Monday, June 30, 2008

I stopped by Lakeshore Park this evening on my way home from Kroger and observed this sunset. I like the left-leaning tree, too.

I had to stop on my way to Kroger to retrieve a newspaper clipping from under the windshield wiper. My neighbor loves Mallard Fillmore and this is the third one he's left for me lately.

That's a cynical take on all the hope and change that actually came from the 60's. For those of you who don't remember, I suggest you start with this memory jogger, then if you need more go here. Yeah, not all of it was pretty, but there was lots of good that came from that decade.

Rip-off, my ass!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

With David still gone on vacation, we had another guest organist today Will Tate, who did an adequate job, but was one of those that made me think once again that with just a little practice I could play that organ. Then I remembered how lost I was last year when I tried to work left and right feet on the bass pedals with right and left hands on the keyboard. I realized then that my hardwiring is deficient. It ain't gonna happen - too many years on the Hammond with only 3 of my 4 limbs employed.

Our soprano section was outnumbered by the alto section 7 to 3 this morning, but we held our own. The Palestrina anthem -Sicut Cervus - was one we know well and with James leading us our a cappella sounded really good to me, we stayed on pitch best I could tell. We didn't do it quite as slow as this choir (King's College Choir) on YouTube, but it's the same arrangement.

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.

(As the deer longs for running water, so longs my soul for you, O Lord. Psalm 42:1)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Didn't I have enough on my plate without this? I addressed this question to the ceiling since that's as high as I wanted it to get. Dogs get fleas every day so why should mine be the exception? And should I bother God with how inconvenienced I feel by these pesky black bugs? I would like to know if they serve any good purpose.

Gus and Jay-Jay got baths early today, and not the normal "quickies." No, today's baths left the shampoo on for 10 minutes just like my neighbor had said his groomer does. (Any shampoo will kill fleas if left on the dog for 10 minutes.) The dogs didn't seem to mind since I was scrubbing and rubbing them the whole time. They're not used to such intense one-on-one with Mama.

Baths were followed by their favorite treat - hot dogs, but these were spiked with Centinel (for fleas and heart worms). Then they were leashed and kept in the kitchen while I stripped beds, vacuumed, and sprayed Demize. I've washed 7 loads of laundry today - mostly sheets and bed covers - and have about 3 more to do. Then I can vacuum and treat the laundry room.

I hate these little boogers, and will do whatever I have to do to get rid of them. Jeanette told me she's had a real problem with them, even called in the pest control people to spray her house. I was the one who gave Gus and Jay-Jay the run of the farm, so I really shouldn't be surprised that they found fleas or did the fleas find them? I should have bathed them last Monday as soon as we got back home. I've heard that "country fleas" are harder to get rid of than "city fleas" and I feel sure these are from the country.

Art's dogs have staged a hunger strike. Their food bowls are full of the same food Art left for them yesterday morning. He said not to worry about it. Each one of them has enough fat to survive several days without a bite of food. I went over this afternoon following the thunderstorm and Sophie sat in my lap and licked my face, trying her best to persuade me not to leave. I wish his dogs and mine could get along, I would have just brought them over here with me, but they don't so it's best they stay in their own house.

And I'm sure they don't want what mine have had.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Most days are not as stressful as this day has been, thank goodness! I woke up at 2:00 worrying about the delinquent renters and evicting them and I could not go back to sleep. Around 5:00 I got up and by 8:00 I was on my way to Justice Court in Madison, determined to do this dastardly deed before I lost my nerve. I filed the eviction and got a court date - July 15th. The constable will serve them with another copy of the eviction that I gave them last week and a summons to court.

We drove by the house on the way home and observed them putting gas in their car with a milk jug, which told me they really are broke. Inflicting more pain on someone who is already in dire straits is so totally foreign to my nature that I immediately was seized with guilt and remorse. I do not have the fortitude for this. I've got to find another property manager.
Having had only 3 hours sleep last night, I've been running on fumes the rest of the day. I caught a short nap this afternoon, then fell asleep watching TV tonight. I'm taking care of Art's animals again while he's working as an instructor at a referee/basketball camp at Southern. We had a thunderstorm this afternoon and I was torn between comforting Jay-Jay and calming his Cocker Spaniel Sophie. She gets as anxious as Jay-Jay does and I worried about her pacing and trembling like she does, but I can't be in two places at one time. Besides, she's more accustomed to Art not being there than Jay-Jay is with my not being here.
Did you see the campaign event with Obama and Clinton today in Unity, New Hamp-shire? They looked good together, relaxed, cordial, even warmly affectionate toward one another. It’s the first time I’ve thought she might actually be a good running mate for him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Multi-lateral diplomacy works?!? Is that what Bush said today? But I thought engagement with tyrants was the equivalent of appeasement and that Obama was branded as naive even to suggest it. That's what Bush said. That's what McCain said. So now North Korea is being removed from the Axis of Evil and sanctions are being lifted due to appeasement? Diplomacy? How can any sane person take these hypocrites seriously? Sheeeesh!

I've got to wake up in Hard-hearted Hannah mode tomorrow and evict a renter who is way behind in what she owes and is digging herself in deeper with every passing day. The deadline I gave her has passed and I still have no money . . . several phone calls, several excuses, several promises, but no money.

My finances are taking another hit with the flooded apartment. The woman whose washing machine malfunctioned does not have insurance and does not have any money. She quit her flower-arranging job at Michael's because they wanted her to work on Sunday, so consequently she can't afford "luxuries like insurance." We've got wet walls that must be dried on both sides or there will be mold and mildew, and we have to take out carpet padding, dry the carpet, then replace padding which could add up to $800 or more.

Anybody want to buy some rental property?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Clay is 14 today. Happy Birthday, Grandson! He was born the week-end that Lion King made its debut. That movie is full of mythological symbolism, which we discussed briefly in our last Dream Group meeting.

I've had a busy day. Exercising at the pool, lunch at O'Charley's with the Water Lilies, running errands, then I got stuck in Walmart waiting out a thunderstorm. I came home to problems with two of my renters, the one I've threatened to evict wants another day to get her money together, and the one across the street had wet carpet due to the neighbor's washing machine hose coming loose. And somewhere in between this frenetic activity, I took time to argue politics and religion with my neighbor. He turned 56 yesterday and is expecting granddaughter #2 tomorrow. So yes, I'm tired.

The June 25th Rolling Stone magazine has a cute picture of our next president. The article on him talks about his taste in music. And the artists on his ipod? Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheryl Crow, and Jay-Z, to name a few. One of his favorite Dylan songs is "Maggie's Farm." His explanation about the FISA bill leads me to believe he's trying not to appear soft on terrorism. We'll wait and see how it plays out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

According to the psychologist I saw today, I have all the symptoms of ADD. He's recommending to my physician that we try drug therapy plus some talk therapy/coaching sessions to see if I can get more organized in my thinking and start taking better care of business. The list of stuff I'm neglecting to do gets longer every day. It's frustrating, it's overwhelming, it's depressing. I'm anxious to see if this effort will help me not be so easily distracted and help me get more things done.

The other psychologist who crossed my radar screen today was James Dobson, who attacked Obama on his radio show. I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology, Dobson said. This is the man who persuaded millions to support Bush and he still has credibility? His criticism will probably help Obama. There is a new website "James Dobson doesn't speak for me" that outlines in very plain terms why this Christian counselor is losing influence. I signed it and I hope you will, too.

According to a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll, Obama has a 48 to 33 percent lead over McCain in a 4 way race.

Judging from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey published recently by The Pew Forum, the number of Christians who believe that their religion is the only way to salvation has decreased significantly in recent years. Lots of interesting data on that site.

I'm disappointed that Obama has not opposed the FISA bill being debated this week. It passed the House and is expected to win a similar majority of votes in the Senate. I know it's supposed to be a compromise bill, but did they have to compromise their principles, too? Warrantless wiretapping is not a good idea, no matter which party is in power. It's unconstitutional! I haven't read the whole bill but from what I have read, I just don't see any justification for it. If someone does, I wish you would explain it to me. Has blackmail material been gleaned already from the illegal wiretapping that has gone on?


Monday, June 23, 2008

Whew! What a drive! I'm whupped! Between juggling two dogs and checking the air pressure in the back left tire everytime I stopped, I'm just glad to be home and especially proud to say there was no flat tire. The pressure did get down to 16 psi, but after airing it up in Kosciusko it stayed inflated. I just couldn't get the "low tire" light on the dashboard to go off and stay off. I got assistance from the super nice principal of KJHS Pat Henderson who seemed surprised to find an Obama bumper sticker on a white lady's car. I took the Trace knowing the slower speed would make my gas go further and sure enough, I was able to make the trip up there and back plus two round trips between Tupelo and Jericho on one tank.
It was good to see Jeanette again and all her family. She entertained over 30 people for a cook-out Sunday evening. Clay and Cooper had plenty of other children there to play with so Gramma was the last thing on their mind, but that's as it should be. I enjoyed watching them have fun. I gave Clay birthday money to apply to his summer camp expense. He and Cooper are signed up to go in July with the youth from their church to a camp in Benton, Tennessee, which is close to Chattanooga.

This morning they found three baby birds who died in their nest after not being fed by their mother, so they, along with their cousin Matthew, put them in a shoebox, dug a grave and gave them a proper Christian burial. "Your Heavenly Father knows of each sparrow who falls. You are worth more to him than any sparrow. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen."

I stopped and visited with LaRue at her office for a few minutes on my way out of Tupelo. She's getting slim again and I'm so jealous. You go, Girl!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's been a strange Saturday morning. I woke up in a funk and wanted to listen to Gaither Homecoming type music. While exploring their videos on You-Tube and listening to several, I learned of the death last month of Dottie Rambo. Since I rarely listen anymore to the radio stations that play Southern Gospel, I had not heard this sad news. LaRue, did you know about this?

For those of you who don't know, LaRue and I, along with our friend Willene, used to sing in a trio and we've done Dottie Rambo's songs - "I've Never Been This Homesick Before" was probably my favorite, or maybe "We Shall Behold Him." She was a good singer and a prolific songwriter.

It's my friend Jean's 87th birthday, and I took her a card and some books. She told me the flowers in church tomorrow were given in her honor by her son and daughter-in-law. Maybe we can take a few to make a smaller bouquet for her after the service. I plan to buy her lunch after church, then I'm headed to Tupelo.

Mary Ann, Clay and Cooper are at her mother's for a few days, so I'm driving up to see them for a day or two, and maybe celebrate Clay's 14th birthday while I'm there. I'm planning to take Gus and Jay-Jay with me, and I borrowed several CD's from my neighbor Art to play on the way. Mike doesn't know about this yet, and I don't plan to tell him until in the morning. It's the only way I know to cut his worrying to a minimum.

Friday, June 20, 2008

MSNBC is using the B-Team tonight and so far, they're great. David Shuster hosted Hardball for Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow is hosting Road to the White House for David Gregory. Wonder if Keith O. is taking tonight off, too. I know it's been a hard week for these guys, working all last week-end after the death of Tim Russert, and their coverage of that tragic event was admirable. I had to watch it in small doses, it got overwhelming for me emotionally, at times, but that's why we have remote controls, right?

I've been astounded by all the comments that have been posted online regarding Mr. Russert's death. Ninety percent of the comments on the sites I normally visit were kind, charitable, positive, but there is always that negative element that has to denigrate whatever doesn't fit exactly with their agenda. Makes me wonder what it is they do approve, or are they just against everything?

Personally, I felt like Tim Russert represented the best of what America has to offer the rest of the world. He was a brilliant journalist with integrity who didn't hesitate to hold politicians and other public figures accountable. His faith, his family, his friends, his fans, all were a wonderful testimony to someone who loved life and lived large.

Ms. Sippi has had new visitors this week who landed here after googling "Russert Rainbow" and "spiritual significance of double rainbow" and other similar phrases. As far as I can tell, there has been very little written about the phenomenon that occurred on Tuesday in Washington D.C. I wish I had some definitive explanation for those seeking answers, but I don't.

My faith leads me to believe that it was a deliberate act by our Creator who was blessing not only the life being celebrated, but also the powerful out-pouring of love being expressed by the personnel and participants of the NBC broadcast and all their viewers who for a few hours came together for the sole purpose of saying thank you and good-bye to their loved one. We got a dramatic glimpse of glory, or at least, that's what I think.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I did something this morning I hope I never have to do again - serve eviction notice to a tenant who is two months behind in rent and late fees. My judgment was not good about this particular woman. I based it on the positive referrals I got without running a credit check. Big mistake. A person's credit record says more about their trustworthiness than any personal reference. Talk is cheap, show me the money. Lesson learned.

I'm also learning how to navigate the justice court system in Madison County, which has a reputation for throwing the book at delinquent renters. The judge there cuts them no slack from what I've heard. We're still getting checks from a delinquent renter who was evicted last year and whose wages are being garnished, but the property manager who quit last December handled that case, so this is the first time I've ever done this.

I'm trying my best to keep this in the business part of my brain and not let the sympathetic personal feelings I have for her and her family cloud my judgment again. Looking at the balance in my checkbook helped me draw the line. If I feel myself wavering, I'll just look at it again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's Water Lilies' lunch was at the Mediterranean Grill and Grocery. Everything I ate was new to me - kibbi, falafel, grape leaves, and eggplant dip. Interesting. I would not put it on the kumback list, but I'm glad I went, at least once. Maybe my cultural limitations were stretched a little.

I got home in time to hear the Memorial Service for Tim Russert which was very moving, and then the comments made after. They showed a picture of the double rainbow that appeared as they were leaving the service, and they said a ukulele was playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as they left. Wow! That was some send-off! (This photo is by Fredo Alvarez and was posted on his Flickr site among several other great shots.)

They also told about Obama and McCain sitting together at the funeral and how they chatted and laughed with one another like old friends. At the end of the service they embraced. Now that's an image I enjoyed pondering. Only in America!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In my recent study of Jungian psychology, as it relates to dream interpretation, I was reminded that I am the INFP type, which means the Introverted, iNtuitive, feeling, perceiving type. (Here's another explanation for the INFP.) I was particularly struck by this statement:

INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even for the most unlovable the INFP is wont to have pity.

It reminded me of all the grief I caught for defending Obama's former pastor. Renouncing the pastor was difficult for me until he so directly offended my candidate that he, too, reluctantly cut ties with the man. Still Obama (and I) perceived the pastor to be a sad spectacle, but still worthy of compassion and sympathy. The dichotomy of a person who is capable of doing much good is that he can also do more harm than most. I still think the man had some sort of psycho-spiritual breakdown and needs help.

I was also reminded that INFP's have a natural inclination toward absent- mindedness and other-worldliness, which probably explains some of my difficulty with concentrating and finishing things that I start. After all, this world is not my home, I'm just apassin' thru... (LaRue, you may be the only one to get that. For the rest of you, here are the lyrics and here is Jim Reeves singing it.) How's that for other-worldliness!

The book I'm reading, one chapter per night, is Dreams: God's Forgotten Language by John Sanford. I read it about 18 years ago before I retired and got really frustrated because I didn't have time to work on my dreams. Well, now I don't have that excuse, and I'm finding once again that it really does take a lot of work. It's fascinating work, but it's hard work. If my blog posts become less frequent, it's because I'm doing my "other-worldly" thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Al Gore is endorsing Obama tonight. Nine years ago today, he announced his own candidacy for the same office. I certainly hope Obama's campaign ends more successfully. Gosh! He sure has aged since I saw him last. (Photo by Paul Sancya/AP)
My friend LaRue has posted on her blog some great information: 5 Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do. She sent it to me in an email on Saturday, and I forwarded it to a few folks, so some of you have already seen it. But if you haven't, check it out! It could come in real handy one day, like when you lock your keys in your car or need a boost to your cell phone battery, but you're nowhere near your charger.
I'm keeping it short and sweet today. I've got other stuff to do. Hope y'all have a great week!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! I'm posting pictures of two of my favorite dads with their families and hope they're enjoying the day with their precious children.
Of course, this is my Number One Favorite father with his family.

And here is one of my father's favorite poems. As those of you who knew him remember, he memorized and quoted poems frequently in his sermons. I've heard him quote "If" by Rudyard Kipling many times. Not only did he quote it, he believed it and lived it. No wonder he was so special.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings-nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run-
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And-which is more-you’ll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One of the things I'm enjoying most about my dream group is that each of us has an appreciation for, even a longing for, deeper spiritual meaning in the very personal experience called dreaming. Dream work, as we're doing it, requires that we believe God still communicates with us through our dreams, the same as he did thousands of years ago with the people of the Old and New Testaments.

It's an intensely intimate time of spiritual and emotional sharing that satisfies needs I have that I'd forgotten I had. I feel so much less crazy and weird after attending these sessions. It's good to be with people who aren't afraid to go deeper than most superficial friendships allow. There is a deep river of wisdom that runs through life and it seems much easier to traverse with others who want to enjoy its life-giving properties. Like the sign at the swimming pool says, It's not good to swim alone. Who would help if we start to drown?

The numbers I got back from the doctor were good. My cholesterol, which had been 229, was down to 156; HDL, which should be higher than 50, was 58; LDL, which should be lower than 100, was 88, Triglycerides, which should be less than 150, was 50. Evidently, the Vytorin has helped.

I have an appointment next week to see if I am actually ADD, or if it is something I've imagined ever since I learned there was such a thing. It has never been easy for me to settle down and concentrate on one thing. My mind flits in fifty different directions. Reading a book has always been difficult, and as I age it's even harder. I rarely get through a whole magazine or newspaper article these days.

My life is littered with unfinished projects, I start things, then lose interest in them and don't have enough will-power to make myself finish them. It's embarrassing. Before I get totally senile, I'd like to know if some of my distraction could be due to a chemical imbalance and can be remedied with pharmaceuticals. Most people don't wait as long as I have to tackle this problem, if they tackle it at all, but I've lived with it for 60+ years and that's long enough. It will be interesting to see what the psychologist says.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hard to believe, but Tim Russert of NBC is gone, died today at age 58 of a heart attack. Sunday mornings will never be the same. I usually got dressed for church while Meet the Press played in the bedroom. He was one of this political junkie's favorite news commentators. My most recent favorite moment of him was the night that Obama sealed the nomination and he said, "How I would love to be a history teacher in school tomorrow!" He was so excited about the historical moment we had all just witnessed. I just wish he could have lived to see President Obama inaugurated. Well, actually, I guess he will live to see it, but he'll be in that cheering section with those other great American patriots who will be celebrating in grand style. Wonder who he wants to interview first after he gets through the Pearly Gates.

"Good-night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

I'm turning in early tonight. I did not rest well last night. I enjoyed my company, but it was good to see them start the next leg of their journey, too. Benji got me a little cell phone at Wal-Mart last night. We got it charged and all the data from the old phone transferred easily to the new phone simply by plugging in the old SIM card. I loved watching Benji with Pip, the kid absolutely adores his daddy. Happy Father's Day, Son!

And you, too, Ricky.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What would we Southerners do if our tomatoes were deemed unsafe? I'm not sure I could make it through the summer. I regularly enjoy just a fat slice of tomato between two pieces of bread slathered with mayonnaise, a favorite lunch since childhood. Add potato chips and a glass of cold ice tea and I'm totally satisfied. All the southern states are still on the safe tomatoes list, last time I looked, thank goodness!

I was expecting Benji and family around noon, but they got a late start so arrival time has been pushed to around 3:00. Tomorrow they're headed for Mobile to Karen's parents, then to Gulf Shores where Benji's dad has given them one of his condos for the week.

7 hours later. I've enjoyed my company, so far. We went to the pool and swam for an hour or so, then went out for dinner to the same restaurant where the Water Lilies ate yesterday - Sway's Bistro. I wasn't nearly as impressed with their Thursday dinner service as I was with the Weds. lunch service. It's a new restaurant in our Reservoir neighborhood, and I don't think they've got all the kinks worked out. Pip was not in a good humor, so Benji and Karen had to take turns walking with him outside and eating. Ah, the trials and tribulations of parenthood. At least, they didn't keep the screaming baby in the restaurant like some inconsiderate slobs do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another attempt has been made by my Pro-Life friend to draw me into an argument. For the sake of our friendship, I asked that we retire this subject, as it is clear we will never change each other's minds, but it was hard not to take the bait and get back into another bloody debate. Since I value the friendship more, I let it pass.

And therein lies the paradox - does my Pro-Life friend not care about the living, breathing friend as much as s/he cares about proving s/he's right? What is so all-fired Pro-Life about that? What it boils down to is whether a woman should be allowed by law to be the autonomous agent of decision-making regarding what happens with her own body. I and my Pro-Choice friends say yes. Are Pro-Life people really stuck back in the days of "Father Knows Best," or does it just seem that way to me?

PATRIARCHY!!! It's everywhere. How long, O Lord, how long? Maybe President Obama should send Hillary as a judge to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Obama seems to be catching on here. I saw 5 Obama bumper stickers on my way to and from the doctor's office this morning, all within Rankin County, Mississippi. This car was parked next to me in the doctor's parking lot.

"Power to the Peaceful," "01-20-2009 The End of An Error," and "It's Time For Change Barack Obama 2008." Nice to know I'm not the only Obama fan on the home turf.

I got blood drawn to check blood sugar and cholesterol. I'll get the results tomorrow. Then I came back home and stopped by the swimming pool to visit with the four ladies who were exercising.

While sitting on the side of the pool with my feet in the water, I managed somehow to drop my cell phone in the pool and had to go under water in my clothes to retrieve it. What a mess! Not only was I wet from head to toe, but I drowned my phone! Argh! It spent the afternoon on the dashboard of my car drying out. If it doesn't start working again, I'll get one of Wal-Mart's cheapies until I can get a free upgrade in August from AT&T. If anyone is trying to call me on the cellphone and not getting an answer, I apologize. It's still wet.

Monday, June 09, 2008

This is the dream I remember from this morning's sleep:
I am riding with Pam in her car. She is taking me to get my car, the white Chevrolet Cavalier hatchback that I bought in 1983 and owned until 1995. The car is parked in a wooded area outside a small country church. At first, I tell her it will be safe to leave it there, but then we see a car pass by that is full of black teen-aged boys. One of them is eyeing my car intensely. “On second thought,” I tell her, “I don’t think I should leave it here.”
In the next scene I am in the Cavalier, two babies are sleeping on the front seat with me. They’re actually lying across the console and the front passenger seat. Pam is leaving, and I’m wishing I had asked her to stay until I’m safely out of the woods. As she pulls off, the car with the boys pulls in and blocks my exit. Then they get out of their car and start walking toward me.
I know I’m in trouble. I’m between a deep ravine and this gang of hoodlums. “I will plead for their mercy,” I think to myself, “surely when they see the sleeping babies, they will leave me alone.” I realize I can escape by shooting past them over some brush, but when I attempt to shift gears from reverse to first, my right foot will not move to the brake pedal, and the car begins to slide into the ravine. I feel frightened, and then I wake up.
My defense of Obama's Pro-Choice stance really riled up a Pro-Life friend of mine. I've been bombarded with vitriolic emails that left me battered and bleeding. What hurt the most was being accused of moral turpitude and a complete ignorance of what the Bible teaches. I suspect this hostility is the reason the Pro-Life Movement is waning in influence everywhere. . . even in the Bible Belt.

Maybe I should write something on how very little the Bible says about abortion, and why some Pro-Choice Christians believe the way they do based on Bible study, prayer, appreciation for recent developments in science and medicine, reasoning, and life experience. A subject that deep deserves more time than I have today, however, but I have begun to organize my thoughts on it.

Strangely enough, this same friend forwarded me just last week a copy of Don Closson's "The Problem with Evangelicals." I agreed with most of it. This paragraph, in particular, I liked:

. . .a Christian who values the virtue of tolerance . . . we are not arguing for a sacred public square, a society in which only one set of religious ideas or solutions are considered. But neither do we believe that a secular public square is in our nation’s best interests. Our hope is to have a civil public square, one in which true tolerance is practiced. When understood correctly, tolerance allows for a civil dialogue between competing and even contradictory positions on important topics in order that the best solution eventually finds favor.

In Conneticut last June, Barack Obama said, “Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart."

This 61 year old white, working-class Christian grandmother supports Barack Obama. I also support and applaud those on the left and right who are working to achieve the civil public square. We, as Americans, really do have more that unites us than divides us.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

We had another of those "only by the grace of God" anthems in church this morning. Twelve of our 24 members were singing, but somehow when we sang, it sounded like the full choir.

The other memorable event from church involved the gorgeous female boxer who showed up about an hour before church started. "She had me at hello." She had on a collar but no tag. Obviously well trained and well cared for, she made friends with everyone. David fixed her bowls of food and water. Our church is located on the 5-laned Old Canton Rd. and is dangerous for any dog who tries to cross it, so we all prayed that she found her way home safely.

The rest of the day has been relaxed and peaceful. I had lunch at Amerigo's with Pam and Jean, then came home, read the paper, and took a nap. Benji called to tell me they're stopping here on Thursday on their way to Gulf Shores. I went to the pool, but tonight's sunset was not as spectacular as Saturday's. Still, it was pretty.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Saturday started early with a Deacon Ordination Service at the Cathedral downtown and the reception that followed. One of the ordinands was from St. Philip's, so the St. Philip's choir combined with St. Andrew's choir to make beautiful music. One note of explanation to my Baptist friends: our deacons are seminary graduates and actually pastor churches. It's defined like this by Sewanee's helpful page of definitions for non-Episcopalians: Deacon- the initial level of ordination in the Episcopal Church. Unlike protestant churches where Deacon is a lay order, in the Episcopal Church Deacon is a clerical order. Deacons often have special clerical duties; by tradition the Gospel [in the liturgy] is read by the deacon, if a deacon is on the staff of a church or chapel.

It was full of the traditional pageantry and fanfare that I love. One of the ordinands was the son of the bishop and the grandson of the former bishop. I couldn't help but wonder if he's destined for that same office in about 30 years. It seems to be a family tradition.

It was fun to sing for John Paul again. He's been the choirmaster at St. Andrew's for 40 years. There were a couple of people I remembered from my one year of choir service there, but most of them were new to me. We didn't sing anything difficult today, just added descants to beautiful hymns that made them even more beautiful.

I missed Hillary Clinton's concession speech this morning, but I'm sure I can catch it on C-Span tonight. From the few internet news reports I've read, she threw her full support to him. I think it would have been classier for her to do it on Tuesday night instead of waiting until today.

I went shopping after the church service and didn't get home until about 3:00. I knew from the way Mike had parked his car in the middle of the garage that he was drunk. He had lunch with friends and sure enough, he had too many margaritas. By the time I got in the house, he had already started on the wine. Around 4:00, he fell in the floor and rather than calling Art to come help me get him up, like I usually do, I called 911. The EMT's came and checked his vital signs, which were fine, and asked several questions to check his mental alertness, then asked if he thought he needed to go to the hospital. He adamantly refused, so they couldn't take him.

However, if they get another call within 24 hours, they don't have to have his consent. They will haul him to St. Dominic's where his blood alcohol level will be checked and documented and where his cardiologist and his neurologist can give him the ultimatum he needs to hear, and possibly commit him to rehab. The last time Art and I got him out of the floor, he fell again that same night, so he may do that again tonight.

In the meantime, I'm going to the pool to watch the sunset. There are enough clouds in the sky that it's bound to be pretty. We've started a community custom of gathering on the pool deck around 7 PM, everybody brings their own drink, and we visit while the sun goes down.

Hasta la vista, Baby!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Benji sent me this precious picture of him and Pip asleep. They're giving Bella credit for this shot they found on her mom's cell phone. Now ain't that cute!?!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I'm amused when my Republican friends rave and rant about Obama's resignation from Trinity UCOC, calling it politically expedient and coldly calculating. They obviously don't know that McCain, who calls himself a Baptist, has been a life-long Episcopalian and has never been baptized by immersion. Now how many Baptist churches do you know of that grant membership to anyone who has been merely sprinkled and not properly baptized? Yes, his wife is Baptist and he does attend her Baptist church frequently, but a Baptist he's not. Yes, the membership rolls of Baptist churches in this country far outnumber those of Episcopal churches. Who's being politically expedient?

Pro-life advocates want to keep the abortion issue alive, but according to the surveys I've seen they're outnumbered in this country almost 2 to 1, so I don't think they will succeed. No one who is Pro-Choice is Pro-Abortion, and to try and portray Obama that way is disingenuous. He believes, as most of us do, that reducing poverty and improving education will do more to eliminate unplanned pregnancies than attacks on Planned Parenthood and smear tactics. As long as Pro-Lifers so easily dismiss the death and destruction of pre-emptive warfare as "collateral damage," and refuse to sign on to life enhancing universal health care, especially for children, their high sounding title is a misnomer and their hypocrisy is plain for all to see. How can we take seriously anyone who claims to be Pro-Life, but cares little for the needs of disadvantaged children after they're born?

The thinking of the younger generation, which has become so politically active during this campaign, is more in line with Obama's. They don't buy into the emotionally-charged divisive issues as readily as their elders. They generally don't fault candidates, including McCain, for supporting stem-cell research as their parents and grandparents do. And they're totally fed up with the obfuscation and outright lies of our current president, a so-called "born-again Christian." This grandmother fears he's given all Christians a bad name.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

One of the best reactions to Clinton's speech last night comes from one of her former supporters. You can read it here. In the comments to that column from a poster identified only as riphrc was this, and I just had to share it with my readers:

You have two choices for president: The first one has one of the longest lines of political experience in history. He is exceedingly popular in congress. He was a soldier who volunteered to defend the United States in the Navy.

The second one has no real political experience outside of Illinois. He is tall and lanky with big ears. He even lost a few of his first attempts at gaining political office. He is an excellent speechwriter and orator. He is a good attorney and has a successful law practice.

So which one would you choose? This is a trick question because both were already Presidents of the United States.

The first one is the 15th President of the United States, James Buchannan. He is the President who mired us in the Civil War by declaring the action illegal but doing nothing when the south decided to seceed from the Union. He is largely considered by historians as being the worst President in American history.

He was followed by the other man who became the 16th President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is credited with the end of slavery, the end of the Civil War, and unification of the nation. He became president at a dark time when our country was deeply divided over very polarizing issues. He had no experience in Washington prior to his Presidency. He is widely considered by historians as one of the best Presidents in American History.

Sound familiar?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways . . . Chardonnay in one hand . . . chocolate in the other . . . body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

I saw this quote today and had to copy it and share it. I've seen another version that says "chocolate in one hand, chips in the other," but I like this one better. Not sure where it originated or who to credit, no source was cited.

Getting back in our pool today was great! Water aerobics is so much more enjoyable out under a blue sky with lots of sunshine. And I got a start on my tan.

I'm loving the Scott McClellan interviews, can't wait to read his book. Bill O'Reilly tried his best to badger and bully him, but he held his own. I couldn't help but wonder if there was an O'Reilly tantrum edited out.

Tomorrow is Clinton's last day as a candidate, according to all the reports I've heard tonight. If she campaigns as effectively for Obama as she did for herself, I predict a landslide victory for Democrats in the fall.

And I'm not the only one. Seems there was a Republican fund-raising letter that went out saying the same thing. Even Rupert Murdoch expects Obama to win. FOX has worked so hard trying to discredit Obama and get Clinton nominated, but all they could come up with were quotes from his controversial pastor and whether or not he wears a flag pin. No wonder they wanted the Clintons. They built their business by bashing Bill and Hillary. I'm sure they will fabricate something.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

With summer temps in the 90's today, the water in our swimming pool should be warming quickly. Nighttime temps this week will all be 70 or above. That's why we're starting our exercise routine back at our own pool tomorrow, rather than driving to that silly gym where they had nothing but problems in keeping the indoor pool warm. I just wish we could have bought a 9 month instead of a 12 month contract.

It's been a peaceful Sunday at my house. I went to church, then to lunch with Pam, Jean, and Carol, then enjoyed a 2 hour nap this afternoon with Gus and Jay-Jay. I got a real scare while walking the dogs when Gus tried to take on the neighbor's Siberian Husky and the larger dog pinned him to the ground between his jaws. I just knew he was a goner, but the Husky didn't bite down, just held him down until the owner ordered him to let go. Gus was pretty rattled by the whole experience, but maybe he learned that he's not as big as he thinks he is.

Sympathy, love, and prayers for George and his family for the loss of his mother Vera Stovall this week-end. May she rest in peace.