Sticky Top Post

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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where I work

Practicing on the camera we're taking on the trip.
Quick picture upload (my fave of today's inanimate pics)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday night relationship varia: Part the Second: The Rules

Part the Second: The Rules

UltraC also posted recently on The Rules, a book of advice for single women looking to get married. His perspective is good, especially where he brings in Catholic beliefs to counter assumptions made in the book. One of his commenters asked him to write his own set of rules for dating and marriage and he demurred for the time being.

My thoughts on the rules (Like UC, I never read the book, having been married 22 years when it came out) from the Top 10 posted on the author's website (words in bold or "quotes" are authors'; italics are my paraphrase of other advice on the page):

1. Be a creature like no other. Be radiant, stand slowly but walk briskly, listen, don't babble, etc.

Sure, why not? Just be aware that all the other girls are trying to be the same creature. Focusing some attention on how you come across is good (lesson my mother is still trying to teach me), but you've got to be who you really are, as well.
2. Show up to parties, dances and social events even if you do not feel like it. And get that manicure...

How about being comfortable with yourself? Offering to babysit, take nursery duty? UC reminds women to show up at church - I'm not sure how easy it would be to meet a guy amongst the crowd arriving late and streaming out to cars immediately afterwards. So, volunteer, get involved in Bible Study (Izzy & I met on the way to Bible Study, and did our share of shifts int he Church nursery early on...), etc.

3. It's a fantasy relationship unless a man asks you out. "If he's never asked you out, he's not interested."

I wonder about this one, in a culture that is telling men that women are also supposed to be able to ask guys out. Are the guys getting copies of these rules and are they aware that they are once again supposed to make all the first moves? Maybe they'll be drawn to the brisk walk and manicure and offer evenings of Italian food...
4. In an office romance, do not email him back every time he emails you unless it is business related.

I'll echo UC's and many others' advice here: if you think you can still work with this person after the relationship ends, then risk and office romance. Just remember that your office personality is not who you may really be at home.
5. If you are in a long-distance relationship, he must visit you at least three times before you visit him. "Remember, the first three visits are really nothing more than three dates... and on the first three dates we don't have sex with a man or have him stay at our place overnight."

Well, duh, on the last part. However, it implies sex on the 4th visit, for those keeping (or hoping to) score.

Izzy and I began dating during his senior year of high school (I was a college sophomore.) I made lots of weekend trips to Dallas; he made three trips to Tulsa. Worked out OK for us. There were also the $300/month MCI bills.

6. When considering whether to use personal ads or other dating services, you should place the ad and let men respond to you.

Izzy would suggest you use the older friends and relatives fixing-up service - AKA arranged marriage. But, neither of us had the benefit of access to Gashwin's Aunties & Uncles, so had to find our own way.

As for personal ads, (I know some have heard this story), we once sat in a terribly hip part of Dallas, eating beignets, drinking cafe' au laits, while reading the local alternative paper's Relationships Wanted section. We started with Men seeking Women, and Women seeking Men, and then the section called "Various." (Nowadays, that section has many, many permutations, but you can guess the general content.)

We looked for words and phrases that described each of us, from physical characteristics to education to hobbies/avocations, and even faith issues. I was being sought by 50-year-old white men who wanted a nice Christian woman to raise their children. Izzy was being sought by 50-year-old white men ...
8. Close the deal - Rules women do not date men for more than two years.

Once we determined we were in love, etc., which was two years after we'd met, we began looking at whether & when to get married. We decided that we were not yet ready to get married, needing to do a bit more growing up, and to seek the blessing of the set of Christian parents.

We heard from one woman (I was living at their home, so she'd watched us quite closely), who assumed that we must really just be waiting to accumulate more money. Her comment: "I'd rather have a warm body than cold cash." Not bad advice, but we opted to wait until neither of use was still a teenager.

So, there were two years, three months and 6 days from 1st real date to wedding. Much longer from 1st spark...
9. Buyer beware -- observe his behavior so you do not end up with Mr. Wrong.

Wouldn't that speak in favor of longer periods of dating? How else can you see him in many moods, interacting with family, growing in his faith, sticking with and completing things, etc. It takes a while (or a village) to assess character.

Izzy and I were also lucky to have had such an intense friendship before we first fell in love. I knew who he was, I'd seen him around his mother & brothers, we'd been part of double dates, and we'd spent time in prayer and Bible study together. Those qualities I admired then, I couldn't have enumerated like I can now. I just knew I liked him (ewww, at first) and later that I loved him.
10. Keep doing the RULES even when things are slow. Go to parties, take a bubble bath, say nice things to yourself.

Sure, but have some reason for doing all of these things, even that manicure, besides trying to become a pursued woman.

I've watched my Mom maintain her appearance in the years since Dad died, but also invest her energy in people & places that couldn't have possibly yielded a husband. She cooks and serves meals at a half-way house. She takes an elderly neighbor to appointments. She writes letters for and provides personal care to a woman bed-ridden with MS. She takes grands to Cici's and Sandy's and the zoo. She emails & calls her mother. She babysits at the drop of a hat. She spends hours in prayer and in preparation for Bible Study and Sunday School. God brought a man into her life - long-distance even, who loves her without the need for manicures & bubble baths, etc.

What people see is the spark of the love of God in her life. That's what makes her a "creature like no other."

No rules, just right.

Friday night relationship varia: Part the First: Marital LImbo

Part the First: Marital Limbo

I started to call this "No Easy Outs", which likely says more about my opinions of some of the Kennedy's, than any intelligent opinions I have formulated about annulments.

Gashwin commented briefly on the news that Joseph Kennedy's annulment had been overturned. I saw the story in Time Magazine earlier in the week, and hadn't had time to write. In this case, that's a good thing.

Time story: Joe Kennedy's First Marriage: Still On

The most controversial "marriage that never was" in recent U.S. political history is back. Sources tell TIME that the Vatican has reversed the annulment of Joseph P. Kennedy II's marriage to Sheila Rauch. The annulment had been granted in secrecy by the Catholic Church after the couple's 1991 no-fault civil divorce. Rauch found out about the de-sanctification of their marriage only in 1996, after Kennedy had been wedded to his former Congressional aide, Beth Kelly, for three years.

The annulment was the subject of Rauch's 1997 book Shattered Faith, which lambasted her ex-husband and was severely critical of the Catholic Church's proceedings, which made the marriage (which had produced twin boys) null and void in the eyes of the church. Rauch argued that Kennedy was able to unilaterally "cancel" nearly 12 years of marriage because of his clan's influence in the church. Kennedy argued at the time that the annulment was the right thing to do in religious terms. Few observers thought the appeal to Rome by Rauch, an Episcopalian, had a chance against the well-connected Kennedy. With women's groups loudly on Rauch's side, the controversy may have contributed to Kennedy's decision to give up his plans to seek re-election to Congress in 1998.

Reached by TIME in her Massachusetts home on Tuesday, Rauch said that she had just recently been informed by Boston Archdiocese officials of her successful appeal. "I am very pleased," she told TIME. "There was a real marriage. It was a marriage that failed, but as grown-ups we need to take responsibility for that. The [annulment] process was dishonest, and it was important to stand up and say that." But Rauch says she worries that the practice, particularly in the U.S., of giving what she called "easy annulments" will continue. "They don't give people a fair defense. The Boston Archdiocese doesn't even tell you that you can appeal to Rome." Reached by TIME, Kennedy's office provided no reaction from the former Congressman.


The Roma Rota's ruling, written in Latin, was reached in 2005, and had been kept secret while the official written notice was being prepared, said a source in Rome familiar with the case.

snip / Do they need more Latinists in Rome?

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI has indicated that he wants to streamline the Roma Rota to respond to the desire of divorced Catholics to stay inside the Church. But there is also concern that some Catholics, particularly in the U.S., abuse the practice. "People think it's their right," says one Rome-based canon lawyer. He adds sternly, "It's not a right."

My initial thoughts were along the lines of "look at what happens to people who disregard the Church and try and wield influence." And, maybe some of that is deserved. I have certainly not read the Roma Rota's decision (any document that takes 2 years to translate must be fairly complex! Don't these people have templates for this sort of ruling?!?)

The Time article makes Rauch a sympathetic character, and Kennedy a heel. And, perhaps that's accurate. But I also found myself thinking about the annulment process that regular people go through, that is available to those who are suffering both from the ending of truly misbegotten and tragic marriages and from the conflicting desires for companionship and continued access to the Eucharist.

Ultracrepidarian has blogged honestly and compellingly about this process, and gives updates from time to time. Worth a read .. I've certainly learned lots from him that others I know who are in this process haven't personally shared.

What I find especially blog-worthy is what I learned from following a couple of link trails tonight.

Jimmy Akin (ever the lightning rod) posted on several Canon Law aspects of this decision. These came from Canonist Ed Peters, who posted on the decision, including new (to me) info on the multiple steps and decisions addressed in a declaration of nullity.

Annulment? What annulment? Really, what annulment?

Canon 1682 requires that every "sentence which first declare[s] the nullity of marriage to be transmitted ex officio to the appellate tribunal" and Canon 1684 states that only "after the sentence which first declared the nullity of the marriage has been confirmed at the appellate level. . .[can] the persons whose marriage has been declared null contract a new marriage . . ."In other words, "an annulment" (which sounds as if it's a single thing) actually requires two distinct, affirmative decisions.


Now, as near as we can figure ... Joseph Kennedy petitioned for, and received, at first instance a declaration of nullity regarding his marriage to Sheila Rausch. But Rausch apparently exercised her right under 1983 CIC 1417 to appeal directly to the Roman Rota, which would mean that the Kennedy-Rausch annulment case was not completed when it went to Rome. Thus the Rota sat as a tribunal of "second instance" (JPII, Pastor bonus, a. 128, 1) in which capacity it rejected Kennedy's petition. This annulment, then, was not so much "reversed" by the Rota, as it failed to win completion therein. Granted, the effect is the same, no second marriage is permitted Kennedy (or Rausch), but it's not as if Kennedy "had" his annulment for ten years, and then mean old Rome took away. Kennedy, it seems, never had his annulment in the first place.


Personal opinions of Kennedys aside, it seems unfair to make someone wait for 10 years to find out what his matrimonial status in the Church really is. But canon law already recognizes this: Canon 1453 urges (but does not strictly require) that "first instance" cases be resolved in one year, and that "second instance" cases be decided within six months. When the Roman Rota accepted Rausch's appeal, it took on the task of sitting as a second (not as a third, but as a second) instance court. Thus, why the Rota took (not six months, which would clearly be unreasonable, but 8 or even) 10 years to decide what was only a second instance case is, well, not clear. Were the facts alleged so difficult to determine? Were there novel legal questions raised? I wonder. (emphasis mine)

And that's what strikes me - what on earth takes 10 years to decide about a marriage that lasted only 12 official years (1979 to 1991)? If Rausch were Catholic, and wanting to re-marry and know her status vis a' vis the Eucharist, this would be excruciatingly painful.

Jimmy's commentariat, at least those who could stay on topic, mostly agreed that Kennedy is likely in objective state of grave sin. I wonder how chastely I might choose to live were I to have to wait that long to re-marry. I might risk taking Communion, maybe somewhere where I wasn't known.

(Note to Izzy: not planning on going anywhere. Don't want custody of the cat...Don't want to have to pack up all my stuff...)

Payers for those in relationships, especially difficult ones, or those recovering from the pain of failed relationships.

Historical Note: Two of today's saints, Thomas More & John Fisher, received the crown of martyrdom in part because of stances they took on another annulment process. Henry VIII tried for ten years to get an annulment from Rome - we see what good came from that lengthy process.


PS: Yes, I aware that those whom I quote vary in their spellings of the surname of the former Mrs. Kennedy. Not gonna try & verify which is correct.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Word Choices

Or, when to use "naked" and when to use "nude."

From local news:

Authorities investigating after bodies of naked couple found in Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - Columbia police are investigating the deaths of a young couple found naked on a city street after apparently falling four stories from a rooftop.

Naked (or is that nekkid?)

Columbia Police Sergeant Florence McCants says the man and woman were in their early 20s.

Shortly after 5am Wednesday, authorities say a taxi driver found the two nude bodies on Laurel Street between Gadsden and Assembly streets in downtown Columbia.


Chief Dean Crisp said it appears the people fell from the roof of 1812 Lincoln Street. The roof is pyramid-shaped metal, likely slick on a damp morning.

The two were alive when found but were pronounced dead after being taken to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital.

McCants says the preliminary investigation appears to show the couple died accidentally. She says there were no indications of foul play.

Clothing was discovered on the roof, about 50 feet above the street.

Unclothed (implied)
And that leads authorities to suspect the man and woman may have been having sex.

Ya think?
The incident happened near the Old Chamber of Commerce building in downtown Columbia near Finlay Park.

The names of the victims have not been released.

An eyewitness account was given to police by a homeless couple sleeping in the garage last night. We'll tell you what they saw and what they heard tonight at 6:00pm on WIS News 10.

Yep, we'll let you know ... having missed the newscast (just had a 55 min meeting with director)I don't know which term the couple or reporter used.

BTW: This death is a tragic accident and I am in no way belittling the suffering of these families. What a terrible way to be remembered... However, I just find the coverage of (even the need to cover) the story to be very interesting and reflect something maybe not so good about our town.

The Wrong Locket

Giving away my punch line, but that's OK.

So, God has a sense of humor, or He allows me to see the humor in things that turn out very different from expected. Either way, that's a good thing.

Case in point:

As I've alluded before, today is the 4th anniversary of my Dad's death. I woke up thinking of him, and was feeling a bit maudlin. I thought about dressing all in black, but opted to do a black & white outfit. I put on the mourning pin that a friend had given me years ago. I also put on a locket that Izzy had made for me with pictures of my Dad inside. It was a beautiful gift that he gave me back in the period when the grief was deepest.

Whilst drying my hair, there was a loud pop, a flash of light, and no more hair dryer. I opted to not dig out the travel dryer - this was just another sign of a bad day. Just as well - when I stepped outside I got rained on (nope, hadn't noticed the rain, nor grabbed an umbrella, in my pre-occupation.)

I arrived at work and discovered I was wearing the wrong locket. Instead of my Dad, I was (& still am) wearing pictures of two of our cats, Matt & Miss Kitty.

The situation made me laugh. And it changed the way I thought about Dad today. I remembered his smile, his jokes, his optimism, even his lack of need for a hair dryer. There is no way to stay maudlin when you're wearing the cat locket, IMHO.

About to head over to the cemetery to say "howdy" & "please pray for your family." The clouds from earlier (literal & metaphorical) have lifted and I can see blue skies outside my window.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Juneteenth!

For Izzy and any other Texans out there.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ten Beast

Seen best when you click on the photo.
It's not quite the same as the 10-horned, 7-headed beast in Revelations, but they serve a passable tofu-mooshu.

BDay Surprise

Mom called and asked to stop by this evening. I had no plans, having gone out w/family Saturday & Sunday (Sunday was Chinese buffet for me, & for B1 & his son, in honor of Father's Day.)

Mom arrived with two nieces (ages 10 & 8) in tow. They cut up strawberries and served them with Sugar-free Cool Whip & angel food cake. (Note to self -- skip the cake next time ... even a sliver seems to be too much...)

I used spoons (multiple sizes), forks and a bowl on the table to try & explain insulin resistance to the girls. A particular inspiration was when the insulin piece of cutlery had convinced the carb piece of cutlery to go into the bowl (muscle cell), when suddenly the bowl rose up and announced "You shall not pass!" in just the sort of deep voice you'd expect from a china dessert bowl.

The girls "decided" that the birdseed that Grandma had also purchased this evening was good for diabetes and that I should have it as sprinkles on my strawberries. Fortunately for me, giggling over this prospect left them absolutely no time or energy to actually try and open the container. (Besides, they've not tasted diabetic breakfast cereals -- not much different from what I assume the birdseed would have been.)

We looked at Flickr pics and they told grandly exaggerated tales of their adventures at the beach this past week. One got to use our new egg/strawberry cutter (great job of re-wiring, Izzy!) and another cleaned & de-stemmed the berries. Lots of unexpected fun -- a great bday surprise.

Izzy called during the visit -- I'm sure the girls will continue giggling at what they heard when he and the crowd of Texan/Spaniards relocated to New Jersey sang over the phone.

So, I've ended my first official, admitted year of middle age -- I don't plan to have another quite so full of health issues. I'm feeling sort of like someone in recovery -- happy for changes in my life, but also very aware that staying healthy will rely a great deal on my choices.

Thanks to all for prayers & support this past year.


Drove into work today behind a van with interesting stickers

1. Stylized white feathers in outline - "Native Pride."

2. Circular sticker reading Croatan Tribe.

3. Tiny Dixie flag over the palmetto tree on their license.

Noticed the two nods to Native American hertiage first. Must admit it seemed odd to add the "Southern Heritage" tribute to stickers honoring an oppressed people. Some things I just don't get.

BTW: Interesting place not far from our house. Get your ironic (Made in Haiti) heritage here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day, 2007

Last year's Post here.

June always has been, and may always be for me, Daddy month. Since I lost my Dad, a subtle melancholy appears around Memorial Day until sometime after my bday (I was born on Father's Day.) Should be lifting next week.

It's been good to be able to talk to Mom & siblings about having mixed feelings in this time: missing Dad, wanting to be as excited for Mom as her friends & sisters are ... Now that we're passing Father's Day, we can think differently. I watched Mom explaining her relationship with Pops to a nephew today, who seemed to feel better afterwards. Adolescents have no "medium setting" -- if they don't love something they act/think as if they hate it. I think he's headed in the positive direction, now.

I went to the cemetery after Mass today. Talked to Dad, some, mostly sat in the silence. I prayed a rosary for him, and asked him to pray for his children as we figure out how to move into this next phase of our lives.

Dad & Mom in 2002 on their birthdays

I found myself recalling Father's Day 2002, when Dad has first been told of his colon cancer diagnosis. We were all together at B1's house at the lake, all very hopeful of a recovery, all very aware of what a gift my Dad's life had been to us. In a particularly unhelpful, but honest moment, I heard myself say that I just wished I could return to that time.

Of course we can't. And in the quiet breeze, with no distractions as I prayed, I recognized that I (we?) often live our lives as if we can hit the reverse or delete button whenever we want. I don't have to be fully present with people, or think about consequences, etc., if I think I'll get 2nd chances. Time doesn't go backwards for the grieving, nor for the regretful.

I started this blog a little over two years ago to make myself pay attention to what I was thinking, and provide a place to record lessons I learned. I think I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

Back to the now: We're figuring out how to put on a "small family wedding," when around 150 people (non-related) fit the description of "well, they're really 'family', aren't they?" Add that to the 70 1st-3rd degree relatives ... fortunately, Southern Baptist wedding crowds don't always expect meals.

Happy Father's Day to Dads, Padres (including ones in training), soon-ish to be Dads (we heard the toast, Pritcher), etc.

Happy Father's Day to Papa O'Cayce, too!

Glenn Beck

Went with brother (B1) to see Glenn Beck's "Inconvenient Tour" last PM. 1st balcony, dead center. LOL funny -- he had wonderful observations on the DMV, ordering in restaurants, parenting, dating your spouse, etc. I'm sure the phrase "Bonnet Heaven" will soon gain popularity -- ask me about it sometime -- it's a long story...

Almost no politics. He did suggest that government controlled medicine would combine the DMV with kidney dialysis -- big laughs. Even as a state employee, I found his descriptions of his travails as he got a Connecticut drivers license hilarious. Ditto getting suckered into purchases -- such as movie passes "good for one year" but not good on the particular day when you want to see a movie. Brother & I giggled while telling the story at lunch to Mom.

Scene from show about his daughter's 1st date here.

One of the best lines of the evening was from one of the writers just before the show started, to the effect that "you've never partied until you've partied with a recovering alcoholic, Mormon who's on Atkins. We stayed up to 9:45 (!) the other night.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tea Partay (not really my peeps)

Recommended by Izzy, who just called during a grading break. Thought someone might get a laugh or two...

Located here, if the imbed acts up.

Yo, yo, where my WASPs at?

We sail yachts and we ride on horses
ev'ry meal we eat comes in multiple courses

So now it's time to break, but please will you promote
Smirnoff Raw Tea Parties, and we'll send a Thank You Note
in cursive.

Interior Dialogues

So, I had some thought or course of action come to mind this morning. What exactly it was I've now forgotten. (alas!) The point is the rapid fire interior dialogue which followed:

I wonder if people will think that's stupid to do?

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Wonder who would understand if I used that as a retort in an argument?

It's sort of a Shibboleth.

The word Shibboleth is, itself, a Shibboleth.

Izzy would have said something like that.

Been too long since I've had a long, non-phone conversation with Izzy.

Gotta blog this before it leaves my head.

So, there you go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shop 'til you drop

I was going to call this post "Kindness of Strangers," but the term appeared when I began typing in the Title box. Can't find that I posted something in this blog with that title, but I've used it somewhere recently in a fill-in box. So, in the interest of variety, I picked a new title.

Back to the story, augmented with Ten Valuable Life Lessons:

I went to the Red Cross after work and donated blood. I have a fairly rare blood type, so I try and go every 8-10 weeks. I've done this for decades, with the exception of the 12-month deferral after I returned from Haiti.

No problems with the donation, which took just at 5 minutes from poke to clamp. Took far longer to answer all of the questions about the people with whom I'm not having sex and all of the places where I'm not traveling. Red Cross was picked pretty clean, with only pretzels left in the canteen. I think I ate some, but I'm not so completely sure. I did have a cappuccino from the machine.

Leaving, I couldn't help noticing the ominous clouds, wind and lightning all around, including in the direction I was headed in -- homeward. Looking west/northwest when I got to the chicken processing plant, I noticed clear, bright skies. I recalled the gift certificate I'd received last PM from my sister in a bday card, and decided to head for the light. Just a brief trip to look at some tops, I thought to myself.

Lesson One: heading for the light is not always the best idea, even if it seems to be a way to avoid the stress of driving through storms.

I drove to Kohls, a big box discounter. The layout in the Misses section was a bit confusing, with lots of poking and looking to find items in a particular size or color as most things seemed to be on clearance. I'd neglected to grab a cart/buggy, so was carrying around the pile of items I was considering.

Halfway through trying on the 2nd pile (limit 5 items per trip), I started feeling weird. I noticed my pulse was a bit fast & I felt weak, so I sat down on the microscopic ledge and checked my blood sugar. Fine, if not a bit high (still not sure if I ate any pretzels...) Still felt odd, thought maybe the reading could be off, rechecked. No different. Still felt weak, sat down again and downed a sugar packet. No better.

Decision to make: Do I leave, sit down, try on the last outfit? I figured I had just a bit more reserve strength left in me, so I started to pull on the jumper, the spaghetti traps of which were sewn to the t-shirt underneath. Couldn't untangle the mess (over-sharing yet?), so finally pulled off crumpled clothes as I dropped to the floor of the dressing room.

Lesson Two: You aren't as resilient as you think you are.

Lesson Three: If you have two choices of what to dress yourself in, and you fear you'll fall over before you finish, chose the more familiar outfit. That way, you'll be in your own clothes when you collapse and need help.

Managed to get my own outfit re-placed onto my person, picked up the "keeper clothes" (not gonna let the trip go to waste), and stepped out. Got the attention of an attendant, and asked for somewhere sit as I announced I was about to faint. Seriously -- my eyes were seeing closing circles (looked like what TV screens used to when you turned them off and the circle of light just smaller & smaller.)

There was a shopping buggy (not grocery cart) with unwanted items from the dressing room. She grabbed the clothes and directed me to sit there. I put my feet up on a trashcan, while someone ran for a wheelchair.

Lesson Four: Get a cart when you go shopping. You know you'll eventually need one.

The salesladies were incredibly helpful and solicitous for my welfare. One got me water, another a wheel chair, another rummaged through the clearance racks to find two items in sizes different from what I had with me in the dressing room. Again, let's not let the trip go to waste.

I drank some water and sat in the cart, then the wheelchair for about 20 minutes. Feeling better, I decided it was time to go home, eat and rest. My pulse was back to normal, the pallor was improved (I was whiter than normal, if you can imagine.) My speech was also clearer (neglected to mention earlier, but I thought I sounded thick-tongued.) Headed for the checkout -- just two folks ahead of me, one lady pulling out her card, so she must be done.

Lesson Five: When you aren't stable, don't stand in the line where the machine breaks down.

Lesson Six: When you aren't feeling well, you will pick the line where the machine is fixing to break down.

After five minutes (the other line wasn't really moving either), I'd begun feeling weak. Not tired, not hypoglycemic, but as if someone was pulling me to the floor. I tried squatting, then stood, then leaned. My turn at the counter arrived just as I saw all the lights go out. My legs gave way as I stepped over to the lawn chair display, leaving my purchases on the conveyor/table (not really sure which one.)

Employees appeared out of nowhere. I'd mentioned to the first set of staff that I had diabetes, so a manager appeared with a Diet Pepsi and PB Nabs. After the line cleared, another rang my purchases and brought me my receipt to sign. The assistant manager stayed with me, and several folks whose shifts were ending, stopped by to see that I was OK. I know that there was certainly the store's interest to look out for, but I really felt that I was being treated as a person, not as a possible lawsuit.

Lesson Seven: Re-hydrating with Diet Pepsi -- liquid good, but excitement and caffeine means you'll be up late enough to write this long post.

So long as I stayed seated, I felt myself improving. After another 20 or so minutes or so of chatting with the Asst. Mgr and eating the Nabs, I knew I'd be able to drive home. Before leaving, I completed a comment card, naming and thanking the employees who had shown such care and been so solicitous for my welfare (used those terms, too.) Wanted to assure myself (& store personnel) that I could think clearly.

Lesson Eight: Gratitude is always good. Expressing it is worth the time taken.

Drove home, heated up some dinner, sat down to eat & call Izzy. Let the very disgruntled, lonely cat go outside for her grass snack (will look for its reappearance later...) Peaked a bit at other people's lives, then sat down to type. I'll head off to bed soon, once I've counted out pills ...

FYI: It never rained here, bringing me to Lesson Nine for tonight: Go home after you donate blood. If you don't go home, go somewhere where you can sit down. Do not go shopping. Driving in a thunderstorm is better than going shopping, at least in this instance.

Bonus Lesson Ten: I've now learned what it means to literally "Shop 'til you drop." I think I'm a pretty quick learner, so I don't think I'll feel the need to try this experience again.


Learned from Mom last PM that my six year old nephew, when thinking aloud about all the choices of what to call his soon-to-be new step-grandfather, announced "Let's call him 'Pops'."

Mom is now showing pix of her beau (fiance' is such an odd construct to get used to) to the kiddoes and pointing out "Pops."

Not sure what appellation I'll end up using. Pops' nickname (the only name I've ever heard him called) is the same as my father-in-law, Mr. O'Cayce. Unlike my Mom, who called both her mother-in-law and her step-mother "Mom,", I've never called my in-laws anything besides their 1st names. I'm sure it'll be the same for this new addition to the senior level of the family.

A daughter of the South, I referred and called my Dad "Daddy" until he died, at which time I think "Daddy" became too hard to say.

Back to "Pops", I could be the maverick, and call him "Reverend C." Or maybe not.

Odd the things we try and plan for -- distractions from the odd realization that we'll again be sharing our Mom. Self-centered? maybe, but admission/recognition is the first step to improvement.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Adjustments, Major Adjustments

Re-purposed & edited from an email I sent to a friend last week, whose mother had mentioned to him what she had heard from my Mom about recent developments in my Mom's life ...

Your Mom may know more than us kids. Mom has been seeing, socially--mostly, Mr. CW, an old friend of Dad's who lives across the street from S2. At the same time, she had been receiving letters from BC, an old friend from college days, who was widowed (2nd time) a year or so ago.

I first met BC as a child, when he and Dad were classmates. He was married to D and they had three boys. I recall lots of time spent playing with their boys before they graduated and moved away to Illinois some time before I was 7 or 8. BC was a pastor somewhere near Chicago for many years.

We heard about D&B all through our childhoods. There was supposedly an agreement that they would take the Myfoo children and that my folks would take their children if either set of parents died. As our family kept growing, Mom would joke that this was going to be hard on D&B. They added one adopted daughter sometime in the 70's or 80's, so the ratio was 6:4.

After I moved away for school, and D&B's kids got older, they started to travel. They would come down to SC once or twice a year, as BC has family in the area. They'd visit at length with Mom & Dad, and that's when most of my siblings got to know them. The ones that know BC well think highly of him.

D died sometime in the late 1990's. 1-2 years later, BC married J, a widow whom he had known through pastoral work and through the work he has been doing with senior citizens (hospice or elder care--which one escapes me.) They continued visiting at least once a year, including two visits while Dad was ill. (Alas, I was out of town both of those weekends.) I do not recall that they were at the funeral -- but they might have been. [Mom says they were.]

J discovered she had cancer not long after Dad died. She died in 2005 or 2006. BC continued his ministry to seniors, opting to move into the assisted living facility where he was working.

Last week, Mom traveled to Illinois with B3 & a friend (on very short notice -- my family usually takes forever to plan these things.) The main reason for the trip was so the friend could purchase a car, but Mom had also been encouraged to go and spend time with BC. She and her friend spent a night at the Assisted Living Facility. When the friend retired, Mom spent several hours talking to BC.

He had taken great pains to respond to recent letter of hers, in which she had said that she didn't think that there could be a future for them, and which she had ended saying something like "if things were different, we might have been able to consider a future together."

BC decided that "If things were different" wasn't the same thing as "no." He wrote out (we've heard about but not seen this) a four page letter entitled "Things for BC and MM to Discuss." I've heard that he addressed each point in her letter (Roman numeral outline, of course -- he has been a pastor for many years, and this seems to be a sermon he was giving). adding cogent details and further explanations, and ending each section with a line that read "Discuss."

Discuss, they did.

The 5th page contained a proposal of marriage, saying in effect "if we can address all these issues, would you be willing to consider marrying me?" Mom's answer, at least what she told me, was "Oh, BC, I'm not ready for this right now." Remember, "not ready" doesn't mean "no."

In the AM, BC came to Mom & her friend's guest room to collect them for breakfast. He asked "How can I introduce you? Would it be OK to say that 'this is the woman, if all things work out, that I will ask to marry me?' " Mom said "Introduce me as your friend." BC: "Uh oh, I may have already said something."

During breakfast, BC introduced Mom & her friend to the rest of the residents. The facility director said to Mom: "I understand congratulations are in order." Mom's friend was a bit surprised to hear of "the engagement" this way ... but I don't think she believed Mom's protestations.

Cut to this past week: Mom gets back into town for a nephew's graduation, says she needs to talk to each of us. She & I spoke on Sunday, when she told me that she'd "always loved BC." Me: "Do you love him enough to marry him?" Mom: "Since the other night." (Must have been some sermon outline...)

This leave the other gentleman caller, CW. He and Mom have been friends for a long time -- he and Dad loved discussing history, antiques, old weapons, etc. He is a retired engineer with lots of patents, who likes westerns, going shooting, etc. They were able to talk for hours on lots of subjects, and he had really opened up to her about some of the tragedy in his life (including losing a very young daughter, and his wife's protracted illness prior to her death.) He's a really nice guy, and possibly would have been a good companion/provider.

The sticking point was the gulf between them on God & faith. CW practices the C&E version of nominal Christianity, and doesn't really see a need for more in his life. Whereas, as you know, Mom's church might sink into the sea if Mom were not there. She loves her Sunday School class, the Bible study she attends, and spending time volunteering (she takes meals to a half-way house for men, and volunteers at a local hospital in the NICU.) She spends hours each week preparing for both Bible Study and Sunday School, listens to Charles Swindoll, and likes to play hymns (so she doesn't listen much to our local pop Christian radio station, but I digress.)

BC is, and has always been, a man of faith. He is a year younger than Dad (born on the same date), and knows that his time is limited, and believes that he & Mom would be able to make a life together. I have to believe that he loves Mom, and she certainly lights up when talking about her (one sibling said she was like a little kid.) It looks as if he would be moving down to SC, with lots of traveling to see his 4 kids and 14 grands. It's the sort of traveling that Mom & Dad had planned to do once Dad retired.

I think Dad would approve. We're all working to make the adjustment in our minds.

Cast of characters:

B3 = 3rd brother among the Myfoo siblings.
BC = soon to be SD (Step-Dad.) Looks like the wedding has been set for August 18. Wow, talk about a short time frame!
CW = neighbor an old friend of family, esp. of my Dad.
D = 1st wife of BC. They lived at the other end of the housing project building from us in the early 60's.
J = 2nd wife of BC.
MM = Mother Myfoo (not her real initials)
Myfoo = My family of origin
S2 = 2nd sister among the Myfoo siblings. (I am S1)


Personal note: After I spoke with Mom last Sunday PM, I was driving to Sunday PM Mass. I discovered I was feeling angry, not at Mom, just a generalized anger. I realized that Mom's pursuit of this relationship, and her getting married was one more proof that "things would never go back to the way they had been before." My next thought was "as if you couldn't tell that the day you buried him?!" It's a reminder to me that we go back, often unrecognized to ourselves, and revisit the stages of grief over and over as things change in our lives. It didn't help to see a featurette on the news that evening about a vaccine that seems to be prolonging the lives of people with my Dad's cancer -- he wasn't eligible for any clinical trials due to his age when he was 1st diagnosed. But none of that anger brings back Dad, so I recognize it and try not to act on it. This is a great thing for Mom, and I really am happy for her.

One more note: Mom called just a bit ago, which initiated this posting. There will be a wedding that everyone in the world will want to attend, of two seniors on fixed incomes. We'll be serving cake & punch. Eat before you arrive..

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Varia for Izzy

Izzy is away in the Garden State this week, grading AP exams. He left early this morning, taking the scenic route via the Blue Ridge Parkway. He's at Peaks of Otter this evening -- and will get into Trenton sometime tomorrow afternoon.

I spent the day researching digital SLRs. I think I've settled on the Nikon D40 with two lenses and flash package. I've been offered a chance to use a brother's camera for the Italy trip, so I think I'll put the camera purchase off until August. Less risk of needing begging bowls whilst in Rome, in case our calculation$ are incorrect.

Mowed the lawn (front only -- the mower ran out of battery power) close to sunset. With as dry as it has been, the grass hadn't grown terribly much since last time. However, I kept track of my progress by the decreasing area covered with fallen pine cones & magnolia leaves. We needs us some rains here.

Missed the Belmont. Rags to Riches beat Curlin by a head. Curlin had previously bested the Derby winner, Street Sense, at the Preakness by less than half a length. Street Sense didn't run today -- I guess no one wants to risk the health of a Derby winner when there is no best 2 of 3 prize for Triple Crown venues. No repeat battle of the great Cajun accents of the jockeys who rode Curlin & Street Sense. I see from CNN that Rags to Riches is the first filly in a century to win the Belmont. Gotta be said: You go, girl. (Fun facts: R2R's half-brother won last year's Belmont. Her grandfather was Seattle Slew.)

Turned on the TV after cleaning up from yardwork. Scanning down, I chanced on the end of C-SPAN coverage of the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. After a few final prayers, Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea led the crowd in a couple of hymns -- I saw them sing "To God Be the Glory." Sadly, the camera picked up several front row guests (I noticed NC Gov. Mike Easley) totally lost as the hymn proceeded. Bush-41 looked intently at his program; Carter & Clinton sang with gusto from memory. Guess one could pick out the Southern Baptists in the crowd.

Izzy's favorite Saturday PM program, "As Time Goes By" appears to have gone into hiatus for a while, replaced by Monty Python. Tonight's show featured the Lumberjack Song. Altogether now (speaking of singing with gusto from memory...):

Barber (Bevis): I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay.
I sleep all night. I work all day.

Mounties: He's a lumberjack, and he's okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

Barber (Bevis): I cut down trees. I eat my lunch.
I go to the lavatory.
On Wednesdays I go shoppin'
And have buttered scones for tea.

Mounties: He cuts down trees. He eats his lunch.
He goes to the lavatory.
On Wednesdays he goes shopping
And has buttered scones for tea.
He's a lumberjack, and he's okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

Barber (Bevis): I cut down trees. I skip and jump.
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing
And hang around in bars.

Mounties: He cuts down trees. He skips and jumps.
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women's clothing
And hangs around in bars?!
He's a lumberjack, and he's okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

Barber (Bevis): I cut down trees. I wear high heels,
Suspendies, and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie,
Just like my dear Mama

Mounties: He cuts down trees. He wears high heels,
Suspendies, and a bra?! ...

They all mumble. Music runs down. The girl looks horrified and bursts into tears.

Barber (Bevis): ...just like my dear Mama.

Girl: Oh Bevis! And I thought you were so rugged.

Ending the evening semi-watching the "Spock's Brain" episode of Star Trek whilst typing. Not their best effort ... Noticed that Scotty appeared in a red shirt in this episode, and was neither injured, nor killed. Guess the red shirt curse only applied to unknown extras.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Catholic Media Coverage

I didn't see last PM's debate (what is wrong with me?), but was interested to hear NPR's coverage this AM of one particular moment.

Rudy Guiliani, apparently against abortion, but unwilling to try and explain why, nor to work toward laws that would diminish the incidence of something he sees as wrong (but I digress), doesn't get to make his point like he'd planned.

URL is here, if the imbed doesn't work.

Gashwin has coverage of the attack on the Popemobile. One could say we're watching God's divine protection as well as His displeasure, but that may be reading too much into things.

Thanks be to God: B16 is safe. Thanks further be, people may actually be talking about the issue that Rudy wishes would go away.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Catholic Fundamentalist

HT Gashwin. Gotta echo his reaction: "Duh."

You scored as Roman Catholic.
You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is Mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox




Reformed Evangelical




Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with

Wonder where the tiny bits of liberal slipped in? 8-)

My favorite question on the quiz:
Bishop Spong is an important theologian who should be taken seriously.
Spong is the only one mentioned by name -- one has to wonder why...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

TB Soap Opera

You couldn't have missed the headlines this past week, nor the news crawl, about Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with MDR TB before he left for his European wedding and honeymoon. Yes, he knew he had something really bad before he left the US. Most folks might opt to wait a bit and not fly...

Speaker, who was ordered to stay put and not fly once his XDR-TB diagnosis was confirmed (while he was in Europe), opted to fly quite a circuitous route home to avoid US no-fly lists. Turns out, as is well known now, "looking healthy" is enough to get US border guards to ignore isolation warnings when you try to re-enter the country. Then there's the likelihood of special treatment due to f-i-l working at CDC. Don't get me started.

So, this particular case (disease case, plus any/all lawsuits which will doubtless arise from it) will drag on for a while, and any news links I put up will be outdated quickly. Fortunately, TB is not easy to contract. Unfortunately, ~20% of XDR-TB cases are linked to persons who were "smear negative" (as is Speaker) and thus who might be considered "non contagious" by some.

What struck me over the weekend was the photo from his appearance on Good Morning America. It's Speaker, with his new bride (or maybe not, according to the Mayor of the town in Greece where the wedding was held.) She's holding on to and physically declaring her support of him.

All that's missing it a chart in her arms, or a nurse's cap on her head, and you've got a stereotyped shot from any soap opera.

Which is exactly what this will end up being -- a soap opera about wealth, privilege and a sense of entitlement. I'm glad so many holes in the public health safety net were exposed prior to this being an infected traveller with early avian flu infection.

And yes, for those who ask, preparation for a possible pandemic continues ... perpetually.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Real Reasons

Izzy and I went to Pritcher and Pritchess' (Pritcher's Princess--Izzy's coinage) wedding this AM. The bride was serene & beautiful -- her Dad could not have been more radiant. Pritcher was very happy, and seemed to be suffering no ill effects from all the pre-wedding bad dreams.

Izzy offered his usual "blessing" to the couple: If you guys are half as happy as we have been, well then, we'll have been twice as happy as you. Don't know if it's original to him -- it sounds like something my Dad would have said.

Izzy comes prepared to weddings -- he makes sure there is a hankie or sufficient tissue for me. (Somehow weddings leave me needing to dab my eyes.) He takes my hand in his as the vows are being recited -- I know he is recalling and re-making his vows to me and to God for love, honor, fidelity, commitment, etc.

After the wedding, and still thinking about the bride's Dad's toast/blessing, I followed a link from City Yogin's blog to a site with neat stories, art work etc. I was struck by a particular print that seems good for friendships, but I also like it for old married folks like ourselves, who don't often spend our days looking radiant, beautiful, serene, etc.

Real Reason

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good. (Brian Andreas)

Life is found in the ordinary, not in the brief spectacular moments. Here's to many, many ordinary moments for the Littlebarns.