for the past two weeks. Oh well, by this time next week, I'll be glad we're getting the extra practice.
He made me and the others who didn't show up for Tuesday's concert feel really guilty, so I don't dare miss tonight's concert, not that I would because James Martin is performing and I will inconvenience myself to go to that. But on Tuesday night I simply could not tear myself away from the election coverage. (And it was earth day, so my car spent the day in the garage.) The poor attendance at these events is forcing the shutdown of The Great Fifty Days Concert Series in 2009. It's embarrassing, he told us, to offer talent as good as we've had without drawing a crowd to hear them. I fully understand. I hate to see it stopped, but I do understand.
Wednesday's lunch with the Water Lilies was fun, as always. We ate at Sicily's, an Italian Buffet featuring pizza, pasta, salads, desserts, etc. They even had delicious gumbo! Not sure how that qualified as Italian, but it was good.
Oh, by the way! Clinton's win in PA was only by 9.2%, not 10% as has been reported unceasingly in the last two days. For the real scoop, watch this.
Jim Carrington made this tonight at the church before the concert. The fat belly looked even more gross in the light of day, so the picture got embellished a little. It's a great picture of the other three. Thanks, Jim!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If I take advantage of all the musical programs being offered by our church this week, I'll be there every night. Then on Saturday, I've signed up for the Dream Workshop, which lasts all day. Tonight we're hosting the Chapel Singers of Redlands University, who are on tour and will present a concert; tomorrow night our own choir rehearses; Thursday night will be Concert #5 of the Great Fifty Days featuring the Mississippi Vocal Arts Ensemble; and Friday night we're having a benefit concert in the amphitheatre in the hollow for tornado victims. I would love to attend everything, and I may, depending on how I feel when it's time to go. I'm usually pretty lazy in the PM, actually I'm pretty lazy all the time, but especially in the PM. And Episcopalians are notorious for not showing up for anything at church at night. I'll just wait and see if the spirit moves me.

Today is a big day for Democrats - the Pennsylvania Primary. Obama has narrowed the gap between him and Clinton, but she's still expected to win. I just hope it's a very narrow victory and that she doesn't net very many more delegates. I love watching election returns, but this one has made me very nervous. If anything keeps me away from the concert tonight, it will be this. I may go, though, just to get my mind off the suspense of not knowing anything until all the votes have been counted. Again, I'll have to wait and see how the spirit moves me.

Today is Earth Day. Probably the best way to celebrate it is to refuse to crank my car all day . . . and turn out all the lights . . . and wash laundry in cold water . . . and hang it on the clothes line to dry. Unfortunately, I've been up four hours now and have already done the opposite of all of these, except crank my car. I'm listening to the sounds of nature from this website. My curiosity was sparked by the "Think Green" slogan on the side of our neighborhood garbage truck. I just got an email inviting me to view "Crude Awakening," the trailer was pretty powerful, so I may watch the documentary, too. But if I sit here much longer, I'll miss my ride to the gym. At least, we're car pooling for that. That may be the most environmentally friendly thing I do today.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth,
you made us fellow workers in your creation:
Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the
resources of nature,
that no one may suffer from our abuse of them,
and that generations yet
to come may continue to praise you for your bounty;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Church was easy this morning, easy hymns, easy anthems. I was hoarse and coughed a good bit, but I think it was allergies. I need to be singing every day, exercising my vocal chords, something else that doesn't improve with age. My dogs have strange reactions when I sing. They seem to think I'm in distress.

We had a cook-out and potluck lunch at the clubhouse this afternoon. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Most of the friendly neighbors who get along easily were there. I was glad the unfriendly ones stayed away. I ate too much and I got blistered, but I'm glad I went. I actually met a couple of people I've never met. I hope we do this on a regular basis.
I talked to Rick and his kids tonight. They just wound up a busy week-end of ballgames. Cooper is playing first base this season and says he likes it more than pitching. They went to a ballgame while they were on vacation in NYC last week and saw the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the New York Yankees, much to Clay's disappointment.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Benji cued me into a site that includes useful questions for unblocking writer's block. What a great resource! When I first started blogging, I did it to exercise my lazy brain. After watching my mother's mind dwindle from the effects of dementia, I was motivated to find out how to prevent this same fate being mine. Reading, playing Scrabble, working puzzles, writing - all of these, plus several other activities, supposedly keep the mind alert, so I do them, more often than I used to. And somedays they're a lot more difficult than other days, so I don't dare quit.
One of the hardest things about blogging, as I do it, is to settle on a subject or subjects. Once that's decided, the rest flows pretty easily. Invariably, I make a statement of which I am unsure and have to do a little online research; or I misspell a word, or I try to recall a synonym for a word which sends me to the dictionary/thesaurus. Being as easily distracted as I am, these jumps to more info often send me scurrying down a rabbit hole looking for the golden key. That's how 3 paragraphs sometimes take 3 hours, or more.
Today's rabbit hole adventure ran a circuitous route. I've chased the Pope and his remarks regarding moral relativism, hoping to find somewhere that he explained it to Dubya in a way that he could understand. Never did find that. I've surfed The Boss's website and found the letter he wrote to friends and fans endorsing Obama. I learned that his keyboardist of 40 years Danny Federici died after a 3 year fight with melanoma. Then I rested at Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz site and enjoyed the piano music of Chuck Leavell, best known for his 20 year stint with the Rolling Stones. Then I sent the link to Keith Olbermann's Countdown site to a friend, and watched a couple of clips I somehow missed this week, not sure how that happened, since I usually watch it from beginning to end every night. Musta been one of those nights when I wasn't here.
And there you have the answer to today's what was that question again?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My meal at Scrooge's was delicious; the new place has recaptured some of the old place's rustic charm, but with more light. There were only 11 of us, but I always manage to sit by someone I don't know very well and I always learn interesting things. Yesterday I talked mostly to an MSU graduate who had worked her way through college as a research assistant in the university's creamery lab. She said they did a lot of "taste testing" of the milk, cheese, and ice cream in addition to lab testing. At 68 years old, she says it's still her favorite job of her entire lifetime.

We drove on Adkins Boulevard to get to the restaurant. It's the first time I'd seen the storm damage in that area. Really bad, blue tarps on most of the roofs, not many houses escaped damage, a couple of houses almost completely demolished. And there have been so many huge oaks lost. I hate to see it all cut up into firewood; surely the large trunks and limbs could be used for lumber; I wonder if they are. According to the news, some of the downed trees were 100+ years old. I never realized that oaks can have such shallow root systems. How on earth did Louisiana ever get the huge oaks they have with all the hurricanes? I understand that the 1200 year old Seven Sisters Oak located in Mandeville survived an almost direct hit from Katrina. Amazing.

I missed the debate on ABC last night, but from the reviews I've seen, I'm glad I did. It was not Obama's best performance, the commentators all say, even though the polls taken after the debate say he won. According to Tom Shales of the Washington Post, "For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with."

I'm glad I had choir rehearsal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jesus did show up at the gym yesterday, but in the form of Sally, who told me about all the storm recovery work she and the other members of Christ United Methodist Church have been doing. Talk about getting me out of my self-imposed pity party! We were spared so much loss, inconvenience and heartbreak by the April 4th tornadoes, I felt really selfish for complaining about anything. If I could just remember to emphasize all the blessings in my life, rather than the problems, I'd be a much happier person.
We got sad news from Plantersville earlier this week. One of my favorite people died early Monday morning. Aleene Sample was a pillar of the community and the Baptist church. However did they learn to manage without her? When her health began its decline, she moved to North Carolina where her oldest son lives. She was in Florida, where her daughter lives, when she died. Funeral arrangements were incomplete, last I heard. I'd really like to go to the funeral; maybe I can get Betsy or George to go with me.
I may not be going anywhere until I find out what's wrong with Gus. He's feeling puny today, he's not even barking at the yard guys. He got loose yesterday while the garbage was out awaiting pick-up. Please, Lord, don't let it be more styrofoam.
The Water Lilies are eating at Scrooge's today, another first for me. Guess I better go get ready. Does anybody out there realize how difficult it is to dress for lunch knowing there will be an hour spent exercising in a warm pool between doing hair and make-up, and actually going to the restaurant? It has given me a new appreciation for water-proof mascara.
I have such a difficult life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Molly Ivins quote in the title banner of this blog may give the impression that I actually enjoy fighting. I don't. I admired Ivins for the style and substance of her columns, and I really miss having her take on this long, drawn-out primary season going on now. With her keen political insight, she took delight in pointing out "the Emperor has no clothes." I love doing the same thing, but I could never emulate the style of such an icon.

My friend LaRue reminded me in March that I've been known to throw a live grenade or two into the middle of a conversation, but rather than stick around to clean up the mess, I usually throw it, then run like heck to duck the damage. If Molly Ivins and I had been playground pals, I would have been hiding behind her skirt, urging her on when she stood up to the bullies, but when she looked around for reinforcement, I'd be nowhere in sight. (Then I would be the "fraidy cat" she ridiculed.)

Writing a newspaper column as she did meant that she avoided the direct confrontation involved in a face-to-face debate. She really wasn't very good in that format; I remember being disappointed in the few personal appearances of her I saw on TV, especially if she were expected to argue with an opposite view. She excelled in her writing where immediate response was not expected. Blogging has a similar appeal to me. (As a late-comer to her fan club, I'm not really qualified to say how she was in her younger years. By the time I discovered her, she was already fighting cancer and feeling the effects of chemotherapy. Who could be at the top of their game with all that?)

Anyway, I was recently reminded of my strong aversion to disagreements and arguments when I engaged a Republican friend in a conversation about politics. MISTAKE!!! I was immediately overcome with feelings of ineptness, incompetence, inadequacy. My mind goes blank and my emotions put me in "run and hide" mode. I'm sure it comes from growing up in a house where verbal hostility was volatile and explosive and much too frequent for the ears and spirits of gentle children who just wanted to live in peace and harmony and love and kindness and all those other nutrients that young offspring need for health and growth.

My husband's contrariness, especially when he's drinking, has the same effect on me. And this is the man who used that Don McLean song to win my heart:

You have lived such a gentle life upon this earth
That I am stunned by your sight.
If I could give but a token of the love you give
Then I might not be this lonely tonight.

Let them have their smug and their cool
confined by fashion and peer
I love you for your courage in this frightened atmosphere

Ah, there are so few brave ones like you
Need I explain?
Never wondering what to do, what to venture, what to gain-
And you have loved in a total way,
from flesh to soul
You speak without coy, without pose
Your eyes can see that the Emperor
has lost his clothes
And what's more you'll tell the whole world
what he stole.

I'm tired of fighting. My courage in this frightened atmosphere just ain't what it used to be. I fought off Mike's demons for years, but now I'm tired of fighting and they aren't. If I'd been smart, I would have recognized that the job description was more than I could handle anyway. It sounds more like a job for Jesus, not co-dependent Cathy.

I'd like to find a tall tree to climb and hide out in it for awhile. Instead, I'm headed to the gym where the warm salt water always relieves a lot of the stress. Pam and Jean aren't going today, so I'll probably have it all to myself. Maybe Jesus will show up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We're having another cold snap here in the Deep South, in fact, there is a freeze warning for Monday night. Makes me glad I haven't planted any spring flowers yet. The high here today was in the 60's with beautiful sunshine, pert near perfect!

It was Good Shepherd Sunday at our church, so all the scriptures and most of the hymns and anthems were based on the shepherd theme. We did one of my favorite Rutter anthems, "The Lord is My Shepherd," accompanied by oboe and organ, really gorgeous. (Art: The Good Shepherd by Bernhard Plockhorst) After church, I went to Stewpot to serve lunch to about 100 hungry people, a first-time experience for me. St. Philip's provides the food and the servers on the 2nd Sunday of every other month. There were 4 other volunteers from our church and we could have used 2 or 3 more, but several of the people who came to eat pitched in and helped, so it got done. The meal consisted of Chili Mac, green beans, fruit salad, a slice of white bread and a chocolate chip cookie with iced tea to drink.

Pam and Jean went to Pensacola this week-end to visit Pam's oldest son Philip and his family. Without them there to go to Amerigo's for lunch, I decided to go to Stewpot, rather than come home alone and feel sorry for myself. Mike was having a Bub Day at Margarita's, which means he got sloshed. He'd been home about an hour when he fell, and I had to get Art to come help me get him to his feet again. I put his name back on the prayer list at church today. He's consuming way too much alcohol, especially for a stroke patient. Dear readers, your prayers will be appreciated, too.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Republican neighbor Art has really been ragging me since I put the Obama bumper sticker on my car. I just hope he isn't as unhappy with our young president for the next eight years like I've been with Bush. The latest revelation to be played non-stop on Faux News is Obama's remark about the bitterness that exists in some segments of our population. Did they bother to play the whole statement? Of course not... just the part they could make hay with. For those who may have heard only what was played on Faux, here's the whole statement in context:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them, and they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Being the progressive Democrat that I am, I can't find fault with what Obama said. I agree with what he said, and it doesn't apply to just the frustrated people in the Midwest. It applies especially to lots of Southerners. Obama's response to this dust-up via You-Tube is here.

If any of my Republican friends are ready to get on board Obama's train, here's the link to Republicans for Obama. Mississippi still needs a chapter. Several southern states have chapters - Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, even Texas, but not Mississippi. I know some of you aren't completely sold on McCain. I also know that some of you are tired of the polarization that exists among Americans. "We the People" has divided into "Us versus Them." What ever happened to "we're all in this boat together"?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

There were 14 of us at the Water Lilies luncheon today. We ate at Monte's Seafood and Steak Restaurant in The Quarter on Lakeland. I ate a seafood crepe, something new for me and quite tasty. Again, there were no complaints from anyone in the group, but last week that did not translate to "everybody enjoyed it." I heard several ladies say today that they would not do a return visit to Tex-Mex, "it just wasn't that good," they said.

When I'm enjoying mine, I just assume those around me are enjoying theirs unless they're complaining. They may just not want to diminish my enjoyment by complaining. My taste is not so refined that I can find something wrong with everything I eat, but there seem to be those who can do this. Maybe I shouldn't be so easy to please, but I don't know another way to be, especially where food is concerned.

I finally have my bathroom back in working order. What an inconvenience that was! Tomorrow the work on the other bathroom begins, but they say they can finish with it in a day and a half. The current tub and tile surround are being replaced by a large shower with a built-in seat. I certainly hope it's done by Friday.

I'm tired of the upheaval that comes from things not working as they should. As much as I say I would like to get this place remodeled, the thought of it really stresses me, especially with having to watch the dogs so closely. Strange people with power tools make them very nervous, then their barking at strange people with power tools puts me on edge, not something my frayed nerves manage well.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Whatta day! Carpet cleaners arrived at 8:00 at the (still) vacant condo across the street. I got them started, then came back where the handyman was already working on my (still out of commission) bathroom. When the carpet cleaners finished at the vacant condo, they came over here to do this one, so the rest of the bathroom repair got put on hold until tomorrow. With all the traffic in and out of the house, the dogs ran loose way more than they should have, so I chased them several times. It's garbage day, let's hope they didn't find any styrofoam to eat. Oh, did I mention the AC wasn't working, so that repairman came, too, and fixed the problem at no charge! How often does that happen?

And there were three potential renters to show the vacant condo to. Cleaning the carpet must have been the missing ingredient. All three people wanted to rent it. I've decided to let the first one have it. She's a single mom, actually they all were, but this one had two boys and very good references. Hopefully, this closes the chapter on this matter for at least a year.

Oh, and I got the wicker chair repaired and painted, the deck cleaned up, and a new 96x96 blind hung on the west side of the deck. It shades the whole area in the afternoon, but enough light comes through for it not to be dark.

Mike was gone all day and when he came home he actually asked what I'd been doing all day! I was almost too tired to tell him. I just wish I could get in my bathroom and take a long soak in a hot tub, but it's occupied by the toilet until tomorrow. I sure will be glad when all this work is completed. Do I really want to go through the stress of major remodeling?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I saw the videos on TV and the photos in the Clarion Ledger, and I listened to my sister and others tell about the damage in their neighborhoods, but until I drove down Old Canton Rd. to church this morning and smelled the aroma of broken pines and uprooted giant oaks and heard the sound of chainsaws working furiously to make smaller pieces of the huge trees that no longer stood tall, it was just another news story, not very real to me, at all. Arriving at church and finding out that all our choir members were okay and most of our parishioners had escaped injury to themselves and serious damage to their houses, I felt a real sense of relief. The National Weather Service has confirmed that 5 separate tornadoes blew through this area on Friday.
Electricity had not been restored at the church, but that didn't interfere with our service. About the only difference it made was that David played the piano instead of the organ and we didn't wear choir robes due to no AC. With the sun being out, we had plenty of light to read by. A healing service had already been scheduled for today, nothing high-tech about "anointing of oil and laying on of hands." I love these occasions when we set aside our pride and independence and bring our needs and vulnerabilities to the altar. The Holy Spirit is so real when that happens, blessing us with its abundant fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Why can't we see it so plainly all the time?
I've been hobbling around with a limp today following a nasty fall I took last night. I went to my neighbor's house to walk his dogs while he worked late, and I fell on his driveway. My left foot is really sore, but is not swollen, so I don't think anything is broken. The rest of me aches from the severe jarring it got. Excedrin Back & Body tablets work well for this type injury. It allowed me to enjoy lunch with Pam and Jean at Amerigo's and a party this afternoon at the Greenhill's for Jon and Trish, who got married last month in Las Vegas. Congratulations to the lovebirds!

It's only 8:00, but I'm ready to turn in for the evening. Night all!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

With yesterday being the 40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, I watched several interviews of those who knew him and those who have been influenced by him. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson was on Tavis Smiley's program last night. The video is here, the transcript is here. Dyson's latest book is entitled April 4, 1968 and he dares to discuss the full scope of Dr. King's public and private sentiments. There was so much more to King than the "I Have a Dream" speech, but unfortunately, it's the only thing most of us as white Americans remember and admire of him. We need to dig deeper into these issues and quit depending on 30 second soundbites to inform us.

I added some remarks to my post of Apr. 3 of points I wish Obama would make whenever the subject of his pastor is raised. Maybe I should send them to his speechwriters? According to the polls I've seen, the issue has helped him, especially in his money-raising ability. I need to desensitize my own feelings about that particular topic, but not before I blow off about one of my pet peeves:

I got an email this morning asking for prayer for Oprah and her church, which happens to be the same as Obama's, because she took exception to something in the Bible. Shallow-minded fanatics will continue to obsess about TUCC until election day has come and gone and after Obama has been inaugurated next January. How my name got added to the list of people who might care about some triviality like that is beyond my comprehension. For the record - I am not a Biblical literalist.

What can I say? Some of my friends are moved by things that leave me cold. And the beat goes on...

I do appreciate my friend LaRue giving me the correct information on how crossover voting in Mississippi really works. I was afraid Dan Abrams was misinformed when he said what he said, but it helped the way I was feeling at the moment, so I applauded his remarks. I don't get everything perfectly straight myself sometimes, in case my dear readers haven't already figured that out.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My threesome topped off a busy Thursday with a steak dinner at Kathryn's and the concert at St. Philip's. Organist John Paul from St. Andrew's Cathedral in downtown Jackson and baritone James Martin of our own St. Philip's choir performed Bach exclusively, hence, the "Bach to Bach" title for the program. If I knew more about classical music than I know, I'd give you a review, but all I can say is, "I enjoyed it." Pam and Jean did, too.
I went dumpster diving this morning, rescuing some wicker furniture I'll try to rehab for the back porch. All 3 pieces looked like this, but when I get through working they will look more like the second picture. I was working on the settee when a bad storm came through, so I had to stop and come inside. This will get another coat of paint, maybe with a sponge instead of spray paint. I removed the wicker from the seat and replaced it with plywood. Strong winds have caused damage in NE Jackson, Flowood, and Ridgeland, but nothing where I am, far as I can tell. The power went out for a few minutes, but that was about the worst of it for us. I got in the closet under the stairs with the two dogs when the tornado siren went off. Jay-Jay wore himself out hyperventilating, so he's asleep.

I just heard on TV that there are trees down in our area, too, and the most severe damage seems to be in the Ridgewood Rd/Old Canton Rd. area which is exactly where St. Philip's is. Wonder what happened there. Well, I just talked to David and he said the church is okay, hanging plant baskets are gone, as are the umbrellas on the tables in the courtyard. Trees are down all over town, he said, especially between the Pear Orchard/Old Canton Rd area. His power is out at home, so I guess Betsy's is, too. I couldn't get an answer at her house. Her backyard and David's are joined at the corner. Father Tom posted his observations on his blog.

April is here...hang on to your hat!

Woodlake update: The wind brought down one of the brick columns at the pool and part of the wrought iron fence. There are some shingles off a couple of roofs here, too.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's been a busy Wednesday starting with an early morning run to Lowe's for venetian blinds for the vacant condo I'm trying to get rented. It's been painted and looks so much better than it did. After the carpet is cleaned, it will look good as new. I've only had 3 inquiries, 2 have come to see it, but no takers, yet. I probably should have waited until all the work was done to show it, but it's not hard to tell what it will look like. The Madison renter decided to stay through the whole term of her lease. That was a huge relief.

Then Pam and I went to the gym, while Jean stayed home to putter some more with her plants. I went to lunch afterwards with the Water Lilies at the Tex-Mex Restaurant in Flowood on Lakeland. There were fewer complaints today than last week when we went to Biaggi's, the Italian restaurant at the new Renaissance Shopping Center in Ridgeland, several disappointed diners at that outing, so I was not embarrassed that Tex-Mex was my suggestion.

I was sorry to hear about Steve's loss to his opponent in yesterday's run-off, but if the report I heard on Dan Abram's show last night is correct, the results were skewed by cross-over voting by Republicans creating mischief. Now that they've voted as Democrats in the primary, they will not be allowed to switch back and vote Republican in the general election, something Rush Limbaugh neglected to tell them. I wasn't aware that it worked that way, but if that's right, and I hope it is, the joke's on them. Serves 'em right!

I just watched Barack Obama on Hardball's College Tour. He is so personable and intelligent. He will make a great president. I've given away two of my Obama bumper stickers, and still have some left; if anyone needs one, just let me know.

I'm getting really weary of the commentators bringing up the Jeremiah Wright remarks. When Chris Matthews asked about it tonight, I wish Obama had said something like this:

I didn't leave that church for the same reason that most Catholics didn't leave their church when some priests were discovered to be pedophiles. Most Catholics knew that pedophilia isn't a true representation of the whole Catholic church.

I didn't quit that church for the same reason most Christians didn't quit the Christian religion when anti-Semitic remarks were made by prominent ministers including Billy Graham. Most Christians knew that anti-Semitism is not a true reflection of the whole Christian religion.

If all I knew about Jeremiah Wright were the 30 second soundbites that have received excessive airplay in the last month, then yes, I might have walked away, but there is so much more to the man, his ministry, the Trinity Church, than those snippets. It would have been terribly irresponsible for me to base my decision to remain in that church on such minutiae. I'm sorry that most people have such a shallow knee-jerk reaction to those news clips. It wouldn't take much investigation to learn that my pastor is not the hate-monger being portrayed, but is a highly esteemed theologian and scholar among his peers and is well loved by his flock.

But it's okay for you to ask, Chris, because everytime someone attempts to embarrass me about it, my numbers go up in the polls. Most Americans realize the unfairness of the charge, and it seems to help my popularity when I have to defend my choice of churches.

Next question.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We had hard rain here all morning, so my threesome skipped the gym duty. Pam and Jean had lots of new flowers to pot, and I had a late lunch with George at Primo's to celebrate his 68th (?) birthday. He surprised me with this question: Do you know where your daddy was at 7:00 PM 42 years ago tomorrow?
Even more surprisingly I came up with the answer: At Ms. Sarchie's house performing the marriage ceremony of you and Carole.
Congratulations to the two lovebirds! Glad to know of another of my dad's knots that stayed tied. I always feel smarter after I spend time with George. He graced me with a couple of reading lists that will keep me busy until my dying day - "One hundred most popular fiction" and "one hundred most popular non-fiction." If I really were smart, I would get off this computer, give my mouse elbow the rest it desperately needs and start on that list. I do plan to read at least one of them before next month when we lunch together again.
Rick sent super cute photos of my Tampa Bordens. Cooper is playing CEO of Verizon for a day, part of a Junior Achievement project for fifth graders. He got tired of signing papers, he said. His other grandmother made this picture. Thanks, Jeanette!
Karate is serious business with Clay, even Rick looks unusually serious in this picture.
My beautiful daughter-in-law Mary Ann is surrounded here with their three Shelties - Tucker, Maggie, and Drako. That looks like a shirt I gave her that said, "Girls rule! Deal with it!" or something like that, a good reminder when you're the only girl in a house teeming with testosterone.

I sent this story to Rick earlier about the Episcopal Church being named the official denomination of major league baseball. I should post his response in the comments:
"Just what baseball needs - peanuts, popcorn and proselytizing." I'm predicting Red Sox vs. Cubs in World Series, Red Sox to win it again.
Hope everybody enjoyed April Fool's Day!