Sunday, July 29, 2007

What I Learned Today

Sometimes when you plan a day of rest, your plans are disrupted by unfortunate circumstances.

This morning shortly after we had gotten up, our visitors at our condo called and said, "The refrigerator seems to be dead. It worked last night, but this morning everything in the freezer is melted. The breaker switches are all on and the light comes on in the refrigerator."

Since it was the original refrigerator with the condo, 15 plus years ago, we decided to buy a new one at Lowe's in a nearby town and take it to the condo. You know, Lowe's has those lovely little trucks with the hydraulic lifts that you can rent for such endeavors if you don't want to wait for delivery. So, we drove the hour from our house to the Lowe's nearest the condo. We found the ideal condo refrigerator - big enough, not too big, good price, in stock.

Then we discovered they did not have a truck with the handy-dandy hydraulic lift, nor did they have appliance dollies with straps - not for loan, not on hand, not for sale. So, we borrowed one of their heavy duty hand trucks; they loaded the refrigerator on our truck (which we had sense enough to bring just in case), and we strapped it in with ratchet straps. I even figured out how to hook one of those dudes up - never done that before. And, off we went to the condo.

We are on the second floor; the first floor is parking - required by law due to hurricane flooding, but we have an elevator. Unfortunately, the door to the elevator is not very wide...not as wide as the refrigerator we had bought.

So, we took off the doors, slipped it in, got it upstairs and into the kitchen. Of course, I am using "we" rather loosely. My partner and one of our visitors (a young father) probably did more than me. Visitor's son also held the screws and carried the freezer door upstairs. Other visitors helped find tools and were generally helpful.

We moved the old refrigerator out and discovered that the ice maker water line did not have a cut-off valve. Aha! We'll just crimp the copper line so it won't leak and we won't bother to hook up the ice maker right now. No. The copper line was brittle, and continued to spring leaks no matter how we crimped or cramped it. So we stuck it in a bucket and went downstairs to turn off the water to the condo. A lot easier said than done. Thank God, for cells phones or we would have been relaying messages up and down.

Finally, the water is off, and we discover that the refrigerator came without the ferrule and compression nut, and the old one was very worn and corroded.

We quit and went to eat. A trip to the hardware store produced a hook-up kit. Soon, the refrigerator was in place. We had as much trouble turning the water back on as we did turning it off. No cut-offs are marked and we decided that we had probably turned the water off to our section of condo - fortunately no one else was there.

Visitors transferred contents of one refrigerator to the other, took spoiled and out of date stuff to the dumpster. We removed the doors from the old refrigerator and hauled it down to our truck. Mopping up and all done; the job was over. Thanks to all who were present and contributed his/her part to the effort.

At least we a now rid of an ivory refrigerator. We replaced the dishwasher last year in white. The stove is next, and it's not working very well; so I imagine this winter will find us replacing it also. It's electric; so all is have to do is measure and make sure we get the right kind of plug for our outlet.

What I learned today: nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. People working together get things done without getting hassled and upset. Food helps everyone. White brightens a somewhat dark kitchen. New refrigerators are lighter than old ones. Getting a job done brings satisfaction to all involved. Working in the heat makes me so tired that I cry. A shower is the finest thing after such a day, and using the shower massage on the soles of my feet was heaven. Bed looks very inviting. Goodnight, all.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Not much to say

Well, you may have noted that I'm not writing much in the last few days. I've been knitting and keeping myself occupied so that I won't eat. Didn't work yesterday, but I am not over points for the week yet. Of course, the week has four more days for me and Weight Watchers.

The good news is that I am staying inside where it is cool, and my breathing is great! I have been able to walk over a mile on the treadmill twice this week. Yea Me! Of course, I downloaded some great old music (to which I know the words) and have spent my treadmill time listening, singing and dancing along.

The bad news is that I keep eating the Twinkies in my stash. Now the solution is not to buy the Twinkies in the first place, but I haven't gotten that far. At least I'm getting the individually wrapped ones; so I'm not eating but one a day. And, I made creamed corn from fresh bi-color color (diversity is my name, ha ha), and eight ears of good corn make a lot of creamed corn. Now, I've bought butter beans. Lots of butter beans that I have to shell. This will bring back memories of sitting under the pecan tree at the back of the house on the farm shelling butter beans with my mother. Not a bad memory, not a bad time. And, I do love butter beans - the green ones, not the speckled ones.

Today is Ken Bridges birthday; his daughter is one of my goodest friends, and I call her Sis. Happy Birthday, Ken.

We are having thunderstorms, but our power is steady and the cable is steady; so I'm continuing to use the computer. Ooops...probably shouldn't have said that.

Distribute amongst yourselves as needed: prayers, hugs, sympathy, empathy, being held to the light of God's love, and humorous comments (not that I have many of the latter) Thanks for reading.

In the World of Harry Potter....

You scored as Albus Dumbledore, Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Harry Potter


Ginny Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Severus Snape


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do I dare to eat a peach?

You're Prufrock and Other Observations!

by T.S. Eliot

Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic
and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying
to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you've really
heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chores - A Poem


rriish rriish rriish rriish
Rhythm of the saw.
Pull and push. The long blade
cuts slowly through the tree.
Small hands grip tall handles
and bodies move in time.
Give and take. Push and pull.
Forward and back.
Letting the rhythm work.
Young arms meet the strain.
Boy and little sister in late afternoon
cut the dried oak
in two foot lengths.

Like a player up to bat
he moves his frame to the pitch -
axe balanced in his hands,
he sloughs it up, head high,
and bears down to the log
with a crack, a split, and a sigh.
Balance a piece with his finger,
let go,
strike before it falls.
Crack, split, sigh.
Enough pie-sized splits
for another night.

Metal against metal.
eerr eek eerr eek
The stubby pump handle
creaks a song each day.
Pour a dipper of water
in the top
and pump like crazy.
Nothing.Do it again.
a sound (like pulling your foot out of mud)
and brown sandy water
pours from the pump mouth.
Pump a while till
the water’s clear and cold.
Pump with the right hand while
you cup the left over the lip
and drink.
Empty the buckets and rinse them.
Wipe away the rusty residue
from the iron in the water.
Put the board in place.
It takes 15 pumps to fill the drinking bucket,
and 20 for the aluminum one.


Although this was written in 1984, doing chores with my brother is one of my fondest memories of living on the farm. Working together, harmony, useful labor, contributing to the well-being of our family.

Monday, July 23, 2007

By the way

Oh, by the way, the magnolia trees in the "then" picture to the right are ones that my Daddy and I grew from seed. We planted them when he was home on leave one year between the time I was 7 and the time I was 11. We had 12 seeds that have grown into gorgeous trees over the years.

All for a pair of gloves

As I returned home a few minutes ago, I saw a welder cutting a piece of pipe for the new drawbridge near us. My eyes got watery, and I remembered some 46 years ago:

My brother was an apprentice welder who repaired oil line pipe on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the sole support for his wife and son and my mother and me. We had moved that summer from an abusive situation with my father, and Mom hadn't found a job yet.

A storm came up in the Gulf and all the workers quit what they were doing and went below to ride out the storm. My brother remembered that he had left his welding gloves up top, and he went pounding up to get them, fearing that he couldn't afford to replace them. Another man followed him because he knew how rough it would be up top.

The sides of the barge had spring doors all along its sides where the pipeline fed through as they worked on it. The storm blew, my brother fell against one of the spring doors and it caught him in the middle. The man who followed grabbed for him. Others heard the scream over the storm and came to help. They got both men safely below decks again.

My brother died seven hours later from a ruptured spleen on an operating table in Morgan City, Louisiana, where the man who helped him had his arm amputated. The storm prevented help from getting to them in time to save either my brother's life or his friend's arm.

I have been angry often because he left me with Mom and her co-dependency, but today I am angry that he got himself killed and his friend lost an arm and his livelihood - all for a pair of gloves. The gloves turned out to be more expensive than he thought.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother David. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Cost of Friendship

Yesterday my godson, who has a relatively mild (most of the time) addiction to crack, called me to ask my advice and help. He and his wife (who is now clean) want to move about 4 hours away from where they now live in order to be near her mother, a convicted embezzler who served her time. I think her sister and husband also live there, and she loves her sister but used to be frustrated with her inability to think clearly and her usage of alcohol and her husband usage of drugs.

What a question? How do they do that? If all they took was their clothes, would I take them there?

For the past two years, I have done nothing for them except pay for their storage spot. I did not speak with them for almost a year. I could not handle the drug usage and the irresponsibility that goes along with that. But, I love them both dearly. She is very bright and a schemer. He is less than normal bright but loving and intuitive. I recently sent birthday gift checks to them as we have been talking by phone every couple of months this year.

The pain of seeing them jumping from the frying pan into the fire is tough. It's a cost I've been willing to pay because everyone should have someone who loves them. The cost of friendship, like the cost of discipleship, is often high. Sometimes we must do things with which we disagree because we do love the person and we do believe in their right to make their own decisions (sometimes called free will - God granted this, I can do no less). I don't have to put up with the consequences of their poor decisions, but ....

And, there I hit a sticking point. What is enabling? What is the cost this time? Am I willing to pay it? Don't they still need that unconditional love? Will this move make things different for them? Somewhat since they will be closer to family. Will getting away from their round of addicted friends help their situation? Probably not since sister and husband also use.

It will not cost me much to move them. We have a truck; I love to drive; they are pleasant company.

The long term cost may be having to say "no" a lot more often. And, if they were out of my life, would I be better off? What if I simply said, "I cannot be your friend any longer; the cost to my serenity and sanity is too high." Would that be friendship, discipleship, self-preservation? I have had to do that once with someone that I love dearly. It hurt and it still hurts.

And, I know that for some people, I am not the easiest person with whom to maintain a friendship. Is it that way with them? Are they just using me?

I have friends who do not drain me - other friends who have great needs - other friends who do not have great needs. How do I determine the cost of friendship? How do I know when the cost is too high for my well-being?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Living with God

At Episcopal Cafe there is a short video of Fr. Thomas Keating, a major advocate of centering prayer, and he talks a bit about centering prayer, but mostly he says that it is consenting to God's presence. We don't have to seek God because God is already here. And, he laughingly says, we'd better get used to it (the presence of God) now because that's how it will be for eternity.

There's a thought! What a shock to our systems to suddenly realize we are going to be with God forever, especially when when we haven't realized that God is with us now. So, we'd better get used to the idea that God is with us, now and forever.

I am overhwelmed. I've always believed that God is with us/me, but I never thought about it in terms of eternity, always, everywhere, all the time, now (not now and then), not just when God's presence slips into my consciousness. Whoa!!! But, it's good systematic theology to believe that, if God is with us now, God is with us always and will be with us always. God's not here during the bad times or the thankful times; God's here all the time.

Ooops. That means that God is with me when I make those snide comments in my head. I don't pray aloud always; so I guess God can hear my thoughts. And, now I'm almost panicking. What about those times when I've said one thing and thought another? What about the time I stormed into the rector's office and said, "I'm going to kill that ....." (rest is unprintable).

God has seen me at my worst and my best, and I believe that God still loves me and is with me, now and always. When I think back to what we've been through together, I am okay with the idea of eternity in God's presence. And, like Keating, centering prayer is good way to start feeling and knowing that presence as our thoughts scroll through myriad people, words, places, events, and remembering to keep our mouths shut so we can hear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


In chat room I've joined, introductions are in order by answering "Where is your heart home?" Here's my answer.

I grew up near a small muddy river, and I loved sitting on the tall cut-away bank watching the water. Occasionally I would see a very large and very old gar (a fish sort of like a barraccuda but with a long sharp nose/mout of teeth). I wished him long life. Fish jumped. Squirrels dug nuts from the ground behind me. Crickets and frogs wee noisy. And, I could go there alone at about age 8. My refuge. Once I even saw three bob cats merrily playing outside their den in the driftwood on the other side of the cut. Mama bob cat watched me, but I didn't move a hair.

Then I discovered the ocean - nothing as far as I could see. I would stare for hours. We were blessed to live in a small apartment on a high hill in Bermuda where my Dad was stationed. I sat on the front porch watching storms and calms, even hung onto the rail through part of a hurricane so I could see the water spouts. And, I swam and played under the water. But, I don't like beaches and hot sand.

Then I discovered lakes and their wonder - clear, bright, and wonderful places to watch the sunset. Canoes, kayaks skiffs, jet skis and power boats - I love them all. They put me out in the middle of the water.

Now, I am truly blessed to live on a creek that is as wide as my first river. And, I can sit and watch the water for long unmoving periods of time. I love watching the jet skis do donuts and figure eights and the teenagers having fun and the fishing people. The background is a stand of old cypress trees in a bog, and I've tried many times and in many forms to paint it. The water reflects the trees with the sun on them in the afternoon, and all turns russet with a few flecks of bright yellow sunlight on other trees.

Recently, I took a cruise ship back to Bermuda fifty years after I had lived there. Bermuda was busy and rushed and not the idyllic place of my childhood. But, we had a private balcony, and I slept on the balcony one night - nothing but me and the water and the moon rising over the ship.

I have a fountain and bird baths that are much used by the birds we feed and by soul. When I can't sleep at night, I open the door to my study so that I can hear the fountain gurgling.

So, the home of my hear is Water, a little bit, a lot and anything in between.

Just Complaining

Restless leg syndrome is a sneaky problem. If you're too active, you pay for it the following day. If you rest the following day, you pay for it that night. And, if you get too involved in life and forget to take one dose of your medicine, then you get to blog at 4 am.

I have nothing against blogging; I love it, but I'd rather be asleep right now. Our heat and humidity affect me tremendously, and tomorrow promises to be another hot one. So, I'd really rather be in bed asleep instead of rubbing my legs and wondering how long before the medicine does take effect.

And, no, the bar(s) of soap between the sheets didn't seem to work for me. So, I just need to quit having brain farts and take my medicine when I am supposed to take it.

Older age is all about consistency, balance, moderation, and thoughtfulness before action. I've never been known for any of those characteristics. Can an old dog learn new tricks? I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Knitting is such a good metaphor for many things - broken bones, relationships, strategic plans, groups, but I'm knitting with yarn and needles. Back in Bermuda when my Dad was in the Navy and I was 12, I had to learn to knit in the sadly inefficient home economics program. I made a one potholder about 5 inches square of harsh wool yarn. We also learned how to clean a house, as if our mothers didn't teach us that. We learned how to make steamed pudding, the plum puddding/Christmas treat kind. We made rolls and we learned how to wash dishes...without hot water. After one semester, the school transferred me to gardening and gave me a machete to keep the vines and weeds out of the banana patch. That was a lot more fun.

But, my partner is knitting, her friends are knitting, my friend is knitting, and I learned how to make an i (as in idiot) cord for my jewelry making. Then partner was giving away some yarn that I thought was very pretty but unsuitable for my fiber jewelry work. So, I began with a few stitches; then she gave me some needles, and I have finished four feet of a five-foot, eight inch wide scarf for winter. It's so pretty. I'm amazed.

And, this makes the metaphor of knitting so much more meaningful to me. I dropped a stitch early on and the thing unraveled from the middle - just like that, I had to start over. Just like that, all my work was undone because of my inattention to detail.

Isn't life like that, we're going along putting one stitch in after another, thinking that we're making a whole piece of work, when we look back and it's coming apart. I think of Carole King's "Tapestry" - "my tapestry's unraveling, he's come to take me back." Well, that's what happens when I don't pay attention to detail.

Detail in relationship, as you readers have seen in some previous posts, we go back to a slip knot and start over, casting on stitches one by one, one talk followed by another - until the thing takes shape again. Now, some people, if they notice the dropped stitch in time, can quickly tag it and use a crochet hook to weave it back in. I can't do least not yet. With me, an unraveled piece usually means that I begin anew.

I have to rerun previous conversations to make sure that I understood what was said and what was meant. Then I rerun previous successes to see where the good was preserved and grown. Only then can I take up the talking or thinking about the dropped stitch, my inattention to detail. And, since relationships require two, I look at my view of her/his inattention to detail. Notice that's "my view", which may or may not be correct.

So knitting is a very good metaphor for many things in my life. And, I haven't even gotten to anything more complex that knit one, knit one, knit one, and continue. No purling, no cableing. Tie a slip knot, cast on your stitches and knit, but pay attention to the detail so your "thing" won't unravel.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Women - Eye Candy of Older Women

Eye Candy - inspired by Eileen

Lesley Gore ("It's My Party" - and 2005 "Ever Since" )

Rita Mae Brown - newest picture on her website is in fox hunting garb

Candice Bergen now and then

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Osprey Cheeps

My study door is open to the porch and all I can hear is the cheeping from the osprey nest across the creek. I heard one of the adults a few minutes ago, but I'm sure they are hunting. What a wonderful sound to have in the morning!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Some things figured out

Well, partner and I had a talk this morning. Answers, yes. Resolutions, possibly. Agreed in love, definitely.

House renovation - pipe dream for me, borrowing money and paying interest for her

Towels - replacing old and white towels with color and new for me, use it till its worn out for her

Clutter - overwhelming for both of us (except that corner of my office), resolve to get rid of stuff and rearrange what's there - also both resolve to keep clutter down in bedrooms to alleviate anxiety, labeled specific areas that bother us

Money - house renovation may be possible with use of current funds, home equity loan and other resources - looking at reasonableness of that and recovery of investment when sold when we're too old to live here

Money - resolve to go thrift shopping but if I buy "stuff" to get rid of equal amount of "stuff"

Money - both have similar goals now and agreed on plan for spending, saving, etc. (I think)

Isolating - I do it, I like it, it's okay with her. She doesn't, she likes it, it's okay with me.

Finding other interests - still in quandary - tend to adopt folks who drain my energy, emotions and other resources - helping those in need still main interest but scared of getting too involved - so am staying away.

Will explore possibilities for art classes at local art store and community college - need inspiration as much as classes.

Jewelry - need inspiration and something to do with finished product - not good in sales area - isolating so don't really want to get out and find somebody to sell it.

Agreed to discuss thoughts and feelings more often to avoid misunderstanding. Also talked about my need to analyze "how did you get there?" and her (and sometimes my) inability to figure that out...but okay to ask the question.

Hey, I think we did well on this round of relationship work. Yea! Us!

More Thoughts at almost dawn

Relationships are hard. Differences in the way we grew up, the values our parents had, the struggles of our families with money (or lack thereof), emotions, addictions and codependencies, physical problems, and basic natures make living with anyone a challenge.

But, I love and am loved. We will continue to talk, to make more intimate time - time when we can just be together in love, to praise one another and to say thank you and I love you. Those things will go along way toward understanding and living together.

We will walk on eggshells for a bit with each other, but disagreements and resolutions build strong relationships.

I think relationships in other past times might have been different because life did not change so quickly or constantly. Regularity and stability were more common - even if the regularity was lack of money and the stability was a house with a bad floor.

Disagreements need some positive givens in order for resolution to happen. Positive givens in today's world are few. Jobs are insecure; benefits are shrinking; housing costs are out the ceiling; doctors have less time to care for the whole person; services are different in every setting; courtesy is stretched by lack of time to spend in serving others; increased productivity in all areas of life is emphasized.

When chaos rules, disagreements are hard to resolve. I'm trying to figure out how I might help create a more stable atmosphere and home so that we have a good ground floor for resolutions. Our love and respect for one another is a beginning. Sharing mealtimes would be a good one for me. I also need to learn that my way is not the only way, and that I can be wrong. She will figure out what she needs to learn to help create that ground floor and make it stronger and more level.

Clearing out the clutter of our house can help clear out the clutter of our minds and spirits. So tomorrow, I'm going to clear out some of the clutter. I have a good supply of trash bags and a good supply of paper bags for donations. Plus I have a cabinet in the garage where I can put things that don't necessarily need to be in the house right now - decorative things.

But, I love the clutter of my office. It's organized - painting stuff, jewelry making stuff, things I've bought to make happy boxes for others, the computer, lapel pins on long streamers reminding me of people and places, paintings, photographs, lamps that aren't being used in other places in the house right now, boxes for mailing things. I can sit here, close my eyes and let the chaos speak to the creative part of me. Bits and pieces come together. I create.

The rest of the house probably needs less clutter, which just seems to accumulate - "oh, just stick it on the shelf of the rolling cart." I can get rid of clutter in our public spaces. Now, if I could just get rid of the clutter in my head and go back to sleep, I'd be in good shape. Not to happen. The fog is gorgeous. Here's a few pictures of my morning.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

After the talk

Well, now she understands why I go thrift shopping, but to her it's still junk. So, I made it disappear. As I pointed out to her, my afternoon cost less than concert tickets or therapy. As she pointed out to me, we don't have room for any more stuff.

But, she was glad that I had a good time, and I do understand how she feels about bringing more stuff into the house. Next time, I said, I'll take it straight to the garage and you'll never see it. Okay with her!

Not sure what is going on yet with either of us, and we'll keep talking and pondering, but at least my blogging buddies will be in on the "action" as it develops. I always think the journey is probably more fun than the ultimate end.

I'm sort of like Lisa in Funky Winkerbean cartoon (though I don't have any time limit given) - okay, now I've said I'll die, let's get on with the living.

However, I can't imagine living with the same "stuff" for the rest of my life - at least not most of it. I want a change along the way...probably more than one change - and maybe that's part of our non-understanding - partner likes things to stay the same. I am always wanting to shake things up with strange huge paper roses in a Mexican pot or something like that.

Hey, I can analyze my thoughts and feelings, but not hers - even though I know I try. Guess I need to work on me first then talk some more...or maybe I should just shut up and keep on truckin'.

More later, kids.
Okay, I've thought twice and counted to ten before writing this - knowing that my partner is going to read it sometime.

But, when you've been out thrift shopping for the afternoon, spent $35 max, and come home with a garbage bag of goodies, what do you say to your partner who complains about how much more junk (that we don't need - and I agree mostly) you're bringing home. She just doesn't understand.

I have talked a lot about filling the hole in me, and sometimes I do shopping for that reason - which is not the best reason in the world to shop or to do anything. But, today, was just to get out, see and talk with some different people, look at other folks junk (and some of my own that I've taken to the various shops).

I mean, I bought brand new beach towels for $2.50 each - only four of them - and we're having lots of company this summer who enjoy the water - and yes, we have probably 12 already, but some of them are almost dead, and these were pretty. Besides that, I had to fight two dealers over them at the Goodwill. They split the whole box between themselves and never let anyone but me get any of them. Gone in a flash.

And, I bought four belts - one is beads, and you know I make jewelry; so how could I resist at 50 cents. One for the buckle, one because it was an interesting weave and I may make a choker out of it.

I bought two pair of shorts - one for me, one for her, two t-shirts (we have way too many, I admit it), and some picture frames. I want to put my friends pictures on my study wall, and I didn't have frames the right size. I bought two little magnet things that were strange for 10 cents. And, I bought a very old purple felt hat for $5 (my most expensive purchase). It feels like cashmere and says that it was made in switzerland for a new york company. Oh yeah, I bought a kitchen knife - and yes, we already have so many that they won't fit in two knife blocks - but this one will sharpen up so nicely.

I think maybe this gives you both sides of the picture. But, I had as much fun talking with the people in the thrift shops as I did buying these things. And, I met two women from Maryland and their friend from Virignia who left home this morning and told their spouses they would be back next Monday. They followed me from one thrift shop to another and then were on their way to the beach, then down to Charleston, SC and eventually to Nashville. What a road trip!!!

Then I talked with several people and cooed at some babies. A woman and I discussed how to get stains out of our favorite placemats (no, I didn't buy any today - no place to put them - and besides, I didn't see any that I liked). I didn't buy any dishes or pillow cases or glasses or kitchen utensils (except the knife) or Christmas junk or ......

Oh, but I did buy a pet tent, thinking our kitties might like it to play in, but I opened it at home and it probably doesn't have all its pieces.

I don't know to explain to her that I had a wonderful afternoon, talking with with people, getting in and out of my cute little red car, thinking about my Mom as I looked at the Madame Alexander dolls (overpriced or else I have a trunkful of expensive dolls), touching the fabrics and thinking about the people who wore them.

Yeah, I guess I do need other outlets for socializing, but these are such down-to-earth people. The dealers out to make the grab for a bargain they can resell at 100% profit, the grandmothers trying out fit young ones, the mothers with teenagers looking at funny handbags, the greetings of people who go to these places regularly and know one another. Sigh.

Instead of the expected, "look at all the bargains and fun stuff you found,", it was "why did you bring more junk home?" I don't know how to answer that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ospreys of the Trent River

We explored the river on Sunday while my friend and her family were here. We checked out the osprey nests and were yelled at properly by osprey parents. However, I did manage to get an interesting shot - albeit a bit blurry with my little camera - of the osprey who tried to lure us off. I got another shot of him in the air, but just the outline. Another nest had several young ones who kept peeking over the top and getting pecked for their curiosity in view of the danger of humans in a boat. Of course, it's illegal to disturb their nests; so they are in no danger from any of us. People around here respect that.

Oh, Dear

Is there are BA 12 step program? Pills to take? or do I need to use common sense?

85%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Last Rites

We were discussing “last rites” in the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic church; so I googled it. I can remember priests anointing the bodies of those who had just died in great ritual – back in the early 90s. However, this practice goes against much theology – by the time a person is dead, the spirit is with God and anointing does nothing.

Last rites in both churches, on the other hand, have merged into varying forms of healing liturgy. One form is pretty much like the other. But, a healing Eucharist for a dying person is considered to be “food for the journey” (viaticum) and anointing (unction) is often done at the same time now.

The liturgies call for laying on of hands, anointing and healing prayers for those in all stages needing care – even the supposedly healthy who are getting older. And, the healing is not just for physical ills but also mental or emotional cares. No longer are the oil and elements reserved for the dying. They are open to everyone. Based on Jesus ministry, he healed the sick not just the dying.

Reconciliation (confession and forgiveness) can be done in private, semi-private or more public circumstances, though confession of specific sins often is done best in private. This reconciliation is normally part of the healing service for the sick or the dying with friends and family gathered round.

In the Episcopal Church, lay people sometimes do both healing services and anointing, but only a priest can “do” Eucharist. In the Roman church, only a priest may anoint or do Eucharist.

Well, now that I’ve gotten this sort of clear in my own mind, what do I make of all this change? Healers are healers no matter if they are ordained or not. Anointing with oil is a powerfully symbolic action that many cultures have recognized, but it was/is usually done by some sort of religious leader or a recognized lay healer. Anointing with oil can be effective when done by anyone who is recognized as having healing power. Eucharist is the sharing of food with the presence of Christ and is done regularly by mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and others who hold great respect for and from those present. Eucharist is not limited to the altar of a church with machinations of a priest.

So, here’s what I want when it’s my time to go (if I get a choice). I want my chosen family to gather for a good meal, some laughter, and some remembering. Then I want one of them to begin the prayers. We will all confess our sins in general and forgiveness will be pronounced. Then someone will anoint me, and I will die – not necessarily that day but within a reasonable time thereafter.

Last rites, the Christmas that Mom thought was her last, I cut the biggest Christmas tree that would fit in her living room. Friends and I cooked, and family and friends came for dinner, presents, laughter and memories. Last rites. Mom didn’t die until eight years later, but that was her last rites. That is how her family and friend will remember her. Good food, good company, good memories. What more can we ask?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

You Are Scissors

Sharp and brilliant, you can solve almost any problem with that big brain of yours.
People fear your cutting comments - and your wit is famous for being both funny and cruel.
Deep down, you tend to be in the middle of an emotional storm. Your own complexity disturbs you.
You are too smart for your own good. Slow down a little - or you're likely to hurt yourself.

You can cut a paper person down to pieces.

The only person who can ruin you is a rock person.

When you fight: You find your enemy's weak point and exploit it.

If someone makes you mad: You'll do everything you can to destroy their life

Hmmm. Grandmere Mimi was Scissors, too. I'm glad to be like her, but, like her, I like to think that I am not cruel. I've never tried to destroy anyone's life; so I'm not sure about that.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Long-ago friend, Now-again friend

My college friend arrived!!!!! I would have recognized her anywhere. Although her hair is short, it is the same shape as in the picture, and her face structure hasn't changed much. Of course, like the rest of us older folk, the body has changed.

We didn't waste much time on the "do you remembers?"; we just began having fun and laughing together. I'd forgotten how much fun we had - all I remembered what how faithful she was in sharing the down times. She reminded me of some of our adventures.

But, mostly, we laughed, talked about books and politics and such. We had a grand meal at our Mennonite restaurant with lots of good bread. I haven't logged my Weight Watcher points for yesterday, but I'll bet I ate about 50 points - fried catfish, baked sweet potato, and bread. Sooooo good.

Her daughter-in-law has the same genial personality, and the two boys, who do have very distinctive personalities, were mostly quiet - overwhelmed by the silliness of their grandmother and her friend. But then, I gather they are frequently overwhelmed and sometimes embarrassed by the silliness and wonderful love of their grandmother.

So, they are at the beach and we are going over today. It's sooo hot here - humidity out the roof. We'll have to be careful outdoors.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Sorry there is no title to this post, can't get it to register. Oh well....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

No blog this afternoon. I'm going to paint.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gaining strength

Oh what a glorious day - moderate temps, lovely breeze, feeling good. I began weeding the front flower bed as I mentioned, and I just continued through the day doing a little bit here and a little bit there. The tons of laundry are finally washed and dried and piled high on the guest room bed. They will gradually disappear where they need to go.

Tomorrow is a celebrating day - our national Independence Day. Of course, we're more dependent on the rest of the world today than we were then. I'm not sure what trajectory our economy is taking these days, but my little retirement account seems to keep making money. Thanks be to God.

I worry about those who don't have retirement accounts and those who are disabled - so much need, so little help. Not that the resources aren't available, but some problems are so difficult to solve. Take drug abuse. Badtux was talking about finding a litter of needles and syringes and stuff in the parking lot of major chain and suggested that drug abuse was more of a medical problem than a legal problem. The war on drugs is not working. Neither did the war on poverty. Nor the war on hunger. And, if we move to other countries, neither is the drive for decent drinking water.

I suggested that all such problems are so interrelated that we can't solve any of them with one approach. Poverty is first for me. Then medical care, but, if you solve the poverty problem, medical care will come along. And, the social aspect. Geographic location - neighborhoods - seem to begat problems. We need to clean up our neighborhoods. I don't have the answers. Mostly what I have are questions. Non-profits seem to be working towards resolutions in all areas, but they are not enough. It's the macho image that some people have of America that prevents us from allotting our resources to solve these problems instead of looking for problems in other countries.

Nor do I have any answers about terrorism. It's like or is guerilla warfare - almost impossible to prevent. Our protectors do seem to be doing a decent job of it in spite of the impropriety and irresponsible spending of money.

Enough of my stream of consciousness rant.

As I gain strength, I am not only interested in my lawn and plantings, but I am also interested in the world outside the house. Most murders are committed by someone who knows the victim; most terrorists kill those they don't know. I'm not sure which is worse. Both are evil.

I suspect this fall will find me involve deeply in some "cause"; I have some ideas and am looking over a couple possibilities. Taking more interest in our local government is one. Feeding the hungry is another. I have a longer list of personal objectives for the summer and fall. Painting, making more jewelry for an art consignment store, working in the yard, discussing the remodeling of the house - maybe I should say dreaming there because we don't have an estimate yet.

So tonight you get another stream of consciousness post. I'll stop here and go to bed. Thanks to all who read and all who respond. Blessings on all those who come near.

Jesus Christ Action Figure Set

Omigod! I didn't believe this until I saw it. The Jesus Christ Action Figure Set at conscientisation.

More than watchmen for the morning

On Sunday as my partner and I were driving along in the sunshine and enjoying the world, I suddenly thought, in a cliche albeit, “I’m so over church.” I’m sure it’s been over a year since I went to church, partly for health reasons and partly because I don’t like very big or very small churches – the only two choices available here.

We continue to do morning or evening prayer regularly, compline sometimes, and that’s usually done looking out at the water with the fish jumping and the osprey diving to catch the fish and the birds chippering on the feeders. I feel so close to God then.

This morning I pulled weeds in the front flower bed for the first time since we moved here. I can breathe again after my bronchoscopy procedure. So, I was reveling in the fact that I could pull weeds, and then I began to make a gratitude list which got longer and longer. Of course, I could only pull weeds for about 10 minutes before I got tired, but I will gain strength.

Then I went to the deck and deadheaded the African daisies. As I clipped each dead flower stalk, I thought about the people who needed God’s love to be shown to them in tangible ways – ways that I, being too far away, cannot do. So, I guess that was intercessory prayer.

As I filled the bird baths and watered the plants, I marveled at the beauty and the power of God – worshipping in silence and awe.

That finished, I was finished, too. I had to lie down for a bit, complaining sorely that I would be glad when I was stronger. About a half hour later a wonderful tomato (locally grown) sandwich refreshed me, but my knees are still weak. They will get better. And, I guess that’s what some of the psalms are saying, too. God, I’m up against the wall, but I know that things will get better with you.

“I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” (Psalm 130: 4-5)

I know that I need a community of believers – a living community of believers – for the host of saints surround me all the time, but I guess I’m just not ready to try the big church again – but maybe soon. Meanwhile, God is with me. Thanks be to God. Alleluia.

No profound wisdom

Here's my dish garden with its various succulents and a bit of grass. The next picture is a close-up of that little red cactus on the left. I bought it because a friend liked it and now it's blooming. What delight!

Monday, July 02, 2007

"Elling the D"

This seems to be my summer to be confronted with memories about yesteryears – the good and the bad – the scary and the elated. First, we decide to go to Bermuda and confront the reality of a time 50 years ago that I considered idyllic. And, it was, but I realized it was only a piece of the good and not the only good in my childhood. Plus, it stimulated all kinds of ordinary living memories of years in my life of which I had no memories. Now I remember things like washing dishes with my brother. Taking Sunday drives, walking in the woods, playing at scientist. I’m also remembering more bad things, but that’s okay – they are just part of that time of life, and I can handle what they bring.

On Friday, my best friend from my first semester in college is coming to visit. I’ve talked with her a couple of times in the past two years, but I haven’t seen her since 1964. I remember walking around campus with her in the rain, sharing her wonderful Pendleton cape, wearing cowboy boots when Capezio flats were in style. I don’t remember how I met her husband, to whom I introduced her. I barely remember their elopement even though I was called into the dean’s office when she turned up absent from the dorm. And, alcohol blurred most of the memories after that – the birth of their son, their moving away. So now, I get to hear about those memories and live again those times.

In September, my first cousin, his wife, son, daughter-in-law and child are coming to visit. Now I have visited with them at their home several times, and they have been here once. Ray says what he really wants to do is sit on the porch and talk with me. Ummmm, that means that I’ll be delving into memories from another part of my life – his memories and mine – which separate – looking at who our parents (my mother and his father were siblings) were to the world, to us. Now, he won’t put any of this in those words, but I will.

I think this summer will be good for me, and I’m looking forward to every minute of it. If the humidity and heat will cooperate, I think I’ll be “elling the d” – translation “Living the dream.”