Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Seven Meme

I picked this up over at E.R.'s place. He tagged me to post my answers, so I did. You might want to see his answers to understand why I posted B7 as I did. I wasn't intentionally offering TMI. Feel free to copy and paste this and insert your own answers in the comments.

A. Seven things to do before I die
1. Find the purpose of my life.
2. Find the geographical place that means "Home" to me.
3. Find a small acreage with the house and barn I dream of.
4. Find the man who would love, cherish and adore me as much as I do him.
5. Form a lasting relationship with #4.
6. Rejoin the ranks of the gainfully employed.
7. Travel lots.

B. Seven things I cannot do
1. Stay awake if I hear football.
2. Play cards.
3. Lie convincingly.
4. Shuffle cards.
5. Suffer fools gladly.
6. Whistle.
7. Menstruate (just going with the flow here...)

C. Seven things that attract me to (...)
(any given person)
1. Intelligence.
2. Desire to continue learning.
3. Spirituality.
4. Easy conversation.
5. Sense of humor.
6. Able to put aside arguments.
7. Strong, healthy pink lungs (nonsmoker.

D. Seven things I say most often
1. I'm taking care of it, don't worry.
2. Hi! How are you doing today?
3. Father God, help me.
4. S--t!
5. Hi, this is (---), I'm calling to ask about (---).
6. Oh my.
7. I can't believe it.

E. Seven books (or series or genres or topics) that I love
1. Billie Letts' books.
2. History of housekeeping.
3. History of Oklahoma.
4. Historic homes.
5. Garrison Keilor.
6. The Bible.
7. Books about prayer.

F. Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time)
1. "Fried Green Tomatoes."
2. "Laughing Gravy" (Laurel & Hardy).
3. "It's a Wonderful Life."
4. "Meet John Doe."
5. "Sleepless in Seattle."
6. "Ma and Pa Kettle" (any of them).
7. "You've Got Mail."

G. Seven people I want to join in, too.
1. Frenzied Feline.
2. Jeannie Diane.
3. J.T.
4. Nikki.
5. Miranda.
6. Soupy.
7. Viking.

Monday, December 26, 2005

On the backroads

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had happy, safe and blessed Christmas!

I returned home today from spending the holiday with family in northwest Missouri. Travel was good today, excepting the construction zone which backed up traffic painfully on I-35 south of the U.S. Highway 60 exit (Tonkawa/Ponca City exit, No. 214.)I had just gotten past that exit when traffic stopped dead. It took 30 minutes to go half a mile. Thanks so much to the Braums' trucker who left a gap which allowed me to exit at the Billings/Marland exit. I'm just glad it was in my old stomping grounds, where I know the backroads well enough to make better time. I much prefer to take the two-lanes anyway, so I considered it a bonus.

And then, after winding through the country, going through Perry and then back west of I-35, past turns on U.S. Highway 77 wrapping around sandstone bluffs, I slowed down as I slid past the Mulhall city limits.

Mulhall was founded in 1889 during one of the major land runs. It's had more than its share of disasters over the years -- a train derailment in 1988, for one. The town of barely more than 200 people was basically obliterated on May 3, 1999, when the World's Biggest Tornado wiped out 110 years of life. Even now, you can see where trees were snapped off 6 feet above ground.

I love driving through this tiny hamlet just to see the tenacity of its residents and their efforts to rebuild. There are still scars -- buildings left empty by those who have given up and moved on to Guthrie, Stillwater or some other community. But there's hope. Churches help maintain the spiritual life of the residents, as well as the spirit of community.

Another assault on Mulhall occurred a couple of weeks ago when a BNSF train derailed and spilled mountains of wheat just yards from the highway. I've never seen a derailed train before, so I pulled in next to the two-bay car wash, grabbed my camera and walked around for the better part of an hour in awe of the power and destruction that again visited itself on this village.

The noise must have been horrendous, enough to make residents think the end of the world had arrived. Dozens of train cars, along with twisted metal rails and splintered wood landed scant yards from a herd of cattle which today grazed in their pasture unfazed.

While I took photos, I crossed over the double tracks to the west side, closer to the cattle. Just minutes after I made my way over lakes of grain, another train came through, sounding its horn all the way through Mulhall. I think they may not have been pleased with my presence so near the wreckage.

Here are some of the images I saw. I hope they convey some of the awe.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This 'n' That

OK, it's been a while since my last post. It's been too frustrating fighting my computer problems. It may be that my computer is simply too full. I don't know. Haven't had enough time to fool with finding out what the root problem is. Maybe after the first of the year.

Here are some random thoughts, in random order as they pop into my head.

1. It is COLD. Miserably so. I'm trying to be an energy conservator because I got slapped across the face with a $200 gas bill this month. That's ridiculous for one person. I've been keeping the thermostat at about 68-69 degrees until it is just unbearable, then I'll punch it up to 72 for a little while, to thaw out. I've got a programmed thermostat, so it drops back down every six hours or so. I'm sleeping with as many blankets, etc., as my bed will tolerate. During the day I dress in layers and try to follow Jimmy Carter's advice to "put on a sweater!"

2. I have been summoned to celebrate Christmas with family in Missouri. I tried to play the weather card to keep from having to make the drive to northwest Missouri, but I failed. My aunt keeps a vigil on the weather reports and forecasts. So it looks like I'll be driving north on Friday, returning on Monday. It has been ordained. No, my heart isn't really into it. But it's a sacrifice I will make out of love. I really don't need the family reminders...

3. Some people are so wonderful. I had written a story about a couple in their 90s. The husband's second career (maybe third) was as an artist. His daughter appreciated the story so much that she had a print made of his favorite painting and sent it to me. It is lovely and a very touching gesture. The story itself touched my heart; this was above and beyond.

4. I want cookies. I really do. Those nice thick sugar cookies with the icing are leading my cravings, but chocolate chunk would be nice too. I should refrain from baking or eating any sweets. My doctor already called me to yell at me for not checking in with him on my last lab results. I might as well forget about having any holiday treats.

5. Too many bills coming due. Property tax, etc. Good thing I'm not a big spender otherwise.

6. Too cold to do the laundry. This is the major drawback of having the washer and dryer in the garage. I have to wait until the temps are above freezing to do laundry. Fortunately it's not urgent at this point. It should be warm enough tomorrow. I can't risk having the water pump break.

7. I need to get the oil changed in my car and have the tires checked before I travel. Bah. Yet another reason I wanted to stay home.

8. Wanda Sykes for President! Or Oprah Winfrey. Even Whoopi Goldberg. I think a black woman could do a better job than the white men we've had for so long. Well, just as long as they haven't been politicians up til this point.

9. Angst is attacking me again. Can you tell? I've been having very vivid dreams, very telling dreams. And I've been remembering them, long-term. They've been so vivid that I've been awakening before the alarm goes off, already filled with adrenaline. This is not good.

10. Some of my friends have been talking about dating, and the importance of feeling a spark with someone. So I wrote a letter to Santa and asked him to bring me a stocking full of spark!

We also agreed that the lack of wit and sharp conversation pours a bucket of water over any chemistry. Guys who are lame thinkers don't stand a chance.

11. Dang! I need to get to the pharmacy for precription refills. This list is turning into my "to do" list, isn't it?

12. Big Bad VooDoo Daddy is on Leno right now. He had the Brian Setzer Orchestra on the other night. Ahhh, good music. At least fun music.

13. Hmmm. My toes are so cold they are numb. I think I'll go have a cup of cocoa, despite what the doctor would say. Maybe I'll get myself a new pair of walking shoes for Christmas. Whee. Well, everyone needs at least one package to open, right?

14. Christmas letters: I don't hate them as much as I used to. The ones I've received this year have been filled with genuine news instead of self-serving boasting. Oh, wait, there's one friend I still haven't heard from.... (me-ow.)

15. Gah! I want to get the carpets cleaned. It's been too long. I'll do them later.

16. Mrs. Dunwoody and I have been spending more time together. I think she's really my alter ego... If you don't know, she's the character in "Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instruction for Homekeeping." It's not exactly a novel, but she is a fictional character from the 1800s who teaches how to do housework. The author collected advice from the ledgers of many women from that era. I have my great aunt Beulah's receipt book (which is what these were called.) Bobo, as everyone called her, included advice on hog killing, curing hams and making cold-processed lye soap, right along with recipes for chocolate cream pies and butterscotch pudding. And no, none of the recipes included "open a box and ...."

17. I really think I may have to join the modern world and get a cell phone. I've refused, on principle. But it's becoming more of an inconvenience. I really can't afford to have a cell phone, so it's a headache.

18. I need a job. Something to keep me from filling my head with such thoughts as these.

19. Where does depression hurt? It hurts all over.

20. That's it for tonight, dear friends. Come back soon. Maybe we'll talk about the hunger for babies and/or puppies.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Happy birthday, Jeannie Diane!

Today is Jeannie Diane's birthday! Whoo hooo!!! She claims to be over the hill, but I think it's a hill I passed, oh, a decade or so ago. In any event, let's all wish her a big Happy Birthday! She's returned to blogging after a much-too-long absence. If you've missed going to her part of the blogging world, go visit again. She's written some really heart-touching pieces of late. And she asks for your stories as well when it comes to matters of the heart. Go check it out!

Where the Heck is 10Buck2?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Eleven Thumbs Up for Narnia

We can whole-heartedly recommend the newly released Narnia, based on C.S. Lewis' novel. Rich in symbolism, it's a morality story in which the good side wins.

This is a film for those who appreciate the gift of their imaginations. There's plenty of battle between good and evil, but nothing horribly graphic. No blood seen, though war violence is implied. There's also a scene which echoes the Great Sacrifice made by Christ; again, no blood was shown and the death blow was implied, not shown.

This is a great film for families with children perhaps as young as middle grade school. The younger kids will miss much of the symbolism, probably, unless they are well educated in Christianity and are asked about the story.

The movie is two and a half hours, but to me seemed to fly by. It felt like an hour at most, to me.

As a bonus, I got in my car just as Prairie Home Companion came on the radio, always a treat. Good music, better story-telling.

I attended the movie with my singles group, following a luncheon at my house for nine of us. I made Tech's "Many Can Soup," a 15-bean soup, and a ham which we used for sandwiches with a variety of breads and cheeses. We also had a Caesar salad and chocolate-raspberry brownies from Panera (ohmyohmyohmy!)

It's been a good, but LONG day. I need a nap. Maybe I'll have another bowl of soup first. Ah, but choices, choices....

Tomorrow morning is the cantata at my church. I probably should run through the music this evening too, since I missed this morning's rehearsal getting ready for lunch guests. It will be a long, long day tomorrow. Morning church will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the earliest for those of us in the choir. There's a children's program tomorrow evening but my bones are telling me I probably won't hold together long enough for that. We'll see. I also need to rehearse my music for Tuesday night's meditation time.

I hope your weekend is going well! Enjoy this time of Advent.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's a Charlie Brown Christmas/Take time to be quiet

I'm sitting here watching the 40th anniversary showing of Charlie Brown's Christmas show, trying to keep from tipping over to full-blown sobbing. This may be the last Christmas tradition I have left from my childhood, other than the B.C. Clark Jingle.

Granted, it doesn't take much to put a big-ol' breath-stifling lump in my throat this time of year. It's a tough season for me, as it has been for many years. Probably all my years.

And here's Linus, the sage of children of the ages, reciting the Christmas story from Luke.

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Whatever else may transpire for you this season, I wish you all peace and good will, and to God our Father be all glory.

During this time of Advent, as we await the arrival of the Good News, take some quiet time to reflect on this gift, away from the maddening crowds. When the weather turns harsh, enjoy a warm cup and some meditative music.

Next Tuesday night I'll be spending some time offering some meditative moments at my church. It'll be a quiet time of contemplation, on a come-and-go basis. I'll be playing some quiet, gentle piano music and showing images of nature to reflect on. It is open to anyone who wants to stop by to help focus on the reason for all the busy-ness of life in our modern times.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by if you like. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 in the sanctuary at Grace United Methodist Church, 6316 N Tulsa (on the south side of NW 63 where Northwest Expressway crosses NW 63 at an odd angle.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I think I caught something from my computer

Did you ever notice how strong the force of gravity can be when you're ill?

It all started with a little indigestion Friday night, about the time I went to bed. Saturday was completely unpleasant, let's say, and leave it at that. One of those rare days when just the THOUGHT of food was repugnant. By the time I went to bed last night I couldn't get warm, no matter what. I was wearing a sweatshirt and sweat pants, thick comfy socks, and was hunkered down under a sheet, a microfleece blanket, a quilt and a doubled-over thermal blanket.

I even missed church today, something I hate to do at any time, but especially during Advent. I think I am finally starting to turn around, but today it is very difficult just to MOVE. That darn gravity is stronger than I am!

My computer is still sick. I still cannot get the virus(es) off of it. I've now decided I will have to concede defeat and get help. Fortunately the man who keeps the church computers running also makes house calls, so I will see if he will come rescue me. I think this virus likes to do redirects when you get busy trying to remove it. Every time I try to use the Norton cleaning tools, I wind up getting a "server not found" screen or I am sent to some advertising screen. I can't even remove Norton Antivirus.

It's enough to make me sick.

Somehow or other, my Palm M515 also got fried or infected. My Data-to-Go program is missing. Well, every add-on program is missing. All my files are gone. It makes me very sad. My Palm was one of the best tools I've ever had. With the folding keyboard, I was able to take notes on interviews and just download them into my Word program. It saved me a LOT of time and headaches because I can type faster than I can write by hand. Sigh. Maybe I'll use my $45 taxpayer rebate to start saving for a replacement. Sigh.

I think I better go back to bed.