Sunday, August 31, 2008

Request from your Luddite friend:

If you receive a Facebook "friend" request from me, PLEASE feel free to ignore it. You won't hurt my feelings. I responded to one I received (setting up a Facebook account in the process) because I didn't want to hurt somebody else's feelings. So...since I have no experience with this sort of thing, can y'all please explain to me the advantages of participating in this? Do I really need another way to get sucked into the internet for hours at a time? I would appreciate all explanations and comments, pro and con.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Random rambling asterisks of the beginning of Labor Day weekend

...because I can't formulate a coherent F5 right now.

*Enjoyed the speech last night. I want one of those buttons that says, "My Heart Belongs to Hillary, But My Vote Belongs to Barack."

*I'm even more annoyed at the Republicans than I was yesterday. "Here, pick some random politician with two X chromosomes... OK, this one will do." I mean, I'm sure she's intelligent and capable, but the whole thing just brings out my cynical side.

*My friend Favorite Lurker and I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants today...upscale interior Mexican. The duck enchiladas, the tiny goat-cheese cheesecake, and the little bitty chocolate mousse cake with the Mexican vanilla ice cream were out of this world. One of the things I love about this place is the fact that they make their own chocolate--they roast and grind the cacao beans themselves, so anything they serve that involves chocolate or mole sauce is outstanding.

*Coping with the realities of caring for an elderly dog: I got one of those black lights that you can hold over the carpet and it shows you where all the pee stains are. Quite impressive. Depressing, though.

*Really depressing.

*We have gathered all of our Gustav supplies (which mostly are our leftover Edouard supplies). Pray for the folks in Lousiana and Mississippi, but please pray for us too. Nobody knows just where this thing might go once it enters the Gulf.

*The Scientist had to travel for part of this week, and will be away part of next week too. Amie seems a bit more confused and distracted than usual when he's gone. (Me too.) It's so good to have him home this weekend.

*We're looking forward to a couple of events in October. Our previous jaunts with Amie have been so enjoyable, we're taking her with us for a long weekend in the piney woods of East Texas, in an area known as the Big Thicket. (We might even take her canoeing with us!) But the weekend before that, company's coming!!

*OK, that's enough rambling. Have a relaxing and restorative weekend.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five: When is the Fourth Friday Not the Last Friday?

It's Friday afternoon, Eastern Time, and this is your faithful Songbird with a calendar-related Friday Five. Due to some confusion with our dates, I'm stepping in today, although I am usually here only on the 5th Friday, when there is such a thing.

Here are five things to ponder about dates. I hope you'll play!

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
I don't fool around with those newfangled electronic gizmos. I have a professional week-at-a-glance planner, with each day divided into fifteen-minute increments. My clients' complete names aren't in there, for confidentiality's sake, but I keep up with all of my appointments that way.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?
I don't know! I'll have to ask the Scientist if he remembers a time when I did.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?
Last Saturday night, to a great mom-and-pop Tex-Mex joint down the road. Isn't it fun to finally try a place you've driven past for years, and discover a new favorite? We enjoyed ourselves so much, we had no room to stop at the nearby paleteria for dessert!

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
In the early 80's, we and a number of our Houston friends all moved to California at about the same time, and would get together up and down the coast when we could. In those days there was a venerable old music store in San Francisco called Chickens That Sing Music. Some years later, after the store was gone, our friend George gave me his old Chickens t-shirt. I never wear it, because it's such a relic; I love to take it out occasionally and remember when we all were young adults, just beginning to make our way in the world.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?
I like them, but don't cook with them often, except to make my fruitcake cookies at Christmas. One of my favorite restaurants serves them stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon! Oh man, are they good!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Five: Fall Transformations

With a fine picture of a bowdark ball (bois d'arc or Osage orange, for you non-Texans) and a beautiful vase made from the wood of the bowdark tree, Mary Beth poses the pre-autumnal question:

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.
1. Choir break is over, and we are gearing up for fall. Some of our Advent/Christmas music is already in our folders! It will be here before you know it....
2. The long-awaited temperature change. Except for the ragweed, I love October in southeast Texas. I know summer is finally over when I feel that first hint of morning coolness, even though the temperature may still be up in the 80's in the afternoon.
3. On fall evenings, I finally get to wear my sweaters! Sweater season is so brief here, and all through fall and winter I have to resist the temptation to buy more.
4. The Scientist and a friend of ours will be teaching a new Sunday school class, Presbyterian 101. I'll help and sub as needed.
5. This is one I hope will happen this fall. I'm waiting to hear whether the agency where I work three days a week will have the funding to take me on for another day. If I can do that, I'll be that much closer to being able to close my practice. An unbloggable combination of managed care woes and frustrating office politics is deepening my desire to move on.

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.
Doing anything outdoors without being "wringing wet" within ten minutes! Fall (again, except for the ragweed) makes yard work, picnics, and hikes much more pleasant.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Old girl takes a tumble

My poor old Amie fell down the stairs last night! She was so thrilled that her daddy was calling her to take a WALK that she did a little dance, began to hurry downstairs, missed a step, and tumbled to the landing. We were horrified, but she got up, limping a bit, and insisted on going outside anyway. This morning she was still limping, and I took her to the vet to make sure she was OK. No serious harm done, but we are watching her closely, anyway.

Her arthritis seems to be getting worse, and sometimes we think she is starting to lose her hearing. (Other times we think she's saying, "Yeah, I hear you, all right--I just don't care.") She spends a lot of time in the closet now, not just during storms, and she has become a very sound sleeper. We're trying to keep her comfortable, and monitoring her troublesome liver enzymes. Her vet thinks she's in very good shape for such an old dog, so I pray we'll have her with us for a while longer.

I give up. It was a fun meetup.

I have been fighting with Blogger since this afternoon, trying to bring you this picture of Amy, her friend Jenny, and me (in the traditional RGBP stance) in front of a Santa Fe cafe last week. Photography is courtesy of the Scientist, who decided he didn't want to be in the picture. I have no idea why Blogger refuses to print this right side up (it looks just fine on iPhoto), but it has seen through all my attempts to trick it. So, Amy and Jenny, here we are, and we had a fine lunch...and if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know! :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Five: God Days of Summer

Thanks to dear PG for this cool Friday Five:

1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you?
I can't pick one. I remember long summer days roaming the neighborhood with my friend Joy, not coming home until supper time. I also remember going to the swimming pool and getting a big crush on an older boy named Philip (nothing ever came of that, of course). Singing "Under the Bamboo Tree" at camp, and high hilarity around the campfire when a girl got a bit too exuberant and her hot dog flew off the wire hanger on which it was being roasted, and disappeared! I'm laughing now, remembering that. You had to be there.

2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day.
Shorts and sandals. I remember a blue knit shorts set I enjoyed.

3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten?
Wonderful blueberries and strawberries, along with other summer fruits. Cantaloupe and blueberries make a fine fruit salad, all by themselves.

4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory.
Again, it's hard to pick just one. But I'm remembering a summer we went to Tacoma for a friend's wedding, then spent several days roaming around Seattle, the San Juan Islands, and Victoria, BC. Everything in Washington was green and lush--so different from summer in southern California, where we were living at the time--and Victoria was clean and neat, with flowers everywhere. I would love to go back to all of those places some day, especially the San Juans.

5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way?
A week ago we were hiking in the mountains above Santa Fe, enjoying the firs and aspens. The temperature was in the low 70's. It has probably been thirty years since I've been at an elevation high enough to walk among the aspens.

Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit?
Stay indoors in the AC, and read!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Calling all restless Presbies

Our Church Information Form has been posted. Email me if you know anyone who would be interested.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who Am I

My friend Darlyne sent this to our fellow choir members. This is a church group from Oslo, Norway; they are wearing white gloves and are in front of a black light. The song is "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns. Enjoy.

"Warn't much to it" my dad used to say. Edouard brought our side of town a steady, drizzly rain (thanks, Ed) with minimal wind. Now at 3:45, the sun has come out. Looking out at our patio, I note that a few pecans appear to be our only loss. However, there are lots left on the tree.

Our office was closed today, and I'm taking advantage of this free afternoon by writing a report. (I dawdled around this morning, or I could probably have written two reports.) I've downloaded all of our Santa Fe pictures, and do have some to share, as well as thoughts on the conference and a meetup report! I need to get this report done first, though. More later.

Thanks for all of your weather-related prayers. So far I haven't heard any reports of serious damage or injury.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My God for the other life that you have given my Soul
I thank you.
For the tranquility that you have given my soul
I thank you.
My God--the night is coming. You will close my eyes
Before the dawn.
And I--then I will paint new pictures for you, of the new
Earth and a new sky.

Marc Chagall, near the end of his life

(The painting is his Le Paradis.)