Monday, March 31, 2008
He was the last of my grandparents left, and there is a profound sadness at that realization.
Readers can see pictures of my grandfather here, on my mother's blog. (Some of you may have already figured out that CR is my mom, but if not, now you know!)
Rest peacefully, Granddad.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Lingering effects of a cold have me watching more television than usual. There appears to be a resurgence of the old daytime staple--the quiz show. Except they are on during prime time, and a great many of them offer the chance of winning one million dollars.
I think it started with Regis Philbin and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" but now we have a half dozen or so.
My husband and I started musing (after watching "Deal or No Deal") about what we could do with a million dollars. I thought I'd just bring that discussion into the Friday Five this week. It's simple. What are five things you would want to do with a million dollar deposit in your bank account?
- Rip the back of our house off and build a two-story addition in the same 1920's Arts and Crafts style as the rest of the house. Complete the long list of necessary and desired repairs/improvements to the existing house.
- Buy a grand piano.
- Donate significantly to organizations that assist low-income children to gain education in music.
- Pay off debt.
- Investment for Retirement.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
As I think I've established before on this blog, my dearest husband falls on the Spender side of the spectrum, whereas Chorus would climb off the Saver end, were it possible. One of the lovely things (truly!) about our first year of marriage has been learning the pros and cons of the other's approach.
Now, a couple of years ago, the first of our friends to buy a very large television invited us over to watch a hockey game. Ever since that day, WH and I have been talking about buying a very large television. And I need to be clear that while WH may be the one driving this purchase, the very large television would not just be for him. Baseball looks awfully nice on a very large television with that HD stuff.
For various and sundry reasons, we have yet to buy the very large television, but WH is going away in a couple of weeks to adjudicate at a big music festival, and we agreed that the money he makes there we will put towards the very large television. In order to keep me from getting all hyperventilate-y about the cost of this endeavor, WH drew up a little budget for the whole project; this keeps the SURPRISE factor down to a minimum. Mostly I don't react well to expensive surprises. Because you don't just buy a TV, right? You buy receivers and cables and boxes and speakers and Blu Ray stuff and all kinds of other things about which I haven't the first clue.
So he did that for me, giving me the expensive options and the cheaper options and it all looks doable.
If I have it right, we want a 47-52 inch "LCD" very large television, and we need to get an HD thing and an HD audio thing, and some special cables or something. And we don't NEED one of the Blu Ray Whatchamacallits, but we might think about that later on.
Mostly what I want is a TV that I can turn on, turn off, watch movies on, record shows I'm missing etc., and I want all that to be INSTINCTIVE. I want to be able to do it myself. I want to be able to do all that without having to call him to do it for me. And I want to be able to do all that without crying.
Oh, and he wants something called a Wee??
SEDALIA, Mo. -- Officials are trying to determine whether to file charges against a man who fatally shot his wife while trying to install a satellite television system in their home.
Patsy D. Long, 34, of Deep Water, was pronounced dead early Saturday evening after being shot in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun.
Pasty Long was standing outside the residence while her husband was installing a satellite television system.
According to sheriff's department spokesman Maj. Robert Hills, Ronald Long fired a shot from the inside of their home after several unsuccessful efforts to punch a hole through the exterior wall using other means. Investigators said Ronald Long believed his family was inside the house.
He told authorities that he fired a second shot, then called out his wife's name and the names of their two children. When he got no reply, he ran outside and found his wounded wife.
Pasty Long was hit by the second of two shots fired by Ronald Long, the Henry County Sheriff's Department said.
Hills said a person involved in such a case normally would be charged with manslaughter, but that was up to the prosecutor.
"Once we complete a diagram of the incident, we will be submitting everything to the prosecuting attorney and let him decide if he wants to press criminal charges," Hills said.
Hills described the family as being very "distraught."
Henry County Coroner Scott Largent declined to release details about Patsy Long's death until the Sheriff's Department completes its investigation.
There are no words...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
TAKE me out to the baaaaaaall gaaaaame,
TAKE me out with the crooooooooowd.
Buy me some peanuts and craaaacker jacks,
I don't care if I never get back.
'Cause it's root, root, root for the hooooooome team,
If they don't win it's a SHAAAAAAAAAAME,
For it's ONE, TWO, THREE strikes, YOU'RE OUT,
AT THE OOOOOOOOOOOOOLD BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME!
It's Opening Day!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Mama Cat woke me up briefly this morning at 4am while she tried to get resettled under the covers, and I was aware that the bedroom was very quiet. The kind of quietness that descends on a room in which two people are sleeping very soundly. Such peace.
We slept in and are now sitting downstairs in our PJs watching old episodes of Press Your Luck and Let's Make a Deal, and waiting for the coffee to finish brewing.
The agenda for the day includes getting our tax information together to take to the accountant, laundry, and WH is preparing for an audition this evening. So there will be music in the house today as well.
We had Easter Dinner for the family here tonight; it was truly a wonderful evening. We ate lots of ham and scalloped potatoes, drank our fair share of nice wine, and played fun games. Lots of laughter. Eventually, the evening descended into the listening of Florence Foster Jenkins recordings.... It was a very fine Easter.
What are you up to today?
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Thanks be to God.
Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exsult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exsult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God's people!
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to be him thanks and praise.
It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumpant from the grave.
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your beautiful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your church's solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle.
May it always dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all creation, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Him: It's really busy in here tonight!
Her: Yes, it is busy.
Him: I mean, I know it's Easter, but JESUS!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I remember wondering at the time why none of the politicians seemed to be able to orate in that moving and passionate and intelligent way that draws us to figures like Martin Luther King. Why nobody seemed to be able to talk about the issues that are fundamental to the human experience and spirit in a way that moved people. I remember reading this essay by E.L. Doctorow, and wondering why nobody seemed to be able to bring such beauty to the spoken word.
I've been waiting.
I've been waiting for somebody to come a long and make the next great speech.
And then yesterday, this.
I'm not waiting anymore.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I think... I THINK, that it MIGHT have something to do with him being an aged, cranky, drugged, easily broken, hard to get along with, stubborn, irritable, uncoachable, one dimensional dingbat who is gearing up for his federal perjury trial, but what do I know.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Because I hate it.
When I made THE decision, about a lap and a half in on Monday at lunch, I was reminiscent of a recent conversation I had with my brother and his wife about the maturation process that involves recognizing the things that we aren't good at or can't do, because our obsession that we must be good at everything distracts us from enjoying the things that we ARE good at or that we CAN do. I find this process of recognizing and accepting my flaws to be immensely gratifying, and it doesn't mean that I try any less hard to be a good person and a well-rounded person, but it's a nice feeling to give onself a break now and again.
So I'm not a runner.
And I'm not much of a crafter.
I don't ski.
I can't watch scary or gross movies.
I can't eat mussels.
The inside of my car is almost always a little bit messy.
I can't say no to candy.
I don't wash my makeup off at the end of the day.
And there are many, many more...
And I'm ok with almost ALL OF IT!
How about you?
*Not actually Chorus.
(At the same time, on the other side of the street, our ancient neighbour pushed his snowblower up and down the length of the block in a quiet and easy manner. I found this HIGHLY annoying.)
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was understandably sore in the mid-back and arms. As the day went on, the sore got worse. So by the time I was beginning to think about bed last night, a bath seemed like a nice way to get the muscles to relax. So I filled the tub, applied a liberal dose of bubbles, and sunk in. Lovely!
It didn't take very long before I was joined by Mama Cat and Baby Cat. Mama Cat is always highly suspicious of baths, and will watch from the back of the toilet or from in the sink. Occasionally, she'll lean over and sniff to make sure I'm not drowning. Baby Cat, on the other hand, leaps right up on the side of the tub for a front row seat. And when she's not playing with the bubbles, she eats the bubbles. "Yum! Soap!"
Baby Cat = Not a genius. And the more bubbles she eats, the less likely she is to ever become a genius, I figure.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
outside a city wall,
where our dear Lord was crucified
who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiven,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heaven,
saved by his precious blood.
There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin,
he only could unlock the gate
of heaven and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.
Friday, March 14, 2008
1. If you could travel to any historical time period, which would it be, and why?
Oooh... so many good ones to choose from! I think that I would travel back to Elizabethan England, for the oppulence and the art and the music.
2. What futuristic/science fiction development would you most like to see?
While it's VERY tempting to say flying cars, I think that I would MOST like to see some of the amazing Star Trek-esque developments in human health and healing.
3. Which do you enjoy more: remembering the past, or dreaming for the future?
At this stage of my life, it's delightful to dream of the future. WH and I think a lot about the adventures to come, and while those conversations aren't without their considerations of difficult choices, the overall feeling is almost always excitement.
4. What do you find most memorable about this year's Lent?
I've done a lot of self-reflection this Lent, more than I ever remember doing before so determinedly. It's been good and valuable - not easy, but good.
5. How will you spend your time during this upcoming Holy Week? What part do you look forward to most?
There's lots of singing in the next week, and we'll be spending our time trying to pace ourselves in order to avoid a complete immune system crash on Easter Monday.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
... because I have nothing better to do this morning.
Actually, that's a lie. I have lots of work to do, but this irritates me just enough to need to blog about it.
Here's the story.
So, even if Tripp Isenhour is telling the truth, and he didn't intend to hit the bird, and it was a complete fluke, and he was just trying to hit the tree, and the whole world is against him, and when he was a child he had to walk through 6 feet of snow uphill both ways to get to school, the situation still belies the question of why Tripp Isenhour doesn't realize that his actions still make him look like a jackass. Full stop.
Let's go over the highlights, shall we?
Tripp Isenhour was filming a golf instructional video. (Oooh, sign me up for two copies!)
A Protected Red-Shouldered Hawk was singing his little heart out to the world, because life was good and the sun was shining and he felt like he had lots to sing about.
Tripp Isenhour hit several golf balls in the direction of the hawk until he hit it, causing the bird's death.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that if Tripp Isenhour (and no, I hadn't heard of him either) thinks that the BIRD is what's causing problems with his golf game, he's slightly misdirected. As one commentator said, "The really sad thing about this situation is that it was possibly the first solid golf shot that Tripp Isenhour has hit in a long time."
Let me be honest; I like golf. WH is an avid golfer, and I've picked up the game in the last couple of years and really enjoy playing. But anytime I step on a golf course, I do so with the recognition that the land I'm playing on, and the birds and the gophers and the rabbits and the deer, WERE THERE FIRST. And to cause any distress to any of them for the sake of a ridiculous game makes a person just about as petty and small and STUPID as it's possible to be.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The running track at Colourful University is an interesting place around the lunch-hour. I see all sizes and types and motivations, and I try and imagine why they're all there.
There are runners. And walkers. And sprinters. And waddlers. People who run as though the action is a part of their genetic makeup, easily and gracefully. People who run as though they are doing so against insurmountable odds, and as though at any moment, they might keel over. Easy breathers. Panters. The young. The old. Students. Professors. Middle-aged men in their jeans and polo shirts, trying to walk away from fear of the triple-bypass their fathers and grandfathers had. People running away from scars that remind them of their own fragility. Women walking with friends they only see at the lunch hour, puffing out conversation between tired breathing. They'll go back to offices and eat their lunches during the first minutes of the afternoon workload.
One lone Athlete from the track and field team has chosen this time to work with his coach. His running is different than anybody else's... more like flying. Or dancing. He's the only one whose actions can be described as Beautiful. He watches the rest of us with mild interest, and I wonder if he's thinking back to the first time he ran any great distance and felt as though his lungs were going to burst.
I'm not sure I enjoy running. I don't like the feeling of being out of breath, of aching muscles (worse now than they were this morning), of creeping sweat. But I enjoy watching what's going on around me on the running track at Colourful University.
The view is one answer (of many) to the question of what life looks like.
- I went running yesterday morning for the first time since about, oh, grade eight. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a little bit sore today, but I'm glad to finally be getting my butt in gear. I'm going again today, and Thursday - three times a week sounds about right to me. There are two fun-runs coming up that I'm thinking about trying: a 3km race in the middle of April (that comes with a buffet!) and a 5km race on June 1st. Yesterday, I ran 600m before I got too winded to continue, so I have some ways to go.
- WH and I will be doing this at the beginning of July. We never really took a proper honeymoon, so this will serve as both honeymoon and first anniversary celebration. In the week before we do the tour, we'll be in San Francisco, and today I bought our tickets for a Giants-Cubs game. (Pause while Chorus faints with excitement.) I'm going to save my pennies to buy a gigantic foam finger...
- WH and I have recently discovered Google Calendar. I tell ya, for the busy couple on the go, this is a GREAT way to keep track of each other's schedules. And it will sync with WH's outlook, so he only has to update in one place.
- Last night, a member of Chamber Choir who suffered some awful injuries in a recent car wreck - collapsed lung, cracked ribs, cracked pelvis - turned up at rehearsal. And stood. And sang. And grinned from ear to ear.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Particularly challenging for me this year are two pieces of solo singing that I'll be doing for the first time, one at the Good Friday service and one at the Easter Vigil. On Good Friday, I'll be singing The Reproaches (setting by Macdonnell), and at the Vigil, I'll be singing the Exsultet. Though both are big and challenging, it is such a pleasure to get a chance to learn them. I love this kind of musical liturgy, and am always surprised by the emotional effect they have on me. So the real challenge will be singing them without bawling.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
It has been a difficult week here in Dowham Market, and yet in the sadness there have been signs of real hope, young people, often criticised have shown us how caring and amazing they are. It has also been a strange week; it snowed for almost the first time this winter, and yet many of the spring bulbs are blooming, and the trees are blossoming!
I believe that if we look carefully we can see signs of hope all around us.... as for signs of spring... well you tell me....
Bluebells in my garden, before the snow!
What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :
1. Sign of hope?
I won't lie; it's been a very long week, and the first sign of hope that jumps to mind is that it's Friday, and I made it through the muck of the week. Muck, muck, muck... a satisfying word, that.
2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?
From WH: "Good morning honey. It's Friday!"
3. A sign of spring?
In the last week or so, we've heard birds around our neighbourhood for the first time in months. (We do get winter birds, but when a person is all bundled up in toques and scarves and heavy coats, that person tends not to hear them.) WH has also started to talk about his hopes for the yard this year, which is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.
4. Challenging/ surprising?
What has been most challenging this week is to maintain the motivation needed to wade through a significant to-do list after having heard the news that my position here at Colourful U. will not be made permanent within the next month, necessitating another contract renewal. This will make it almost a full year since I was promised a permanent job.
5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....
In about a month's time, I will begin taking singing lessons with a woman that I respect very much. It is one of my hopes this year to put some real work into improving my singing technique and learning some new music!
Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you?
Last night at Church Choir Practice, I was cheered by the thought of the beautiful big hymns upcoming for Palm Sunday next week. Palm Sunday is, without question, my favourite service of the year.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
For example, Barbara Walters states, "My biggest regret - and I regret it every day, yet I don't anything about it - is that I've never kept a diary.
Loretta Lynn: "When I walk out on stage, I don't want nobody leaving."
Homer Simpson: "A fool and his money are soon parted. I would pay anyone a lot of money to explain that to me."
George Carlin: "Someday they'll find a gene for putting on your overcoat."
Yogi Berra: "I'm lucky. Usually you're dead to get your own museum, but I'm still alive to see mine."
God: "Say something in a deep, booming voice and people take notice." and "The Second Book of Samuel is much better than the first. It's a Godfather II kind of thing."
Browsing through all the features got me to thinking about what my own Life Lessons, the definitive statements of my life, have been to this point. And while I continue to muse on those, I would LOVE to hear some of yours!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Then last week, news broke that Misha Defonseca's Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, in which the author describes being raised by wolves during the Second World War after her parents were deported by the Nazis, is complete and utter fiction. For some strange reason, this news surprised people. (Seriously? Raised by wolves??)
And on the tail of that news, we hear that Love and Consequences, a story of gang-life and poverty in Los Angeles, is also fake. The author, Margaret B. Jones, is in fact Margaret Seltzer, and she bears pretty much no resemblance to the person she claims to be in the book.
I have several questions. First and foremost, "What the h*ll is wrong with you people?"
Now that I have that out of the way, I am prepared to engage in more articulate consideration of why people feel compelled to create these wildly outrageous LIES ('cause they are lies, folks) and risk everything -- career, reputation, family -- to publish these LIES as biographical truth. Because one could, if one felt really compelled to write a story about, say, a little girl being raised by wolves during a period of global conflict, write that story and publish it as fiction. "Here is a story (fictional) about a (fictional) person growing up in L.A amid tremendous proverty and gang-activity," one could advertise.
I can hear the counter-argument to that. The counter-argument is that the genre of Biography or Memoire is EXTRA-compelling (and therefore marketable) because the stories are TRUE! People will be more willing to buy these extra-compelling books because they can read TRUE stories about REAL people and be amazed by the tremendous courage/intelligence/tenacity demonstrated by the subject.
To this counter argument, I call BULL. The choice to publish fictional material as truth isn't clever marketing; it's laziness. It is the job of the author to write stories that are compelling to the reader. And if the author can't do that without tagging the story with "AND IT'S ALL TRUE, FOLKS!" then the author is not a very good one and should think about doing something else.
And I know that because I have read hundreds and hundreds of fictional books by fantastic authors that have made me cry or laugh or feel nauseated or get angry or be touched. And at no point in reading those books did I say to myself, "Well, if only this book were a memoire; then it would be REALLY good."
What makes me so angry about these stories is the damage they cause to real people who have chosen to tell their real stories in writing. What happens to the poor woman who really WAS raised by wolves during the Second World War and wants to tell that story to the world. Well, instead of interested readers, that story now gets met immediately by doubt and suspicion. I'm being facetious in my example, but the difficulty is a real one. The damage caused by these kinds of LIES extends beyond the damage to the author and his/her reputation, and to those who are genuinely devoted to the art of biographical writing.
This concludes my rant.
Monday, March 3, 2008
A picture is engraved in my heart;
Moving between light and darkness:
A sort of silence envelopes your body,
And your hair falls upon your face just so.
She is all mine,
She will kiss me!
"Mostly," said the roof to the sky,
"the distance between you and I is endlessness;
But a while ago two came up here,
and only one centimeter was left between us."
Like little dreams
Falling from the sky.
He was full of tenderness;
She was very hard.
And as much as she tried to stay thus,
Simply, and with no good reason,
He took her into himself,
And set her down
in the softest, softest place.
There now. Aren't those lovely? The music is equally beautiful, and can be heard here: Five Hebrew Love Songs
Sunday, March 2, 2008
And in the midst of it all, I had one of THOSE moments. I have them five or six times a year and they are the moments when I understand why I'm in church. This morning, the moment came during the Offertory Hymn. We were singing the last verse of "Thy Hand, O God, Has Guided" (Thornbury), and WH was pounding away on an alternate harmonization, and I was overtaken by the music, and the words, and the great joy of it all.
Thy hand, O God, has guided
Thy flock from age to age;
The wondrous tale is written,
Full clear, on every page;
Our fathers owned Thy goodness,
And we their deeds record;
And both of this bear witness,
“One Church, one Faith, one Lord.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Anyhow, Saturday afternoon is not the most desirable time to be at GCGS, but if we didn't go today it would be another three or four days, and we were short on a few key staples, so we ventured into the mass of carts and kids and whatever else.
So it's crowded, right? And people's carts aren't rolling easily (they never do), and there aren't enough cashiers open and there isn't enough space in the aisles. And people look tired, and worn-down and defeated and ANGRY. So I got to thinking about what the "rules" should be to keeping a grocery run on a Saturday afternoon from being so distressing. By the time I was finished waiting in line I had come up with three different ways that the grocery experience could be made better.
1.Things the store could do: Two things I can come up with here - first, more space, especially between the aisles and the cashiers. This is the space where I witness the most traffic jams, temper tantrums, shin-ramming, etc. Second, it would be easier to negotiate the produce section if staff were not re-stocking huge carts of apples, bananas and onions at peak hours.
But even without the store making these improvements, I think there are things that we can do as consumers to make the experience less unpleasant.
2. Things you can do to make things easier for other people:
-Please don't park your cart on one side of the aisle and browse on the other side, thereby taking up the whole aisle. Same goes for parking your cart crossways in the aisle.
-If you bring your children to the grocery store, that's great. I think that children should be a part of the grocery/cooking etc. part of the household management, but if you bring your kids to the grocery store, you have to figure out a way to keep them involved that doesn't involve throwing things, running, pushing people etc. By the time I was seven or eight years old, I was tracking groceries down for my mom while she pushed the cart around. It was a great way to keep me busy.
3. Things you can do (or think or chant) to make things easier for YOU!
-Just be patient. There will always be jams and blockages, and I have found that if one just giving folks a minute to work it out, they always do. Take that moment to look at the people around you and enjoy the diversity and range of the human experience taking on life.
-People of every age have a right to shop for their groceries. Getting impatient or angry because elderly people are moving slowly in front of you is a waste of energy and strength.
-Approach the experience with good humour. Smile at every person you see, and make pleasant conversation with the people next to whom you find yourself in line. You have a whole cart full of conversation topics; you should be able to find something to talk about!
Wow - I must have been in line for a long time, because I sure gave that a lot of detailed thought.
Anybody have anything to add?