Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday 5--Floods and Droughts

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?
In August 1983 the Scientist and I hunkered down in our little apartment as Hurricane Alicia passed over Galveston and Houston. I will always remember listening to a radio report from Galveston until--suddenly--all transmission from the island was gone. The wind grew louder and louder until our living room windows began to bow in and out as we retreated to our bedroom closet. The pitch darkness outside was occasionally illuminated as transformers blew, their explosions briefly exposing an apple-green sky. We ventured out of the closet as the wind subsided--only to retreat again as the windows on the back side of the apartment started bowing in and out. The winds finally stopped around daybreak, and we looked around outside at fallen trees and fences. A neighbor's Smoky Joe barbecue grill, which we had feared would become a missile, sat unmoved amid the debris. We were only without power for a few hours, but it was several days before potable water was restored.
2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?
Very important. It seems that as our technology increases, so do the ways in which we can damage or destroy the earth.
3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earth's resources agree/ disagree?
Completely agree. God has made us responsible for taking care of the earth, and that includes responsibility for separating what is known about global warming from what is unproven, and doing whatever we can to help reverse it.
And because it is summer- on a brighter note....
4. What is your favourite season and why?
I love both spring and fall--times of change. Summer is about five months long here, so I especially look forward to the morning when I walk outside and feel a little coolness in the air for the first time in months.
5. Describe your perfect vacation weather....
Sunny skies, slight breeze, 75 degrees.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


We will have one hundred people in this house this afternoon. Not all at the same time, fortunately. But still.

What was I thinking??

It will be fine. The house is clean. The flowers are beautiful. The cake is beautiful. My friend Kathy the caterer is beautiful, as is her food.

I wish y'all were here to drink prosecco with us. It's going to be a good day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Two silver hearts
They're lifelong friends they've always been
They've so much to look back upon
Their love begins
Where other lovers often end
They've so much to be thankful for
I know I know I know I heard him say
These years they've been so good to her
I know I know I do believe this time
She's been loving him
It's been a long long time.
It had no name when I first walked with you
We had so much to look forward to
Then I changed your name
I watched your hair turn brown to gray
I've so much to be thankful for
I know I know I know I heard her say
These years they've been so good to him
I know I know I do believe she knows
This time for sure
He's been loving her
It's been a long long time, time
She's been loving him a long long time.
Two silver hearts
They're lifelong friends
They've always been...
"Silver Heart" by Texas singer/songwriter Shake Russell

P.S. This is what the Scientist sent to my office today.
Yes, 24 red roses, and number 25 is, of course, the Yellow Rose of Texas.

He's good.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A beautiful correction

Yesterday I wrote that Lady Bird's favorite flower, the bluebonnet, was mine too. Well, it is my favorite, but today I read an article in the Houston Chronicle that said her very favorite flower was the gallardia, which we usually call firewheel or Indian blanket. They provide a splendid red and yellow display along the roadside. They bloom later in the season than bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush; I haven't been out in the country lately, but if I were I bet I could probably find some along the side of the road near Hallettsville and Shiner right now. So here are some pictures of a true Texas beauty for you to enjoy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday Five: Wotcher, Harry! ...or not

(I don't even know what that means. It sounds like something Hagrid would say. That's how much I know. Although I am sympathetic to the phenomenon, I'm not nearly well-versed enough in Potteriana to attempt the first question set. So, although I hate thinking of myself as a Muggle, here goes:)

Option 2: Please Mommy, Anything But Those Blankety-Blank Books!

And we do mean anything:

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.

Lady Bird's beloved bluebonnets are my favorites too. For those who have only admired them in photos, or from the highway, you may not know that when you are actually in the midst of a stunning field of bluebonnets, you can detect a faint lavender-like fragrance that is as lovely as the flowers themselves.

Although in central and south Texas they tend to peak in early April, if we have a good spring next year there should be plenty to see by late March. I'm just sayin'.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.

Let's see...chuck everything (except the Scientist, of course) and run away to Italy forever? Italy, where I don't speak the language (buon giorno, grazie, and dove il Bancomat, per favore? don't count) and have no way to make a living? Is that zany enough? Maybe I'd better focus on goals that aren't so zany, like playing the piano, closing my practice, and managing our nest egg so that someday we can visit Italy, and other places too, whenever we like.

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one?

No, and no. The cell phone I have now can do everything except take out the garbage, but all I want it to do is take messages and let me make phone calls.

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?

I'm sorry...the only image this question brings up for me is, "Mmmm...that's great bass!"

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?

No. The operative term here is speech. Big girls and boys use their words. If Ensz is displeased with Musgrave's record, she has a perfect right to picket, make a speech of her own, write a letter to Musgrave or to the editor, and to support Musgrave's opponent in the next election. The English language offers numerous options for expressing one's opinion. And my opinion is, what looked like free speech to Ensz and that jury just looks tacky to me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And now a few words from Subliminal Woman

Like the rest of the RGBPs, I was excited warm about the board meeting in Atlanta this week and prayed that our stalwart leaders sunny would be refreshed in their fellowship and sense God's leading texas for the big event in 2008. I loved seeing the picture dallas that QG posted, and waited with bated breath austin for a report on the deliberations houston. The end of March, with Holy Week behind us san antonio, should present many people with a good opportunity fajitas to get away queso for a few days. I'm especially pleased that there will be a balance shiner bock between just kicking back enchiladas with the RGBPs, and involvement in spiritual formation/ministry-related activities margaritas for which we could earn some CEUs. The location bluebonnets won't be nearly so important lone star as the opportunity to be together, wherever it may be texas.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My first milestone!

Hey! Blogger says that post about Tessie was my 100th post!
Not bad for someone who wasn't sure she wanted to blog!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Here are some photos of our guest, Tessa Rose, the hedgehog. She sleeps during the day, and begins to stir around 10:00 P.M.

As you can see, she has a sweet little face. But those spines are sharp!
If you pick her up--no matter how gently--once the jumping and hissing subsides, she tries to curl up into a ball. As the Scientist says, her suspicion is understandable, since in her world, other creatures fall into two categories: those she can eat, and those that might eat her. We wondered how Amie would react to having her around, but Amie has shown no interest in her at all.
I think the real reason she doesn't like the Scientist is that he keeps calling her Spiny Norman.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Hasty suits me just fine on this busy day.

What are you:

1. Wearing
My fat pants, alas, and my favorite t-shirt with the palm tree on it (sale at Nordstrom, some years ago).
2. Reading
As usual, I have several things going at once. I finally finished Empress of the Last Days, by Jane Stevenson, which asks the question, what if we were able to find a direct descendant of the Stuart line, the rightful queen of England and Scotland--and what if she were a woman of color, an ecology professor in Barbados? It wasn't as good as the earlier books in the series, The Winter Queen and The Shadow King, but once I got into it, it kept me going. Others on the nightstand and coffee table include Dearest Friend by Lynne Withey (a biography of Abigail Adams), The Italians by Luigi Barzini, and the last of the three novellas in A Plague of Dreamers, by Steve Stern (with whom I share an alma mater). I recently finished his novel, The Angel of Forgetfulness, which I enjoyed. He writes about the American Jewish experience in a mystical, "magical realism" style.
3. Eating
Fewer carbs, more protein. Since we have an abundance of fresh basil, and a nice big slicing tomato, this morning I got some fresh mozzarella to make a big insalata caprese. Just layer alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella, sprinkle liberally with fresh basil, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (and a splash of balsamic vinegar, if you like). We ate this all over Italy, not just on Capri. It's fun when you have cherry tomatoes and the little mozzarella balls that are the same size.
4. Doing
I love Fridays when I'm not working. Today's agenda just includes household-related shopping and other errands, laundry, etc. etc. I'll also stop by the office to do a little paperwork, and visit a friend who's been in the hospital for about two weeks. Please pray that he can go home soon.
5. Pondering
Nothing very heavy. I am thinking about how to revitalize my private practice, which hasn't quite recovered from that long break I just took. But somehow, it always seems to pick up again after a lull like this.

P.S. We have a little house guest this week, Tessie the hedgehog. We like her more than she likes us. If I can persuade her to stop jumping and hissing at me long enough to have her picture taken, I'll post it over the weekend.

(Later: Inquiring minds want to know how we wound up with a hedgehog! Tessie is staying with us while her human family is in Hawaii. Her mama is the college-aged daughter of my friend Cindy.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fourth of July service

After another Fourth-of-July-weekend service including "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America", I am pondering the same issue I ponder every July: How, in corporate worship, can we express gratitude to God for the advantages and blessings we enjoy in the United States, and ask for God's blessing and guidance for our country and its leaders, without all the bombastic, non reflective flag waving?

I always dread the Fourth of July service because, at least where I live, it's hard to avoid the impression that not only is there no separation of church and state, but in addition, "state" is essentially synonymous with "the Republican party." I squirm when the Boy Scouts, much less a military honor guard, "troop the colors" into the church. (That didn't happen in the church we attend now, but it's de rigeur in some. The Scientist and I share a particularly appalling memory of watching ARMED GUARDS escort the flag up the aisle in one of our previous churches.)

Does a nation's flag really belong in a Christian church, anyway? If so, why?

Is it just me? Is it just that I live in one of the reddest counties of this (mostly red) state? Is my inner Mennonite coming out? I would really like some ideas about other ways of observing the Fourth of July in the church.