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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Traveling again

I've been on the road a lot lately, more than any time since I left NC, I believe. Between personal & work trips, I've spent time in hotels in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Atlanta, Charleston, and am headed next to Florence (whoop-de-do), then back to Atlanta.

I'm in Charleston now in a very-slightly-north-of-Broad hotel, where I find myself in a really spiffy room/petite suite. There are two separate sitting areas, plus a nice desk, fridge, and granite counters in the kitchen area and bathroom. I have silk palm trees in two corners, windows on two sides, six lamps, plenty of outlets, four side tables and a lovely coffee table with a dried orchid arrangement in a glass jar. Feather pillows and turn-down service. There are two bathrobes in the bathroom.

I got this at the government rate. Somebody's gonna get fired, I fear....

There is a lovely flat screen TV, where I'm watching the civility drain out of the debate. The tone is a lot different from the debate I watched in an Atlanta hotel last week.

Hillary, who has been scowling at Obama and only looking directly at Brian Williams, just referenced last week's Saturday Night Live. She suggested "Maybe we should ask Barak if he's comfortable and if he needs a pillow." No one laughed. I think the race is over.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Larry Norman, RIP

An icon from my teen and young adult years has died. Larry Norman, the father of Jesus Music, died very early Sunday morning after years of heart problems.

Lots of detail, including a message dictated to his fans, available on this blogpost.

Izzy and I got to see Larry once together at Cornerstone 1998. He was showing the effects (cerebral) from the plane crash he had survived. But he was also reminding us of the power of Jesus Music to change an entire generation.

There were lots of folks who faulted him for his management of the music of others (Larry produced lots of folks, and fans of Mark Heard didn't like how Mark's music was handled after his death in 1992.) Larry may have been thinking about some of that in his final message to fans, posted there as well.

Izzy, who has been a fan since the early 1970's and who saw Larry several times, has been singing his music since we got the news just a bit ago. They don't make 'em like Larry anymore.

From The Outlaw

some say He was an outlaw that He roamed across the land
with a band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen
no one knew just where He came from or exactly what He'd done
but they said it must be something bad that kept Him on the run

some day He was a poet that He'd stand upon the hill
and His voice could calm an angry crowd or make the waves stand still
that He spoke in many parables that few could understand
but the people sat for hours just to listen to that man

some say He was a sorceror a man of mystery
He could walk upon the water He could make a blind man see
that He conjured wine at weddings and did tricks with fish and bread
that He talked of being born again and raised people from the dead

some say a politician who spoke of being free
He was followed by the masses on the shores of galilee
He spoke out against corruption and He bowed to no decree
and they feared His strength and power so they nailed Him to a tree

some say He was the Son of God a man above all men
but He came to be a servant and to set us free from sin
and that's who i believe He was 'cause that's who i believe
and i think we should get ready 'cause it's time for us to leave

Friday, February 22, 2008

Prize-Winning Metal

A nephew's band won a middle school talent show last PM with this cover of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper." (My nephew is the drummer -- his buddy is playing bass.)

I especially like how enthused the emcee (looks like a school administrator of some sort) is at the end. I think he was pretty surprised at how well these kids did.

All the usual hand-held parent-created video caveats apply. Enjoy a taste of their band (skip to the end if you're not a metal head -- the reaction of the other kids let me know these guys had won.)

If the embed doesn't work, click here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Visiting Grandma

I went last evening and visited my Grandma, Aunt and two cousins that live here in the ATL. I had a great visit, and enjoyed hearing grandma's opinions on politics (big fan of Romney), kids and college, healthcare, etc. She's done remarkably well since her stroke, and despite the pain from her shingles. My Aunt and I sat up talking until nearly midnight. She and I and my cousin/nephew also got to see the end of the lunar eclipse. Pretty cool.

At one point, the three older females noticed that we were all wearing close to the same color -- so little girl cousin took some pics with her little point and shoot. We didn't get any of her -- a bit camera-shy when we asked her. But she had fun posing the grown-ups.

Three generations in a hug

Pics in this flickr set, where you can also see the kiddos at Halloween and in a ROTC parade.

I tried on cousin/nephew's ROTC jacket -- it was actually too large for me! Yet another photo we missed -- we'll have to get that on the next trip (He's only 14 1/2 years old, but already half a head taller than I am, and may end up being larger than either of his birth parents.) These kids just keep growing!

Bound to happen

There are some things in your life that will happen eventually, you just don't know when. (Maybe that's the Presby years speaking.)

For me, I had an experience that I'd managed to avoid until this afternoon, and I had to go all the way to Atlanta to experience it. I was walking on a sidewalk in the rain, as far away from the curb as possible, when I received the full tsunami force of a car speeding through a puddle. The water went at least 6 feet high, curling over the top of my head slightly. This happened as I was walking from the Marta Art Center station to my hotel, just under a block away. I arrived completely soaked on my left side. Half my hair and half my coat sopping wet.

Number 2 great reason to wear boots: My feet stayed completely dry. (Yay)

It felt like I was in a movie. I'm sure it was mildly amusing to the next 30 cars that sped by before I got to the corner.

Bound to happen someday. Bartender at the manager's reception though it was worth a double rum shot in my diet coke. Good guy.

Something else that amused me: there are different automated voices on the various north and southbound Marta lines. Yesterday AM, and this afternoon, the friendly female voice assured me that "This train is bound for airport station" and "this train is bound for Doraville." I was a bit relieved that she didn't say "this train is bound for glory." Not quite ready yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vote Early and Vote Often

A saying famously attributed to LBJ (or maybe the first Mayor Daley) that seems to be the crux of what Obama is saying to a Texas audience right now.

I'm watching election returns here in the ATL, since there is no "House" tonight.

Turns out voters in Texas can vote early (in the 7 days before the primary) or on primary day. Then, they can assemble in caucuses on election night to select super delegates. That's the vote often.

I've paid closer attention this year, or perhaps the punditry has done a better job of covering the process, but the variation state to state for delegation selection for and retention by candidates is positively Byzantine. (Balkanist?)

Anyhow, the speech is about over, and he's said "Houston" scads of times, but seems to have resisted the opportunity to say either (expected) "Houston, we HAVE a problem" or (unexpected) "Houston, we HAVE a solution."

Nobody is fainting tonight.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

News from the Blogroll

1. Mattheus Mei lost his grandmother this week.

My thoughts went immediately to how his family must be feeling. Like all of us who have lost grandparents, I then recalled the times when I lost two of my grandmothers. Dad's mom died when I was 17. My boyfriend at the time, "God's prophet," had assured me in a letter: "the Word says Granny's healed." As I recall, it was in all caps, likely in blue pencil. I had trouble grieving, and accepting the loss.

It was both easier and harder to take when I lost my great grandmother. I had come to define myself as a person who, in her late 30's, was lucky enough to still have a great-grandparent. Grammie died at age 105 -- and I felt her loss intensely until my Daddy's cancer was diagnosed It's like the grieving part of my brain needed to hang onto something, and it chose Grammie, not other uncles, etc.

Izzy frequently tells people who have suffered a loss: "Grieve well." I'll wish that for Mattheus and his family. Remember Meme and smile, and cry and laugh and give yourself permission to feel anything you want to feel.

2. Dogwood made the front page of the NY Times. I made Who's Who in High School (whoop de do. Hardly compares...) ;-/ Congrats to the photo stalker journalist!

3. Yurodivi, dark for most of a couple of years, has resumed blogging. He's just been to the chant workshop in Auburn, AL. Lucky guy.

4. Little Eliza just turned two. Her parents are amazing.

5. Yoga girl has a couple of posts with roses, shoe shopping (75% off!) , shimmying and jump rope. Reminds me that it's time to start walking again. Thanks for the inspiration, girl!

6. UltraC: you're missed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Needs to be read

Read and understand why I'm so amazed at this guy.

Valentine's Day 1989

A taste from near the end:

We have not been to this restaurant before. We have been to one run by the same family in a neighboring city. It was very quiet and romantic. This one is in a busy section of downtown. We have to park a good distance away and walk through the frosty evening air. When we get there, we are seated near the door where cold blasts of air are continually let in, so we keep our coats on. We consider ordering only foods served flaming.

The restaurant is loud and bustling. Normally, this would be fine, but we had expected quiet and romantic. A large man waiting for a table is shown to the bar area, which is adjacent to us and a couple steps up. He leans against a rail, which puts his rear end on a level with my face and only two and a half feet away. Again we consider ordering flaming foods. Let’s bring a little color to those cheeks, shall we. But part of the railing support gives way and, rather than risk joining us at our table, he moves away.

There are crayons for coloring the paper tablecloth. My wife draws a picture of herself, a picture of me, and a heart between them. She loves me. Less artistic, I draw large block letters: “ I [heart] U 2 ” I realize afterwards that the message is ambiguous. It can mean “You love me, and I love you as well,” “I love you as well as loving someone else,” or even “I really like this particular Irish rock band.” Given the context, though, it can be safely interpreted in the first sense. Context can make all the difference.

Making Peace

A taste from the beginning:

As we climb up into the Sierra Nevadas, I fall into a rhythm. I ease off the throttle and hear engine winding down, slowing for the next curve. I gauge the angles and lean over, bringing more than half a ton of motorcycle, camping gear, and fragile human flesh closer to the pavement. The mountain road is sharply banked, and gravity pulls us down toward the inside of the curve. I open the throttle just a bit, accelerating, pushing the bike back up the asphalt to the outside of the curve. The laws of physics are held in tension here. We leave the curve moving faster than we entered it, but up ahead is another switchback, another sharp turn, and the dance is repeated. Slow, lean, accelerate. Slow, lean, accelerate. We ascend the mountain road in a series of controlled falls; we are falling up a mountain.

We are in Sequoia National Park. Two hours ago we left the heat and smell of Bakersfield in the valley where we had found it. Now we are rising into the cool of the mountains. The smell of forest is rich around us. Life rolls up and down these mountains for thousands of verdant acres. The primeval serenity of these hills is palpable. This is what I came for.

I've heard them read aloud -- ask Izzy about it sometime.

Birthday Celebration and Lesson

My step-father's 75th birthday was this past Sunday.

In what is a weird co-incidence, my father, "Pops" best friend from college, was also born on February 10. Dad would have been 76. In all the planning for the 75th bday celebration, I forgot on Sunday to wear the lovely locket that Izzy made for me with a couple of pics of Daddy (from his twenties and his 70's). I'm making up for that the rest of this week.

Mom's birthday was Saturday. With birthdays on 2/9 and 2/10, their ZIP code is another weird coincidence (29210.)

Back to Pops: My mother wrote to members of his family, members of churches where he had pastored and places where he had served as a chaplain. She asked them to send special 75th bday greetings which would be placed into a birthday scrapbook. Lots and lots of people responding, sending their greetings, as directed, to my sister's (S2) home. Mom would go over and work on the scrapbook from time to time.

Here's what everyone forgot, and I post this as something to consider should you ever plan such a sweet gesture: All those people sent greetings to S2's house--and no one sent anything to Mom and Pops' house. Turns out, for over two weeks, cards had been arriving for Mom. Lots of cards with sweet messages from friends and family. Pops went out every day to check the mail, and kept wondering where his mail was. He told us later that he wanted to say something, but, as he said, "how could [he] complain to [his] new wife about his own children?" His siblings, who live close by? Had everyone really forgotten him? You'd think he'd get something for such an important birthday.

Mom realized, finally, that something might be amiss when she saw him positively slouch and trudge back from the mailbox on Saturday. At that point, they were headed off to the Zoo, then to dinner. She decided she might as well wait another day to address the issue with him.

There were, as expected, lots of tears when, with 40 or so people there for lunch (he'd only thought a few were coming for cake and ice cream), he received his scrapbook. Tears of joy, tears of relief, tears that he'd held in over the past week.

So what did we learn? Scrapbooks are a great idea. Maybe get a few folks so mail in an extra card -- little old guys look forward to their birthdays as much as the little kids do.

True Stories from Last Week

Being what I didn't have time to blog at the time.

1. Ash Wednesday (I posted this at "Charlotte was Both.")

First, in response to scads of derisive comments about "Ashes"

Had no idea that “Ashes” was so controversial. I’ll have to remember that when planning for next year.

Then a true story of mortification.

Due to the scheduled musician having to be away suddenly(death in the family), we had an accapella Mass. I cantored with lots of Latin, and was pleased at how much the students knew and sang along with. I sang “Attende Domine” and “Ah, Holy Jesus” for the imposition of ashes.
We had a local television station filming during Mass. I didn’t realize that I was getting nervous, until I accidentally turned an extra page in my music notebook when the camera zoomed in on me. I started to sing the Sanctus immediately after concluding the Kyrie. I got out two notes, then stopped with a mortified look.
Our new priest semi-smiled and said to the crew “you can erase that from the tape, right?” and continued with the Mass.
My personal mortification helped me internalize what was said to me later: Remember you are dust.

Anyone got video of the news coverage of the Mass in question? It was on opposite the Duke-Carolina Game (WE WON!!!) and I didn't remember to set the VCR.

2. The first high holy day of the season went well. Another hard-fought battle resulting in a win at the Dean Dome (or dome or doom...)

3. Things seem to be going well with the Parish (or whatever we're really supposed to call it) adjusting to the new Padre. It works to his advantage that he is so very different from the previous Padre -- it keeps people from automatically expecting him to do what the previous incumbent did. That being said, I knew there'd be no problem with planning lots of Latin for the accapella Ash Wednesday Mass.

4. I really need for Google/Blogger to get the spell check feature fixed.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's a major award!!

(Picture is of another "major award.")
I was selected as a Palmetto Gold recipient for 2008. Yay for me!

From previous years' press releases:
Palmetto Gold annually salutes 100 registered nurses in South Carolina who exemplify excellence in nursing practice and commitment to the profession. The net proceeds generated from the gala evening are used to provide nursing scholarships for students attending South Carolina registered nursing programs. The Palmetto Gold scholarship fund is administered through the S.C. Nurses Foundation.

... The nominator was asked to provide evidence of how the nominee demonstrated excellence in practice and commitment to the profession by addressing each of the following criteria: promotes and advances the profession of nursing in a positive way in the practice setting or the community; displays caring and commitment to patients, families and colleagues; demonstrates leadership and assists others to grow and develop; and contributions made to overall outcomes in the practice area or setting.
I received a notice this afternoon that I was selected as an award recipient this year. There will be a gala -- perhaps a new "posh frock?" It's a fundraiser, of course, so we'll just be inviting Mom and Pops to join us, unle$$ $omeone wants to contribute to nursing scholarships.

(I'll confess I rubbed the lucky Buddha belly at the Chinese restaurant this afternoon. Happy Year of the Rat!) . As for the other major award, we're still waiting for that one.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Duke 89, Carolina 78!

at the Dean Dome, even!

Now to go repent of the non-Ash Wednesday attitudes displayed whilst tele-coaching.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Politics and Pancakes

It's Super Fat Shrove Tuesday here at the House of Chez Casa. Izzy is preparing some fish, and I'm getting ready to toast some lo-carb, high CARdBoard waffles (not quite pancakes, but c'est le guerre.) I'm watching political coverage, whilst doing website stuff.

Major excitement here.

Stuff I've heard tonight and recently (I'll likely update this post as the evening goes on.)

  • [On choosing candidates] Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.

  • Democrats will support whoever the party's eventual nominee is -- more so than Republicans. The reason? Dems may dislike the other candidate, but they don't despise the other candidate's supporters. (What does that say about the GOP's? Romney's people hate Huckabee's people? Maybe yes -- based on what I've heard lately on talk radio.)

  • [McCain's followers] McCanaanites.

  • Pat Robertson (Gollum's older brother?) just appeared when I channel surfed. Izzy's comment to the Rev: "Go ahead, support Huckabee. Kill him."
More later.
  • Chris Matthews: Huckabee has a hard time dying. AND The trouble with the Lazarus Theory is that it would make Mike Huckabee Jesus. (I'm guessing Chris is "not a fan.")

Page 123, 3-Sentences Meme

Gashwin tagged me. Good thing -- gives me something to do before painting the town beige (I wish I'd said that first!) for Mardi Gras.

Here are the rules:

  • Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
  • Find Page 123.
  • Find the first 5 sentences.
  • Post the next 3 sentences.
  • Tag 5 people.
I'm sitting next to a bookcase, so it's hard to determine which book is closest. I'm picking up the first one from the top shelf, even though I suspect the sentences will be interminable.

From The Last Days of Pompeii by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart., with a bonus 4th sentence:
I seek as much as possible to repair her [Nydia] the cruelties of Nature and of Fate, in asking permission to place her with thee. She is gentle, quick, and docile. She is skilled in music and the song, and she is a very Chloris* to the flowers. She thinks, Ione, that thou wilt love her: if thou dost not, send her back to me.

*(footnote in the original) The Greek Flora.

I'll tag Dogwood, Waldie, Baldman, Heather, and any lurkers (Mags?) who want to respond in the comments box. If so, give yourself a nickname -- don't just select anonymous.

Kudos to anyone else who can quickly place his/her hands on a bound Bulwer Lytton publication.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I've seen four basketball games in the past two days, a lot even for me.

I went to a 13 year old nephew's last game Friday night, and then Izzy and I went to see two games this AM -- teams featuring a seven year old nephew and two nine year old nieces. The girls both scored several times, and the younger nephew got some nice chances for assists. The older nephew is definitely built to be a guard -- you're not getting past him! It was fun, and a nice change to spend time with more relatives.

During the girls' game, we looked out of the 2nd floor windows and saw the Black History Month parade going by. It's been a while since I'vve seen any sort of parade live -- it felt very "small town Americana." It was also a way to distract a few fidgetty little kids.

This AM, my step-father mentioned that he'd seen me three days in a row (I did computer work for them Thursday night, and then saw them at games Friday and Saturday.) He said: "I don't know what I did to deserve your company three days in a row." I reminded him that you could totally change that sentence, depending on which word you emphasized. He got the joke. We had a nice time out for dinner with them Friday after the older nephew's game.

After a blood donation and music practice, I came home and watched the boys in dark blue take care of business at Cameron. The final Crazies' cheer: "Drive home safely (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.) I love it!

9 PM Wednesday, after Ash Wednesday Mass, of course, I'll be in front of the hoops machine for the (light blue) Carolina game. It'll likely be a loss, but I'll bleed blue for the Dukies.

For the rest of the world, Go Pats!

Shopping Lessons

1. I should never get a basket if I'm only planning to dash in and get one thing. I seem to find plenty to fill the basket, even if it's a small one.

2. You really can't carry, at least not in a back-friendly way, a handbasket full of juices and soups for an ill spouse. Trying to do so is more taxing than going back to the front and getting a proper-sized cart. Really -- go back and get the bigger cart. This isn't a contest with feats of strength.

3. Last Sunday, whilst filling a handbasket at Target, I witnessed the following.

  • Man pushes cart with two small children past bed and bath displays towards the toys and automotive sections.
  • Woman with her own cart walks more slowly behind him.
  • Woman: Greg ... look ... they have rugs on sale ...
  • Man turns cart, registers a surprised look, heads back toward the rugs that he hadn't know he'd passed up.
My thoughts: Until that very moment, Greg didn't know that his wife was interested in rugs. She's been looking at and thinking about a new rug for some time. But with Christmas and the kids' birthdays, there really wasn't a good time to mention what she wanted. She's already figured out the color, size, pattern, durability, and placement for the new rug. Greg did the right thing to not question the premise. I didn't stick around, but I'm guessing they will have a new rug inside a week, if not that morning.

4. Non-pop star gifts are hard to come by for "tweens." (There are plenty of options out there, though, if you want to buy Hannah Montana or "High School Musical" themed gifts.) It's worth the effort to try and find something else -- just don't pick up the handbasket. You can get the other stuff later.


So, last night I'm doing our taxes and came to the realization that we owe the state of New Jersey $12 in income taxes. Izzy did some work there last summer for the fine folks who bring you AP tests Turbo Tax (I use "a box" instead of "people") suggests I file (they get another $29 if I use them.)

The NJ tax guidance documents, several of which I read last night, have me pretty sure that Vinny Goombah will be showing up to collect his $12 if I don't file.

Fuggettaboutit? Not this year.