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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, June 28, 2008

I'd planned to wash the car today


I was able to get in the cargo net and the cargo organizer installed, in the major humidity before the heavens opened...


We need a few more days of this to start to make up the rain deficit. Maybe we can learn rain dances at this week's ballroom class.



Faculty Party

We went to a party last PM with a group of Izzy's former colleagues. The occasion was a Bon Voyage gathering for a teacher who had arrived after Izzy left. We had a great time catching up with folks in the department, which was a wonderful group with which to work.

Pics are being uploaded to Flickr. I enjoyed spending time with the 3 1/2 year old whom I'd last seen as a toddler.

Izzy with nice bokeh

Playing with magnets


Closely guarded recipe

The OC

I went to the Urban Dictionary to look up a term (yes, the Urban Dictionary is in the next post after one on ballroom dancing -- that's our life), and discovered that I'd missed the 15-plus minutes of fame that our old neighborhood (Oak Cliff) had recently.

In Texas, now, The OC means Oak Cliff, the neighborhood where I worked and we lived for our last three years in Dallas. Per the Urban Dictionary, Oak Cliff is ...

The only place in Texas where you will get shot for getting shot by someone else who got shot.
Fear not:
While there are parts of Oak Cliff where looking at the wrong person in the wrong way will get you beat up, stabbed, or shot, overall it's an okay place to live.
Sounds about right. I also discovered that, amongst the "crunkest parts of the Metroplex" were other crunk areas"
Naw Oak Cliff ain't the only hood in D-town you got South Dallas (worked there), West Dallas (worked there), East Dallas (lived there), and Pleasant Grove (lived there).
I'd post the links, but the language is embarrassing - scads of izzle speak (don't those people know it's not 2005 anymore?)

Here's the Google image of our "Oak Cliff Love Nest." It's a garage apartment that was white when we lived there. The fence to the right covers what was the backyard of the main house, which functioned as our front yard, sitting room, garden and feline frolic area. The whitish are on the left surrounded by trees (hard to see, but worth the effort for historical purposes) was the concrete pad of the very first 7-11. The Dallas trolley line ended where Our garage doors were, so workers could pick up milk and bread before waling to their homes in the OC.

We loved the neighborhood -- ask one of us about it sometime to and watch us wax poetic and nostalgic.

Ballroom Dancing

SInce I can't shoot and dance at the same time (there's actual question as to whether I can dance and breathe at the same time), I took some pics of Mom and Pops during our lessons this week.


Not bad after rotator cuff surgery and a broken leg bone.



Tired, but happy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dancing Lessons and Domesticity

Izzy and I had our 3rd $3 group dance lesson tonight. We also had a delightful private lesson two weeks ago here at the House of Chez Casa, wherein we learned basics about counting and I tried to learn which foot is which. I'm hoping we'll be able to use this skill later next month (more on the occasion, below.)

Right now, we're winding down for the evening. I'm realizing that these quiet nights are about to end -- we have social engagements for Thursday and Friday, and then early to bed Sunday before Izzy leaves Mnday for 5 weeks (WVa, Oregon, Washington, Oregon, and back home.) He's calling it the Latin-Speaking, Filial Piety, 25th Anniversary, Summer Tour.

This evening, we're the picture of post-modern domesticity. Instead of "Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap" or Mama with the knitting and Daddy with a book or paper, we're here on the couch with separate laptops while the cat averts her gaze from across the room.

Izzy is calling his mom, whom he'll see sometime after Skylab Day, and a question was raised about Oregon's helmet law. They were pondering the issue whilst I proceeded to look things up on the interweb. It's kinda cool to be able to do that.

Now they are giggling about old musician jokes (cornyness alert -- the jokes are old... not the musicians...) (more here)

What's the difference between an onion and a bassoon?
Nobody cries when you cut up a bassoon.

How to you get a banjo player off your porch?
Pay for the pizza.

(My fave) What do you say to a musician in a 3-piece suit?
Will the defendant please rise?
Izzy is going to have a wonderful trip out to the western wilds of the US of A, and I'll be joining him partway through for our celebration of 25 years of marriage. I'm hoping to get to dance by the river (Columbia river, doncha know) with my beloved later next month. Slow, slow quick-quick. Triple-step, triple-step, rock step; throw out, cuddle step, back pass -- lots of fun.

A is for Aisle

Izzy pointed me to a song by the Canadish band Bare Naked Ladies, which is quite fun to listen to (maybe I'll (aisle? ilse?) learn it well enough to sing on long car rides.)


A is for aisle
B is for bdellium
C is for czar
And if you see him, would you mind telling him-

D is for djinn
E for Euphrates
F is for fohn, but not like when I call the ladies

G for Gnarly,
H is for hour
I for irk
J for jalapeno, good in either corn or flour (tortillas?)

K is for knick-knack
L is for llama

M for mnemonic
N is for ngomo
O is for ouija board
P for pneumonia, pterodactyl and psychosis

Q is for qat
R is for R-gyle, No, it isn't

S is for Saar, a lovely German river
T for tsunami, a wave that makes me quiver
U is for urn, but not like earning money
V for vraisemblance from French, And therefore kind of funny

W for wren, wrinkly, and who.
X is for Xian, an ancient Chinese city, true!
Y is for yperite, a very nasty gas.
And zed's the final letter
And by final, I mean last.

Hear it for yourself, with commentary on Scrabble, loser llamas, and Zed Zed Top.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Choosing to Love

I attended Mass twice this AM -- the first at our student center sorta-parish where I sing on Sunday AMs, and the 2nd to hear the first Sunday Mass of a newly ordained priest, Mark Mossa, SJ.

The gist of the two homilies, if I may combine them, was that we didn't choose God; He chose us. Therefore, others who are in the Church are also chosen of God. My attitudes towards my fellow believers can/may/do influence their abilities to live up to the calling of God upon their lives.

Quote (from someone, Goethe?) heard @ 1st homily:

I am not what I think I am;
I am not what you think I am;
I am what I think you think I am.

Some of God's people, as Screwtape tells Wormwood (* below) are harder to love or be kind to than are others. We decide to love, to support, to care.

I saw this picture when I got home, and it made me think of this morning's homilies. Gus, who lost an eye to a tomcat and a leg to cancer, won this year's ugliest dog competition. His owner will use the prize money to pay for his chemo and radiation treatments. Choosing to care, support, love.

I wonder what we often look like to God, especially when we are more like sheep [who] have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way.

* From chapter II of The Screwtape Letters (one of my favorite passages):
One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do riot mean the Church as we see her spread but through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes I our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather in oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like "the body of Christ" and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy's side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous. At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of "Christians" in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothes is a real—though of course an unconscious—difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like. Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.

People who remember me

... seem to come out of the woodwork lately.

Tonight, while in line for the restroom at a concert, it happened thrice. I'll spare the full details, but I re-met (1) a former camp archery instructor (who I'd also spoken to at a school nurse meeting), (2) her husband who asked one of the odder questions I've ever had posed (more below) and (3) a member of my high school's concert choir and vocal ensemble.

There are those odd minutes of staring and asking that are typical to those encounters: Where did you go to school? Who are your parents? Where did you go to church in these years? Where-all have you worked? I mentioned that I'd only worked two placed in SC, my current job at the health dept and previously at Wendy's. Asked the husband: Did you work at the Wendy's on Bush River Road in 1978? Me: Yes. He recalled our store, where they'd stopped on their honeymoon 30 years ago. It was the only connection we could identify, and that's just too weird.

His wife and I were at camp together -- she taught archery at the summer camp her family ran. My youngest sister, had she been a boy, would have been named after this woman's father. I hadn't seen her since the early 1970's -- I must resemble my folks enough that people who knew my family back then can pick me out of a line-up (in this case a bathroom line.)

The former concert choir chum and I were able to recall and sing together (after the show) our All State audition song. (Bach's Honor and Glory) How cool is that?

Izzy was very patient, assuming the role he did so well at my 20 year high school reunion. So nice to see everyone in unexpected places.

Our musician friends also joined us at the coffee shop, and turns out that they were good friends of a musician who is a good friend of the guy we'd come to see. In a previous band, she'd also covered one of this guy's songs. Lots of very small worlds -- wonder who we'll re-connect with next?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Yesterday we had several two-fers. Two rainstorms, two test drives, two halves of a concert, and we became a two-Honda family.

We were told on Thursday that our only chance of test-driving a Honda Fit was to order one ($$ down, of course) and try it out when it arrived. If we didn't like it, they'd sell it to the next person on the list. They had some on the lot, but those were pre-sold and all the ones arriving in the next month were also pre-sold. My preferred color (vivid blue), wasn't in the queue, and the earliest I could buy something was sometime in mid-August. After doing scads of research and getting financing approved, I was ready to pull the trigger and wanted to do so before Izzy left for points north east and west.

So, Friday AM, I went on the interweb, looking for dealerships within reasonable driving distance that might have something I could test drive. (Note: We'd also tested a couple of Toyotas Thursday, but they weren't making my heart go pitter-pat.) I found another local dealership with (1) Fits in stock, (2) in my preferred color, and (3) available to drive. I guess I hadn't thought that local dealerships of the same car manufacturer would be in competition -- after all, when one Belk's doesn't have the item I want, they call another store in the same company. So, one Honda dealership's lack of helpfulness meant we sought out another. [I got a call from salesman 1 while I was paying for the accessories at dealership 2 -- it was awkward, but he hadn't done anything to let me know that there were possibilities beyond what we were offered the previous night.]

All that diversion is to say that we hopped on Honda 1 (two-wheels) and rode up to the wilds of the northeast section of our fair metropolis, including several miles in a scattered shower. Things went well, and Izzy and I each test drove a Fit. I liked the "fit" of it -- and there was a new one available in blue! Our salesperson managed to get it out of the processing line before the leather seats were installed (we're more cloth seat people), and after the inevitable wait for the finance office, we got keys and drove home on/in two separate Hondas.

Our first trip was to the art museum for an evening with Irish musicians. Sadly, the organizers (a mis-named group) had done little planning for what the musicians would actually do, and the quite-talented musicians were given only 30 minutes in the 2nd set, where the opening group of folks had over an hour. Still, we got to hear three numbers from these folks (newlyweds!), one of which they dedicated to us. Nice.

As we left the Museum, "all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" and we got seriously soaked getting to our car. So, no pics yet, since all the lovely external polishing and shining the dealership did is now covered with road splash.

Let's hope this one does as well as our last two cars. (We're keeping the Saturn for emergencies.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Newest Family Member

The niece we've known the longest (she's not the eldest, but we've known her for the almost 24 years of her life) just had her 2nd baby, a little girl, on Thursday. I stopped by the hospital this evening and got a few shots of niece, her husband, great-niece and a couple of her first visitors.

Flickr shots are uploading. Here's just a couple to show how cute she is.

Great-niece & niece

Waking up -- first semi-smile

After her first rooming-in diaper change (by yours truly). Not sure if it's a real smile, but the jowls are genuine.

Dad & Mom & newbie

A couple of her first non-family visitors.

Off to bed while the rest upload. As I've typed, I've passed the minutes when, five years ago to the day and date, we lost my dad. Tomorrow (today) will be a day of very mixed emotions -- I'm glad folks will have Little Miss Mack as a focus for their emotons.

Welcome Baby; we miss you Daddy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Out of the mouths of happy babes

Heard towards the end of the communion song this AM -- a toddler in the back of the chapel started repeating: "too happy" "too happy" "too happy" "too happy" , followed by "I mean it" "I mean it" "I mean it" "I mean it".

I thought to myself as we sang, that I'd love to be in that state: too happy, and emphatic to assure that everyone else knows it.

(Insert your favorite platitude here; I'm reminded of "If you're happy and you know it." You may have some other thought about what it means to be "too happy.")

I should note that, just as the room became quiet, the recitation changed to "potty, Mommy" "potty, Mommy" "potty, Mommy." Because, even if you're too happy and you mean it, life intervenes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Glass

After lots of waiting, I was finally able to get an f/1.8 50 mm lens for the d80. Just in time, I got to see B3's kids this week on a trip to Myrtle Beach. I'm learning to use the lens - a few of the better test shots are below.

Wrapped up post swim.

Sitting just outside the kitchen

Izzy's lemon, basil, mint salmon (thanks to Slim's former driver for help on WB settings)

Looking forward to more chances to test the wider aperture and maybe even get some nice bokeh.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Twitter-sized time fragments

Lately, it seems all the time I've had for writing anything seems to come in teensy, twitter-sized fragments.

Decided to roll with it -- sometime later I'll have more time for eloquent prose.

Here are today's tweets (without crowding your phone in-boxes) and a couple i could have sent last weekend:

  • Just enjoyed espresso with Izzy outside now that it's under 80 degrees.
  • We've opened the windows for the evening.
  • I finished my pharm recert test and mailed it off. Yay!
  • I'll be voting tomorrow -- anyone but Knotts.
  • Political ads I heard today only left off promises to raise the dead.
  • I agree with the jockey @ Belmont: He had no horse.
  • Do the BSG writers have any idea where they are going? Doesn't feel like Bab5's final season.
  • I was wrong recently; _Nancy's_ makes excellent sugar-free marshmallow fudge filling.
  • Headed back to MBeach this Wednesday. Hope I can find a GSA rate room.
That's about it. Izzy is headed out tomorrow to give motorcycle rides to cancer kids. I'll be working on policies, including the medical/first aid manual for a special needs camp.

I'll be in the AC. Another YAY!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Handbaskets, part the umpteenth

While looking for info on another work-related story, I just came across this video clip from NBC news. We don't get to see any Good Samaritans here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Historic Moments

Izzy and I are in the living room, doing computer stuff while watching coverage of the end of the race between the would-be Orator-in-Chief and the Battle-Axe of the Republic. We're watching an historic event, but perhaps not one as remarkable as this:

As we sit here, our cat is curled up on the couch between us. Yes, our cat. Caligula, herownself. She's awake and aware that we are both here. Pretty remarkable, for those of you who have met (or as is often the case, not met) the cat whilst visiting the House of Chez Casa.

Sorry I can't get a picture of said event, but she'd leave by the time I got the tripod set up.

Blogging so as to not forget this major event.

Great finds and bird flu

First, yes, there were antibodies to avian influenza (low pathogenic H7N3) found in a flock of chicken in Arkansas. Testing was done prior to slaughter and no birds were known to be symptomatic or actually ill. The flock was depopulated (grim term) proactively and no risk is known to humans. As you may recall, the avian influenza that has been causing so much disease and death in Asia is of the strain H5N1.

That much you can get for responsible news sources. That's no fun.

In looking for additional coverage, to prepare our on-call person, I did a Google blog search using key terms from the first paragraph of this post. (Yes, I do realize that this post will likely become part of the search results from the next person who tries this.) I was thrilled that in less than two clicks, I'd discovered a bizarre theory on transmission and a link to the Clintons.

If they are going to be out of power, looks like they are taking the chickens with them. I love conspiracy people.

(I'll set this to publish later on, so it won't show up during today's work day.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Yves St. Laurent died today. In one article about his death, I found a particularly wonderful quote, especially coming from a designer of women's fashions:

"To be beautiful, all a woman needs is a black pullover and a black skirt and to be arm in arm with a man she loves."

Not bad.