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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.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Beach Update

The local slow internet connection is letting me upload a couple of shots, so I'll provide some captions as they come up.

We hung around the casita during the chilly rain this AM, then went out to stimulate the local outlet economy. Yesterday we provided work for the waitressing sector of the local economy, today we helped support postal clerks and outlet mall cashiers and clothing restockers. Oh, and we patronized one entirely locally owned business, which Izzy had discovered and I was tickled pink to visit.


First things first: Saturday, upon our arrival, I made a pie while Izzy did some shopping.
Chess. Yummy.

Out on our SC/NC bike ride yesterday.

Back from the ride, bike is on the back deck.

Non skin cancer boy at North Myrtle.

Sunset beginning over the Atlantic. Un-edited pic. Be sure and view this one in large size.

Pretty amazing sand castle/civilization. Also worth checking out in a larger size (this shot doesn't do it full justice, but the interweb connection isn't strong enough to upload the truly amzing shots right now.)

Sunset over the Atlantic, almost done. (Random couple)

What I'm having a slice of next, plus low carb cappuchino. Life is pretty good, overall.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random Notes from the Beach

Izzy and I took a nice couple-hour motorcycle ride this afternoon through some of the SC/NC countryside. We've got the intercom helmet set-up, which allows conversations such as this one:

  • Me (as we pass a sign for Portrait Homes): I wonder if Portrait homes have picture windows?
  • Izzy: Nope, I think they're frame houses.
  • Me (pausing): I'm trying to think of a response, but nothing is developing.
  • Izzy: This just came to me in a flash.
(It went on...)

We're back at the little beach house that a crowd of our friends gathered at least New Years. It's quieter here this year without the crowd, but the cat seems to like the chance to come on vacation with us (as in yea, right -- although, once she came out from under the beds, she did bravely sit in a window.) There is intermittent, low-low speed interweb in the neighborhood, so I'll upload pics if/when we make a foray to the local wifi hotspot.

Mass this AM in a church filled with retired New Yorkers. With my 2-inch heels, I felt absolutely gigantic, towering over the seniors around us. The Lector, who had apparently never seen either of the terms "revered" or "reviled", announced the 2nd reading "from the letter of Saint Puuu-ahhhl..." in a great NY accent.

I was glad to see that, even on the movable feast of the Holy Family, that the Holy Innocents weren't overlooked. Just before Mass, the choir sang the Coventry Carol. It was a lovely moving arrangement, and I'm so glad I got to hear it.

Mass concluded with a strong plea/encouragement/exhortation to pray for vocations for the Diocese of Charleston. Seems we've lost one of the 10 seminarians we had in formation. Fr. aimed his words at families ("you mothers and grandmother -- be like Mary and give your sons to God") and to the young men of the Parish. Very nice to see this matter addressed very directly at Mass.

Final random note for this PM:
I was looking at my flickr pics and discovered that I could see what searches had led folks to a particular shot. Following a typical interweb bunny trail from the search term "tetouan jew" (which went to our Moroccan sets from 2007), I chanced upon this page:
Jews for Allah: Accepting the Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) - without the Christian Theology.
Gotta be some kinda interweb weirdness award for that one.

Time to curl up before dinner and see whatever happened to Harry Potter and his friends. I've read about 10 pages in the last book, so NO SPOILERS!
Besides, Izzy tells me the next (post-Potter) volume will be called Hermione Weasley and the Unplanned Pregnancy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Since it made us both laugh...

... I'll share this LOL cat pic that set Izzy to giggling.
It's strangely appropos of a late evening discussion we had with a friend last night about women's footwear.

Merry last week before Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

English Teacher's Nightmare

From Bizarro, a comic whose sense of humor closely matches the one here at the House of Chez Casa.

BTW: We once met Dan Pirarro, and asked him about what we thought we familiar landmarks in some of his drawings. Turns out we'd been neighbors in Old Oak Cliff. (Link for Izzy: the park that was just behind our little Oak Cliff Love Nest.)

View Larger Map

(The Google Map embed doesn't seem to be working. Click the words "View Larger Map" for an interactive map if you'd like to see how much the street has changed, and not changed. It will take a second to load the somewhat familiar view of the 1990-1992 HCC.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby Eliza

NC friends from our previous church and a teacher colleague of Izzy's just had the experience no one should ever have: Their little daughter died this morning.

Eliza had been terminally ill since her birth nearly three years ago. Izzy and I were blessed to attend her first birthday party, which was cause for a community-sized celebration of God's goodness and faithfulness to her family. I no longer ask why some children are born with terrible health problems or limited lifespans. Instead, I understand that God has His reasons for making all of us the way we are. In His providence, some of these babies are placed "on loan" to families like the "DixieJax," whose grace and trust and impassioned fierce love show us a glimpse of the love the Father has for all of us.

Click the link above or in the sidebar to read Eliza's entire story (have a hankie handy.)

Then say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Baby Eliza. I have no doubt that angels are already quickly winging her to her rest.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Five minutes ago, I submitted my final assignment for this semester. (yay!) I read it over a couple times, even ran spell check (ever tried that on SAS output? Very interesting...) and decided I wouldn't improve it any by spending another day checking the results. Time to be done.

The course is listed as Pass-Fail. I need to score an 11 (actually 10.2) on this exam (20% of the course grade) in order to get an 80% for the course and thus pass. That, my friends is an example of the serious statistical analysis I've done this semester. I learned more about stats and SAS and research, but even now I can feel it all leaving my sleep-deprived brain.

Off to bed now. Time to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother, and begin seriously keeping Advent.

BTW for those from our fair city or its environs: Our priest lost his father late Friday/early Saturday. He learned of the death just before time to celebrate a wedding Saturday afternoon. He flew back home Sunday afternoon. Prayers for him, his family and the repose of the soul of his father will be most appropriate.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

OMGoodness, it's December 2 already!

I have two more assignments left. An essay on the role of the DNP and a stats test. Almost done, with semi-normal bedtimes looming in a week. The blackboard program will be down from the 20th of December to the 5th of January. There won't be any way to get bogged down in preparations for next semester over the Christmas break. What a great gift!

I experienced grade inflation this week, I think. I completely could not answer half of one of the 5 questions on the stats homework from two weeks ago. I even commented on the paper that I just didn't understand it. Got a 96 on the assignment. I don't think it's theft, so I don't think I have to confess it.

Speaking of such, I wanted to blog just before I headed off to bed so I'd recall the date. I went to confession this past evening at our little tiny parish. There was a small crowd at the beginning of the communal penance service. I noticed a few folks arriving to join the lines after the service part was over. Kinda nice to see kids coming out for confession.

There had been some tension on a class project earlier, and that actually helped me put a lot into perspective before I went to confession. Doing the examination of conscience and talking with my confessor gave me ideas to frame an apology email, which I hadn't originally thought I would need to write.

I hear it over and over that we should avail ourselves of the sacrament of reconciliation more often. I believe it, I just don't often act on it. Maybe that's the new year's resolution I have some hope of keeping. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brideshead Completed

Just about an hour ago, Izzy and I with Miz M finished the BBC series Brideshead revisited. we've been watching 1-2 episodes on Sunday nights this fall. I had seen the series in the '80's and had only remembered the mostly dreary color scheme and Sebastian's backside. (But then, I seldom recall much from movies, etc.)

This time it was very different. Watching it as a Catholic convert changed everything. I wanted Charles to understand the Flyte's religion -- to see how it permeated their lives when doing good and when behaving badly. The tragic resignation to damnation that they felt they were headed for, even as the Church, embodied by the everlasting nanny in the attic called them back. Duty, honor, valor -- it's all there. What a great series -- even if often depressing.

Gorgeous writing -- I guess I'll need to add this book to the pile for after school.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In other news

(Before I disappear back into the last few weeks and final six projects of the semester...)

Izzy and I have managed to keep our lives updated to a few folks via Facebook and LJ status updates. We've spent time with friends this semester in Bible Study, at the Called & Gifted Workshop in Greenville, and with a little group that watches British TV series on Sunday nights. We're finishing Brideshead Revisited next Sunday.

More old married people @ the C&G workshop

She's sweet on him.

Big G with Big Gnome

(On-call during the conference)

Izzy and I took a couple of Saturdays to be irresponsible and head out of town to see friends for just a few hours. We sat in a tavern in Asheville with a friend and his three year old, who enjoyed the chalkboard (normally used for scoring games of darts.) We headed to Florence for diner with friends who were on their way to Myrtle Beach for a family vacation. I got new boots out of that trip.



Asheville: selling lemonade at political rally. Look behind her...

I accompanied Izzy on a field trip to a model UN in Boone, NC. I was the female chaperone, with no responsibilities other than to share the cabin room with a dozen or so girls. I think Tigger slept (OK, mostly bounced) on the bunk above mine. It was fun watching the kids be themselves. Izzy and I actually had some quiet time together in a student lounge between sessions. How unexpectedly nice. We also caught up, briefly, with a young lady who used to hang out at our house in Durham with her twin sister and their best friend.

Looking professorial in Boone

Update in six sentences. We've had a three recent family bday gatherings, photos of which appear at Flickr. There appears to be an impending family divorce. One niece and one nephew are in college. I don't think anyone is pregnant. I carved another fun pumpkin for Halloween. We're rented a beach house for Christmas.



Seth Bday 2008037

Mom (a great-grandma now)


Today is the feast of my patron saint: Elizabeth of Hungary. She is known for her philanthropy, her nursing of the poor and is one of the few medieval married saints. She worked through, and around, her husband to care for those with nothing. I admire her fortitude, even as I struggle to find time for those times of prayer and devotion that will leave me better prepared to serve those whom God brings my way.

And at this point in the semester, He'll pretty much had to bring them to my office or to the house. There won't be many more non-work trips to anywhere until I finish up. Oh, except that this Saturday we're headed to Charlotte to go hear Jason Harrod, another friend from Durham, church and Bible Study.

So, we're not quite as busy as before, but after reviewing the photos I've taken recently, I'm feeling less like a hermit.

Gotta go create PowerPoints now. I'm giving two presentations at a statewide nursing conference Thurs & Fri. I'll be in Chucktown without Izzy. It just seems wrong.

Back on Thanksgiving? Maybe before? Let's hope.

Breaking Radio Silence

It's been a while since I've had anything to day at the time when I had time to type it. I get great blog ideas while driving, but after seeing Gashwin's adventures in blogging via Jott, opted not to try that. Besides, the Jott would probably pick up the talk radio I tend to listen to whilst driving about our fair city.

We've had an election since I last posted. I opted not to blog the election - my friends pretty much knew my concerns about the Democratic Candidate. I never wanted to be a one issue (abortion) voter, but it seems to have happened. Bitter experience and the cynicism of my no-longer-ingenue status tells me that few promises related to tax cuts, tax increases, great new health or retirement or jobs-for-all plans will happen the way a victorious candidate promised. I hear the same old arguments in debates:

    • "My plan will cut your income taxes by 30% and give you a free puppy, while my opponent's plan will merely lower your taxes by 25%"
    • "Oh, yea? Well, we've also lowered the tax on puppy food by 13% and will be mandating that all employers supply workers with two puppies."
I don't want a puppy and I know that the Congressional grandstanding (many, many hearings so each congressman can get camera face-time) will delay my eventual 5% tax cut and my $100 tax credit to be used only for fish food.

1916 Successful Campaign motto: Woodrow Wilson: He kept us out of war.

So, the presidency comes down, for me, to two things he can do that no one else can:
    1. Nominate Supremes
    2. Nominate/Appoint Cabinet Secretaries who then appoint, without
      oversight, under-secretaries, department heads, etc.
If you don't know, the real work of government is done much lower down the chain than the level that incurs campaign debt.

This brings me to my vote: FOCA scares the bejeebers out of me. It purports to offer freedom for reproductive choices to women, but looks as if it will repeal critical amendments that protected the occupational freedom of choice for health care providers.

I am very concerned about the diminishing capacity of public health nurses in our state to refuse to prescribe/dispense Plan B to clients. Just because a client requests a therapy, doesn't mean that any provider anywhere is obligated to offer it to her. I know that reasonable people can argue over whether Plan B is [always] an abortifacient. Reading the company's material identifies 3 possible mechanisms of action. One of these, making the uterine lining inhospitable for implantation of the fertilized egg, answers any questions I might have had. As I continue to argue for freedom of choice for our staff, I have relied on the Hyde-Weldon amendment, etc. Protections that may go away, as may many of our staff. Clients can get Plan B lots of places -- they can't get newborn home visits or free school shots or TB testing or even STD treatment from those places.

So, my exercise of my franchise became making my tiny voice heard about FOCA. Let's hope that the many layers of civil servants, hold-overs from several administrations, write guidelines and funding rules less draconian than what is being discussed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting Booths?

Heard on the radio, as the local drive-time guy was trying to address the differences between what we might espouse out loud and what we might actually do when it comes time to vote:

When you find yourself in that ballot box...

I'm thinking that if I could get into the ballot box, I might try to change those votes that couldn't be changed ahead of time by affecting hearts and minds.

Of course, I'm not sure how this will work with electronic voting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Humor at the HCC

1. Phone call

My youngest brother, B3, called Saturday. He and his 2 youngest kids were at the airport retrieving luggage. [Apparently, what flies to Vegas stays in Vegas.] Our conversation, in part, incuded this exchange:

B3: So, where's Izzy?
Me: He's in Cheraw for the Jazz Fest.
M3: Cheraw has a jazz festival?
Me: Yea. Turns out, that's where Dizzy Gillespie was born.
B3: Get out!
Me: That's what Dizzy did.

2. Izzy, who was watering down the head cold bugs trying to get established, was sitting on the couch opposite me. He'd been napping and may have been particularly susceptible to the absurd.
Me (starting to tell a story about something I saw on the Late, Late Show): The other night, I was up late and ...
Izzy: [laugh started, then the choking up, then a more subdued laugh, then more choking ... pattern continues for 2-3 minutes.] The other night? Thanks for a great laugh.

If you don't get that one, you've not been here between 2&3 AM lately. If you are here, you'll see me mostly doing homework. I've just finished tonight and thought I'd write this stuff down before I forgot it.

Someday, I'll want to recall I had a tiny bit of a life during this time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another candidate for "Don't that beat all"

Link to picture (@ NRO Online) came from the Drudge Report.

Supposed to be Obama, per the NRO story. Hard to tell, but the original does have those ears...
If it is, is this sacrilege or tacky (collectible?!?) kitsch?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cute Baby Contest

The Littlebarns are pretty sure they've got the cutest baby on the planet, and Lil Miss herself certainly does make a convincing case, ...this young lady not withstanding...

One of my nieces, about 6 weeks old in this photo

However, I'm pretty sure I'm related to the cutest toddler around.

Out for ice cream tonight.

A little taste to see how cold it is.

Bday pic -- we're three.

Blowing out her three candles, one at a time.

Your cute fix is available @ the Flickr site.

Monday, October 13, 2008

10,003 Pictures

Last evening, I passed the 10,000 mark in photos up on Flickr. Most, you'll not be surprised to know, are likely of pediatric relatives of mine. (This is different from the rest of the interweb, which seems to consist of pictures of cats with cute captions.)

Photo 10,003 was one my favorites from the lovely evening at the Olympic love nest of Waldie & Baldman.


See the rest of the set here.

Fiscal True confessions

As the financial apocalypse gets ever closer, it's time to fess up to some ignorance (but I'm looking for others like myself.)

Am I the only person who didn't know until a month or so ago that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Reserve were NOT parts of the US government?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bible Study

One more other note before I retire for the evening:

We're excited about a small group of folks from this side of town (or close enough) who have begun joining us on Tuesday evenings to read and discuss the Scriptures. We are reading 1st Peter. Each week we read the entire epistle, listening for a particular theme. We discuss that theme, spending a lot of time on application, and discussing the really interesting questions that folks raise. I much prefer reading the scriptures themselves to reading someone else's opinions and discussing the opinions. However, we do use the commentaries, notes, etc., to see how others have addressed issues we are interested in exploring.

Afterwards, we spend time sharing and in prayer for one another.

Who knows how long this will last? I hope through the rest of the school year, at least. It's been a literal God-send for us. Izzy and I really felt the need to spend more focused time in the Scriptures and in prayer, especially prayer for others. I'm looking forward to seeing how God works in our lives through this small group.

Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious. You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Not at the Fair

Warning: politics-free post.

It's an absolutely lovely evening, the sort of which might have been fun to spend wandering around the state fair. I've always liked the crowds and lights and energy -- Izzy not so much. Not sure if we'll go this year -- I doubt that there are many (any?) low-carb choices in the fried food on a stick category (other than the stick itself.)

So, since they didn't go to the Fair, what on earth DID the O'Cayces do this evening? Glad you asked. Izzy started a load of laundry, and the washing machine finished it well before the clothes were rinsed/clean/drained. This is an older machine that we got 5 years ago for $50 (plus dryer) courtesy of BiL who gets these things 2nd hand when the prison system is done with them. Izzy had already spent $25 buying a new motor for this one last year. He tinkered a bit, but couldn't see the obvious problem. We thought about it for a while, and decided that we'd gotten our $75 worth. Time for a new machine.

So, we drove northwest into deepest, darkest Harbison on a Friday evening just at the end of rush hour. To the mall. The mall. Izzy at the Mall (!) The fine people from Sears will be delivering a new front-loading, high efficiency washer sometime Sunday afternoon and hauling off the old one. We'll get the sopping wet, soapy clothes out before they arrive.

I'm anticipating that we'll start looking at dryers soon. Not that there's anything wrong with our current prison surplus free one, (well, anything more than the fact that it's a free, prison-surplus 20+ year old dryer), but because of the height issue. Like everybody else, we use the washer dryer as extra prep space. I think the several inches difference will seem awfully inconvenient.

At least, that's the argument I hear myself trying to make as I contemplate blowing the savings cushion on an appliance.

In other news, I'll be heading off to bed well before 2:30 AM tonight. Nice change after a long week of school on-call for work, etc. Tomorrow -- I'll do stats while Izzy gets convivial with the Slow Food Columbia people at an Waldie & Balman's home.

Later Saturday night, I'm seriously looking forward to spending time with Waldie & the Baldman in their Olympic Love Nest. We'll be a few blocks from the fair -- might be as close as we get this year.

One other note: can't close without saying that Izzy's pasta sauce is oh-so-good. Ditto the baba ghanoush he made for me yesterday, and the shake with carb smart "ice cream" and his homemade Kahlua. Good week for eats here at the House of Chez Casa.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did I hear that right?

Lately, my non-school/non-work time has been mostly confined to church time and drive time. From time to time, I hear interesting things on the radio that I mean to remember to blog -- time and opportunities get away from me, though.

1. We've just finished Bible Study (yay! time to spend with friends and the Lord -- I'm so glad Izzy has pushed to get this started!) and I cracked open a text book and the Internet to work on a class assignment. In the book for my nursing leadership class, I read these objectives for one of the chapters:

  • Describe the six steps in the communication process
  • Describe at least two ways to deal with hostile-aggressive people
  • Diagram complementary transactions
  • Plan at least two strategies for dealing with a sniper.
Did I read that right? Not sure if this is what I thought I was signing up to learn.

2. At the beginning of the Glenn Beck radio show, in the intro music, I swear the voice-over basso-profundo is saying "immense imperial goat." I finally got around to googling it, and was quite surprised that as I typed immense imp... the Google toolbar filled in the rest of the phrase. Turns out it's Orson Wells saying "immense ethereal gulf." Not nearly as fun -- the goat makes a much better blog or band name.

3. Speaking of bands (and this may cross a line somewhere). Almost two weeks ago, there was a tragic plane crash in our area that killed four people and injured two others. The injured persons were two artists who had just performed a free concert in our area: DJ AM and Travis Barker.
On the radio reports for the first 2 days after the crash, as everyone used the same news copy, we heard the following::
The crash killed four people and injured two musicians.
Musicians, not people.

Time to go read. Back on the blog next month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Everyone in Mandrake falls is Pixilated

Had a web cam meeting earlier. Since I was the host (meaning that my speakers got to echo more than the rest of the group's), I spent a bit of time on the site before the rest of the group arrived. I discovered fun (waste of time?) features on the camera and took a screen shot. It's amazing how my eyes rearrange these blocks into something I recognize as my face.

Took awhile and Izzy's vast knowledge of old movie lore, but now I remember where I'd heard the quote: Everyone in Mandrake falls is Pixilated.

The quote comes from Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, which starred Gary Cooper. I'm posting the quote dialogue here so I'll have it for later reference.(from the imdb)

[Two shy sisters testify at Deeds's sanity hearing]
John Cedar: Do you know the defendant, Mr. Longfellow Deeds?
[long pause]
Jane Faulkner: Oh yes, yes, of course we know him.
John Cedar: How long have you known him?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Since he was born.
Amy Faulkner: Yes, Elsie Taggart was the midwife.
Jane Faulkner: He was a seven months' baby.
John Cedar: Thank you, that's, that's fine. Do you see him very often?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Most every day.
Amy Faulkner: Sometimes twice.
Judge May: Must we have the echo?
John Cedar: Suppose you just answer, Miss Jane. Now, will you tell the court what everybody at home thinks of Longfellow Deeds?
[pause; then Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: They think he's pixilated.
Amy Faulkner: Oh, yes, pixilated.
Judge May: He's what?
John Cedar: What was that you said he was?
Jane Faulkner: Pixilated.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
John Cedar: Now that's rather a strange word to us, Miss Jane. Can you tell the court exactly what it means?
Board member: Perhaps I can explain, Your Honor. The word "pixilated" is an early American expression derived from the word "pixies," meaning elves. They would say the pixies had got him. As we nowadays would say, a man is "barmy."
Judge May: Oh. Is that correct?
Jane Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.


Longfellow Deeds: Are you happy there?
Jane Faulkner: Oh, yes.
Amy Faulkner: Yes indeed.
Longfellow Deeds: Now, uh, Jane, a little while ago you said I was pixilated. Do you still think so?
[Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back]
Jane Faulkner: Why, you've always been pixilated, Longfellow.
Amy Faulkner: Always.
Longfellow Deeds: That's fine, hm, I guess maybe I am. And now tell me something, Jane: who else in Mandrake Falls is pixilated?
Jane Faulkner: Why, everybody in Mandrake Falls is pixilated - except us.
Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gonna need a bigger sock

Looks like the best place for any $$ we have might be in a sock under that mattress. With the threat of multiple bank closures, we might all need bigger socks.

Or patience -- we survived the Savings & Loan disaster in TX in the early '80's. We got royally screwed, tho, when our S&L was bought by the same guy who bought the Dallas Cowboys and fired Tom Landry. Bum Bright, the aforementioned owner, must have needed extra ready cash -- the "bank" started floating payroll checks. For two weeks. You can guess the havoc that played with our payments. 7-11 sends bounced checks back to the bank 5-6 times each....

Digression aside -- here's hoping the panic ends soon. I don't have a good understanding of high finance or economics, but it seems like these houses of cards should have been identified long ago.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Patron's Baby Daddy

Pulled from a friend's Facebook Saint of the Day feed, which I decided to check out when Blackboard went down and I couldn't finish my homework.

Today is the feast of Blessed Louis of Thuringia, spouse of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, my patroness and the reason for the blog name.


This German prince lived during the last part of the twelfth and first part of the thirteenth centuries. He married St. Elizabeth of Hungary when he was twenty-one and she was just fourteen. The marriage had been arranged by their parents. This was the custom. But they both loved God, and he gave them great love for each other. So it was that they were very happy together. Their joy increased when God sent them their three children. The youngest was Blessed Gertrude.

Louis helped his wife in her many works of charity for the poor. He also joined her in devout prayer. Time after time, the people saw their handsome prince and his lovely wife helping the poor. It is said that once Elizabeth brought a leper into their castle and nursed him in their bed. For a moment, when Louis saw that, he was angry. Then, suddenly, instead of the leper, he saw our crucified Lord lying there. After that proof of how much Jesus appreciated Elizabeth's charity, Louis had a hospital for lepers built.

One long, bitter cold winter, Louis had to be away from his land. When he returned, Elizabeth was overjoyed. The next year Louis left on a Crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. But on the way, he caught malaria, and soon was dying. Because he had always lived in close union with Jesus, the brave ruler felt no fear of death. He received the Last Sacraments and died peacefully in 1227. Let us pray today for married couples, that their love for each other will help them grow in personal holiness.

The bit about "helping his wife in her many works of charity for the poor" makes him sound a lot more benevolent than he was at first. Like any good husband, he was concerned with Lizzie started feeding the many beggars at the gate. She was once headed down to feed some poor people and needed to carry loaves of bread past Louis, who she knew would be upset that she was again giving so much away. As she passed her husband, God touched Louis' vision so that he saw his wife carrying armloads of roses. Neat, huh?

Now that her secret is out, my medal is free to show her carrying bread.

BTW: The friend who had the saint feed dropped by the House of Chez Casa this evening with a darling book about a dinosaur who was peculiar and a lovely other dinosaur who was a free spirit and especially keen on shopping. They loved each other very much as they grew old together. We took a break from my studies and his grading to read it aloud to each other, as we sipped scotch (him) and tawny port (me) and thought mushy thoughts. Like the dinosaurs, we're older and still very much in love (not all the time, but we're so grateful when God gives us those periods of intense mushiness.)

Painting is the wedding of Louis and Elizabeth, Rijks Museum.

Monday, September 08, 2008

School Registration Form

I just realized that I've not posted anything* since August 23. Wow. School really has taken over my life.

Found this on the NY Times OpArt website today: it's a registration form for an imaginary, but oh-too-close-to-life private school.

Credits: Bruce Handy, Stephanie Chen.

Amongst the brilliance:

Greetings Parents.
We're sure you're every bit as excited about the new school year as we are. (Sigh.)
Please take the time to fill out the following registration form.
Send it in on the first day of school with your fully innoculated, adequately medicated, lice-free son/daughter.
4 / For this year's auction I plan to donate:
(a) Two tickets to Super Bowl XLIII
(b) Dinner for eight prepared in the winner's own kitchen by Mario
(c) Something sad and inadequate that will be discussed in bemused tones by the more attractive mothers at pickup.
Click the pic to view larger.
* That should read "anything here." I've certainly posted plenty on Blackboard for classes. There's also microblogging, available via LJ.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sequential Vortex

So, the bed is made. We'll be climbing in soon -- I wanted to relate this tale first.

This morning when I arose, late and sleeping in after a long week of late night computer work and assignments, I decided not to make the bed. I needed to strip it and wash/change the sheets. Not a problem. However, I was not looking forward to having to shake out all of the cat hair before washing and again before drying. We have a long-hair and she nervously, constantly sheds.

As I walked past the spare room, I saw the set of sheets that I'd removed the last time. Uh-oh! I'd set them aside, wanting to delay the whole shaking endeavor. They weren't in anyone's way, but it bothered me that they had been overlooked.

Here's where the whole vortex could have been avoided: I could have opted to NOT address those sheets today. They could go into the hamper. But no ...

First, before laundry I needed to eat. Before eating, I had to fix myself something, which had to be preceded by doing yesterday's dishes. Dishes done -- time to fix a sandwich. Wilted spinach, tomato, havarti cheese and avocado on a low-carb wrap. Pretty good.

But I didn't eat it right then and there. Off to the restroom (obvious reasons) and I decided that I needed to change out the cat litter. That's something best done before a shower, so in order I cleared the litterbox, the rest of the bathroom, and then myself.

Back to the kitchen, dried off and dressed, I stepped out onto the porch to shake out the sheets. We've had several windy rains lately and there was lots of pine straw on the porch. I didn't want to get that onto the sheets as I shook then, so, sheets down, broom up. The old porch mat hadn't dried well since the last rain, and I had a better one to use, so into the trash it goes. There's a wet spot there where it was, which I needed to clean up before i could finish sweeping the porch. I completed a brief sweep of the steps area, shook out the sheets, and placed them into the washer.

I then remembers to eat(!) and sat down to hear my favorite radio show. It's now 1 PM. I'm having breakfast. Not good.

2 PM: Back to the porch. The wet area is dry, but there's lots of pine straw blown all over the place, and things look a bit grungy. By 4:30 PM, I'd managed to scrub off/semi-power wash the porch, sweeping repeatedly, clean several years worth of flora off of an old chemical containing meat crate, shake the wet sheets out before transferring them to the drying, and start over with the sheets I'd actually taken off of the bed this morning. Lots of stuff has been thrown away; lots of stuff is cleaner than it's been for a while.

Time to make the porch more livable: the recycling and chemical storage containers were moved around, and two of the yard chairs were placed onto the back porch. Neither was in the way when it was time to shake out the 2nd set of wet sheets.

5 PM. Time for a PM snack, but first, I really needed to make the bed. Of course, looking into the mirror right by the bed, I realized that I'd not done a thing with my hair (long since dried into whatever shape it wanted to assume after a shower.) Time to use the curling iron. I then opened the hope chest to pull out new sheets, and finally got the bed made around 5:30 PM.

After a snack of middle eastern salads (tabbouleh, labni, tomatoes and baba ghanoush (homemade by Izzy!), and a nice call from Gashwin (sometime dureing the afternoon), it was finally time to do what I'd been (unconsciously?) avoiding all day. I listened to the three week-one stats lectures for my on-line nursing research course. There is an assignment on rates and ratios and risks that I'll do tomorrow.

Where did I sit to hear those lectures? Why, in a nice rocking chair on the mighty clean back porch! I stayed out until the mosquitoes found me.

Back inside, I've been working on things for my two other classes. The sheets are all folded (plus the towels - if you're in a laundry mode, you might was well do those, too) and the rugs (also washed) are drying on the porch furniture. Supper dishes are done, and it's time to climb back into that bed.

Making the bed tomorrow will probably take less time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spam subject line

Taking a break from work (and from not blogging, but we had naught but dial-up last weekend.)

Best subject line in my spam inbox today:

Paris Hilton Lectures On Dickens And Dostoevsky

She's already shown she's ready to discuss energy policy. Perhaps we need to re-think... nah...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Twit-Pic: Anniversary cake

Izzy took this at my Mom's today, where a bunch of the relatives got together to celebrate our anniversary with us.

The little niece is in motion (thus a bit blurred). I liked the cake and the pics Mom chose to put up. (clikc on the picture to see full size.) On the left is one taken this past May by Gashwin, and on the right is one taken the night of my nursing school pinning ceremony 23 years ago. We sure were young then.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pics are going up

Short post on Izzy's Mac, which he's loaned me while my laptop busily uploads the scads of pics we took on the Latin-speaking, filial piety, 25th anniversary summer tour.  Izzy has been overseeing the upload today and yesterday, which takes a while when pics are taken at highest resolution. 

If you'd like the unguided tour, sans descriptions, which we'll add once the sets are all up, feel free to surf to this spot on Flickr.

Once those are up, we'll upload the rest of his trip pics to the same collection, then Zoobrew and G visit shots.  Lots of blog fodder for weekend writing.

Schedule for the rest of the week:
  • I have new student orientation tomorrow (9-5!) and then sticker shock check-writing.  Izzy will be hanging out at the bike shop while service gets done.  Having just traveled 8400+ miles, I think he missed a couple of oil changes.
  • Thursday: work (on call), dr. appt (having trouble with some blood sugar levels), and a 3-year-old's birthday party.
  • Saturday: work party.
  • Sunday: Lunch @ Mom's (I think it's a surprise anniversary party for us.)
Full social calendar -- so glad Izzy's back to join me at these events.  Actually, I'm glad he's back in any event!

For now, I've done about as much typing as I can whilst avoiding smearing the nail polish.  I knew I'd not be doing much after the blood donation, so decided to pamper myself.

More this weekend.  Keep cool out there!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

He's back!

Izzy got home yesterday evening! He was 1-2 days ahead of when he thought he'd return -- sound like he really missed me (or the cat, or some combo of the two.)

Thanks to those who've asked about our trip. We've started uploading to Flickr and will doubtless each put up some posts on the trip and about how neat it was to celebrate 25 years of marriage.

I'm looking forward to Izzy's comments on his long ride, which ended up being 8443 miles.

We've all been siting on the horseshoe and are quite sweaty.

For today, there was time with friends, and for tonight, there was blueberry pie to make and a long talk with Mr. O'Cayce. I'm back to work tomorrow and Izzy has to get in a blood donation and some serious relaxing before teacher work days start.



Family Shock

We've just learned full details from Izzy's dad and stepmom about the recent death of one of stepmom's grandkids (so step-nephew of Izzy's.)

Jamie, whose mom was divorced/estranged from stepmom's eldest son and so whom we hadn't seen in a number of years, was a 29 year old young man with cerebral palsy. In the early hours of Sunday, July 13, he was at a party at his younger sister's home in San Angelo, TX, where a long-time family friend challenged him to arm wrestle. This was a frequent competition between these young men, and Jamie had defeated his friend on a number of occasions. According to the sister (and as passed along through several relatives before we got the story), the friend told Jamie that "this time I'm going to really clean your clock." Well, Jamie apparently got the better of the friend, in what would be his last competition. The friend, upset and not a little intoxicated, cold-cocked Jamie in the jaw.

From what we can gather, it appears that infection set in fairly quickly in his broken jaw. Jamie was taken to a hospital and had a fever over 103 by the time reconstructive surgery began. After surgery, per the Abilene paper's interview with his doctors, "he never woke up." He was removed from life support and died Wednesday, July 16.

Minimal obit here; he is the only Jamie on the page. (I've not copied his obit here, since we don't b.u.r.n.* here at the House of Chez Casa.)

In a further insult, the girlfriend mentioned in the obituary is also in jail now for taking Jamie's checkbook and trying to clean out his bank account. Bad move in a small town like San Angelo, where bank tellers read the death notices.

Years ago, Izzy's stepmom lost a teenaged son to drowning. This is another tragedy for which no one can be prepared, and prayers for her and Izzy's dad would be appreciated.

One other thing: When googling for more news on Jamie, I found a blog whose owner posted Jamie's obit and the arrest story. I poked a bit and found a photo (the one above) and her tribute to Jamie. I also found her record of a brief chat with another female that just shows how horribly cruel some people can be when they think they have anonymity on their side. You would never write anything as cruel as what I found if you had to take responsibility for what you said.

Don't feel the need to poke ... and I'll not dignify the remarks with a re-post. It made me and the young lady to whom the remarks were directed both mad, which doubtless gives someone a bit of glee. To stay angry would be to give that person more time in my life than she deserves.

Rest in peace, Jamie.

*b.u.r.n. = blog under real names.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've arrived home mid-morning, 4-5 days ahead of Izzy's expected arrival. I took today to catch up on sleep, laundry, yard work, and those bits of the interweb that one can't easily access (1) without a laptop or (2) on the Mom-in-law's dial-up connection.

One of the funniest authentic letters I've ever read is posted on Waldie's blog. It was found in books that came into her family's possession from a former priest.

A couple of snippets from a letter beginning "Dear Cousin":

You have gone high places in America. God bless you. I hope you'll not be putting on airs and forgetting our native land.

Your Cousin, Hughie O'Toole, was hung in Londonderry last week for killing a policeman. God rest his soul. And may God's Curse be on Jimmy Rodgers, the informer, and may he burn in Hell. God forgive me. ...

We had a grand time at Pat Muldoon's wake. He was an old blatherskite and it looked good to see him stretched out with his big mouth closed. He is better off dead and he'll burn till the damned place freezes over. He had too many friends among the Orangemen. God curse the lot of them. ...

Read the whole thing, then imagine Frank McCourt's voice-over.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anniversary Trip

I'm taking a couple minutes on Izzy's mac-book to do a quick post.  It's been a whirlwind since he picked me up at Sea-Tac at 2:30 in the AM early Tuesday morning. (it's now a little after 3:30 PM here in Oregon.)

I've been microblogging via Twitter to blogspot, so anyone who cares to can follow at least my part of the trip.  see the right column for all you need to know...

We rode down Tuesday to Astoria, OR, where we are staying in a lovely B&B.  We wandered all over the riverwalk yesterday (Wednesday), and toured an old house.  (links later)  Dinner at a new-American restaurant, where the staff all had been told it was our anniversary.  We had great food, good service, pictures taken under the bridge, and dessert was brought on a plate with "Happy Anniversary" written in belgian chocolate.

Today, we hiked a (1.5 mile) meandering route (uphill!) through lots of neighborhood streets to reach the fabled Astoria column, which depicts the exploits of Lewis & Clark.  From the column's base (top was closed for repairs) we got great shots of the forests, mountains, rivers, and flora of God's creation out here.  We hiked down the mountain through the woods (1.5 miles) and walked another mile or so to the Rogue Ale House.  We're now back at the B&B, where showers and naps are in order, then deciding where to eat this evening.

Tomorrow, we'll pack up and head down to Casa Mama O'Cayce.  

Thanks to all who've shared good wishes and congratulations on this anniversary.  We're almost a bit surprised to see that the time has gone by so fast (and that we still feel so relatively young at this point.)  We eagerly look forward to seeing what all God has in store for us in the next 25 years.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Latin content for Izzy

For those not following his trip on Twitter, Izzy is now in the San Juan Islands , at the Woodsong Arts & Music Festival. (Great line-up, which you can't see since their server is down. The family who run the festival lost their house in a July 4 weekend fire.)

Of course, he's met up with friends of ours from all over the US, including a friend who was in our small group Bible study for several years.

Trip pics are going up at Flickr as he has time and decent wifi access.

I wanted to make sure he didn't miss today's Bizarro. I'm sure it will go up in his classroom eventually.

1st bank spam - finally! ;-p

Sometimes, were I prone to do so, I might feel left out since I receive so few of the big, popular spams. It's been months since I've had the opportunity to help save the fortunes of a deceased African businessman from his greedy, noncharitiable, non-Christian relatives. I don't get as many chain letters or opportunities to sign petitions as I used to. Makes a person feel lonely....

So, imagine my excitement when I received a message from Bank of America today offering to help me safeguard my info and protect my accounts.

Dear Valued Customer :

We recently have determined that different computers have logged in your Bank of America Online Banking account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We now need you to re-confirm your account information to us. If this is not completed by April 11, 2007, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner. In order to confirm your Online Bank records, we may require some specific information from you.

To restore your account, please Sign in to Online Banking.

thank you for using Bank Of America Online Service.

Your account might be place on restricted status. Restricted accounts continue to receive payments, but they are limited in their ability to send or withdraw funds. To lift up this restriction, you need to login into your account (with your username or SSN and your password), then you have to complete our verification process. You must confirm your credit card details and your billing information as well. All restricted accounts have their billing information unconfirmed, meaning that you may no longer send money from your account until you have reactive your billing information on file. Sign in to Online Banking.

Thank You.

Please do not reply to this message. If you have any questions about the information in this e-Bill, please contact your biller. For all other questions, call us at 800-887-5749.

(One of the "Sign on to Online banking links go:
The other goes to:

Oh, no's:
1. Oh, no! I've missed the April 11, 2007 deadline! I'm probably in danger of losing my accounts!
2. Oh, no! I don't have a Bank of America account. Whatever info will I given them?

Just a bit of levity for a Saturday afternoon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peaches to Zion


I'm freezing the peaches
Freezing the fresh S-C peaches,
My brother-in-law gave me peeeeeea-che-es,
that grew on his Pacolet farm.


All the Baptists (current or former) know the tune?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday night mindlessness

I'm downloading, sorting, labeling and uploading photos -- and have the TV on so I can keep track of time.

I turned to Prime Minister's Questions, which I always enjoy on C-SPAN. So far, so good.

But now, I realize that I've had in the background Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party Candidate. One of my brother's is a big fan -- I don't see the point of 3rd parties at this time.

I started paying attention (and this is why I had to start this blog post) as they started broadcasting a speech by Rosa Clemente, VP nominee of the Green Party (Cynthia McKinney of GA is the pres. nominee.) Clemente is talking about hip-hop and describing how people are always "axing" her why she is running. Green party values match those in hip-hop. Lots of lyrics quoted.

The best bit so far is where she said she was ready to run for VP: "Dick Cheney, bring it on."

Now she's reading more hip-hop lyrics. Dissing "yes we can." Why to not vote for Obama: "We don't vote for him because he's already bought and sold." More interesting than Barr... She was born in 1972. I remember 1972. Gosh I feel old.

I'll post now, and possibly update as I continue the uploads.

Update @ 10:26 PM: the supporter standing directly behind Cynthia McKinney, who is now speaking, finally turned his Power to the People sign right side up.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Random Thoughts & Izzy Update

Heard from my dearest just a few minutes ago. He's in South Dakota, having ridden through the Black Hills/Badlands today after leaving middle Iowa.

He described a scene he'd passed and not been able to photograph. Just past an 1880's village on I-90, there was a sculpture of a T-rex being taken for a walk. Whilst on the phone, we were able to both look it up on Google Images and thus see it at the same time. Cool.

(Photo from Neatocoolville)

Tomorrow for him: Mount Rushmore.
Tomorrow for me: Shipping motorcycle gear to Seattle. Working on policies. Randy Stonehill Concert @ the coffee shop (yay!)

Got the lawnmower re-started and got over half of the back yard done tonight, stopping when I saw the first bit of lightning before the evening deluge started.

I'd done the front yard last night, stopping when it got too dark to mow safely, despite the mower's aversion to stopping. It didn't even want to stop in tall think grass -- refused to stall out -- or while I talked to Mom for 20 minutes. I pulled open the top and did a bit of monkeying it with the springy-thingy that's is supposed to stop the motor when you release the handle or pull out the orange key thingy, and it finally stopped. The 12 year old mower is battery-operated, so you can't mess with carburetors or spark plugs to turn it off. So, I'm feeling like a problem-solving girl, which is often more than I accomplish in a day of work.

Lots of random thoughts as I pushed the mower through the thick tall grass (when it rains nearly every day, it's hard to do the mowing frequently.)
  1. I wondered whether the mosquitoes attacking me were more likely to carry West Nile Virus or dengue fever.
  2. I'm reticent to admit that I've now heard the Kid Rock song "All Summer Long" and am surprised to find I really like it. It's the one that combines the basic content of "Night Moves" with the tunes of "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama." Clever musical staging.
  3. There's no sense to quietly humming songs that are stuck in your head while you mow the lawn -- might as well belt them out.
  4. I'm not a fan of pine cones.
  5. Goes without saying, but I'm missing the Iz-man.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cute kids

Originally uploaded by Steliz

Pics of a couple of my nieces are on the Flickr site. Taken on the fourth of July. This one was my favorite of the set of the two of these guys together.