Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Little Something to Brighten Your Day~Pomplamoose

I first heard Pomplamoose when my daughter showed me this video.


I really like it, but I didn't think about it again until Robert Gotcher posted a link to this song on Facebook.

It's just pretty hard to watch most of their videos and not smile.

On their website, Pomplamoose, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, give the two rules for their "VideoSongs" which are:
1. What you see is what you hear. (No lip-syncing for instruments or voice)
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it. (No hidden sounds.) 
You can download their music, but you have the most fun when you watch.  If this melody is really familiar to you, you probably need to put down your electronic device.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Royal City?

Memphis was founded in 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson, Republicans one and all (in the 18th century meaning of the word), their having all been born in the colonies and lived to see the birth of the United States. Theirs was a commercial venture, which was meant to take advantage of Memphis's favorable location on the Mississippi for the distribution of goods. They certainly didn't have any interest in or time for kings, but over the years, Memphis has been associated with her share of kings~Kings by name and kings by proclamation. Their stories range from the tragic to the ridiculous. Two of them are still alive~one seems to have achieved a kind of immortality.

The most tragic of all the king stories is that of the assassination of Martin Luther King  on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, where he had come to support Memphis Sanitation Workers during a strike. I was 17, a senior in high school, and his death changed the city in which I had grown up forever. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that lives of every person that lived in Memphis on that day and the lives of every person who has lived there since have been affected by his assassination. I imagine that one day in the far, far future, the city may not be defined by the fact that this event happened in that place, but it won't happen in my lifetime or in the lifetimes of my children.

Moving on from the tragically painful to the ridiculously painful, we come to Jerry, the King Lawler. Born in Memphis in 1949, Lawler has been associated with just about every wrestling association that there is. He achieved a bit of national attention in 1982 when he wrestled Andy Kaufman and in a subsequent appearance on David Letterman, slapped Kaufman, who was encumbered by a neck brace from their earlier wrestling match, out of his chair. To this day, nobody but Lawler knows how much of this was real and how much acting. You can read about it in the Memphis Flyer archives. Lawler was also one of 25 candidates in the 2009 special election to replace the Mayor of Memphis. He did not win.

Not all of the kings of Memphis were people. King Cotton reigned in the area from before the time of the Civil War until, I think, sometime in the late 20th century. During Reconstruction, Memphis initiated a Mardi Gras Carnival, but the Yellow Fever epidemic soon put an end to that. When the carnival was resurrected in the 1930s, instead of being a precursor to the Lenten season, it became the Cotton Carnival and took place in the Spring. No longer tied to religious observance, the carnival was a commercial event intended to promote the city's top commodity. Of course, the Cotton Carnival came with it's own King and Queen and court.                                                                              

And then we had a whole team of hockey-playing kings. The Memphis RiverKings are a minor league team that played in Memphis from 1992 through 2007. I think that the success of the team must be largely attributable to an influx of people from other parts of the country, because native Memphians don't come by ice-skating naturally. It's never cold enough, long enough that any local bodies of water freeze hard enough for skating and there wasn't even a rink until we had a short-lived hockey team in the 1960s and not again until the 1970s. The RiverKings are no longer the Memphis RiverKings having moved to northern Mississippi in 2007.

Whoever and whatever else may reign in Memphis, what Memphians love best is music. B. B. King (born Riley B. King) is not a Memphians but he opened his first blues club in Memphis on Beale Street and, really, where else should he have opened it? Beale Street, after having been almost completely deserted in the mid-20th century was coming back to life after a restoration in the early 80s.

But however many kings there may be in Memphis, if you mention king and Memphis in the same breath, there is one name that springs to mind and that's this guy's. Every January and August, hundreds of people flock to Memphis from all over the world to visit his home, Graceland, and to take part in all the activities surrounding the event, especially the candlelight vigil. Since the dates of his birth and death coincide roughly with the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters, we could always depend on seeing a few Elvi at the airport when we took our daughter to catch a plane back to college. This August being the 35th anniversary of his death, I'm sure the city will be overrun with fans, many of whom, perhaps most of whom, were not even born when he died. Walgreens will be selling more Elvis scarves, Pez dispensers, whiskey decanters and whatever than you can imagine. It's pretty remarkable.

Elvis was a man who obviously lost his way in many respects, but it seems like he never stopped looking for his way. He was known around here as a man of great charity. And while everyone else called him the king, he never took that name on himself. I doubt that you could find a photo of him in a crown, because he knew Who the King was. I've heard stories about incidents like the one on this video for a long time, but this is the first recording I've ever heard.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sometimes Living in the 21st Century is Nerve-Wracking

This afternoon, I wrote about half of a the post that I had planned for today. Then the electricity went out, and did not come back on until after we had left for a dinner that we were attending this evening. So, all evening I have had no idea whether or not any or all of the post was lost. However, we just got home and I find that it is all there. I'm so glad. Unfortunately, I'm not sure when I'll get to finish it.

So, the only thing I can offer you tonight is the picture that I wanted to post with the others last night, but which I could not liberate from my phone until this morning. The other day, we were driving home and wondering about a clattering noise that we heard coming from the outside of the car. I thought maybe my husband had run over something that was stuck in the wheel well. Then he looked in the side mirror and saw this.

I was afraid to roll the window down and get them out because what if I dropped them on the expressway in the middle of rush hour?  So, we drove for 6 or 7 miles until we came to someplace where we could pull over, I all the time praying that we wouldn't hit any bad dips or bumps. A woman passed, honking and signaling that the keys were in the door. "Yes m'am. I know. Thank you very much."


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sometimes I Get Confused

Not sure of the implications of this.

First time I ever got out of the line to the confessional to take a picture.

This confuses me a bit, too.
Where am I going?

Really good question.

Better question~why pay anything?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Mrs. Cupo and the Roach

Once upon a time, when Sally’s husband was trying to support a family of six by teaching adjunct classes at about 460 different colleges in Memphis and North Mississippi, we went to her house for a ROFTers meeting. I was sitting at the end of the couch (Well, the futon, which is a futon on which I have since slept many times.). As I listened to the discussion, I got an eerie feeling that I was being watched. I turned to my right and saw two beautiful, little, elfin children, probably 3 and 5 at the time, 

When their eyes start glowing, watch out.
standing stock still and staring at me with an intensity that one associates with the children in Village of the Damned. One of them slowly lifted an arm, pointed to a spot on the floor and solemnly said, "Mrs. Cupo. Roach." "Yes, I said, that is indeed a roach." I felt as if I had been initiated into some Esoteric Order of the Vermin. 

I recognized the roach right off the bat because in our younger days my husband and I lived in the original roach motel and, unfortunately, did not have the funds to evict our slovenly tenants. It would probably be helpful to remember things like this when I'm waxing nostalgic about the days when my children were little. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "empty nest syndrome." 

A few years later, Sally's husband had obtained the sort of position in academia that is seldom awarded to people who are concerned about Truth, or God, or worse, both combined, and the family moved to North Carolina where there is an academic institution that is concerned about those sorts of things. We went to visit them in their lovely two-story house with screened-in porches on the front and back, which causes me to commit the sin of covetousness, but that's probably not their fault.

Anyway, by this time the family had put the days of horrid, feral water bugs behind them, and had moved up to large, domesticated Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches which lived in their very own cage, a gift from a retired teacher, I think. As far as I know, they stayed in their cage. I hope so--I really do hope so. I was offered the opportunity to play with them, but did not feel like I had risen high enough in the EOV to take advantage of this honour.

This is not Mrs. Cupo on the futon.

The last time we visited, I believe all the inscets were outside and Sally's son offered me a piece of pottery which he had made in the garage. I am just boring enough to appreciate this work of art more than the chance to pet a roach and I keep it on shelf in my dining room. At Christmas, I put a little, bitty angel in it.

If you have never read Sally's blog, you really should look it over. You will find a lot of very wonderful poetry, and some very funny stories and some nice pictures of her children and her garden and lots of other things. If you don't homeschool, you might not think the first item is quite up your alley, but if you keep looking around, you're sure to find some really good stuff.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The True Story of Mrs. Cupo and the Roach~Coming Tomorrow~Don't Miss It

Worth a Thousand Words?

On Father's Day, a friend of mine who is about the same age as my older daughters, linked to an album on Facebook which was a sort of retrospective of her husband from their early marriage to the present. It was very nice seeing him with their five children as they were born and grew older.

My first thought was what a good idea she had had.

My second thought was that if I did that, it would take up about three times the space.

My third thought was, “Oh no, it wouldn’t!”

Way too easy to destroy pictures.
The reason for this is that I remembered that digital pictures were not around when we got married. In fact, in 1971 when we got married, disposable cameras were 15 years in the future. We had to actually put the film in the camera and take it out when we had taken the pictures. And, if you forgot to roll it up before you opened the back of the camera, all the film was over-exposed. And, it took forever to get them developed. And who could have afforded to pay to develop the hundreds, thousands of pictures that people take now?

Not my husband
So, although we took a lot of pictures, I’m not sure that I could dredge up even 20 pictures of my husband from the early years of our marriage. He was the photographer and he was really good at avoiding being photographed himself. I can’t remember any pictures of him playing with the children, although he did play with the children. There just wasn’t a cellphone lying around to take a picture with. If by some strange chance there had been a cellphone around, it certainly wouldn’t have had a camera in it, but it would have large enough to use to beat someone senseless.

I’ve wondered a lot about whether taking pictures of people doesn’t result in your only remembering the pictures and not the thousands of other moments that occurred at any particular event. Do you remember the birthday party or only pictures of the birthday party? And would you be able to picture it in your mind at all if you didn’t have the pictures to remind you?

Now, of course, you can also record things on your phone. My daughter has hours of videos of her daughter learning to walk, talk, swinging, singing, you name it. It reminds me of the few vacations we took with my father’s huge VHS recorder. She really liked being both behind and in front of the camera. We had a great tape of our vacation in New Orleans which included a conversation with a really interesting old guy who worked on the trolley line, but it wasn’t 24 hours before someone recorded Three Men and a Baby on top of it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Small Things

Today, for the first time in a month, I got to wash my hair and let the water run over my face. I can bend over and pick up things that weigh more than 20 lbs. (like grandchildren). I can sleep without a plastic shield over one of my eyes, and for the first time in two weeks, I can sleep on the side I usually sleep on. All of this makes me extremely happy and grateful. And then, of course, there's the fact that I can see. And that I get to have real sunglasses.

The reason that they have white arms is because I kept losing the black ones. You can also see some of the work that didn't get done while I couldn't see very well and which I hope to make a dent in after lunch. If you think that this is bad, well this is the least junky part of the office.

I'm also pretty thankful that I only have ticks and beetles to contend with, unlike my sister in Massachusetts who found the bird feeder on her porch had been destroyed by a bear.This isn't the first time this has happened. I'm not sure I could get comfortable with that.

Well, back to work.


Monday, June 18, 2012

This Year's Bumper Crop

At our house in Memphis there was a street that ended at Spottswood, the street that we lived on. Our driveway was almost an extension of that street. Spottswood was fairly busy because it was one that could be used by people who had just come from the tunnel under the train track that divided our neighborhood. Frequently, people with souped up engines or very loud jam boxes would be stopped in front of our house waiting to turn. It wasn’t a really quiet place.

A few months after we moved to peaceful, rural Mississippi, my 6 year old granddaughter went to spend the weekend with her mother who was living in our house in Memphis. When I asked her what it had been like to be back in the city, she said, “It was so quiet!” I was a bit taken aback but then I realized that the country wasn’t really quiet; it was just noisy in a different way. The noisemakers at this particular time were spring peepers and frogs of all sorts which were abundant that year. When we drove down the highway, there was a frog hopping along in front of us about every yard or so at least. When I took a walk, the street looked like Perelandra after the Un-man had been there.

It didn’t take us long after we moved to learn that flora and fauna have some sort of cycle of years so that every year there is a real abundance of something or other. The first evidence of this was on the ground when we moved in the last weekend of October. Pecans. Pecan, pecans, pecans, pecans, pecans. You could not take a step without crushing two or three. Old men were marveling over it on the Ham radio. Our neighbors were cracking pecans day and night. You might think that this was a good thing, but it was a bit excessive and by the time we got there, most of the nuts had been at least partially pre-digested by weevils. And, cutting grass the next spring was a nightmare. 

Sometimes the abundance is wonderful. One summer there were millions of lightning bugs. The tall grass in the field behind the house was glowing with them, the trees looked like they were full of fairy lights and the sky was alive with slowly falling stars.

Last year, there were lots of owls. This was kind of eerie. There are usually a couple around, but last year there were eight living in the barn next door, and they seemed to fly closer to the ground than usual.

This year, I’m sad to say is looking like a tick year. I’ve heard about it on the radio and I’ve experienced it in my home. Someone told me once that if you have ever had cattle on a piece of land, you will have ticks for 15 years. I’m here to tell you that if you live in a building where the front yard used to be a feed lot, you will have them for at least 30 years and some years are worse than others.

Also, I’m a bit concerned about big, black beetles. Night before last, one shoved its way in through a tiny crack next to the air conditioner. It was huge and had huge feathery antennae and headed right for me. (Okay, I was sitting right in front of the lamp.) I’ve gotten pretty blasé about insects in the past ten years, but for some reason, this really spooked me. Thankfully, my husband came and rescued me. I’ve looked for a picture of this one, but I can’t find anything on Google or on a website that has pictures of every type of beetle in Mississippi. I hope this doesn’t mean that it’s some new horrid species that has sprung up on my property. Then there was another big, black one waiting for me in the bathroom. This one didn’t have antennae and didn’t scare me, but really I wish they would just go away. 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Can't Believe I Forgot Elvis

Gillian Welch has a song about Elvis called The Elvis Presley Blues. Before they sang the song, Dave Rawlings (I think it was he.) said, "Elvis is everywhere here." I thought he was just talking about  some nebulous Memphis presence because Elvis really is everywhere here. But it turns out that they meant here, the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. They said that the halls in the back were full of life-size cutouts of Elvis, that you would walk around a corner and he would be there staring at you. "In fact," Dave Rawlings said, "I can see him right now looking at me from the wings," and he went over and brought the cutout on stage and there the three of them were, Dave, Elvis and Gillian, and, of course, my camera was in some sort of rest mode and I missed the picture. Oh well, it would have been small and out of focus anyway. It seemed to me that they put a little extra punch into the song, being in Memphis and all, and that GW even deviated from the authorized version a bit.

Here's a video in a much more formal setting for anyone who isn't familiar with the song.

I searched around a bit and found out that in April, GPAC had "A salute to Elvis on the 35th Anniversary of his Life and Legacy," so that must be the reason for the cutouts.I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that Elvis has been dead for 35 years. My goodness.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gillian Welch in Concert, June 12, 2012

I got to the concert really early because the concert hall is in an area that is frequently one huge congested maze, so that if you don't give yourself some extra time, there will be a traffic jam and if you do give yourself some extra time, there will be no traffic jam and you will get there almost an hour early. 

This was all right, though, because it gave me a chance to sit and watch the crowd. It was a very eclectic crowd. There were people there who looked like somebody's grandparents or great-grandparents--at least one person with a walker. There were people who were old enough to be grandparents, but still had that hippie air about them. There were young couples, and middle aged couples. There were women in fancy evening dress and some in jeans and t-shirts, and there were about a million girls with short, strapless sundresses and cowboy boots.

It's been a very long time since I have been to a concert that was anything other than classical music, and those have been few and far between. I guess the last rock concert we went to was Bob Dylan's There's a Slow Train Coming Tour, so 1979. As I was sitting in the theater waiting for the show to start, I thought, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. The reason I like music is because I like to sing. I'm going to have to sit here all night long listening to this music and I'm not going to be able to sing. (I told the woman next to me to slap me I started humming.) And another thing is that I don't like things to change. If I get used to hearing a song one way, I don't want anybody messing around with my idea of what it should sound like. I wonder if I'm going to hate this."

Well, I didn't have anything to worry about. The entire concert was great. They started off with two of my favorite songs (although if I started listing favorites it would take all night), Tear My Stillhouse Down, and Scarlet Town and then continued on with what was a very enjoyable and entertaining concert. I didn't even have to worry about change because GW sings almost every note exactly as it is on the albums. Dave Rawlings, though, is another story. You just never know where he is going to go next, but you know you will probably be glad you are there.

I chose the above picture because I wanted to show the painful-looking position that GW assumes when she isn't singing. It's like she is brooding over the guitar. The longer she plays, the lower her head goes. During Revelator, DW had a very long (maybe 10 minutes, I don't judge time well) and exceedingly wonderful guitar solo, and by the time he was finished, all you could see was her hair hanging almost to her knees. Had I been in that position, they would have had to carry me to the hospital and pry me out of it, but she just stood up and started singing.

There is a song on The Harrow and Harvest, Six White Horses, in which, I had assumed, there is someone playing spoons. I found out Tuesday that I had been wrong. The sound you hear is GW clapping and slapping her legs, which is quite entertaining to watch. There are several YouTube videos of the song, but none of them seems quite as energetic as the performance we saw. Parenthetically, people have uploaded so many videos from this tour that you could probably watch the whole thing piece by piece.

The concert includes songs from all their albums (one, Ruby from A Friend of a Friend, Dave Rawlings album), and there were several that I did not know. I had not planned on buying the two albums I didn't have, but I downloaded Hell Among the Yearlings and will probably break down and download at least some of the songs from Soul Journey.

After about three hours, GW and DR pulled out one last treat, and I think it was the best of all. It was Long Black Veil, and they sang it at the front of the stage without microphones. They sang it very slowly and quietly and it was absolutely captivating. After they finished, there was that momentary silence that comes when something has been perfect. Again, there are several videos on YouTube, but the one below, although not the greatest to watch and it is missing the first line of the song, is closest to what I heard, although of course nothing can capture the feeling in the concert hall.



Friday, June 15, 2012

Revisiting Gethsemane

Since I wrote earlier about the prayer of Jesus in the Garden, I have been thinking about an aspect of the Rosary that I have never considered before, and that is the way that it prepares you for whatever comes in life. When you have meditating on the Mysteries for years (however distracted your meditation may be) you become so familiar with them that they are always there to inform whatever joy or sorrow you may be experiencing. When you think you might have some dreadful disease--"Oh right. That's this one, The Agony in the Garden." It's all there: births, deaths, Baptisms, Weddings, conversion, celebration. 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

But occasionally you can. The thing that I really, really wanted not to happen did not happen, and I am very thankful.

Thank you all for your prayers.


Why I Was Late for Work Tuesday

The good thing about living in the country is that you don't have to resort to tired old excuses like, "The dog ate my homework." There's always a piece of farm machinery or some sort of beast, domesticated or otherwise to get in front of your car. When I first came down the road, he (or she) was standing in my lane facing the car with an expression that pretty much spoke of immovability. So I stopped and started digging around in my purse for my phone so I could take a picture. (Why does this sentence make sense.) Unfortunately, the phone was turned off so by the time I found it, the calf had decided to come get a better look at me. He (or she) was beginning to get a sort of competitive look in his (or her) eye, so I got the best shot I could and left.

I'm about to go to the eye doctor to have a test on my right eye to see why it still isn't behaving the way they would like it to behave. Prayers would be appreciated.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This for Now

The concert was great. I don't have time to write at the moment, but I will soon. I thought I'd post a picture anyway. Unfortunately, none of my pictures blow up very well. I wish I could show you better.


Monday, June 11, 2012

What Will They Think of Next

I am very busy at work this week and tomorrow night I am going to see Gillian Welch so I thought I'd just post a picture or two.

We took a trip to North Carolina a couple of years ago and rented a car that had what I thought was a novel feature.

I'm not exactly sure how this works and the cat was distinctly uncooperative when we asked her to help us figure it out. She probably noticed that the illustration indicates that her little ears would end up going in different directions. Although I still don't know the precise function of the cat folder, I'm pretty sure that the family in A Good Man is Hard to Find would have been better off had they had one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is the inside door of the restroom at work. 

After they put the sign on the left up, it was amusing to watch women leaving the room with a puzzled look on their faces. One of the newer employees came to my office and said in a low voice, "Uh, can I ask you something? What does the sign in the restroom mean?" Well, we never could quite figure out how to comply and eventually the sign came down and now everyone that might have been responsible for it has moved on.

Nobody ever asks about the sign on the right, but I frequently wonder if there is anyone who has figured out how to leave the restroom without opening the door. I've been tempted to try it myself, but haven't yet worked up the courage. Most of our students are ministers, so I guess they might think that since Jesus walked through walls, we should do likewise. I'm just trying to figure out whether you should try exerting a slow, steady pressure or if you need to charge through the wall like at platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station.


Granddaughter-Name of Post Change to Protect the Innocent-me

Along with her great-grandmother.

Note Mario mushroom on sleeve.


On the Way to Work

Now for some nature that's not so red in tooth and claw. I love passing this field on the way to work. Last year or maybe year before last I kept meaning to get a picture of the field, but one day, it turned suddenly brown. It's hard to get a very good picture because these aren't tall or big sunflowers and the field is pretty far away from any place where you can park.

Sunflowers always make me think of the song that Pa Ingalls used to sing in The Long Winter when there were blizzards for seven months
Laura woke up suddenly. She heard singing and a queer slapping sound.
     "Oh, I am as happy as a big sunflower (Slap! Slap)/That nods and bends in the breezes, Oh! (Slap! Slap!)/And my heart (Slap!) is as light (Slap!) as the wind that blows (Slap! Slap!)/The leaves from off of the treeses, Oh! (Slap! SLAP!) "    
Pa was singing his trouble song and slapping his arms on his chest.
Laura's nose was cold. Only her nose was outside the quilts that she was huddled under. She put out her whole head and then she knew why Pa was slapping himself. He was trying to warm his hands. 
 You can hear the melody (sort of) here if you scroll down a bit.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Don't Mess With Bill

Friday, my husband called me out on the back porch to show me that a bird had built a nest and laid eggs in a storage cabinet on the back porch. He had been planning to clean it out, but he was going to leave it until the birds were hatched and gone.

In the evening, my granddaughter, Tessa, came in from taking a walk, and when she looked in the cabinet to see the eggs, she interrupted a snake having dinner. He struck at her, and she came in and told me--very calmly actually. I guess having fallen in a ditch with a cottonmouth or copperhead or something like that last year has inured her to snakes. She told me that it was okay because the snake had round pupils, and even though it comforted me greatly to know that she gotten close enough to the snakes head to be able to tell the shape of his pupils in the dark, I wasn't 100% sure she was correct.

So, I went and woke up my husband who napping, and he went out to save the day. He tried to get the snake out without killing it but Tessa said it kept shaking the cabinet with its tail and striking at them, so I just sat in the living room and let things take their course. Then Bill came in and got his pellet gun and I heard some shots and some banging and when it got quiet, I went out and saw the snake on the porch. It was just a black rat snake and normally we wouldn't have killed it, but we think it's the one we found in the kitchen cabinets one day and by golly, the fact we didn't kill you when you came before doesn't mean that we're going to welcome you back--if you are a snake, anyway.

Tessa had a pretty pestilencial sort of day. She was bitten by a spider and a tick, but at least she escaped the fangs of the snake. Today has been better.

And, by the way, last night I started thinking about how many things there are in that cabinet that might have exploded when hit by a pellet, but I don't really want to dwell on it.

I've been planning for a while now to post some pictures of the eclectic bunch visitors we have had to house over the years. I wish I had a picture of the pot-bellied pig that walked up the back steps or the deer that went for a dip in the swimming pool, but we didn't have phones with cameras then. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

If It Is Possible

Who is this saint? What is the angel bringing him?
At some level, and I think it's at the most important level, all I really want is to do God's Will. Of course on the surface, there are all sorts of other things I want, some of which are good and others of which are only selfish, but I still (gritting my teeth sometimes) say, "Do with me as You will."

Lately, I've been praying about something that I really don't want to happen. I want it not to happen in a big way. So, as I always do when I'm in situations like this, I have been thinking about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as You will."

I have never realized before, however, what a great mercy this prayer of Our Lord's is for us, because it lets us know for sure that we can pray for the cup to pass without worrying about whether or not we are somehow or other rejecting God's Will for us. We know we can do it because He did it first. How gracious He was to leave us this example. 

I came across this icon when I was looking for a picture of the Agony in the Garden. I chose it because of the lower register. I'm not sure what it's about, but it seems to be saying somehow that the agony of Jesus yields blessings for those who are suffering. If anyone knows who the saint is, I would love to hear.


Friday, June 8, 2012

By the Way

I really want to thank the 13 people that stuck with me while I was mostly away from the blog for the last few weeks--or maybe it was just one person that checked the blog 13 times a day. Who knows? And I want you to know that even if you are a robot from Russia, I appreciate your patronage, but I'm afraid that you won't get mine.

Oh, and for the person who left a comment telling me how I could get more and better surgeries than the three I was already enjoying--well, sorry, but maybe it will make you feel better to know you were my first spammer.


Doesn't Look Like a Killer to Me

Frankly, I don't believe he's odorless either.

I do like a dog that can do double-duty, though.

But a year seems like an awfully long time to wait to be rid of roaches.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Should These Demands Be Ignored, a Tragedy Beyond Your Imaginations Will Occur"

Erik, aka, Phantom of the Opera.


About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green.
is the rest stop on I-55 just north of the TN-MS state line. It is about halfway between my home and work. I stop here almost every day on the way to work. I am famous here. When I got a new car, the guys said, "Hey, you got you some new wheels."  When I stopped there on a Saturday, they said, "Hey, why are here on a Saturday?" It's kind of like being Norm in Cheers.

And it really is the cleanest rest stop in the history of the world. One of the guys keeps the paper towels rolled down so you don't have to touch the little handle. I suppose that is why it has to go. I've know for some time now that they were going to tear it down and replace it (It shouldn't take more than two or three years.), but today they were waiting for me to tell me it was going to be torn down Monday. Rats.

Now I will just have to become one of the thousands of nobodies who feel guilty about using the restroom at McDonald's because I'm not going to buy anything there.

And honoured among rest stops I was princess of the exits.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Off to Hospital

You know what to do.

I've found some glasses with which I can see the computer with my "new" eye, so when I can stand to keep them open for long, you will see me.


Monday, June 4, 2012

His Wonders to Perform

I had every intention of writing about all my gruesome experiences since my original cataract surgery on May 16, but I find that I just really don't want to do it. I just have too many things to be thankful for to complain. For one thing, even when I could not see out of the eye at all, I was never frightened or ever really much worried. I was peaceful throughout the whole thing and that just has to be grace, so it feels ungrateful to be anything but thankful. And here is a picture of the greatest grace of all.

This is my doctor. Every year in January and June, she and her husband go to Serabu in Sierra Leone where she sees thousands of patients and does hundreds of surgeries for cataracts. There is no running water there and no electricity, so they have to bring everything they need. People walk from other countries when they know she is coming so that she can operate on them. They take a priest who spends a whole lot of time hearing confessions.

I didn't choose this doctor; I was referred by my optometrist. I couldn't have gotten a more perfect referral. She is Catholic, and very serious about her faith (obviously). Even though she has a huge practice and is very busy, she has stayed after work day after day to check my eye and make sure everything was going all right. She, unlike almost every other doctor that I have ever met, listens to everything I say about my symptoms and takes what I say into consideration. She told me that she was going to be praying really hard for me for the operation Tuesday. It has just been a privilege in every way to get to spend time with her and have her for my doctor.

I thank all of you who have been praying for me, and ask you to continue to pray. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Sensible Religion

Yesterday, in preparation for my surgery Tuesday, I received three sacraments: Reconciliation, Eucharist, and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In the aggregate, these three sacraments engage all of the senses. I was thinking about this on the way home as the scent of the oil filled the car, and the oil ran down my forehead into my eye into which I am not supposed to allow even tap water. I figure it will be all right.

God has made us with these five senses, and what are we to do with them if not use them to worship Him and grow closer to Him. This is one of the reasons that I love being a Catholic. The Church knows that what happens to our bodies happens to our souls. 

I had to look a long time to find a picture of a person receiving the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (I would like to call a council or something to find a shorter name for this sacrament.) in this way. Most of the pictures are either people who are in bed or who are standing in line in a communal celebration of the sacrament, but I wanted a picture that was more like the way I received the sacrament, which was to go into the sacristy with the priest after Mass.

We read a lot in Church documents about the dignity of each person, and it seems to me that being able to receive the sacrament in this way really demonstrates this teaching of the Church. It is so personal. When you have a need for healing, the priest in persona Christi puts aside whatever he had planned in his busy day. He prays for you by name, and Jesus comes to heal you.