Friday, May 30, 2008

bragging on myself for a moment -

Hot. Tired. Achey -
And 8 tomatoes and a pepper (need more) and some other stuff are IN the garden. And heavily mulched with straw, and composted with well-rotted horse manure - And my neighbor, Greg, is coming over tomorrow to plow part of the garden...and to bring me some more horse maure - and I'll have to resort to Round-Up for one bed of something nasty, but that won't be too bad, and I can hit the poison ivy in the hedge row while I'm at it.

And tomorrow afternoon I'm supposed to meet a girlfriend for a drink and gab - something we don't do nearly often enough, we women -

And I've worked most of this week and will again next week -

And my knees are still functioning and I'm tired but happy.

Ah, summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another travesty of law-making

Once again, the U.S. has watched the judiciary branch of government overstep the bounds of what is supposed to be the role of the legislative branch - presuming to legalize gay marriage in California. Our national system of checks and balances seems to have been re-defined from within the judiciary system.

How is the balance of powers to be restored? I know - evil triumphs when good men do nothing. But how are good men to wrest the presumption of law-making from bad judges to return it to the legislators who are entrusted to write law?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The email below - I love it! Nora sent it to me today -

I've said for a long time that the cloud of depression has its silver linings - and this cartoon illustrates it wonderfully - that often the burdens we bear are precisely the gift we need to get to Heaven.

A fantastic email - going to share with you

Awesome!! We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can't.

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,

there will always be sunshine, after the rain...

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall;

But God's always ready, to answer your call....

He knows every heartache, sees every tear,

a word from His lips, can calm every fear...

Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,

But suddenly vanish, dawn's early light...

The Savior is waiting, somewhere above,

to give you His grace, and send you His love...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SUMMERTIME!!!! and general noodling - same old, same old

Just got back from the neighbor farm across the creek - bought two gallons of strawberries (a little soggy and diminished in flavor after Tuesday's rainfall) and a small bag of the first peaches of the season!

Sorry - nothing more profound than that, but it's enough: summer is now officially arrived to the NC Sandhills.

I'm getting ready to boil the jars to make strawberry preserves, and I'm going to be eating fresh local squash with my grilled chicken breast tonight, and new potatoes...

Had a very good email exchange with my friend Matt last night, in which he reminded me (kindly, as always) that I fret too much. Consequence of my upbringing - which btw I am exploring in some fiction exercises - and hard to escape, the trying to find balance in so many things and to please so many people at once, even those long dead.

I am the daughter of a distance trucker and a high school dropout. I have shattered all expectations for my adult life - by being divorced, by having a college education, by entering graduate school, by my well-educated friends (who include Ph.Ds and MDs), by a variety of experiences and anticipated adventures (Europe!) -

I got a lot of mixed messages when I was growing up, many of them the consequence of Mom's drug addiction and subsequent character deterioration; like a great many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families, I am a whirlwind of contradictions. I was told to work hard to better myself - and not to get above my raising. I was told I ought to go to college, but I was simultaneously discouraged from it, apart from a strictly pragmatic application (my mother thought I ought to become a nurse or an accountant); I was told I was too smart to waste my abilities, and that I wasn't smart enough to follow my dreams.


I grew up in a house so filthy that my mother only washed dishes (even with an automatic dishwasher) only when the cupboards were empty of dishes; the living room floor was hidden beneath piles of magazines, newspapers, books, piles of trash - except for the path from doors to chairs to television. There was no order, no discipline - I was not only not taught or expected to contribute to the order of the house, I was actively discouraged from it because everything I did "worried" my mother and "gave her headaches."

and now I am in a sphere that my upbringing didn't prepare me for - that defied me to reach. That, and loving someone far beyond my expectations, leaves me fighting for balance. I'm afraid of failure, so most often freeze in a reflective stillness (or inertia) - try to put things to words, but that's hard when I'm in unchartered territory.

Matt says, to live AS IF I believe, AS IF I trust - and he's right, I know it, and then I'm paralyzed by the HOW of it, as if there could be only one way and if I don't discover that one restrictive way then I'm doomed to more failure -

What a mess! But it's summer at last, and with the warm weather and fresh air pouring into my house (trailer) I'm feeling hopeful again. I'll figure this thing out, somehow.

Won't I?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weather or Not ...

Okay. The weather seems to have passed. I didn't see any more severe weather here, just several episodes of rain showers - but WRAL has noted that fire depts in my county responded to reports of a tornado sighted near/in Pinebluff - whose phone district I am in (also fire district, so that's CLOSE) -

I've got the windows back up, and the air smells so fresh and cool and sweet. A pine tree must have had some hail damage, or maybe lightening strike? I smell strong pine in the air.

It's been a nice evening, really. I turned off the Metaphysics lesson I was listening to when the rain started, because the pounding on the roof was so loud. It was lovely to watch, in the twilight, even the bolts of lightening (some distance away, thankfully!)

It reminded me of summer showers when I was a little girl. Maybe no drought this year?
It's more ice than we saw either of the last two winters - and I have only a second because the next band is almost upon us -
Rain started at 6:00, was solid hail, about the size of a malted milk ball by 6:15 - flattened weeds, temps drastically cooler - steam rising off the fields -
Back in a bit!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happiness is -

according to one set of self-proclaimed experts, not having children!
Now - I'm estranged from my own daughters, so I'm hardly one to quibble this point. But my daughters are STILL the joy and consolation of my life, the best reason I can point to for justifying my own existence. The hours I spent with them, rocking them, cuddling them, singing to them, reading with them... how can you compare such wonder and beauty with an extra hour of TELEVISION???

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Billie C - RIP

Billie Chiricuzio was a long-time moderator at Catholic Online, where I began my investigation into the Catholic Faith in hard earnest in 2000, 2001. She was an amazing woman - funny, wise, articulate; she wrote amazing poetry, gave good counsel, was a comfort in times of confusion and sorrow.

She suffered from emphysema for years, and a couple years ago was diagnosed with lung cancer. Because of overall health issues, there wasn't a lot that could be done - she resigned herself to waiting out her life's end and beginning into Eternity in God's hands. She never quit caring for those of us she corresponded with.

Father Z posted the news today that dear Billie has entered into Eternity. I shall miss hearing from her, but I am so happy for her, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh, yeah - 2d midterm

Passed Sacraments mid-term... barely.
I don't do well on objective tests - much better with concepts and ideas, etc - need to communicate with the professor -
also there's that little "trick" that questions involving Protestants beg the question: WHICH ONES????? {wink}

Monday, May 12, 2008

I spent a delightful weekend housesitting for friends over in Pinehurst. Oh - and dog-sitting; mustn't forget Tucker!

Watched entirely too much tv and did nothing else of what I had planned to do (study) but Turner Classic Movies showed some wonderful movies this weekend! LOL

Have you ever noticed how incredibly chaste - nay, STIFF - old movie kisses are? The actors come together - she lifts her face to his, and their lips mash together without ever moving in the slightest toward a pucker. Certainly no open-mouthed kissing!

And the bedrooms are furnished with twin beds! It was very effective when Claudette Colbert (in "Since You Went Away") jumps out of her own bed and hurls herself, sobbing, into her dear husband's bed, the first night he's away to join the Army. But in Mrs Miniver you know it's a matter of the Morality Code at work.

Times sure have changed since the 40s! Now we're more concerned with "realism." Those old movies, though, have a quality that the new films are missing.

And on a similar note - THREE CHEERS to Masterpiece Theater for making Cranford available for viewing via internet streaming! HOORAY!!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

And the first one is in ...

I'm relieved it's my Theology of the Church midterm. I actually enjoyed answering the essay questions Dr Martin provided. It was a chance to get personal with the lectures and the readings to date -

and I made an "A"

Now - to await the Sacraments results - and I have a sinking feeling it's going to be an "F" - I never could get my mind around the Matching, Multiple Choice and True/False format.

I mean - when you talk about Protestant sacraments, my first and overwhelming thought is WHICH PROTESTANTS???? Anglicans have either five or seven - but the Quakers threw them all out... and everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.

Understanding Women - Part one: the simple (OBVIOUS) stuff

Men like to roll their eyes about how hard it is to understand women, and yet, while I agree we are a lot more complex than they are, it's really quite a simple thing to understand us.

First of all, autonomy, free will, is as important to a woman as it is to any man. The freedom to choose what to wear, whether to wash up immediately after supper or to leave the dishes until morning when one is refreshed - even serious issues like whether and when to apply for an annulment - these are things that we are not wiling to have dictated to us.

Men should understand this. They don't want to be told what to believe, how to spend their time, what to say to this person or that... - so why is it so difficult to recognize this love of individual liberty in us?

We also want to be respected even as men expect us to respect them. John might want sympathy and admiration from his lady friend over a difficult work or family situation - but when he is resentfully intolerant of her advice, when he thinks he can freely provide her with advice how she should improve herself in order to be good enough for him - that is flagrant disrespect.

Why is this so hard to understand? Why is John so surprised, so bewildered that Marge is mad at him for trying to fix - not a situation, but her very self?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Education concerns

See here for some interesting reporting on NC education. I'm "lauraleigh" in the comments section.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hi-ya, Dr Thompson and Staff!

Great big greetings to my friend at the Dental Office of Dr Mark Thompson - the Caterer-to-Cowards par excellence! He tugged out a broken off root from an old root canal, this afternoon - they're popping by here because I wanted them to see the Tanner Annunciation -

They've got this amazing painting of the Crucifixion in the office - forgot to ask if I can have a photo of it - would like a photo of them all, too -

(But my jaw does feel as if you tried to push that root into it!) - I've taken my Lorcet like a good girl, and I'm heading to bed for a woozy-headed nap!)

Warning: General WHINE

There's something unnatural about ruining a perfectly lovely, pain-free spring day by voluntarily undergoing pain and suffering - but I'm on my way to the dentist to have a tooth pulled. Never been able to keep a crown on more than a few months, and this crown popped off a couple years ago - the good DDS says it's time to have the root OUT, I've been procrastinating too long as is.

sigh. and sigh some more, ladies -

Sunday, May 04, 2008

If you have Hotmail or AOL

I'm having trouble with you again. I'm trying to send PRAYER WARRIOR bulletins for a friend, and for 2d day in a row I'm getting permanent delivery failure messages.

Do pitch a fit, won't you? Better yet - switch to Gmail.

Prayer Need: Father J

You'll see his name added to the prayer list in the sidebar.

I received, just a few minutes ago, an email from a friend in his parish, asking for prayers. Fr J has ended each of the Masses he has celebrated today with the announcement that he is leaving the parish, and the confession that he is an alcoholic and leaving to enter a treatment facility.

I've lived with alcoholism and addiction - grandfather, uncles and cousins on both sides of the family, my mom, my second husband...

It's a nasty business, chemicals dominating a person's body and soul, demanding more and more for itself and leaving so little a shell in its wake. I've been enjoying Adrienne's posts on the 12 Steps for Catholics in large part because - even though I seem to have escaped the addiction gene - alcoholism still shapes a lot of the person I am, and am constantly trying to make and keep peace with.

One of the worst facets of addiction is the denial that there's a problem. That's why the First Step toward recovery, admitting that one has a problem, is so monumental an accomplishment.

It seems even more impressive to me that this priest should take this step now. He has had to greatly humble - even humiliate himself - before his parishioners - and this goes completely against the grain of a Church where the authority (even when it unhealthily feeds his ego) of a priest is sacrosanct. He owed his parish nothing in the way of an explanation; he might have saved "face" by not revealing the details behind his exit.

But he has chosen a better way, I suspect, and for that I admire him immensely.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Email from a friend - PRAYER NEED, please!

My da is in the neurosurgery ward in Beaumont Hospital. He has an abnormality on his brain and they'll either do an operation to remove it immediately or a biopsy to see if it's a tumour or not. The biopsy will take 3-4 days to come back and both will be under general anaesthetic. The head surgeon is off for the holiday weekend so we will see him Tuesday and he'll discuss the options with us. My family is thank God, pulling together instead of falling apart. S and M (my sisters) and D (my nephew) are doing shifts with me and my ma. He keeps wandering off and thinks he can get a taxi to go home and then the boat to Birmingham where they used to live. His eyesight is all blurry too. That's just a shortlist of what's happening to him.

We really really need your prayers, and if you remember him after the consecration at Mass and when you get Holy Communion it will be so powerful. I would really appreciate if you could pay a few dollars and have a Mass said for him, his name is Eddie M. Our Lady said they are like candles to light up the way when a person dies and of course it's the most powerful prayer on Earth. I will keep you updated. God keep you always in the palm of His hand.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Leaving the office

It was time. I'd been in the position for two years, kept being beaten against the same brick walls - It was time. So I handed in my resignation, and I guess my former boss agreed with me, because - well, I just called him my former boss - he declined the month's notice I'd given in order to allow him time to advertise and to find someone else for the position.

I went today, cleaned out the office and turned in my keys. It wasn't as hard as I'd anticipated it would be. My office is one corner of a storage closet, so the space was small, and most of my possessions were consolidated in odd places, making it easy to pick them up, tuck them in a box, and be done with it. Threw out lots of paper trash.

Had a good visit with the office staff -

Then went in to the church and did something archaic and excessive: I lay down on the floor, prostrated myself before the Lord in the Tabernacle, and asked Him, "What now, Lord?"

My mind was too full of busy-ness to really hear any answer, but I'm pretty sure He heard me.

I'm contented.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Introversion I

(I'm a crappy poet, but here's the latest effort:)

We go deep,
Not content merely to scud the surface
and to be moved by minor ripples there,
We dive deep -
Poets, mystics, visionaries -
All looked within in the music of our
To see the vision placed by God.
Our knowledge becomes vapor
Drop by sometimes-resented drop
Into world trapped happily by externals.

It is the grace,
The hope.
We sense, think,
in viscera
things the frenetic happy-go-lucky
Ours is the perception
of deeps not suspected
by the one on the surface.
Clarifies our vision,
Equips us for the fray.
We hear the Order -
We see the Call -
We count the cost
and gladly pay.

Oh, goodie, goodie-

A dirty phone call. Make that THREE dirty phone calls, in rapid succession. Obviously a kid, offering to perform a particular "service" for me - as if he were old enough to know how -

The first time I got an obscene phone call, I was 19 and it scared me to death. Now, major YAWN factor.

I decided to report to the sheriff's dept. After all, this kid is on a cell phone that his parents probably pay for, and it's too easy to graduate from dirty prank calls to porn and other more insidious activities...

Very nice deputy. We had a good laugh about the whole thing.

Too Young to be so Old!

I hadn't read the book in a long time - it's the story of a young girl sent to live with a spinster aunt after her mother dies. I used to read the book because Julie, the heroine, was my age and I identified with her. Yesterday, I realized that I identify now with the spinster aunt.

I'm actually older than that aunt would have been, I think. And it is alarming how staid and unemotional and self-controlled and elderly she seems. Of course, the story is told from the point of view of the young girl, and a woman in her forties could appear elderly to a youngster...

But I look through the other books on my shelf, and not a one of them features a middle-aged woman as anything interesting.

This is shameful! This is heartbreaking! It's dishonest, what's more, and I hope someone will do soething serious about it before long. I don't mean a comic series like the "Miss Julia" stories (which I couldn't enjoy because of how implausible they seemed to me, when I read the first one) - but a real romance, in which a middle-aged woman is allowed to fall in love with all the wonder and amazement and even greater beauty than happens with the young folk.

I may be fifty, but my heart is as light and as capable of devotion and passion as it was when I was twenty - no! even more so, because the experiences of the past thirty years have taught me what a gift, what a treasure it is to be able to love - and to be loved.

In fact, I strongly suspect (and would dearly love a chance to prove it) that we older folks could make the youngsters blush with the ferocity of our passions - and not just the erotic ones, but the rest as well: the simple affections, the joys and delights of companionship, the fierceness of our loyalties, the power of our devotion, the joy and sense of privilege in our mutual service -

We have so much more, now, to bring into loving someone than we did as youngsters. Kids have the capacity, but not the refinement; we have been tried in a great many fires, and consequently are capable of loving better, more truly, than when we were young and green and innocent of the world.