Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Great Chair Experiment: Success!

So, here's the chair I started with yesterday:



Ikea only sells three colors of the slipcover for this chair. But the HobLob sells many colors of Rit Dye. So I bought some tan and some dark green, and did a custom color dye job in my washer. Here it is, now in khaki green, in place by the new computer armoire:


Some days I really do impress myself!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reflections on the year

As 2008 slips on by, with me way behind on other people's blogs, I did find a minute to spot-check my Bloglines account today. One of the blogs I checked was Diane's, and it is from her that I hereby blatantly steal the idea for this post.

She put her reflections in 3 categories: Memorable, Disappointing, and Ambivalent. I'm not ambivalent about "ambivalent," but I am about the other two, so I'm changing their names.

Joyful:
1. Attending the RevGalBlogPals Big Event 1.0, and looking forward to 2.0 this spring.
2. Our church finally completing its new building and making the long, long move across the field from the building we'd already sold.
3. Being able to provide a home to Tuesday the dog, when the timing was so right it just couldn't be denied.
4. Getting opportunities to work with new people in my same job.

Sorrowful:
1. The death of my sweet girl, The Best Dog Ever, Cub. But thankful for the outpouring of sympathy, even from people I've never met.
2. The deaths of two clergy friends, one anticipated, one unexpected. Each of their absences leaves a hole.

Ambivalent:
1. United Methodist General Conference. As a rookie delegate, I'm still trying to figure out what I learned, and what kind of difference it made that I was there. I don't believe all of my time there was wasted, but I struggle with the apparent necessity of navigating tons of bureaucracy in the hopes of doing at least some good.
2. Deciding, discerning, which opportunities required a yes and which required a no.
3. Reacting to my sister's and my brother-in-law's deteriorating health. Not being sure if I've always made the right call. Trying to maintain healthy boundaries in these situations as we decide how to help.
4. Tiptoeing into other forms of social media. I got two more Facebook invitations today, both from family members, and I'm still not planning to join. On the other hand, Twitter is kinda nifty. On the other other hand, finding out through Twitter that a friend has just died is kinda odd. On the other other other hand, I got ReTweeted a couple of times yesterday, which I liked.

Time to get my new chair's slipcover out of its dye bath in the washing machine. We shall see whether the result of this experiment lands in Joyful, Sorrowful, or Ambivalent... tune in next time...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

RevGal Rewards

No, we don't have a frequent blogger program or anything like that, but occasionally one RevGalBlogPal will send another something special. Today, I got a prize for giving RevAnne's forthcoming nephew his blog name: Exceptional Two.
When I got home from a Radical Hospitality planning session late this morning, I found a package on my doorstep! Here's what was inside:

And here's what was inside of that:


Thanks, RevAnne! You're an awesome baker! (We've already had several... enough that we may just skip lunch in favor of an early supper.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five: Countdown to Christmas Edition

"It's true," writes Songbird over at RevGalBlogPals.

"There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

"So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve."

I confess I fall mostly in the camp of wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday! But after a marathon evening of shopping last night, here are five things I still need to accomplish before Christmas Eve:

1. Give a gift in honor of my dad to UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot, where he goes on the occasional mission trip. (I'm hoping the ink cartridges I ordered will arrive today so I can print out the card!)

2. Wrap just a few more things.

3. Meet up with my maid of honor and her other bridesmaids on Tuesday to help her shop for her wedding gown (I may be looking forward to this more than Christmas itself... Christmas comes every year, but true love for this amazing woman has been a long time coming).

4. Adjust my attitude more in the direction of joy.

5. Give the bishop's assistant an answer to a request (and thereby answer a question: Yes, you've recently turned down some things because you have a full plate. But there's always room for Jell-O; what if this thing is the Jell-O?)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Five: Windows of the Soul

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Sophia writes:

This Friday Five is inspired by my husband's Lasik surgery yesterday....He'd been contemplating it for a while and was pushed over the edge by the fact that we put too much money in our healthcare spending account this year and it would have been gone anyway. (There was only enough for one eye, but the kind people at the eye clinic figured out a way to divvy up the charges between surgery and followup in January=next year's spending account). So please say a little prayer for his safe recovery and share with us your thoughts on eyes and vision.

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Brown, and thanks for assuming they're beautiful. Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family? Inheriting brown eyes is easy; my mom had blue eyes, but didn't pass them on until her third grandchild. My brother and his wife told her about that pregnancy just hours before she died.

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them? Something really weird but only temporarily. I've always liked those cosmetic contacts that have creepy pupils or odd colors or patterns.

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em? This F5 topic is timely, as I have an optometrist appointment this afternoon. I've been wearing contacts pretty much any time I leave the house for years (except for early morning small-group meetings). My glasses are years overdue for an update, so I'm planning to choose some frames today that I'll be happy wearing with outfits other than my pajamas. I prefer contacts, because glasses get in my way, but I want some that I might actually be glad to wear, so I'll be more likely to give my eyes a rest.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results? Contemplated, yes, but I'm too much of a sissy. The Alpha did Lasik 5 years ago (I watched! on a big screen! creepy!), and is still happy with it.

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy? I'm a fan of eye contact, within reason. Somebody staring me down isn't comfortable, of course.

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.
I don't have blue eyes, but The Alpha does. And I've always liked this Elton John song. (Sorry, can't get the video to embed!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

5 minutes of blogging

I actually set a timer on my cell phone. Must head to work soon.

Randomness:
The band always gets crabby before any occasion in which we are to perform more than one anthem. I know this. So why is it still so frustrating?
Still haven't done the girly thing and had the good cry I need. It's at least a week overdue, and other cry-worthy stuff keeps stacking on top of it. Hope I can contain it until an opportune moment.
The Alpha's been sick all week. He got so desperate last night that he finally tried the neti pot! Said it helped him from bedtime until about 4 a.m.

Time's up. Dang, that alarm is startling.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Suburban Commando Bunnies

(And by "commando," I mean they are running around without any underwear.)

So, the other night we were driving home in the dark, and a white rabbit hopped off the curb a block from our house. Then we spotted a black rabbit of similar size sitting in someone's yard several feet from the white rabbit. These two were clearly not related to the ubiquitous neighborhood cottontails that The Boy so enjoys swallowing whole in their youth.

The Alpha pulled the car to a stop and I emerged with the hope that I could, with my oh-so-deft call of, "Hey, bunnybunnybunny," lure them close enough that a rabbit rescue might ensue. But it was not to be. They hopped up someone's front walk, though, so I figured I might as well ring that doorbell.

"Um, hi -- you wouldn't happen to be missing two rabbits, would you?" I don't know what most people expect when they open their front door at 9 p.m. to find a neighbor they've met exactly once, but that's what she got from me. No, in fact, my across-the-alley neighbor wasn't missing rabbits. I pointed them out to her, where they were sitting on her lawn, just to make sure she knew I wasn't hallucinating.

She thought, though, that they might belong to her new next-door neighbors, so I went to their front door. Turns out that yes, they were missing some rabbits! Victory, I thought. But no, the dad of the family didn't seem too interested in rounding them up. He looked their general direction and said something to the effect of "we'll never catch them tonight."

"Okay, guy, I realize you're new around here, but free-range domestic bunnies just aren't really a thing in our neighborhood." At least, that's what I said on the inside. On the outside, I shrugged and went back to the car.

And each night since, I've seen one or both bunnies, still on the loose. They still don't come when called. They still can't be neeked up on (so they must not be unique rabbits). So I'm reduced to hoping I don't see them smushed in the road.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Glory Be, Glory Be, Glory Be


The Rev. Kathleen Baskin-Ball

1958-2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness list

This morning, feeling thankful for:
  • The Alpha. Amazing guy. SuperHusband, though many don't recognize it because he doesn't wear his cape.
  • The Boy and Tuesday. Such cute dogs. Such good dogs. So darn loveable.
  • People who feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. The list of helpers for Food Share in this week's church newsletter was enormous. And up north, where being homeless this time of year is life-threatening, a friend who is working her tail off being an advocate for them.
  • My job, and the relationships it's brought.
  • My extended family, even when I let myself become frustrated with them.
  • My in-laws, who are wonderful.
  • Friendships.
  • A car that runs, a body that does what my brain tells it to do, a house that's safe and comfortable and that we can afford.
  • Music, and the role it plays in my life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sister update

I realized I forgot to blog that my sister got to go home from the hospital! She's been home a little more than a week now. MS still sucks; she's still in a wheelchair; but her home is far more accessible now to accommodate that, and just being out of the hospital takes the stress level way down.

She can do a few steps here and there with a walker; she can transfer herself in and out of the chair; but with the level and number of exacerbations she had, walking just won't come back very easily. Yet, when I talked to our dad this afternoon, I got the distinct impression that he's surprised she still can't really walk, now that she's out of the hospital and all.

Soapbox moment: Folks, if someone you know has MS, do everything you can to learn about it. It's a wacky, frustrating disease, and it can affect people in all kinds of different ways. Do some research. You. have. the. Internet! Makes it really easy to learn about stuff like that.

Once you've learned a little, do something. Go on an MS Walk. If you're more athletic, do something more ambitious, like an MS 150 bike ride. And if you're not athletic, but your brother-in-law is, and he does one and asks you for a donation, make a ****ing donation this time, m'kay? Researchers are making headway, but they need funding to keep going. And we know you can afford it, so I'm going to ride you as hard about it this year as my husband rides that bike.


Photo: All the cousins of my generation who were present at my nephew's wedding. The one who is sitting down is in her wheelchair, on a 3-hour pass from the hospital. Sure, she looks good, but she can't walk. And only one other person in this picture has really tried to understand why.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Gender Analyzer

According to genderanalyzer.com, there's a 61% chance that my blog is written by a man.

Funny, as the only "man" who has blogged here has been The Boy.

Maybe it's because I don't like to shop? I do like to think that I defy certain gender stereotypes, but then there are moments when I utter phrases such as "I found it on the clearance rack," or "I just love that shampoo," or even "It's been too long since I've exfoliated."

On the other side of it, when my sis-in-law complained about the hot glue gun ruining her manicure before nephew's wedding a couple of weeks back, I replied with, "Easy solution: Don't get a manicure and it won't get ruined."

I'm thinking I'll publish this post and see what it does to my gender percentage. But before I go: pretty dresses, lace, dolls, frills, pink, really pink, cuteness, pedicure, shopping, shopping, clothes, heels, candles, baking, chick flick, purse, makeup.

Updated to add: Ha! This post brought it down to 56% likelihood of being written by a man. Stereotypes are interesting.

Glory Be!

Five years ago at this time of year, she was anticipating the birth of a long-awaited child.

Two years ago next month, there was a trip to the ER and a shocking diagnosis.

Last year at this time, complete remission.

Last week, I was privileged to be part of a group that prayed over her... for strength, for courage, for healing.

This week, she made the call: hospice.

I keep thinking, "Glory be!"

You can see those words on her stole in this picture.
Words she lives by.

But I'm not feeling them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five: Remembrance

Over at RevGals, Sophia writes: Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.

1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day?
We write names of the saints on cards that are laid in a basket on the altar, and we toll a handbell and carry bell banners whose bells were given in memory of individuals.

2. How about Veterans' Day?
Just prayers and such.

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break?
Nope.

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces?
My father was career military, and is still around to thank. My brother-in-law is currently preparing to come back from his second tour in Iraq, and we continue to pray for the safety of all those serving.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on?
I love cemeteries. Not quite like SpookyRach loves cemeteries, but close. I still visit my mom's grave when I have free time in my hometown (which isn't often). Last month, for the first time, I visited the grave of the brother I never met. And my girl's ashes are still in their box and velour bag on the mantle in the living room. It doesn't feel right to scatter them, at least not now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Always just a bit behind.

I did most of my Day 1 Disciple reading yesterday, but haven't done any of today's, and I'm about to go to bed without doing it. I feel very little remorse over this fact.

Today I called to make an appointment at the place where I have a monthly massage membership, and discovered I've stacked up five pre-paid massages that need to be used. Apparently, I find it very inconvenient to be good to myself.

There's been a hole in the sleeve of my leather jacket for more than two years now. No point at all in getting a new jacket, and I saved the piece that tore off, but have I taken the durn in for repair? Nope. Maybe tomorrow.

I really need to select a couple of Advent- or Christmas-themed lead vocal options for a certain Sunday a month from now in which worship is all music, no preaching. Have I listened to anything new, or even anything old, in the Christmas department? Nope. I think I'm in some sort of denial about what month is next.

But hey! My sister is supposed to get to go home tomorrow! She's been in the hospital three and a half weeks. (Stupid MS.)

And I'm sure there's something else about which to blog, but it'll come to mind a bit behind the other stuff, I'm sure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Clump o' updates

The wedding went well and was lovely (remember working in a flower shop? yeah, we need you to tie some bows and hot-glue some stuff); the sister is still in the hospital, but we got her out on a 3-hour pass to see nephew get hitched; I passed the time with her Friday afternoon, including being the only non-wheelchair-bound person participating in the physical therapy class; niece was a gorgeous bridesmaid, and it was very nice to spend some extra time with her and not-yet-officially-future-nephew-in-law; met my maid of honor's fiance, and am now looking forward to being in that wedding; came home to two happy dogs, one of whom seems to have gained some weight (eating bunnies?); had a computer breakdown at home, days before departure, and am blogging on an 8-year-old laptop that has no business still working and is starting to smell like it's getting a little too hot, so I'd better wrap this up.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tagged: Seven Random Things

Melissa tagged me back on Wednesday for the Seven Random Things meme... here we go:

Here are the rules:
Post the rules on your blog.
Write 7 random things about yourself.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post. Pass on the tag.

1. I won't get to meet my maid of honor's boyfriend this weekend after all -- because he's not her boyfriend anymore. He's now her fiancee! Way cool!

2. I'm standing at my kitchen counter blogging this, because I know I'm going to have to sit down for at least 7 hours today.

3. Tonight I'll be at the site of my first job (where I refilled tea and water and bussed tables) for my nephew's rehearsal dinner.

4. I'm going to miss my dogs all weekend, but they will be properly spoiled by a dear friend who is moving in with them until Sunday. I've never boarded a dog at a kennel.

5. My personal email account is currently using up 57% of the available storage space. And this is after weeding things out a little. I am an email pack-rat.

6. I'm not sure where I'm spending Saturday night.

7. I still need to pack and change the sheets on our bed for our dogsitter.

Not tagging anyone because I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to have played this, but if you do decide to play, let me know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Absentee

Yesterday, when I called my sister's hospital room to check in on her, I chatted with my brother-in-law because she was busy. She was completing her absentee ballot and putting it in the envelope so he could return it to the courthouse.

I don't think I can adequately convey how glad I am that she got to do that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This dog comes pre-spoiled for your convenience.

Tuesday the New Dog got a special treat tonight.

She got my lunch.

And The Alpha's lunch.

Beans and rice, homemade in a big batch by The Alpha, divided up into containers to carry to work, and cooling on the counter before the lids were to go on.

We're lucky Tuesday didn't get Wednesday's lunch, too. (Two containers were positioned further back on the counter.)

We are so not used to a dog tall enough, and with good enough hips, to do that.

This episode, combined with other brash kitchen behavior, leads us to guess that she may have been just a little spoiled with people food in her mysterious past. She lost 5 pounds in the 3 months of living at the vet's office, and she could still stand to shed a couple more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dots of the weekend

  • Halloween night was The Alpha's time to shine. He dressed as a gravedigger to go with the cemetery theme of the front yard, and had a ball freaking out trick-or-treaters. I wish I had video, but it was too dark. Photo at right was taken at dusk, which allowed for clarity, but doesn't convey the full effect. (Click to enlarge.)
  • The Boy is still learning to cope with new dog Tuesday's presence. Slowly, but surely. (He has no choice.)
  • Concert went pretty well. Within the band, we noticed every single mistake, but it was obvious that others didn't. And from what I've gathered, my rendition of "Shut Up and Kiss Me" while flirting with The Alpha (strategically positioned in the front row) was a crowd favorite.
  • At least two people who attended the concert because they saw our neighborhood publicity also came to worship with us the next morning. Outreach goal accomplished!
  • My sister is still in the hospital. It's Day 13. She had a setback on Day 11. My other two siblings have yet to visit her, and one has yet to even call her (they live 20 minutes and 1 hour away by car, respectively, as opposed to my five hours). I left Sibling #2 a message giving him the hospital room phone number yesterday. I wonder if either of them reads this blog? I'm easily Googled.
  • Our oldest nephew is getting married this weekend. I hope my sister can get wheeled out of the hospital for it, even for just a couple of hours. (And maybe the numbskulls will finally realize what MS does if they see her when she's not in a "but you don't look sick" stage.)
  • We're still mystified as to why Tuesday's former owner let go of her. (Death? Foreclosure? I half-wish somebody had left a note...) She's well-trained, and has obviously been well-loved: we had to manage her expectation that she would be allowed to sleep on our bed, for starters. And last night, when I got the box of Frosty Paws out of the freezer for the first time since she's lived here, it was clear from her reaction that she knew what they were and she'd had them before.
  • (This just in...) I like parentheses.

Friday, October 31, 2008

RevGals' Friday Five: Positive Potpourri Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals, my friend will smama writes: Greetings friends! It's been awhile since I've contributed to the posts here at the revgalblogpals website, but I agreed to step into the Fifth Friday of the Month Friday Five slot. So here I be. As I zip around the webring it is quite clear that we are getting BUSY. "Tis the season" when clergy and laypeople alike walk the highwire from Fall programming to Christmas carrying their balancing pole with family/rest on the one side and turkey shelters/advent wreaths on the other. And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do? Lately, it's been "Head to church for more band practice." But the big gig is tomorrow night, so we should get a little breather now before getting ready for Christmas. Normally, though, it would be catch up with The Alpha and play with/walk the dogs (now back to plural).
(If anybody in town is reading this and wants to attend, here are details on the concert!)

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do? Go out to eat, or watch a DVD that's been sitting on the coffee table all week, or have an adult beverage. Sometimes all three.

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments? Not usually. But, this election season, I have suspended The Alpha's firm 10:00 bedtime rule to watch The Daily Show, and occasionally the first part of The Colbert Report.

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny? Last Friday night, we watched our very special copy of The Legend of Boggy Creek with some friends who hadn't seen it since childhood. With the lively running commentary we all provided, there were times I thought I was going to pee myself!

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not. Gotta agree with will smama on this one: Toilet paper.

Bonus: It's become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good? My sister's MS has landed her in our hometown hospital, a 5-hour drive from here, for the last week and a half. Since I couldn't go see her, I called the local bakery I loved when I lived there, and they agreed to do a delivery to her hospital room, which isn't normally part of their services. Two times now, they've taken cookies and brownies to her for me. Beats flowers any day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Whoohoo! Got my Goat!

This is shaping up to be a great birthdayfest. It kicked off with a dog -- who, by the way, loves The Alpha best... but he is The Alpha, after all. The Birthday Dog is the happy one, obviously. (The Dog Who Is Wondering What Happened to his Perfect World is on the right.)


Then today, I got a really nice card from my in-laws.

Guess what will fit in a birthday card?

A goat will fit in a birthday card! My wonderful husband's wonderful parents got my goat! I have wanted a goat just like this one for years. I got it! I got my goat!!!!

And tomorrow, The Actual Day, I get cake for breakfast. The Wonderful Alpha is frosting it right now. Scratch that. The Wonderful Alpha just finished frosting it, and brought me the pan to lick!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Collar, tag, and leash.

We bought all of the aforementioned items for Tuesday on Saturday.

No real surprise here: We're keeping her.

While there are many differences between her and her, we still do find ourselves freaked out by the appearance similarities from time to time. But she needs us, and that was the agreement: We would wait for a dog who needed us, and us specifically. Who else is going to adopt a 5-year-old, 60-something-pound dog? (In the last three months, no one.)

She truly isn't a "replacement." The grief, though subtle, is still around.

But Tuesday is around, too. She is gentle, and sweet, and beautiful, and she has a home now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Look Familiar?

This dog has never appeared on this blog before. She is about 5 years old, and today is the first time she has ever entered this house.


This is Tuesday.

(Creepy, ain't it?)



See those white toes? (You-know-who didn't have white toes.)

And her tail fur is longer.

And her ears don't stand up in quite the same alert fashion.

Totally different dog, really.


She's really soft, and very sweet so far, and she needs somewhere to live besides the vet's office, where she was left tied to a bench early one morning more than three months ago. So we have her until Monday, when we are supposed to tell them if we're going to keep her.

Tuesday on Thursday

Tuesday is what they've been calling the test-drive dog at the vet's office. They arrived one Tuesday in July to find her tied to a bench outside. I met her last Tuesday, The Alpha met her last Friday, and The Boy met her this Tuesday. They gave her a bath on Wednesday so she'll be all ready for The Alpha to come pick her up today -- Thursday.

So when I get home this evening, there will be two dogs here. Yes, at some point, I'll post a picture. (But you're all going to think she's Cub, back from the dead. The resemblance is uncanny.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Used Dog Test-Drive...

...begins tomorrow afternoon and continues through Monday. The vet's office is giving her a bath today in preparation for her stay with us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday morning dots of procrastination

  • I should be curling my hair right now. Curling iron's hot and everything.
  • Saturday afternoon we felt very urban. We dressed nicely and walked 9/10 of a mile to the district parsonage for a reception with the new bishop and his wife. We let several people know that we'd walked from our house (smug enviro-hippies that we are). Others who live nearby hadn't thought of that option.
  • On the way back, we stopped at the P.O. and bought stamps. (Trip consolidation, even on foot. We are so smug.)
  • We're thinking about adopting again. (Not a human, ya goofball!) We'll see how things unfold this week. She's been living at the vet's office since July, so I don't think she's going anywhere without us knowing about it.
  • We rearranged the den on Saturday, and are taking a few days to decide whether we like the new layout. Then we might buy a piece of furniture that would allow us to move the computer in there and hide it behind doors when we're not sitting at it (which is about never, obviously).
  • There's a lot of dust and dog fur behind things that haven't been moved away from the wall in 8 years or so.
  • Okay, okay, I'm going to finish getting ready for work.
Updated to add:
  • Dang it. I think my curling iron is busted. I did not want to run errands tonight, but I guess I will. With stringy-looking hair and all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More trip pics, and some randomness

For some reason, I don't feel like Friday Fiving it today, but I do feel like posting more weekend photos.

Pecans! Zorra sent them home with us. They're from the tree in her backyard.


House! One of the string of places where my family lived before I was born (we were military brats). I found it on the way back from our getaway. When I emailed the pic to my siblings, they weren't sure I'd found the right one... until I sent a shot I took from around the corner and my brother spotted the concrete back porch for which he helped build the forms.


Grave! (Yeah, not everybody would announce that with an exclamation point, but I have a theme going here.) The brother who was born and lost during that time. I'd never had the opportunity to pay a visit. Thankfully, that cemetery is meticulously indexed online, so I knew where to look before I got there. The Alpha marked the GPS coordinates when we found it, too.

I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother 10 years older than me. My mother grieved for this child until the day she died. Standing there at his grave, I started having all these space-time continuum thoughts: my other siblings were older, so their existence did not depend on his death. But my existence just might've. Had he not died, I might not have been. Odd to consider. (But then, I loved Quantum Leap. Except for the last episode -- I'm still angry about that one.)

There are two digits missing on the birth year. On some of the grave markers near his, the metal plate was missing entirely. When I saw those markers before spotting his, I worried. Makes me want to go out there with glue or cement or something and patch up all the loose ones.



The Boy! When I saw him all curled up and looking so picturesque at the foot of the bed in our B&B cabin, I had to take a picture, didn't I?

Randomness! Jolene, the black lab who is bigger than Frodo, is coming to stay for the weekend.

Remembrance! It's been six months today.

Happy pic! The Boy, cooling off after a morning romp around the B&B ranch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getaway and a Meetup

Much to blog, but only a little time this evening. So, for now, just a few pics from our recent travels.

One: Free-Range The Boy. We think he liked this particular B&B, where he got to pretend to be a ranch dog for a couple of days. (And we are glad the hen survived. That's a tale for another day.)


Two: Meetup of the blogging dogs. Amie and The Boy actually saw each other on neutral territory at the B&B ranch on Saturday, then on Sunday we all spent the afternoon and evening with Amie, Zorra and The Scientist at their house, which is where this photo was taken.


Three:
Requisite RevGal meetup shot preserving Zorra's anonymity.


Four: Rach, I saw this one on the way out of the cemetery and took it especially for you. (Also, Vicar, we found a geocache nearby.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five: Business Trip

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Mother Laura writes:
...So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
My job occasionally involves travel, and while the logistics can be burdensome at times, the people I get to connect with are a joy.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
The Alpha hasn't had a business trip in a while, but when he does, it usually involves the corporate jet. That mode of air travel is a lot easier than flying commercial... park your car in the hangar and go. Usually he's back the same day. Down-side: If the flight is full, the last person to arrive has to ride by the toilet (really, by the toilet -- as in, if anyone has to go during the flight, you have to get up and move to their seat while the lavatory is in use). Up-side: There's a cool little screen in the cabin that shows a real-time shot of where you are over the map. (Kinda like Indiana Jones, I think.)

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
Hmmm. Well... Congress on Evangelism 2007 was pretty cool, as there was a Methoblogger meet-up. Looks like we're headed toward another one of those for 2009.

4. ...and the worst, of course?
Well, it wasn't the trip itself. Back in my PR days I took a client on a mini-media tour to Chicago -- just one overnight stay. When we finished, we headed for our separate terminals at O'Hare, and there was a 30-minute rain storm... which resulted in a 5-hour delay for me. During that delay, they kept changing my gate from C2 to C32. Having come straight from meetings, I was wearing my big black dress boots, which were not ideal for tromping up and down the terminal. Grrr...

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
I'm hoping the plans we made yesterday have us headed toward perfect! Though we don't work together, Mid-Life Rookie and I are attending the same event in January, so we've arranged to split a hotel room, saving money for both of our organizations and making it more fun for us.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Prize from Songbird!

Wow, Songbird, that was fast!

Just Sunday morning, I dropped by her blog before church, not knowing I'd just become her much-awaited 200,000th Blog Visitor! (ElastiGirl tipped me off later in the day....)

And today, my prize arrived in the mail!

"It's a major award!" exclaimed The Alpha. But it was even better than that:


I'm now the proud owner of a $tarbuck$ Bearista who is all ready for trick-or-treating, a Maine license-plate refrigerator magnet, and a Portland postcard carrying a very special message from Songbird.

Thanks, sweet friend!

Church Nerd On-Call

We've had a wild few weeks at church, with the move to the new building and all the changes that type of transition brings. And our pastor's long-scheduled vacation began the day after our move, which wasn't the original plan (because we were thinking we'd move back in August).

Yesterday morning, I talked with Lovely, Talented, Dedicated Church Secretary, as is typical of mid-week for me. I'm the resident proofer of the bulletins, my qualifications being a) I'm a word nerd, b) I'm a church nerd, c) I'm involved in music ministry for both services, and d) there was a time when building this church's bulletins was actually part of my job, so I know what to look for.

Anyway, yesterday LTDCS was doing a great job of holding down the fort, settled in her brand-spanking-new office and preparing to email me the bulletins for review. But I never got them. I figured with all the moving parts of relocating, she just had to shuffle that task to today. In the afternoon, though, I learned that shortly after we'd talked, she'd wound up in the ER with severe and sudden abdominal pain.

The great news: It was one of the less-complicated things that it could've been, and the issue is pretty much resolved, so she got to go home (albeit drugged for the pain). Rejoicing and prayers of thanksgiving!

The relieving news: Two of us who are former church staff members had her back on the bulletins. Last night we were blowin' and goin', picking up where she had very suddenly left off (Word document and Bible still open and everything), asking just a few questions by phone. The bulletins for this Sunday are now complete and copied, so LTDCS can rest easy.

The amusing news: Neither of the Bulletin Elves will be present at worship this week, so it really is kinda like we swept in, worked a little magic, and dashed back off to the church attic or wherever it is that Bulletin Elves live. heehee....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dog prayers, please

Please pray for Twinkie, my canine niece. (Yes, my sister puts her in outfits for holidays. I do not condone this practice. This was the only picture I had on the computer, and it's from 2005.)

Twinkie had a run-in with a golf cart today. She's a dog of a certain age, and totally blind. When I talked with my sister this evening, Twinkie had decided to get up and hobble into the bedroom. That was encouraging, but they're not getting their hopes up until the 24-hour mark, which will be tomorrow afternoon.

So, prayers for Twinkie and her family, if you're the praying-for-dogs kind.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A new beginning for AUMC

Today was a momentous day for the church where we're members.

We worshiped in our new sanctuary for the first time today. This building has been a very. long. time. coming. (It was definitely on God's time, not ours.) So today was a celebration of joy, of faithfulness, of praise to the One who brought us to this point.

Here it is on Saturday morning, during the furniture-moving process:


I tried to take a few more pics this morning, before the first service, but only got a few shots because of all that we still had to do. Here's our pastor at our new altar table which, along with the lectern and baptismal font, was custom-made by a group of our members:


Here at the bottom of the frame you can see what I thought was the top of the baptismal font. But it wasn't quite the top. I thought the bowl would sit down in that opening, but a few minutes later someone brought in a large basin that rests on top of the opening. It's absolutely beautiful. Didn't get a picture of that, though, because we were doing sound check.

My fellow band members during setup:


(Yes, those are boxers...but at least they kinda match the jeans. Our drummer's 18 and we love him. Give him a break.)

It took a lot of restraint for me to resist taking a picture of the congregation while I was standing up front leading singing. The place was packed out -- the view made me giddy. And when we robed up for the choir-led service, it was packed for the second time.

Before the early service it dawned on me that I was going to be the one speaking the first official words of welcome to this holy place about to be consecrated to the glory of God. (No pressure, huh?) So, rather than ad-libbing it, I grabbed a pen, dashed out to the narthex, and sought out a dear friend's help. Here's the end result, with emphasis on the words I wanted to make sure people heard:

"Good morning! What a joyful day! As we celebrate our new surroundings, let's remind ourselves of the reason we're here. Let's prepare our hearts to worship God in this place."

(You can't have too many reminders that the church is not a building.)

At the second service, we sang a few verses of the Jane Marshall hymn, "What Gift Can We Bring?" One of the questions in the first verse is, "What words can convey it, the joy of this day?"

I've tried plenty of words here, but I don't think they really can convey it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grendel and his Golden Tail

I got out of bed because I couldn't fall asleep for thinking about and missing my Cub girl, and now I'm sitting here crying over a dog I never met. (I know other people did it for us; now I understand their perspective a little better.)

Grendel got his Golden Tail today.


He was a wonderful blogger. And a pretty great dog, especially for one who claimed to be misanthropic (he wrote a lovely elegy for Cub). We will miss him around here, but I'm sure he and Cub are glad they finally got to meet. And they're running and jumping and having gravy in Heaven.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Boy: A post-bath interview

Typist: So, you had a big night, did you?

Boy (file photo at right): Um, yeah. I liked the walk part better than the bath part.

Typist: Any idea why you get so smelly and oily?

Boy: Um... well, it is my way. It's what I do.

Typist: Thought about maybe not rolling in stuff in the yard?

Boy: Hey! I don't roll in stuff!

Typist: Really?

Boy: Um, not that much stuff, anyway.

Typist: We're supposed to have company this Friday night. They haven't seen you in years. Think you can stay clean until then?

Boy: Um...

Typist: Because we will give you another bath if you need one.

Boy: Umm... I love you?

Typist: Nice try. I love you, too. Now, try stay clean! Or at least a little less dirty.

Boy: Hey! Look! A toy!

Surprise Farm Report

So, back in June we had proto-cantaloupes. And then we had bacterial wilt. First, it took out the cucumbers, then it made its way over into the neighboring bed and ruined the melon patch. (And before that, a squirrel took part in some under-ripe chomping action, too, which didn't help matters.)

Lately we'd been noticing some growth in the melon patch, but we didn't really want to look at it too hard, lest it get our hopes up again. Cantaloupe seeds remained the only thing we'd planted that hadn't yielded anything edible.

Then, this evening... we noticed that something had gone from greenish to whitish. And The Alpha bent over it to have a closer look and said, "They say when it's ripe, it'll just gently pull right off the stem."

Like that.

Because it did.

Here it is:


(Sorry I didn't include anything to show the scale, but think in terms of a really big grapefruit, and you're almost there.)

We'll probably wait until Wednesday or so, but it certainly seems ready to eat.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's a Johnny Appleseed Friday Five

Over at RevGalBlogPals, SingingOwl writes:
Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!
September 26, 1774 was his birthday. Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.
As Johnny travelled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations. So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!
1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.) Probably New Mexican Apple Pie, which we discovered on a road trip out west a few years ago. They share their recipe on their website, and we've made it a couple of times, but it's much better if you go to Pie Town to have it.
2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about? My mom was more the tree-planter. We had peaches and apples in the yard thanks to her.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not? Oh, yes, it does. While the last dozen years of the same drive north-ish to see family has gotten tiresome, I absolutely love seeing new terrain. We took a 2,000-mile road trip through Texas and New Mexico a few years back, and loved it.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours? Umm.... nobody's coming to mind.
5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he travelled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do? Lots of songs come to mind. I have a whole compilation of up-tempo Road Trip songs that I keep in the car. (Great for the open road; not to be used in city traffic.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Forgetting to check on the okra...

...is a Bad Thing.

We now have a case of Okra Madness.


(Dinner fork and The Boy included in the frame to illustrate scale.)

Okra Madness includes Teh Itching from forearms to fingertips.

LOTS of Teh Itching.

Have already washed hands twice. Need to go to work soon, and not be itching when I do.

Ladies who are coming over tonight: Forget ordering pizza. We are having okra.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hospice Dog

Wow.

Just, wow.


Izzy the dog has a gift.

And is one, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reassurance

The Scene: Living room romp of Angus and weekend guest-dog Jolene, the 80-pound black lab. Muffled growling, copious saliva, much posturing.

Me:
They are still playing, right?

The Alpha: Yeah. There's no blood.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Equinox Friday Five

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes: It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. [Note from DogBlogger: you're making some Southerners jealous here!] My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness.

And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn.

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

1) A fragrance: That mixture of freshly-mown grass and dried leaves in the air, which is cooler than it has been in months. Preferably on a Friday night, when it evokes the best kind of memories of high school football season.

2) A color: Red. Whenever we take a drive into the mountains in autumn (less often in recent years), I always look for the red trees amid the oranges and yellows.

3) An item of clothing: The faded green, blue, and tan leather jacket I've had since college and have no intention of replacing any time soon.

4) An activity: How 'bout a couple? a) Doing stuff outdoors without sweating; and b) having homemade chili and/or vegetable steak soup.

5) A special day: My birthday is in the autumn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Overheard less than 3 weeks ago...

The Scene: Swanky high-dollar restaurant which we have no business entering, save that a friend of a friend's large gift certificate won at a charity auction was about to expire

From the conversation at the next table: "I don't see what the big deal is. The economy's just fine!"

Physical restraint was nearly required to keep The Alpha from getting up from his calamari, grabbing and shaking a complete stranger and hollering, "Sure, if you're RICH!"

Our table's point has now been proven, we believe.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guest blogger: The Boy

Hey! It's me! The Boy!

Remember?


Hey!

Have you heard about Buddy?

Buddy is what we call a dog hero around here. He helps. Good dogs can help. I'm a good dog, and I can help eat things, and help go check the mail, but I don't think I could help like Buddy can help.

Buddy is very smart. He knows how to dial 911.

They tell me I'm smart, but I'm not smart that way. I'm smart when I need to figure out where The Alpha is hiding my dumbbell. Or my treat. Or how to get into the patio when they think they've blocked my door. Or how to tell them I haven't been fed (which they sometimes call "lying" if I just ate).

So, woofs to Smart Buddy! Hooray!

Happy...

This weekend I learned of a wonderful development in the life of a close friend. We hadn't talked for months, but ours is one of those college friendships that easily picks up right where we left off. In these last couple of months, she has found what seems to be the love of her life.

She was my maid of honor twelve years ago, and has not yet been married herself. Highly successful, brilliant, and pretty, she's good at reaching lofty goals, but this one area has been lacking. I think those days are over.

After talking with her yesterday afternoon, getting the full story of the last two months straight from the source, I found the grin she left on my face wouldn't go away for hours. And it's back this morning.

Nothing's official yet, but I have been advised to look forward to the summer of 2009.

What a gift.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Snowy visit in September

I dreamt of my girl last night.

It was a little surreal... but then, it was a dream, after all.

The Boy and his friend Frodo were playing in the back yard, in an inch or two of snow. We were inside watching from the living room. I looked over to the corner of the room, and at the other end of that wall of windows, there stood Cub.


She was standing in the snow, but in our living room, which seemed to be perfectly normal, given the situation. She watched the boy dogs play in the yard, and she watched us watching her, too.

I still miss her, but I'm glad she came for a visit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A first

Senior year in college, my voice teacher focused on teaching me more practical things than Italian arias (thank the Lord). He told me, "Some day you're going to be asked to sing for a wedding, and some day you're going to be asked to sing for a funeral. Let's get you ready."

The first wedding was for The Alpha's little sister, back in 2000. The first funeral was today.

It was a graveside service for the mother and grandmother of dear friends; someone I'd never met, but who was obviously a wonderful woman of faith who loved her family. I can see that love in her descendants.

"Amazing Grace" was one of her favorite songs. I sang three verses, a cappella. Her family thanked me, but I too, was grateful to be able to help in this way.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wonder, awe, praise, and paw print

In Bible study tonight, one exercise involved drawing an image of praise -- either something that inspires your worship of God or that you somehow connect with realizing the wonder and awe of God. Most of us drew nature-type things... I had fun with sun, moon, stars, flowers, Denali.

One fellow student, though, drew a paw print. God was the center of the print, and other paw pads were awe, wonder, and praise. She said that dogs are so good at being full of joy, and showing us unconditional love, that they inspire praise in her.

And I told her the name of my blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is it Halloween yet?

(This post is dedicated to SpookyRach. Because we know she'll love it.)

Those of you who know The Alpha know that his favorite time of year is Halloween.

Some of you have been to our Stately Manor and heard the tale of the dead Baptist preacher haunting The Alpha's closet.

Usually Dead Preacher just stinks up the place with his cologne (I mean, come on, it's been at least 9 years since cologne was used in that location! The Alpha doesn't play like that. He smells like soap). But recently, we noticed our buddy Dead Preacher got a little more active.

You see, it's getting close enough to Halloween now that The Alpha has begun considering ideas for haunting our front yard. Usually we're doing something at church on the big night so we don't decorate much at home. But this year, with the move to the new building in the mix, the church is taking a year off from such festivities. Which means home-haunting is on.

So The Alpha went digging around in his closet (Dead Preacher's closet) last week looking for his creepy sound effects CDs. He couldn't find his favorite one. When he asked me about it, I pulled one out of the rack on the computer desk. "That's not the really scary one. I can't find the best one." But he took that CD, stored it in his closet with the other Halloweeny CDs that he'd located, and continued to look for the missing CD.

Days passed.

One evening The Alpha walks into the living room.

"Where did you find this?" he asks me, holding up the heretofore missing CD.

"I didn't," says I. "Where'd you find it?"

"On the shelf of the closet, right next to the other ones."

(WoooooEEEEEEoooooo....)

It's a likely scenario to think that Dead Preacher wouldn't have been that fond of Halloween while he was on this side of things. So I could get why he might abscond with "Haunted House Horrors" to protect us from de debil and whatnot (seriously, go listen to it). But now, being dead and all, shouldn't he be much more aware of the big picture? Maybe that's why he returned it?

Can ghosts still learn? Broaden their theological horizons? Change their minds?

Or is The Alpha just not very good at finding stuff in his closet?

We may never know the truth. (But the truth is out there.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Whew...

It appears that Hurricane Gustav, while it packed a punch, was certainly no Katrina or Rita. Thank God for that. Of course there's still damage, and recovery work will be needed. But for now, I'm breathing a tentative sigh of relief for friends and family of friends, though the extent of the damage remains to be seen.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Cow for the Cattle Dog

My resistance to dog-related items is really low this week. (Thankfully, we get a new week tomorrow!)

So, our Australian Cattle Dog has an Australia cap, and as of tonight, he has one head of Cattle:

video

It's an all cotton, all natural, hippie dog toy, supposedly made by people who get paid a fair wage. (We messed up and forgot to tell the checker we didn't need a plastic bag for our one item, though, so we probably negated all the social-consciousness benefit right there.)

I still haven't done much with the socially-conscious yarn I bought in New Orleans before the RGBP Big Event set sail. I've cast it onto needles of various sizes just to play with it, but I'm still not sure what I want to make.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Friday Five

Singing Owl offers today's Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals:

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had. Well, there are different kinds of bad jobs. There are bad jobs that are boring (keeping a spreadsheet that tracks completion status of airplanes); bad jobs that are boring and involve taking people's money in exchange for overpriced crap (theme park gift shop); and bad jobs that slowly get bad without you realizing what's happening (technical writer). It's hard to choose "worst" from such a variety!

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had. I think it's probably the job I have now! :-) I've been there six years and have been in several different roles (some more enjoyable than others), and it's a great opportunity to serve the church.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions. I would be a professional backup singer. I was mildly jealous of the women doing my job the last time I saw Billy Joel in concert.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
No break. This spring and summer many of my vacation days were taken up by church nerd work. But this fall, all three of us are going to take a long weekend together (and see Zorra and The Scientist and Amie while we're at it!). We're glad to have found a B&B that will accept The Boy as a guest.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading? When people ask what I do at work, my answer is usually, "Whatever my CEO wants me to do." Hence the role-switching over the years. So I'm anticipating remaining flexible in my duties. (I've had many titles, but they've all fallen under the unofficial heading of "professional church nerd.")

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you? The movie Office Space hits very close to home for many in Generation X, myself included!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A new low

I had a lapse in judgment earlier this evening.

"Clearance" stickers occasionally have that effect.

I bought The Boy a hat.


It's basically a trucker cap for a dog. I realize this does not make it any better.

Because I'm trying to convince myself to return it, I haven't cut off the tag. So, from different angles, he looks like both a long-haul trucker and Minnie Pearl.

It's an Australia cap, see? And he's an Australian Cattle Dog. Get it?

And down by the kangaroo foot it reads, "Let me outback."

Get it?

Yes, this is bad.

He really wears it rather well. Except when he shakes himself from tip to tail, as he is wont to do several times an hour, the cap slides off his ears and winds up under his chin.

Just so you know, I did not stoop to buying the matching shirt. Because my rule is that dog accessories are okay, but dog clothing is not. Cap = accessory. Still, I realize I'm skirting the edge here.

There was a cap for German dogs, too. I don't have a German dog anymore. I think this fact contributed to my lapse.

I'm just sayin'.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five: Pondering Dates

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes:
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? At work, I use week-at-a-glance as my default view in Outlook. On the household Yahoo! Calendar, we use the month-at-a-glance. Then, as backup, I still keep a checkbook-sized paper calendar in my purse. Tried a Palm years ago and wasn't that fond of it, and haven't gone the Treo/iPhone/whatever route yet because I'm a cheapskate.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date? Last year I forgot two friends' birthdays that fall within a week of each other (sorry Jess and Zen Otter!).

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date? July 26th, the eve of our 12th anniversary.

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated. My broomstick pants. And I always get compliments on them, so maybe they're more timeless than I expected.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em? Eh. There was a cereal in the college cafeteria that had dates in it, and it was pretty good. But normally I don't seek them out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In Which the Shoes Go Back On.

Tonight I'm doing something I haven't done in about 8 years.

I'm going to a jazz dance class.

Last time I re-entered that world (1997?), I distinctly remember how good it felt that from the very first lesson, I could pretty much keep up with everyone else . And that I still had my flexibility.

I also remember getting a little too confident in my high kicks and throwing my left leg in the air with such gusto that my right leg came out from under me. (Fortunately, I had acquired a little extra padding during the college years, and I landed safely.)

After that initial hiccup, I stuck it out through 3 years in my twenties. Complete with dance recitals, even. And a competition where our group scored in the highest tier.

But then, life happened. Other adults started to drop out for various reasons. I turned to other priorities.

And now I'm going to see if I might turn (chené?) back this direction for a while.

Post-class update:
Dang, I'm old and out of shape! And the neurological pathways that get my body to dance like my brain knows how to... are gone. But I'm glad I went, and I still think I'll keep trying to reawaken this part of me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stratopastor in the Resurrection

Eric wrote a beautiful tribute today. Our friend Russ's service is Saturday.

The service is being called a "homegoing" on his church's website. Which, as I understand it, means that even though we're gonna cry, we're also going to have fun (as we must; Russ took his fun very seriously). We're going to rejoice because we are people of the Resurrection. We're going to celebrate who Russ was to us, and who he still is: a beloved child of God.

We are Resurrection people. So on Saturday, I'll cry, and laugh, and sing. And I'll wear my Easter dress to remind me of that Resurrection promise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nothing of import, really.

A Sunday night hodge-podge of tidbits:
  • Donated blood today at the church blood drive. It's one thing I like to brag about for a couple of reasons: a) I used to be a sissy about needles, but got over it; 2) last year I was personally thanked for donating by a friend who received a transfusion. It matters.
  • Went to a youth pool party with The Alpha. Actually got in the pool for about half an hour. As a kid, you couldn't keep me out of a pool. What is it about growing up that makes it less of a draw?
  • We've been watching tons of Olympic events this year. End result: sleep deprivation.
  • I'm planning to go try a jazz/lyrical dance class this week. All adults, drop-in format, pay only for the days you show up. Might actually work.
  • Last night I sent Mary Beth home with some of our home-grown okra and tomatoes after we rode together to hear ElastiGirl preach (and what a sermon -- she tackled that tough lectionary text from Matthew 15).
  • While I was out with my fellow RGBPs, The Alpha was vacuuming and sweeping and Swiffing. Of his own accord. Take note, husbands of the world: he's kicking your collective butt.
  • The Alpha finally replaced his bicycle. I still don't want him to start riding to work again. I mean, he's been hit twice. This isn't exactly a bike-friendly town. There are nice places to ride just for pleasure, but if you're actually trying to get somewhere, it's a little more challenging.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Five: Fall Transformations

Over at RevGalBlogPals, my friend Mary Beth has shown us the fruit of the bois d'arc tree and asked about transformation:

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.

1. I learned of a very sad transformation this morning. Sad for us earthly types, anyway. Last night, my friend Russ died suddenly. He was 52, and one of the rockin' pastors that made up the band Connections. He will be sorely missed here in North Texas.

2. Our congregation will be moving into its new building very soon... hopefully at least a month before Autumn officially begins.

3. The Alpha and I will be taking Disciple Bible Study. (Mid-Life Rookie will be our class facilitator! Hooray!)

4. My eldest nephew will be getting married this fall, so I'll become an aunt-in-law for the first time. (Maybe he'll finally quit moving back in with his parents!)

5. I've taken time off work for various church-nerd gatherings this year, so I'm hoping The Alpha and I can make room in our fall schedule for a getaway that's pure fun. Fun, fun, fun! We need it.

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.

Walking outside without immediately breaking into a sweat!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guest Blogger: The Boy

Hey! It's me, The Boy. The thumb-havers also call me Angus, and 'GooseBoy, and other stuff. But I always know they mean me. 'Cause I'm pretty smart most of the time. Except I'm still not smart enough to have my own blog. But that's okay. I'm awful busy already.

My pal Frodo came over to visit twice in one week. They were out of cold air at his house. He brought one of his thumb-havers and they spent the night! He came right at bedtime and they wouldn't let us play for long enough! We ran around for a while, then they made us go to bed. And then in the morning we got up and ran around again! And he stayed all day with me in the yard! And we ran around there, too! The Typist calls him my FroBro. I like my FroBro.

And then, they came over again one night, but they didn't sleep here. But we played tug games with the moose, or the reindeer, or whatever it is. And even though Frodo outweighs me by 27 pounds, I won a lot. That's just the kind of dog he is. Here we are playing:


The Typist says it's good that I have such an easy-going friend. Because Winston the chihuahua came over that same night, and he's not friendly at all, even when he's on tranquilizers. I don't know what they are, but he was on 'em. And I couldn't see 'em, but I know they're slippery because he fell down right when he got here. And he still didn't want to play. So he sat in Jessica's lap while I played with Frodo and Frodo played with me and we both played with the moose or the reindeer or whatever it is and we had a good time.