Sunday, December 31, 2006

Still Another Tag!!

I'm a Mandarin!

You're an intellectual, and you've worked hard to get where you are now. You're a strong believer in education, and you think many of the world's problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. You have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates you when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power. You believe that people can make a difference in the world, and you're determined to try.

Talent: 49%
Lifer: 28%
Mandarin: 69%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

Another Tag for the New Year!

Four jobs you have had in your life:

1. Keypunch Operator
2. Typist
3. Nurse
4. Asst Professor

Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. The Chosen
2. 84 Charing Cross Road
3. Shrek
4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Four places you have lived:

1. Atlanta
2. Salt Lake City
3. Decatur
4. Lawrenceville

Four TV shows you love to watch:

1. Law and Order (and any of the spin-offs!)
2. Crocodile Hunter (and any of the spin-offs)
3. Without a Trace
4. Forensic Files

Four places you have been on vacation:

1. Gatlinburg NC
2. Snow Basin UT
3. Mountain Home ID
4. San Diego CA

Four websites I visit daily:


Four of my favorite foods:

1. DH's fruit spice cookies
2. Hummus
3. Steak au Poivre
4. Charlotte Russe

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. Actually, I'm right where I would rather be!

Four places I would like to visit:

1. Russia
2. Japan
3. Scotland
4. Ireland

Tag! You're it! Copy, delete my responses and fill in your own!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reflections - Author Unknown

I received this from Patti. Thought it belonged here.


Reflections.. and then it's winter before we know it....

You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.

It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all...

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... but, here it is... the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...

How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?

I remember well... seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like...

But, here it is... wife retired and she's really getting gray... she moves slower and I see an older woman now. She's in better shape than me... but, I see the great change... Not the one I married who was young and vibrant... but, like me, her age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat's mandatory! 'Cause if I don't on my own free will...I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things.

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last... This I know, that when it's over... its over... Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done... things I should have done. But indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done Its all in a lifetime...

So, if you're not in your winter yet... let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it soon!

Life goes by quickly, so do what you can today, because you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life... so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who came after. Make it a fantastic one."


~author unknown~

Cribbed from Sara . . .

1. FIRST NAME: Elizabeth
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes! My grandmother and grandfather, and "The Little Colonel"
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Depends on the day. Sometimes beef, sometimes ham.
6. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yah! 3 + 11 grandkids!
8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? This blog and an another one I post to occasionally.
13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No - have a hard time bending to re-tie them.
15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Breyer's Dulce La Leche
17. RED OR PINK? Red
18. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My slothfulness and procrastination.
19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? 3 people - my Mom, and both my mothers-in-law
21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? I'm wearing my bathrobe and nightie! :-)
22. THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Toast and cheese.
23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Watching TV - Animal Planet.
24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Any shade in the blue-green spectrum!
25. FAVORITE SMELL? I don't know - can't put my finger on it.
27. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Picked it up from a blog.
28. FAVORITE DRINK: Schweppes Raspberry Gingerale!!
29. FAVORITE SPORT: To do: Swimming. To watch: Figure skating
30. HAIR COLOR? multicolored - gray, brown, auburn, white
31. EYE COLOR? Brown / hazel
32. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Used to. Wish I still could!
33. FAVORITE FOOD? Nearly anything! Especially if it's bad for me! :->
34. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Happy endings - of course
35. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
38. HUGS OR KISSES? Both! I'm greedy!
39. FAVORITE DESSERT? Creme Brulee AND Caramel Nut-Roll (vanilla ice cream rolled in broken pecans in a sundae dish with caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry on top!!
42. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? "Kill All the Lawyers" - a murder mystery about a pair of attorneys
43. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? The mouse and some cat hair from the 3-K's
44. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? I didn't watch TV last night - watched a movie!
45. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Depends on my mood. Birdies chirping and singing, children laughing, Orthodox chant, Sarah Brightman and Charlotte Church singing "Pie Jesu"

TAG! You're it, now!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fun Christmas Survey - - - - - My Answers!

TAG! You're it!

Fun Christmas Survey - - - - - My Answers!

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
Both! Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!

2. Turkey or Ham?
I prefer Turkey, but we usually have ham because it is so soon after Thanksgiving

3. Do you get a Fake or Real cut it yourself Christmas tree?
Fake now for lots of reasons

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
One artifical wreath

5. Snowball fights or sledding?
Neither - when you live in the Hotlanna area, there either is zero snow, or not enough for either! But later in the winter we might be able to have an ice fight...

6. Do you like hanging around the fireplace because it's warm?
Fireplace doesn't "work." I'd love it if it gets cold enough. Hasn't so far...

7. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?

8. Favorite Christmas song?
A lovely carol called "Walking in the Air" and nearly anything by John Rutter

9. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
Hate most of them

10. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
On Christmas Eve! We don't celebrate Christmas until Christmas.

11. Stockings before or after presents?

12. Carolers, do you or do you not listen to them?
If it's kids from the various local churches, I love them!

13. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?
Since we celebrate on civil calendar Jan 7, the family comes to us!

14. Do you read the Christmas Story?
The Gospel is read at Church, but we read it individually at home, too.

15. What do you do after presents and dinner?
Just have fun together

16. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Cinnamon with cloves and pine needles and bayberry candles all mixed up into one ambience (Christmas potpourri works).

17. Ice skating or walking around the mall?

18. Favorite Christmas memory?
Every year brings a new favorite!

19. Favorite part about winter?
Eventually it will end!

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Of course! What red-blooded southern belle hasn't been? ;-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cribbed from Meg . . .

xx Years Ago I....

30 Years Ago I...
- was 34
- had just remarried after an unwanted divorce from XH
- didn't know my mother would die the next year
- was an Anglican

25 years Ago I...
- Was 39
- had been Orthodox for 3 years
- was living in Decatur GA
- had 2 teenagers and one elementary-school kid

20 years Ago I...
- Was 44
- was working at Clemson University
- had a "commuter marriage" as DH was working in Atlanta and commuting to Clemson on weekends :-(
- was planning to get PhD

15 Years Ago I...
- was 49
- was in the throes of getting PhD
- had oldest son back from military living with us
- worked as a graduate research assistant and as a nurse practitioner in my "copious spare time"
- had just taken over moderatorship of the Orthodox Women's List

10 Years Ago I...
- was 54
- had my PhD in hand
- had buried my father 2 years before
- "only" had 4 grandchildren
- was looking for a job

5 Years Ago I...
- was 59
- was dealing with husband having heart problems
- was settling into new house in Lawrenceville Ga (!!)
- was working at home in my own business
- "only" had 5 grandchildren

4 years ago I...
- Was 60
- doing the same stuff as at 59
- went to the one and only college reunion I've gone to
- spent time with my best friend from college!
- "only" had 6 grandchildren

2 Years Ago I...
- Was 62
- welcomed 10th grandchild into the world!
- nearly lost husband to another heart attack
- put kitchen renovation on the wish list in case we ever win the lottery

1 Year Ago I...
- Was 63
- welcomed 11th (and probably last) grandchild into the world!
- gradually became more and more crippled
- continued to work at business

Yesterday I...
- slept most of the day
- washed bathing suit and towels in anticipation of today's aquatic therapy
- listened to some music tracks DH downloaded from the internet
- ate some of DH's wonderful chicken soup!

Today I...
- went to aquatic therapy
- had a *good* day!! :-D
- talked to XH's sister on the phone
- finished the next to last case on my plate for the moment!

Tomorrow I...
- will finish the last case (for the moment!)
- babysit the 4yo grandson (happy-happy joy-joy!!)
- do various therapy exercises
- prepare supper for GS and DH

Tag: To anyone who wants to pick it up.

Great Day!!

Friday was miserable. My hands were swollen and just plain HURT! I decided this is how I would have to live the rest of my life, and tried to resign myself to it. Took the Methotrexate and soaked my hands in hot water at every chance. Have to get some paraffin, I decided.
Saturday morning I woke up and it was as if it had never happened. I don't know why, but I'm not asking any questions! Just accepting the grace given. Sat and Sun I was dragging around and just couldn't stay awake, so I decided being asleep 3/4 of the time was a small price to pay for the lack of pain.
Woke up today and I had energy! Not like when I was in my twenties, of course, but more than I've had in months - maybe years. Went to aquatic therapy and stayed in the pool for nearly 2 hours.
I was tired when I got back, but didn't even nap. Was able to get an urgent case finished, and do a little stuff around the house, even.
Gee, if this continues, I might even get the house cleaned up by Nativity!! Wow! What a concept!
Tomorrow is an early pool day (6am), and the day I babysit the 4yo GS - Happy-Happy Joy-Joy!
Thursday is early swim, hand therapy and then lunch and shopping with uncle. I think I'll sleep all day Friday...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Things I Have Done

Well, I swiped this from Meg, who says she swiped it from Phillipa! The things I have done are in BOLD.

Things I've Done (Or Not Done, as the Case May Be)

What about you???

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (all 3 of them!)
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (if you count Blood Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, and other peaks in the Southern Appalachians - they don't approach the Rockies, much less Everest, but they ARE mountains!)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive (No, but I did take a jaguar
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it!
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris (Does Paris KY count?? LOL)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (Not at sea, but from the top of Blood Mountain - spectacular!)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (MANY times! We used to climb Stone Mountain on New Years Eve after the party was over just so we could watch the sun come up! This was long before the Gondola...)
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (Can't get too much bigger than GA-GA Tech or GA Tech-Auburn; then there are the Braves games...)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (actually, it was my X who was the gardener, and we ate the veggies all summer and fall. Winter, too, if I were energetic enough to can them)
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy (3 children, 11 grandchildren - and you think I haven't changed diapers!! Not to mention being an OB nurse and nurse-midwife...)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower - in the desert SW - gorgeous!
23. Drunk champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (at my mother's memorial service - I was remembering some of the silly things we used to do - had to pretend I was crying so I wouldn't shock all the little old ladies)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse.
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb (and baby goats and a couple of calves, numerous kittens, not to mention delivering lots of babies)
33. Seen a total eclipse (Mama took me out on our back driveway. We could see the whole thing from there. She made me use about 8 layers of blackened film to keep from hurting my eyes. I really resented it - wanted to look at the "real" thing.
34. Ridden a roller coaster (LOVE roller coasters! Can't ride them anymore, but if I could, I'd join the American Coaster Enthusiasts and trek all over the country riding different ones!
35. Scored a winning goal (playing "Speedball" in college - this is a combination of soccer, football and basketball, played on a football-sized field. You can't hold the ball (as in soccer) but it's scored like basketball. Really great!
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (actually, most of the time I do feel happy about my life. Family calls me a "space biscuit" [light and flakey] and a "happy camper")
39. Visited all 5 continents (Don't I wish!!)
40. Taken care of someone who was drunk (YUCK!)
41. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
42. Watched wild whales
43. Stolen a sign
44. Backpacked
45. Taken a road-trip
46. Gone rock climbing
48. Midnight walk on the beach
49. Gone sky diving
50. Taken a train through Europe
51. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
52. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table, and had a meal with them (at Rich's, in the 50's and early 60's, they used to ask people eating alone if they were willing to share their table. I always said yes, and often was seated at someone's table who also had said yes.)
53. Milked a cow (lots)
54. Alphabetized your CDs (even as I post - for the 43rd time...)
55. Sung karaoke (There's a karaoke bar in downtown Lawrenceville - less than a mile from the house!)
56. Lounged around in bed all day
57. Gone scuba diving
58. Kissed in the rain
59. Gone to a drive-in theatre (Especially the Moonlit in Conyers when I was at EaO. We called it the "Moonlit Passion Pit"
60. Started a business
61. Taken a martial arts class (Tai Chi)
62. Been in a movie
63. Crashed a party (in my foolish and jmisspent youth we used to do this all the time!)
64. Gone without food for 5 days (make that 25 days! Have not always acted with intelligence.
65. Gotten a tattoo (betcha didn't now that piece of useless trivia!)
66. Got flowers for no reason (well, there's always a reason if you count, "I just want them" as a reason!)
67. Performed on stage
68. Been to Las Vegas - but didn't stay - drove right through on the way to San Francisco from Salt Lake City
69. Recorded music
70. Eaten shark
71. Buried one/both of your parents. (Both)
72. Been on a cruise ship
73. Spoken more than one language fluently
74. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
75. Walked a famous bridge
76. Had plastic surgery
77. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
78. Wrote articles for a large publication.
77. Tried to lose weight seriously (doesn't work for long, but I keep trying...)
79. Piloted an airplane
80. Petted a stingray.
81. Broken someone’s heart (I should be beaten for that one!)
82. Broken a bone (Does my pinky toe count??)
83. Eaten sushi (favorite meal!)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Parasailed
86. Skipped all your school reunions (so far, skipped all but 2)
87. Shaved your head (may do this, yet, depending on how much of my hair falls out with the new medicine)
88. Caused a car accident
89. Pretended to be “sick” (Meg sez: who's pretending? I call it "sick and tired leave") (I sez: I call them "Mental Health Days!")
90. Swam in the Pacific Ocean (and the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mex)
91. Saved someone’s life.
92. Fainted
93. Been in the room while someone is giving birth (too many times to count!)
94. Hitchhiked
95. Adopted a child
96. Been caught daydreaming
97. Been to the Painted Desert
98. Called off a wedding engagement
99. Donated your blood
100. Become a follower of Jesus Christ

I don't know if that last really counts. I can't remember when I was not a Christian.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hair Yesterday - - Goon Today!

      Since I'm going on Methotrexate tomorrow, today I had my 3 1/2 feet of hair chopped off. Locks of Love got 20 inches of it after ends were trimmed. I now don't need to "do" anything much to my hair - just rub conditioning cream and then styling mousse into it and "scrunch" it in my hands. I can do my hand exercises while I "scrunch!"
      Don't much like it, prefer long hair, but this is an interesting change. And, if part or all falls out, at least Locks of Love got it! I'll post pics as soon as my DD sends the ones we took today.
      The change of weather plus "pushing too hard" and "overdoing" the past several days is catching up with me. I don't dare stop going to the pool, but I'm going to have to take a break - take a really decent nap each day tomorrow and Saturday.
      DD went with me to get myhair cut. She made lots of good suggestions to the hairdresser. My hair is soooo naturally curly, it is really hard to handle. She is just marvelous. DIL likes my hair, so that's 2 who like it. Ol' Curmudgeon says I'm still his "Windy-Girl." I don't know, yet, whether I like it, though.
      I can almost be grateful that I have developed RA - it has brought DD, DIL and me closer together. They have both been so supportive it has truly touched my heart.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Current Dilemma

      Recently I've been remiss in posting here. With the new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, I have been struggling with whether to post about how it is going or simply to ignore it. I don't want this blog to degenerate into a pity party.
      Yesterday I had an appointment with my rheumatologist (a wonderful man!) who is very successful in treating his RA patients. He's somewhat aggressive, but believes that "throwing the book" at RA fairly early in the disease process is more likely to achieve remissions. And for most of his patients he is correct. So I am assuming he is correct in early aggressive treatment in my case. The long and the short of it is that I'm going on methotrexate (Rheumatrex). This is an old cancer drug that is pretty successful in achieving remissions in early, mild to moderate RA. I start on it on Friday. As with any therapy with powerful drugs, there are good things and bad things. The good is, of course, the high percentage of remissions achieved with it. The bad things are: high possibility of major hair loss :-( and serious nausea.
      So tomorrow (Thursday) I will go get my 3 1/2 feet of thick naturally curly hair chopped off and donate it to Locks of Love. It will make my aquatic therapy easier, as I won't be so reluctant to get my hair wet. It will also remove a serious source of vanity. Those are the "up" sides of the possibility of hair loss!
      The "up" side of the possibility of serious nausea is, perhaps I'll actually lose serious weight. That would be good for the joints in my feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine.
      As my dear, dear friend Meg says - "Glory to God for All Things!" We need to remember - and I, in particular need to remember - that God is, indeed, in charge of all. He both can and will redeem all things in His time. That is a great comfort.
      So, there is no "pity party" here - just the daily struggle to improve my spiritual life and to keep my physical health as good as possible as long as possible.
      Now, I'm going to aquatic therapy and get my joints moving!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Republicans Missed the Boat

In 1994, the incoming Congress, with substantial Republican majority, set forth with a mandate to implement the Contract with America. (See below.) They managed to implement parts of that contract. Had they truly worked with their collegues in both the House and the Senate, however, all aspects of the contract would have passed - and Presidential vetos could have been overcome.

Now, as we approach the 2006 interim elections, there is a question as to whether the Republicans will retain their majority. I contend they will not and that it is because of 2 major things - failure to continue to honor the spirit of the Contract with America and an arrogance that led both to pervasive immorality and fiscal corruption. That arrogance, that immorality and that fiscal corruption are the chief reasons people do not trust them. Now, I do not think that Republicans are any more or less immoral or fiscally corrupt than any other political group, but their arrogance, hubris if you will, has led to their current problems. Am I going to vote Republican this election? Yes - but only because my Senators and Representative were true to the Contract. If I were in another state or another district, however, I most probably would be having second thoughts.

We need smaller government, not ever-larger.
We need fewer taxes, not more.
We need simpler tax laws, not ever-more complex ones.
We need committment to family and family values - lived by our Senators and Representatives, not just given lip service.
We need a judiciary that much more strictly adheres to the basic constructs of the Constitution.
We need to be able to live safely - from criminals, from invasion.
We desperately need strict term limits so that representational "dynasties" cannot be created as easily.
We need a morals clause for both Senators and Representatives that will automatically remove from office any member who *during tenure* practices, supports, seeks, or advocates pederasty, pedophilia, adultery, bribery, vote-buying.
We need to forbid any and all lobbying by corporations, political action committees or other groups.

The safety of this nation is paramount - we need less partisan wrangling and more unity supporting both diplomatic and military protections.

= = = = =


As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

This year's election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

  • FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
  • SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
  • THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
  • FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
  • FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
  • SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
  • SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
  • EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

Thereafter, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny.

1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.

2. THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's "crime" bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.

3. THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.

4. THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society.

5. THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: A S500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief.

6. THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: No U.S. troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.

7. THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.

8. THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages.

9. THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: "Loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation.

10. THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators.

Further, we will instruct the House Budget Committee to report to the floor and we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation described above, to ensure that the Federal budget deficit will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills.

Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.

= = = = =

To see how the various items of the Contract With America fared, and why, check out this Wikipedia article.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - Official warns US could face North Korean missile - Official warns US could face North Korean missile

Updated 10/10/2006 2:47 AM ET
SEOUL (AP) — A North Korean official threatened that communist nation could fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the U.S. acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

"We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes," the unnamed official said on Monday, according to a Yonhap report from Beijing. "That depends on how the U.S. will act." MORE...

Gee, didn't I just blog about this the other day?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Well, Korea is threatening to test a nuke. So I guess we are back to the days of the "Cold War" of the 60s. Shall we again have "put your head between your legs and kiss your a-- goodbye" drills in the schools?

Seems we have not learned from history and so are doomed to repeat it. Contrary to what the tree-huggers and other liberals would have us believe, simply treating everyone "nicely" won't work - because too many people and nations are not "nice." They are just evil. No matter how "nice" we are to them, they are going to try to bully the world. When will we learn?

To deal with bullys, you have to demonstrate that you are stronger and won't take their bullying any longer. So far, we have proven our weakness by keeping on stepping back. It's like being a mother dealing with a brat:
"Johnny, Mother doesn't like it when you do that!"
"Johnny, now stop that, sweetie!"
"Johnny, didn't I tell you to stop that?"
"Johnny, must I put you in time out?"
"Now, Johnny, I've told you again and again not to do that!"
"I'm going to have to tell Daddy!"

Johnny isn't going to stop until he is actually punished - and don't tell me about "time out." He just goes to his room and plays computer or video games. Or watches his TV. Or plays with his other toys. That's not exactly a punishment!! And neither are sanctions - as proven by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Dictators don't care about sanctions - no matter what they do to their subjects.

No, they need to be "paddled." On the national and international level, a "paddling" involves war. Sad to say. Yes, people will die. But what will happen if we don't? Even more than that will die from one nuked American city, however.

Imagine - Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento going up in a nuclear cloud? What if San Francisco is nuked? Would it unsettle the San Andreas fault and set off the major earthquake we've been expecting? Any or all of those are possible given the estimated ranges of Korean missles.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

To Realize - The Loss of Steve Irwin

To Realize The Value

by Anonymous

To realize the value of a sister
Ask someone who doesn't have one.

To realize the value of ten years:
Ask a newly divorced couple.

To realize the value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize the value of one year:
Ask a student who Has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To realize the value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to A premature baby.

To realize the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

To realize the value of one minute:
Ask a person Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one-second:
Ask a person Who has survived an accident...

To realize the value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.

To realize the value of a friend: Lose one.

= = = = =

On Sept 4, 2006, the world lost a friend in Steve Irwin. For those who don't know who Steve is and was, go to:

and click on the "Tribute" link. It will pop up a new window.

I have been weepy and in shock for over a week. I was raised on the books by and about Martin and Osa Johnson, on the original "Wild Kingdom" TV show with Marlon Perkins, on the stories and books by Ernest Seton-Thompson. Given different circumstances, I probably would have moved to Australia, studied midwifery there, and been an midwife in the Outback and done natural history kinds of things on the side. I used to capture snakes for fun, and raised black widow spiders for a CDC venom project.

I just loved Steve Irwin and his family. Theirs was the kind of life I used to want to live. I took great joy in the marriage of Steve and Terri, and in the births of their children. He was young enough to be my son, yet I learned so much from him about various animals and their habitats, their lives, their place in God's world. And I came to value God's world even more because of the Irwins - but especially from Steve. His ebullent personality, his infectious enthusiasm, his self-acquired but valid knowledge about animals, their niches in the natural world, the roles they play in our overall ecology - he taught us all about the importance of each specie. He made the unattractive and scary somehow less mysterious, more attractive, and less scary.

One of the many dreams of mine that will not be fulfilled is to go to Australia, visit Australia Zoo and meet Steve and his family in person. Perhaps, health and finances permitting, I will someday make that trip and meet Terri, Bindi Sue and Bobby. I would tell them how much Steve meant to me, an old woman in Georgia in the USA - how much I learned from him and that I miss him.

The love he had for his family, his pride in his wife and children, his unashamed devotion to his late mother and to his father as well as his friends - these were only some of the things that were endearing about him. Any woman would have been proud to have a son like him.

Now Steve Irwin is with God, and the world is emptier. I pray that his lessons on conservation will be spread even farther. My prayers are with his family - his father, his lovely wife, and their children, with his colleagues at Australia Zoo, and his world-wide circle of friends.

May his Memory be Eternal!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - Report: $1.4 Billion Went to Fraudulent Aid for Katrina Victims - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

WASHINGTON — The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found.

Prison inmates, a supposed victim who used a New Orleans cemetery for a home address, and a person who spent 70 days at a Hawaiian hotel all were able to wrongly get taxpayer help, according to evidence that gives a new black eye to the nation's disaster relief agency.

Agents from the General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, went undercover to expose the ease of receiving disaster expense checks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The GAO concluded that as much as 16 percent of the billions of dollars in FEMA help to individuals after the two hurricanes was unwarranted.

The findings are detailed in testimony, obtained by The Associated Press, that is to be delivered at a hearing Wednesday by the House Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations.

To dramatize the problem, GAO provided lawmakers with a copy of a $2,358 U.S. Treasury check for rental assistance that an undercover agent got using a bogus address. The money was paid even after FEMA learned from its inspector that the undercover applicant did not live at the address. MORE

= = = = =

Unfortunately, this story is a "duh." Too many people are just dishonest. And this is the problem with a distant government doling out aid money. Charity belongs to the local areas - to the churches, to the charitable organizations. Charity does not belong at the national governmental level. Our tax dollars should not be used in this way. If I want my money going to people who live in a known hurricane zone who don't bother to prepare or evacuate, then I should be able to designate where it goes and how it is used. The government should not be holding a gun to my head, taking my hard-earned money and just throwing it away like this!

I support the Fair Tax!! And I support *gradually* removing all charitable purposes from the government and turning them back to private charities and churches. If people want to eat, they should work. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. * For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.") If they cannot work, then they should be supported by their families or at the discretion of private charities or the churches.

Harsh? Perhaps. But when nearly 30% of the country receives their support from the government, then something is definitely wrong. I'm disabled, but I work from my computer at home. I take no money from SSI.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid

TechRepublic is one of my favorite places on the internet. This is an older article I managed to miss. Don't know how that happened, but I picked up on it today. The replies were marvelous. Nearly every grammar error that grates on my nerves was covered. Spelling errors, too. and abbreviations. Read and take to heart.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

holyoffice: The Interpretative Dance Theocrats

This is totally tongue-firmly-in-cheek, and *funny!*

John J. Miller on Music on National Review Online: Rockin' the Right - The 50 greatest conservative rock songs.

"On first glance, rock ’n’ roll music isn’t very conservative. It doesn’t fare much better on second or third glance (or listen), either. Neil Young has a new song called 'Let’s Impeach the President.' Last year, the Rolling Stones made news with 'Sweet Neo Con,' another anti-Bush ditty. For conservatives who enjoy rock, it isn’t hard to agree with the opinion Johnny Cash expressed in 'The One on the Right Is on the Left': 'Don’t go mixin’ politics with the folk songs of our land / Just work on harmony and diction / Play your banjo well / And if you have political convictions, keep them to yourself.' In other words: Shut up and sing."
more . . .

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Doing What is Right in the Sight of God

Abba David said, "Abba Arsenius told us the following, as though it referred to someone else, but in fact it referred to himself. An old man was sitting in his cell and a voice came to him which said, 'Come, and I will show you the works of men.' He got up and followed. The voice led him to a certain place and showed him an Ethiopian cutting wood and making a great pile. He struggled to carry it but in vain. Instead of taking some off, he cut more wood which he added to the pile. He did this for a long time.

Going on a little further, the old man was shown a man standing on the shore of a lake drawing up water and pouring it into a broken receptacle, so that the water ran back into the lake. The voice said to the old man, 'Come and I will show you something else.' He saw a temple and two men on horseback, opposite one another, carrying a piece of wood crosswise. They wanted to go in through the door but could not because they held their piece of wood crosswise. Neither of them would draw back before the other, so as to carry the wood straight; so they remained outside the door. The voice said to the old man, 'These men carry the yoke of righteousness with pride, and do not humble themselves so as to correct themselves and walk in the humble way of Christ. So they remain outside the Kingdom of God. The man cutting the wood is he who lives in many sins and instead of repenting he adds more faults to his sins. He who draws the water is he who does good deeds, but mixing bad ones with them, he spoils even his good works. So, everyone must be watchful of his actions, lest he labor in vain." END

from "The Desert Christian," by Benedicta Ward, (New York; Macmillan, 1975), p. 15-16

Exerpt from: The Ascetic Podvig of Living in the World

by Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York

Being a true Orthodox Christian, prepared to preserve unto death one's faith in Christ our Saviour, is much more difficult in our day than it was in the first centuries of Christianity. It's true there were persecutions then and Christians were tormented, but the Christians well remembered the Saviour's words, " . . . fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul" (Matt. 11:28). Being fortified by God's grace, they joyfully went to their martyrdom and gave up their lives for Christ. This was also the case in Russia during the torture and persecutions. Now nobody threatens us, living here in freedom, with persecution and torture, but in spite of this, a persecution in its most diverse forms is being carried on against Christianity and against the Christian way of life. Today we see that everything connected with faith in God, with the teaching of God's Word, with Christ's teachings and the teachings of the Orthodox Church, in one way or another is being driven out of a person's life. This process that is taking place in the contemporary world is a process of apostasy, and it can be detected in every aspect of life.

The Old Testament says, "God, to be sure, framed man for an immortal destiny, the created image of His own endless being; but, since the devil's envy brought death into the world, they make him their model that take him for their master" (Wisdom 2:23-25).

We have been given our holy Christian faith so that we might obtain eternal life in blessedness. But to conform perfectly with the spirit of the Founder of our faith, Christ our Saviour, and with His teaching, to really cleanse ourselves morally, to increase in virtue, to become acquainted with spiritual perfection, all this demands special, grace-filled cooperation from above, in addition to an Orthodox person's own efforts. This grace-filled cooperation is called sanctification and is given to us by the Lord. It is achieved by the Holy Spirit in the holy Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ for our sanctification and salvation.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Canticle of Pascha

Easter Canticle

Let God Arise - and let his enemies be dispersed!

The Holy Pascha is revealed to us today:
The Pascha new and Holy;
The Pascha Mystical;
The Pascha all honorable;
The Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer,
The spotless Pascha,
The great Pascha.
The Pascha of the Faithful.
The Pascha which has opened unot usthe gates of Paradise,
The Pascha that sanctifies all the Faithful.

As smoke vanishes so let them vanish

Come from that scene O women bearers of glad tidings
And say to Sion:
Receive from us the glad tidings of joy, of Christ's Resurrection:
Exult and be glad and rejoice O Jerusalem,
Seeing Christ the King who comes forth from the tomb
Like a bridegroom in procession.

So the sinners will perish before the face of God,
But let the righteous be glad.

The myrrhbearing women at the break of dawn
Drew ner to the tomb of the life-giver.
There they found an angel sitting upon the stone,
He greeted them with these words:
"Why do you seek the living among the dead?
Why do you mourn the incorrupt amidst corruption?
Go: proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples."

This is the day which the Lord hath made
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

The Pascha beautiful,
The Pascha of the Lord,
The Pascha,
The Pascha all honorable has dawned for us
The Pascha!
On which let us embrace one another with joy.
O Pascha!
A ransom for sorrow.
For today shining forth from the tomb as from the bridal chamber
Christ filled the women with joy,
Saying, "Proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles!'

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
Both now and ever and unto the ages of ages, Amen!

It is the day of Resurrection
Let us be glorious in splendor for the feast,
Let us embrace one another.
Also, brethren, let us speak to those who hate us
And in the Resurrection let us forgive all things.
Therefore, let us cry:

Christ is Risen from the dead;
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestoring life!

(From the Matins of Pascha)

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Creed of St. Gregory the Wonderworker


There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is His subsistent Wisdom and Power and Eternal Image: perfect Begetter of the perfect Begotten, Father of the only-begotten Son.

There is one Lord, Only of the Only, God of God, Image and Likeness of Deity, Efficient Word, Wisdom comprehensive of the constitution of all things, and Power formative of the whole creation, true Son of true Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal and Eternal of Eternal.

And there is One Holy Spirit, having His subsistence from God, and being made manifest by the Son, to wit to men: Image of the Son, Perfect Image of the Perfect; Life, the Cause of the living; Holy Fount; Sanctity, the Supplier, or Leader, of Sanctification; in whom is manifested God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all.

There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abideth ever.


The Creed of St. Gregory the Wonderworker (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus / St. Gregory of Neocaesarea / St. Gregory of Pontus)

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275. Among those who built up the Christian Church, extended its influence, and strengthened its institutions, the bishops of Asia Minor occupy a high position; among them Gregory of Neocaesarea holds a very prominent place. His pastoral work is but little known, and his theological writings have reached us in a very incomplete state. In this semi-obscurity the personality of this great man seems eclipsed and dwarfed; even his immemorial title Thaumaturgus (the wonder-worker) casts an air of legend about him. Nevertheless, the lives of few bishops of the third century are so well authenticated; the historical references to him permit us to reconstruct his work with considerable detail.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Kind of a sad commentary on our times that the election of a "straight" bishop by an Episcopal diocese is newsworthy isn't it?

Question: why is it OK for Patrick Kennedy to misuse prescription drugs, but it is a criminal act for Rush Limbaugh to have prescription drug problems?

This struck home. Only 2 weeks ago, our oldest was in a wreck involving not just one but two vehicles driven by illegal entrants into our fair country. Neither had a drivers license, neither had insurance. His work van was totaled, he walked out with lots of soft tissue injuries, and they both went to jail. He wasn't cited at all. But who will pay for their cars? I hope the tax payers don't. Son's employer's leasing company is stuck with the bill for his van - and the tools that were destroyed.

Amazing! A Californian (Los Angelino, even) who thinks Hollywood is too liberal! This one made even me pause: Draft Hollywood.

When does an apologist for "traditional" Christianity fall short? Raymond Keating thinks Bill O'Reilly is off center in his assessment of the "Gospel of Judas." Well, I think so, too, and I particularly like Keating's last paragraph: "Either the Gospels are history, or Christianity is a fraud. That's the choice."

Something that is not in the news, but has the potential to make many "waves" in the future is the IV All-Diapora Sobor (meeting, conference, convention) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia that is going on this week in San Francisco, CA. The main question before the Sobor is whether to end the division between the Orthodox Church in Russia (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Church Abroad which has existed since the First World War. There are theological and sociological considerations in addition to the more obvious political ones. How the end of this division might "look" in the future is unknown - as is whether it will end. The prayers of hundreds of thousands of people are with the delegates to the Sobor, that their decisions will, indeed, reflect the Will of God. May our Lord have Mercy on them and guide them.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


One of the Initiated, being asked what love is, answered:
Love is the divine fire which burns in the elect and banishes and destroys from their hearts every other impure desire.

Another said:
Love is fulfilling the will of the beloved.

Love is the power which springs from nature and overcomes the will. The mind cannot attain it, nor can the tongue explain it.

Another wept till he had become blind, stood till he was bent, fasted till he was wholly abstinent, and prayed till he was exhausted. During all this he did not become weary nor bored, but he said: I swear by You, Lord of Lords, if there were a stream of fire between me and You, I would come to you through it as if it were water.

The same person said:
The love of my Lord has alienated me to mankind and human things.

The same person said:
At the banquet of Love I have drunk goblets as it were from a flood; and as wine was not exhausted and I did not get drunk, I was overwhelmed by ecstasy. From desire of You I kept watch the whole night until the first light of dawn. And if I had looked at anything beside You, I would have been blinded.

An other has said:
When the love of God is awake in the heart, it is wholly filled with burning fire, and in an insupportable way it is kindled with joy, and it longs after the sight of the hidden things.

A certain brother said:
When the fatherly mercy dawned on me and took my mind from me, before it was swallowed up in ecstasy and stupefaction, my mind was swimming in a sea of light and plunging into and emerging from its waves, ascending and Iying down, rejoicing and exalting at the floods of its greatness. It beheld there radiant angels singing hymns of praise and it became familiar with them and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Zebaoth. And again the mind was taken, and it penetrated into the light of many rays and was stupefied by the sight of the Beautiful and captivated by the love of the High One and all, even itself, became as not existing. This state of the mind, namely the entrance without knowledge and the absence of impulses will sometimes last a short moment, sometimes one hour, or a whole day, according to the will of the spirit. Also after its return from that state it will remain without inclinations during nearly a whole week. And now the mind will be dark, and then it will be radiant. At first there will dawn in the heart something like a star with many rays and of wonderful beauty, then it will appear as a column of light and thereupon the mind will ascend and enter and be hidden in the cloud. And from that time gifts consisting in revelations and visions, prophecy and power of healing, are given to it.

Another has said:
Morning dawns and gives joy, light radiates and gladdens, the friend speaks and enflames, the good incites and exalts and shows Himself and what is His, in joy.

Another has said:
The fire of love does not permit him who burns with it, to accomplish his service. For as soon as he is standing to pray, his heart will begin to glow till it burns and enflames the whole body, so that he is not able to stand upon his feet but falls on the earth as dead; and his harp is broken and he lives only in madness; he thinks himself and what environs him to be in a fire, because of the living fire which is blown in him by Him who lives eternally For the Lord is my witness, that several times I have heard one of the brethren crying, when he was in the drunkenness of the love of Christ, so that he could not restrain himself because of the divine fire that burned in him: O. how burning is Your love, my Lord and my God, my life perishes from love of You, I cannot bear it! O for Your unspeakable beauty, let me enter Your chamber, o King, that I may rejoice and exult with You! — with other things which are not to be described.

Further it has been said:
Love makes the body and the senses silent, it elevates the mind so as to gaze on the inaccessible light of the beauty of the Desired. Mercy dawns unto it and takes it to the place without place, the world without denomination, the nature without beginning. And when the solitary reaches the divine cloud and enters the harbour of all service, and sees with his mind, face to face, the glory of the Lord and is made radiating by it, and is transformed into His likeness—then his mercy is poured out over all, like that of God. And the beloved above all shows him love, and the beasts of prey, cattle, the birds and obnoxious reptiles do not harm him, because they smell from him the scent of their creator Even stones and wood and all inanimate beings are dominated by him. Even rebellious demons show themselves obsequious unto him, because of the fear which is laid upon them. Wonderful is also the love shown unto him by the angels and the cry they utter unto him: Now let the heart rejoice of those who have sought the Lord in distress.

It has further been said:
Look at the fire which becomes one with the iron in the furnace. The iron alone is not to be recognized there, because it has assumed the likeness of the fire, by their union. So you see not two images but one, no discrimination being possible, though the two substances remain separated. In the same way the children of God see themselves as the image of God; so they become, all of them, gods, by the grace of their creator. And when their nature grows in glory, they are not aware of increase, even as those who grow up are not aware of the growth of their bodily stature; but they observe only that the glory of their person has become greater. And as it proceeds, love increases.

It has further been said
If anyone writes the mysteries of the spirit, without the spirit's dictating them to him, it will not mix its sweetness into his words and therefore they will not be loved by those who read them nor give delight to those who hear them. But if anyone learns the mysteries of the spirit from the Spirit, writing what it dictates to him, then the Spirit will mix itself into all his words and all those who hear him will smell its odours and their hearts will be filled by these words with life and their sound will eradicate the passions from them. And this is the pen of the ready writer with which he writes his holy book.

From: The Ethikon of Bar Hebraeus. IV, 15, 15. A collection of scattered sayings concerning Love.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm Urban Essential!!

Tagged by Sharona, I'm an Urban Essential Purse!

Style comes naturally to you; familiy, friends and your career are all a priority. although you don't fuss over the latest trends, you still manage to always look your best. Your look is effortless, practical and put together.With your handbag you are prepared for anything!

Try it!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Adversus Idiotas

There's a new blog by an Orthodox teacher. I commend it, as it praises the intellectual challenges of reading "tough" books.
Hope he keeps it up!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thomas Sunday

The first Sunday following Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter) is called "Thomas Sunday." On this Sunday we remember the fact that the disciple Thomas "would not believe" in the Resurrection unless and until he had seen and touched the Risen Lord with his own eyes and hands.
One of my grandsons took Thomas as his baptismal name because he said if one of the disciples could doubt and still be a Christian, then he could be a Christian, too.

Mistrusting Atheists

Interesting Blog post from April 1 at St. George Broadcasting.

United 93

Ashbrook Center's Blog page (No Left Turns), has a lovely piece about the movie, United 93.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Hound of Heaven

By Francis Thompson

(One of my favorite poems)


I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes, I sped;
And shot, precipitated
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their changed bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to dawn: Be sudden--to eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet:-
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat -
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."

I sought no more that, after which I strayed,
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
THEY at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's--share
With me" (said I) "your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.'
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one -
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumed of the wild sea-snortings;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with--made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine -
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak -
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o' her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed majestic instancy
And past those noised Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet -
"Lo! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me."

Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly,
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years -
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must -
Designer infinite! -
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity,
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again;
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With grooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

"Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught" (He said),
"And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited -
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come."

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

From Project Gutenberg's etext of Poems by Francis Thompson

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Henry "Ar"

I just had word that my old and dear friend Henry "Ar" died 2 days ago. God bless him. We had known each other for about 45 years off and on. We met when I was visiting family up in Kingsport TN back in '61 or '62, and went out a few times while I was there. He was courtly and sweet. We became friends and remained in touch off and on over the years (mostly off until the last 3 years when he finally came, kicking and screaming, into the electronic age and we could correspond via e-mail and talk via cell-phones).

His oldest son called me today - he was going through all the numbers programmed into Henry's cellphone to notify people. What a hard thing to do.

Henry lived in a small town in a deep Southern state. He was married and divorced with children and grandchildren. He adored his grandchildren. When he called he would talk about them and I would talk about ours. We kept saying we should get together, but his work and my disability kept that from happening. He developed heart and lung problems over the years - some probably genetic, some related to weight and lack of exercise. I don't recall him smoking, but he may have.

On Sunday he died. I keep remembering the young man he was back in '61/'62: The fun we had that summer, the times he came to Atlanta and I would see him again (with husband in tow), the phone calls and silly e-mails. He never learned to cut off all the "tags" when he forwarded e-mails.

May God bless him and keep him.

Memory Eternal.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Planning for Flu

Planning for Flu

More Federal input needed? Nonsense! Local areas need to step up to the plate and do their own planning. The Feds can't bail anyone out on this one. All they can do is withhold all federal funding from any hospital that doesn't make adequate plans.

The state and local EMAs (Emergency Management Agencies) have the responsibility to head up both state and local planning. They are the ones who should be pressuring hospitals and clinics to develop their plans. They are the ones who should be publicizing which hospitals are not stepping up to the plate on this issue.

An inaccuracy of the article: "No one has produced an effective flu vaccine." Well, of course they haven't. They can't until the virus transforms into the human-to-human transmittal form. Any vaccine based on the current genetic form of the virus will be ineffective against the human-to-human transmission form. Once the virus transforms, a vaccine can be developed, tested and provided - about a 1 year process. That's the state of the art. It can't be done any faster than that.

The reason "most of America's 5,000-odd hospitals are unprepared" is because the hospitals have decided to not prepare. Citizens in each hospital's cachement area should be volunteering to assist with preparations. If no preparations are being undertaken, the citizens should be complaining and forming protest groups. Publicize it. Force them to undertake preparation. Work together with their EMA to ensure adequate preparations for the potential influenza disaster.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

An Evening Hymn

by St. Gregory Nazianzen

And now again at night,
O Christ, the living Word,
Thou Light of the Eternal Light,
Be Thou by us adored.

Thou dost the Spirit give,
Third Light, in glory one;
His grace, by whom alone we live,
Thou dost refuse to none.

Thou didst the darkness scatter,
Thou mad'st the light to shine,
That now through all primeval matter
Might spring delight divine.

It, a rude mass before,
From Thee took order new;
And shapely form, and steadfast law,
So beautiful to view.

And mind of man with light
From heaven Thou didst endow,
By word and wisdom that he might
Thine image bear below;

And lighted in his soul,
Thine own great Light might see;
And thenceforth not in part, but whole,
Himself all light might be.

And heaven Thou didst array,
With those bright orbs above;
And day to night, and night to day,
Proclaim Thy law of love;

Yielding in turn; the one
To worn-out flesh brings rest!
The other calls, "Let work be done!"
Such work as Thou lov'st best.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday in the 6th Week of Great Lent

Tuesday, 29 March / 11 April 2006
6th Week of Great Lent
Tone 1

St. Mark, Bishop OF Arethusa, St. Cyril His Deacon, and the Others Who Were Martyred With Them
St. Gladys and her Husband St. Gwynllyn

Troparion of St Mark
(Tone 3)
Thou didst anoint an assembly of martyrs/ and strengthen them by thy steadfastness,/ in preparation for the contest, O glorious Mark./ Thou didst finish thy course with them,/ and you were all found worthy of the joys of heaven./ O righteous Father,/ pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Troparion of St Gladys and St Gwynllyn (Gwynllyw)
(Tone 5)
Rejoice, thrice-blessed Gladys,/ daughter of King Brychan,/ wife of holy Gwynllyn and mother of Saint Cadoc./ O worthy Gwynllyn,/ thou didst forsake thy pagan warfare to fight as a Christian ascetic/ and didst end thy days as a hermit./ We praise thee, Gladys and Gwynllyn.

Who were Sts. Gladys and GwynllyW? They were early saints of Great Britain.

The following is from:

Icon of St. Gwynllyw

Icon of St. Gwynllyw is from:

St. Gwynllyw of Wales, Hermit (Gundleus, Woolo, Woollos)
Died c. 500. Gundleus (Latin for Gwynllyw, which is anglicised as Woolo) was a Welsh chieftain. Although he was the eldest, when his father died, Gundleus divided his inheritance among his six brothers. According to legend, he desired to marry Gwladys (f.d. today), daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock (f.d. April 6). When Brychan refused his daughter's hand, Gundleus kidnapped and married her. (One aspect of the
legend has King Arthur helping to defeat the pursuing Brychan and being dissuaded from capturing Gwladys for himself by two of his knights.)

Nevertheless, Gundleus and Gwladys led a riotous life, engaging in violence and banditry until their first son, Saint Cadoc (f.d. September 25), convinced them to adopt and follow a religious life together at Stow Hill near Newport (Gwent), Monmouthshire. Later he had them separate and live as hermits.

Gundleus spent his last years completely retired from the world in a solitary little dwelling near a church which he had built. He wore sackcloth, ate barley-bread strewn with ashes, and drank water. To constant prayer and contemplation he added the work of his hands. On his deathbed, Gundleus was visited by Saint Dyfrig (f.d. November 14) and his own son Cadoc, who provided him with the Last Rites of the Church. There is a church dedicated to him at Newport (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

(No Icon of St. Gladys is available)

St. Gwaladys (Gladys, Gladusa, Claudia), Hermit
Born in Wales in the 5th century. One of the 24 children of Brychan of
Brecknock, wife of Saint Gundleus (f.d. today), and mother of Saints Cadoc (f.d. September 25) and, possibly, Keyna (f.d. October 8), Saint Gladys led a very interesting life. It is said that after their conversion by the example and exhortation of their son, she and Gundleus lived an austere life. It included the rather interesting practice throughout the year of taking a nightly baths in the Usk,
followed by a mile-long walk unclothed. Her son finally convinced them to end the practice and to separate. Gladys moved to Pencanau in Bassaleg. The details of her story come from a 12th-century "vita," which includes miracles that took place in the time of Saint Edward the Confessor (f.d. October 13) and William I (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

How Southern Are You?

Richard tagged me.

Are you a redneck or a yankee??? Keep it going ladies and gentlemen! This is fun...dont ruin it! Put your total in the subject line and send it to everyone

My result?
"92% Dixie. Is General Lee your grandfather?!"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why the Failure to Launch?

Julie Ponzi has an interesting take, as do several of the commenters. I, however, really, really think much of this is simply the logical outcome of the "Greatest Generation's" actions in the 40's and 50's.

They came home from WW II and started families. They wanted to give their kids what they didn't have during the Depression - so they worked, hard. They defined the commuter. They scrimped and saved to get a little house on a postage stamp sized lot. Their kids had next-door neighbors' kids to play with. Moms stayed home, and whalloped all the kids in the neighborhood willy-nilly when they misbehaved.

Korea, and more vets came home to start families, and worked to prevent their kids from having to go to war.

So, 15 years later, when Viet Nam came along, the kids didn't want to go to war. After all, their parents didn't want them to, and supported the cowardly running to Canada. The national "will to win" wasn't there, and we essentially "lost."

It's been downhill from there. Boys are supposed to act like girls, sit quietly in class and learn, obey the teacher just because the teacher says do something. All the PE was taken out of schools, so the energy boys have isn't exercised.

At the same time, we lost the war on poverty - more people are "sucking the tit" of Govt giveaways and have no desire to earn a living than ever before. Kids had babies when they just weren't ready for the responsibility. They have had babies to "get out of Mama's house" and get their own (govt subsidized) apartment. They are paid more welfare and given more food stamps when they have more kids. If they marry, they lose their subsidies, so why marry? If they work, they lose all their medicaid benefits, their subsidized housing, their food stamps and their welfare payments, so why work?

Again, at the same time, we decided only parents should discipline children, and they were no longer permitted to spank. Discipline left the schools - parents didn't support the schools' attempts to impose discipline. With no limits, children become sulky and defiant. They *want* limits, they *crave* limits. Without limits they become seekers of limits. Gangs provide limits the schools don't. If you get out of line, you will be beaten or killed. But the limits are known, and the consequences of crossing the lines are known and are imposed - quickly.

Now, the middle class has discovered that they don't have to work. "Guilt-ridden" parents will give them the handouts the Govt gives the impoverished. So why leave home? Why try to find a job? Why bother starting a business?

Obviously, there are many more reasons for the failure to launch, but I see a connecting thread.

Should we "return to the 50's?" Probably not. But certain aspects of the 50's are needed now. Structure, limits, discipline, and support of others imposing the structure, limits and discipline in parental absence are needed. Taking an interest in your kids - 0r don't have them - is needed.

Abortion? That's a cop-out. If you are going to have sex, you take responsibility for yourself and use birth control. And if the BC doesn't work, you accept the consequences, have the baby, and give it up for adoption. Don't like those choices? Don't have sex. Period. Abstinence only failed once . . .

We need to encourage people to weigh the risks of their behavior and to accept the consequences of their choices.

If you choose to not work - you don't eat.

Have we had a "boomerang kid?" Yes. But he *paid* rent and did chores around the house for room and board. He fed cats, scooped litter, cleaned bathrooms, washed dishes, vacuumed etc. He also left as soon as he could! Had he balked, he would have been out on his own before he could turn around twice.

Failure to launch is a failure not only of parents, but our society.

TurtleMom's Space

TurtleMom's Space

Silly me! I hardly ever post here, and now I have ANOTHER space! Check it out!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Immigration Laws

The ol' curmudgeon and I were talking about the immigration problems we currently are facing. He wondered about the various laws already existing. What, really, do they say?

Well, for those who are really interested, here is a page with links to the existing laws:
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website contains links to all the US immigration laws and regulations.

I haven't studied them very deeply - haven't had time as yet. However, they specify exactly what an "immigrant" is, the different classes of immigrants and how one can become a legal immigrant. Boy! the language is obtuse! Now, my IQ was certainly high enough to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship on my pre-SAT, to graduate from college, and get 2 post-graduate degrees. But I'm having

What I wish someone would do for all these laws and regulations is "translate" them into everyday language and make shorter sentences so the "average Joe or Jane" could understand them. I haven't found a website that does that, as yet.

There is a link from that page (above) to "Interpretations," but they are just about as obtuse.

Bah! Why do we let the US of Govt write laws so unclearly??

Let's fire all the lawyers . . .

Sunday, April 02, 2006 :: Columns :: Immigration taboos by Thomas Sowell - Aug 16, 2005 :: Columns :: Immigration taboos by Thomas Sowell - Aug 16, 2005

You know, there are a lot of commentaries about our current immigration "crisis" "out there" on the internet, in newspapers, in magazines as diverse as JAMA, People, Time, and Sports Illustrated. We constantly hear about it on the news and talk shows. Congress is working on "new" immigration laws.

Why do we need more laws when we aren't even enforcing the laws we already have on the books? Someone on a talk show said we have over 300 immigration laws between the states and the federal government. There are legal and illegal methods of entering the country. Illegal immigrants are felons under our current laws. They should be arrested and deported.

Legal immigrants are welcome. Felons are not. It's that simple.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm a Porsche 911!

Sharona tagged me! These silly things are so much fun!

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Isn't this a beautiful car?
Wish I could afford one!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blog on a Blog!

Nothing like 'borrowing" someone else's blog for your own blog! :-)

Denise, my friend in Savannah, has a food blog. During the Great Fast, I'm always looking for recipes, and Denise is sharing a recipe or thought a day. This one, Arabic Cabbage and Rice Pilaf, is for wine and oil days. It looks scrumptious! I'm going to try it this Sunday using whole-grain brown rice and roll it all up in cabbage leaves. I'll stack them in my crockpot and cover with veggie broth. Then heat slowly for about 4 hours. Should be really good at that point! Since our priest is coming this Sunday, I'll leave out the onions as he is allergic to onions and garlic (and other members of the lily family). Instead of onions, I'll use finely chopped celery - it works nicely, in terms of texture, as a substitute for onions.

Thanks, Denise! I'm using your offerings! And so are lots of other people!

So, it's off to Kroger to get the makings. I should have read this yesterday so I could use my senior discount - even 5% off the food bill helps!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Me as a Novel?

The name of the rose
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a mystery novel dealing with theology, especially with catholic vs liberal issues. You search wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that learning is essential in life.

Which literature classic are you?
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Thoughts on the End of Life

Not to be morbid, but I'm "of an age" now when probably 85% of my life is behind me - there isn't much left - and I'm facing the inevitability of dying. My Orthodox faith requires me to retain my hope for the Resurrection. My very human brain insists upon throwing out doubts to be overcome.

On Sunday I was preparing for some people to come to our home. Now I'm NOT a housekeeper, so the house was a total wreck. Much like my spiritual house. I "knocked myself out" rushing around getting things ready. I had to rest frequently, and at a couple of points I experienced chest pain, pressure and shoulder pain. Was it a heart attack? Was it THE heart attack? No, neither. It was my esophageal spasm acting up because I ate too large a breakfast. Happens. But here I was trying to get ready for guests and wondering if the guests would find me dead.

This certainly is an apt description of death. It comes with no regard for our plans. It happens. And my spiritual house needs refreshing even more than my physical house.

Prayers, almsgiving, reception of the sacraments - how to get it all in? Will God reject me? What if He does? Regardless of the assertions of some, there is no way to be certain. God isn't a "great computer in the sky" that will carry out salvation if I punch the right buttons in the right sequence. He saves us regardless of our unworthiness, and we condemn ourselves regardless of our outward appearance.

All we can do is live as if today is our last on earth, loving God and loving others to the best of our paltry ability - as if by the end of the day we will stand before the dread judgement seat of God.

I find myself doing that more and more as time goes on, but still finding that I'm not doing it enough. I can never be totally prepared - only in semi-readiness.

Open to me the doors of repentance, O LifeGiver!
For my spirit rises to pray towards Thy Holy Temple
Bearing the temple of my body, all defiled,
But in Thy Compassion
Purify me by the loving kindness of Thy Mercy.

Lead me on the path of salvation, O Mother of God
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins
And have wasted my life in laziness
But by thy intercessions
Deliver me from all impurity.

Have mercy on me, O God,
According to Thy great Mercy
And according to the multitude of Thy Compassion
Blot out my transgressions.

When I think of the dreadful things I have done
Wretch that I am
I think of the fearful day of judgement
But trusting in Thy loving kindness
Like David I cry unto Thee:

Have mercy on me, O God
Have mercy on me, O God
Have mercy on me, O God
According to Thy great mercy!
{from the Mattins of Great Lent}