Friday, June 29, 2007

Strategic Pause

I'm taking a short break from blogging about the vacation. I'm physically ill (Sjogren's day) and have been completely wiped out most of the day. Work was not good. On a pain scale of 0-10, it's been about a 27. I'm sorry to whine, but I feel like dirt dragged through a hedge backwards.

After dinner (thank God for leftovers), I took a much-needed 30 minute nap while Dear Daughter updated her blog, then we decamped for ice cream. The ice cream joint is conveniently located next door to the used bookstore. We usually manage to spend more on books than on ice cream.

Anyway, we brought home a goodly sack of stuff and have been laying on the couch reading while Alix Bunny has played with last week's Flyer.

Besides, in the last 48 hours, I've seen an injustice unfold that has left me saddened and frustrated, and with a rapidly dwindling respect for someone I have hitherto admired greatly. Where, oh where do I go from here?

More on the trip tomorrow, I promise.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Big Day

Saturday dawned, a little overcast, but mostly beautiful. It rains almost every day in Maui, on one part of the island or another, so we weren't too terribly worried. The wind was exciting though--from the east at about 16 mph, with gusts up to 24 mph. For an outdoor, clifftop wedding. I guess we're wearing our hair...up?

Fortunately, Dear Daughter was feeling much better, and the events of the previous night were quickly put behind us, as soon as I hosed off the floor mats from the car and left them on the patio.

The Loved One's younger brother Mac and his wife Lisa had arrived from Portland, OR the night before. We met up with them in the late morning and headed for lunch in Lahaina. The five of us had a great time talking and getting to know one another. They're another interesting couple that are neat to hang out with.

It was an afternoon wedding, so we dressed and went to see the groom before the wedding. Wearing his Marine dress blues, he looked absolutely spiffy, and as usual, on top of the situation. If he had any pre-wedding jitters, he hid them well. I guess those months in Iraq taught him a lot about keeping a check on stress.

Atop the cliff behind the hotel, we gathered with the extended families of both the bride and groom and the friends who had been able to make the journey. We talked and waited for the bride and her entourage. And we waited. And we waited a little more. It was windy, but gorgeous, but, still we waited.

Finally, the men walked forward to their places and we all took our seats. The minister, an imposing figure of a native Hawaiian, resplendent in batik sarong and bearing a macrame'-wrapped conch shell, took his place. He blew on the shell a few times, and Clarisa appeared on the arm of her father. A guitarist softly played and sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The sunlight caught the gold medals gleaming on Tim's uniform. Clarisa's tan set off her lovely gown and showed off her barre-pearl bracelet beautifully.

Judging by their faces, I imagine a bomb could have dropped on Kapalua Bay and they never would have noticed. The world at that moment dropped away and the sun shone only on them and their love. Promises were made, rings exchanged, blessings asked, and it was good.

We showered the couple with a blizzard of multi-colored rose petals. Everyone smiled and laughed. We stood around and watched while the wedding party toasted the new couple with champagne and while the photographers finished their task. Windblown but happy, we all loaded up to head for the country club for the reception.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rehearsal By the Sea, Dinner Fun and Why is There No Medical Care in West Maui?

Friday evening was the wedding rehearsal. We all assembled on a small cliff behind the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua to watch as Tim and Clarisa and their attendants as they prepared for the next day's wedding. I can't say enough about what a wonderful couple they are. Tim was a pilot for Independence Air and Clarisa was a flight attendant when they met. Their attendants included Tim's best friend Ben, his Marine buddy Ryan, Clarisa's beautiful sister Katrina (herself a newlywed), GB Riley's dad Adam, and Clarisa's hysterical friend Laura, among others.

Dear Daughter and I enjoyed the view and meeting Clarisa's family and friends. DD also amused herself by playing with the mynah birds that populate the island. After watching them walk--with their fat bodies perched on long yellow legs, she christened them "waddly birds!" and shouted joyfully while running after them on the clifftop behind the wedding site.

The rehearsal took a brief time, and we all repaired to the Pineapple Grill for cocktails preceding the rehearsal dinner. By this time, it was 6 p.m. Hawaiian time, and 11 p.m. CST. This means DD was only three hours late in taking medication for a chronic illness. Couple that with a day in the sun and the lingering after-effects of a 12-hour plane journey, and she was really starting to feel rotten. By the time dinner was half over, she was too sick to continue, so she and I returned to our condo while the Loved One remained to visit with his sons and family.

The beauty of isolated communities such as Kapalua is they're not overrun with Wal-Marts, Targets, Krogers and Walgreens. The terrifying thing about isolated communities such as Kapalua is that when it's 8 p.m. and your child is hallucinating from exhaustion, dehydration and a headache, there is no minor-emergency care and nowhere to even find over-the-counter remedies that might help.

It was under these conditions I bundled my now-incoherently-babbling child into the car and set off into the dark Maui night (with a mai tai and a glass of wine under my belt, no less) in search of help. The only store in Kapalua closed as I drove up and refused to open. The next town, Napili, had an all-night nail salon, but no medical care. Near-frantic, I struck out for Lahaina. By this time, her eyes were glassy, she was shivering despite the warmth in the car and a sarong wrapped around her and she was talking absolute nonsense. When the first round of puking hit and we were 4000 miles from anything I knew as helpful and safe, I called 911.

We managed to make it to a strip mall parking lot so the paramedics could find us. Turns out DD was dehydrated. They offered to start an IV drip, but that would have required a 40 mile ambulance ride to the nearest hospital and then being sent home in the middle of the night. Our logical option was to take her home and rehydrate her there. By this time, the Loved One had caught up with us in a borrowed car and found some OTC medicines she could take for her headache. We got her home and plied her with juice and water and Tylenol until she was ready to sleep.

Note to self: the next time we travel, pack our own minor medical stuff and find out where help is before we need it.

There are a lot of photos to attach with this post. Not all will have identifying information, but all of them are reminders that despite the chaos, it really was a beautiful evening, and set the stage for the delightful events of the coming day. Click on each photo to enlarge for a better view.

Still More Technology Upgrades

Now that I've conquered my technophobia and learned how to use my phone (okay, I can make calls, photos and have successfully entered all of my contacts), the next step is to upgrade my home fiber optic internet connection. I'm thinking of using this. Looks simple enough, you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For the love of all that is good and holy...

register to vote. If you're not sure where in the Shelby County area to register, please E-mail or call me. I will help you find the correct information. Especially if you are a resident of Memphis, PLEASE register and become informed about the upcoming mayoral election. The stakes are simply too high to let this opportunity go by.

And if you're interested in changing the status quo, please visit this site for information on a candidate with nads of steel.

The Next Chapter

After dinner at Marco's we drove around the western coast of the island of Maui. Great-googly-moogly, it's dark at night on the edge of the southern Pacific Ocean! We were treated to a celestial show the likes of which I've never seen, though. The stars are indescribably beautiful out in the middle of nowhere. I saw constellations I've only read about. There is so very little light pollution on the road between Kahului and Kapalua that the sky fairly bristled with stars.

Dear Daughter slept in the backseat of the rental while the Loved One, sleep-deprived after 48 hours of travel from the Alaskan interior, drove and I attempted to navigate from the scanty map given us at the car rental place. Mostly I hung on and prayed we didn't die a horrible, fiery death smashed up against a cliff wall on some narrow, twisty coastal road. I love the man, but his driving scares me to bits.

We finally reached the resort of Kapalua, world-renowned for it's private and pristine beaches, the Ritz-Carlton hotel and world-class golf courses. The Loved One has been playing golf longer than I've been alive (okay, he started early and there's a sizable gap in our ages), so this was a very important aspect of the trip for him. We checked into our condo overlooking the 10th and 18th holes of the Kapalua Bay Course. Our view was delicious. Beyond the trees was the ocean, and out there lay the island of Lanai. Our back patio was spacious and tiled in red, and we were visited by a number of the amusing birds native to Hawaii, including a cardinal that looks more like our woodpeckers, and a member of the quail family.

As it was 11 p.m. when we finally got settled, that was pretty much it for the first night. The next morning, we dropped the Loved One off at the golf club to play 18 holes with his sons, friends and his ex-wife. Interesting group, no? Dear Daughter and I hooked up with Grandbaby Riley and her mom and headed for town in search of breakfast. We found Longyi's, a little place on the surf side of Lahaina, with open windows, lazily rotating ceiling fans and a great view of the ocean. Okay, so breakfast for two adults, one middle schooler and an infant shouldn't cost $50, but we had a great time. GB Riley loved the place and was delighted to see her Lalah so far from home. After lunch, Dear Daughter sat on the seawall looking at baby crabs and we watched a cruise ship riding at anchor just past the harbor. There were parasailers and surfers in the harbor enjoying the water and sunshine. I had a sudden urge to try parasailing--one that was, lamentably, not fulfilled this trip. Oh well, now I have incentive to return again!

Monday, June 25, 2007

More of the Story

As I said, it was a long journey. During our layover in Dallas, we had the privilege of meeting James Magellas, author and World War II veteran. He was the most decorated member of the renowned 82nd Airborne Division and has written an autobiography that looks very exciting. He had all of his medals, including his Purple Heart and his Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster. It was a distinct honor to shake the hand of such a courageous and interesting man.

Four hours later, we were cruising at approximately 6 1/2 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Georgia Bunny crawled out of Dear Daughter's backpack to take a peek at the waves far below. She seemed pretty impressed, as stuffed animals go.

Finally at 7:30 p.m. Hawaiian time (that's 12:30 a.m. CST), we landed in beautiful Kahului, Maui. As our jet skidded to a fishtailing halt on the rain-slick runway, I thought it would be just my luck to fly all that way only to crash at our destination. It was truly the scariest moment of the entire trip, but our magnificent flight crew wrestled our big bird into submission and brought us to the gate. We hustled down to the baggage area and found the Loved One, fresh from Alaska via Seattle, and our luggage. Wow --everything and everyone we wanted, all in one place!

We were wiped out but starving, so we grabbed a rental car and headed for Marco's in Kahului for some late-night Italian food. It was really good, especially after airport snacks and soda all day long. You can see by this photo how impressed Dear Daughter was:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Traveling to Hawaii

At long last I've downloaded the 274 photos we took on our recent vacation. Fear not, I have no intention of posting them all here, but I am going to put together a little travelogue recapping our many adventures covering seven days and nine thousand miles (round-trip).

Since Dear Daughter had not flown since she was an infant and I don't particularly like flying, the Loved One was good enough to break our journey up into segments. Our route took us from Memphis to Dallas/Fort Worth, the D/FW to Los Angeles, then from LAX to Kahului, Maui, Hawaii. We were both really excited, but as you can see, someone wasn't exactly thrilled about our initial takeoff.

Once we were finally airborne and found neither of us had actually fainted, we both relaxed a little. I can't say honestly that either of us ever got quite accustomed to takeoffs in a 757, but we kept focused on the destination, did lots of Sudoku and drank loads of juice (more on this later).

The Dallas airport was a lot of fun. We saw a genuine, old-fashioned shoeshine stand with a rag-poppin' daddy buffing up a commuter. This scene was especially nostalgic for me, as it conjured up memories of going to the neighborhood barbershop with my dad on Saturday mornings. After
he'd get his hair cut, he almost always lingered for a professional shine. It was quite the experience in the late 1960s and 1970s. Alas, it didn't carry exactly the same cachet for a middle-schooler in this decade.

Now that Erin has shown me how to move photos around in my text, I'll be posting more. I'm optimistic that maybe even my layouts will improve! More from home later!

Tremble and be afraid...

Dear Daughter has launched her own blog, titled "Baff Neva, Play Fureva." If you're looking for insight into the brain of a middle-schooler, go here.

"Welcome to the 21st Century! May I please take your order?"

These were the words spoken to me by Dear Daughter, who is, at last counting, 11 going on 35. I was standing at the service counter in a cell-phone service store, agonizing over what should have been a simple purchase, but what was rapidly becoming a descent straight into h-e-double- hockey-sticks, without passing "GO" and definitely without collecting $200.

I have a perfectly fine cell phone. Calls come in. Calls go out. I can also send and receive text messages on it, although exactly how to do this is actually beyond my scope. This phone was given to me by my sociopathic ex-boyfriend, and therefore carries with it more karma than I'd ever care to examine. Still, it was free, it works and works cheaply. I've been the object of ridicule on billions of occasions because of this phone, which Dear Daughter has nicknamed "the Brick." One of my co-workers saw it on my desk one day and asked if I'd brought my home phone to work with me.

But, I kind of like the Brick. There's not a chance in the world that anyone else would mistake it for their own and take it accidentally. It's easy to use (because it has only about four features--all of which make sense). It's so hopelessly obsolete no one would steal it. Plus, it's size, shape and heft make it a formidable weapon, should I ever need to use it as such. I'm pretty sure I could bring down your average sized thug with it, although I hope I never have to try. All in all, it's been the perfect phone for me for the past three years or so.

Enter the rabbit.

Now really, should a three pound, five inch tall rabbit be able to wreak much havoc in the world of an educated, emancipated adult? Not likely, but this is, as they say, no ordinary rabbit. This is the THUNDER-BUN, three pounds of tufted terror! Actually, she's not so bad, but she does have a history of destruction, despite only having six teeth. Her name is Roselle and she's a lovely silvery-grey Netherland dwarf with dark points on her paws and nose. In her six years on this planet, she's destroyed an HP printer (by jumping on it), blown up a halogen torchiere lamp (by biting the cord in two), murdered umpteen cardboard boxes and left a couple of good bruises on Dear Daughter.

About a year ago, she nibbled a little bit on the charger cord of the Brick. No problem--a little electrical tape, and it's good as new. Except electrical tape really doesn't hold up well, at least not in my world. Gradually, it all came off and in my laziness, I never repaired the cord again. Lately, I've been noticing that the phone doesn't always charge, or it cuts off while charging. The little copper wires in the cord are looking pretty frayed, and frankly, I'm getting a little frightened of plugging it in. So, today it was off to the cellular store to replace it.

The nice ladies in the shop were kind enough not to actually snigger when they saw what I wanted. Obviously, I'm the only person in the world that doesn't automatically upgrade a phone every time a new feature becomes available or a new color is released or the wind starts blowing from the east. Apparently the Brick can't even be donated to those non-profits for recycling or to be given to a domestic violence shelter. Maybe I'll use it for a paperweight in the future.

Anyway, it took almost thirty minutes of discussion, examination, hand-wringing, pacing and whining before I finally made a decision. The saleslady was very patient and kind with me. Dear Daughter danced excitedly the entire time. You would have thought I was buying her a new set of kidneys. Nice Saleslady even discovered that my job as anonymous paper shuffler for the military-industrial complex entitles me to a great honking discount on the phone and the service.

So now, I'm the owner of a very cute little phone that takes photos, shoots video, text messages, has voice mail, a plethora of ringtone choices, downloads music and video, slices, dices, makes julienne fries and will apparently sort my dirty socks. Naturally, I don't have a clue how to do any of these things with it. But I'm reading the two manuals that come with it, and in the first hour I have successfully learned how to charge the battery (in a rabbit-free zone, of course).

Next step--how to make calls go in and out. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

East, West, Home Best

Four thousand-plus miles and thirteen hours of airtime later, we're home. Of course, our luggage is...well, somewhere else. I don't know where, and neither does American Airlines, at this point.

The nicest thing about vacations is the coming home. We have presents to distribute, photos to download, laundry to wash and stories to tell.

But first, a nap and a shower, and not necessarily in that order.

Here's a teaser though: guess who caught the bouquet at the wedding?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


That post was really written after midnight Central Standard Time, so it really is officially Thursday least where I am.

Aloha Oe

Okay, peoples, as of this morning, we're officially on vacation! We're off to sunny Hawai'i for the wedding of Tim and Clarisa; Tim being the oldest son of the Loved One and a veteran of the Iraqi war (that's two tours of duty as a USMC reservist, oorah, indeed), and Clarisa being a very nice redheaded person who is a lot of fun to hang out with, even if we're shopping in a decaying urban mall the day after Thanksgiving.

We'll meet up with the Loved One in Maui and stay until Monday, then Dear Daughter and I will hop over to Oahu for a few fun-filled days in Honolulu and Waikiki.

I don't know if I'll have blogger access for the next week, so if I don't post for a while, it's because I can't. I promise to return with loads of new photos and maybe a story or two. Thanks to Sally for driving us to the airport, and Joel for pet-sitting. And a very special shout-out to someone who must remain anonymous, but who made me laugh out loud Wednesday afternoon with an impromptu hula demonstration in honor of my departure. I won't completely out the person, but I can say that this person shares some initials with at least one U.S. president.


Family Ties

Today is my youngest brother's fortieth birthday. Kind of a milestone. I can only guess how or if he's celebrating. The last time I saw him was in a courtroom in May 2005, where I was swearing out a restraining order against him. On the same day, my mother took the same action against him. He's got some serious problems and his violence finally got out of hand.

There's nothing the least bit funny about domestic hearings. The way the courts work, the recipient of the restraining order has to be served with a legal notice of the pending action and be given an opportunity to appear in court and answer the charges. Because my brother was homeless after he physically assaulted one of our other sisters and nearly shattered her cheekbone, it took a while for the deputies to serve him. All in all, it took us nearly six months to complete the process. During that time, we had to continue to appear on scheduled court dates, on the off chance he might actually be there and we could conduct our business. We became familiar fixtures in the court, which is hardly an aspiration.

When the day finally came that our case was heard, it was every bit as awful as we anticipated. My brother was all but spitting with rage at me, my mother, our entire family, the judge, the bailiffs, the clerks, my grandfather's mustache. His rage was frightening, even in a room with several armed, well-trained county deputies on hand.

He had his turn to speak. Even through the filter of time, I cringe at what he said, how he said it, why (I think) he said it.

Hearing the judge instate the restraining order didn't make me feel any better. Hearing her say what we already knew -- that he is either addicted to drugs and alcohol or mentally ill, and quite likely both -- just tightened the knot in my stomach. Watching him leave the court, having taken another kick in his life, and realizing the gulf between us may never be breached was a lot like being at a funeral. There was no physical body--what was buried that day was our family and our hope of ever being whole again. I have no way to speak to him, to tell him that I would like to forgive him -- for the horrible things he said to and about me and others whom I care about, for the promises of violence he made that drove me from my own home, for his refusal to see our dying father... and I could forgive them all, if only for the hope of healing.

When you pray, those of you who pray, please remember David, especially today on his birthday. He wasn't always like this.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Stormy Weather?

On a whim, I checked the weather forecast for the coming week in beautiful Kapalua, Maui, Hawai'i. I'm not thrilled:

Thursday: Scattered showers. Partly cloudy, with a high near 83. East wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. East wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Friday: Scattered showers. Partly cloudy, with a high near 83. East wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. East wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Saturday: Scattered showers. Partly cloudy, with a high near 83. East wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. East wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Hm, here at home, "partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers" has lately meant "drought." Here's hoping the Hawai'ian interpretation is the same, especially since the wedding is outdoors.

Other storm-clouds are gathering--the kind that are likely to pop up whenever sizable numbers of an extended/blended family are in the same zip code. I just hope that all of the involved parties can keep in mind that this vacation is after all, Tim and Clarisa's wedding, and that everyone should make nice, if only for a few days.

We'll see what happens.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Va, Pensiero!

Oh great honking mountains of technicolor joy! Today I bought a book of music for Dear Daughter. The volume is junior-level classics, with a heavy dose of carefully arranged selections from opera. What should I find in its pages but this? Only the famed chorus from my MOST FAVORITE OPERA EVER.

Even with these stupid, idiotic long fingernails (which are disappearing the day after the wedding, quite possibly even immediately after the reception) I've been playing this lovely music this afternoon. A little bit of heaven in 4/4 time...

Fun in the Sun

Today was a good day. Most days are good days, but today was so good in so many ways. We slept in, for one thing. I'm a morning person--I love being up before anyone else in the house and puttering around getting bits of things done. Of course, the Loved One has referred to this as my "Russian peasant" routine, where I actually get up and start charging around maniacally getting things done. However, today was different. I did get up at 8-ish and make a cup of coffee with lots of milk and a big spoonful of cocoa, but I promptly went back to bed with a book whilst drinking it.

When I did finally get up for good, it was about 9:30 and we moved at a rather stately speed. We had the very best summer breakfast (fresh fruit, homemade yogurt with honey), with books at the breakfast table. We got a few things done at the house. We stopped by Sally's book sale, intending to stay for a few minutes. We found some great books, as usual, but ended up curled on an outdoor sofa with her two youngest children looking at books, talking about the upcoming wedding, and about the Loved One's job in Alaska.

Sally -- one of the truly most interesting people I know (and I would write that even if she didn't read my blog)--plied me with good conversation, cookies warm from the oven baked by her eldest daughter, and a glass of summer sunshine. Actually, it turned out to be a Junior League tea recipe involving fresh mint, tons of sugar and orange juice, but it was incredibly delicious and so refreshing on a summer morning.

Later in the day, Dear Daughter and I collected Best Friend and Best Friend's Brother and made for the pool at university from which I graduated. It's a smallish, Catholic school, so the pool is kind of off the beaten path and usually not terribly crowded.

The sky was clear, the water was cool but comfortable and only a few people were there. The kids amused themselves by bombing off of the diving board while shouting whatever goofy things they could think of. I love watching these three together--they have such a great time doing so very little. As Dear Daughter is an only child, having Best Friend and Best Friend's Brother so close and readily available is the next best thing to having siblings. They rarely squabble, and DD has learned some very valuable lessons about group dynamics just by playing and hanging out with these two.

After swimming about an hour, I hauled out on the deck and sat in the late afternoon sun. My book wasn't interesting at that point, so I kind of watched the children and tried not to doze off. My reverie was interrupted by a man who walked up to chat.

One of the things that I like most about this pool is that there are basically three kinds of people there: college students, professors and families, or members of the various religious communities. They're pretty distinct and easy to tell apart, excepting that one time years ago I spent an afternoon chatting up a very nice middle-aged man only to eventually discern I was subtly hitting on a Dominican friar. But the nice thing is, at this pool I generally don't have to worry about dealing with any unpleasant behavior of any kind.

Anyway, today this fellow wanted only to tell me how much he enjoyed watching my "family" play in the pool. He was very effusive in his praise for the children and naturally, I appreciated it. I did point out that only one of them is mine, but that they are very close friends and easy to have altogether in public.

This experience put me in mind of something I've always explained to Dear Daughter--that family is so much more than with whom we share DNA. We are fortunate to have an extended family of my siblings and cousins and elderly aunts--all of whom we love and see regularly. But our immediate family has always just been the two of us. We're in the process of expanding again with the addition of the Loved One and his grown sons and granddaughter. Lucky for us, we learned early that love doesn't divide, but rather it multiplies. Despite everything, I see that she is able to form close relationships and is not afraid to love deeply and abundantly, even outside our circle of "blood" family. And that love she shares is visible, not just to me, but even to a total stranger.

So, we just dropped off BF and BFB and DD is settled in for sleep. The house is quiet again, and I've run out of things I feel have to get done today. It's been such a good day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Numbers matter

In case you're counting:

Days until we go to Hawaii: six
Days until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits theates: 33
Days until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released to booksellers: 36
Days until the summer solstice: 13
Days left in 2007: 160
Days until Tim and Clarisa get married: eight
Days until Christmas: 200
Days since my dad's death: 356
Days since I've eaten apricots: one
Days until scallops are back in season: 141
Days until Sally's Usborne book party: 1
Days until Doug's birthday: 25
Days left in Bush presidency: 591

Geology Joke

Dear Daughter recently announced to me that she wants to be a drummer when she moves to middle school next year. Hmmm, while I would hope that she would gravitate toward something a little more elegant, say, perhaps the oboe or bassoon, at the end of the day, I want her to enjoy middle school band and find something to play that she will love. However, there are so many drummer jokes out there, I would not want her to be the target of any of them. She's stronger than dirt though, so none of it will stick. Besides, she's always marched to her own unique beat, should I really be surprised that now in addition to marching to it, she wants to play it?

I just got the following in my E-mail this morning. It's not often that one gets a geology joke, much less one that's actually amusing. Thanks to Louie-louie for this one:

A geologist walks up to a river and says, "I feel very strongly that your bottom is composed of dirt, silt, small rocks, bits of dead animals, and other particulate inorganic matter."

And the river replies, "Yes, those are my sediments exactly."

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Birdies in the Bushes

Oh, the simple joys! I was washing a few dishes in the kitchen sink and noticed some movement in the tall holly shrub just outside the window. There are three small finches, fairly newly-fledged, chattering and hopping from branch to branch. I tried to make a photo, but the glare from the glass was problematic. What a treat to watch these new guys test freedom on a warm summer night! I have so much to be thankful for today, and this just caps the day nicely.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Defining D-Day

I probably shouldn't title my post so seriously when this is most likely going to be a pretty frivolous entry. I'm feeling guilty because I haven't been posting as regularly as I'd originally intended so to do. The work days have been so busy that by the time I'm home, my brain is completely french-fried and all the brilliant witticisms (really, both of them) that seemed worth posting about have faded away to nothingness.

But here I am, and here are a few trivialities, and some others perhaps not so trivial.

What I've been reading over the past two weeks: Jane Eyre--out loud, a chapter per night, to Dear Daughter. Thank you, Best Friend of Dear Daughter, for passing along your extra copy. It's all the more precious to us because it came from you and for the nibbling from our second-most favorite black bunny! Drop City by T.C. Boyle-- this came from Kim Co-Worker, aka, the Book Fairy. She brought all of us culls from her collection. I received this wacky and sad tale of hippies who relocate to the Alaskan interior, and subsequently meet up with a unique married couple and a vengeful ex-Marine. Dear Daughter refers to it as "that book with the naked people on the cover." This world takes some explaining some days... Fall on Your Knees -- I can't remember the author, but this was more largesse from Kim Co-Worker. Similar to Annie Proulx's excellent The Shipping News, FOYK chronicles a multi-cultural family living on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (a place I am destined to visit) around the turn of the 20th century. There are some heavy themes in this book, but it's beautifully written, and keeps nudging me in the back of the head with some of the issues and signs I've been discussing somewhat on the sly with Sally. Salamandastron, The Long Patrol and Triss -- all by Brian Jacques, and part of the Redwall series. Thank you, Joel Bunny-Keeper, for loaning me Salamandastron and Triss! They're great! What rich characters!

Today I made my final arrangements for our upcoming vacation to Hawaii. Yes, I've waited until eight days prior to our departure date to make accommodations reservations in Honolulu. I'm a procrastinator beyond compare. I found a great bed and breakfast at a tolerable rate and in an area I will feel safe traveling with just Dear Daughter, since the Loved One will not be joining us on Oahu. File this under my own particular brand of living dangerously.

Today is, in fact, the 63rd anniversary of D-Day, when more than 150,000 troops from the Allied Expeditionary Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. This was the first step in the Allied liberation of occupied France and Europe...the beginning of the end of the lethal grip of Nazism. Growing up, we had a neighbor who participated in the invasion of Normandy. I actually didn't know this about him until I was grown and learned that he and his wife participated in annual reunions of his unit. Some of these were in the United States, some were in France. After he died, someone from his unit sent his widow a flag that flew at the memorial his unit sponsored in Normandy.

History often seems so distant unless we have something to tie us directly to the events and/or people involved. In this case, one of the heroes (and believe me, they were all heroes) of the Normandy invasion was the man who loaned us his tire pump for our bicycles, and who brought us fish from his trips to the lake, and who led the grace when we had his family to our house for dinner. That so great an accomplishment as the routing of true evil from an entire continent could be completed by such ordinary men is almost incomprehensible. But it's also quite fitting. Goodness comes in very small packages. It's the accumulation of many of those tiny bits that leads us to overwhelm the badness in the world.

Thank you, Richard, and all those who were with you on this day, 1944. You showed us what courage can do.