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Monday, September 30, 2002

Payday!

I had my first concert with the Monroe Symphony on Saturday night. We played a run-out concert in Bernice, Louisiana. Bernice is a small town (two stoplights) about 38 miles west of where I live in Sterlington. So it's about 50 miles from Monroe. On the way home I passed scores of deer standing on the side of the road, as well as packs of dogs trotting along. I went through two stoplights and passed only a handful of cars. I didn't pass any cars until I got to Farmerville - then traffic picked up.

The Bernice Historical Society applied for an Arts Council grant. That means the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council paid the parish a certain amount of money to bring arts to the town. The only stipulation is that the grant money has to be used in the parish that won the grant. The grant paid for the symphony to come do a concert for the nice folks of Bernice. How often do you think that happens in a town that size? The senior class at the high school had 30 students last year.

About 100 people showed up for the concert. They were Bernice folk, rural Louisianans mostly. They were a good audience and we had a great time. What surprised me the most was that they came in their Sunday best. Folks still dress up down here, I guess. A night at the symphony is still a night out, even if it is in the auditorium of the local high school. Something about that made me proud to be playing with the group. I can imagine if I lived in Bernice, I'd be excited, too.

As I was waiting for the concert to start (I arrived very early since I didn't know how long it would take to get there. Plus, Dubach was having its annual chicken festival and I had heard there'd be a lot of traffic on the way.) the manager handed me my paycheck. It was a lot of money to me - a little under $100.

I don't play the viola well. What I can't believe is that I got paid to do something I love to do. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to get paid for scrapbooking, or playing the piano, or cooking. But to get paid for playing the viola? Life doesn't get much better than this.
Ain't no fun no more

Bailey is a good girl. From the time she was about six months old, she started sleeping twelve hours at night. We would put her down for bed, she'd whimper, then out like a light. Naps were always a little harder, but bedtime was a jewel.

Lately, as she has become more interactive with us, she has become just a little more rebellious at bedtime. Just a little squirm here, and a shriek there, and "No! No! No!" We put her down, close the door, and she starts snoring.

My mom and sister always comment when I'm there about how good Bailey is at bedtime. My sister, Jen, times how long Bailey cries, and it has never gone over two minutes.

Last night I was on the phone with my mom and Duane put Bailey down for bed. Bailey shrieked the whole way to her bedroom. My mom heard her and said "Bedtime just isn't as much fun anymore, is it?"

Just give Bailey twenty years. She'll look forward to bedtime again someday.
Fake Food

Duane and I were in Target the other day (one of two choices for truly "upscale" shopping in Monroe) and I had a craving for a soft pretzel. There is an Auntie Anne's in the mall, but we weren't headed that way so I decided to get one in Target instead.

Their pretzel case was full of different types of pretzels - plain, cinnamon (my favorite), garlic, wheat, and butter/no salt. Here's how the conversation went - verbatim:

"May I help you?"
"I'd like a cinnamon pretzel, please."
"We're out of pretzels."
"You are? The case is full of them."
"We're out of pretzels. Those pretzels (indicating the case full of pretzels) are fake."
Cheese is cheese

Jenn commented on my urban post about the frustrations of proximity to good grocery stores and the lack of gourmet items in rural areas.

I have been wanting to make Duane some crabcakes for a while. I didn't have a chance to bring back meat from the last trip to my parents', which was a good thing, because I think jumbo lump meat was running around $30 a pound, which is high. So, I found some jumbo lump here in Louisiana at Brookshire's for $14 a pound. Although a lot of people claim to be Chesapeake Bay crab experts, I doubt many could truly tell the difference between an Annapolis crab and a North Carolina crab, or a crab from Thailand, which is where a lot of crabmeat is imported from.

Anyway, I went into Brookshire's to see if they carry white cheddar. I contend that white cheddar is the key ingredient to amazing crab cakes. I asked the girl behind the deli counter if they had white cheddar and she said yes. I was surprised. I ordered half a pound, drove home, opened up the package, and saw....sliced, processed white american.

The next time I returned to the deli counter I made a comment about it. I was ordering some fresh mozzarella for a white pizza. The girl asked me two questions: 1. "Aren't white cheddar and white american the same cheese?" 2. "What do you use mozzarella for? We hardly get any orders for it."

I'm on a mission to find me some white cheddar. If I have to drive to Vicksburg or Jackson to get it, I will. Eventually.

By the way, if you ever have a hankering for crab cakes, here's my recipe. It's a hybrid of Phillip's and Old Bay recipes. They freeze wonderfully. Do NOT use substitutions for the crab meat. The fish dyed to look like lobster claw meat that is labeled "imitation crab" is not appropriate for this recipe.
1 pound crab meat (lump or jumbo lump, NO IMITATION)
1 egg
1 t lemon juice
1 t Old Bay
1 t worcestershire sauce
1 t parsley
¼ t dry mustard
1 heaping T mayonnaise
1 t prepared mustard (any variety you like, yellow is not good. Dijon is the best followed by spicy brown.)
1 slice white bread, broken into small pieces
appox. ¾ cup shredded white cheddar.

Set oven rack in middle position in oven.

Drain and pick crab meat. Whisk all liquids together. Work the meat, bread, and cheese gently into the liquid. Do not overwork the meat or break the chunks. Form into six cakes and chill through (at least one hour). It is very important to chill the cakes before broiling. I usually wrap them tightly in Saran Wrap so they hold their shape while chilling. They will hold together loosely until they have chilled through. If you are freezing them, freeze them at this point.

Broil until golden brown. These also work well broiled in a toaster oven.

Makes six good-size crabcakes.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Googles

Recent searches:

world communion Sunday
rich lusk (6th this week, three today)
fernando good day download

Why don't I get the good ones like Rick gets? I need to liven up my blogs a little bit. Add something risque, maybe, break out of the mold. For instance, why doesn't anyone ever find my site by looking for "depressed space weasel seeks neurotic courtship"? I guess because I've never used the words weasel or courtship on my blog. But now I have.
This isn't on my to-do list

List of things to finish today:

Clean Bailey's room
Clean and sweep our bedroom
Clean and sweep the computer room
Clean the bathroom
Clean up the dishes and wipe down the kitchen
Clean up the living room, put Bailey's toys away.
Get dressed.
Pack up my stuff for rehearsal.
Pack up Bailey's stuff to go with Duane.
Get Bailey dressed.
Cash a check and find some fall clothes for Bailey.
Find a black outfit for the first concert - tomorrow night.
Grade Latin papers.
Go to friend Lolo's house for get-together.
Make sure Bailey takes a nap.
Meet Duane for dinner/ride to rehearsal.

Where, pray tell, do you see spend too much time blogging on this list? As hard as I look, I don't see it in there.
Stretched out in the sun

I'm sitting here in our computer room/library (with no bookshelves)/Bailey's overflow toy room. My cat, Gracie, is streched out in a patch of sun on the floor next to me. I can feel my blood pressure going down even as I type.

When Calvin (the cool cat) was still alive we were still in our first (small) apartment in St. Louis. There was only one big patch of sun each day about the same time - in the early afternoon. Gracie and Calvin, who were both of considerable girth, used to wrestle for the spot in the sun. Often I'd find them streched out pressed up against each other. Sometimes Calvin would have his head on Gracie's rump. Gracie, who is generally a very grumpy cat, would sleep with her ears back. I loved watching them play. One night we brought home a bottle of bubbles. Calvin used to bark and click at the bubbles like they were birds. Gracie would try to catch one, miss it, and start licking her paw as though the bubble were simply in the way of her grooming. Calvin had no clue. He just loved life.
Death by chocolate

I watch three TV shows. Yes, three. Those of you who don't have a TV, you can't read this post. Or comment. Or anything.

This being premiere week, I knew I had to see all the shows. I figured they'd be pretty good. However, I had symphony rehearsal on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which happened to be the nights for the new shows. So, I got to tape them and then watch them when I got home from rehearsal. Sufficiently exhausted, drained, and just plain tired, they provided a bit of escape for me since I didn't want to mess with trying to read anything.

JAG was pretty good; just about nobody watches it, so I won't go into any details. I've watched it since it was a terrible clips-from-Top-Gun cliche on NBC. When CBS picked it up, it improved considerably. Then they started dramatizing fictional accounts of news stories and it got pretty good. I wouldn't call it award-winning, but it has good storylines, good characters, and is pretty much devoid of debauchery and indiscretion on the part of the main characters.

CSI didn't disappoint, although and the autopsy scene was over the top. They showed the whole process of removing the deceased's brain for the autopsy. As soon as they made the cut across the forehead I knew what was coming. I closed my eyes because it was quite reminiscent of The Cobra Event and I can't handle that anymore. I enjoyed the puzzle about the eyedrops causing the victim's heart attack and was fascinated by the rules of casino bartending. Interesting stuff. I was impressed that CSI didn't give into product placement. The victim was eating what we knew to be M&M's, but they were called "Choco-Bees" or something like that in the show.

ER, on the other hand, was a disappointment. Why in the world do they feel like they have to get that graphic? I figured that was going to happen as soon as Romano crouched down under the helicopter. Who cares about Dr. Romano? They could have called the episode "Immorality in the ER" what with Abby and Carter going at it. Harumph.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Three-letter words

Um, can a Christian have a three-letter word on their blog and still make it on the "Christian Blogs" list?

I'm sure that will make someone cry "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye!".
Reluctant Messiah?


The Matrix Symbolism: Reluctant Messiah


What movie symbolism are you? Find out!

Whatever that means. All I can say is "Woah!"

Thanks to Rick.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto!

Duane mentioned how beautiful the weather has been down here in Fun-roe (er, Monroe) the past couple of days. It has been in the low 80's with lows at night plunging into the 50's. He wondered if Isidore, which is predicted to gain strength in the Gulf before it makes landfall sometime Wednesday morning, had anything to do with the good weather. We won't be hit this far inland by much besides rain and high winds. Even if we were closer to the coast I wouldn't be that nervous.

I have been thinking over the past few days how grateful I am to be living in a place relatively weather-free. That is to say there are no routine severe weather threats like there were in Illinois and Maryland.

In Maryland we had the remnants of a few hurricanes come through the years, but mostly we had tornado watches and warnings. I remember being at my friend Karrie's house when I was younger when a storm came up fast. You know how those summer storms can just roll in, the ones where you can see the front line and the thunderheads rolling in? Karrie's house was eight houses from my house and just around the corner. I called my dad when it started to rain and asked if he could pick me up. I wanted to leave my bike at her house. He said no, come on home, you should be fine. Several times on my way home I nearly lost the bike. I couldn't ride it because the wind was too strong and I could barely push it; a few times it came off the ground and I almost let it go. By the time I got home I was terrified and hysterical. I remember hiding behind the curtain in my parents' living room. There was a tornado warning that day, and since then I have been terrified of thunderstorms.

In Illinois we had several small tornadoes and microbursts that touched down within a few miles of our apartment. All summer long, it seemed, I would hold my breath through every storm hoping we wouldn't see a tornado watch. One evening I decided to take my camcorder outside to try to tape a storm rolling in - the sky was green - and I caught fast rotation, sagging clouds, and a depressed center in the middle of the system right over our apartment on tape. Can you say "stupid"?

A few weeks before we moved we had put Bailey to bed and were watching the news. They predicted tornadoes to touch down south of our county on the Missouri border, and they said our county was high on the list for potential tornadoes. I was nervous, biting my nails, calculating how long it might take to get Bailey and the cat in the car and drive to the fire station (just a few blocks away). We were on the second floor of the apartment building and the building did not have a basement. It wouldn't matter to get into the southeast corner of any room and I didn't think the bathroom would give much protection.

I slept restlessly and was awakened by the sound of the tornado sirens. Duane jumped up as quickly as I had (which is unusual for him) and we looked out of the window. We could see rotation and the clouds were perfect for a tornado. I was almost in tears with fear as I ran into the living room to turn on the TV. I saw that a tornado had touched down in Shiloh, which was a town less than a mile from our apartment. There wasn't a lot of damage, mostly to roofs and smaller, less stable structures. They thought it might have just been microbursts, but they said it was an F1 tornado. Turns out the scariest part was that the sirens didn't go off until after touchdown.

I don't think I've ever been that scared in my life. I shouldn't have spent so much time learning about weather from my dad. Ignorance is bliss.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Nostalgia

Mark had a comment lamenting the sale of Library Limited in St. Louis to Borders, the ubiquitous deep-discount books-and-cheap-latte chain.

Library Limited was a wonderful bookstore in downtown Clayton, a posh suburb of St. Louis, that we used to visit frequently on Saturdays. Each room was closed off from the main section of the store and was decorated appropriately for the genre of books in each section. The mystery and fiction section had dark paneling, deep, high-backed leather chairs, Scotland Yard-esque decorations and a fireplace. Sit down a spell, the decor said, and rest your weary feet. Dig into a good British mystery, or read about the intrigue of ancient Egypt.

The cooking section had butcher-block kitchen tables and black-and-white tile with white bookshelves. It felt like a kitchen. Sit down, find a good recipe, figure out whether or not you can budget the Kitchen Aid $300 stainless steel mixer you've wanted for years. At least if you buy the mixer, you'll have good recipes to try.

The history section had maps on the walls and floors. Arranged chronologically and geographically, you could walk your way along the walls and follow recorded history as far back as it would go.

The theology section, in keeping with the gnostic modernist tone of the majority of "theology" books in stock, was right in the middle of the main room of the store with no decor, no chairs, no place to rest and contemplate. If you were lucky you might dig up some Luther, Augustine, or Schaff between the thin, floppy volumes of Spong, A.N. Wilson, and other popular inspirational authors.

For the first few months after Borders officially took over, the decor remained. Eventually, though, they closed the location down completely. Duane and I were disappointed. One of our Saturday rituals was lunch at Tomatillo's (there is still a location on the Loop just across from the Tivoli and one on Euclid down from Jewish Hospital in the Central West End), then Library Limited, and finally a marble-slab ice cream cone from Maggie Moo's. Bailey had some of her first ice cream there when she was still too little to eat solid food.

I miss St. Louis.
Darlin' I love you but give me Park Avenue!

Reminiscing about St. Louis made me think about an editorial letter that RC Sproul, Jr. wrote to Credenda a while back. I've had a hard time adjusting to life in Monroe, especially after just getting used to St. Louis. Growing up on the eastern seaboard in between DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis made me a city girl at heart. I love the city - the smells, the sounds, the lights, the activity all hours of the day and night (I know what you're thinking and that's NOT what I'm talking about!), the culture, and the architecture. I don't think I'll ever be a country girl. The city is in my blood. St. Louis is a different kind of city; it's a mid-western tiny version of Chicago. It took a while for me to adjust to the difference between the culture on the East Coast and the culture in St. Louis. I could get off the plane in St. Louis and know I wasn't on the East Coast any more, just by the way people walked, dressed, and talked. Likewise when I would land in Baltimore, I could instantly tell I was on the East Coast. People moving briskly, rubbing elbows but not looking at you, going, going, going, honking horns - it's just different.

So, in my early Credenda days, I was highly influenced by opinions from people like Sproul Jr. Here is an exerpt from his letter. Granted, its not in context, but you get the gist.
"...I spent half an hour out in the dark cold trying to round up fifteen of our chickens, to move them into the heated pen lest they freeze in the night. After I finish this I’m going out to split more wood for the stove that heats my house. All this, I would argue, is not retreat, but conquest. I would suggest that fresh eggs, fresh-killed chicken, heat born of blisters and sweat, and bread that is not the consistency of a styrofoam cup is rather more real than the gnostic varieties of these things available at the stuff-mart. I’m not retreating for goodness sake, I’m working to build the kingdom. I am sharpening my arrows for battle, and leading a hardy band of parishoners to do likewise. Carrying a placard at the door to the Mouse’s kingdom is better than this? The culture war is not a battle to create a G-rated pagan culture through whining. Rather it is waged by exercising dominion over our own garden first...And as for the broader war, my four year old son knows that Yankees (defined in our home as people who are rude, pushy, and like to live in the city, rather than the country) are for defeating..."
What jumped out at me was the last statement..."my four year old son knows that Yankees (defined in our home as people who are rude, pushy, and like to live in the city, rather than the country) are for defeating..." I can take it. While I'm not technically a Yankee (I grew up south of the M-D line), I can handle it if people use that slur for me down here. I understand the context. However, to define people who like to live in the city, rather than the country as people who are worth defeating, well, I take exception.

For one, there is nothing gnostic about buying store-bought bread. Sure, it might not taste good, but I can make homemade bread in my oven in the city that tastes just as good as homemade bread made in the country. Maybe even better because there is a larger variety of exotic ingredients available to someone in the city. The consummation of history ends with a city - history has moved from a garden (country?) toward a city, and we will dwell in a city eternally. We are created to fellowship together, to have culture and lives that intertwine. Granted, the redemption of culture for Christ is a whole other issue that I'm not getting into. All I'm saying is that to say that there is something inherently spiritual about the country and something "Yankee" or hostile about the city is gnostic in itself.

I love the city. I don't knock those who live in the country; that's fine. I try never to disrespect someone who earns an honest days' pay, no matter if they earn it by selling eggs from their chickens or by digging holes in the city street for sewage systems. As much as I was almost bit by the "we need to abandon the city for the godly country life" bug, I now realize there is nothing wrong with loving the sights and sounds of the city.
Recent searches

Some recent searches that resulted in hits on my blog...

1) scott spera
2) Sarah Garner (those are always scary!)
3) jon anderson jane wife 2002 yes
4) christian "i dreamed i searched heaven for you"
5) download braveheart tune with words
6) sora colvin (that's the third time in three days)
7) build me a cabin hymn
8) one from a user from classmates.com

Some of those are funny. At least I don't get weird hits like Rick.

Oh, and Sora, I think someone's looking for you. After all, how many Sora Colvins can there be?
You know you're in Louisiana when...

A farmer gives you directions by pointing and saying "Go that way until you cross the tracks. Turn right."

I forgot to mention that "that way" was 10 miles in the opposite direction, and yes, there were highway signs, but he preferred to use landmarks. A lot of folks down here use landmarks when they give directions.
You know you're in Louisiana when...

A political ad touts the candidate's strengths by saying..."____________ established Youth Hunting Days in Louisiana. He has nine coon dogs and seven shotguns."

I kid you not. I think the candidate was Foster Campbell, but I'm not sure.

Never before in my life have I heard a political campaign based on how many coon dogs you've got.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Troubled

I received some very troubling news from a friend of mine today. I can't give a lot of details. The gist of the news was that a former friend of mine (I haven't had contact with her for a while) has apparently apostasized from the Church. None of her friends can speak with her, and she is refusing contact with anyone who is a Christian (as I understand it).

This is extremely saddening to me. What makes it worse is that she goes to a church where membership and the sacraments are not important and elder oversight is sketchy. This is not to say that the folks in that church do not minister to each other through provision, encouragement, and admonition. I haven't been there in two years, so I don't know how the church has changed. However, in this case, I think that elders need to step in and take Biblical steps to either bring her to repentance or remove her from the body by discipline and as a rule, this is not a practice in her church. Congregants are only as accountable as they want to be.

I don't know what to think about the whole situation. I had been thinking about calling her over the past several weeks but my friend told me that she will not even speak to her closest friends. I was only a peripheral friend, never a close friend. Still, I am worried about her. Please pray for her and for her family, who have been deeply affected and hurt by the situation.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Color outside the lines

I absolutely love these Crayola Color Wonder markers my mother-in-law gave Bailey. Just three years ago if Bailey would have swung a marker around without a cap I'd have had asphyxiated. Now, she can run around with them all day and they don't color on anything except for the special paper, and then only in the lines! Pretty neat stuff.
Beauty Unspeakable





These photos are located here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002





Lego and Horse

I've been following Matt's posts about Lego. My question is, is Lego the correct plural of Lego?

I am currently reading Emil Ludwig's biography of Cleopatra and I remembered a phrase Ludwig used to describe Cleopatra...that she could put her ear to the ground and tell the number of enemy horse. So is horse the proper plural of horse?
Strange Folks

Some recent hits to my blog from these searches:

Two searches for Lord Build me a Cabin in the Corner of Glory Land
Wayne Whitmer

My favorite, though, has got to be from the page http://www.3fatchicks.com/friends/perspages.html.
Prime Humanist Directive

"Technology saved us, is killing us, and might save us again. Scientists are high priests...and have a responsibility to use their wisdom." -William Shatner

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Time flies when you're having fun

Marie, are you awake? Good. You look so beautiful and peaceful, you almost look dead. I'm glad because there is something that has always been very difficult for me to say. I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit. I've never been relaxed enough around anyone to be able to say that. You give me confidence in myself.

I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days and the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days and the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in then evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Is a virus a living organism?

It was brought to my attention that our computer was infected with the Klez virus and was sending itself out to others in blogdom. If you have received the virus from Duane and I, I apologize.

Thanks to Josh for bringing it to my attention! I ran Symantec's FixKlez tool and it cleaned all the infected files.


Friday, September 13, 2002

Vacation from a vacation...

That lasted long, didn't it? I deleted the post I wrote this morning about 9/11. Duane told me it sounded too depressing.

That's the danger, I suppose, of writing blogs at 4:30 in the morning.
I need a vacation...

I am finding it harder and harder to budget the time required to finish the things I need to do during the day. More often than not I'm getting up early to type up my lesson plans because I haven't taken the time the previous day to get them done. I'm trying to keep up with the house - housekeeping has always been one of my greatest weaknesses - and my classes, and Bailey. Duane is about to start school and I know things are going to get crazy, fast.

I think I'm going to take a blogging vacation. I spend too much time on the computer every day, and that is time I could spend exercising, organizing the home, playing with Bailey...I just don't think it should be such a priority right now.

So, I'll see you off-and-on, but for a while, I think, mostly off. If I see something interesting or important, I'll blog it. Otherwise, I think I'll just lurk.
Objectivity in Worship

For those of you who wonder where I am coming from, here are my reasons for my post below concerning Amazing Grace.

First and foremost, I could never pray those words in a spoken prayer to God. In effect I would be saying "Thank Grace for saving a wretch like me. Thank Grace for teaching my heart to fear, thank Grace for bringing me safe thus far, thank Grace that Grace brought me through, and that Grace will lead me home." Hymns are sung prayers. Would you ever pray something in a Lord's Service so ambiguous? It never affirms that acts of God are performed by God. You are praising Grace, not God, for your deliverance, whether or not you know otherwise. It doesn't matter that you know that God ought to be substituted in each phrase. He isn't there, so that doesn't change the lack of theocentricity in the song. A person of just about any religion could sing those words and not disagree with you in any fundamental manner.

Second, the verse that has any sort of a hint of theology is (frequently) omitted:
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Another song that falls in the same category is It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, which used to be one of my favorites (it does have a beautiful tune!).
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats o’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds the blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not the love song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife and hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.
How ambiguous is this? First of all, it was written by a Unitarian, which should automatically qualify it for removal from every Christian hymnal out there. Second, except for a quick reference in the first verse to the possibility that God might be involved in the incarnation, the rest of it is angelolatry. It never mentions the name of God! We are supposed to think about angels bending down to play their harps. We are supposed to be encouraged in our walk (which, by the way, is crushing, contrary to the way Scripture describes the yoke of Christ) by golden hours filled with angels singing. It sounds like an elevator-music convention. Worst of all, while we are toiling along, we are climbing our way up. Wow! My point is (keep in mind I used to love this hymn!) that there is absolutely no place for this hymn in any Lord's Day service.

Precision is definitely obtainable in all sung prayers. A Mighty Fortress is a good example. Another good example is the versification of the Te Deum, which is actually better recited or chanted.
Holy God, we praise Thy Name; Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.
All on earth Thy scepter claim, All in heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim, In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord: Holy, holy, holy, Lord.
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.

Lo! the apostolic train Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain, And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun, Through the Church the song goes on.
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One, Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee, While we own the mystery.
Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.
To anyone who would disagree with the necessity of precision, I would recommend Jeff Meyers' The Lord's Service: Worship at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church. It is due to come out from Canon sometime soon, but a copy can be obtained from Providence. Another good work is Robert Rayburn's O Come, Let Us Worship.

Congregational singing is a sung prayer to God, and we need to realize that whatever is sung is in fact a declaration of what is being sung, whether or not you agree with it. Reciting the Apostles' Creed while not believing in the resurrection does not mean that the Apostles' Creed ceases to be true; likewise, singing a song that misappropriates praise doesn't change the fact that you are singing it, and that by singing it, you are declaring it, whether or not you think you are.

Would that God would fill His church with diligent ministers of the Word who take as much time scrutinizing the theology of song and prayer as they do their sermons!
Nightmare on My Street...

I just woke up from a recurring dream that I have often. I am in school somewhere (though not any school I've attended) and classes are about to start, but I have no idea where to go, as though I've completely forgotten my schedule. I guess, and when I get to each class, I find I've not done any preparation the entire semester, and I'm about to have a test and I never even knew one was coming.

I don't have the recurring dreams about being chased, or public speaking. Dreams like this where I am inevitably going to fail are common, but it is never as though I've deliberately decided to fail, it is more like I have a type of amnesia and just can't remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

I wonder if my brain is telling me I need a Palm Pilot.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

No cats are good cats...

I just returned to Yahoo to check something and I did notice that the pop-up ads have apparently been suspended. For the past several weeks I've gotten the cat with the waving paw and Save Now! pop-up ads as soon as I hit the site. I hope they've turned them off for the day. I also noticed at least one other site has disabled their site for the day in memoriam. I think that's a good idea.
Who is in the details?

I'm all for the tributes everyone is having today (minus the sappy sentimentalism, blatent statism, and pantheistic tone to all the "prayers"), but I don't think I can stand to hear Amazing Grace one more time on the bagpipes.

I've never really cared much for it, but once I started looking closely at the words I realized it is quite ambiguous, really, which may explain why it has become a very popular tune for folks of just about any religion to sing in public settings. John Newton actually wrote some excellent (and more precise) hymns, such as Glorious things of thee are spoken, Now may He who from the dead, and Let us love and sing and wonder.

Who exactly is Grace?
It always tastes better when someone else makes it...

I'm offended. Bailey seems to prefer McDonald's cheeseburgers over my homemade cheeseburgers. She must like the hockey-puck texture of the meat, the starchy, squishy quality of the buns, and the thin, floppy, American cheese they put on the burgers. My burger was made with fresh lean ground beef, seasoned with a little Worcestershire sauce (and some love, too!) with cheddar cheese on a honey-wheat bun.
Googles of good stuff...

Lately hits on my blog have been coming from searches that do not include SPQR, which still remains the most common search string.

Some recent hits:

"will there be any stars in my crown" tab; from Google in German
You're Worthy of My Praise MORNING SATURDAY; from Google in Spanish or Portugese
english short story; from a Chinese search engine
"Against the Protestant Gnostics"; from Google
earl klugh; from a Chinese search engine
Getting from nowhere to nowhere...

My grandmother is having a 90th birthday party in November - she lives in Roanoke, VA. Somehow I have to get from nowhere (Monroe, Louisiana) to nowhere (Roanoke, Virginia) for a reasonably good price. Its not like flying from St. Louis to Baltimore, or from Chicago to Orlando. This is really an obscure route.

I checked on cheaptickets and it can be done round-trip for $310. That's a pretty good price. I checked with US Air and they charge $757. I'd do priceline but with Bailey, usually the layovers/connections are a nightmare. I used to be able to fly round-trip from St. Louis to Baltimore for $110, but I always had a three-hour layover in Covington, Kentucky.

Gone are the days of inconvenient travel at rock-bottom prices. If you're single, or you don't have children, this is definitely one advantage you have over families with children. You are still quite mobile. Take advantage of it while you can. (Eh-hem, that means...find a cheap ticket to St. Louis for the blogger get-together next spring!)
Coming apart at the seams...

I just sat down at the desk and my pants pocket caught on the drawer handle of the desk. The pocket tore completely off, and it can't be fixed. I only own three pairs of pants. Now I'm down to two. This isn't going to be a good day.
Trivia you didn't want to know...

From Rick's blog...

1. What time do you wake up in the morning? Between 7:00 and 8:00.
2. If you could have lunch with someone famous, who would it be?
3. Gold or Silver? Silver
4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I don't remember.
5. Favorite TV Shows? CSI and JAG
6. What do you have for breakfast? Whatever Bailey's having
7. What would you hate to be left in a room with? Spiders
8. Can you touch your nose with your tongue? No
9. Who/What inspires you? Whatever
10. What's your middle name? Michelle
11. Beach or City? City
12. Summer or winter? Winter
13. Favorite Ice Cream? Butter Pecan
14. Buttered, plain or salted Popcorn? Kettle Corn
15. Favorite Color? Green
16. Favorite Car? Any convertible
17. Favorite Sandwich filling/s? Cheese, chicken salad, meatballs
18. Ever been in love? I guess
19. What characteristics do you despise? These questions are too hard.
20. Favorite flower? I couldn't name more than two or three flowers. Whatever ones are pretty.
21. If you had a big win on the lottery, what would you do with it? Since I don't play the lottery, I don't know.
22. Fizzy or Still Water as a drink? Fizzy
23. How many keys on your key ring? Six
24. Where would you retire to? Annapolis
25. Can you juggle, if yes how many? I can't juggle, but Duane can juggle cats. Its one of his favorite hobbies.
26. Favorite Day of the week. Sunday
27. Red or white wine? I don't drink. It would probably be white.
28. What did you do for your last birthday? Change a diaper, wash some dishes, do a load of laundry, fix dinner, go to bed.
29. Do you carry a donor card? Yes, I have a donor sticker on my license.
Hollywood and family

Duane and I watched We Were Soldiers on Saturday night. I've immensely enjoyed all the Mel Gibson movies I've seen in the past several years: Braveheart, The Patriot, and this one. They all have common threads running through them that I am surprised Hollywood would swallow. From what I understand, Signs follows suit well.

The Patriot, as I understand, was originally going to be rated NC-17. For the violence? No. For the scene where Gibson hands the rifles to his sons and tells them to start with the officers and work their way down. How dare we film a movie where a father and his sons know how to use guns, and are using them to protect their home and their family.
The gaudiness of pop-up advertising

Somehow the solemnity of Yahoo's gray front page as a tribute to 9/11 is disrupted by the pop-up window of the cat with the waving paw.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Diaper wars

Bailey is running around screaming "One...TWO! ONE...two! One...TWO!" and "Sawah! Sawah! Sawah!"

She came into the room where I'm typing with her pants and her diaper down around her ankles. I need to attach my camera to my hip.

I buy the Wal-Mart White Cloud diapers and have never had a problem...no leaks, perfect fit, etc. Today I get six defective diapers in one bag - the tape on one side isn't attached all the way, so when you tug it to get it tight, the tape tears off.
Show Momma how the piggy eats...

Bailey was eating peas last night before we went to church. When I went in to check on her, she had her face down in the peas like a pig and was trying to lick them up. She had one stuck in her nose. Today she tried it with broccoli and grilled cheese.

She's crazy.
A third short of a gratifying harmony...

Okay, so here's a debate I'm having with my alter ego.

Doug Wilson made a mention about his desire to see a psalter published with more melodies written in the tenor line. He also made a passing comment about how more of the harmonies should be in 4ths and 5ths instead of 3rds. (I have the soprano/alto harmony in mind.)

The psalm I just posted below does have 3rds, but the parts move apart as the psalm progresses, and 4ths and 5ths emerge. As the parts separate the penitence seems to intensify. I don't know enough about music theory to explain it in correct terms.

As I think of most of my favorite hymns I realize few of them have a large portion of 3rds. Many have inner voices that constantly move (Bach, Haydn), or have voices that counter the harmony, or move in 4ths and 5ths.

Does anyone have a theory about songs with harmonies comprised mostly of 3rds?
Paraphrased penitence...

I know many people don't care for the Book of Psalms for Singing (a.k.a. "The Psalmnal") but I have several that I truly enjoy. One whose tune fits the text particularly well is 69B, or Psalm 69:5-12.
O God, my foolishness and sins
Are surely known to Thee.
Let none that wait on Thee be shamed,
Lord GOD of hosts, through me.

O Thou, the God of Israel,
Let none that seek Thy face
Be ever made to suffer shame
For my acts of disgrace.

For I have borne reproach for Thee,
My face is veiled with shame.
To brothers strange, to mother's sons
An alien, I became.

For zeal within me for Thy house
has been consuming me,
And all reproaches cast at Thee
Have fallen now on me.

When I was weeping in my soul,
My fasting was my shame;
When I in sackcloth clothed myself,
Their byword I became.

The men who sit within the gate
Have talked about me long;
And those who gave themselves to drink
About me made a song.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Comment dit-on "I wish I had been cool" en Francais?

Earlier this year, when I found out my high school class was FINALLY going to have a ten-year reunion, almost two years late, I signed up for the Gold membership on classmates.com. Why, I wonder?

I look around every once in a while to see who is out there. Tonight I found a guy that was an exchange student from France and he was at my school my senior year. He incessantly picked on me and my friends, and he had a particular barb for me - one that can't be repeated here. It had something to do with the relative size of my back end. Except he would say it in French. What better way to learn all the obscenities that make a high school kid giggle in a foreign language class?

Then I read my senior profile in the yearbook. Its really embarassing. Things I did, things I said...its like a frantic idiot trying to capture 18 years of worthless mistakes in one paragraph, and trying to make it sound...reflective, pensive, and mature. Whatever. I can't hardly remember those times (that's not true, but if you say it enough you'll start to believe it) and I'm glad Bailey won't have to go through it. What a stupid idea Prom is! I wound up having to bribe the roommate of my best friend to take me. I remember some teachers who influenced me for the good and for the worse, and I remember friends who did the same. I have loose ends I wish I could tie up, but I'm too ashamed to make the moves. I was an arrogant, confrontational, EXTREMELY competitive person in school. Everything I did was to try to establish myself at the top of the achievement heirarchy so I could get where I wanted to go...which, ultimately, was nowhere.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I had some good times in high school. To Hell and Back, Chess, Phantom, Dracula, All-County, the Hallelujah! Chorus, cheerleading, track, crew...yeah, I have some good memories. But mostly, those were days I don't need to remember. Nothing redeeming about most of them.

So, if you think back on those days and you have pleasant, twinkie-soft memories, I applaud you. You've earned my respect.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Women stacked elbow-to-elbow buying paper, thread, and buttons...

We have a Scrapbook Convention here in Monroe today and tomorrow. I took Bailey this morning to see what they have. I am a scrapbooking addict and have been in serious withdrawal since we moved to Monroe because there are no stores here. In St. Louis we had the largest scrapbook store in a 200-mile radius two blocks from our apartment. I buy Creative Memories product but there are a lot of techniques I use that CM does not advocate or supply product for. I did find out today that we will have two stores opening in October!

When Bailey and I got there we had a cinnamon danish and then went in to see the vendors. There were about twenty set up in a fairly small room; its not a large convention, but its better than nothing! The first rack I saw was SEI's Simple Sets, which I think are beautiful and suit my color preferences well. I bought a bunch (paying with quarters) and continued to walk around. I counted no fewer than three of the new home-based "cults" (as Duane calls them) with booths selling their wares - and home parties. One was Southern Living, and another was Homemade Gourmet, a company out of Dallas that sells mixes and marinades to make your cooking life easier. Expensive stuff, but tempting.

I just had to blog something "girlish" to annoy all you menfolk who read my blog.
Textual criticism revisited...

My thoughts...

1. I suspect Jesus was only mentioned because power rhymes with hour and fair rhymes with there.
2. It's sad this hymn uses the phrase "beyond the sky" because that is one of my favorite Fernando Ortega songs.
3. No congregation can sing sixteenth notes the way they are written in these songs. The dotted eighth notes followed by a sixteenth note gives the musical impression of skipping, which is a silly dance.
Jesus as an afterthought...

Second Atrociously Bad Hymn

Shake Hands With Mother Again

If I should be living when Jesus comes
And could know the day and the hour,
I'd like to be standing at Mother's tomb
When Jesus comes in His pow'r.

'Twill be a wonderful happy day
Up there on the golden strand;
When I can hear Jesus my Savior say,
"Shake hands with mother again."


I'd like to say "Mother, this is your boy,
You left when you went away;
And now my dear mother it gives me great joy
To see you again today."

There's coming a time when I can go home
to meet my loved ones up there;
There I can see Jesus upon His throne
In that bright city so fair.

There'll be no more sorrow or pain to bear
In that home beyond the sky;
O glorious tho't when we all get there,
We never will say "good-by."

Regretful inquiry...

Okay, I deleted the post I put up last night. Everything in it was true, but Rick made a comment that maybe his sarcasm got to me. I know what he meant because he was the one I had originally talked to about the issue.

I meant what I said, but there was too much context to fit it all on a post. Anyway, I still have a headache.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Textual criticism...

My questions:

1. Just where is the corner of glory land?
2. Does the tree of life cause the cabin to "ever stand", or does the cabin cause the tree of life to "ever stand"?

The "You" in I Dreamed I Searched Heaven For You is not Jesus, but a friend who needs preparin' before the next revival.
Location, location, location...

First Atrociously Bad Hymn

Lord, Build Me A Cabin in Glory

Many years I've been looking for a place to call home,
But I've failed here to find it, so I must travel on;
I don't care for fine mansions on earth's sinking sand,
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

Yes, build me just a cabin in the corner of glory land,
In the shade of the tree of life that it may ever stand;
Where I can just hear the angels sing and shake Jesus' hand,
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.


Blessed Lord, I'm not asking to live in the midst,
For I know I'm not worthy of such splendor as this,
But I'm asking for mercy while humbly I stand,
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

I have many dear loved ones who have gone on this way,
On that great final morning, shall I hear them all say,
Come and join in our singing and play in our band?
Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of glory land.

People who liked this revival ditty also enjoyed:

Will There Be Any Stars (In My Crown)?
The Wayfaring Stranger
I Dreamed I Searched Heaven For You


Stay tuned for next week's tribute to mother's love, her gray hair, her Bible, her prayers, and her handshake.
Obscure entertainment...

Duane and I bought a Heavenly Highway Hymns book yesterday. When I went up to the counter to pay, I felt like telling the guy behind the counter "I'm not buying this to use it, I'm buying it to make fun of it." Duane grew up singing songs out of this book, and I'm ashamed to say that last night there were several I could hum along to, as well.

So, stay tuned every so often for my "Atrociously Bad Hymn" posting, maybe once a week, maybe more often if the demand is there.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Patriarchalism...

In a conversation with a friend recently, my friend told me that she had visited a church we were familiar with and that they thought they heard a sort of "family worship"/patriarchalism being taught. Based on the church's history, I could see a natural progression from where they were say, five years ago to this point - possibly, in theory at least, elevating the family unit over ecclesiology, or perhaps confusing the two as one.

The church had, in the past, been staunchly Baptist and, as often is the case, steeped in dispensational theology. The pastor then became a soteriological Calvinist and eventually came upon the "popular" idea of the covenant. (You know, "Covenant" Baptist Church, "Covenant" Community Church...a good Bible word with a sketchy definition that appears in Strong's a bunch of times.) He tried to reconcile the covenant with a dispensational hermeneutic and his theology got kind of garbled. He wound up retaining dispensationalism and teaching the dispensations as separate covenants. During this study, he began to learn about biblical headship and the created order of man and woman. With the skips and jumps they made in their developing theology, it seems that patriarchalism is inevitable. The church has a very weak sacramentology so they are probably vulnerable to any sort of replacement for the sacraments.

My friend enjoys the ministry of Vision Forum a lot. I have benefitted greatly from their ministry and I would like to continue to buy homeschool products and books from them.

Vision Forum started an official ministry and they have a very lengthy statement of faith on their ministry website. I skimmed their statements and found just a few speedbumps that are probably just me misunderstanding the academic language, but nothing overtly patriarchal in tone. Someone told me recently that Doug Phillips (sp?) advocates Christian patriarchalism. I didn't see this on their site.

Can anyone confirm/deny this? Does anyone have feedback on Vision Forum (beyond the books and tapes they didn't write)? I'd be happy to hear anything you have to say. Gary North's Baptized Patriarchalism: The Cult of the Family was recommended to me by Pastor Lusk, so I'm reading it now.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Days like these...

I had a crazy day today. Its been a long time since I've been that disorganized and I appreciated the challenge.

I had to get to the church by 9:00 because I had to talk to Miss Jackie about securing a room for class. I didn't know our boys school added a year this year so they are using more classrooms than they used last year. I got to church and signed up for a room, then ran to the bank to cash some checks. I went back to the church office and put the money down on Duane's tuition and books. Then I left, went a block down the street, and borrowed a Latin Primer from a friend in the church. Turns out she didn't have the student edition, only the teacher's edition, so I was out of luck for today anyway. I turned around, went back to the church, set up the classroom, found Bailey something to drink, and waited for my students. I had a class at 11 and then a half-hour break, then a 12:30 class. Bailey screamed her head off each time I left the nursery to go to class.

After the 12:30 class was over, I went to the church office to give Miss Jackie the money I'd just received to put towards our account. (It's so neat - our church keeps a tab for you on books that you buy. Pastor Wilkins is real big on church members building up a good library - he advocates budgeting money every month for books.) I gave her a handful of checks, then found that I had misplaced one from an elderly couple who is taking my beginning class. I felt sick to my stomach. A friend ran back over to the church to try to find the check. She couldn't find it. Miss Jackie got me some water (by then I was in a panic) and I just let Bailey run around. She pivoted and made a bee-line for Pastor Wilkins' office, ran in his office and did her clap-the-hands and LOOK AT ME! thing. I scooped her up and brought her out into the office area. My friend finally found the check, and I signed it over to Miss Jackie. I bought a book, paid a few books off, took care of some administative work, left the office, and started home. I had to keep Bailey awake so she'd take her nap when we got home.

My diligence paid off, though, as I put her down at 3:00 for her nap and Duane had to wake her up when he got home at 6:00.

Long day. I'm tired.
Amo, amas, amat...

I had my first Latin classes today. I have a wide range of students as usual. They are all bright, ranging in ages from 2nd grade through 8th grade, and I can tell they're going to keep me on my toes.

In my beginner's class I have an 11-year-old girl who is the daughter of Duane's boss. I wasn't sure if she was comfortable with everything we'd done (even though they are beginners they have all had at least a semester of Latin - everyone except for Amelia.). After the class was over she came up to me and asked, "So if I'm trying to form the infinitive of amo, I need to take the long -o off the first person singular, because -o means "I", keep the stem, add the stem vowel, which is a, and add -re to the end?"

Pretty good question for someone who only had 45 minutes of Latin. I was glad I could answer it.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Ablative of separation

Bailey had a separation-anxiety spell tonight while we were in class. I thought this stage would pass quickly (it started when she was 12 months old) but it seems to be getting worse. She spends a lot of time crying for me, especially at home, when Duane is here. She used to be easily distracted with a babysitter - she would cry when I left but be alright until I came back.

Is it something I'm doing to encourage her attachment? I don't want people to think she's spoiled, but I don't want to stop giving her all this affection, either. Is it normal for a baby her age (18 months) to have this type of anxiety?
Gullible for God...

Speaking of hospitality, Duane and I were talking on the way back from Ohio about true, hard-core hospitality. In any city, if we were to run into trouble, or our car broke down and we didn't have a place to stay, we should be able to look up any PCA church in the phone book, call the church, and be taken care of...well, in theory. Isn't that the kind of community we're supposed to be working towards?

If you got a phone call from your pastor asking if you could have a family come over for dinner and to spend the evening until they could get back on the road, how would you react?

Even if you don't have an extra room or an extra bed, would you host them? Would it make you happy to have a brother or sister in Christ whom you didn't know come into your home and eat with you? Would you be uncomfortable?
Anecdotes and allergies...

We had Pastor and Mrs. Wilkins over for lunch today. We had a really nice visit. I made soft tacos and fajitas and we had sweet corn cake (that stuff is SO good!) and rice. (Does anyone really care what I fixed for lunch?! O, the banality of blogdom...but wait a minute, this is my blog and you're reading it...ha!)

We had a wonderful visit. They are so easy-going with a great sense of humor that I didn't feel as stressed-out as I normally do before we have company. Pastor Wilkins is allergic to cats, though, and by the time they were ready to leave his eyes were a little red. I felt terrible. I know not everyone likes cats so I try to make sure the fur is cleaned up regularly.

Anyway, we've had enough people over that I feel comfortable with our humble abode. Its okay if we don't have the biggest house or the nicest furniture; I love to cook for folks and visit with them. I'm really getting into this hospitality.
Alpha, beta, gamma, delta...

I had my first adult Greek class tonight. I was pretty nervous before it started, but everyone was relaxed and laid-back. I had a good time.

We managed to get through the entire Lesson 3 in Machen, which has a lot of information, and everyone caught on very well except for one student, who is going to have a very hard time, I think. I hope he can pick up on it in the next couple of weeks, otherwise, he might get lost and then frustrated. I offered to meet with him outside of class to help him out, but I don't know if that will help him or not.

Teaching adults has a much different dynamic - this is my first try. They can really communicate if they don't understand something, and they know how to ask the right question to get the answer they're looking for. I love teaching kids, don't get me wrong, but I think I communicate better with adults.

I really admire people who can teach kids anything - piano, a sport, a language, math...who knows what will happen when I try to teach Bailey.
Duane asked me a while back if we'd get to go to a college football game this season. He's never been to one. I told him how much fun they are as long as you have someone to root for.

I attended many Navy games, including two Army-Navy games. There is nothing like tailgating off the back of your car (or truck), keeping warm, and smelling all the food. Annapolis has a smell to it, especially in the fall. It is a crisp autumn smell mingled with smell of the river, the restaurants, and the seafood houses all through town. I could smell those smells with a blindfold on and know I was in Annapolis. The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the cold of the bleachers on your backside when you sit down, the inevitable groan when Navy loses...all of those images are stuck with me. I really love Annapolis, and I guess I miss it a lot from time to time.

Another smell (I'm on an olfactory kick tonight) that I will always remember is the smell of the Naval Academy - you can smell it a little bit outside in front of Bancroft Hall (the main building/dorms), but it gets very strong inside and downstairs in King Hall (the dining area), and then stronger as you walk toward the passageways in the wings. The winter dress uniforms at Navy are made from wool, and wool has a very distinct smell when it is dry-cleaned. Downstairs, right under the deck I lived on, was the dry cleaners/alteration shop. The smell of the stone walls mingled with the dry cleaners and created a very unique smell. It always reminds me of winter, and of wearing the wool uniform and the thick wool overcoat, walking up Main Street to meet my mom in her store on a Saturday, cherishing the liberty, dreading the bathrobe and slippers formation and singing of "Blue and Gold" at midnight. Boy, do I remember night after night of standing against the bulkhead barely awake, just wanting to hit the rack.

It is amazing how a smell can bring back such a flood of memories. I could almost write a book about all the smells I remember from growing up.
I had been fighting a summer funk for the past few months - no desire to accomplish much indoors, too hot to go outside. The mall is half an hour away, and its pretty small at that. Bailey and I had cabin fever, and I was quite depressed about the condition of the house.I had been thinking about the baby a bit (we just found out my sister-in-law is pregnant; she's due two weeks after I would have been due) and just been...yuck.

I went out and bought some candles a few weeks ago to make the house smell better - we were having company for dinner - and I picked up an apple-cinnamon scented candle and a potpourri one. I lit them and went about my business. Surprisingly, after about an hour, I really began to feel energized. My mood lightened, I felt like I had energy to get things accomplished, and I felt a little more content about where we are right now and what we're doing. I sat down to think about it and realized that the scent I had chosen reminded me of the Christmas season at my mom's house when I was growing up. I have very vivid, almost tangible memories of our Christmases together. Winter is my favorite season; coming in from the cold, taking a hot bath, and curling up with a book and a cat on my lap is one of my favorite things to do. I probably would contend that aromatherapy is mostly bunk, but I can attest to the fact that I know this candle really lifted my spirits.

I tried the experiment again on Friday; I put some Diana Krall on the CD player, lit the candle, and - VOILA! I was at it again.

I can't wait for it to get "cold" here in Monroe. I want to have people over to sing hymns, drink some hot buttered rum, and just be happy. I find I have a hard time in the spring and summer seasons feeling as energetic and focused.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I think Bailey has a crush on a boy at church named Noah. She saw him today. He's the same age she is. She keeps coming up to Duane and shouting "Noah! Noah!"

Duane just leaned over and told Bailey she's full of beans. She looked at him and screamed "No, I'm full of beans!" I wish I could get this on tape. This is too funny.
One of my daughter's first words was dog. Well, to her it was gug, but she said it and pointed to dogs, so we figured that's what it was.

Anyway, one day on our way home from Bailey kept saying "apple" and we couldn't figure out what she was saying; we don't eat apples, so we knew she wasn't asking for one.

Finally she said "Apple!" and then panted. We finally figured out she was saying "April", the name of my in-law's cocker spaniel. She still, from time to time, walks around saying "Apple!" and panting even though she hasn't seen her in almost three months.

My mother-in-law made her a pillow case with a tiny cocker spaniel on the edge. Bailey carries the pillow around saying "Apple!" and panting.

She's so cute.

Now she's walking around the house saying "Sawah! Sawah!" I think she's saying Sarah...which she said before she said "Mommy." It's pretty cute, but we can't let it last too long.
I am ashamed to admit I put down Eco's Name of the Rose with no intention of finishing it. I just can't get interested. Maybe I should try one of his other books.

I feel guilty because this is the first "real" mystery I've read, and I couldn't get through it. In this community, I'm really sticking my neck out by admitting I didn't want to finish a book that is considered intellectual. I just felt that for me, it wasn't saying something important enough to consider.
How about a BLOG REUNION next Spring in St. Louis?

I'd love to organize it/arrange it.

Hey, if anyone is seriously interested (we'd have almost a year to plan!), email me or post a comment. I think its doable; St. Louis is in the middle of the country (almost) with lots to do and accomodations for every income. We could have it over a Friday-Saturday-Sunday - do Forest Park and the Botanical Gardens (whoever is interested), maybe a Cards game (for cheap!), Grant's Farm, the Arch...

Let me know. Maybe Rick can post this on his blog since more folks read his than mine.

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