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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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Miscellany

We had folks over last night to watch BSG, where they once again seemed ready to "reveal all" in the coming attractions promo. Is Laura Rosslyn the last of the final five? Why not Kara Thrace? Did anyone NOT see Lee Adama's elevation to the presidency coming?

Good conversation, good food, more good conversation after what seemed to be a tidying up exposition episode.

Today we went to a semi-formal graduation party for two students (both of Izzy's SC schools represented.) Ran into people from church, in another one of those "how do you know this person -- oh, you're her mother!?" scenarios.

Then off to the wireless company office so Izzy could, with me in tow, get himself added as a person who could deal with customer service for our phones. We've had the account since 1994, with the names of cellular providers changing off and on, and never knew that customer service wouldn't be able to talk to him.

Now that that's squared away, we're home, grateful for the ceiling fans that are helping cool down the house from the 92 degrees outside. The cat is staying close, possible trying subliminally to encourage me to go off on another extended trip (the last was 11 days on the road.)

We have a hurricane exercise on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Hurricane season officially begins tomorrow, but it look like Arthur couldn't wait another day.

Get your emergency supplies together sooner, rather than later, people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Catching Up

Unlike Izzy who caught up with email and LJ posts whilst at the coffee shop, I spent my time there shopping and enjoying the soy latte.

Imagine the picture flipped. This is what I look like to me.

When we got "home" to the cabin late last Saturday evening, I wrote a few posts, and now I'm pasting them from the txt file into blog posts. I'll "time" them for when they were originally written.

Once the blogposts are up, I'll work on the Flickr upload. This hotel (yes, I'm in yet another hotel, 10th night away from home in a row!) has wired internet, so the upload may go pretty well.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Notes from the Trip: Teachable Moments

(Written Sunday, May 25 at 12:15 PM in our little mountain cabin; to be posted once we get a web connection.)

We went Saturday Evening Mass at the little Catholic Church that we visit each year. For his Corpus Christi homily, Fr. addressed the incarnation by talking about how we would present ourselves for invitations to dine at the White House, at Buckingham Palace, or for an audience with the Pope. He then talked about Jesus being present here, and Jesus having invited us all there to meet him. Izzy and I weren't sure if the congregation was being admonished to be more reverent, dress better (clothing appropriate for a Papal audience was mentioned) or what? It's a pretty casually dressed Parish -- who knows? Since Padre will do Masses at two more churches tomorrow, it's also possible that this sermon will have been written for one of them, more than for this location.

The woman in front of us, with the less-than-controlled three or four year old grandchild, likely couldn't hear or focus on a homily on decorum. It's got to be very difficult to parent and provide religious formation in the pew. Unfortunately, I think she missed a great teachable moment.

During the homily, Little Guy perked up and paid attention just once: Padre was describing Old Testament sacrifices and the priests' sprinkling of blood over the congregation. He then turned to John 6 and talked about drinking Christ's blood. Little Guy's eyes got bigger, then rolled; he made a yucky face, then resumed playing with his sippy cup and moving between the pews.

During Communion, Little Guy looked up at the line of people waiting to receive and asked:

“Are they going to drink blood?” (Blood was said more like

Grandma, reacting from tiredness and likely trying to avoid more yucky faces, said:
"It's just wine."

Older sister looked a bit confused, then repeated
"Oh, it's just wine."
I wondered if I would have had the patience to say, at least to the older child: "No, it looks like wine and tastes like wine, but it's actually Jesus’ blood." Or maybe, to have said that to Little Guy, before trying again to sit him down with the quieter toy he had brought but ignored.

All we could surmise, and agree on afterwards, was that this woman (a convert herself whose sons now attend the Brethren church and whose husband shows up for C&E) would not be raising Catholic grandkids.

It made me even more impressed with the parenting and religious education I see from parents and grandparents in our own Parish. It's not easy, and God bless those who are making it their business to bring up their children and grandkids in the faith.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Notes from the Trip: Original Thoughts

(Written Saturday, May 24 at 11:48 PM in our little mountain cabin; to be posted once we get a web connection.)

So, having a long drive, with lots of time to think, sometimes gives clarity on things. And, like those dreams that suddenly explain everything, we're sometimes lucky enough to recall what was clarified.

First, a silly lyric re-write (courtesy of a long, hot shower)

And they'll know were a Cath'lics by our crosses, by our medals,
Yes, they'll know we are Cath'lics by our bling.

Second, a coinage.

As background, I heard discussion yesterday about things said by Rev. Hagee that caused Sen. McCain to reject his endorsement. Several commentators addressed the similarities and differences in saying (or implying while not articulating well enough to avoid misunderstandings) that God brings judgment (Rev. Jeremiah Wright on 9-11) or God allows evil that may ultimately bring good (Rev. Hagee on the relationship of the Holocaust to the founding of the State of Israel.) In both cases, the reaction to what these men said was agreement or disagreement, but certainly discussion on the merits of what was said and how this did or did not tarnish the political candidates with whom they have/had been affiliated.

In contrast, look at the reaction to things said by Sen. Clinton. I seldom hear (or heard, when SC was in high campaign season) a discussion about what she has said. Comments about her are often more about feelings, perceptions, (pantsuits) and other intangibles that don't fall into the realm of policy or governance. On the Dems side, when Sen. Obama raises his voice in a speech, people react positively. For Sen. Clinton, it's the opposite.

Here's the coinage: If Sen. Obama inspires all the patriotism and hope of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Sen. Clinton is seen as the "Battle-axe of the Republic." It's not fair, but it's part of how our culture responds differently to men and to women. The surprising thing is that the Clintons, seasoned politicos that they are, didn't figure this one out earlier.

Still not a fan, and wouldn't vote for her based on significant policy issues, but I have found it interesting to watch visceral, vs. cerebral, responses.

Notes from the Drive: Country Music

(Written Saturday, May 24 at 11:41 PM in our little mountain cabin; to be posted once we get a web connection.)

There is a stretch between Bennettesville, SC and Asheboro, NC where radio stations are few and far between. I managed to pick up a couple of country stations (not my usual talk or classic rock) and found some lyrics I really liked (note: right now, I don't have the connection to look up names or correct any mistakes in my memory -- I think I'll leave the posts as they are being written.)

Song one -- chorus:

If you're goin' thru Hell, keep on goin'
Don't look back -- if you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the Devil even knows you're there.
From song two's chorus:

And he bowed his head to Jesus
and he stood for Uncle Sam
He only loved one women
Always proud of what 'e had
[He] said his greatest contribution
is the ones he'd leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
of a small town southern man.
Song two reminds me of my Dad.

The songs I write tend to be countrified -- I'm not really sure why I don't listen to those stations more often.

Notes from the Drive: Phone Precautions

(Written Saturday, May 24 at 11:30 PM in our little mountain cabin; to be posted once we get a web connection.)

More about the phone. Izzy had recently remarked to me that Consumer Reports had lots of good things to say about LG flip phones. I filed the info away, not expecting to need it anytime soon.

So, being now in possession of a new LG flip phone (see previous post), I have been reading the manual. Like anything electronic these days, the first page is not full of congratulations on my purchase of this fine product -- it is full of IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS. Lots.of.them. 22 of 112 English pages are all about safety.

The first three pages have 7, 8 and 9 precautions, respectively (the numbering starts over on each page.) Several of them made me wonder which lawsuit (actual or threatened) had lead to their inclusion in the lists.

  • Page 3, number 3: Make sure that no sharp edged items such as animal's teeth or nails come into contact with the battery. This could cause a fire. (Not "this will void the warranty"??)

  • Page 3, number 9: An emergency call can be made only within a service area. For an emergency call, make sure that you are within a service area and that the phone is turned on. (No, the phone cannot reach 911 if you cannot reach anyone else, either.)

  • And my favorite, given prominence by being number 2 on Page 1 of the entire manual: Never place your phone in a microwave oven as it will cause the battery to explode. (Don't you just wonder about the service call on that one??)

Notes from the Drive: Finding a Phone

(Written Saturday, May 24 at 11 PM in our little mountain cabin; to be posted once we get a web connection.)

On Friday, I drove from Myrtle Beach, SC to just above Meadows of Dan, VA. Each year, I plan to leave the conference at noon and arrive here at around 6 PM. Each year, something changes that plan (traffic from road construction, traffic from really bad accidents, storms severely limiting speed through the mountains, 2nd flat tire in a week, etc.) and I arrive very late and very tired.

2008, much to its credit, presented a novel delay. Sometime in between walking to breakfast and arriving (post-prandially) at the first conference session of the day, my work-issued cell phone, with its clip-on holder, came off of my skirt. No problem, just call the phone and whoever found it will let me know where I can go to collect it, right? Even if that were the case, the cell reception around the old Myrtle Beach Air Force Base is abysmal. After spending quite a while re-tracing steps, looking in several places and even getting housekeeping to let me back into the room, I had to conclude that the phone was gone.

Yes, I said several prayers for the intercession of St. Anthony. Here's how I think they were answered.

Over the past few weeks, Izzy and I have been planning our trip for our 25th wedding anniversary. (I'll pause here for your congratulations.) This will take us across the country to a couple of places in Oregon -- me flying to meet Izzy, who will be on his bike. Our cell phone plan covered NC, SC and the Savannah area of GA. We really hadn't needed more coverage until Izzy started going on field trips with kiddoes and we got socked with roaming and long distance charges -- surprise! Those weren't going to be reimbursed. So, in my usual fashion, I'd been slowly and diligently looking at various plans and making comparison notes and trying to decide how to proceed. I'd also thought it was time to maybe think about considering pondering the probable possibility of getting another cell phone, in order to separate work and personal use. But again, no hurry.

I think St. Anthony's intercessions helped me figure out that (1) I needed a phone for the trip to VA -- so let's go ahead and add that 2nd line NOW, and (2) which of the many plans to choose when I located the Alltel store, despite the migraine. Oh, I didn't mention the migraine? The delay at the Alltel store was just long enough for it to clear, so that I could drive safely to VA. I managed to leave Myrtle Beach around 1:45 PM, arriving at the cabin just before 8. So, had I left at noon, would I have been closer to my desired transit time? We'll never know. But I arrived safely, with no headache and with an emergency phone on my belt.

I was also able to call work (from Alltel's land line) and report the phone missing, and they started the process for me getting another work phone. It will have the same number, and I'll be making calls when we get back in range of a cell tower (there are none anywhere near these cabins) to folks who might need the new number.

And, BTW, we now have nationwide (as much as Alltel covers, of course) coverage and unlimited texting.

Upshot, prayers for lost things might not be answered by you getting back the exact thing you lost, but they do seem to be answered. Turns out, I needed an impetus to act more than I needed to find my phone. Thank you, St. Anthony.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The bikes have arrived

Just 15 minutes after the skies cleared (the heavens had opened up and we got high winds and hard rain and lightning for over an hour here in Myrtle Beach), I heard the first drunnn, drunnn of a revving sport bike engine. (1)

In between white bike week and black bike week (2), there are a couple of days with just a few bikes at the beach -- Monday and Tuesday, the 8th and 9th days after Mother's Day. That quiet period appears to have ended. For the next three days (3), there will be revving engines under all of the buildings, crowds and cones on Ocean Boulevard, and no good reason to leave the hotel and lose a previous parking space. Harder to find than a parking space will be a helmeted head, or covered skin (Mrs. Public Health speaking, now.)

I'll leave for the mountains on Friday afternoon, dodging the onslaught of incoming sports bikes, often with inexperienced riders, and worrying all the way to Conway. Sorry if this sounds negative -- but I think even Izzy, who doesn't want to own a car, is not a fan of the giant motorcycle rallies. He prefers long, fast, twisty, unimpeded riding. The bikes on the Blue Ridge parkway never make me nervous -- they seem to be all about the ride, not the exhibition.

If I can get inconspicuous pics of the testosterone fest, I'll post some. It certainly makes for fun people watching in the evening.

(1) I'm glad they found some place to seek shelter during the monsoon.
(2) I love SC.
(3) Or 6 days, were I to stay here for the holiday weekend, but I think I'd miss Izzy too much.

Kennedy & Deja Vu

Last weekend, when we heard the relieved news that Ted Kennedy had not suffered a stroke but instead had experienced a seizure, I was reminded of my Dad's words when we arrived at his SC hospital room after having been told that he had had a stroke: "Good news! It's not a stroke, it's just a brain tumor."

Dad's wry sense of humor helped carry us through the next eight months (eerily, exactly the length of prognosis we were given at the outset), as we dealt with his glioblastoma.

Once I heard that Kennedy had not had a stroke, but rather a seizure, I immediately assumed a brain tumor. If it's what my Dad had, his family is in for a very tough time.

I'm typing from dial-up, and the ABC news story finally loaded. Malignant glioma -- that really explains why so much time was taken to release the story over the weekend -- they've been adjusting to the diagnosis and getting 2nd opinions. It's pretty bad news, and chances of five-year survival are pretty much non-existent.

How very sad.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Catholic Content: Hagee

Taking a break to check local news whilst eating my PB&J lunch, I found this story on one of our local news sites: Televangelist John Hagee apologizes to Catholics.

WASHINGTON --John Hagee, an influential Texas televangelist who endorsed John McCain, apologized to Catholics Tuesday for his stinging criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and for having "emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews."

Hagee's support for McCain has drawn cries of outrage from some Catholic leaders who have called on McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement. The likely Republican nominee has said he does not agree with some of Hagee's past comments, but did not reject his support.

In a letter to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and rligious Rights, Hagee wrote: "Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful."

Donohue, one of Hagee's sharpest critics, said he accepted the apology and planned to meet with Hagee Thursday in New York.

"I got what I wanted," Donohue said in an interview. "He's seen the light, as they like to say. So for me it's over."


The letter came after Hagee met Friday for lunch in a French restaurant in downtown Washington with 22 influential religious activists, virtually all of them Catholics.

Hagee has cited the Inquisition and the Crusades as evidence of anti-Semitism within the Catholic church and has suggested that Catholic anti-Semitism shaped Adolf Hitler's views of Jews.

"In my zeal to oppose anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its ugly forms, I have often emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholics and Protestant relations with the Jews," Hagee wrote. "In the process, I may have contributed to the mistaken impression that the anti-Jewish violence of the Crusades and the Inquisition defines the Catholic Church. It most certainly does not."

Hagee has often made references to "the apostate church" and the "great whore," terms that Catholics say are slurs aimed at the Roman Catholic Church. In his letter, Hagee said he now better understood that his use of those descriptions, taken from the Book of Revelations, are "a rhetorical device long employed in anti-Catholic
literature and commentary."

He stressed that in his use, "neither of these phrases can be synonymous with the Catholic Church."

I'm not sure, even from reading the rest of the article, if Hagee really thinks the Catholic Church isn't the great whore of Babylon or if he only thinks that the use of the term is a slur. If the terms belong in Scripture**, then there is someone or something to whom/which they apply. Does Hagee think that this entity could be the Catholic Church?

Still, Hagee is not as firey, and thus not as interesting, as Jeremiah Wright, so this will disappear soon, I'm sure. I love hearing Colbert ask, in mock exasperation, "Will this issue never go away?", as he plays the Wright video clips over and over and over.

**No, I'm not doubting inerrancy here by asking "if"; I'm posing the start of an "if-then" statement. I'm not that much changed by the conversion, yet.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sancta Sedes

The Vatican now has a Latin section of the website, Cool.

You can easily get there by clicking Sancta Sedes from the Vatican home page, where you also have the choice of English, Francais, Deutsch, Portugese, Espanol, and Italiano.

Story courtesy of Yahoo news:, although I'm sure that others (I see Gashwin, of course) have posted it while we were busy here celebrating Confederate Memorial Day.

What a great resource for Izzy (& the rest of us who need to learn more of the Mother tongue of our Mother Church)!

Monday, May 05, 2008

There is a limit

Having tried scads of substitute foods in my life (meat substitutes, sugar substitutes, plus ingredients added or subtracted to make something more healthy), I can now say with firm conviction that you cannot make a sugar-free marshmallow fluff. Or, at least not a palatable one.

Also, applesauce substituted for vegetable oil in baked goods (muffins, cupcakes, etc.) is lousy.

Seriously, the sugar-free cookies are enough of a stretch. I won't be trying this particular artificial topping again on ice cream (low carb, sugar-free, of course) or pudding.


In other news of things having reached limits, I hear from the other room that another Gamecock student athlete has been arrested (this one plays round ball.) Have they run out of players yet?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tears on Derby Day

Izzy and I have made a point of watching the Kentucky Derby for over a decade now -- I think since he first discovered Walker Percy's recipe for Mint Juleps.

I always tear up at the singing of "My Old Kentucky Home" just before the race. There's no good reason for it, but it always happens.

This year, there was also a reason for tears at the end. After an incredibly hard fought race, Eight Belles, who came in 2nd by 5 lengths but who beat the 3rd place horse by 2-3 lengths, "broke down" just after the end of the race. She sustained compound fractures of both front ankles and was euthanized on the track. In looking for more info, I came across message boards filled with angry comments -- about the sport, about NBC's coverage, etc. All I can say is that it was quite sad to see such an athlete reach the end of her career and life. But after so much time was (ultimately futilely) spent last year on trying to "fix" Barbaro, maybe this was the best thing to do.

In the interests of social commentary/application, I'll note that Sen. Clinton had been reported to be a fan of Eight Belles, given her long-shot status as a filly running against 19 colts. Kind of sounds like some of the early Dem debates. Now that we've seen a 2nd place finish and a humane dispatching of a mortally wounded combatant, is it time for another 2nd place finisher to "dispatch" her own campaign? Any bets as to when the chattering classes will begin making this same analogy/suggestion?

In the interests of full disclosure on the above question, I've got no dog in this hunt. I'd vote for Obama as speech-maker-in-chief, but not as Commander-in-Chief.

Updated with picture, link at 9:30 PM.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Shower with a friend?

Just got the water bill today. $61.94 for 2 months. For comparison, here are the last three bills:

03/14/08 -- $46.23
01/15/08 -- $39.67
11/08/07 -- $27.82

No, we haven't added a sprinkler system, and nothing appears to be leaking. I went to the city's website and couldn't make heads or tails of the rate info there and what appeared on the bill.

Looks like we'll need to take this advice more often. Oversharing?