Friday, January 30, 2009

Thinking ahead....

How would you like to get this necklace for Valentine's Day? It is so rich and complex. Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Things that matter (and don't)

This morning, I am moved to tears by two things before I have really started my day.

The first is the story of a man and his wife who lost their jobs and so the man killed his wife and their five children, two sets of twins and an older daughter. Desperate, hopeless.

The second is an email I received from a choir member at my church containing a video of a song performed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which I will share with you in a minute.

In my church choir, there is a small but powerful group of people who insist on changing lyrics if they contain any hint of the old time religion. Not so humorously they are called the "Lyrics Police" and they can make life pretty darn miserable for a choir director. This past Sunday, the choir sang this song that you are about to see on YouTube and one woman objected so strongly to the lyrics that she stayed home so she didn't have to sing them.

We aren't going to change suffering by turning off the TV or cancelling our subscription to the newspaper any more than we're going to end it by changing lyrics in beautiful music. Right now, I believe people need to know that they can feel sad or scared and we won't look away. We cannot sanitize (or Unitize as the lyrics police say) these feelings.

Here's the video.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I love to photograph bunches of things. Since I don't have much to say these days, here are some samples (this might be the post where you all wish I knew how to do slide shows):

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A great day

Yesterday was one of the finest days I can remember. We woke up to three inches of snow, and it continued to fall for several more hours.

My husband has a four-wheel drive vehicle and was all ready to haul us into work when I decided I wasn't going to go. Nope, I can work any day, but we haven't had a decent snow since 1999 and it was inauguration day for Barack Obama.

Birds were swarming the deck, and when we put out bird seed, I saw many birds I hadn't see around before. Even the regular types had on their winter outfits.

We took a walk once the snow stopped and I loved how color jumped out from the snowy branches.

Toward the end of the day, the sun was shining eerily through the trees.

The snow and Obama as our new president. I'll remember this day full of hope forever.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I first became interested in taking photographs a few years ago. My middle daughter and I went to San Diego, and our hotel looked out over the harbor. Every night the sun would set over the water and the scenery would turn either silver or gold for about thirty minutes. I took photo after photo, day after day until I thought my daughter would throttle me. Since then I have been completely in love with taking photos of sunsets and sunrises.

Even after middle daughter's old boyfriend said that ANYONE could take a good picture of a sunset, I was not deterred.

And because we spend so much time around water, the photographic combination of sun and water is irresistable.

My mother-in-law loves to cloud-watch, and almost every morning when the sun comes up says, "Lord, you've done it again!"

It really is an amazing pallette, the sky. I know I will never tire of how photogenic it is.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Okay. Seventh year of my Fifties it is

Thanks to all of your dearnesses who buoyed me up this week. I received the best of presents too and celebrated at two dinners with friends. Who could keep up the bad mood with all of that going on?

An interesting thing last night: One of the women there was also celebrating her birthday which is today. We realized that I was born at Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro mid-afternoon on January 17, 1952. She was born early morning at Wesley Long on January 18, 1952. That means, of course, that we were in the nursery at the same time! Then we realized that we attended Meredith two years together. And now, more than thirty years later have a budding friendship. Both of our mothers are dead, so there's no way to know if they knew each other during the time in the hospital.

I have a large family and everyone checked in, most of them singing Happy Birthday. My brother sent me $20. My friend Trisha gave me one of my daughter's books, there were donations made in my honor to Fellowship Hall and Heiffer Project, and my in-laws gave me gift certificates to my favorite clothing store. I had lunch with one daughter, another called and sent one her prints, and the third called twice to cheer me up. My husband gave me just what I wanted: a flash for my camera.

It helped to try to figure out why I was feeling funky, to read your wonderful posts here, and to celebrate via phone, email and in person with people I love.

Thanks again.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have never, ever minded a birthday. I will celebrate from the first day of the month until the last day. At my age, I've always felt you get a birthmonth, not a birthday. I will plan a birthday party for myself in a heartbeat. In other words, I'm not usually self-conscious about my age or my aging.

This year, though, I am not so excited. And I think it all has to do with my thing for numbers. My birthday number feels odd and old and undesirable.

"Ugh," as my youngest daughter would say.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Promoting A Beautiful Thing

Please visit Miel and Milk and see the exciting and fabulous jewelry my youngest daughter is making.

And the beautiful thing I'm promoting? Why, my daughter of course.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Then and Now

Okay, so I didn't have to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways (although I did walk to school every day), but a couple of things I've done this weekend remind me of how things have changed.

Last night I was cleaning out a cabinet and found bank statements from 1989. That year my children were 4, 6, and 8. I worked (as I do now) for my husband. In a typical week this is what I spent:

Food: $75
Pizza: $15
Laundry: $20
Babysitter: $12-15 (We went out every Wednesday night for at least three hours!!)

We had an account at Avery Upchurch Exxon and the monthly gas bill was $150. This was, I'm sure, not self-service but full service for two cars.

Quite different now. Our grocery bill, with just the two of us, will run in the $75 range. Cleaning has doubled as has pizza. And gas? It could vary from week to week, but full service at the Exxon would be at least four times the '89 prices. If we could justify it!

The second thing I discovered is how far the internet has come. For over ten years I have led a discussion group at Quail Ridge Books (except for a year when someone else took over). In 1999 we discussed a book called, Celestial Omnibus: Short Fiction on Faith. It is an excellent collection of short stories by well-known authors. Next week we will begin discussing this book again. In 1999, what I found on the internet about the authors was mostly biographical information, lists of publications, and book reviews. This morning I re-read the first section (feeling that thrill over the writing once more). On the internet I found discussion questions for every one of the stories! Boy, my job just got easier!

And now I'm wondering what will seem outdated and inexpensive when I look back on 2009 in 2019. 2019. Wow.

Friday, January 9, 2009


For some reason my site counter quit working and I can't seem to get it going again. After thinking about it, though, I decided to leave it off. This may seem silly, but I hated visiting my own blog because it artificially ran up the counter, and you know how I love to crack myself up, look at my photos, and read my own writing....

Full moon tonight - I'm howling!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I almost wrecked my car today on a very busy city street to capture this photo of another rainbow. Three rainbows in two days? How often does that happen?

And my friend Billie posted about the strange-looking sky yesterday. Here's what I saw:

A couple of good conversations and two good back-to-back meetings and I'm feeling better than last night. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Tonight on my way home from work I was on the phone with one of my daughters when I saw a beautiful rainbow in my side mirror. I pulled off the road to enjoy it for a minute. An hour or so later, after going home, I was driving to church for a meeting, again talking on the phone to the same daughter, and saw two more rainbows.

These were brilliantly colorful, and the second appeared to be two halves of the same enormous arc. I felt buoyed by having seen them.

My meeting was about the music at church and several minutes after I arrived, the minister stated that they were getting ready to make me very unhappy.

"I've seen three rainbows today. Nothing can make me feel bad."

Then he told me that I was going to have to cancel one of my favorite Sunday performers so that the children could sing that Sunday. I tried negotiating to have him sing at the early service, but they had already discussed it and decided not to.

Now this favorite Sunday performer happens to be the choir director that we tried to hire last year. You remember? The one we worked with for almost nine months and in the end he decided not to come? I'm sick about having to cancel him.

I've done some reading about rainbows tonight and they symbolize differences being blended together harmoniously. This is not at all what happened to me after seeing them. I felt angry the whole meeting, and found myself being combative with the person whose decision this was to have the children sing. There was more manipulation and power struggling over the course of the meeting, and now I'm really feeling pissy about continuing to participate in organizing the music.

Actually, I often wonder why I even go to church. Inevitably people exert pressure and influence and power in negative ways, money becomes God, people hurt other people in the name of righteousness, messages become stale, mere words become truth.

Tonight, I feel like my Sunday mornings (and Wednesday nights too) would be better spent enjoying a gospel CD and a good book and leaving it at that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Didn't I just get there fast?

Today on my way to work I stopped at a stop light, leaving room where the sign said "Do Not Block Intersection" and practicing Car Zen. Right before the light turned green, a car pulled in front of me, jerking me out of my reverie and blocking the intersection. I honked my horn at him and gave him disgusted looks. I'm sure he couldn't see me; it was raining.

One block later, we're both stopped at a red light. He's right in front of me. "Didn't you just get there fast??" I ask out loud. He can't hear me. Our windows are up because it's raining. Stupid driver. I honk just for meanness.

As soon as possible, I speed by His Idiocy. He honks his horn at me. I have decided just what kind of person he is from reading his bumper stickers ("Stop Hunger Now" and "Support Our Troops") and he's a moron. A compassionate moron, but a moron nonetheless.

I speed past him, smiling smugly to myself as he fades into the mist in my rear-view mirror. Guess who ends up right behind me at the next red light? Yep, Mr. Tortoise to my Hare. Now didn't I just get there fast? I honk my horn which is lost on the idiot behind me, but annoys the hell out of the car in front of me.

Zen car. Pass it on.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Three's a Crowd

I am not a committee person. In fact, large-group decision making is one of my worst nightmares.

I am the Sunday Service coordinator for my church. This means that I make a chart each quarter showing all the lay and musical participants. My responsibility to the service is selecting congregational songs, booking outside performers, and scheduling the person who makes announcements each Sunday. The other person involved in this, up until this quarter, was the musical director. Two people. Not a committee. It has been so easy.

Now another person (I admit I complained about our lack of song choices and said okay) wants to take over part of the song scheduling. Three people=committee. And at this point the third person doesn't make hasty decisions. Three people=committee with weak link=one of my worst nightmares. Putting out a half-assed schedule is another of my bad dreams. But today, since it's already one Sunday into the quarter, I had to send it out. Red type, pink type, blue type indicating what needed to be done by whom. The chart was at least 1/2 colored type.

The phrase, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" is taking on a whole new meaning for me right now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, Day 2

All day I have seen people running, walking, biking. "New Year's Resolution, Day 2" is what I've thought each time.

It's probably pretty easy to keep a new exercise regime while on vacation, as most of these people are. I'm wondering how far they will get into a year where work, children, housecleaning, meetings, etc etc take priority. I'm pulling for them, though, and know the value of keeping a commitment to oneself.

I, on the other hand, made no resolutions, so I contented myself with photographing the flora and fauna of Bald Head.

I also took a three-hour nap. Maybe I should, never mind.