To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Several years ago, F and her friends Madison and Sam had to do a group project about Pompeii. They elected to videotape a newscast, with interviews of survivors. They met at the library, and went up to the fourth floor where they secured one of the meeting rooms - you can close the door but the walls are all glass. I sat down at one of the tables with my book while they set up. Presently Madison came out to fetch me. I went in and allowed them to drape F's Latin Club costume on me, and gave a (stunning) eyewitness account of what it was like to flee the volcano. When we finished, I went back out to my book. Madison then approached a man, a complete stranger, sitting at another table. "Excuse me, Sir," she said, and he closed his book and stood up. I watched through the walls as they sat him down - don't remember them making him wear a costume - and they filmed his "interview". Madison went looking for more victims afterward, but I had to take F home because she was coming down with one of the 1,776 cases of influenza that she's had in her short life (exaggerating here - it's only been maybe 8) but she was able to tell me about that man who followed me into the interview room.

He was an Iraqi immigrant. He and his family had had to flee into the mountains after the first Gulf War, with no food and only the clothes on their backs. If I recall correctly, he was about 14 then. They made it through somehow and were able to get asylum here. He gave them a very harrowing and realistic first-person eyewitness account of exactly what it's like to be a refugee - only he wasn't fleeing a natural disaster, but a man-made one. At the end, F said he apologized and said he knew that wasn't really what they were after. On the contrary.

I'm thinking about that man and his family today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

I think we're having a good holiday. We saw my family on Saturday and my in-laws yesterday, in between church in the morning and at midnight. R and F will probably head back over to his folks' today. I have penciled-in a migraine for myself for today (joking) (partly) so I will be staying at home getting hold of myself, looking at the book F gave me about Princess Grace of Monaco, resting, and trying not to eat candy. Molly is having a wonderful time hunting imaginary animals among the litter of tissue paper.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fourth Sunday of Advent

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!”

Friday, December 22, 2006

Drudge: "Retailers grumble about first 'Global Warming Christmas'; disastrous sales for cold-weather clothing, from cashmere caps to wool scarves... Developing..."

I well remember Christmas Day, 1987. F was 9 months old. We visited my parents in Mississippi that day, and we took a little walk with her. She was dressed only in a diaper and socks. Her daddy carried her against his chest, facing outward, and as we walked she threw her arms and legs out and coo'd because the breeze felt so good. "First 'Global Warming Christmas'," my foot.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I received a very nice compliment at work today. I always smile and greet and wave at the plant people, some of whom I still don't know after all this time. Today one of them bellowed across the way to ask if I was married. I held up my hand and pointed to my ring. He yelled, "Oh, I thought you wasn't ... I thought maybe you was divorced or ... because I was going to ask you if ... well ... your husband is a very lucky man! You seem very sweet and nice!" I said "Thank you!" of course. Wasn't that random?

Of course I informed R immediately that he is a very lucky man. : )

Monday, December 18, 2006

I have been tagged by Nzingha. I'm supposed to list six strange things about myself.

Well, I'll try to hold it to six.

1 - People think they know me. This happens ALL THE TIME. They think they used to work with me ... they went to school with me ... I've taught their children ... and so on. It's happened at a memorial service, the grocery store, the hospital when I was visiting my brother-in-law, my workplace when we had contractors, you name it. The sad thing is that once in a while I am able to determine that that stranger really does know me and I don't remember him/her at all....

2 - I like literary chick books like Pride and Prejudice and Portrait of a Lady and Anna Karenina but I really like action-adventure as well, if not better. Frederick Forsyth and Martin Cruz Smith, for instance, and Tom Clancy before The Bear and the Dragon (what a horror that was.)

3 - Continuing the above - one of my very favorite movies of all time is "Predator II". Yes, it has violence, language, sex. But for some reason I LOVE that movie and I've watched it so many times I about have it memorized. R says it must speak to me somehow. How weird is that. And I like "I, Robot", too, and having grown up reading Asimov's robot stories I have to believe he would have loved that movie and heartily approved of it.

4 - I cannot think if I can hear a radio, television, or conversation. F thanks me for passing this very inconvenient trait along to her. At work if people are talking to each other in the next room I have to put my hands over my ears and/or talk out loud to myself to get anything done.

5 - I think Mattie was the villain in Ethan Frome and Ethan himself was right behind her. I feel so passionately about that that it was the subject of one of my first blog posts. And I thought Rosamond in Middlemarch was very ill-used. Shocking. I know. I'm sorry.

6 - I hate the feeling of hose on my legs. Hate it. Hate it. I can't wait to get home from church on Sundays and get that stuff off of me. Heels, too. Yuck. But even if I am wearing jeans, I have to dab on a bit of mascara at least.

OK, who can I tag now? I'll have to think about that.
Third Sunday of Advent

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.


For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

- Isaiah Chapter 9

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Second Sunday of Advent

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

(Listen to it here.)

(And here is a nice discussion of this carol.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hershey's Kisses filled with Cherry Cordial Creme.

That's all I'm going to say.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Words from Pope Al, &c. by Jay Nordlinger, who experienced an overabundance of CNN in the Detroit airport:

I found the Memphis airport much better, and for this reason: Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue. The young, plump woman behind the counter said, “We specialize in pork,” and do they ever.

Barbecue and no mandatory CNN: Those things make Memphis’s airport a heaven.

I like to take out-of-town visitors to Neely's on Jefferson. Delicious barbecue, prompt service by a very friendly staff, and bluesy music playing in the background. That place just says "Memphis" to me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

First Sunday of Advent

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain!
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
Lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid,
Say unto the cities of Judah:
Behold your God!

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
Arise, shine, for thy light is come,
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

- Handel

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This is very strange to me.

Virginia killer's sanity questioned as execution looms

I don't mean to be disrespectful of a fellow human, really. But I am reminded of a funny story that a Hewlett Packard service rep told me, back before HP sold off its lab equipment business to Agilent. It seems that an HP service rep got a call from a customer who wanted a 250 foot power cord for his instrument and couldn't find a part number in the catalog. The rep called the parts department to get a part number. The parts dept. said they didn't stock a 250-ft power cord but they could get him the stuff to put one together. As an afterthought, they asked why the customer wanted a 250-ft power cord anyway. I don't know, the rep said, I'll ask him. The rep called the customer back and explained that he would have to put one together for him. OK, the customer said. Then the rep asked why he wanted a 250-ft power cord anyway. "Because I'm on the 5th floor of this university building," the customer said, "and I'm about to push this s. o. b. out the window; and I want it to still be running when it hits the ground!"

This, you understand, by way of putting in a service call.

Maybe you have to have to really struggled and fought and gone through the valley of the shadow of death with an instrument to appreciate the humor of that story, but trust me, it's really funny.

But the idea of the impossibility of executing an insane person is kind of weird. I am down with not executing an insane person, really, but to insist on sanity before execution is like wanting that mass spec to hit the ground "conscious". Don't you think?