Friday, September 30, 2011

Beware of Dog(s)

On a lighter note, I NEED this sign...only redone with a Catahoula/Sharpei cross!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Soapbox Time!

A school district near us removed from the shelves of it's "Intermediate and Middle School Library" a book that was deemed NOT age-appropriate. I am not going to mention this book by name or title. I am going to include a paragraph from this book which is about young adults at a resort in the Caribbean.

"I looked up and my heart plummeted, I swear, into my colon. Because there, standing above me and ripping off his shirt was the guy. The guy from the diving board. The guy with the muscular calves and, oh god, the swimsuit riding low enough for me to conjure up some serious imagery."

The above-referenced book was removed from a library whose clients are students from 5th through 8th grades. These kids are roughly 10 to 14 years of age.

I am old but I do remember being that age. I do not remember reading anything even similar to that until I was out of high school.

I remember, when I was in about 4th grade, being guided away from inappropriate books by our very wonderful town librarian.

I remember, when I was in high school and the Franco Zeffirelli production of "Romeo and Juliet" was in theatres. I was in an honors English class in high school and we were doing a comparison of "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story". My high school planned a field trip so that we could see the movie. This was done after the priests had seen the movie. This was done after the nuns had seen the movie. This was done after a parents group had seen the movie. This was done after letters were sent to our homes and each and every one of our parents had the opportunity to view the movie themselves or to trust the school. My parents allowed me to go. One of the girls in my class was not allowed to go. Her parents made this choice. It was their choice to make. However, the rest of the class was allowed, with much discussion of proper behavior and appropriate response, to go. We did go and saw a very well-made movie. This movie is still one of my favorite versions of this story. Let me reiterate, though. I was in high school. Our parents and teachers still got to decide what we were exposed to.

The school board in the neighboring town followed procedure. The parents of a student had a concern with profanity and sexual content in a book their child got at the library. They went to the district. The district referred the matter to a review committee who, after reviewing the booked, deemed it not appropriate for the age group served by this particular school library.

I have been reading comments about this story in the newspaper and I am astounded by the number of people who say that, since you cannot keep your children from being exposed to sexually explicit images in song, movies, and television, you should not be able to have a book removed from a school library. When did they quit teaching critical thinking? This is not a freedom of speech issue. This book was not removed because it offended a particular race, creed, color, or religion. This book was removed because it is not appropriate for the age of the students who use that library.

Our job, as parents, teachers, grandparents, and adults in general, is to protect, to the best of our abilities, our children. If there is a parent of a 5th grader somewhere who thinks that their child needs to read this book, they can either buy it or get it from the public library. It just won't be available at their school library.

I say hurray for that school board for addressing the concerns of a parent and for having the courage to protect the children who are in their care.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pain - or lack thereof

This picture was taken in June, about a month after I had my first (and only) sciatica occurrence. I was on 3 different medications, taken, of course, at 6 different times of the day and living in absolute terror of feeling that pain again. Juls and I had planned our vacation for a long time so she drove and I hobbled and we both actually had a really good time!

All of this is to preface an amazing fact. Yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to take the one and only nsaid that I am still taking for two whole days! For this amazing occurrence, I have the wonderful doctors at the Acute and Chronic Pain and Spine Center in Amarillo to thank. A little over a month ago (actually, the 11th of August), I had a "procedure". I have arthritis in my spine. It is what it is. The lovely doctor injected a cocktail of drugs into my spine. If the pain was relieved, then down the line, when that relief wore off, the doctor would take a laser and cauterize the nerves in those three bottom vertebrae. The pain was relieved, the limp disappeared, the cane was put in the back of the pickup and life became, once again, easy. I was always a little on edge, though, waiting for the pain to return. It hasn't and I quit the stronger medicine right away. By this week, all I am taking is prescription strength Aleeve twice daily....and I forgot to take it!!!!

Thank you, God, for the talent and the knowledge You give my doctors! and for my insurance covering almost all of it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Secret Family Recipes

I was reading Guideposts magazine the other night and, as usual, finished feeling slightly more uplifted than when I started. I always find some thought or nugget of inspiration to help me. This time? God help me, I found a recipe. It was not the healthy recipe that Guideposts includes on their recipe page. This recipe was tucked away inside an article about Kristin Chenowith, who is a talented actress and songstress and one of the tiniest people I have ever seen. Ready for her recipe? which she stole from Kristi Dawn but included in her autobiography? Here it is - and to all of my kids and grandkids, feel free to steal this as a family recipe!

The Top Secret Recipe for Kristi Dawn’s No Calorie Left Behind Butterfinger Pie

  • Crunch up six king-size Butterfinger bars. Smash them up in a plastic bag or beat them with a rolling pin while they’re still in the wrapper. Exercise your aggression. Very therapeutic.
  • Take a twelve-ounce deal of Cool Whip and mix it up with the candy-bar shrapnel.
  • Plop all that into one of those graham-cracker crusts. (Just get over yourself and buy the premade kind. Don’t be all Barefoot Contessa about it.)
  • Freeze! No, not you, the pie. I mean freeze in the freezer, not in the theatrical sense. This is important. If you skip this step, people will assume it’s French onion dip and stick their potato chips in it.
  • Serve with a smile on paper plates. The kind with the rippled edges, whenever possible.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fun Monday - Movies That Make You Think

Our hostess this week is Sayre, who makes me smile. She recently saw the movie, "The Help" and now wants to know what movies have we seen that make us think. I did see "The Help" and it made me think but I didn't want to be a copy cat. So I started thinking back to the movies that I watch over and over again.

I love musicals. I am the only person in my family who loves musicals with the exception of Julie, who only loves "Annie" because it makes me crazy.

I first saw this movie when I was in my 20s. Believe it or not, when it first came out, in 1967, I was not allowed to see it because Guinevere and Lancelot committed adultery. I rather miss that world.

Anyway, when I first saw this movie, I wanted the kind of love that Guinevere and Lancelot had - love that could crush a king, love worth risking everything for, love - to steal a line from "On a Clear Day" - "beyond anything".

I saw this movie again when I was in my 30s. I could not, having lived a little by then, believe the lack of loyalty and fidelity displayed by the two people Arthur trusted most. I no longer envied Guinevere and Lancelot. I was disdainful of them. I pitied them, that they would betray the man who loved them both.

In my 40s, when watching this movie, I was so angry at Arthur that I could not finish watching it. How could he? How could he put his ideals ahead of the woman that he had sworn to protect, to love, to honor, to cherish? How could he not fight for her? How could he just abdicate everything, including Guinevere's heroic rescue, to Lance? How could he succumb to the evil that was Mordred?

I watched this movie again not too long ago. I was just sad. Arthur lost his kingdom. Lance lost his honor. Jenny lost both of the men who defined her without ever discovering who she was. Ah, well, maybe in the convent. The only winner in this story is us - the inhabitants of the future, if we are smart enough to learn any of the lessons in this fable.

I still love the music. I love Camelot. I love the dream, the chivalry, the code of honor. Hmmm, must be time to watch it again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Tonight, I had a meeting wherein we discussed readings for the church for Advent. There were several options and we took turns reading them aloud to see which ones spoke most to our souls.

We chose a booklet of reflections from Mother Teresa, which will be wonderful.

One of the other readings, though, is running through my head. We all know that whatever runs through my head must exit out of my mouth (or fingertips).

The writer, Mark Neilsen, asked why, during Advent, we still waited for Jesus to come? Hadn't He already been born, long ago, in Bethlehem? Yes, He had.

We wait, still, for Him to return in the future, as God promised.

Mr. Neilsen then made the point that we don't have to wait at all. We just have to ask. Jesus is waiting for us. Let me repeat that. Jesus is waiting for us, for me. All I have to do is ask and He will be with me. He will stay with me. He will protect me. He will guide me. He will laugh with me, and at me. He will comfort me. All I have to do is ask.


Monday, September 12, 2011


I got my first tattoo when I was 31. I am planning my next one.

Tomorrow, Lily gets tattooed. I know of horses who get tattooed on their lip or their ear or some other part of their anatomy for identification purposes. The Lippizzans are tattooed and/or branded in several different places.

Such is not the case with Lily.

Julie can tell you all the technical names for what her horse is. Her horse is a paint. One of her horse's eyes is surrounded by white hairfurcoat (whatever it is that horses have). Horses whose eyes are thus positioned are prone to cancer of the eye. So, much in the manner of a football player, a black line will be tattooed around her eye to give her protection.

I was campaigning for a daisy or a sunflower. Juls wanted the Gene Simmons eye. Nope. The vet says a plain old line. Oh, well.

I am posting a before picture of Lily now.

OK, this is actually a picture of Julie on Lily. I just like the picture.

This is a better shot of Lily's eye.

The after shots will follow fairly soon, I hope.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembrance 2011

We DO remember

Father Mychal's Prayer

Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say, and

Keep me out of your way.

Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M.Chaplain,

New York Fire Department

Copyright ©2001 Holy Name Province

While researching Father Mychal, I came upon this picture of a stained glass window in his memory at St. Francis of Assisi Church in NYC.

Please keep all of our heroes, civilian and military, both home and abroad, alive and deceased, recognized and unrecognized, past and present and future, in your prayers.

I posted this last year and I probably will next year. I think that Father Mychal bridges the gap for me between the civilians who died on 9/11/2001 and the first responders who died then and the military who are still dying. He, as a priest, was a civilian. As the fire department chaplain, he was a first responder. As a warrior of God, he was, and is, the ultimate military hero.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How do we honor them?

I have been thinking, today, of tomorrow. Tomorrow will be 10 years since 9/11/2001. There are a plethora of television specials and numerous memorial events, including one at Ground Zero. You know, they can name that holy space any name they want. To me, and I think a lot of other people, it will always be Ground Zero.

It is easy to honor our military. It is easy to honor our law enforcement. It is easy to honor our fallen firefighters. There are rituals already in place, steeped in history and tradition. We know the steps to take, the songs to sing, the prayers to say.

How do we honor those 2735 civilians who died in the World Trade Center? How do we honor those 87 passengers and crew members who were aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that hit the North Tower? How do we honor those 60 passengers and crew members who were aboard United Flight 175 that hit the South Tower? How do we honor the 36 passengers and crew members who were aboard United Flight 93 who died in Pennsylvania, having stopped 4 more hijackers from attacking another building? How do we honor the 64 passengers and crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon? How do we honor the 70 civilians who died at the Pentagon?

I think that we honor them by living.

I think that we honor them, not just by the great and heroic acts that some of us will do, or have done, but by the little things, the every day things.

My husband, with his son, daughter-in-law, grandkids, grandkids-in-law, and assorted other family, will be at the drag races out in California this evening. I do not know what they plan for tomorrow.

I will be at the ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks just before 8:00 a.m. Sunday at the flag circle at Veterans' Park. I will be at Mass at 9:00 a.m.. Then, I have a horse show (my daughter is riding), a Church meeting, and a Boy Scout family function in the evening. I will take care of my dogs. And through it all, I will remember. I will pray. I will thank God that I have the opportunity to do all of the mundane things that we all take so much for granted.

I will remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I love words!

When I was a little girl, back before Pizza Hut was invented and when no one ate frozen foods (except vegetables and stuff that your mom made and froze, like pies) my mother bought a pizza kit called Appian Way Pizza. It came in a box and, as a special introductory offer, with it's own cookie sheet.

You made the dough, spread it in the cookie sheet, put the canned sauce on it and then the special package of cheese, which didn't melt. Very scary stuff. The scariest part was that it wasn't round! Everyone knows that pizza is round. That pizza was just wrong. I think we only had it once.

Fast forward to tonight. I wanted pizza for dinner and, since our local pizza place does not deliver south of the tracks, I took my refrigerated pizza dough out of the fridge. It was kind of stuck in the tube thing so I pried it out, pieced it together and cobbled together a dough that sort of resembled South America. I drizzled it with olive oil and then layered on sliced green olives, bacon crumbles and the custom blend pizza cheese from the great mart of Wal. Seventeen minutes later, I had a wonderful pizza.

No, it didn't have sauce. No, it wasn't round. No, it wasn't wrong.

It was artisanal.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hearing Tests

I was reminded today by a friend's prayer request of this little bit of family history. It actually explains so much.

When Moose was 2 months old, he and his mom and his dad and his four sisters all came to our house for Christmas. It was the first time that Shorty had met Moose's dad and siblings. Duck, also, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, the girls had the back bedroom and Moose's crib was in with his parents and Christmas was basically EVERYWHERE in the house. It was a wonderful, crazy, stressful, happy time and to say that Moose had everyone wrapped around his pinkie was an understatement.

Having said that, there was just something about the baby that didn't seem right. Juls and I had followed my mom's example from the day the baby was born and put him right in the middle of the house. No silence for one of our babies. Babies need to get used to the world. I remember when Juls was little and Mom put her in the middle of the living room and vacuumed around her!

Moose was a very good baby. He slept. He ate. He pooped. He slept. He ate ...well, you get the idea. The one thing that I didn't think he did well was respond to noise. I would stand over his little crib and clap my hands. NO REACTION! Absolutely none. I panicked and, being the sharing person that I am, spread this panic to his parents and his grampits. Moose's dad was in the Navy at that time and, after they got back to California, took the little man to the doctor for tests. By this time, Juls and I had already planned what steps we would take for her poor deaf baby for the next 18 years. We had researched schools and camps and therapies. We were prepared for anything.

Except the actual diagnosis.

The Navy doctor, after checking out the Moose and running some tests, said (and I quote), "His hearing is fine. He's just the youngest as*hole I've ever met".

Too much noise and stimulation, evidently. He didn't care for all the hoopla so he just checked out. That's a lot of control for a 2 month old!

So, today, please pray for my friends' grandson, Will. With all love, I hope that he is just another as*hole!

**the picture is from 2 years later. I just like it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Help

When I first heard all of the buzz about the movie, "The Help" based on the book of the same name by Kathryn Stockett, I immediately ordered the book for my Nook.

While I like movies, I love books. I love the detail and the nuance often contained in a book and missing from a movie. I have to tell you, I loved this book.

I was a child of the late 50s and early 60s. I was as insulated as a middle-class child of that era could be. My parents did not have "help". We had my mother! None of my friends' parents' had "help". To be perfectly honest with you, I did not personally know a black person until I was in high school. Much of this book is foreign to me.

We did study current events in school, though, so I was aware of the civil rights movement. The physical manifestations of it just did not occur where I lived.

I have, since I have grown up, travelled a great deal across this country of ours. I have witnessed occasions of prejudice, though few and far between and not always against persons of color. I have heard the criticism of this book, chastising the author for daring to speak in the voice of a colored maid.

I think we should just thank her for speaking. If you have seen the movie, read the book. If you read the book, please stop and think. I know our world is not perfect. I know our country is not perfect. But can we not appreciate the fact that 45 years after Medgar Evers was killed in Jackson, MS a black man was elected President? I am not suggesting that we, as a country, sit on our laurels but can we not, just for a moment, appreciate the strides that have been made?

I am climbing off of my soapbox now. I am going to get a cup of tea, a slice (or two) or chocolate cream pie and sit and re-read my book.
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