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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Garlic Soup for the Stuffy Soul

At least three friends are working on their last colds of the year/first colds of the year.

Izzy located a great curative soup recipe at Adoro Te Devote. Lots and lots of garlic.

Be sure and read his comment on how one knows whether of not one has had enough garlic with a meal.

Health to Gashwin, Dogwood and Mattheus.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Trip to Florida, part 4 -- Parting Shots

Lemon (nope, not an orange or grapefruit) from the K's yard.


Breviary is standard size -- figured I'd use a well-known Catholic item as a size reference.



Genuine Florida Swampland. Probably for Sale, cheap...

Trip to Florida, Part 3 -- Ave Maria

We left the K's home and drove down to Naples to visit a couple of friends we'd originally met at Duke. He's now "all that" at Ave Maria and she's working on an advanced degree in clinical mental health therapy. There are still some of the most enthusiastic and infectious Catholics we're ever known.

They put us up on a nice poolside bungalow used by AMU for visiting lecturers. The closet rod was over 7 feet high, to allow for cassocks to hang properly.


Great parking space (may have to view largest size)

We had a wonderful time with old friends, getting better acquainted with their kids and with grandpa and cousin who were also visiting.

Some assembly required...

Contemplating the Gulf Coast

Leaving the Lover's Leap Key Beach, headed for ice cream!

Using Mr. O'Cayce's monocular to look at ospreys.

Incredibly enthusiastic, if a bit inaccurate, retelling of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal (pronounced Baaaal, as in sheep)

Which one is a dean?

We drove back yesterday, avoiding all the folks headed south to Orlando, Miami, Tampa & Jacksonville for Florida bowl games. Good to be back home.

Trip to Florida, part 2a -- Home decor

(Posting Part 2 a-c in reverse order...better on page...)

So, I already posted the sing-a-long version of the trip report; I thought I'd share a few pix.

We first went to visit a couple with whom have been friends for a number of years. Izzy and Mrs. K went to undergrad together. Izzy was an older student, transferring after his initial college went under in the Texas oil bust. Mrs. K (back then Ms. H) was also an older student having just come from the Discalced Carmelite Monastery near Ft. Worth after almost 20 years. She had come out to study the Classics, knowing she would not be going back to the cloistered life. After completing school in TX, she went to Bryn Mawr, where she met Mr. K (an honest-to-goodness Greek from Thessaloniki)...they are both now teaching at SFU. There is also a little guy, who is the apple (or at least the giant Lemon -- see above) of his father's eye.

I cannot find links to pictures of the stained glass windows Mrs. K did while in the monastery--but they were like nothing I had then or have since, seen. Swirls of color, wider and narrower concretions in between glass set at differing depths--just gorgeous.

When we arrived at the little 50's era house in Florida, we were not prepared to be walking into the home of the Pascha. (Cannot say Sultan--remember Daddy is Greek...)

Mrs. K tells us she was "underemployed" for a while after they became parents...I've seen many new parents, and none of them did anything like this:

Front Walkway

Living Room Wall

Entering Dining Room

"Florida Room"

More "Florida Room" -- Note the cat scratches...

Back Garden

Oven & Dishwasher Fronts -- something few of us decorate. There are no swing-open doors on the dishwasher...

Yes, that's Shiva. All four walls have fabric draped up to and gathered at the ceiling fan just above where this picture stops.

Egg Tempera Painting.

Lizzie, herself. Mrs. K had also designed the T-shirt back in the 1980's --a black figure drawing, with one character "using a laptop" (?) that you cannot really see in this photo

There's more at the Flickr site...see next post for the best kids' room ever(!)

Trip to Florida, part 2b -- More Home decor

So, little Nikos is interested in dinosaurs and Thomas the Tank engine. What small boy isn't? What's an underemployed mom to do?

Look closely for the little guy riding the pterosaurus...

Chronological harmony isn't all that important for youngish guys...

Bird on the ceiling

Painted friends and stuffed friends...

Mac & cheese.

Trip to Florida, part 2c -- Cats

Izzy took this one. Part of his continued chronicling of the mammals of North America.


I shot this one after the cat took his rightful place in the Morrocan palace.


The cat was just as conmfortable as we were in this house.

Flipping (not the minced oath)

There's far too much serious and depressing going on in the blogosphere and on the news right now.

That's why I find great delight in my discovery that at 9 PM, TLC will be showing "Flip That House, " while also at 9 PM tonight, A&E will be showing "Flip This House."

Flip Wilson won't be on until tomorrow @ 8 AM on TV Land.

No one is showing Flipper.

Izzy proposes a show (on the E! Network?) about re-purposed programs being given a second life after not doing well initially. He suggests as a title: Flip That Flop.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Best pun of Christmas, thusfar

At least the best one I can recall...


We walk by and Izzy quips: Call Me Fishmael."

More pix from our trip here. More blogging tomorrow.

The handbasket is headed downhill faster...

So, we're home and finally have time to post pics, etc.

First, though, as an aunt with a nephew headed to Iraq (date moved to 2008, but may change based on new developments), this Yahoo headline scares me:

Official: Saddam to be executed tonight

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein's impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.

With U.S. forces on high alert for a surge in violence, the Iraqi government readied all the necessary documents, including a "red card" — an execution order introduced during Saddam's dictatorship. As the hour of his death approached, Saddam received two of his half brothers in his cell on Thursday and was said to have given them his personal belongings and a copy of his will.

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. Also to be hanged at that time were Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former
chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said.
In his Friday sermon, a mosque preacher in the Shiite holy city of Najaf called Saddam's execution "God's gift to Iraqis."

"Oh, God, you know what Saddam has done! He killed millions of Iraqis in prisons, in wars with neighboring countries and he is responsible for mass graves," said Sheik Sadralddin al-Qubanji, a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as SCIRI, a dominant party in al-Maliki's coalition. "Oh God, we ask you to take revenge on Saddam."

There is nothing that could ever justify this man's crimes. However, there is nothing gained by his execution, and many, many people who will suffer from it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Travel Report, sing-along style

The O'Cayce's hung about
on the Feast of Stephen
down in southern Florida
where the snow was even
farther away then usual,
and their trip was coo-el,
visiting old friends and dear
of many years from schoo-oo-el.

More when next we get a connection.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Continuing Cultural Education: Sound of Music

So, just before 7 PM tonight, Izzy announces that The Sound of Music was about to start on ABC. He probably expected me to not be interested; he didn't recall/realize that I'd never watched the movie. I'd seen clips before, and knew most of the music (courtesy of my high school music program), but had never actually seen the film.

[A few years ago, there was a similar situation once when he discovered I had never seen Casablanca -- a cultural deficiency that was remedied that very evening with a trip to the video store.]

So, I've now seen Sound of Music. To paraphrase something I read years ago about Shakespeare in the Reader's Digest: The Sound of Music isn't that great - somebody just took a bunch of familiar songs and hung a story on them.... ::grin::

Glad I finally saw it -- the cultural gaps from the no-movie-childhood are being filled in.

BTW: Any 2nd Chapter of Acts fans out there?
There is some incidental music used throughout SoM that sounds just like the first few notes of Mansion Builder (the part right before the clip on this page). Coincidence?

Fun with Google Earth

Definitely click to see full-size. Nicely high irony:pixel ratio.

Here's to the Silence

One afternoon, a couple of weeks ago, when my boss was out of his office*, I played the Van Morrison CD "Hymns to the Silence" while doing some filing and general office cleaning.

*My boss and I don't just have adjoining offices, mine is contained within his and only entered from his. Think Vatican City and Rome or perhaps the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

Anywho, since the boss was gone, and I wasn't on-call, I didn't have to use the headphones and I didn't have any interruptions. The music was great, as I played it over and over.

The title song on this "album", "Hymns to the Silence", is really lovely. Interestingly (and the reason for this post), after awhile I discovered that my brain was registering different words, and I was actually hearing "Here's to the Silence."

Here's to the Silence. How often do I actually appreciate quiet, stillness, time to think, downtime, or anything similar? How often do I avail myself of the chance to be silent (even if the world around me is noisy)? When do I appreciate inner stillness, and not hurry to fill the empty spaces with entertainment?

I thought about that Thursday night when several of us (including Izzy, G and Mr. Cheraw) went to hear La Nativité du Seigneur , an "hour-long organ meditation on the birth of Christ", by Olivier Messiaen. Bill read some very short readings, which were followed by much longer passages of very 20th century music on the organ.

Not everyone's cup of tea, but I found myself sitting in the candlelight and thinking. Being quiet. Wondering about why these notes or this setting for a particular reading. I was sitting quietly with my thoughts because of the music. It was silence in the midst of great volume.

Sitting in a silent room often leads my mind to wander far from whatever I am supposed to be focused on -- exams were always a problem, adoration demands lots of concentration, etc. When it is quiet, I focus on every cough, swallow, wheeze, etc. I hear everything when there is nothing to hear. I forget about what is actually important.

In the organ concert, there was nothing familiar, nothing that demanded my attention (familiar lyrics, familiar musical passages, etc.), and I was free to actually think about what had just been read. For example, in one loud, somewhat dissonant passage played after a reading about the "Holy One coming to dwell within my tent", I was able to contemplate the cosmological dissonance that resulted from Divinity being housed within humanity (in Mary's body, in His own skin.) I might not have recalled that had I heard it in a sermon.

I may be the only person there who experienced silence during the organ work, but I needed that time after a hectic work day.

Thanks to G for organizing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good News and Gratitude

I got my cardio results today (there was some confusion about the time for the glucose tolerance test (GTT) today, so that has been rescheduled for January.)

Per the nuclear cardiac imaging report, I have normal cardiac functioning. Specifically:

  • The SPECT images were normal in all tomographic views,
  • Gated left ventricular wall motion was normal
  • Ejection fraction is hyperdynamic.

Impression: Normal SPECT scan with no evidence of myocardial scar or ischemia. Normal left ventricular systolic function.

I also got my labs, which showed normal levels for liver and kidney function tests. There are still a couple of lab tests pending, plus the GTT, then I can settle back with the answers I've wanted since last summer.

As I told a couple of folks at dinner, turns out I don't have two dreaded diseases, just one. One that can be managed. After the past six months, that sort of news actually makes me feel fortunate. I never would have imagined...

I am SOOOO grateful for the prayers of so many people for my health, and for my piece of mind (much more fragile than my health.) Thanks to those of you who've prayed for me and Izzy.

Now to see about those lessons God is teaching me in all of this...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Singing with Feeling

Usually, that refers phrase to the feeling the musician is supposed to put into the song. I got to see twice tonight when the feeling was mainly on the part of the listeners.

1. Our parish's Young Adult Group (for which Izzy and I qualify less and less, ::smile::) went caroling at a local assisted living facility tonight. We sang for a large group of folks in a commons area, then sang as we walked through the facility, stopping for a mini concert whenever a door opened. Quite a few residents listened with wistful expressions, and thanked us profusely for singing to them. Others joined in, singing along and occasionally even strolling with us. It made the caroling really rewarding. 17 folks this year--nearly double last year's crowd.

2. After the caroling, we headed back across the river to our fair city (village) for cookies. The crowd for the gathering & caroling included a Hungarian couple who are new to our Parish. At one point I stepped outside and came back in to hear the wife singing a Magyar evening prayer/lullaby to a young lady whose aunt used to sing the same song to her. Given what we know of recent tragedies in this young lady's life, this song was an incredible gift. She cried on the shoulder of the woman serenading her; I cried watching this unexpectedly tender moment.

Finally, there was one really neat moment in the caroling/strolling, when I got to sing right next to G and our voices blended really well on a section of an old carol. It was wonderful to have that opportunity again.

Can't wait for Christmas Eve Mass--more opportunities to sing and to (it is to be hoped) pass my joy in the music on to others.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Music in My Head

Most of my life has a soundtrack, and most of my soundtrack since 1992 has included the music from choir practice, or Sunday services. When you sing something over and over, esp in rehearsal, it stays with you.

After Izzy read the Zephaniah passage this morning, a song I learned years ago (where??) went through my head. I really like having learned so many "scripture songs" over the years--it has helped with memorization.

The passage:

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.
The song (as I recall it):
The Lord, thy God, in the midst of thee, is mighty, mighty
He will save, will rejoice over thee with joy, with joy
He rest in His love
He will joy over thee with singing
The Lord, thy God, in the midst of thee is mighty, mighty, mi--iiii-ty.
I'm thinking that this is one that our sorta Charismatic Deacon might like.


Today was Gaudete Sunday and there have been plenty of reasons to "rejoice lately"*, here in no particular order:

We attended the Communal Penance Service Friday night, which always leaves me feeling lightened and happy. As an added bonus, our very own Padre was there and we were actually able to confess to him (his lines are often too long at these events, but it was a smaller crowd this time.) As a bonus (just for me, I think), I got to hear again during the homily some of what Padre and I discussed Friday. God made sure I would remember the message.

Izzy and I arrived home from a family Bday party yesterday to find a lovely poinsettia on the front porch. Friends from NC sent their son, a USC sophomore in town after exams, over to our casita to convey their thoughts and prayers for my health. How awfully sweet!

I arrived for music practice before Mass today and found that our associate campus minister had scheduled me as the Mass intention this AM. That was also very considerate. I've felt very cared for this week, and only just a little nervous about test results.

My favorite seminarian surprised lots of folks and showed up early for a visit--Izzy and I got to join a group for lunch with him and lots of other neat folks.

I have not stressed about Christmas this year. We're leaving right after we attend Mass Christmas morning for a trip to visit friends, so I'm not doing more than decorating the dining room table. And that's OK.

Other things about which I should rejoice?

* I have in my head the Handel setting of "Rejoice Greatly."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Vegetable-tarians be's smart

We've known for some time that Baldman is intelligent, and now we know how he and Waldie keep their smarts: Vegetable-tarianism.

Per Yahoo: Kids With High IQs Grow Up to Be Vegetarians

FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- As a child's IQ rises, his taste for meat in adulthood declines, a new study suggests.

British researchers have found that children's IQ predicts their likelihood of becoming vegetarians as young adults -- lowering their risk for cardiovascular disease in the process. The finding could explain the link between smarts and better health, the investigators say.

"Brighter people tend to have healthier dietary habits," concluded lead author Catharine Gale, a senior research fellow at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre of the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital.
In the study, Gale's team collected data on nearly 8,200 men and women aged 30, whose IQ had been tested when they were 10 years of age.

"Children who scored higher on IQ tests at age 10 were more likely than those who got lower scores to report that they were vegetarian at the age of 30," Gale said.
There was no difference in IQ score between strict vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who said they ate fish or chicken, the researchers add.
(Here's my favorite line from the entire article)
Given these factors, "we cannot draw any solid conclusions from this research," Sandon added.
Another article I saw said that strict vegans actually lost IQ points, but that's another story.

So, do smart kids have something innate in themselves that makes them opt for vegetarianism, or does becoming a vegetarian cause your school performance and IQ tests from your childhood to improve retroactively? Sort of a chicken and egg question, or tofu and eggs, as it were.

I think I did OK in elementary school--gotta be why I had a tofurkey sandwich tonight.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

When HIPAA doesn't apply

1. In investigations of contagious diseases reportable under state law (what I do all day.)

2. When your beloved wants to be sure that people are praying for you (what Izzy did this AM.)

I got home yesterday, having heard interesting news. My new doctor, after saying that "this has been quite a day for you," added that I'd walked in as a relatively healthy young woman (she said "young"--gotta keep this doc), but would be walking out with diabetes and heart problems.

We scheduled a nuclear stress test for today and a five hour glucose tolerance test for Tuesday. I heard left axial deviation and non-specific ST wave (?) inversion, but that may not be what the tests find. Until I get more info, I'm not going to stress about the "what-ifs."

Normal life resumes tomorrow. There's a big inter-agency Pan Flu meeting on school closure, a communal reconciliation service, shopping for yet another bday party (B3D2 is turning 8) and writing a Christmas letter.

And dishes to do NOW.

Izzy's note:

Some of you (especially the ones who keep up with her blog) know that [Lizzie] has been taking a glucophage and sticking herself several times a day to take readings. She has officially been pre-diabetic for several months. The good news has been that, in carefully managing her diet, she has lost some weight and has been taking great delight in bringing old friends out of the back of the closet.

Yesterday she had a follow-up appointment in which her dx was officially changed. Her glucometer ratted her out, and she is now officially diabetic (type 2). They did several other sorts of tests while she was there yesterday, and she found out about the change of diagnosis in a one-two punch. "Congratulations," the doctor said, "you came in today a healthy woman, and are leaving with diabetes and heart disease."

It seems there's a problem in her T-wave. They're making her go back in today for a five-hour battery of cardio stuff, stress tests and whatnot. I'll be giving four classes exams, so she'll be down there alone with her thoughts and worries (and those of you who know her know how she worries).

So we'd appreciate prayers for peace today.

Pax Dei custodiat cor et intelligentiam eius in Christo Jesu.

Pax etiam vobis omnibus,


This is some kinda guy... 8-) Thanks for the prayers, they really worked.

Sugar, but no spice

After about 6 months of taking diabetes meds and 5 months of using a glucometer, I finally got the "yes, you have diabetes" news yesterday. I think I've already gone through all the Kubler-Ross stages, starting back in July and August, just not in order.

Denial: Call from my Gyn's office: Your blood sugar was elevated. You need to see your doctor about managing your diabetes. Me: I don't have diabetes.

Anger: Just get me started talking about visits to my former primary care doctor, and asking for a referral for diabetes education. Someone facing major life changes doesn't need to be told: "You can eat five candy bars a day, so long as you keep losing weight, and you'll probably be fine." There was also the reassurance that I could be back to eating cheeseburgers again soon...

Depression: Learning that being diagnosed with diabetes is, in cardiac risk terms, the same as "having your first heart attack." Drat.

Bargaining: OK, God. I've lost the pounds and tried to regulate my diet (& my life.) Can I please, please avoid this (after all, the 5-candy-bar-a-day-doctor said I'd probably just stay at pre-diabetes...)

Acceptance: I think that's what I'm feeling today.

I'm sure I'll re-visit the stages a few more times. I'm grateful that this was caught very early and that there are so many resources available to help manage type 2 diabetes.

Thanks to those who have asked after my health, prayed for me (& for Izzy as he has dealt with the uncertainty), etc.

Order from Randomness

So, I'm lying in what can best be described as a trough (well padded, but essentially a trough), staring at the acoustic ceiling and vents while a machine that looks like a laundry press rotates around and takes images of my heart.

And what I think about is not the test, nor the reason I was there; I spent time trying to see patterns in the circular holes in the ceiling speaker cover.

Despite the title of this post, the holes in the speaker cover are certainly not random. But, they also don't run in parallel lines or increase in predictable sequences of numbers as the circles get larger (I counted until I couldn't keep my eyes on the correct rings.) However, I kept trying to "see" shapes in lines, patterns in the radii, and to determine whether the circles were closed or part of a spiral.

In any case, I know that my desire to see patterns is part of the normal human desire to impose order on our worlds. The sort of order you look for when you hear words from your doctor like "non-specific" or "maybe." Maybe and non-specific are just too uncertain, and the timing seemed just a bit too random.

So, while we wait for what will probably be another "you can live with this" moment, we'll deal with what we know and be thankful for answers when they come (and for good insurance!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

These people get it

From an email Izzy received from a company shipping us CD's:

Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Monday, December 11th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year". We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers,
president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music

Gotta be a great place to work. Dogwood, we got any places like that around these parts?

Monday, December 11, 2006


As lasty Monday evening's YACS meeting, we continued the Evangelical Catholic series on the Trinity, focusing on the person and work of God, the Holy Spirit.

One of the questions asked: Is there any particular event or moment in your life that stands out to you as a particularly special experience of the Holy Spirit?

For us, experiences of the Holy Spirit usually mean promptings to do something. Both Izzy and I have had times when we knew for certain that the Holy Spirit was directly prompting us to do or say something. We gave a couple of examples from our past to the group, but I also found myself wondering when this might have happened more recently.

When we got home, I sat down to check email, while perusing the monthly newsletter of our old church in NC. I was struck, as I read the names of people engaged in various works, with how much of their lives demonstrated the faithfulness, providence and sustenance of God.

I felt I had to send a post to the church's list serve, sharing what I'd seen and remembered as I read about that particular Outpost of the Kingdom of God. From the replies I got, something I said must have spoken strongly to several folks. I doubt I'll ever know exact what "was received" by the NC folks as they read, but I'm so glad I was able to respond to the prompting when I received it.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Grammar Queen

Or something like it. From a link I followed from the sidebar of Mark's blog.

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?

I'm off to correct business signs now. "Have a Bless Day" indeed!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Guess what's cooking?

Things are starting to smell pretty good here at the House of Chez Casa.

Battlestar Galactica fans will be here tomorrow after Immaculate Conception Mass for the "internationally famous, prize winning vegetarian chili."

That, and some Sci-Fi.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Grant Us Peace

Several weeks ago, we attended a concert up in Spartanburg. There was a line in one of Dave Turner's songs that struck a chord with me and I spent most of the drive home trying to assemble lyrics & music. (I think Izzy dozed through the entire experiement in rhyme scheme, meter and tune. Good for him.)

I don't usually share works in progress, but this may end up being all there is.

There are three little crosses
with names I can't read
planted on the edge of the highway;
a roadside reminder
of those who still grieve;
I offer this prayer as I drive...

Bring the souls of the faithful departed
into the light of Your presence;
Grant them rest, O Lord,
and grant us peace.

She kneels at the marker
and brushes the leaves
off their name, off his dates, off the flowers;
I kneel in the Chapel
and finger the beads;
I pray for him in this Holy Hour...

Bring the souls of the faithful departed
into the light of Your presence;
grant them rest, O Lord,
and grant us peace.
(c) House of Chez Casa Music, 2006

I think it's my most "Catholic" composition yet. Shades of purgatory, even.

Last Night Prayer

Ultra-C's post on resuming praying the Daily office ended with his appreciation of the last parts of night prayer.

He shared that one of his favorites is:

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night,
and a peaceful death.
(It's one of my faves, too.)

I thought I'd post my reply here, since I now have yet another song in my head:

Some evenings, while my Dad was at the end of his battle with cancer, I'd sit in his room while Mom took a break.

I sang these words to him, which I based on the last of the night prayers:

May the Lord grant to us
a restful night
May the Lord Who forgives all our sins hold us tight;
May the Lord grant to us
a restful night
and in the end
give to us
a peaceful death.

Singing, my favorite sort of meditation on scripture, made the reality easier to take.

God answered my prayer for Daddy.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And so it ends

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

And we had such hopes for this season... Glad this one was quiet.

"Be Adequite"

This one's for Pritcher.

Apparently Lindsay Lohan was really moved by the recent death of Robert Altman. However, someone needed to look over her shoulder before she sent, and then made public, a condolence letter to Altman's family.

Snippets (full text available here)

He left us with a legend that all of us have the ability to do.

The fighting, the anger, the drama is tedious.

Please just take each moment day by day and consider yourself lucky to breathe and feel at all and smile. Be thankful.

Life comes once, doesn't 'keep coming back' and we all take such advantage of what we have.

When we shouldn't..... ' (sic)

Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves' (12st book) - everytime there's a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on.-altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come.



So much for "Be all you can be." Insert your favorite lament about the state of education, collapse of society from texting devices, etc.

More great lines

Feigning disbelief at something Izzy said yesterday, I remarked: "I don't want to have to call you a liar, but..."

To which he immediately replied: "Good, 'cuz I don't need one over here."

It's so great when your spouse can make you laugh after so many years.

Fish Prayer

Came home after donating blood this evening and found Izzy giggling uncontrollably on the couch. He was re-reading a comment he posted this AM on Waldie's blog, expressing his condolences for the loss of their pet fish. He wrote his comment early in the AM and apparently hadn't remembered how profound (and profoundly silly) he'd been in his little composition.

Here it is for posterity:

Domine Deus iustissime, te rogamus ut huic pisculo pacem sempiternam dones. Ne in baculi formam compressatur nec cum iure ullo quocumque edatur. Octopodibus iniustis et digitis liberorum viscosis vitet. Requiescat non in cloaco sordido sed in pace tua. In nomine filii tui, cui pisces placuisse videntur, amen.

Most just Lord God, we ask that You grant unto this little fishy eternal peace. May he not be pressed into a stick nor eaten with any sort of sauce. May he avoid wicked octopodes and the sticky fingers of children. May he rest not in a nasty sewer but in Your peace. In the name of Your Son, who seems to have liked fish, amen.

Sorry about the fish, guys.

(12/5: Typo fixed, based on comments from those who know Latin far better than I.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

"The King of Glory Comes," the bloggers start griping

or, kwitcher bellyachin'!

Not the largest crowd, but a small group of folks over at Open Book are complaining about having "The King of Glory" sung at Mass yesterday. For those with short memories, or reading this in archives many years hence, it was Christ the King Sunday.

Real comments:

    • It's not supposed to sound like folk music. It's supposed to sound like Christian lyrics to an Israeli dance tune.
    • Actually - that IS what "folk music" is. But, this particular song just feels poorly contrived. Kind of like someone drawing a picture of an elephant without ever having seen one, only going on a handful of descriptions of others.
    • ... what I can't stand about King of Glory and its ilk is that it sounds like Frankenfolk - folk music cooked up in a music lab, seemingly alive but devoid of any connection to any true vivifying principle. Folk music without the folk.
    • However, its lyrics do seem to have a fundamental problem. Sorry. Many songs have problems with directionality: to whom are we singing? ... In The King of Glory, we are sort of role-playing the parts of Jews of the time of Christ. I'm not sure we should do that ...
For heaven's sake,'ve got computers, take a second and look up the song! It is Messianic lyrics written to an Israeli folk tune. We are singing to one another in praise of the God's works, an ancient tradition (think the Song of Miriam, sung after the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea.) If we cannot sing the words of others in other times, there go the Psalms. Maybe ancient chant, Palestrina, etc.

What on earth is a vivifying principle, if not honoring and using ancient words, concepts and forms to write new songs to praise God?

There were also folks saying that the Colbert dance number now disqualified the song. I think this is more wishful thinking than scruples.

Response I posted:

Hey folks, sometimes, when the volunteer musician's repertoire is limited, it's The King of Glory or ignore the feast day musically. Not saying that it's the way it oughta be, but it might be the way it is.

The King of Glory Comes has always reminded me of one of the Psalm of Ascents, sung by the excited crowds as they journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem. Fr. Jabusch says he based the song on a Israeli folk song he learned while studying in Israel. IMHO, it fits into the Psalm tradition, as we do a call and response among ourselves describing the God Whom we are assembling to worship.

I think Colbert's little dance number shouldn't automatically disqualify this song, any more than the gorgeous music used while Michael Corleone exacts his revenge in The Godfather disqualifies it from use elsewhere.

Maybe I'm tired of the musical version of Monday morning quarterbacking. Opinions?

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 6 (last)

Finished up this weekend with usual Sunday activities (Mass, breakfast, nap...)

We stopped by to drop off leftover turkey for Mom, then headed to see "The Queen." Well acted, esp by Helen Mirren, and well edited. The scenes of "Diana the hunted" were intense, and her destiny seemed inevitable. The film did a good job of evoking the questions and memories of that week between Diana's death and her funeral. Mirren is QE2 -- appearance, mannerisms, intelligence, etc.

There's a great prediction made by QE2 to Tony Blair about how, just as the public clamored against her family in their slow reaction to Diana's death, they would someday clamor against him. "It will come, Mr. Blair, and without warning." Seems fairly prescient given current events, or maybe this was just the voice of wisdom speaking to her 10th PM.

Great weekend ending for the monarchy/history buff.

Great leftovers from Luigi's. Hope everyone else is rested.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 5

By now you're thinking, wow, Izzy & Lizzie were sure busy! Could they have possibly done anything else fun, interesting or different?

Yes, it turns out they could. Izzy, who knows I love history and patriotic stuff and ceremony and Italian food, had planned a great day.

We left Varnville midafternoon and rode through the Savannah River Site (warning, DO NOT stop your vehicle!--per the umpteen signs) towards Augusta. Izzy had been on a ride recently that stopped at the Redcliffe Plantation state historic site (home of SC Governor James Hammond) and saw that there would be candlelight tours this weekend. We toured the house and some of the grounds of this showplace, built in 1859, at what the owner could not have imagined would be the end of his era.

After the plantation, the tour continued over in Augusta. There were three more homes; we had time for two.

We visited the boyhood home of Thomas "Tommy" Woodrow Wilson (the one before his family moved to Columbia, SC.)

Afterwards, we headed over to Meadow Garden, the home of George Walton, youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. This was interesting in that there was one home with a second, larger one built onto the right side.

By sheer luck, since the tour involved two states and driving between various sites, we wound up touring all three places with the same couple from Monroe, GA. We knew lots about each other by the end of the tours. We also knew which questions to ask, which may have rattled some of the DAR volunteers.

We headed back to a place Izzy had heard great reviews of -- Luigi's. It's always nice to hear Italian being spoken in an Italian restaurant.

Headed home on the highway--brrrr! According to this handy NWS chart, the air moving past us in excess of 60 MPH would have chilled the 40 degree ambient temperature to a perceived temp of 25 or below. Thanks goodness for layers.
240 miles--not bad for me, a walk in the park for Izzy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 4

Up early Saturday. Bundled up against the cold and rode to Varnville, SC for the Patriot Guard Mission. The ride down took about 2 hours and we arrived in Hampton, SC about an hour before we needed to appear at the staging area.

Izzy & I took a stroll through Historic Downtown Hampton. Their town square nativity scene was already up--blond Mary & Baby Jesus included. I've read lots of articles about towns being faced with lawsuits over Nativity Scenes in their squares, but had not seen one in the center of a small town in years.

After a couple of coffee shop drinks, we rode a couple of miles and met 22 other bikers for our "Mission Briefing." Lots of these folks (mostly guys) are veterans, and all are very determined that those who have served this country be respected and honored at the ends of their lives.
We heard a bit about the soldier who had died, said the pledge of allegiance and rode to the church where the memorial service was scheduled.

We arrived, assembled flags, and formed up to create a flag line for mourners and family to walk through on their way into the church. The closest we came to a uniform were the Harley vests covered with POW/MIA, Vietnam service and Patriot Guard patches.

While we waited for the arrival of the family, a woman drove up, rolled her window down and asked "Patriot Guard?" When told that yes, that's what this group was, she told us that her husband was deployed to Iraq and he and his buddies had said lots of great things about this group. Folks got a bit choked up when telling her to thank her husband for his service. There were several other moments in the flag line and in the service (I went inside) that evoked tears.

It's not often you get a chance to do something good and meaningful for a complete stranger, and I'm glad we had this opportunity.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 3


Up late (yay!), then out to shop (yikes!) for 10th bday gift for niece. There was nearly no one at the closest K-Mart, even on "Black Friday." Picked up EZ-Bake Oven refill packages, and some girlie-girl cosmetic bags. Out to Irmo Town Park for the party.

(Note to Dogwood: I picked up some of the mess-proof paints for the youngest of B3's kids. Turns out, they were a great hit for all the pre-teen kids there at the party. Thanks for the tip.)

Back to our little town for Thai food. Learned the proprietress (who is in Vegas this week) is getting married in January.

Home to watch "The Notebook", which Izzy had borrowed from my Mom. Very improbable, very sweet. Gotta love the jagged cliffs and rocks on SC beaches...

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 2

"Report" posted below. I put a few family pics on Flickr.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 1

Wednesday evening:

To the dollar-fifty movies to see "Little Miss Sunshine." Stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Proust, Nietzche, and a VW Microbus.
We laughed out loud, quite a few times. Not sure to whom to recommend it: profane, dysfunctional, sweet, etc. The lead child actress was wonderfully cast. The father's motivational course was cringingly fun to watch--esp with the overhead blocking most of his "9 Points."
It's a movie that reminds you of lots of other movies that you've seen, but which combines all those elements into something really new. LOL humor with no Borat guilt.

FWIW: Who knew how much MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" owed to Rick James' "Super Freak"?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Patriot Ride this Saturday

Note: most links (besides those for the Patriot Guard ride) may be pretty disturbing.

Izzy and I are going to join a Patriot Guard ride/honor guard in Varnville this Saturday. The family of SPC Harry Winkler (US Army) requested an honor guard for his memorial service in the town where he grew up.

The Patriot Guard "missions" started as a way to shield families of fallen soldiers and veterans from the idiotic rantings of the members and adherents of Fred Phelps' "church." The "theology" behind their criticism and picketing is a bit hard to follow, but basically seems to be:
  • God hates homosexuals. (Their language isn't as polite.)
  • There are homosexuals living in America.
  • Therefore God hates America.
  • From that, it stands to reason that God hates any soldier who has ever fought in the defense of the United States.
  • It's a short step to then say that God would rejoice at the death of any American.

Who wouldn't want this at their father/brother/uncle's funeral?

I may have missed the subtleties, but I'm also Catholic and therefore even more hated by God. Worse yet, as I type this, I'm wearing pants (kept me warm on the bike ride earlier) and thus am probably even more despicable.

I went to Westboro Baptist Church's website to see if Phelps' crowd was planning to picket this Saturday's service; they are otherwise engaged. They will be picketing the funerals of two of the girls who died in the Alabama bus crash. No, I'm not kidding; the deaths of these children are a reason to celebrate their view of a god (little g) who would smite the innocent simply because of where they lived. (They are also pretty happy about Katrina deaths, miners in WV, etc.)

I have no answers as to why these children died, nor could I begin to understand wars or the courage it takes to volunteer for service. We pray for their spirits, their families and ourselves as a nation as we grieve.

We will also stand physically against those who take the name of the Lord in vain to spread their hatred.