Archive for December, 2008



The herald angels sing

Glory to the new born king……

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S

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Fire & Water

Just so blogging buddy Lea Kelley over at Lea Kelley Saying Thank You For doesn’t feel alone, I’ll embarrass myself. Her event was a fire alarm precipitated by water. Mine was fire. Come to think of it the smoke alarm didn’t go off. Perhaps I am getting faster with practice. Oh yes, I’ve had practice.

 This is what happened. I’m making tacos, warming the shells while I chop lettuce and grate cheese. I didn’t see smoke particularly, just flames. Did I say just? I yanked the small oven door open and blew. I don’t have to tell you what that did. A spray bottle of water was what I needed. Now who has a spray bottle of water lying around? So I grab a glass, draw water and pour it on a flaming taco shell, trying hard not to damage my new oven. I looked down, and at my feet, threatening to climbing up my good jeans was another flaming taco shell on the floor. More water.

 My beautiful, new, gray insulating gasket is now partially black, and dinner was two tacos short of a full plate, but it could have been worse. Next time I use the large oven at the bottom so shells are not so close to the elements. I hope this incident doesn’t portend trouble for the holidays. I hope to never surpass my record of four fires on an Easter day a few years go. I’m keeping the baking soda on the counter tomorrow just in case. 

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A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s a good thing because I don’t have time during this season to write a thousand words. Pictures might have to do for a few days. I’ll promise to make them festive, with the help of our beautiful tree.

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First my calves, then knees, then thighs – and regions higher – began to feel the cold, wet snow as it rushed up my body. The frozen, white slope looked very long and steep. It was my first time snow sledding and I was twenty years old. On the sled behind me was my boss, Henry Snellings, Jr.

 Mr. Snellings (always Mr.) was the brains of my department at the City of Richmond, and second in command. I was a secretary.  His brilliant mind was balanced by the spirit and wonder of a little boy. He was ever proper and shy, yet playful. He once handed me a brown envelope to deliver to my husband. I had no idea what was in it. Jerry opened it to find a copy of a rather thick booklet I had typed to be printed. Inside was also a note saying, “I just wanted you to see what good work your wife does.”

 This was a man you trusted, so when he told me to come along with him at lunchtime while the snow was piled high outside, I put on my coat and went. He finally came to a stop at Bryan Park, opened the trunk and pulled out a sled.

 “We are going sledding. You can’t go your whole life without going snow sledding.” He had seen my excitement when the flakes began to fall the day before. Growing up in South Texas, it was all new to me. That boyish twinkle was enough to make me forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I looked down that steep hill. So I climbed on in front of him and braced for a new adventure.

 I have not told you what I was wearing. This was in the late fifties, and ladies dressed properly for work, which meant I was wearing a wool skirt, high heels covered by boots, and nylons on a garter belt. This was before pantyhose.

 At the bottom of the hill, I stood and shook as much loose snow from under my clothing as I could, but I was still cold and damp. He must have realized because we climbed back up to the car and drove back to work. He was very proud to have initiated a Texas girl in the benefits of a good Virginia snow, and am I still very proud to have known and worked for such a man.



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Texas Vignette

Texas Vignette

Men always say not to fret, that everything always manages to get done somehow. Meet “Somehow,” the women of the world. Somehow has had a lot of help this year from her children and husband. Stephen took me to buy the tree–a perfect tree. Days later he appeared at the door just as I was attempting to put the lights on a seven foot tree. Today we brought out ornament boxes and my husband, fresh from another hospital stay, helped hang a goodly portion. There are crazed balls from our first Christmas fifty-one years ago all the way to the ones I added last year. The dough angel and heart I made when the children were small have survived. My youngest child is forty, so that is no small feat. I’m not saying I’m a bad cook, but I must have the only dough  ornaments not eaten by bugs.


We have one box to go, but you know what? It will get done somehow. It always does.

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That Iraqi reporter thinks he is so all that apparently. He used a shoe to send a message. Like he’s the first. Some of us remember Khrushchev at the U.N. banging his shoe on the desk. Now THAT was shocking, certainly at the time. Remember the “clever quotient” afforded to the TV show “Get Smart” the first time the guy pulled his shoe off and used it as a phone? If I remember right, this was before cell phones. Now we have an Iraqi sending a message with his size 10s. So old hat—or old shoe. Okay, he does get points for aiming high, and Bush for ducking low.

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Things I’ve Done

Here’s a fun meme I found at onehandclapping. The things I have done are in bold. I am beginning to think I have led a sheltered life, certainly not very bold. What about you?

Enjoy  and consider yourself tagged if you are so inclined!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (clarinet)
Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (I’m counting DisneyWorld.)

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (I don’t sing)

11. Bungee jumped (never, ever ever…. )
12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child (2)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (I’ve thought about it, but that would require being able to say run))
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (seen them, didn’t ride)
29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (poco)

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke. (not well)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa (I’d like to…)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Not sold when I was GS)
62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (if Alligator Alley counts)

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (in process here)

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone

99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day


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I think we should be talking about “bail,” not “bailouts,” regarding the people running the Big Three car companies and the lawmakers who mindlessly protected them for so long.


Thomas Friedman

New York Times

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Let It Snow

Firebush lit by the sun

Firebush lit by the sun

Yellow leaves on a blue sky

Yellow leaves on a blue sky

Thanks, WordPress, for the snow. It is such a treat falling through our sunny, Florida skies.

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Anything worth doing is worth doing well. You’ve heard that, nodded your head probably, but that is only half the story. The rest of the story is: Anything worth doing is going to take you down a road riddled with obstacles. I remember the exact moment this truth came to me. I was scanning my watch nervously as the service station guy tried to restart my car. In an unfamiliar, heavy traffic area, my car was behaving like a horse ready to pitch me from the saddle. Why did I, with a phobia about getting lost, make this journey? Jury duty, one month of Federal Court jury duty. I could drive in my county, but this wasn’t even my county. The car was repaired and I made it in time and made it successive days while I served on a case, but it was white knuckles all the way.


So I sat in a greasy bay thinking to myself that I was performing a very important service and a lot of people were counting on me. I was doing something worthwhile. So why didn’t the heavens open up and make the commute like a skip down the Yellow Brick Road? Because anything worth doing will take you down a road riddled with obstacles. Maybe we could call it Anhinga’s Law. That poor bird knows fishing for food is worthwhile – or else he would starve. His long pointed beak is built for the job; his strong wings are made for the recognizance flight. Living and eating should be a piece of cake, but it’s not. No. He has a built in obstacle – those feathers are missing the usual water bird oils to keep them dry. Does he stop diving for fish? No, he faces the obstacle. He dives, eats, then stands on the nearest object and holds those ill-designed, feathered wings out to the sun until they dry. But you see, he doesn’t give up. He knows his goal is worthwhile and obstacles are to be expected, and he soldiers on.  “Anhinga’s Law” sounds about right.


All this is leading up to another day I had recently that was overtaken by Anhinga’s Law. I needed to go out for supplies. Though my husband was recuperating from pneumonia, he could be left a little while as long as the oxygen concentrator was working. But then the lights flashed on and off a couple of times, finally settling on off. So we grabbed a portable oxygen tank. It was partially full and there was only one more in the house. Delivery was the following day. If the power were off too long, I could probably start the generator myself, though I had never done it alone.  Hurricane season was ending that day, but turbulent weather had been reported in Central Florida just before power went out. Not to worry. Our weather radio had battery backup. I checked it to be sure –dead as a doornail. I dug out the last of the AA batteries. The weather radio lit up and immediately began broadcasting a tornado watch for our county.


So I searched for the one old, old phone that plugs directly into the wall without help of electricity. The power company said electricity was estimated to be back on in one and a half hours, but that was only an estimate. We have had it go off for days, but we gave them a chance before going to Plan B, whatever that was. In a little less than two hours the lights flickered on and off, finally sticking with ON.


The lesson of this episode spoke to me clearly. Certainly I was doing something worthwhile, so predictably, the obstacles came right and left. When you think about it, it all makes sense in a fatalistic kind of way, doesn’t it? J

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