Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas...

came not four calling birds, but a really cute rendition of the Christmas story. The New Zealand accents multiply the cuteness factor by 100. Joseph and the Wise Men are my favorites.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music Monday - "Hey! Unto you is born a Savior!"*

* - from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Here is a slightly more polished version, brought to you - and you, and you, and you all - by Handel:


Monday, December 12, 2011

Music Monday - Advent III (Huron version)

Zoiks! It's Monday again. Where does the time go?

The song for this week is directly inspired by the "Wee Sing" Christmas tape that our family listened to when I was a child. Among all the usual Christmas favorites, there were songs that I had never heard before (and some have not been heard since). As a child, I enjoyed hearing songs from different cultures because they told the Christmas story in ways not always familiar to American ears. The songs were also an introduction to the Christian belief in the universal church. I understood the concept at the time like this: our brothers and sisters in Christ speak many languages, and don't always sing like German Lutherans. (Or, more crudely, not everybody speaks English and sings like WE do!) Some of the songs became favorites of mine - "Fum, Fum, Fum", the Spanish tune, is one.

The Huron Carol (also known as "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") was a particular favorite. Written for the Huron people in 1643 by a Jesuit priest and using a French folk tune, it is Canada's oldest Christmas song. The original Huron name is  "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). This version is sung in Huron, French, and English.

Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was born for the redemption of all the world!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tickled Pink

Pink. There will be lots of pink. And lace, bows, braids, skirts, and perhaps ballet shoes, too. Dolls. Storybooks about princesses and happily ever afters. Eventually she'll graduate to Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. High heels and cosmetics.

Of course, she could be a tomboy and fight her momma every time she has to wear a dress. Or instead of dancing she might want to play football. :) We'll love her no matter what.

She's one day old today. He who does not slumber nor sleep will keep watch over her all of her days. God bless you, CME! (It's kind of cool you have your uncle's initials. He loves you, too. :))

There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;-
Turn whereso'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

-William Wordsworth,  from"Ode On Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood" (Really? He couldn't think of a shorter title?)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday - Advent II

This is hauntingly beautiful. Our brothers and sisters in Christ from the Middle East need our prayers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just Because

I really can't watch this enough. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Monday - First Advent!

Many of my favorite hymns are from Advent. There's the beautiful "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People"; Yesterday at CJ's church the service ended with "Prepare The Royal Highway", which is so wonderfully majestic; "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" always captures the hope in which Israel (and we) wait; "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry" is my favorite of all of them.

"All praise, eternal Son, to Thee
Whose Advent sets Thy people free
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore."

-"On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry", verse 5.

Enjoy this clip from the Lessons and Carols service at my church two years ago. The kids still love singing "The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came" as much now as then. "Most highly favored LA-dy, GLORIA!"

Sing it, kids! It makes me smile - even after the successful root canal today. Thanks for all the prayers!

"The angel Gabriel from heaven came
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame:
All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady." Gloria!"

-"The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came", verse 1.

Reflections on Thanksgiving Weekend

-FYI. If you're ever in the Chicago area for Thanksgiving, don't worry if you need to do last minute grocery shopping the day of. There's plenty of places open. If you're looking for pie, however, make sure you want it. You'll spend four times the amount of time searching for it as getting everything else. Who's up for another pie-quest next year? Me. Oh yes, it IS good pie. Not Jessica-pie, but cherry and pumpkin pies from Whole Foods will do in a pinch. :)

-Reruns of old movies never get old. Unless it's an endless loop of The Phantom Menace.

-Football on Thanksgiving is a must. Green Bay-Detroit ended up being a good game this year...until the second half, when the Packers put up an old-fashioned whuppin' on the luckless Lions.

-Broccoli-cheese-rice casserole. Good stuff. Not too fond of all the chopping onions and celery, but next year I WILL have the vegetable slicer with me. Turkey breast? Even better. Moist...yummm. Dinner rolls with butter are wonderful. And fantastic California wine to top it off. There's still some left for New Year's!

- Go here. It's totally worth the atmosphere. Downtown lit up is, as ever, a great walking experience, too. Friday was a great day for strolling, too. Not too cold, but just brisk enough to get into the mood...

-CJ had been here before. I had not. It was perfect for a late afternoon/early evening meal. He had shepherd's pie, I had fish and chips. We left just as an extended family party was seating themselves in several tables around us. I lost count of how many kids there were. I got a mental picture of an E family gathering in about five years. Those kids will be better behaved, of course. :)

-Saturday was cold and rainy, rainy, rainy. Perfect for a day in writing, broken up by lunch at R, I almost got their macaroni and cheese. It looked scrumptious. Whether you want Italian, Asian or good American noodles, you can find it here. This was following by a quick trip to the bookstore where I made a tiny dent in Christmas shopping.

-Sunday: late service, where CJ read the first two lessons. Isaiah and Corinthians. Ah, Advent! Probably my favorite season of the church year - the hymns give it the edge.
Then we picked up lunch at Culver's (link not needed), watched some more football, then I headed off with the other half of America to go home. I-55, you are NOT my friend. But we've put up with one another for over a year now, so a little longer should be tolerable. Please try to be nice this year during winter. I won't mention last December.

-Hope all of you had an enjoyable and blessed weekend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music Tuesday

The past two Mondays have not been good. Yesterday wasn't bad. I just forgot it was Monday. Thursday being Thanksgiving, and all. God willing He lets me enter heaven, I'm going to learn to play this piece well.
This girl plays like a dream. I believe she's fourteen or so now.

Enjoy, and have a blessed Thanksgiving!  -BR

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To Pick A Movie To Watch When You're Sick (It's Not As Easy As It Seems)

Well, I'm dashed. Last week, it was an almost-but-not-quite root canal.  After three prescriptions and more metal objects being stuck into my mouth than anyone should go through in 90 minutes (and if you know my oral history, that is saying something) I went home after the dentist appointment with the thought, Well, next week will be better.


1:00 AM, Yesterday, Monday morning. Bathroom, light on. Pepto bottle out. No further details offered - or hopefully, needed.

Yesterday afternoon - lying on the couch. Finished reading Oliver Twist. Thought: Need to watch one of the many movies I have! This is when something amazing happened, although at this point it needs to stop being amazing to me. I checked my phone to see if anyone had called (in between reading Dickens, were lots of naps) and there was a text message from my boyfriend. He asked how I was doing and...if I was watching any movies. Great minds...
Anyway, he suggested several, all of which sounded promising. After the text conversation, I lay on the couch thinking about all the options. I'm going to go a little James Joyce here, so bear with me.

Sense and Sensibility? Ah, good. Light, funny. Nothing too loud, since I'll probably fall asleep during it. (No jokes from Bud or Dad inserted here, please. I had a fever.) Hmmm...maybe not. There's that scene where Marianne is really sick, don't really need to watch THAT now. Plus, I've kind of overdosed on English lit/history, what with Oliver still fresh in the brain. Now there's a kid who had lots of problems..

LOTR?(Lord of the Rings trilogy, FYI) Hmmmm. Good, long films. No worries about a constant background on the menu screen if I fall asleep. But...I just finished The Silmarillion last week. (Tolkien's epic backstory of LOTR) Not really in the mood for Middle Earth right now.

2006 World Series? (I have the set of all five games, plus games 5 and 7 from the NLCS that year) Hmmm. Better. No lit or English history there. But if I put in a game, I'll want to actually watch it. Even though I'll probably fall asleep. But really, I'll just be wishing it was the 2011 WS. David Freese can't hit that home run too many times.

Seriously, you really do think too much. It's a MOVIE. How hard can it be?

Okay. Focus. You've got lots of them, surely there's one of them that fits your mood right now. (I was also really weak yesterday, and it took a lot of motivation to get off the couch. I was moving slower than my grandparents. God bless them.)

Pride and Prejudice - thinking length here, never mind the English theme. Eh, not really feeling it. Chariots of Fire? Not today. The Lion King? Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea? Shadowlands? The Queen? Crap. More sickness/death. Can't do that. Gack, a lot of the movies in here have that stuff in them. I'd watch The Sound of Music, but, I just watched it! Ditto with Back To The Future. Star Wars? Luke whines too much.

Notting Hill? Too vapid. Sleepless in Seattle? Same thing. Clue?'s a comedy. With lots of dead bodies. Not the greatest thing to watch when you're feeling like death warmed over.

Now I was in the spare bedroom looking at them. And saw a DVD with a blank cover, smack in the middle of the shelf. I forgot I had that. It's been a long time. Yeah. What is it about being sick that makes you want to see those you love?

So the DVD of my sister's wedding played. There was comedy (part of the sermon) and sadness (there were people there who are no longer with us), but it was good. And yes, I slept though most of it. Peacefully, with a smile on my face.

I'm feeling much better today, but not totally over this. I hope all of you are well.


P.S. By the way, Sissy, do you have any idea how beautiful you were that day? You really were radiant. That's not to say you aren't now. You know what I mean. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bonfire Night

It's one of the names for this day in Great Britain. In 1605, Guy (Guido) Fawkes was captured in London as part of a conspiracy to blow up Parliament. (He, along with twelve others, had managed to put barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the building undetected.) He was later tried, convicted and executed as a traitor. Ever since, it has been the custom in the U.K. to burn Fawkes in effigy (hence the bonfires) and set off ridiculous amounts of fireworks to celebrate Parliament not being blown up. Some probably wish the conspirators had succeeded.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


My week just got a thousand times better. As Rachel Lynde said, "You're never safe from being surprised til' you're dead."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Music Monday - 95 Theses Edition

Yes, yes. I know. Happy Halloween to you, too.

Instead of a clip of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God", here is a more contemporary explanation of what happened on this day 494 years ago. WARNING - There is profanity in this clip. Not suitable for children.

Kudos to the creators of this song for mentioning Zwingli and Calvin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Monday - CARDINALS edition

There are so many different music clips I want to share with you. During the past week, I switched between several of my favorites. But today...forget it. There's only one thing on my mind.

Listening to Mike and John tonight on KMOX, I remembered listening to spring games this season all the way back in March, when the Cardinals were still in Florida. March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October. Who thought we'd be in Texas today?

An FYI for those who don't know - Gretchen Wilson, the singer of "Redneck Woman" (and, of course, "Redbird Fever") was born in Pocahontas, Illinois. She's a lifelong Cardinals fan.

Anyone else's throat get tight over the line "Me and Grandpa used to listen to Mike Shannon and Jack Buck"? Me too.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday - Yellow Edition

I don't know what the hand is supposed to represent, but this cover of Coldplay's song "Yellow" is a favorite. Very soothing.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Music Monday - October 12th Edition

Today is not October 12th. It is, however, the official federal holiday of Columbus Day. The real Columbus Day is the 12th. October 12th is also the birthday of someone all of you should know. He passed away several years ago, but his voice lives on. He was also Italian, like Christopher Columbus. Only way, way more popular. And as far as I know Luciano Pavarotti never made the mistake of thinking the Bahamas were India.

Vincero! Vincero! (I will win, I will win!)
Listen, but watch the clip as well. I love it when he smiles right before the end.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Music Monday - Cute Edition

 I hope everyone enjoys this clip. Stick around to the finish - you don't want to miss the grand finale!
And a very, very happy and blessed first birthday to JRS!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Monday - for Mom

Happy Birthday Mom! It was lovely - or rather - loverly to see you this weekend!

About this English girl, she's rather good. Someone should cast her in a movie, don't you think?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Unbroken One

Oh God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.
You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob!
Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down
those who rise up against us.
For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.

-Psalm 44:1-8


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twenty-Two Pages

Every month I have to write twenty-two pages. This will continue for the next year, roughly. If I don't get the pages in for next month I won't get an English breakfast. That may not seem like much to you. Me, I like fried eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms; bacon, sausage, baked beans, hash browns and toast. And, of course, tea. I'm neutral on kippers.

The writing is for the book I want to write. Young adult fiction, dystopian world. If there's ever going to be a hope of it being published, then I have to finish it first. :) There will still be periodic updates to the blog. Just wanted to give all of my readers (all of whom I can count on one hand) an update.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Music Monday

For friends, both old and new.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Music Mondays

This week's clip is for Beach Week.

For those of you who don't know, I have loved Celtic music for nearly my entire life. It began when I saw this movie as a youngster, living in eastern Kentucky. I fell in love with real Celtic music. Namely, the Chieftains. To date, the only concert I have ever paid money to see was their last stop on their 40th anniversary tour of North America. It was in Columbus.

I blame Paddy Moloney (the founder and leader of the Chieftains) for my first speeding ticket. But that's another story..

Along with the Chieftains, this film displayed so many character actors - Oliver Reed as "Captain" Billy Bones (he played Proximo in Gladiator); Peter Postlethwaite as George Merry; Julian Glover as Dr. Livesey; Christopher Lee as Blind Pew (he played Saruman in the Lord of the Rings films), Clive Wood as Captain Smollet, James Cosmo as Redruth, Richard Johnson as Squire Trelawney...

If Jack Sparrow showed up in this movie, he wouldn't last ten minutes. Any of the other characters from the Pirates franchise wouldn't last two. Treasure Island is the real deal. Charleton Heston was deliciously eeeeeeeeevil as Long John Silver. Blind Pew and his tapping stick still makes the hair on the back of my neck go up. I had a crush on the kid who played the narrator and main character, Jim Hawkins. He grew up to be Batman - Christian Bale. There will be future adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel, but it will be hard to top this one.

Here's to adventure, and the beach! Arrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Don't Know

if anyone actually clicks on the links to the shared blogs. I just did on someone else's blog, to a blog I had never read before. And I laughed. Hard.

And then I realized that one of the writers of this other blog is (I'm fairly certain) married to the pastor of the neighboring parish. Who I've met at least once.

Welcome to the Lutheran World. Everyone knows everyone else, even in BlogWorld.

Blog is a funny word, innit? (As the Brits say.)

It's my blog, so I can blog what I want to, blog what I want to, blog what I want to...

You would blog too if it happened to you.

Great. Now I'm making up my own lyrics to '60s classic songs. Time for bed.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Music Monday


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'd add "and Ends" to the title, but that wouldn't describe the post. Besides, the middle more accurately describes life at this point.

Some of the searches made on Google this evening:

Charleston South Carolina
Charleston attractions
Mapquest (to get rough directions from Georgetown to Charleston - yes, I'm officially excited about the trip!)
Milford Track
John Mills (the actor - Hayley Mills' father. He played the father in Swiss Family Robinson)

It was a lovely evening for a walk. The new bike path is my new favorite place. It's all the trees. It's going to be gorgeous in the autumn. Not that I want it to start right away - I can wait a few months!

There's still a lot of summer left. It's going to be fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun. :)


Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday...and More!

Considering that in roughly two weeks another adventure awaits, it's now or never if I'm going to get caught up in posts.

Rewind to Memorial Day weekend...

After landing in Austin on Saturday morning, D picked me up at the airport. She had to work that afternoon (she's a massage therapist), but we had time to go to her house and drop off my stuff and say hello to her husband, M. He was busy patching a tiny hole in their swimming pool - which was good, considering how hot it was. Not a humid heat, just dry, but it was in the mid-to-upper '90s. In May. Welcome to Texas!

D wanted to try out an Indian restaurant around the corner from her work for lunch. M, apparently, is willing to eat Indian food, but isn't a big fan. It was a great place. I forget the name of the flatbread that they provided as an appetizer, but it's the sort of thing that's really hard to stop eating. There were a number of different restaurants and stores around the area.

After lunch, D went to work and I wandered around the shopping complex. After a bit, I went in and D gave me a massage. That's one advantage to having a good friend give a massage - it's really easy to relax. Not like being around a stranger. I knew it was good because I almost fell asleep. :)

D had a short break once mine was done, so we went to Starbucks. Surprise. M came and picked me up then and we went back to the house. Their living room was really cozy, covered in posters and pictures of castles in Germany (from M's travels) and Japanese screens (D's interests), and of course, lots of books and pictures of their families. M and I had an interesting conversation about what looks like a deep freeze in their kitchen. It was a deep freeze - until M put four big tanks inside and rigged the outside with four buttons. Each pours out a different drink. They put soda and M's different homemade beers inside. M said he would have put more than four options on it, but there wasn't room.

When D got home after work, we went out to a late dinner at their favorite Tex-Mex place. It was packed (even late), but we didn't have to wait too long to sit. That was really good food, too. Indian, Starbucks, Tex-Mex. God Bless America. :)

In the morning, we hustled to D & M's church. We got there in plenty of time for the service, but my friends wanted to make sure that I got to speak to their pastor beforehand. It seems he's one of those old-fashioned Lutheran pastors who, you know, actually want to follow the Lutheran Confessions and abide by (gasp) close communion. D introduced me as a friend from her previous church, and the pastor looked at me, asked some questions, and that was that. It felt slightly like going to a very brief version of public examination, but it was a good thing. It's good to be reminded of the reverence of the Lord's Supper. Not that I'm irreverant the rest of the year, but - oh, you know. Too often I'm on autopilot on Sundays. The other difference at their church is that they do NOT use LSB. Nope, it was the good ol' red hymnal (or blue, depending on who you talk to) a/k/a TLH. My only disappointment was that we didn't go to early service, and missed Matins. I adore Matins from TLH. And....another post on that. :)

When we got home, D and I got into the pool. This was reaaaaaaallllly nice. The temperature was perfect. We couldn't stay in there all afternoon, though. There was an invitation to go to a couple's house for a barbeque. It was really fun (they actually grilled outside and the rest of us stayed inside because of the heat) and we stayed until almost midnight. It was mostly playing the Wii. Taking turns on this, I did fairly well for someone who's pretty bad at video games. There's something entertaining about watching other people do it. What was interesting to me (other than meeting strangers) was just being in a nice house (like the Glenwood house, for those of you who remember) owned by people who are my age. Still not used to that. And not used to people who don't discipline their Great Danes. But it was a good evening on the whole. Just better when they shut the dogs in another room.

On Monday (Memorial Day), D and I went into Austin. We went by the big visitors center, then walked in the heat to the Statehouse. Being Memorial Day, there were several events going on there. We missed the ceremonies, but got there in plenty of time to hear a lot of music from an a capella men's chorus in the rotunda. We climbed up to the fourth floor and just listened for a while. One of the best pieces was a medley of the different military service songs. When they sang part of "Anchors Aweigh", people clapped and cheered for the Navy. When they started singing, "The Caissons Go Rolling Along", same for the Army. And of course for "The Marines' Hymn". But when they started singing "Off we go into the wild blue yonder...", everybody really roared. This was Texas, after all. The space program came there. The astronauts, as anyone who's watched The Right Stuff will know, are pilots. I'll admit to a preference towards the Air Force. And yes, I was glad to hear it on Memorial Day. Thinking of you, Major.

We exited the building on the opposite side from where we went in. The grounds of the Texas Statehouse are really beautiful - lots of trees, and a wide assortment of flora and fauna. There are also lots of statues - many of which are dedicated to the "Lost Cause", the Confederacy. D and I ended up talking about the Civil War for awhile. We talk about anything.

Leaving the Statehouse, we walked to Sixth Street. This is the famous street in Austin that has many of the bars, clubs, honky-tonks, etc that make Austin the "Live Music Capital". We went into a music store that sold both kitschy tourist items and authentic instruments, as well as local art. Really cool place. After spending a couple of hours walking around downtown, we finally found an open restaurant. Usually, this would not be difficult. But on a federal holiday, it was. It felt like the only restaurant that was open (this was after we went into a hotel to ask for an open place to eat). By that time, I would have gone into the greasiest-looking place just to get into some air-conditioning. D said I looked like a tomato. I felt like a fried egg. After a long lunch (Tex-Mex again), a lot of water and plenty of AC, we went out again. We walked back in the direction of the Statehouse, stopped to go into Saint Mary Cathedral, then went back to the car. But we didn't leave downtown.

D found a club that had live music. It was still early for that sort of thing - just around 5 PM. But that meant we were some of the first in the door. The group that was performing was called Anam Mila. Two guys and a girl. The girl was phenomenal - she sang the lead, played the guiter, and for a couple of songs, played the violin. When she was trying out the sound system, to warm up, she sang "Sing" by the Carpenters. It sounded really mellow. How do you not like that? :) Then we went back to the house. We didn't stay up too late, because D had to take me to the airport at 4 am on Tuesday.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Good friends, good food, good city. I'll definitely go back again!

On to another subject that's slightly related to Austin. Music! I've wanted to post video clips of different songs and performances but only recently figured out how to do it. I'll do my best to post interesting clips on Mondays. I'll be posting a lot more videos in general, on any day. I like too much music to confine myself to one day. :)

I don't know if the Man in Black every performed in Austin (he probably did at some point), but this is a song I heard on some out-of-the-way country station (that is, NOT top-40) coming back from Chicago a couple of months ago. It's just fun. Enjoy!


Friday, July 8, 2011

On To California!


Sorry for not updating about the other adventures (yet), but I just wanted to leave you with this video.

THANK YOU AGAIN Bud and R for showing me how to do this!

And THANK YOU Boyfriend for introducing me to the VlogBrothers! This video is Hank, talking to John, for those who don't know.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This One's For You, Bud...

I think Teddy is related, don't you think?



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random thuRsday

Coffee chip cookies.

Catching up with friends over a cold one.

Laugh out loud funny movies.

PJC is three. TOMORROW!!!

Eat garlic bread with spaghetti. It makes it so much better. Eat a bunch of salad before, and the guilt over the carb content goes down astronomically.

Walking in the sun.

Is it really summer? Doesn't feel like it.

Text messages that feel like hugs.

Oh yeah, I've given up caffinated soda again. There's isn't really an "end date" for it, either.

Has anyone seen Spamalot? I heard the first couple songs on the soundtrack a while ago, and it sounds hilarious.

How do you comfort someone when you can't understand their loss? It's not as if you're trying to be mean, or blow it off, but what if the grief is outside of your experience?

How do you gently let someone know that just because you are polite to them, and occasionally ask how they're doing, it does not mean you want to be intimate friends?

Why does a glass of cold milk taste so good before bed?

If a book is good enough, the reader won't notice anything going on around him. Even if he's sitting at a coffee shop underneath the El. :)

Have you ever looked at yourself - your physical body - and said, "There's things about it I don't like, but thank you, God, for making me this way!"

I used to not like being short.* Or having small hands. I didn't like the shape of my face, either. It's not that my opinion's changed, it's just that I don't feel like my opinion matters.

They WERE doing so well - can someone remind the Redbirds how to win? Still my team, but sheesh...

Feeling relaxed, going to go to bed. 'Night, all.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Kid Named Brody

This is something that happened Memorial Day weekend, and I'd like your opinion.

I flew to Austin Saturday morning, May 28th. It was a continuing flight, with the second leg being from Dallas to Austin. When we landed in Dallas, most of the people got off the plane. I took the chance to move from a center seat to the window. When the flight to Austin was boarding, a man named Justin took the aisle seat. Then Dana took the middle seat in the aisle in front of me.

"Sit right there." She gestured to the empty seat between Justin and me. And there he sat. Brown hair. T-shirt, shorts. A kid. He couldn't figure out how to buckle his seat belt. I did it for him. Shortly after that (a few seconds) he started talking.

"Hi! My name's Brody," he said to Justin, extending a tiny hand. Justin looked surprised, but pleased. "I'm Justin, nice to meet you." They shook hands. Brody turned left. "My name's Brody, nice to meet you!"

"I'm Amilia," I said, shaking his hand (it amazes me how small kids' hands are). Well, someone deserves credit for teaching him proper introductions.

Brody kept talking. "I'm six years old. I'm going to see my grandparents. I live Dana!" He knocked on the back of the seat in front of him. The blonde woman turned around. "Dana, where do I live?" Amarillo, apparently.

The one-sided conversation continued through the rollback, take-off and after. When the flight attendant came by as we were rolling along to the runway, Justin and I were told "if the masks come down, put your own masks on first, then help him." She gestured to Brody. I felt slightly odd. Not that wouldn't have helped him, but...I didn't know him. Was he my, or Justin's, responsibility? While flying from Dallas to Austin, yes.
During take-off, I pulled out gum. Brody asked for some, but I wasn't sure if Dana (whoever she was) would appreciate a six-year-old accepting gum from a stranger. After asking her, I gave Brody a piece of gum. He chewed enthusiastically.

My original plan had been to write. But scribbling away in a notebook with Brody two inches away was not going to happen. He told me more things - about visiting his grandparents, his mom's phone number (I promptly forgot it, and made a mental note to tell my sister to give my nephew the Do Not Talk To Strangers speech earlier rather than later), the fact that he didn't know his dad's phone number, his dad was on the plane, his dad was going to marry Dana...

Ah. So THAT'S who she is. And what was that? His father's on the plane?

While Brody scribbled in my notebook (with my permission), I looked at this cute kid. Nice, friendly. Pretty well behaved, despite the fact that he hadn't learned to not talk to strangers. But that's a hard thing to do (or not do) on a plane. I started to get angry. Then I tried to not feel angry. After all, this child was sitting between two friendly, responsible, stable adults. Justin had two kids. (Brody asked him if he had any, and asked me as well.) And in a very short time we were all going to get off the plane and go in separate directions and most likely, never see each other again.

But his father was on the plane. And his father's fiancee. And neither one was sitting next to Brody.

Am I overreacting? I've been told I am. Maybe I am. Dana was sitting right in front of him.

It's just this - I know what I would have done if Brody had been my responsibility getting on the plane. I would have asked for two seats. And I would have sat next to him. Even if he had been talking my ear off since the early morning.

As everyone walked out of the terminal, I saw Brody, walking with Dana and his dad. And I thought, If anything happens to him, I'm going to find you and kick your butt.

Your thoughts, please. Overreaction?


Monday, June 6, 2011

To Whet Your Appetite

Or not, because for all I know nobody cares about my blog. :) It's been busy the last couple of weeks. Chicago two weekends ago, Austin, TX for Memorial Day weekend, and last weekend was spent clea-making a bigger mess at home. And dealing with a sudden, very unexpected and VERY UNWELCOME 12 hour bug. But I'm better now, don't fret! So here's some things for you to chew on, and to ease my own conscience for not blogging earlier.

-Comfort dogs. See Mom's blog for this. Man's Best Friend, indeed.

-Anam Mila. Live band, seen in Austin.

-Tex-Mex. It's not just beans. (Hey, if someone takes that as a tagline for their restaurant, can I sue for intellectual property infringement? Legal advice needed...)

-Indian food. Like, from India. If you haven't had any recently (or ever) it's worth a shot. Some of it's really, really spicy (for those who like that sort of thing, wink, nudge) and some of it is more, er, palatable.

-TLH. The Hymnal Before LSB. Some churches still use it, although I missed the Matins service, alas...

-Good friends. Good for anytime, but especially if you haven't seen them in a while.

-Albert Pujols homers. No comment necessary.

-Colossians, chapter three.

-Who knew the Comanches had their own empire? I didn't, until recently. Sometimes it pays to impulse buy a book at an airport. (Sorry, Dave R.)

-Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. Princess Peach hardest hit.

-Joplin. Still praying, and will continue on.

-Family this weekend! 'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"What then shall we say to these things?"

Last weekend, I went to Chicago. It was my boyfriend's birthday on Saturday - lots of jokes about the end of the world, etc. Since he had stubbornly refused to give me any hint about what he wanted as a gift, I got him tickets to the White Sox-Dodgers game. He isn't a huge fan, but hey - baseball games are always fun! Unless the team I'm rooting for loses. Which didn't happen on Saturday. The SouthSiders cleaned up on the boys from L.A, 9-2. (If they were still in Brooklyn I'd be a lot more sympathetic to them.) After the game, we headed for downtown and had dinner (Boyfriend's choice) on Wabash at a place called Flat Top Grill. Good, goooood stuff. And the dessert was better. Mom, you'd like the chocolate. :)

Sunday was church, where for the first time we sat in the balcony. At my church, this is a regular occurance. Not so much at his - but the school kids were singing, and he had to supervise. As far as I could tell, there were no shenanigans. That must mean Boyfriend is effective with discipline. :)  After church, we drove around until we found a place where we could sit outside and have lunch. It ended up being an Irish pub. Good eats, again.

Then it started raining, which meant it was time to go home.

I usually spend a lot of the time driving home on the phone. It's a good time to catch up with family. I did so this time, first with my sister. Then I called my parents. We were well into the conversation when there was this exchange:

Mom: "Do you hear that?"
Me: (hearing nothing but wind going by my car at 65+ on the highway) "Uh, no. What?"
Mom: "The sirens are going off."
Me: "Oh." (presses phone harder to ear) "I think I hear them now."
Mom: "Your father is saying we need to go downstairs."
Me: (thinking, Why are you still on the phone?): "Are you going?"
Mom: "Yep. Just getting my shoes on. I'll call you back after, okay?"
Mom: "Love you too. Bye!"

Well, it wasn't a false alarm, like so many are. It wasn't a "conditions are ripe for a tornado so this is a precaution" type storm. Mom called back, and she and Dad were fine, as was their home. Many others could not say the same. Today is Thursday, May 26, and by now the entire planet knows what happened Sunday evening in the middle of America. There is nothing to add.

"You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you...For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."   -Psalm 91:5-7, 11

"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"               -Romans 8:24-32

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Writing and Blogging

I intended to blog about it earlier, but...other things took priority. I started attending monthy meetings of a local writers' group back in February. They were (although not the only) impetus for me to finally start actually writing a story that has been banging around my head for several years. At the meetings, people bring samples of their work. Someone other than the writer reads the sample aloud, then everybody gives their two cents. At the first meeting, what struck me was how constructive and encouraging everyone was. This is not a group that tears everybody down. They find the best in the writing and seek to make it better. They give positive suggestions to make improvements. Seeing this type of feedback in action was a huge confidence booster - not the less because one of the most terrifying experiences a writer can have is to have work read, and the audience rip it completely to shreds.

Anyway, the BookEnds (as the group is known) have another meeting next Wednesday. Which means I have the rest of this week and the beginning of next to finish and edit the next section. Sorry if this means my blog suffers...

As for the weekend proper, a rather large chunk of it will be dedicated to cleaning. And you all know how much I love that.

Oh, and for those of you who may not know, there are five BookEnds who have been/will be published. So we're not all novices.

Happy Thursday!


Monday, May 9, 2011

It Just Goes To Show

That I should read my linked blogs before posting a new post. This one's for you, Pablum's wife. I was super excited the first time I made bacon and didn't burn it. This was probably the thirty-seventh attempt. I was living in my duplex the first time this happened. (Going on two years here. The previous five years were spent in a one-bedroom apartment. My old landlords were probably relieved when I moved out. On the other hand, the smoke detectors were always in perfect working order.)

Anytime anyone wants to watch The Big Bang Theory, I will. Sheldon is one of the those so-annoying-you-want-to-slap-him-repeatedly-but-can't-get-enough-of-watching-him characters. How I Met Your Mother is also a funny show, in my humble opinion. Not that I've watched either show recently. YouTube is a wonderful thing.

Bells, Chocolate Ice Cream, And Ceiling Fans

I didn't know Maury Povich was still on the air (other than re-runs, that is). How many episodes can he make "You are NOT the father!" into? A lot, apparently.

Is it optimistic to assume the ratings from the show come entirely from doctors' offices?

On Sunday at late service the entire congregation under the age of three was making a racket like I haven't heard for a long time. Happy Mothers' Day, indeed.

What's better than sitting outside on the patio on a lovely spring day in the sun? Sitting there with someone you love. :)

Whoever founded Cold Stone Creamery is evil, and they must be destroyed. Chocolate ice cream, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....................

The world's largest exporter of cocoa is Cote d'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast. Cocoa Coast doesn't have the same ring. I learned the tidbit about cocoa exports during one of the frequent trips up and down I-55. NPR is good for some things.

Isn't listening to bells in church like hearing an echo of heaven? The bell choir played a version of "God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It!". They rang the eighth notes.

Our district president preached on Sunday. When he was a vicar, he lived in an apartment on the top floor of my grandmother's house. He said that "She was a special lady. She was taken too soon." True.

It didn't feel like spring this past weekend. It felt like summer. It's supposed to be above 90 tomorrow. The air's not on yet. The fans are going, though. I like the white noise almost as much as the cooler air.

What is the expiration date on t-shirts? After church, I wore an old t-shirt the rest of the day. And only noticed when I went to bed that it has a tiny hole in it.

Who's up for picking a fight with the Navy SEALs? Anybody? No? Bueller?

Here's to the happy shrieks of nephews heard secondhand over the phone.

Have a good week, everybody. Go Cards!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Because It's Just Too Geeky NOT to say

As seen on London's Daily Telegraph website today: "May the fourth be with you".

Thirty-four years ago today, the original Star Wars movie was released. According to the DT, the five most beloved characters in the saga are: 1) Han Solo 2) Darth Vader 3) Princess Leia (bad hair and all) 4) Chewbacca and 5) Yoda.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Death Of Ignorance

It's been almost twenty-four hours since the news of Osama bin Laden's death was announced. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I am glad the Navy SEALS caught up with him. I am glad that some Americans celebrated publicly (understandable). I am glad that politically, this act "sends a message" to terrorists worldwide - namely, that the United States will catch you eventually. How this squares with fundamentalist Islamic terrorists who welcome death, I don't know. I don't know how effective it will be. I think the fact that the head of al-Qaeda spent his last moments hiding behind women is very telling. I think this fact should be spread as often, and as broadly as possible.

I was not surprised that he was found and killed in Pakistan.

I do not think that this ends anything militarily. If anyone thinks so, they are either delusional or not paying attention.

This morning, while listening to the local radio morning show crew discuss the news, it was not surprising that they seemed more contemplative than euphoric. That's how I feel. Does this really change anything? By this afternoon, there was already a lot of talk that "the next big thing" could be coming to America or Europe, out of retaliation for bin Laden's death. Which brings me back to the morning radio show.

These are people who rarely, if ever, talk about politics. Their hours on air are devoted to mostly trivial things involving celebrities. (Lest anyone think that this is the pot calling the kettle black, I know that I spent a ridiculous amount of space on this blog describing the royal wedding. It's not wrong to talk about those things. It is wrong for people to wholly devote themselves and all their time to keeping track of those things. Exhibit A: Ryan Seacrest. Digression over.)
One of the women on the show said something to the effect of "Well, Osama's dead, but there's always another Osama out there!" If she said it, how many people could be thinking it? A lot.

I don't want anyone to misunderstand: I am glad he is dead. Wanting salvation even for an enemy does not mean I think he should have been excused from the earthly consequences of his actions.

But I'm not euphoric. It would have been different if this had happened five years ago. But in a strange way, maybe it's better that it didn't happen earlier. On the whole, Americans have short memories. It may have lulled us into a false sense of security. I think it will take a lot longer for people to be lulled. For example:

2004 - the bombings in Madrid
2007 - the London bombings
2009 - the protests in Iran
2010-present - the protests/upheaval/government overthrows in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, JordanKuwaitSaudiArabiaLebanon, etc. etc. etc.

And that's not the half of it. Or counting the natural disasters that have happened in the last decade.

Almost ten years ago, members of al-Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, destroyed the bubble America was living in. They forced us to face reality. And the reality is that evil is never wholly defeated. There will be a Day when that comes. But the human race has no power to bring it about. Those who believe that the natural order of the universe is one of peace and tranquility are wrong.

The image of a peaceful world ended for Americans almost ten years ago. The death of one man will not bring back blissful ignorance. However, as Christians, there is no need to be in "the depths of despair" as Anne Shirley said.

The Psalm is apt for today, Psalm 146:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

The first verses of the Old Testament Reading today are these (Exodus 22:20-24)

Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction. You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.


Friday, April 29, 2011


By the time I ate breakfast and showered, the police had let everyone into the Mall (the avenue leading down to Buckingham Palace). Apparently, not everyone went on spring break. It looks like a beehive now.

As The World - sorry, women in the Western world watch, my comments

Got up to see David and Sam(antha) Cameron arrive. The wife isn't wearing a hat. That's not the norm at these types of events. Sometimes the camera will focus on a woman, all who seem to be wearing hats. Many of them seem to wear them at angles that make it impossible to see their faces.

The groom and his brother arrive. Harry's got a more fancy looking uniform, but William's is bright red. It makes sense - he's the man of the hour. Not that anyone will notice anything he or anyone else is wearing once the bride appears. The BBC informs me that the groom is wearing the uniform of the Irish Guards.

Oh, it isn't raining right now. Yesterday there was rampant speculation that it would be pouring all day. Now they're calling for spotty showers. It's good that it held off. Imagine Kate (sorry, Catherine) arriving in a downpour. No good for any bride!

Now the princes have gone off with someone behind the gate. Of course William will be the last person on the planet to see his bride. But it's like that at everyone's wedding. But most people don't have strangers live-blogging their weddings at 4 AM local time.

Still haven't decided if this makes me a history fanatic, or just weird. I'm sure I'll read this in twelve hours and say, "Of course you're weird!"

The European royals bus. The Queen of Spain, the Crown Prince of the Netherlands, et. al. all rode together. You wonder if they compare notes on previous occasions. "Well, at the Duke of Gloucester's wedding in 1969, the bride's aunt got sick in the middle of the ceremony!" or stuff like that.

The bride's mother and brother arrive. Nothing against the mother (I like her hat, it's more understated), but I think the dress my mother wore at Sissy's wedding was more beautiful. As is my mother. No bias here...

The inside of Westiminster Abbey is beautiful all bare, even without any decorations. Today, of course, it's covered in decorations.

The minor British royals all show up by bus, too. By "minor", I mean the Queen's cousins and more distant relatives. Unlike the foreign royals, I suppose they're used to being put in a group together.

Choirboys marching in. Almost time...

Princess Anne and husband, Prince Andrew and daughters (but no ex-wife), Prince Edward and wife Sophie all arrive together. Her Maj should be along soon, along with the Prince of Wales. Edward and Sophie's daughter, Louise, is one of the bridesmaids. As the youngest female cousin William has, she was bound to be in the wedding.

The groom's father and stepmother arrive. Nice cheer from the crowd. Can't help wondering the reaction if William's mother was here today. Everyone's wondering that. Diana is still very much missed.

The groom's grandparents, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen arrive. She's wearing a lovely pale yellow dress. Suits her well.

Trumpets as Elizabeth II enters the abbey.

Not long to wait now.

Big year for the Queen. First great-grandchild born, Prince William getting married, and her husband turns 90 later this year. Another grandchild, Zara is getting married too. Princess Anne's daughter. She's very close to her grandmother, as she's an athlete - an equestrian? Not sure how to spell it, or describe it. She rides horses. The Queen is a really into horse sports too. She went to the Kentucky Derby for the first time a couple of years ago. This year, or so I've heard, two other people will make their Derby debuts. They're in good company. :)

Awwww......the bridesmaids and pageboys arrive with the bride's sister, the maid of honor. In Britain bridesmaids are young girls normally.

The bride and her father are in the building. Reeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllly like her dress! Not too much. Going down the aisle...

Ha ha! Harry sneaked a look before William. Probably wants to let him know when he can turn around.

At the front. First hymn is "Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah". The congregation sings it as "Gee-hee-vah." Really. And it looks like someone planted trees inside the Abbey. Lot of work there.

The vows are done. No stumbles. Both the bride and groom were a bit quiet, but no matter. Another hymn now, not sure what it's called. The choir's doing a beautiful descant. One thing's for sure, the music is grand!

"Do not be conformed to this world..." Love this passage. The bride's brother is reading. Surely he's nervous. It sounds like he practiced, too. Good thing.

Choir's singing again. They make it sound so easy...

An address (or sermon) was given. Most of it was pretty good. I'm consistently surprised by the amount of times Jesus Christ as Lord is referenced. There is still a church in Britain.

Choir singing again. The BBC informs me that Prince William and Catherine will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Reminds me of a couple I know who met in Cambridge. :)

Ah! The hymn "Jerusalem". Great song!

More prayers, then "God Save The Queen". I always like when the camera goes to her during that song. She's the only one not singing, which is proper. By the way, I can't stand it when people applaud someone and the person (or people) they are applauding, applaud as well. You're not supposed to do that! Applauding yourself is a form of narcissism. Okay, I'll stop sermonizing now.

The pastor who gave the address said that "every wedding is a royal wedding". While this is true from a Christian perspective, the vast majority of weddings don't come with millions-strong audiences, trumpet fanfares, or world-class choirs to sing along. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The choir thing, anyway. That would be nice. Don't really want the other stuff.

The wedding couple and parents and witnesses have gone off to sign the various registers.

Back now. Another song, trumpet fanfare, and the Duke and Duchess reappear. On their way back down the aisle. I do love her dress.

They're outside. Wild cheers. I wondered who had William's hat. Of course, a horse-drawn carriage. Everyone arrived here by car. Bells pealing madly!!

A stylish carriage, with two footmen on the back. Somehow I think I remember reading Catherine's allergic to horses. Wonder how that works...

The Queen, still inside, the Abbey, is smiling broadly. She just had a birthday recently. Happiness all around.

The couple has made it to the Mall. Thousands outside. Still no rain - and the sun's actually shining now!

The carriages have arrived at Buckingham Palace. An appearance on the balcony is next. I think.

Behind the carriages, more buses. Some enterprising person who's riding a bus should make t-shirts that say "I Got Invited To The Royal Wedding, And All I Got To Ride Was A Bus!"

The Queen, Prince of Wales, et. al. have arrived.

I've seen clips from Charles and Diana's wedding, and then it looked like the Mall was packed with people. Today, not so much. Everyone else must have gone on spring break.

I'd write more, but I really need to get ready for work now. As for the balcony appearance, I predict it will go something like this: They came, they saw, they waved, they kissed, they waved, they left.

Everybody have a great day! Thanks for indulging my rambling.


Yes, I'm Awake Now.

Nine years ago, I spent three happy months in the United Kingdom. British history is something that has interested me for a long time. Miss this? Are you kidding?

Monday, April 18, 2011


In cash. That's enough reason to go through old cards. Found last Saturday...

If I find any more, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Night at the Theatre

There's a yellow rose on my kitchen table tonight, and there's a story behind it.

On April 13th, 1909, a civic arts theatre was opened in a small town in southwestern Illinois. Seventy-five years later, it closed. Another quarter of a century passed until, with the support of the local community, a team of dedicated citizens reopened the Wildey Theatre. It re-opened tonight, and I was there. The mayor gave a speech, oversize checks were presented, a short film was shown, and the local high school kids sang a couple of great songs from the musical Hairspray. One of them was "You Can't Stop The Beat!"

They brought the house down, those EHS students. They were really good - and anybody who reads this blog who remembers the shows at PHS (Go Tigers!) that is saying something.

The film that was shown was a sort of mini-documentary. There were pictures from the past, and a lot of interviews with local folks. It sounds like a lot of people had their first dates at the Wildey. Some memorable quotes from the evening:

The president of Friends of the Wildey: "The best fund-raiser was held last fall at the high school. The kids put on a performance that raised $10,000. What moved me was watching a group of young people work so hard to save a building that hadn't been open their entire lives."

Another quote from the tuxedo-wearing gentleman (complete with bow tie): "When the Wildey opened on April 13, 1909, the local paper reported that man in charge of the organization wore a tuxedo and 'every lady received a yellow rose'. After I came across that tidbit in the archives, I thought 'We have to do that!' And so every woman who walked in the door this evening was given a yellow rose!"

Among the upcoming events at the theatre are local music groups, stage productions and films set to be shown. The first film on the bill? Singin' In The Rain. (Sissy, I wish you were here. We'd totally go.) The next? Another classic, Casablanca. And lest anyone think old movies are going to be the only ones played, think again. Also upcoming are The Dark Knight and The Matrix. (Bud, I thought of you when I saw that. No idea why.)

I think I just found my new (old?) favorite place to go for something different.

Just a Note

I don't know why all of a sudden my posts have started being published all squished together. No matter how I space things, everything is put together. I swear I didn't change any settings. If someone knows anything about this, please help me. Right now it looks terribly unprofessional. Thanks. -BR

1861: And so it began, in Charleston

April 12th. Anderson will not capitulate. Yesterday's was the merriest, maddest dinner we have had yet. Men were audaciously wise and witty. We had an unspoken foreboding that it was to be our last pleasant meeting...I do not pretend to be asleep. How can I? If Anderson does not accept terms at four, the orders are, he shall be fired upon. I count four, St. Michael's bells chime out and I begin to hope. At half-past four the heavy booming of a cannon. I sprang out of bed, and on my knees prostrate I prayed as I never prayed before...Certainly fire had begun. The regular roar of the cannon, there it was. And who could tell what each volley accomplished of death and destruction? Mary Chestnut, A Diary From Dixie

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nothing against April, but...

Yesterday, the temperature was pushing 90 degrees and tonight the low is projected to be around 40. I know, I know, Minnesota readers. I have NO reason to complain. On the other hand, May beats March every day of the week and twice on Sundays. In other news, the trees are in bloom, Easter is less than two weeks away (finally) and I've managed to keep my Lent fast, which is really a NoCaffinatedSodaFast. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but to one who gets the vast majority of caffeine from sodapop, IT IS. No, family - I have not, nor do I in the near future intend to drink coffee, mocha, or any other beverage which would lead me to join The Dark Side. Chai tea lattes do not count. Last weekend, I met Boyfriend's parents. They were extremely nice and very easy to get along with. We had a late breakfast together on Saturday, then went furniture shopping. BF needed to replace his college-era futon and add another bookcase to his collection. After the necessary assembly was done, we did some sight-seeing and then ended the afternoon with an excellent dinner. This was followed by more visiting. This is sounding like one of MY family get-togethers, doncha think? With God's grace, we'll see them again sometime this summer. Also by the grace of God, I was told recently that yet another heart-melting, completely adorable munchkin would be joining the family by...well, Christmas is a safe bet at this point. No further comments are necessary other than "YAY!!!!! Can't wait to meet you!! Love you already." :) To tie up this post, April really isn't that bad. Just don't mention taxes, the American Civil War (or Abraham Lincoln or John Wilkes Booth), the R.M.S. Titanic, or Austrians with a megalomaniac complex. But seriously, my Second Nephew (sometimes called Buster) will turn one year old on April 30. He makes it all worth it. Love you, S! (And your older brother P. Love to your younger sibling was given in the previous paragraph.) Here's a selection from Ramona Forever, by Beverly Clearly - just for you: Ramona decided to go along because she wanted to talk privately with her mother. As they walked beneath the budding trees, she began by saying, "When Algie comes, I won't be your baby anymore." "That's right," agreed her mother. "You will be my middle child, with a special place right in the middle of my heart..." -BR

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Overheard Conversation

A harried mother saying to her husband: "We're going to lose a kid before the end of the day." Without missing a beat, he replied: "Promise?" "Promise." She said. Then they gathered the kids (a boy and girl) and left.

Friday, March 25, 2011

By The Way, Mom

Your muffins were a huge hit. Shared them with a couple of people at work. Made their day! And no, I didn't take credit for them. I like to brag about you. :)

And yeah, I enjoyed them, too. They're gone. :)

Love you, Momma!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For The Record

In regards to the upcoming game, I'm rooting for...the Wildcats. I won't be destroyed if the Buckeyes win, though. It's a win/win for me overall.

Oh, and when I saw the matchup between Team That Christian Laettner Played For vs. That Team Up North, I said: "If both teams could lose, that would be PERFECT." Ah well.

If neither UK or OSU makes it, I'm rooting for Butler.

Comfort Movies

You've heard of comfort food. I was thinking about comfort movies recently. Have you ever watched a movie because you were having a bad day? What about when you were sick? (If you weren't sleeping?)

Mary Poppins is one of my comfort movies. Really - how can anyone, other than a complete cynic, or an inmate at Guantanamo Bay, keep from laughing during the scene at Uncle Albert's house? Or even hear the elder Mr. Dawes' voice without smiling? "A wooden leg named Smith!" It's like trying to keep a straight face while saying "You've got to put down the duckie" three times. But I digress...

Another Julie Andrews classic, The Sound of Music, is also one of my comfort movies. On bad days, it feels just as nice as a flannel blanket on a cold winter's day. "When the dog bites/when the bee stings/when I'm feeling sad/I simply remember my favorite things/And then I don't feel so bad!"

Hoosiers is another comfort movie. When I was a kid, the opening scenes of Gene Hackman driving through rural Indiana made me think of southern Illinois where my grandma lived. It's just a good story.

Some Disney movies are comforts as well. Although it depends on what kind of bad day/mood I'm in as to which one I end up watching.

Musicals like My Fair Lady and The Music Man are simply timeless and are good escape fare, with good music to boot. Clue is a comfort movie to me at times when I'm craving a good laugh.

The common thread in comfort movies (at least to me) is that when they're done, I feel better. Movies that are too cynical, or sarcastic (and most everyone who reads this blog knows how much I loathe sarcasm) or dark just won't do on bad days. That's why it's more difficult to think of films from recent times that satisfy that particular need. During the "Golden Age" of films, there was more of a balance between realistic/gritty films and upbeat ones. Life is gritty enough. Sometimes people just need an escape. The Matrix is an alternative world, but upbeat it ain't.

As for comfort food, the local grocery store was having a sale in their deli for fried chicken. Eight pieces for $4.99. Yep, I had a really nice dinner. :)

And no, I did NOT eat all eight pieces!

What are your comfort movies?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The (Original) Ides of March

Cassius: Fellow, come from the throng: Look upon Caesar.

Caesar: What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him; pass.


Cinna: O Caesar -

Caesar: Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?

Decius Brutus: Great Caesar -

Caesar: Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?

Casca: Speak, hands, for me!

CASCA stabs CAESAR in the neck. CAESAR catches hold of his arm. He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators and at last by MARCUS BRUTUS.

Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.

Dies. The Senators and People retire in confusion.

Cinna: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

Cassius: Some to the common pulpits, and cry out Liberty, freedom and enfranchisement!

Brutus: People, and senators! be not affrighted; Fly not; stand still: -ambition's debt is paid.

-From William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Acts I and III

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes, It's Still Winter

This morning, I woke to fat, fluffy flakes falling furiously. Quoth Mr. Frost:

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

"Dust of Snow"

"Someone conflicted much?"

Says my coworker after hearing this from me at break today:

"#$!%! #$!%! #$!%!! OSU and Kentucky are in the same bracket!?"

After which I remember the horrors in Japan and elsewhere in the world...bows head in shame. It's praying the Litany tonight.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"It's Friday, I'm in love..."

Did you really think the title of the post would be anything other than that? :)
On a more somber note, pray for our brothers and sisters in Japan. They will need our prayers for many days to come.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Thursday, I don't care about you..."

Well, that's not entirely true. Today turned out to be pretty good. After work, I went to a happy hour for a little while. It wasn't for anything special - we (coworkers) hadn't had one for months. Sometimes it's nice to hang out outside of work, you know? Then I drove home, swallowed dinner, and went to choir. Yes, this is my life. I go from happy hour :)

The lovely JR fell asleep during choir, but woke up before the end of it. She always has the greatest smiles for everyone there...soon she'll have teeth, too! Life goes on...

The column in everyone's home budget labeled "Gas" now shows "not enough".

Remembering the Holy Gospel from last night:
"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter Six

There is one more observation from last night. When the pastor was distributing the ashes, he would say to each individual person: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." Sobering truth indeed. For some reason, I favor the older phrase: "Thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." Maybe it is a reminder of the longevity of the phrase, and the service to which it belongs. Or the fact that countless others have received the ashes on their foreheads, and have since gone home.

One last thing: Why, at the services that ask for silence prior to their beginning, are people so noisy? Infants and small children seem to know instinctively when they should be quiet, and they so often aren't.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Tuesday's gray, and Wednesday too..."

Fat Tuesday. Long day today. Worked late, drove home through the rain (of course). I drank a "fat" Coke this afternoon while listening to the Cards' loss to the Red Sox. If you want to win, don't give up a two-run homer in the eighth...

No more Coke after this; well, no pop anyway. Until the end of April. Maybe. I'd be better off if I never drank the stuff again. I gave it up for Lent back in college (around eight years ago) and made it through the whole season. Then I drank one the day after Easter and have never stopped since. Mistake. There's no excuse for not making it this time. Of course I'll keep you posted. :)

Tomorrow will be a long day, too. The choir is singing at Ash Wednesday service tomorrow night. I like the unique nature of the service. Everyone gets caught up in the special feeling of, for instance, Christmas Eve Midnight service, and hardly ever thinks about the fact that there's only one Ash Wednesday service a year.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"I don't care if Monday's blue..."

Monday - wash day. At least it is this week. Clothes and dishes. This sounds mundane, but right now it's comforting. The washer's going, the dishes are drying, and there's four more days to go until the weekend. Not that I'm counting or anything. :) There's something about every day of the week that is special. Particularly this week, Wednesday is special. Ash Wednesday this year comes late. I'm glad it won't happen this late again for another two-and-a-half decades or so. In my head, it should be halfway to Easter right now.

Is anyone giving anything up for Lent? A couple of years ago, my pastor gave a sermon on the importance of not complaining. Hmmm. That would probably be more difficult to give up than a favorite food.

What's good about Monday? Well, it's the first (work) day of the week. A day to start over, or again. A chance to set goals for the rest of the week.

Do I listen to my own rhetoric? Not usually...I'm feeling optimistic today. No idea why. I hope it stays around for awhile. It feels better than walking around feeling like Ziggy.

To end on a high note, the Cards won today! That's good news, no matter WHAT day of the week it is.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Good Day

This is a good day for getting indoor activities done. March is good for those types of things. I'm going to make cookies later. Which recipe? My favorite, of course!

Coffee Chip Cookies

1 cup of shortening (butter or margarine can be substituted)
2 cups of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of boiling (hot) water
2 TBSP of coffee (instant)
4 cups of all purpose flour (that's what the original recipe calls for, what other flour is there?)
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (24 oz., and do use semi-sweet. I used milk chocolate chips once and they weren't nearly as good)

Cream short and brown sugar in bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine water and coffee, set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Yields 3 and 1/2 dozen.

These are really good with a fresh cup of coffee, or so I've heard. (Non coffee-drinking blogger here.) For myself, I favor a cup of cold milk. Or just by themselves, with no drink at all.



Friday, March 4, 2011

Nothing in Particular

There's been rain, thunder, lightening, etc. off and on for the last few hours. I had dinner, watched a funny YouTube video (the theme was Sheen or Gaddafi?), blogged, listened to the radio announcers get way too excited about bad weather, blogged, popped in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, worked on my ongoing-should-have-been-done-in-October-but-is-nearly-finished project, and tried to doctor myself. For those of you not on Facebook, I've started to predict the weather. Actually, more specifically, my left knee has started predicting the weather. I'm not too fond of the career change. I liked it better when it was unswollen and less tempermental and, you know, enabled me to walk without feeling like Frankenstein.

Here's a tip: never Google bodily ailments. Ninety percent of the results will list remedies that involve surgery.

Question: Does anyone know of a good substitute for salad dressing? I've tried to eat it dry (like Mom), but I need something else. Suggestions would be helpful.

Oh, and to satisfy you, the power has gone off, and back on again. Twice. So far. Today.



Sometimes I read things that just really hit home. Over at my pastor's blog (over on the left, W's blog) go and read about Noel. I didn't know him. His story shamed me. There are so many lonely, forgotten people in this world. Everyone should have a friend. After reading Noel's story, I thought about how many friends God has put into my life. I deserve none of them. If God were just in His dealings with us, no one would have friends. Who among us deserves them?
In the purest sense, Jesus' teaching to us that we should "love our neighbor as we love ourselves" to me means being a friend to the friendless. After all, He is. He loves people that no one on this earth even knows exists. Like Noel. Is Noel a lesser person because no one came to his funeral, other than his pastor? (And sadly, not all pastors do that.) Absolutely not!

One of the greatest comforts as a Christian is to know, even in my darkest moments, that I am not alone. As Lent approaches, the Church remembers the moment when the Son of God cried aloud: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 26: 46)

In German, the verse reads: "Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?"
Verlassen in German means "abandoned".

Noel was not abandoned. He was remembered by his Savior. He is now at home, where there is no loneliness or abandonment.

Remember not only your friends, but those around you who may not have a real friend. It doesn't take much. I don't mean to lecture anyone - I fail in this way constantly. It's the little things that mean something; saying good morning, opening a door for someone, listening to someone talk (even if he or she has a tendency to rattle on).

"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?" Matthew 5:46-47, NKJV

May He grant us His love to love others. Amen.


Waiting For The Storm

Literally. Just heard some thunder in the distance. The rearview mirror view coming home was solid dark blue. The radio's on, and so far, so is the electricity. Please, please stay on. Severe thunderstorms in the area and I'm under a tornado watch. And the siren just went off. But no worries...yet. It's six o'clock and the siren always goes off now. Hopefully this will blow through before late night.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Updating and Downloading

Just finished downloading music on my Ipod Touch. By the way, if you like music, Itunes has single songs for 69...cents. Really. Right now. I mean, I didn't know anyone sold anything for 69 cents anymore. Other than used plates at garage/church rummage sales.

To be fair, the song selection isn't great. But there are some good ones in there. For instance, some of my new downloaded songs are Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You", Heart's "Alone" and The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". That's just a sample. So check it out if you're so inclined. Also, under the "Classics" section, don't get excited if you think there are selections by Handel or Bach there. Itunes' understanding of "Classics" is...classic pop/rock songs. Some of them are, admittedly, classics in a sense, but I was disappointed. I wanted Handel's "Watermusic".

Mom (who has her OWN blog now! Yay!) showed me how to post links on MY blog to other people's blogs. So that's something I've been meaning to show ever since I started this thing, and now it's there. Look to the left. I also wanted to use a sentence with the word "blog" in it three times. Heh.

In other news, Brother Who Shall Not Be Named also reportedly started his own blog. He didn't tell me this directly. If he hadn't posted something from it on FB I would never have known. Congrats, bro! Looking forward to reading your soon as I figure out how to link to your blog. It's called Pandemonium, right? No. Pandora's Box. Or am I thinking Kung Fu Panda?

Love you, BWSNBN. (I'm calling you that from now on, as you value your privacy highly.)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Washington's Birthday Weekend

Even though a lot of people call this almost-over long weekend "Presidents' Day" weekend, according to the fedall gubmint, today is officially known as Washington's Birthday. I spent it with my boyfriend. What? There's another holiday weekend in February? For the shortest month, it sure gets more than its fair share of holidays, but I digress.

The ironic thing is that so many of my experiences this weekend had nothing to do with presidents (past or present), American history*, or even democracy.

Saturday night: attended a joust. Yes, really. The event that involves horses, knights in armor, and semi-fake royalty. There was a king and princess hosting the tournament, and its accompanying feast. Several hundred spectators, wearing paper crowns that would make the Burger King proud, cheered on their knights and booed the green knight (the necessary bad guy). One of my favorite details was the fact that during the feast, no utensils were provided. Soup (described as dragon's blood soup) was drunk out of bowls, and the meat (described as dragon), bread and potatoes were eaten...using nothing but my fingers. Numerous napkins were provided. I don't think those were provided in the medieval era. Also part of the entertainment was a trained falcon who flew around the arena in a synchronized pattern. The jousting was pretty impressive - the venue was big enough that the horses (trained Andalusians)

Sunday afternoon after church and an excellent brunch was spent in a local Borders. Unfortunately, due to the recent filing by said company of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a large number of their stores are being closed, including the one closest to, and frequented by, my boyfriend. Book-lovers, teachers, students, parents, children, nearby small coffee shops and former First Ladies advocating literacy hardest hit.
There was a line that stretched all the way to the back of the store. Since everything was marked down and "had to go", and because CJ (my BF - I don't actually call him that, but it is a family nickname) has a google-plex worth of gift cards, we felt it would be worth grabbing stuff we wanted and enduring the long line. He got Lord of the Flies. I got three books - The Boys of Winter, about the 1980 American Olympic hockey team; a book by Bill Bryson about how English evolved; and a book about Napoleon (Bonaparte, not Dynamite).

Other activities this weekend involved watching more episodes of Firefly and the movie Bringing Up Baby, which BF enjoyed.

Unfortunately, the wonderful spring-like weather that came around last week did not stay through the weekend. But winter is on its way out.

I hope you all had a good weekend, too!


*The only direct American history had to do with the book about the hockey team.