Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Several people have tagged me in their "25 things" both on Facebook and on their blogs, so here we go. I hope I can come up with 25 things!
1. I moved back to my hometown about a year and a half ago. I don't know why.
2. I am a reporter and cover city government and education.
3. I had a 15-year career at the state's largest newspaper, and freelanced for that paper for almost five years after I left.
4. I also worked for the State of Oklahoma for nearly 8 years.
5. I was held hostage near the end of the time I worked for the Department of Human Services.
6. I was exposed to the aftermath of a uranium hexafluoride release when I worked for the State Health Department and set off a Geiger counter after being assigned to take photos in an area around the plant in eastern Oklahoma. It was a mistake on the part of the guy running the device but it scared the pee out of me. Literally.
7. I was married briefly. There was nothing good or fun about it from the engagement to the wedding to the divorce. I got my divorce the day before my third anniversary but separated much sooner. Unlikely I'll ever do that again!
8. I am a musician. I have played the piano for nearly 45 years. Can you believe that! I also sing and play handbells, but I am on a break from those activities right now.
9. In 1984 I had a fellowship at United Features Syndicate in New York City for two months and lived in Manhattan.
10. In 1985 I participated in a symposium in Washington, D.C.
11. I went to graduate school but took a different job in another city during my last semester and did not finish my thesis. My area of study was new technologies and publication management.
12. I have done some travel writing which has included several trips. Most were excellent; most had some drawbacks.
13. In 1997 I went to Switzerland.
14. I am the "stump" of my family tree. Both of my parents and my brother have died. I have a few cousins scattered across the country; I routinely stay in touch with one cousin on my dad's side and a couple on my mom's side. Two of my mother's brothers are still living; I see one at least once a year or so. No husband; no children.
15. I like to sew.
16. I love to knit. The year before I moved here, I made more than a dozen prayer shawls.
17. I have been a DivorceCare counselor for several years.
18. I have been a GriefShare facilitator.
19. For several years I participated in "Christmas in April" which became "Rebuilding Together." I learned a great deal about home repairs from replacing siding and windows to building cabinets and doing minor electric and plumbing repairs and laying floors.
20. For 10 years I was the volunteer coordinator for the Red Andrews Christmas dinner in Oklahoma City. The dinner annually fed between 4,000 and 7,000 people.
21. Before I left Oklahoma City, I created a project at my church called the "Tie One On Chairity Auction" -- I had members of my church create aprons and decorate chairs which then were auctioned off to raise funds for Mustard Seed Development Corp. We raised several thousand dollars which was matched by a community grant from Wal-Mart.
22. I am a member of the United Methodist Church and serve on the board of directors of the Wesley Foundation at Oklahoma State University.
23. I attended the University of Oklahoma and was involved in the Wesley Foundation there.
24. I had a poodle named Fefe for 15 years. I loved her and I miss her.
25. I have to believe that my current situation is only temporary.

I don't have anyone to tag with this because everyone who would participate tagged me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God Bless the UNITED States of America

Following is the text of the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery during President Barack Obama's inauguration, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions. God bless us, the UNITED States.:


God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.



I was very emotional today after hearing of Sen. Kennedy's seizure during the inaugural luncheon. Forty years ago, in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June.

As a 13-year-old political junkie, I had held great hope that the work of these two men as well as countless others would spell a new beginning for our nation. After the assassinations I had no idea what would become of those dreams.

It has taken us 40 years -- a symbolic number -- for this day to arrive. The inaugural parade was a panorama of all Americans who finally come together with all their voices heard. Lift every voice and SING!

I am so glad Sen. Kennedy was able to stand on the balcony and watch Obama take the oath of office as the President of the UNITED States.

Lord, indeed, help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right.

Monday, January 19, 2009

About my cartoon images....

The three cartoon images I've posted are edited versions of real photos of myself, altered through the fun-time magic of Photobucket. Here are the "real images" which I am not particularly eager to share, especially since the one makes me look like a dad-gum walrus.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good food at my house tonight

I've been making soup all day. The long-cooking, good for you, good for your spirit, good for what ails you kind of chicken soup you cannot get in a can.
The recipe is Here, at Posie Gets Cozy. This is Alicia Paulson's blog, but the recipe is made by her cute husband Andy.

I'm telling you, this smells SO good that a man walking into my door would want to marry me on the spot.

Of course, this soup takes a long time to cook. I haven't even gotten to taste it yet. I'm just now at the point where I've taken the chicken out and I'm letting it cool before I debone it and shred it.

Meanwhile, the aroma made me ravenous. I've been craving broccoli salad, so I've made that too, with the recipe from Here, at "How to Cook Like Your Grandmother" by Drew Kime.
Oh man. Drew can COOK. And he does it, all from scratch. No canned nothing, no frozen this or that, no artificial nonsense. Just good wonderful food. He also does not believe in secret recipes. I agree with him 1000 percent! Share the goodness, people!

OK I have to confess that I had to put away the broccoli salad before I ate it all. I think I polished off about half of it before I realized my gluttony. I have to save some room for the soup later, after all!

Make these recipes. Eat these recipes. Share these recipes.

Now, everyone say YUMMMMMmMMmmmmmmmmmm zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. (Nothing like a good sleep after good food, after all.)

Thanks Andy. Thanks Drew. It's good to swap recipes with you guys. (Oh, you mean I have to share one of my own now? Hmmm. I'll be back.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nooo! No more speeches!

No more long-winded city meetings, please! Think of the children!


Life is more fun on this side!


Tech, I'd love to join you on the Walk to Jericho, but right now I'm stuck in my cartoon kitchen in my cartoon apron, and so far I haven't found my way out. Soon as I do, though, I'll jog along to catch up!

Right now I'm kind of enjoying a short break from what you call "the real world." It's kind of fun looking back at you from the flip side!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ohhh mah gudness

I have turned into a cartoon!


Sunday, January 04, 2009

A good day

I had a rather sleepless night because of sounds I heard outside my window. The final conclusion on my part is that the noises were caused by the wind, but they sure sounded like an assortment of other things: Cats doing the "dance of love;" electric toy trains, complete with the "woo, woo" whistle and the sound of the wheels on the snap-together track; mooing cows; and I would swear there was a bobcat in the mix. Not a single dang one of them was real. I heard them all through the night, to the point of waking up and wondering if I should go look outside. I voted no, until about sunrise, when I finally threw on my jeans and coat to see if there was an animal in distress or a circus set up outside my bedroom.

Nada. Not one single thing that I could pin the sounds on.

So, lacking the sleep I needed, I opted not to try to be presentable for church and instead decided to have some private devotional time at home, and focus in on some things which have been weighing me down in powerful ways.

Now that it's just after 10 p.m., I can report that it has been a successful day, with goals identified and steps taken to meet those goals. There remains some labor to perform, but now I have a clear course before me.

I also have a mostly clear floor around me, which was one of the huge issues with which I was struggling. In fact I was able to clear up piles and stacks of books, dishes, assorted mountains of paper and other stuff to the point where I could vacuum the dining room rug.

I also moved my computer off of the dining table. This is HUGE in ways I can only hope to explain. This has been a spirit-crushing intrusion on what I want for my life -- part of the way I define myself. That computer on the table has been a fortress which kept others at bay. If the table is covered, I can't invite others to dinner here. I cannot practice hospitality.

Now, the computer is on another table along the wall in the dining room. And guess what -- where I have it now, I don't have all the accompanying cords trailing all over, wrapping around me and choking the life out of me. That was another benefit that was nearly a surprise to me as I hadn't really thought about that part of it.

There is a divided shelf between my dining room and kitchen. Over the past couple of days I have cleaned it and organized some of my favorite objects on it. There are 16 separate boxes or windows on this shelving unit and 12 of them are pretty, now. My things are safely off the floor. Other dishes have been washed and stacked in the cabinet below.

I've been going through piles of papers, sorting out things that need to be shredded and separating out the papers that can just be recycled or thrown out. The purge is GOOD.

There's a certain energy that has returned to me. I've missed it and am glad to have it back.

No, I'm not finished with this work, but it's just great to see some progress being made.

Time to hit the hay so I can be ready to work tomorrow. I hope your new year is giving you the opportunity to make some personal commitments, too.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What a gorgeous day!

It was in the upper 60s, maybe even low 70s, here today. Nice day.

I started it out by ordering my breakfast to pick up at the downtown cafe. It makes me feel wicked decadent to be able to call Shirley and say "I'd like an express breakfast to pick up." She and Connie have it ready to go by the time I get dressed and drive the few blocks down the main drag.

My office has a bit of a tradition of ordering breakfast from this place on Friday mornings. We call it in and I usually am the one to drive over and pick it up for everyone. It's one tradition I can say I like about this work place.

Anyway, today was gorgeous. I spent a lot of time running out to the garage for various things. I've been working more on my dining room and continue to make progress. I finally was able to make it to a little cabinet area which gives me more space for stashing dishes. Now they are out from under foot -- I'm not having to weave a narrow path through this area now. Almost all of the books have been moved to a proper bookshelf instead of being piled in here too.

It was ladder day, too. I got my handy-dandy stepladder out of the garage because I intended to change the long-ago burned-out bulb in my hall. Well, apparently the problem is not with the bulb, as I tried several and still have no light. I checked all of the breakers -- twice. That's also not the problem. I'm just not up to switching the socket to see if that cures the darkness. I could, I just don't particularly feel like standing on a ladder over the furnace trying to keep from dropping things into the furnace.

While I had the ladder out, I cleaned off the divider shelves between my dining room and kitchen and arranged some of my pretties. It makes me feel better to see my watering pots and teapots and pitchers and bottles on display. There's a common thread linking all of them, other than function. Lots of rich, deep jeweled colors that the light can shine through or reflect off of.

And I made a trip to Wal-Mart today for a few things that were in the sale flyer -- exciting things! Toothbrushes and oral rinse and body wash and deodorant! Wheee!! And I picked up a pair of jeans and a couple of clearance shirt that were $4 each. I passed on the huge package of paper towels. They had a 6-pack of Super Bounty rolls on sale for $10, but I'm not a big paper towel user and I still have some rolls in my supply closet.

Well, I've got some more piddling to do around the house while I listen to Celtic music on public radio through my computer. I can't get the NPR station on my radio, but luckily it is available to listen to live on the internet. There's always a way to skin a cat.

Hope your new year is going great! I've been trying to greet the new year with a sense of serenity and wonder. I hope it makes for a better year!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

The first day of 2009 is dwindling down. Do you find yourself loaded down with hopes that this year is better than 2008? I sure do. 2008 was not the best of years for me and personally, I'm kind of glad to be closing the door on it!

I had to work for a couple of hours this morning, then I started doing some housework when I was interrupted by a phone call from a co-worker. We had talked for over an hour last night, and at least that long this morning. Times are tough, life is hard and I wish I had the right words of wisdom to offer the right comfort and a nudge in the right direction. Sometimes, at a certain point, I think we all go through nine yards of hell as a form of tempering. In all honesty, no one else on earth can truly help us get to the other side, but it's a good thing to have someone's hand to hold until you get there. One way or the other, we have to make that journey.

And here is New Year's Day -- the day we pin all our hopes on for fresh starts, new beginnings, "do-overs." That's a lot to pin on a Thursday, isn't it? Especially when there's no trash service?

I did get to continue on with some housework, then a nice nap, then dinner with some friends at their house, who made sure I got my black-eyed peas for luck. Then home, for more housework.

Yes! I can see some improvement for a change! Sometimes housework is so frustrating because it's just moving Object 1 from Point A to Point B or back again. But today I focused on a particular space in my dining room that has been one of the leading sources of emotional discomfort while I've lived here. I had books and dishes stacked up knee-high in this area.

Today, in near tears, I asked myself out loud what it would mean to have this space cleared out of these things -- to reclaim this area to be open, an area I could actually walk in. And I began. I've run two dishwasher loads today and moved books to a bookcase in my living room that has been home to auxiliary groceries that don't fit in my one cabinet in the kitchen.

Things are, happily, much better. I would not give myself a 100. A nice solid 80-85 percent, though. It is no longer a hazardous area, this one particular spot. Yes, there are danger zones remaining, but I have reclaimed a holy space.

I also washed my slippers today. Three pairs, which have been collected helter-skelter by the back door over the past several months. I've either run outside for some quick reason and gotten dirt on them, or they were victims of the Great Soap Spill in the garage last summer. Now, however, they are all clean again and put away in my closet! Yay!!

Here's a Power Point presentation for all of you (you'll need the Power Point Reader, I think.) -- I really found a lot of inspiration in it and hope you will too.

Live Life

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for reading!