There is a family two streets over from us whose house we each pass at least twice a day, weekdays and Sundays. These are folks who enjoy decorating -- Christmas and Halloween are times when they go way over the top.
And that's OK. I met the dad and mom this afternoon, plus two teenagers, when I stopped to take pics of this amazing yard. They came out of the house - -they've begun doing this due to some bad publicity about their decorations. (neighbors' comments)
What is so objectionable?
"The noose" (which is what this particular instrument of execution is called in all media now.) I'll admit that when they first put it up, it creeped me out -- not because of any racial overtones (a la Jena, LA), but because, as a recent convert to the anti-death penalty side, it just seemed barbaric.
However, as a Halloween decoration, creepy or not, it fits with the boiling pot, medieval rack, tombstones, automated skeleton arising from his coffin, etc. It's creepy, scary and would be a cool place to trick-or-treat or for teens to host a Halloween party.
The family spends 3 months getting ready for Halloween, and then spends generously on candy for those kids brave enough to walk up to their door. The kids were really excited showing me some of what they had built -- the fence took ages last year.
The neighbors, in this very racially mixed area, seem fine with the decorations. There have been no vandalism nor protests. Yes, it's creepy, but that's OK for Halloween. Izzy and I used to do "scary Halloween" back when we had a yard we could suddenly darken. Lots of blood, a mock chain saw, scary music, witches billowing in trees, etc. Lots and lots of shrieks when Izzy answered the door in a hood, holding a candle under his face -- and we amply rewarded the kids brave enough to get to the door.
I hope they had a great turn-out. We stayed here and handed out candy until 10:15 or so, when the last family came by. Steady business, but enough leftover candy to keep Izzy's students in treats for a couple of weeks, at least.
Our front yard - view from the street
Toddler's eye view of our porch - we had a few tears, as well
More from our house and the neighbors' house in the Flickr set.
Sticky Top Post
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
There is a family two streets over from us whose house we each pass at least twice a day, weekdays and Sundays. These are folks who enjoy decorating -- Christmas and Halloween are times when they go way over the top.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 11:48 PM
Heading home today, I heard William Bennett talking to Sean Hannity:
(as best I can recall)
You've got to remember that if the Supreme Court repeals Roe v. Wade, it goes back to the states. And the states are all over the map.OK, yep, that's where they are.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 8:36 PM
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
... and I've just finished prep for the last of the "Three Big Things" I've had added to my plate for tomorrow. I seem to have morphed from rabies czarina to the go-to girl for all things red, sore and oozy (sorry for any unfortunate pics this brings to mind.) Wash your hands, people.
The San Diego branch of the family seems fine. The fires came within 3 miles of their house, but seem to be headed the other way now.
Odd things I've overheard in the past few days:
From the radio, giving a great example of euphemistic writing:
On December 2, 1859, Mr. John Brown died during an important civic event being held in his honor, when the platform upon which he was standing gave way suddenly.
In the drug store, not really getting the irony:
Child, to man stocking shelves with tiny candy bars: Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?
Same child, not perceiving that she had the man's full attention: Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday? Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday? Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?
Man: Am I what?
Mother, to children who appeared to have consumed quantities of candy before this shopping excursion: Are WE gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?
Inquisitive child and her sibling, emphatically: Nuh-uh!
Mother: What ARE we gonna do on October 31st?
Children: We're gonna dress up and go to church!
Mother: That's right -- we're gonna celebrate Hallelujah night. We're not gonna do no devil stuff on Halloween; we're having a Hallelujah night party.
Kids: And we get candy!
Me, not aloud... So, your kids are dressing up and going somewhere to get candy. How is this NOT trick-or-treating? Looks like it's (1) more candy with (2) less exercise.
I wonder who should protest the Trunk-or-Treat or similar parties, in the same way that conservatives get so upset about Winter Festivals held in place of Christmas Pageants....hmmm.
A few years back, our previous Presby church used to hold Reformation day parties, marking the date when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (pronounce that word correctly, SLED man!) to the church door in Wittenberg. Izzy and I entered the costume contest, dressed in academic robes (a la Medieval clergy), and carrying between us a galvanized metal tub. Empty. When asked what we were supposed to be, we stated that we were the Reformation. Pointing to the tub, we'd say "See, no baby, no bathwater." We won the contest.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 11:23 PM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Just talking a brief break in the middle of a very busy day.
About two hours ago, as I was talking to a reporter AND the other line of my phone was ringing AND my cell phone was vibrating, I realized I was wondering:
Why am I getting so many calls today?!?
Then I remembered that I was, actually, the consultant ON-CALL, and that perhaps this was why all the calls were coming my way. Simple really, when you think about it.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 3:23 PM
Gashwin posted an email I sent him about a liturgical tempest. The "Sherry said" and "Jeffrey said" parts come from comments made to this post.
G may have closed comments there -- depends on what is said (some folks are being less than charitable on some of these issues.) Feel free to opine here if comments are closed there.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 3:19 PM
Monday, October 15, 2007
That's one small inertia-overcoming step for Lizzie...
1. Leonardo's Notebook, penned by my brother from another mother, who finally left Myspace.
2. Tricia Dishes, the adventures of Baldman's Mom by the muddy, muggy Mississippi.
3. Neonuma, literature and arts from a longtime e-buddy of Izzy's.
4. Razing the Bar, the musically hip and literate musings of Andy Whitman, Suburbanite.
Andy, like Ultracrepidarian, is someone that Izzy seems to have known since time immemorial. Unlike Ultra C, Izzy has been lucky enough to get to spend time with Andy & his beloved. We've gotta get us a trip planned to Canada to remedy the deficit.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 11:29 PM
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Post title is Izzy's suggestion.
Fun with silhouettes and backgrounds. Viewed from Calhoun Park.
I worked a flu shot clinic in Charleston on Friday. Izzy had a half-day of teaching, and wanted to do some serious backroads riding after school. As I was leaving Thursday night, he suggested that I consider not heading back here after the clinic -- he'd ride towards the Low Country and we'd meet for dinner in Charleston.
I threw a nice frock and shawl into the overnight bag. Sadly, not the nice shoes, but that turned out to be fortuitous.
After the clinic, I went back to the hotel where I'd spend the night before, and changed into said frock. Discovered lack of fine dining shoes. Oh dear, I'm stuck with the sneakers I'd worn to observe/document the clinic. Decided (1) not to stress and (2) not to go shoe shopping, despite being next door to an outlet mall. (What was wrong with me?)
Izzy arrived, I donned my helmet, and rode with him downtown. It's usually easier to find bike parking than to find car parking. Yes, rode in the nice frock.
Dinner at Bocci's. Lovely, perfectly proportioned, and even better now that restaurants are non-smoking.
Grilled beef tenderloin with rosemary, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomato demi with herbed risotto and sautéed spinach.
Artichoke hearts stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, lightly fried, atop a bed of mixed greens with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
After dinner, we headed up to a gelateria we'd heard about. Paolo is from Italy (his other store is in Atlanta) and typically makes only eight flavors of gelato each day (marvel at the full list). We were glad to see his business busy (it was Citadel Parents' Weekend), and Planet Smoothie less so. It's nice when people appreciate small businesses and good quality.
Cute gelato patron.
Raspberry, under incandescent lights. Hard to adjust the color, but Izzy reports it tasted very good.
I hadn't expected to have anything to eat there. I looked in the case and saw lots of forbidden foods. I mentioned to Paolo that I had been so pleased to find sugar-free, soy-based gelato in Italy. He pointed me to a sign--turns out this particular concoction IS available -- you just have to be willing to overcome its intended audience.
Yes, I ate some. Not bad.
We strolled back towards Broad, window-shopping and enjoying the lovely weather. All told, I walked about three miles yesterday, two of them after dinner. Good thing I hadn't gone out and spent $$ on new shoes.
Bookstore's guard kitty, wishing we would go away.
Click to see the price. Those must be "diamonds on the [tops] of her shoes."
Lovely frock -- where to wear it?
St. Michael's, at the "Four Corners of Law" on Broad Street.
Home late last night, pictures up this evening.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 11:25 PM
Bush veto of SCHIP bill.
So, by Bush "not blinking", lots of Republican candidates are going to have to further distance themselves from their own party and its leader, who chose the wrong hill to die on. (Add your own cowboy movie metaphor here.)
I'm expecting wall-to-wall attack ads with sick kids next year, during primary season and the general election.
Decent article in Slate.
2. This is just silly.
Separating God and state.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Pelosi defends refusal to put "God" on flag certificates
Posted by Sabrina Eaton October 09, 2007 16:28PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today defended the Architect of the Capitol's refusal to permit use of the word "God" on official certificates enclosed with flags flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Dayton-area GOP Rep. Michael Turner and more than 100 of his Republican colleagues sent a letter to Pelosi last week after an Eagle Scout in his district asked that a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol be sent to his grandfather with a certificate inscribed with the message: "In honor of my grandfather Marcel Larochelle, and his dedication and love of God, country, and family."
The boy and his father contacted Turner's office after noticing the word "God" was left off the certificate included with the flag. Outraged upon learning that the acting Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, won't allow religious expressions on flag certificates, Turner sent a protest letter to Pelosi.
"The Architect's policy prohibiting "God" from appearing on certificates for flags flown over the U.S. Capitol puts at risk our religious freedoms and heritage," said the letter, which also was signed by Ohio Republican Reps. Steve LaTourette of Bainbridge Township, Patrick Tiberi of Genoa, Jim Jordan of Urbana, Steve Chabot of Cincinnati and Jean Schmidt of Miami Township. "The Architect's policy is in direct conflict with his charge, as well as the scope of his office and brings into question his ability to preserve a building containing many national religious symbols."
Asked about the issue today at a press luncheon, Pelosi said the architect's policy was adopted because "people were asking for statements that not only were religious, beyond using the word God, but political as well." She said the official policy is to send a certificate that lists nothing beyond the date the flag flew over the Capitol and the name of its recipient. She said that members of Congress who request flags on behalf of constituents can "add whatever they wish" to the certificates, "whether it is a political statement or a religious statement."
"It's not about being anti-religion," Pelosi said, noting that each day in the Capitol starts with a prayer. "It is just about what the architect thought was appropriate for him to proclaim in a certificate."
Turner said Tuesday that he will continue seeking more signatures for his letter asking Pelosi to overturn the policy, and "if the speaker and the architect continue to implement their censorship program, we will drop legislation to compel the architect to return to granting inscriptions permitting the acknowledgement of God."
He said members of Congress vet the appropriateness of messages constituents request with the flags, and their discretion should be sufficient."We have the responsibility for these common sense issues that might arise with flag inscriptions and this one is basic," Turner said. "The architect has decided the word 'God' is offensive. This rule should not be allowed to stand."
Enter the Eagle Scout's congressman, and after a number of talk show appearances, all is well, grandpa has a flag and a certificate and proof that the US Congress knows of his devotion to God.
If this doesn't seem like the sort of thing I normally get exorcised about, well maybe it isn't. I see in it, though, blatant attempts to manipulate public opinion. Even if the original story is as told, just a boy who loves his grandfather, the media coverage has made everyone iconic.
Can you imagine a better cast? An eagle scout? (Paragon of virtue and love for God and country.) A grandfather. A flag. A government functionary who doesn't appreciate God, flags or grandfathers. A God-and-Republican-and-children-hating Congresswoman from San Francisco? A Congressman serving as Defensor Fides, who saves the day.
Yay! And where does this get us, this time spend wrangling with architects? and wringing hands? The same place it will get us next year, when we will be treated to extensive hearings on flag burning (yes, it comes back every election year), homosexuals' living arrangements, school choice and military service records. No where, just more divided.
We've got more important business to conduct, people! This is just silly.
3. This is important, but not now. Not this way. Too much is at stake.
Who killed the Armenians?
Back around the time of the 1st World War, lots of Armenians (for which read "Christians") died in Turkey. On that point, no one disagrees. On how they died, nearly everyone who has seriously studied the subject seems to agree that these people died, were massacred or even martyred, at the hands of the Turks (for which read "Muslims") in the area of the world then ruled by the Ottoman Empire.
During World War I, as the Ottoman Turkish empire fought Russian forces, some of the Armenian minority in eastern Anatolia sided with the Russians.
Turkey took reprisals. But historians argue over the extent to which Turkish policy towards Armenians during that period was motivated by wartime conditions. On 24 April 1915 Turkey rounded up and killed hundreds of Armenian community leaders.
In May 1915, the Armenian minority, two or three million strong, was forcefully deported and marched from the Anatolian borders towards Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Many died en route and numerous eyewitnesses reported massacres by Turkish forces. Atrocities against Armenians continued until the Ottoman empire collapsed after the war.
What do Armenians say?
Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were killed during World War I, either through systematic massacres or through starvation.
They allege that a deliberate genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Turkish empire.
What does Turkey say?
It says there was no genocide.
It acknowledges that many Armenians died, but says many Turks died too, and that massacres were committed on both sides as a result of inter-ethnic violence and the wider world war. Turkey estimates the number of Armenian dead to be 300,000.
While the descendants of the slaughtered and of the implicated live together in Turkey, the modern state of Turkey can bear no more responsibility for a these crimes than can modern Swedes for the horrors inflicted by the Vikings.
At least, that's how we in the West view things. So, why not set the record straight, in whatever dimly lit corner of academic where there might still be a question? Why not, indeed!
Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time of the atrocities, wrote -- and I am quoting -- “I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.”
Our troops depend on a major Turkish airbase for access to the fighting fronts, and it serves as a critical part of the supply lines to those fronts. A growing majority in Congress, and I am among them, strongly oppose continued U.S. troop involvement in the civil war in Iraq, but none of us wants to see those supply lines threatened or abruptly cut.
All eight living former secretaries of state recently cautioned Congress on this matter. And I quote, “It is our view,” write former Secretaries Albright, Baker, Christopher, Eagleburger, Haig, Kissinger, Powell and Shultz, “that passage of this resolution … could endanger our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey.”
Three former secretaries of defense – Carlucci, Cohen and Perry – this week advised Congress that passage of this resolution, and I quote again, “would have a direct, detrimental effect on the operational capabilities, safety and well being of our armed forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan.”
Members of this committee have a sobering choice to make. We have to weigh the desire to express our solidarity with the Armenian people and to condemn this historic nightmare through the use of the word “genocide” against the risk that it could cause young men and women in the uniform of the United States armed services to pay an even heavier price than they are currently paying. This is a vote of conscience, and the Committee will work its will.
Let's have hearings and make it official US policy to call it a genocide. What's the harm in getting to the truth? Could it be that people who are still angry about the Crusades might get a bit upset about what they see as a defamation of themselves? Not of their ancestors, but themselves? Could it be that we are deliberately provoking a tenuous ally, upon whose cooperation our soldiers depend for arms, food, and other logistics?
The truth is important. But insisting upon it now means using as truth as a weapon. That is never right. This can wait.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 10:33 PM
Same scores as 20 years ago? No check.
I've now taken my first computerized test. I know, welcome to the 21st century, Lizzie. Thanks to those who prayed for concentration, calm nerves and lack of tummy trouble. God answered all three. The scores are good enough -- I'm glad I'm not having to contemplate a retest -- I think I'd get no sleep for another couple of months!
Now to get serious and finish the "what I want to be when I grow up and why your school should really accept me" essays.
My choices are between two state schools that played a football game in Chapel Hill today. From what I hear of the game (I didn't catch the 4th quarter), the decision may be a close one. Or an easy one, depending on acceptance letters.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 9:06 PM
Monday, October 08, 2007
Yesterday (since it's after midnight as I type this) was the 4th liturgical anniversary of the Sunday when Izzy and I were received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. It was the 27th Sunday in Ordinary time, a date chosen because both the Padre and Gashwin would be in town. Nothing more auspicious than that.
We've grown into our "Catholic skin" (Gashwin's term) and are so glad we made the jump/swim/journey. God's timing was perfect and we've certainly found a place where we can be of service.
Here are a few "Catholic Shots" of us:
The O'Cayce's on retreat in the NC/SC mountains, 2004
Attendng Fire at the Beach, 2005, with the Dells and Leonardo
Retreat at Meplin Abbey, 2006
(B&W shot of Izzy by Gashwin)
Finally, one I've posted before, but it's metaphorically appropriate today:
The O'Cayce's crossing the Tiber, 2007
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 1:26 AM
Did little - most of it involved music and/or people from high school.
Friday PM: In addition to the game, one of the calls I took involved someone from my high school class. I was wearing a T-shirt from high school -- just thought it would be fun on a homecoming day.
Class of 2011
Their guy - I was practicing taking action shots after dusk.
Click to see larger. Looks like they are trying to slap down the point after.
Cool stuff near the field, dusk shot
Students - you can't see his kilt, but aren't they cute together?
Saturday AM: Up earlier than usual (for me, not for the rest of civilized society), to practice for Mass music. One of the songs for this Sunday was "You Are Mine", a fave.
Izzy and I passed some delightful time sitting in the backyard Saturday afternoon--the temp & humidity were at perfect levels. There were birds and squirrels, and the cat sneaking around eating bits of grass from various hiding places. While out there, we spoke for a bit with an across the fence neighbor who, it turns out, not surprisingly in this town, went to my high school (three years behind me) and knew two of my siblings and a few of their friends.
Saturday PM: I went to a choral music concert in which another friend from high school was singing. All composers who lived or worked in SC -- from Gershwin to Dizzy Gillespie to one of the guys who wrote Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (cannot find the SC connection this evening).
One treat was to get to re-meet (many years later) the man who directed the two All-state Choirs for which I was lucky enough to be selected.
Boogie Woogie caps
Friend from High School
Accidental Shot, but probably my favorite from the evening.
Sunday AM: Mass. Padre talked about it being Respect Life Sunday, presenting what the church teaches, as well as the forgiveness and healing available to those whose lives were touched by abortion (Fr's words, I think well & carefully chosen.) I was pleased that it worked out that we sang this song right after the homily, re-stating the love of God for those in pain.
You Are Mine
I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near
I am hope for all who are hopeless
I am eyes for all who long to see
In the shadows of the night, I will be your light
Come and rest in Me
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine
I am strength for all the despairing
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free
And all will know My name
I am the Word that leads all to freedom
I am the peace the world cannot give
I will call your name, embracing all your pain
Stand up, now, walk, and live
(C. 1991, David Haas)
Side note: I know some folks really enjoy disliking Haas (& Haugen), but this song should be exempt. It's lovely, comforting, and scriptural. What more do people want?
Sunday afternoon & evening: Nice nap after a week of on-call and lack of sleep. Watched "The Misfits." Did GRE Math prep. I am soooo dead this Thursday -- I've completely compartmentalized geometric proofs to some inaccessible part of my brain. I'm a bit worried that re-accessing that part of my brain will bring back all the safely sequestered high school memories.
Busy week coming up again. Get your flu shots, people. Don't pet or pick-up stray animals.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 12:28 AM
Friday, October 05, 2007
I don't want to go on the cart... I feel happy....
This has been one of those non-stop, gogogogo weeks. It ended tonight with a pleasant evening watching high school football -- our boys were over 30+ points ahead of their boys when we left near the end (Izzy knows when he's getting too tired to operate the Leanabago, and we don't stay out later than that.) Expect pics to be up soon. (Final score 56-18.)
Highlights of the blog-silence week:
Monday: Long work retreat that went not as badly as I'd expected. Incident command systems and Epi don't always overlay well. Lovely dinner of Middle Eastern food with FFC's, lovely ride to and from on the Leanabago.
Tuesday: Long staff meeting cancelled so we could work on grants. I had a meet & greet orientation session with the Dean of one of the graduate programs I am considering. Everything she said sounded great, but they haven't gotten final approval for the special track for which I would be applying, and so I got nothing in writing. Hard to make a decision, folks....
Late Tuesday -- call from Dogwood about the meeting at church Wednesday at 7 PM. The meeting I'd totally forgotten. Quickly re-sent out minutes from last meeting (you know folks had lost these by now), and scrambled to develop an agenda. Thanks to Dogwood for the heads up -- it would have been awfully embarrassing to have totally missed. Pager went off. Pager went off again. Pager went off yet again, even later. Rabies, if you hadn't guessed.
Wednesday: Precepted nursing student. Major policy to-do regarding school exclusion for exposure to vaccine-preventable disease if unvaccinated. 150 minutes for a 90 minute meeting. Over to Parish after work for aforementioned church meeting. Drove to Mom's after -- I hadn't seen her this week and she and Pops were leaving Thursday after her volunteer shift for a two-week trip. Home really late -- answered grant-related emails.
Thursday: Dealt more with fall-out of possible policy consequences from yesterday's discussions. (None of these materialized, but folks were sure worried about being "left out to dry on this one." They said it several times to make sure we comprehended their apprehension. ) Home after trip to pharmacy, nice visit from M to watch "The Office." Always better with company. Caught the end of a local game -- shocked and surprised at the result -- I really didn't think they'd be able to pull off this win. Typed the Bulletin.
All week -- completely unable to wind down and head to bed at a reasonable hour. This always happens when I have the pager for a week -- I think I'm worried I'll sleep through a call, or answer one badly when awakened at 3:30 AM.
Friday: On call all day. Talked to CDC 4 times, to Regions about 10, plus discussed sad, sad case with member of general public. Some things you just can't fix - and it's important to just let other people vent about it. Typed more on the grant (pays part of my salary - important, but time-consuming.)
So, I'm now finishing up my Friday, which always includes uploading the Bulletin and doing necessary maintenance on the website.
So, while I've enjoyed catching up on other's lives this week, I've not had time to write much about mine. From what I see from my blog roll, I'm definitely not the only one.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 10:41 PM
Monday, October 01, 2007
The Baldman & Waldie family could not have picked a better day to move their household a little east & south. Izzy went over early; I got in on the 2nd load after Mass.
Doing stuff with the truck
Enjoying the perfect weather
I got a few pics, not so many or very good of moving activities, but I was able to get a couple of cool shots in the backyard.
Baldman's family calls this one a surprise lily. One day there is nothing there; the next there is a flower in full bloom.
Nifty back doorknob.
Enjoy the new digs, guys.
Posted by St. Elizabeth of Cayce at 12:34 AM