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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.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another reason to love this place

Just heard on the 11 o'clock report:

There's good news. South Carolina is no longer dead last in SAT scores.

We've moved ahead of Hawaii and the District of Columbia in average scores, from being tied with Georgia for last in 2005.

yippee. yay for us. we sorta rock.

This happens when it's being reported that scores everywhere in the US are dropping with the new test format.

So, everyone else drops their score and we are only able to improve two spots? Two measly spots? Makes one suspicious of the "Education Lottery" that was advertised immediately after...

On the bright side, my alma mater and Izzy's former school scored above the national average. woo. hoo. yippee.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Road Trip?

As Gashwin heads up the East Coast to his new home on Wednesday, I might need to head in the other direction. If the forecast holds, I'll drive down to pick up my great-aunt who lives on a barrier island (unless her neighbors pre-empt and bring her up themselves.)

Judging on past experience, when she leaves town early, the storm blows over. When she stays put longer, we get hit (anyone remember Hugo?) Might make my job in emergency preparednesss and disaster surveillance easier to just move her up here for the next 6 weeks before she permanently relocates to California.

Update 9-1: So, I linked to a graphic of the storm track, rather than uploading it. Looking again this PM, the above map makes no sense--why would I be headed to the SC Low Country when the storm is hitting Virginia? I'll leave the NOAA pic up--it may eventually show rain in the Poconos from Ernesto.

Here's a better picture of what I had to consider:

Plan B: Unexpected Candor

I don't often blog about political issues, though I think about them a great deal when they influence health. This seemed important to recall (and isn't that what a blog is for?)

From the NY Times, a comment that I wouldn't have expected on Plan B (appears on page 2, at the end of the article):

Plan B may in rare circumstances prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted, something abortion opponents decry. But regular oral contraceptives do that, too.

Found the link from the Christianity Today blog, which asked: Outrage on Plan B, So Why Not the Pill? I recognize that the posting was mainly aimed at Protestants, many/most of whom don't scruple at Pill usage. I hope that these questions and the science behind how OC's work get better disseminated (yes, Izzy, there's a horrible pun in there...)


Truth in advertising: Recent changes in my health status have led to the need to considerably suppress ovarian functioning after development of insulin resistance. All that leads to an interesting exchange over dinner last Wednesday:

Me: Discussion of status of (we're still calling it) pre-diabetes.

Matthew: So, are you on the pill? (little P pill, meaning oral glucose meds.)

Me (after getting OK from Izzy): Yes. (including meaning big P Pill).

Izzy (clarifying): She means Yes AND Yes.

For us, after years of NFP/roulette, having to take OC's was an unexpected development. It also meant the very end of any lingering thoughts of babies...Probably a good reality check for someone in her late, late, late twenties.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

But what about Saturday?

Well, Izzy found something sorta church related...

Movie info

Existential question

Not much more to say...I don't think Izzy and I are the intended audience...

Church Evenings...

...and afternoons. Seems like every day this past week had a church-related activity. Thus, no time to blog about whatever I was actually doing or thinking.

Saturday: Chuck Girard concert at our local coffee house. Chuck is a pioneer in contemporary Christian music, most famous for "Sometimes Alleluia." My fave "back in the day" was "Don't Shoot the Wounded." (He publishes lyrics and chords on the website--how cool is that!?!) I hadn't known that he had sung lead on a song that shows up on oldies radio: Little Honda by the Hondells.

Sunday: Mass, of course. Then to the hospital with Izzy to take Holy Communion to a parishioner & her husband. What an amazing honor and privilege!

Monday: Young Adult group, after a lecture by Paul Farmer on health & social justice work in Haiti and Rwanda. Take home quote: "No one should have to die from an infectious disease simply because he is poor." It's that simple and that hard. After young adults, a friend came over for fish & conversation.

Tuesday: Typing the Bulletin--emails to solicit missing info.

Wednesday: Great dinner here at the House of Chez Casa with Gashwin & Matt B (friends from church) and Bill (friend of friend who has become 1st order friend.) Izzy outdid himself with a densely flavored, yet light pasta--it's no wonder we seldom go out for Italian. Pics of India, scads of literary puns, great conversation. Afterward, usual Wednesday completing of Bulletin.

Thursday: Mass music rehearsal. Always a highlight 8-)

Friday: Farewell celebration for G as he heads for his novitiate with the Paulists. BBQ dinner (mac & cheese was good) with scads of people and lots of remembrances (roasts AND toasts) of G. Your truly composed a chant in honor (is that the right word??) of G's love of chant. Also got nice feedback on recent music done @ mass from parishioners @ the party. Home to update the Parish website with the current Bulletin.

Today: Planning to do little. Finally reading friend's blogs. Might get the rest of the laundry put away...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Things to Remember

1.  Driving through downtown, where the city is flushing out water lines.  A homeless man, taking advantage of the free water, removes and begins rinsing his jeans.
2.   Overheard:  "And I told him, before you can call it insubordination, I would have to agree that he was my superior."
(Insubordination? QED.)
3.  From a combox at Open Book:  That's another fundamentalist that doesn't know Jack Chick about Catholicism."
Off to eat Thai food.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Chick Flicks

Izzy & I have been to two pretty good movies together recently, Water and Beauty Academy of Kabul. Both are all about women's issues in exotic (at least foreign) locales; both are also mainly about hope and joy.

In Water, the 1938-era story focuses on a child-bride now widow, who has no memory of being married to a man whose death now condemns her to secluded life in an Ashram with other outcast widows. And this is for Brahmin widows--one wonders how harsh the lives of lower caste widows must have been. As the India changes, suttee has been abolished (officially), but Hindu widows are still expected to put themselves away from society--society that fears even crossing their shadows. Life is hard and the older women enforce the social code that the younger women must learn to accept or defy at their peril, as do any who question the conventions of the time.

In the Beauty Academy of Kabul, Afghani women gather behind their walls and curtains (despite one character's attempts to unveil the goings on inside.) They refine the trade that many of them have been plying in secret during the Taliban reign of terror--making themselves and other women feel beautiful. When they venture beyond the walls of their homes, their elaborate hairstyles and lovely jewelry are hidden inside the burkhas that render them all the same, all less dangerous to the culture. The curlers and perming rods in home salons were all the "construction" happening in the bombed-out ruins of the once-prosperous civilization.

There are lots of feminist themes that could be explored, plus clashes of cultures, traditional roles in religious societies, etc. What left Izzy and me amazed was the cluelessness of the two American women in Beauty Academy. One, coiffed a la Liza Minelli, kept trying to tell women that they had a duty to be avant garde in their dress and hairstyles and took off driving ("This place is just like Indiana") to flaunt convention. She tells the students: "It's your job to set the trends. If you guys don't do it, how will Afghanistan change?" (Did she see no coverage of what the Taliban did to women with exposed ankles? Does she think that the defeat of the Taliban means that no more of their attitudes persist?)

Another tried to teach 2-mnute meditative centering techniques that the women could use to decrease the stress of caring for their families, cooking, going to school, dealing with familial disapproval/ stress/ crises / continuing warfare, etc. Their faces giggling during the exercisse was probably a better stress reducer.

One of the Americans (with a Brit) is brought back to earth when she asks an Afghani woman what she thinks the world would be like if it were run by women. The answer wastes no time imagining a different set of circumstances: Where is such a place with such rules? What families would allow this? There can never be such a place because families would not allow such a thing. Her answer isn't hopeless; it's pragmatic. Just like the pragmatism of Didi in Water as she questions her life circumstances, but respects her Hindu tradition. There aren't easy answers, but there can be serenity, and these women can teach us much about living under stress.

My lasting memories of both films, I think, though, will be the joy. Even in the worst conditions, there is beauty and love, and these bring hope.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Being much more comfortable than Izzy with administrivia, I am about to delve into the minutia that is benefits election. At 1st glance, bits of the package at his new school look better than what the State had available, but other bits seem odd to me.

Izzy can elect for separate, additional coverage for Cancer & Intensive Care. Will this cover treatment given in an ambulance (mobile intensive care unit) or in the ER if he isn't admitted to an ICU? Would cancer coverage provide a disincentive to using sunscreen? Does ICU include Rehab (not the kind Mel Gibson & Robin Williams are in, but the Christopher Reeve sort)? Am I being a nurse or just morbid to ask these questions?

I've asked, and Izzy assures me he has no plans to get sick in the next two semesters. Much as I believe him, I'm going to go ahead and review the available plans.

Don't Call This Guy for IT Help

So, someone in Information Technology sends an "I'm away from the office" message to everyone in the entire organization (himself included), immediately after setting up his Auto-Reply message.

This resulted in 80 copies of his "I'm away" mesage in everyone's mailbox, about one every 6-8 seconds. Everyone's. From the Commissioner to the graduate students. 80 separate times his message popped open on my desktop.

The message:

I will be out of the office until Thursday, August 17th. If you need IT assistance, contact [name] at [phone] or or email [].
My boss's take (name not spared):
Hello, my name is Robert Johnson. I will be out of the office until August 17th, prepare to die.
Boss likes the Princess Bride.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Locks of Love

Locks of Love is a charity that accepts donations of hair to make wigs for financially disadvantaged children with long-term medical hair loss, often from cancer.

They prefer colors that match what is normally found in children's natural hair, so we used the Just for Men dark brown formula to get Izzy's hair ready for his donation (going in the mail tomorrow.)

Dead Like Me--the Date

Izzy's discovered "Dead Like Me", a Showtime series being re-purposed on SciFi.
Great line from a taped epidsode we're watching this evening:
"Except for the fact that he was mentally ill and I was undead, it was starting to feel like a ... date."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Song Choices

Sometimes music selected to go with the "theme of the Sunday" winds up fitting the service in ways we would never have expected.

Last Sunday, our Deacon's theme (repeated frequently) was "When we tell our story, God gets the glory." He was encouraging us to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and share what God has done for us.

The post-homily/offertory song we'd selected was "Song for the Body of Christ" which begins "We come to share our story." We were actually on the 3rd verse before I recognized the connection. Kinda neat once I realized it.

This Sunday was a bit different. Our Padre, who had written a homily more focused on how our encounters with Christ transfigure us, changed his plans after the suicide of a member of our university community. He talked about the pain suffered by those left behind, the questions, the doubt, the "what ifs", the "what's nexts", etc. Christ's transfiguration became Christ's light drawing us to Him in our pain and fear and sorrow.

The next two songs we'd selected were "Christ Be Our Light" and "Be Not Afraid." I saw a couple of folks stop singing and get that look that says the words of the song and their own thoughts have just met.

Longing for peace, many are troubled;
Longing for hope, many despair...

Gotta be the Holy Spirit.

On Notice

As a fan of Colbert, I was tickled to find an "On Notice Board" generator.

My current version:

Why Bears? Why not?

Via Open Book where Amy Welbor's list included Dan Brown and Ft. Wayne "International" Airport.

Brew at the Zoo

So, Izzy and I went last evening to wander around the Zoo in the rain whilst Izzy sampled some microbrews. It was getting dark, so we didn't see as many animals as on a daytime trip, but the sunset and drizzle certainly made the evening comfortable.

I was stuck in a line (getting my designated driver bracelet) when Izzy had his first sample, so I don't know if he prayed the special beer prayer: Bless, O Lord, this creature Beer...

Ran into a couple of folks from work, one of whom was my boss (there with his wife.) Since I'm on-call this weekend, it was good to run into him completely sober (unlike another colleague, who I doubt will recall the meeting on Monday...)

Maybe Izzy can later share any microbrew discoveries he made. I can report that the Diet Pepsi was unchanged from other times I've sampled it. ;-)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Deciding to Love

Watching the overage of Senate Iraq hearings today, I heard one of the generals say in reference to the civil war there:
Shia and Sunnis are going to have to decide that they love their children more than they hate each other.
Maybe simplistic, maybe trite...undeniably true.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sartorial Statement

Got the clipping as a jpg--Izzy suggested I Google it.

Turns out it actually appeared in the Alexandria-Pineville (LA) Town Talk on April 21, 2005. Seriously. Not The Onion.

Looks like it's been around the web a couple of times. I'm just thinking that DJ hasn't been to the closest Wally World to our domicile.