Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quote of the Month

"It was bumpy, then it was bumpier, then it wasn't bumpy."

Random passenger on Continental flight that crashed at Denver International Airport.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Question: How Many People Does It Take To Make Caesar Salad?

Answer: Apparently more than one

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Forgotten

I've been contemplating the various demographics of my church lately, trying to figure out where I fit in. As a 40-something, divorced with no kids, there are times I feel I don't belong. And it isn't something unique to me. This was a topic of conversation with a good friend of mine who is also single with no kids. The most obvious difference between us is gender.

We are both lovers of Christ who do our best to fit within the fabric of our respective churches. He serves through playing in the worship band. I serve by volunteering my time in the nursery. But when those opportunities to serve are completed, where do we go?

Let me expand on the "where I fit in." My campus is made up of many couples: Engageds, young marrieds, older marrieds. The majority of these couples have kids: nursery, toddler, pre-K, K, grade school, jr. & sr. high, or college. Many are empty nesters. So, given those demographics, where does a single person belong?

As Christians, we speak of reaching out to the lost, the forgotten. But what happens to the forgotten in the midst of the church? There are programs for just about every group, but nothing that is specifically for singles. I could join the women's groups, but I am pretty sure the only thing I would have in common with 90% of them is the fact that I am female.

I could join a community group but again, I feel like I wouldn't fit in. Most of the folks within the groups are couples. Talk about feeling like the odd man out. The women are talking about their kids and the men are talking about whatever it is men talk about and there I am...no kids, so I can't relate. I'm not a guy, so that's out. Let me throw my hands up in frustration.

I think about this every Sunday since I've been at the new campus. There are a couple of people I am friendly with and our pastor knows me by name, but other than that, I'm on my own. I've left working in the nursery for the sake of my sanity and health. No, the kids weren't driving me insane. So where do I serve now?

I realize that part of my issue is that my family attends another campus so the feeling of being alone is acute. I sit by myself, knowing a handful of the people there. When I am at the other campus, at least I can sit with my family. And while that doesn't address the issue of being forgotten, it is a bit less lonely.

How do singles become strands within the fabric of church? What do we need to do to feel as though we really have a place, where we aren't just a bodies occupying a chair? We are a minority when it comes to demographics. We can be categorized by age or gender. But if we don't have kids, we don't fit with the programming for children. We can't relate to parents or empty nesters.

It seems to me, we tend to fall by the wayside...the forgotten members.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hawaiian Sunsets 2008


View outside my bedroom window at Paniolo Greens



Kauna'oa Beach at Mauna Kea Resort



Hapuna Beach State Park.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Last Minute Vacation Burblings

So the plane is scheduled to take off in 8 hours and 14 minutes. I haven't made it to bed yet. Don't get me wrong, I am packed and ready to go. It's all the last minute things I want to do, but haven't done. Being sick for a week sapped my energy. Anyway, here I am posting a final pre-vacation blog.

It's funny how things start to weigh on your mind before you leave. Did I put my out of office on my email and voice mail? Will things explode at work? I have capable folks who can handling things when I'm not there.

Will my dogs be okay at the vet's office? Mollie didn't want to go, she ran back over to me for a hug. Finn could care less. Fickle male creature.

It's supposed to get very cold (a relative term in Texas). Will the house be okay?

Will I be able to sleep on the plane? I have plans on putting my headphones on and snoozing. Of course I'm thinking it's a darn shame that I've given up drinking sodas. I love gingerale when I'm traveling. I'm not sure why, but that's my drink of choice.

Who is going to miss me? I'm traveling with two of my girlfriends. I have a couple more that wish they could go. And my best guy friend, well, how can he miss someone who already lives 1500 miles away?

I'll miss my folks, my sister and nephews. They have put in their request for buggy cars with surfboards on the top. Boys...don't they know a coconut would be so much more fun?

Well, it's time to stop rambling. I need to clean the kitchen.

I'll post upon my return.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Aloha..Hello & Goodbye...It's All The Same

...36 hours and counting...

I've been in the throes of bronchitis since last week. Seems that right before I go on vacation with certain friends, I get sick. Of course, right before vacations I tend to be stressed out. I can't tell if it's the friends or the stress. HA! Y'all (my friends) know I'm kidding.

In exactly 36 hours..no wait, 35 hours 59 minutes, I will be on a plane for a long flight. I have two books to read, a book of sudoku puzzles. I'm contemplating my MP3 player, but that means I need to get another memory card and download some CDs to it. So much to do, so little time.

Laundry is chugging away, I'm half packed. I'm taking my REALLY big suitcase. Must have room for souvenirs for the nephews. I'll have a thousand pictures and that's good enough for me.

I thought I was going to get away with not snorkeling. I've been looking for my snorkel for a couple of days. Love the water, being on it, not in it. Irrational fear and all that. Unfortunately I found the darn thing. I'm taking it with me. Maybe I'll actually use it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ever Have One of Those Days?

...when nothing is going right...

Today was one of them. Trying to go on vacation, get everything at work resolved, trying to visit with family before you leave.

You call one of your best friends and the opening salvo of the conversation feels less than warm. So you own up to possibly being overly sensitive. But the person on the other end of the line is less than talkative. Yet you know that this person wouldn't pick up the phone if there was no interest in conversation. Still, you can feel a bit of a disconnection. That sense of fracture has been present for a couple of weeks, but you can't really put your finger on it. The other person doesn't really sense anything, so you wonder if it's all in your head. And the conversation dwindles, you're the only one talking. You ask a question, the other person hadn't heard about the topic you wanted discuss, goes on to say that he/she doesn't really care. So, why bother continuing a conversation at that point? You take your hurt feelings, say goodbye, have a very girlie moment of emotional purging while thinking, "wow, X has no idea my feelings are scorched." Not that it does any good to have scorched feelings; you're the only one who knows they have been singed.

I think I'm definitely ready for a lovely lei and some tropical island adult beverage. Hawaii, here I come.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Guitar - The Lessons Continue...

...Acordai Doncela...

Have no idea what it translates to, but it's not easy. Did you know there are other notes on the open strings and you use the fretboard to create them? Yes, I'm being sarcastic; however, just when I though I've finally mastered the open strings, Jeff throws a doozie at me.

Acordai Doncela. It is a Brazilian song, a duet. I've heard two guitars, and piano and guitar. I prefer the two guitars. I've really struggled with this, but somehow picked it up faster than "Melancolia." This is a pretty piece, although Russet says it has a Mafia-esque feel to it. I'll partially agree; however, I think the piece conveys a sense of longing.

Had to play it for Jeff this week. I wasn't perfect, but good enough for Jeff to ask if I would ever consider teaching classical guitar in the future. I can't repeat what I said in my head. But wow!!! Either he really does smoke crack or I'm getting better. If giving him a huge smooch was allowed I'd have done it. It was the best ego stroke I could have ever had.

And considering I called him all sorts of names when he handed it to me...

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a

No, I did not fall asleep on the keyboard. I'm prepping for my trip to the big island of Hawaii in a scant 8 days. This trip has been planned for a year...talk about long range planning. And the cherry on top...we're flying FIRST CLASS, BABY!!!

But back to the post title. This is the state fish of Hawaii, I believe. The word itself is larger than the fish. And frankly, it's just fun to say. Come on class, let's try, altogether, slowly...who moo who moo new koo new koo ah poo ah ah. See, that wasn't so bad.

Anyway, I've not been to the Big Island before, so I am very excited. I'm going with two of my best girlfriends. One of them is bringing her hubby. So we'll have a male presence. I know, boy cooties. It's ok though. There are times when the island gods require a sacrificial male. He'll come in handy, I'm sure. And knowing that his lovely wife reads this blog, she knows I'm only kidding. I only pick on him out of love.

We are visiting an island that is still being created. How cool is that? Kilauea has been continuously erupting for over 20 years. Sometimes it is lava, sometimes it is steam and ash. I'm hoping for an evening adventure to see the hot glow of lava spilling into the water.

On tap for this adventure: ATV tour, Volcanoes National Park, green and black sand beaches, maybe some snorkeling.

I'm ready. Mentally, I'm exhausted. It's been another rough year at work. Layoffs, people leaving, hiring, they all bring their own unique challenges. I've weathered this storm, but it takes its toll. So, I need this. I need to take myself away from it all.

It's off to an earthly paradise. Aloha!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tijuana Sunburn

..it's like a tequila sunrise, but not...

Got to hang out with my pal from high school. She moved back to Texas after a 15 year absence. Two kids and one ex-husband later, she's home. We decided to try out a new little hole in the wall based on the recommendation of her neighbor.

Oh my. I had Ragin' Cajun Shrimp Tacos. Da bomb...but even better, the grande Tijuana Sunburn. It was listed under the heading: "Margarita Therapy". Needless to say I've been in need of therapy for the last couple of months. All I know is this 'rita had tequila and cranberry juice...and it sure was purty.

Three sips and my head was spinning. I nursed it for an hour while eating queso (also da bomb) and dinner. I'm not one for going out and getting ripped anymore, but I will say this was a nice pre-vacation buzz.

And you know what happens when three single women get together over tequila...well I can't tell you. Revealing the mystery of women is against the rules.

I will say that my tolerance for alcohol is greatly diminished and I'm certainly not as young as I used to be. I had to call it a night as I have responsibilities early in the morning...ugh....thank goodness we fall back an hour.

Anyway...if anyone goes to Baja in Grapevine...get a Tijuana Sunburn...it rocks!!

And now the joy of buzzing is gone...tequila does not hamper the capacity for smelling.

One of the dogs just farted. Ewwww!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Neil Diamond - A Closet Conservative?

Ok, that's stretching the truth more than a bit, but he did show a faint glimmer of conservatism.

I attended his concert in Dallas and was surprised to see that 100% of all merch proceeds were being given to Hurricane Ike relief. Isn't that fantastic? Still, I was not moved enough to spend money on memorabilia that will end up in my concert storage chest. What a noble idea though. Here is a megastar who is not highly publicizing his charity efforts. There was no fanfare in the media, no blaring of horns, no single engine planes with banners floating behind them. Nothing. Just innocuous signs at the merch tables declaring intentions.

Now, with all that said, I realize that Mr. Diamond is a liberal. When he started talking about the proceeds for Ike, I was expecting a diatribe. What I got was a tenet of conservatism. Take the government out of the picture and let the people do the work.

Mr. Diamond said he'd been to Galveston Bay touring the area. He said one of the barrier islands had 350 homes before Ike. Post Ike only 50 homes remained standing. The residents were living in tents. Living conditions were not good, etc. To myself I was thinking, "ok here we go,here is the Katrina reference." But I was surprised. He said 100% of the proceeds from merch would go to these Ike victims. He and his band would match the take dollar for dollar. He wanted to have each of these displaced families within 4 walls of their own home by Christmas.

Wait for it...imaginary drum roll....he did not want to wait for the government to take care of these people. What? Hey don't liberals support government intervention?

Go Neil. My friend who attended with me is a Dem to the core, unfortunately. He said "government" and she replied with "worthless administration can't be counted on to take care of anyone."

While I believe Mr. Diamond was in fact poking at the current administration, remember he is a liberal, he did get this correct. Why shouldn't we arm ourselves with saws, hammers, and the tools of home building? Why not make the trip to Galveston to help our neighbors rebuild.

This ties in with Russet's post on Outsourcing Charity. Why must we always look to the government to solve problems?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Russet Shadows

...WELCOME to Random Jumbled Thoughts...

!!!BOY COOTIES....BOY COOTIES...BOY COOTIES!!!

Yes, the world is coming to an end. I have allowed a member of the opposite sex to post on my blog (hence it is no longer pink...see I can compromise). Russet is a dear friend; a male version of me, to a degree. We have a 90% agreement rate on most things because 100% would be too freakish. We've been friends for nearly 10 years...maybe longer, but I stopped counting.

A while back, he asked me if I wanted to do a blog together. I balked at first...then thought about it. Humbling that he would think my writing could stand up to a joint blog. And while I agreed, we came to the conclusion that neither of us wanted the pressure of having to post on a regular basis. The perfect solution: An invitation to post on my blog.

So let me tell you about my friend...Russet (makes me think about a potato, but that's really not the point) is Christian, conservative, unique. He has been blessed with a keen mind, a beautiful writing style, and a love of music. He also has a sense of humor. Sometimes I don't understand it, but that is the beauty of being a girl. I don't have to understand boy humor. Oh, he uses really big words, so have the dictionary handy. I have learned much from him. There are many other attributes of which I could extole; however, he is modest and I don't want him to blush.

So, without further ado, may I present one of the best guys in the world: Russet Shadows. He will be posting here from time to time. So, please take time to read what he writes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And On The Eighth Day...

...God sent a text message...

There I was in church Sunday morning, listening to the pastor deliver his message. I got distracted by the vibrating buzz a couple of seats next to me. Someone (who shall remain nameless) had his iPhone resting on the bible in the seat next to him. Yay! At least he had it silenced.

Anyway, the light and buzz caught my attention. He reads his text message, sends one and puts the phone down. 2 minutes later, it goes off again. Read. Text. Repeat. This pattern transpired during the majority of the sermon. The more it happened, the more distracted I became. I found myself focused on the number of text messages sent versus the message the pastor was delivering. Needless to day, I was very annoyed at myself.

This person is a part of the ministerial staff...so I should cut him some slack, right? Maybe the folks he left in care of his responsibilities at the main campus needed him. After all, he wouldn't be having a general text conversation with someone during the sermon, would he?

I would like to think not.

Why is it that even in the midst of worship, when our hearts and minds should be focused on the One who loves us beyond all reason, we allow ourselves to be distracted by the world?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Guitar Lessons 11 & 12 - Cialis For Guitars

...when your performance won't stand up...

Practice. 1 hour, every day until success is achieved.

By the time I hit Lesson 11, I switched to a classical, nylon string guitar. Definitely not a high end classical, but a much richer, full-bodied sound that my very inexpensive steel string. Getting used to the strings and the width of fretboard didn't happen as fast as I thought it would.

Needless to say, practice, practice, practice.

I've been stuck on the same piece of music for the last 4-5 weeks. I just haven't been able to master it. That was until I got home after my last practice. Finally, I understand how the rhythm is supposed to flow. Finally! It actually sounds like a piece of music.

I've also got the Bach piece to use as my warm-up. It's still a struggle as well.

Again, practice, practice, practice. There are days I just don't want to practice. Take today for example. I have a headache. I want a nap. What am I going to do?

Practice

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jalapeno Hands

...I'm feelin' hot, hot, hot.....

A quick shout out to Buster Poindexter. While I, in my entirety, am not necessarily feelin' hot, hot, hot, my hand is....and so the story begins. We had an Indie family celebration yesterday. As with most of our food-centric celebrations (mom's birthday), the presence of stuffed jalapenos was required.

These fiery little gems are a great treat among the family. Jalapenos, sliced in half, seeded, stuffed with cream cheese and a pepper size piece of turkey bacon across the cream cheese. They are baked and topped off with the broiler. Sweet, a little heat, tangy and crispy. Pepper goodness. They don't last long.

Anyway, it was my responsibility to bring the peppers for the party. Never a big deal. I got everything together and proceeded to prepare them. I generally wear gloves while slicing and scooping out seeds. However, I was at my sister's, forgot my gloves, and I was in a hurry.

I bare-handed the peppers, holding them in the left hand, while cutting out the seeds with a knife in my right hand. No big deal. Got them cleaned, stuffed and in the oven. Family gathers, peppers are done. We have lunch. My 7 year old nephew polishes off 3 of the slices. All is good.

I go home. Around 9:00 p.m. I have the distinct sensation of my left hand burning. Nothing painful, just an annoying feeling. By 10:00, my hand is on fire. The jalapeno oils have coated my hand, even though it was washed multiple times. I resort to soaking my hand in milk. I know you're supposed to drink milk if you eat a hot pepper. It helps with the burn. Nope, didn't work.

I finally ignore the sensation, go to sleep. This morning, it's still on fire. Come to find out, I'm not the first person to experience "jalapeno hand." The latest remedy I've heard is to use stainless steel. Yes, that's something I keep on hand for situations like this.

If only I had remembered my gloves, I would not be relegated to the break room with my hand in the sink.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Certain Death Is Possible

...really? You really meant to say that?....

For those of you who know me, I am not a journalist of any sort, but I am a lover of words. Few things are as powerful as well crafted wordery (my newly made-up word of the day). Words evoke all manners of emotion. Those who write, or attempt to write (like me) , know the value and impact of words.

So I was surprised, driving home from work as Hurricane Ike was making its way to Texas, that I heard a reporter utter, "...certain death is possible..." Thank goodness I wasn't drinking anything. I would have shot the beverage through my nose onto my dashboard.

Think about it for a moment. Certain death is possible. Let that marinate in your noggin. Certain death is possible. Who writes their copy? If death is certain, how could it be possible?
Everyone knows death is certain. We are all going to die at some point. Maybe you'll certainly die, maybe you won't. Maybe it will be partial death. Maybe you'll be revived after dying. Would that be quasi-death?

To be sure I wasn't the only one who found this amusing, I called a couple of friends. Same reaction as mine. Of course, we were not laughing at the tragic situation brought to bear by Ike; however, it was nice to find some humor at the expense of the poor reporter. I know he was trying to convey the gravity of the situation. He was very serious while reporting on the rising water and possible tide surge.

Certain death is possible. Pigs flying is possible, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guitar Lesson #10 - Melancolia

...yeah, that piece again...

I have a week to practice it...not doing too badly if I can stop looking at my hands as I play....which is pretty difficult. Mostly because I bought a classical guitar. Sounds much better than the acoustic I had...of course it was a couple hundred dollars more expensive.

Great, now I have two guitars. Makes me sound like I'm serious about this lessons thing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guitar Lesson #9 - Why Guitarist Smash Their Guitars

....frustration...

It didn't take long to become a frustrated, fledgling, quasi-musician. Armed with a new piece of music and a guitar that will never sound great, I discovered that Jeff has never shown me the notes on G-A-D. I don't know a sharp from a flat, and I certainly don't know how to make middle E and F on the guitar. I do now, but I didn't last week.

Lack of knowledge led to a huge meltdown. Literally crying on the phone while speaking to Mike about all things musical. Poor guy. I think it must be annoying for a guy to have a female friend. Most guys don't handle crying girls very well. However, I will say that he dealt with it just fine and finally got me calmed down. You go Mike!!

The piece of music is called Melancolia. Very appropriate given my mood of late. It has got to be one of the most depressing pieces of music I've ever played. Go ahead, slit my wrists and let me bleed out. Ok, I exaggerate. Seriously though, it's haunting, nearly mournful. And sounds even worse on my steel strings.

With this rising frustration, I've decided I have to practice even harder. So what if my hands get cramps and my fingers contort into unnatural positions. I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end.

At least, I think it will be....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Depression - Who Does It Hurt?

I have found myself in the throes of depression lately. No singular event triggered the plunge. Generally, I can feel an onset of "the blues", but this time I didn't feel the approach. I'm simply in the midst of it. This has probably been the most profound bout I've suffered. I would be happy to isolate myself, and have at times, but that is not always an option. So, I put on my happy face and go through my day with no one the wiser.

It's a conglomeration of things I guess.

Even though I am surrounded by family and friends, I find myself lonely...which really doesn't make sense because isolation is one of the first things I try to do. It's something I can't explain. I know that I am not alone. In all things, Christ is at my side.

While I love hanging out with my family and friends, lately, I feel like I don't belong. Like I don't have anything in common with them. And I do....but I start looking at what I don't have and it starts the ball rolling. Mom and Dad have each other. My sister and her husband have each other and the kids. I don't have anyone.

With the exception of one person, my close friends are single. We have each other. And we rely on each other for companionship and it's great!!! I love all my friends...but, it's not like they are here waiting for me to get home. I share my burdens with God, but it's not as though He is going to swoop down, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, mow the backyard, walk the dogs, organize my house...all the things I have to do for and by myself.

I'm serving at church in the nursery during the first service. And I love, love, love loving on the babies. But being in there makes me once again remember how much I wanted children of my own. Its connected to having someone to rely on as I age. I am at the point where I am in touch with my own mortality. My parents are aging and I will be there to take care of them. My sister and brother in law have their two boys. But when I get old, who is going to be there for me? Who is going to make sure that I'm taken care of when I can no longer remember who or where I am? I have no one to pass on my legacy, not that I leave much behind.

I stuffed the desire for kids aside a few years ago though much prayer. God answered me, because I haven't had that ache for a very long time. But now that I'm around babies again, it has resurfaced. I know my time for a family of my own is passing rapidly with each month. It doesn't make it any easier when my mom says "I wish you had a family of your own." I have to smile and say, "Yeah, I wish I had one too. I don't know why it wasn't part of God's plan for me." It crushes me knowing that it is very likely that I will never remarry and that I will never have kids (or adopt or marry someone with kids).

On top for that emotional realization, I found out a couple of weeks ago that my ex-husband has retired from the military, achieved his bachelors degree and is teaching at a local high school. All the things I wanted for him when we were together...things that drove a wedge between us...he is now doing. It is upsetting to think that after all this time, he finally did what I dreamt of him doing. Silly man, I was right all along.

I have a friend who won't take responsibility for her own actions. Instead of reimbursing me money which she owes me, she spent wantonly and now it's coming back to haunt her. She is expecting me to handle some business dealings we have together; trying to dump it into my lap. Perhaps, she should have thought about taking care of her obligations instead of purchasing $6,000 in wood flooring and $2,000+ in furniture. All of which were not needed. Now I have the stress of that hanging over me.

I am down two people at work. Last year, I went through an ordeal which I came through on top. I proved to upper management that I could run a group. I rehired all the positions, implemented recommended changes and created a well oiled machine. Now the cogs have slipped again. I cannot control with people do, but to lose two great employees within a month of each other, makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

My health, which is really in my hands to control, is out of control. I need to take better care of myself while I still can. I know what I need to do, but I don't. Why is that? I know I need to start exercising and eating right, but why don't I? It's not that difficult. Yet....here I am...not doing what I need to do.

As I said, I know that God loves me. I love Him. My relationship is continually growing. But sometimes, its hard to believe He loves me with all the struggles I have. I know that I am no different than anyone else. We all have struggles, turmoils, and hard times. Sometimes, I simply want to say "Why me?" I don't have the answer to my questions. Am I not listening hard enough to hear what He is saying to me?

I really struggle to know what it is that I am missing. God tells us to share our trials with Him. To seek His strength and guidance. I do. I can't go through this life without His presence in it. So why do I feel so hopeless at times? Yes, I am cognizant that I am having a pity party. I know that things could be much worse. I know that I am very blessed. Logically, I know all these things. Emotionally, I'm wrecked.

Writing and music has always given me a sense of peace. I'm on my blog pounding out this post, weeping. Shortly I am going to take the dogs for a walk, get my endorphins going. I'm going to practice my guitar. I need to watch a sad movie and have a good cry. There is something about a good cry...you know the kind where your eye swell and you snot up your face?....that kind...it's a release.

Tomorrow morning, I'll get up, paste a smile on my face and make it through another day. God willing.

P.S. To my friends read this...no, this is not a desperate cry for help...I have no desire to swallow a bottle of pills and drift off, at least not today. Stop it, I'm kidding. I have much to live for (when I figure out exactly what it is, I'll let you know...again my macabre humor). I know y'all are there and love me, warts and all. I'll be back to myself eventually.

Guitar Lessons - Week 7 and 8

I elected to combine the last two lessons into one blog. Mainly since I've been struggling with the same two pieces. I've have been continually practicing "Spanish Melody" and "Prelude in C Major". However, while I am able to hit the correct notes, my cheap steel string acoustic, does not offer the same resonance as an expensive nylon string classical.

Yes I would love my guitar to sing like Jeff's; however, since playing guitar is for my personal pleasure, I'm not doing to drop mega bucks on a guitar. Anyway, no one warned me that playing classical would require my hands to contort into a variety of positions. Not the just the fretting hand, but the strumming hand as well.

I've really wanted to scream the last couple of lessons. But Jeff is a saint and has the utmost patience. Even when I've horribly embarassed myself with nervously shaking hands.

I can play quite nicely at home. Get me in the room with my teacher and I sound like....well we'll just leave it at "unpretty."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Guitar Lesson - Week 6

...goooooaaaaaaalllllllllll....

That works so much better with soccer games. Ok, my first guitar goal has been met. Lesson 1 I told Jeff I wanted to learn to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".....and now I can. Granted it has a couple of tinsy pauses as I try to find "D" but I can play it. My life is complete. Not....

So Jeff has not given me anything new to work on, other than a couple of practice studies I've had for a couple of weeks. Finger are still fumbling, so it's practice, practice, practice.

I'm really more excited that I can say. I told Mike I could play "Twinkle" and now I could quit lessons. Being the guy he is, I get "So, do you think you'll be satisfied with that?" Well no. Mike envisions me jamming Christian doom metal. Uhh...Mike...I'm light and poppy....99% of the time. However, by virtue of knowing each other for 10-11 years, he gently reminded me of a very early conversation centered on the impact of "My Own Prison" by Creed had on us. It tapped both of us emotionally, musically and spritually. Ummm, isn't there something in the guy book that says guys aren't supposed to remember things like that?

Anyway...I'm kinda playing guitar now!!

You go girl!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Women Get on My Nerves

....we need to use our inside voices....

Don't get me wrong, I love being a woman. I can be girlie or a tomboy. I can dress to the nines and wear sexy high heels or I can shlump around in sweats. I can paint my toes, get false nails, flutter my eyelashes and cry on a dime.

Really, I love being woman and 99% of what being woman entails. But let me tell you something, after this weekend, women get on my nerves.

I attended the Women of Faith Conference. Imagine being in an arena with 18,000 other women listening to stories of faith, grace, forgiveness...humor, song, dance, tears, hugs, applause. We had it all this weekend. And friends, let me tell you, I am wiped out. Sitting for one and a half days in a stadium seat can be painful. I do believe my butt is numb. But I digress.

Let me say it again...women get on my nerves. My friends and I availed ourselves of the Trinity Railway Express to arrive at the American Airlines Center. Getting there was no issue. The return ride, now that was another matter.

Thursday night, I couldn't sleep, so I was up until 1:30 AM. We were catching the 8:46 train Friday morning, so I had to be at my friend's house at 8:20. From where I live, that means leaving at 7:45...I woke up at 6:00. That was 4.5 hours of sleep. Bad sign. I didn't eat breakfast or pack snacks. Bad sign. They did not have any Cinnabon cinnamon rolls ready...Bad sign. I didn't have my usual coffee. Really bad sign.

Obviously I'm having a rough start to the day. The pre-conference was great!! But now it's over and I am ready to be home. The event ended around 10:10. A mere 10 minutes late, but it was enough time to make me regret our unfortunate decision.

So, we get to the train, we find seats and then suddenly 1000s of women gang rush the train. All talking about the night's events, pumped up, loving Christ, feeling His infinite grace. Whooo!!! The back story to this is that we are on the special events train. They run one for events at the American Airlines Center. But on weekdays, there are also regular scheduled commuter trains.

There was a regularly scheduled that would arrive at 10:18. We were told the special events train would be pulling out at 10:10...a check of the watch showed it was 10:10, but we weren't moving. Here comes the 10:18, chugging to a halt beside us....then whoot! whoot! it whistles as it leaves....we gaze longlingly as we continue to sit on the special events train.

Let me share some wisdom garnered from this weekend. DO NOT RIDE ON A TRAINFUL OF WOMEN WHO HAVE NEVER RIDDEN THE TRAINS BEFORE!! First, they have no idea which trains are going east or west. Second, and women, hear me on this...we speak at a decible level that dogs can't hear.

Seriously...it's 10:25...it's late, I'm tired and cranky. I want to relax, run through the evening's events...but what do I get...I get to hear other conversations, other phone calls, other running commentary of the night. Shut up, I was just there.

And it is probably a very unChristian way to feel, but I was so completely annoyed at my gender. I don't speak at such a high decible. And when in public, I try to mind my manners and not share my conversations with other.

It was so painful to sit there for 30+ minutes listening to my fellow women shrieking.

Ladies, I have one sentence for you...it will ultimately save you from me telling you to shut up....

Inside voices.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guitar Lessons - Week 5

...better late than never....

Jeff is a mean, mean man. Here I am trying to learn the notes, so I wrote the corresponding letter for each note on my sheet music. Great idea until Jeff saw it. In a split second, he erased my letters. When he realized I marked all my sheets, he took them away. Really? Jeff, babe, did you have to go that far?

Apparently, learning to read music means you can't make notes on your notes...memorization is apparently my friend. Yet, in this fledgling stage of learning, trying to remember time, which fingers to pick with and which strings to press to make the various notes...well it's a bit much for my old brain. Seriously though, I have a greater appreciation for people with musical inclinations. How do you get your brain to do so many things at one time?

Jeff said I'm doing really well for only 5 weeks of lessons. Whoohoo!! I might be on the verge of playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" after all.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Random Thoughts at 12:12 AM

It's Saturday morning, early!!! Wired up, but I suppose the iced tea I just finished is contributing to my awakeness. That, and I'm watching the Olympics on my DVR. God Bless the DVR. Such a nifty creation. I can blow through inane commercial and past athletic performances I don't care to see.

The beauty DVR is being able to rewind Michael Phelps AMAZING 1/100th of a second GOLD medal win in the 100m free...unfreakingbelievable....at least 20 times. The kid is simply amazing. A freak of nature, but amazing nonetheless.

Guess I should try to go to bed now. I'm off to my church's newest campus in Roanoke. I have no idea why they picked Roanoke, but God does the leading. Except for Sundays' after service...I'm leading myself straight to Babe's Chicken for the BEST fried chicken and/or chicken fried steak...mmm mmm good!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Texas V42-YGM

...a jerk in a green, rag top Jeep wrangler...

It's not nice to 1) cut people off, 2) cut them off again when they try to pass you, and 3) flip them off when you are the *delete expletives* who doesn't know how to drive.

Dude, I have your license plate number....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jersey Boys


...Stay...ahhhh, just a little bit longer....

In a word: WOW!!! Ok, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were popular way before my time, but I have to say this was a great musical. The cast in Dallas was phenomenal. They could sing, play their own instruments, act, dance...but most of all, they told the story of four guys from Jersey who made it big.

I have worn the CD out. Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like A Man, Dawn, Rag Doll, My Eyes Adored You, You're Too Good To Be True...the list goes on.

Whether you heard them when you were young or you are now discovering the songs, there is something ageless and pure about the music of that era.

Go see the musical....you won't be able to get Frankie Valli's falsetto out of your head for the entire night.

Guitar Lessons - Week 4

Well friends, I had a three week break from guitar lessons. The school closes for three weeks in the summer. Nice!! I practiced like a fiend for weeks one and two. I was a complete slacker for week 3. I'll just say it showed when Jeff asked me to run my scale.

Milli Vanilli may have blamed it on the rain; however, I will blame my suckiness on my missing nails. The solar nails finally came off. Ok, so I helped them come off and my natural nails are a sad sight to see. In two months, if not sooner, they will be back to normal. Until then, I will shred them on the strings.

So, I break out what I learned. Big mistake. I now have more difficult material. I've spent three weeks with open strings. Now I actually have to use the fret board. Seriously, I have to pick with 4 fingers on my right hand and fret with the left. I'm lacking some coordination.

Jeff, God bless him, says I've gone from walking to jogging. Jeff doesn't know this, but I don't jog. I think I'm crawling. Anyway, I spent an hour practicing tonight. I called my bestest guy friend in the whole entire world and forced him to listen to me totally screw up "Study #12." Mike was nice enough to say kind things about what I played for him. I'm sure he was making it up. That's ok, he'll have many more opportunities to hear me practice on the phone.

On a positive note, I replaced all the strings on my guitar. All by myself! Thank you internet. Jeff said the wraps on the headstock were as professional as a luthier. I may not be able to play "Study #12" well, but I can change my strings with a fierceness.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Obamessiah

This has got to be one of the best pieces of satire I've ever read.

"Light To The World"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strength in Numbers

.....or a lack thereof.....

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Ajai Lall speak. Dr. Lall and his wife Indu, are the founders of Central India Christian Mission and have helped over 150,000 Asian Indians make decisions for Christ.

He is a faithful follower of Christ, in spite of the shocking persecution of Christians in India. He recounts tales of torture, beatings and rape which brothers and sisters in Christ have endured while delivering the Word to those who have never heard it. My heart and prayers go out to these brave people who share the love and saving grace of our Lord. Equally, I pray earnestly for those who have such hatred in their hearts that they seek to destroy those who would share God's love.

What really disturbed me last Saturday was the lack of participation by our congregation. Granted, it was 4th of July weekend and he spoke at our Valley Ranch campus; however, out of 2,000+ people in the congregation, there were only 50-70 who took the time to hear him speak. How immensely sad.

Here is a couple who have devoted their entire lives to Christ. It's a mission our church supports. Yet 97% of our congregation could not be bothered to hear what he had to say. This isn't a condemnation of my church, but merely a comment about all of us who profess to be Christians yet seem content to let the Great Commission pass by. Don't get me wrong, I love my church and have experienced immense growth in my walk with Christ. Granted I still feel like I am not connected, but maybe that's my fault (and a subject for a different post). However, when you say "mission" a lot of people are quick look the other way.

I think about what other people endure in order to accept Jesus and realize how incredibly blessed I am to have been born here. There are people who have never heard the Gospels, yet we live where they are readily available. We experience no hardships in order to read them, yet making it to church on Sundays is a pain. Taking time for a Monday evening for bible study requires too much commitment. Read the bible daily: why should I when I get snippets on Sunday? Isn't it enough to say I am a Christian and watch a televangelist? Sometimes I think we want a "convenience church." Church - where you can have it your way.

We attend, we give, we profess faith and love, but we can't be inconvenienced to take an hour on a Saturday of a holiday weekend to listen to someone who is serving Christ in a way we would never dream of doing or in a place we would never dream of going.

Wouldn't it have been wonderful for 150 people to show up at the Valley Ranch campus, pushing the occupancy limits of the building; giving props to Dr. Lall for the incredible work he does in India.

Guitar Lessons - Week 3

....performance anxiety....

So I can bang out the scales like nobody's business....at home. Put me in a tiny room with my instructor and suddenly my fingers ties themselves into knots. Horribly frustrating.

I spent 5 minutes tuning the old girl up. Not me, the guitar. His tuner is faster, more responsive than mine. I'm not going to spend any more money on guitar stuff. Maybe when I buy a new classical guitar, I'll get a new tuner. Until then, just say no to music stuff.

I've got the scale down finally. No biggie. At least it wasn't until Jeff decided to take my pick away. Excuse me? I have to use my fingers on my right hand. Ok, so I'm running the scale down with my left hand and picking with my right hand. My brain is supposed to be smart enough to do two things at once? Really, this is nothing like walking and chewing gum at the same time.

I can do this....can't I? Scale with left and alternate picking between index and middle fingers. Ok, this isn't hard and it does sound better than with a pick. Whoohoo!

I've accomplished something, I feel great. Now for the weekly beat down. Let's read some music. Great. Black dot, black dot with a stem, and circle with a stem. 4/4 time, huh? This is going to be fun.

I can get the EAD open string strumming. It's all downward strums with the thumb. So Jeff says, "We're going to do a duet." I'm thinking, "Yeah, in your dreams." I played the bass notes although not particularly well. But I did it. Yay me! At least it's something.

Jeff suggests that I trot on down to Home Depot for some 600 grit sandpaper for my finger nails. What? I have already cut my once pretty solar nails down the the stub on my left hand. My right hand needs to have ramps...He says to continuing growing the nails so I can use them as picks. I'll look like a freakazoid. Then it hits me; ramps, what the !)%*(^? On ramps or off ramps?

He wants me to turn the nails on my right hand into ramps. Seriously, I think all the studying he is doing to get into grad school has adversely affected his brain. Can't you play guitar without ramps? Personally, I think they are unnecessary. Then again, this is only week 3 of guitar lessons. What do I know?

Jeff seems to think I'm particularly determined to succeed. He's right, so I'm willing to practice. This was the last lesson before summer break. He made a few copies of lessons to keep me busy during the three weeks we are off.

I will go back in August. Meanwhile I continue to practice for 30-45 minutes a day. Maybe by August I'll be able to read the treble notes.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Guitar Lessons - Week 2

...I still suck....

But not as bad. I know the name of all the strings. EADGBE or as Jeff said, "Evan Ate Dynamite Good Bye Evan." I can tune my guitar (thank goodness for electronic tuners).

I was struggling with playing the scale. My fingers don't want to work. Either I get mushy fingers, which is apparently a technical teaching term and my pinkie is retarded. So Jeff, with his endless patience, helped me with it for the entire lesson.

Problem...my guitar is a full body guitar so getting my arm over the guitar to pick while trying to get my fingers up and over...it doesn't compute. So what does Jeff do? He retrieves his electric guitar. Ok, first warn me the darn thing is 20 times as heavy as my acoustic. All I can think is don't drop it.

I bang out the scale with nary an issue. I rock!!! So he takes it back and jams some cool riffs. So back to mine...still dorking it up a bit. He then hands me his hand-made Alvarez (classical). YIKES!! I'm holding a $2,000 plus guitar in my grubby paws. I'm not worthy, but wow, I can make it work a bit better.

The body is smaller than a steel string acoustic. And the sound...the sound...

So here I was all jazzed that I could play the electric better than my acoustic and I said, "so why do I want to play acoustic?" and he showed me. He played Bach on his guitar and it was all I could do not to weep. The guy can play. Amazing.

We put my acoustic in a classical guitar position, neck at 45 deg angle with side resting on my left leg and the bottom resting on right. Guess what, I can do my scales. It's more of an arm motion now to get the pressure on the strings.

I'm one step closer to sucking even less.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Guitar Lessons - Week 1

...I suck....

Can I be any more clearer than that? I have the musical ability of a two year old. For a while, my little space on the blogosphere will be a retelling of my weekly adventure in steel string, acoustic guitaring. Is that even a word? Maybe I'll make up a few along the way. Anyway...

I'm taking lessons at "The Master's Touch School of Music and Performing Arts". Me, at a School of Music and Performing Arts. Me, finally taking guitar lessons. I've lost my mind, but my friend Mike would tell you that perhaps I've finally found it.

My instructor is a sweetheart of a guy named Jeff. He's all of 32, but has been playing for 20 years. Don't I feel like a retard. I've wanted to do this since I was sixteen years old. I can't remember when music wasn't a part of my life. I've always listened and enjoyed music at a much deeper level than most of my friends. Music speaks to me, well crafted music that is.

I walk in and as feared, the first question is, "What do you know about music?" Well I like it, I have over 300 CDs in my collection and it is hugely varied. So I told him, think of me as a two year old with a well developed brain.

And the second question, "What kind of music do you like?" Talk about impossible to define. My all time most favorite ever band...The Monkees...Have you listen the depth of feeling conveyed in "Last Train to Clarksville"? There are days I sing, "Here we come, walkin' down the street, get the funniest looks from everyone we meet. Hey, hey we're the Monkees and people say we monkey around. We're too busy singing, to put anybody down." It's a song about relationship building, looking past prejudices and pre-conceived notion. It's about living life to its fullest potential in spite of difficult odds.

HAHA!! Had you going for a moment. My favorite band is U2. I love Celtic music. I like metal, rock, pop, country, Christian, oldies, flamenco, classical guitar....see it's endless.

A brief recap of my first lesson: finger on the 5th fret and work the scale. Index finger - 5th fret. Middle finger - 6th, Ring - 7th, pinkie - 8th. From high E to low E. I was to practice that until Week 2.

I did...I was going to commit to 30 minutes a day, with Sunday off. In a word...stupid. I practiced so hard on Thursday that I actually had to ice down my fingertip. Mike said I was a wuss, and while he was joking, I felt like one. Then again, my fingers have never pressed steel strings against the fretboard before.

While I think I suck and I'm sure somewhere in the back of his mind, Jeff is wondering why he got stuck with me, I'm keeping in mind it's only been a week.

And I can't stop whining about having to cut off my nails. Ah, what we must sacrifice for the sake of art.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lakes of Killarney



Photo was taken using a "stitch" feature on my digital. Click on the photo to scroll.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

To Be Back or Not To Be

Here it is, 11:20 PM on Sunday night. 5:00AM comes early and I want to get to the office by 7:00 so I can get our of there by 4:00. I'm on a mission to get there and leave before the roar of traffic reaches it's crescendo (did I spell that correctly?).

Anyway, I can't sleep. After church I had lunch with the folks. Then I spent the rest of the day with my sister. I left her house at 10:05PM. I really need to move closer to her, since most of my life happens at least 12 miles east of me.

I've realized it's been nearly one and a half months since I last blogged. In a word, UGH. Trust me, it hasn't been for a lack of words. It's been recovering from pneumonia (which I have to add is quite exhausting.) It is working hard, taking a business trip (changed my outlook on many things), life, church, family.

And in the chaos that is my daily life, I have managed to let writing slip to the wayside. Not that many people read what I have to say...and that's okay. It's an outlet for me.

I'm sure I'll have a lot to say in the coming weeks. I'm pursuing a 25 year dream. I'm taking guitar lessons. My fingers hurt. Yes, Mike, I am a wuss.

Here is to happy postings.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Plenty of REST and FLUIDS

Pnuemonia is not exactly how I wanted to take a week off of work. I don't have the energy to do much given that I can't get enough air into my lungs.

Damn the Streptococcus pneumoniae. Of course, I'm assuming that is the bacteria responsible for my current condition.

I'm going stir crazy. I'm TV'd out. I can only lay around for so long and if I drink any more juice or iced tea...ugh!! I told my boss that I'm thinking about coming in tomorrow. Let me quote, "absolutely not." Greatttttt....unwanted, that's what I am. The fever is gone. I'm not infectious any more.

Ok, so my breathing gets labored when I walk more than 10 steps, and when I cough it sounds as though I am trying to rid myself of my lungs...but I JUST CAN'T REST for much longer.

I guess I'll watch "Pride and Prejudice" for the 50th time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Forced Vacation, Part II

Great. I have pneumonia! No wonder I'm so darn sick. I'm currently on a fever/difficult breathing watch. I'm to get myself to the emergency room if I have issue. Lovely.

I guess the Stars will have to lose Game 4 without me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Forced Vacation

I'm sick.

I mean the high temperature, headache, body ache, ribs hurt when you cough, can't take a deep breath variety of sick. I've spent the last two days at home. And while I enjoy vacations, there is something so lacking as a forced vacation. A vacation by illness. Time off you can't enjoy because your laying in bed wishing for the agony to cease.

And now I'm bored. I'm tired of laying on the couch watching movies. My brain is numb. But I know I need the rest. I'm tired of juice, soup, and apple sauce, but the thought of anything more substantial makes my stomach churn.

I really do hate being sick.

Friday, May 02, 2008

"And I'm Given Time, Just A Short Time Here To Shine The Light"

(Circleslide "Uncommon Days")


My aunt died today. Four small words which change many lives. A husband lost his wife, three kids lost their mom and eight grandchildren won't know the grandmother who adored them all. Her neices and nephews have lost an aunt. Her sisters have lost yet another. We all grieve.

Many changes.

Monica fought her cancer with prayer, courage, and her normal feisty self. Diagnosed 19 months ago with Stage 4 Lung cancer; she fought hard and for a brief time conquered cancer. Four months ago, the cancer returned, now attacking her liver. A month ago she found out that it was also attacking her lymph nodes and lungs. Not a good prognosis, but she continued to fight.

Strong will.

My mom saw her two weeks ago. Monica was full of life in spite of the shadow hanging over her. Her sisters were visiting. They cooked, they joked, she was living and chemo was nary a thought in her mind. Yes, she had pain, but there were pills to dull that ache.

Love of life.

My sister and I saw her 5 days ago. She looked so small and frail. Her voice was weak, but she still wanted to speak with us. She was in awe over the tulips we brought for her. It was good to see her, but hard. She was cold. She had a heating pad and blanket to warm her. Her hands shook. It took all her energy to drink a glass of ice tea.

Fragility.

We spent six hours simply speaking with her. The first poignant memory of that conversation was our discussion of baptism. Her desire was to be re-baptized by emersion. I had recently experienced a rededication of my life to Christ. It was pleasing to hear of her desire. The second memory was our discussion of a cross wall in her home. I purchased a beautiful rustic wall hanging of a 3-D cross. She showed us the artwork she was going to remove and replace with crosses.

Last words.

As we said goodbye, I didn't realize that would be the last time I would tell her that I loved her. She struggled to stand, to walk us out. I told her she didn't have to; however, she stood and walked outside, leaning on her husband. She waved until we were gone. That was the last time I would see her.

Fond Farewell.

What transpired Thursday was a shock. My cousin called, which is rare, although we are close. She said her dad called to say that her mom was not doing well. A conversation with the doctor hinted at the need to call hospice. An appointment to discuss was made.

I relayed messages to my sister, my father(who was out of the country), and I made a personal appearance at home to talk to my mom. We were planning our trips up to visit for what could be the last time. We would find out more after the doctor's visit. We waited.

Shortly after 6:00 a.m., I received a phone call from my father. He bore bad news. Monica passed away. My uncle was too heartbroken and unconsolable to call us so he asked Daddy to pass the word.

I called my sister, spoke to my mom. I didn't cry. Not yet, there is time for that later. Later was a moment in the car when I remembered our discussion of the cross wall. Later was a conversation with my mom. She recounted Aunty Monica mentioning how nice it was to see us Saturday, how pretty the flowers were, and how she felt bad that she didn't cook anything for us to eat.

Later will be that moment graveside, remembering that she was given a short time to shine the light.

And she did.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reminiscing

I made a day trip to my birth place Saturday to visit my aunt and uncle. They live in the house I grew up in until the age of 10 when we moved to Texas.

I haven't considered Lawton "home" for a very long time. I truly am Texan, not by birth, but by choice. Still, there is something to be said about going back to what once was my home.

I have fond memories of people, places, and my elementary school. Garfield Elementary. Terry Martin, Principal. Betty Jo Givens, my kindergarten teacher. Miss Priddy, my first grade teacher who made me eat the disgusting mashed potatoes. Miss Foster whose birthday is January 29th, Miss Chidester who asked me to represent the 3rd grade at the Bicentennial celebration, and Mrs. Beckman, the meanest teacher in school. I also have dear memories of my music teacher, but her name escapes me.

I drove down the street I had walked since Kindergarten and thought that something didn't look quite right. Then it hit me. My elementary school had been torn down. According to my cousin, this happened a couple of years ago. Apparently, they had an issue with mold.

I close my eyes and I can hear voices bouncing off the tile. I remember we didn't have air conditioning when I was there. I remember buying a bag of popcorn every Friday for a dime. I remember gathering in the auditorium to watch films. I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the small flag attached to the top of the teacher closet in each room.

I have vivid memories of walking home, hand in hand with Mark McGee, when the air around us exploded with the sound of tornado sirens. Oh Mark...I had such a huge crush on him(it started at the age of 5 and continued until a year after I moved). He lived a couple doors down from my grandparents. Mark had black hair, piercing blue eyes, and an infectious smile. He teased me unmercifully throughout every grade. I lost track of him after high school and to this day, still wonder what happened to him.

Anyway, my beloved little elementary school is no more. To my consternation, it was rather upsetting and I got a bit teary eyed. I'm not sure why it bothered me. I left it all behind in fourth grade.

Maybe its the loss of a small part of myself.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hockey Humor

....Shane, your wit is....well, witty. Thanks for the laughs....


Steve Ott (Dallas #29): "Don't push me there! You're gonna make me fart....err...too late!!"
Check out the referee's grimace...oohh that smell



Marty Turco (Dallas #35): "LOOKIE!!! This is my impersonation of a seal. Arf, Arf, Arf! (clapping gloves together)"








Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Greater Plan

A friend asked me an interesting question the other day. If God loves His people, why does it seem that those who believe and love Him fervently, suffer the most? Good question.

I really don't know that answer. I've wondered that same thing many times. I feel as though I've had more than my fare share of trials. I emerge from each one a better person. My faith in God remains. But, why do I have to continue to suffer?

There is the adage that God will not give us more than we can handle. In the back of my mind, I would like to think the believer would have an easier road. Then again, if our road was easy, would we forget to offer our praises to God? Would our pride take over? Would we be convinced that our success is a result of our own abilities?

I wish I could answer the question. It would help me as I ponder what could be my aunt's final days (see "Jesus Wept"). She loves the Lord, has an unshakeable faith, but her cancer is back and is beginning to consume her.

What God has in store for her is more than I can imagine.

He is in control of the greater plan.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Southern Girl With Hockey Fever


...Some like it hot. I like it ice cold....

Sunday night, my Dallas Stars, ended any potential repeat Stanley Cup victory for the Anaheim Ducks. As one of my closest 18,351 friends' sign proclaimed, "Duck Season Ends Tonight" and it did. For the first time since 2003, the Stars advanced past Round 1 of the playoffs.

So, how did a Texan fall in love with hockey? It goes back many years, when I first moved to Texas. I attended my first hockey game, the CHL's Dallas Blackhawks. I was at one game during their final season prior to the league ultimately folding, I was 15. DFW was sans hockey until 1992, when the CHL was reborn. I attended a few Fort Worth Fire games. Then in 1993, the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas.

The NHL in Dallas? Are you kidding me? This is a football town. It still is. Football is king in Texas for most folks (and I enjoy watching it). But it doesn't rule this gal. I'll take hockey any day of the week.

I'm not sure what it is about hockey that strikes a resounding chord. I'm not from up north where hockey rules. I can't ice skate to save my life. I didn't attend a college where hockey was part of the extra-curricular activities. I've never dated anyone who likes hockey. How is it that I am a season ticket holder, for three years running?

Maybe its "man in uniform" syndrome. 'Cause I will tell you there is something really hot about a guy in a hockey sweater, pants and skates. Perhaps it is the players' ability to stop on a dime or reverse direction instantaneously. It could be a myriad of other things: the "shush" sound of skates on ice, the crack of a slap shot, the grunt of a check, the ping of the puck hitting the pipes, the roar of the crowd, the amazing bendablity of the net-minder, the athleticism of every guy on the ice.

Or maybe is just the fact that hockey is all-go-no-stop, check you until it hurts, blue line, center ice, face off, shoot out, fighting, agitating, in your face action.

Whatever it is, this chick LOVES every single minute of it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Babies


God blesses some people with children, others He blesses with wonderful pets. Here are my babies. Mollie (black and white) is a 3-4 year old Heeler mix. Finnegan is a 6 year old Cocker Spaniel. Both are spoiled and much loved by their momma.

They are mine because their previous owners did not give a darn about them. I adopted Finn, heartworms and all, from the Fort Worth Humane Society in February 2004. He was a disgusting mat of fur and fleas. I adopted Mollie, November 2007. She was living at Furry Friends Rescue with 10 other dogs.

Finn is on the really smart, but acts really dumb side and Mollie is too smart for her own good.

If anyone ever wants a dog, please get one from a Humane Society or a rescue. One of the best places to find a pet is http://www.petfinder.com/. Rescues are also WONDERFUL. These dogs live with humans, other animals, and often kids. They are screened for behavioral issues and are fully vetted.

Jesus Wept

What seems like several posts ago, I gave testimony to the miracle of prayers answered. My Aunt Monica's lung cancer was gone. It was truly an answer to everyone's prayers. Therefore, it hurts my heart in so many way to have found out today that the cancer has reappeared in her liver.

I am not going to question why the cancer came back, even though that is human nature. I will not let it shake my faith in God, nor will I raise a fist in anger at Him. Though that is also a human response. I know that our prayers were answered, if only for a short time.

And it was no coincidence that our sermon today, in the "God Did What?" series was "God Cried." John 11:35; the shortest verse in the bible. It simply says, "Jesus wept." Jesus wept compassionately for his friend Lazarus who had died. In Luke 19:41-44, Jesus wept upon his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday for He knew what would happen.

Two words, yet they convey a wealth of meaning.

Today we learned that our God is emotional and empathetic. With this knowledge, I take comfort; not for the news delivered today, but in knowing that God cries when we cry.

Because I weep for my aunt as she possibly draws closer to the end of her life; He also weeps with me

P.S. For anyone who reads this blog, please keep Monica in prayer. I pray for her body to be healed. If that is not God's plan, I pray that He takes her peacefully and painlessly home and her immediately family is given His comfort.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I Shouldn't Go Snorkeling

10. The catamaran is a great place for catching a tan

9. Floating around in fish poop...need I say more?

8. Saltwater is very harsh to my delicate self

7. I can see tropical fish in a tank any time

6. If I can't wear my glasses, I can't see the fishies

5. I am not bait

4. Objects in the water may be closer than they appear

3. My snorkel gear doesn’t match my swimsuit

2. My dive fins make me look fat

And the number one reason I shouldn’t go snorkeling….

1. Hello, am I the only person who watches “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Unplayed - My Guitar Stands Alone





Turlough Round Tower and Church


I've been playing with some photo enhancements. This is "metallic."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Never Laugh at The Royal Oracle of Snow

I love snowflakes. I adore snowmen. I am the royal oracle of snow, goo goo g'joob.

Last year, my staff discovered my penchant for snowthings. Accordingly, they decorated the window next to my office door with "peel 'n' stick" snowflakes. It was our way of heralding the advent of winter in Texas (all 24 hours of it) and decorating our otherwise plain vanilla office (you should have seen what we did at Christmas).

After the stuffing, turkey, and pumpkin pie had been consumed last Thanksgiving, I stuck the same snowflakes on the same window. I also decorated my office with my snowmen. I realize this has become somewhat of a ritual for me. It's all done with the hope for that elusive White Christmas. It's March 2008. I'm still waiting.

Nevertheless, I keep the s'flakes and s'men displayed all winter. This year, I decided to use some reverse psychology on the SnowyGoodnessGod. On Leap Day, I removed the snowflakes; commenting to the staff that I was doing it early hoping it would snow.

They laughed.

The darnedest thing happened. Three days later, we had our first snowfall of the winter. Dang, I'm good. I put away the fake flakes and received the real deal.

But wait, there's more.

I had not yet stored my "Let It Snow" men or my pudgy snowmen figurines. Hmmm, based on the previous weather activity as a result of removing snowlike items; I wondered if I could conjure more snow? I put the snowmen away; and told my staff based on the previous snowfall, I could only assume that by storing more snowmen, we could very well have a blizzard.

They laughed.

Yesterday, North Texas was the recipient of my royal oracle-like snowy prognostication. The lovely city of Denton received nine, yes, nine inches of snow. My fair homestead was graced with two inches, give or take a half-inch.

Again, let me say, I AM GOOD, real good. Next year, I'm going to store my ski jacket, gloves, and goggles.

I wonder what that will do?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

March in North Texas



It snowed!! For the snow starved (most native Texans) it was a big deal. We had it all; rain, sleet, snow. Tonight ice will reign supreme. I drove past two snowmen and kids having a snowball fight.

Finn is busy chasing a stray snowflake. Mollie decided that it was cold and wet, so she high-tailed it inside.

Smart girl.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

God Waits For Her Return

What do you say when someone whom you thought had a heart for Christ says, “I’m an atheist”? What do you do when you can actually feel your heart breaking?


Kate is a very good friend. We bonded over hockey in 1999 and have been fast pals since.

We were very much alike until she forged a friendship with a co-worker. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I have no issues with my friends expanding their "friend" quota. However, this new friend was the antithesis of all in which Kate believed. Over time, her new friend was able to transform Kate's belief system. The change was tangible, from conservative Christian to liberal Atheist.

Kate knew I had been attending a new church; and thoroughly enjoying what I was hearing and seeing. She knew I was recommitting myself to Christ by being re-baptized. To commemorate the occasion, she purchased a lovely Bible charm for my bracelet. I was surprised because I had been exposed to her angst with God.

The same day she gave me the charm, we went to dinner. During the meal, she said, “You can talk to me about church you know. Just because I have atheistic leanings now, doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about what you are doing.” Silence. What could I say? What did I want to say?

“Kate, my heart is breaking for you. What a sad existence you’ve chosen with this path. I’ll certainly pray that your eyes and heart will be opened and you will receive the joy and love that only Christ can bring.”

But I didn’t say those words to her. Instead, I sat silent, allowing conversation to continue. I would like to think my lack of comment was disbelief rather than the ache of confirmation. This was the first time she had given voice to what I had already come to know.

With Kate's revelation weighing heavily on my spirit, I had a “God Moment”. A moment when God loving smacks me upside the head. I’ve always told Him that I do not get subtle. And to His credit, He is not. Then again, He is God.

My church is in the midst of an amazing sermon series entitled, “God Did What?” The second sermon was “God Ran.” One of the main points of the message was that God waits for those who leave and runs to those who return. Can you imagine God running towards you, face aglow, arms open? His willingness to embrace and love you regardless?

I had no idea what the content of the sermon would be, but there was Pastor Drew, speaking God’s words directly to me. A salve for an aching heart. I kept Kate there, in my heart, the entire time. At the end of the sermon, Pastor Drew asked us to put someone we knew was lost or had left Christ on our hearts. He invited us to come forward and he prayed.

I cried for Kate. I prayed for Kate. During the prayer, I became strongly convicted that I need to invite her to the Saturday service for Easter. Shortly after Pastor Drew ended the prayer, he told us to invite that lost person to service on Easter. Ok God, I get it.

I’m not sure what I need to do for Kate after asking her to church. Part of me wants to walk away. Yet, the other part knows I need to love her like God loves us. He never strays from our side. I know I have a part to play in her life. So, I pray.

And in praying, I know God eagerly and patiently waits for her to return.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baracking Up The Wrong Tree

….You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks…

The Big O’s political ads have been running on radio and TV, ad nauseam. Change, change, change. Change of fools. Oh wait, that's chain, chain, chain. Never mind. Exactly what type of change does The Big O have in mind? Sex change, spare change, tire change, change of clothes, change of address, change of habit, climate change?

I digress.

During the ads, I have become intimately acquainted with the mute button. There is something very satisfying about silencing unwanted verbal diarrhea. Mute: It's Kaopectate for the mind. However, one day I was a bit slow to react. In that momentary pause, I was regaled with O’s bombastic blatherings. While I managed to tune out most of the drivel, one sentence stuck in my mind.

Forgive me as I paraphrase: This administration has created a divide between Wall Street and Main Street. A CEO makes more in 10 minutes than the ordinary worker makes in a year.

While I disagree wholeheartedly with blaming "this administration" for any disparity between Wall Street and Main Street, the accountant in me wanted to examine the validity of his claim. I put the spreadsheet to use.

For the sake of this exercise, I looked at 2004 CEO compensations at Forbes.com. I selected Reuben Mark, CEO at Colgate-Palmolive, who was ranked #1 for compensation.

My figures were determined as follows: Hourly wage was calculated on the standard 2,080 hours worked per year and broken down into 10 minute increments (Annual Wage/2080 = hourly wage. Hourly wage/60 minutes = minute wage. Minute wage x 10 minutes). I ran numbers based on "straight salary" (no bonus, other compensation and/or stock options) and "total compensation" (inclusive of bonus, other, stock). Based on the calculations, here is what I found.

Mr. Mark was compensated straight salary at $1.6 million. His earnings for 10 minutes of work was $132.77. Considering his total compensation including bonus, other and stock, Mr. Mark earned $148 million. The wage earned for 10 minutes of work $11,859.00.

Compared to a minimum wage earner, working full time (2,080 hours at $6.15/hour = annual salary $12,792.00) Mr. Mark earned approximately $900.00 less for 10 minutes of work.

Even using the most extremes, The Big O’s assertion is factually incorrect. Hang on folks, we have a politician uttering fallacious statements in an effort to be elected to the Office of President?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Making Change

….28 minus 18 equals?….

Tonight, I pulled into a local fast food joint, much to the dismay of my vital organs. I placed my order, received my total and followed the young man’s instructions to drive to the last window.

My total was $5.18, so I gave the guy $5.28; anticipating a dime back. How many of you have done that same thing? It’s a way to clean out pennies from the old pocketbook. I do this all the time. I watched as this kid puts the three pennies on the counter and enters in $5.25. He returns with my change. A nickel and two pennies as the cash register told him to return $.07 plus the three pennies I had given him.

As he handed me the change, I said, "I gave you $0.28 so you’d give me a dime back." He laughed. I could see that I stumped him with that one. Seriously, he had no idea what I meant. You know that vacant, “duh” look some people get when they have no idea what you’ve just said in plain, logical English? The look which incites concern for the gene pool. The poor kid, he did the only thing he could do. He asked if I wanted any condiments.

You can’t make change, but have the ability use the word “condiments"? I am willing to bet “condiments” are explained in the employee handbook. Don’t worry, the register will tell you how much change to return to the customer. It is much more important to make sure the customer leaves with the condiments of their choice.

I’ll have a packet of ketchup with my dime, please.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

How E-Mail Can Get You Into A Fix

....oops!!...

A member of my company's general legal counsel was a bit overzealous when it came to informing us of the upcoming primary.

From the email:

You might have also heard about the "super-delegates" who could end up deciding the democratic nominee. These super-delegates are under lots of pressure right now to announce their support for one candidate or the other. You have the option to encourage them to let the voters decide between the candidates and then to support the candidate who wins the popular vote and caucus. To do so, you can sign a petition at this link:

http://pol.moveon.org/superdelegates/?r_by=-8983846-mmuPe3&rc=paste



I took exception to a couple of items in the email. First, specifics were given for one county. Many of the employees live in other counties. Why not go to the state's voter site and give generalities to cover all the counties? Second and most irritating, I believe it is highly inappropriate for legal counsel to suggest that employees visit a party specific organization to participate in a poll.

I know the person who wrote the email, and I am sure no malice was intended; however, I was very uncomfortable that an attorney would be putting that type of information out there. I realize that many people are not savvy voters. Many do not exercise their constitutional right to vote, which is a shame. But, to exert pressure in a partisan direction? From your company attorney?

Can you say "ginormous oops!"?

I can.

P.S. I sent the attorney the state's link. She thanked me and said I could send it out as she got into trouble for the last part of her email. Ya think?


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why Did Hillary's Campaign Call Me?

....Desperation Emits A Certain Stench...

Last Saturday, I was spending the afternoon with my sister, offering some adult company. While I was out, I received a call. Unfortunately, or fortunately for “Fran”, I was not able to take her call. From my answering machine:

Hello Indie67. This is Fran with the Hillary Clinton Campaign. I am calling to remind you that the Texas primary is on March 4th. We would like your support. So remember to vote March 4th and if you would like any other information, please visit us at hillaryclinton.com.

Huh?

I don't know you Fran, so do not use my given name. You can address me as Miss _____ (insert surname here.) I do not like strangers speaking to me so familiarly. You don't know me.

Fran, have you even seen my voting record? I am a registered Republican. I am a conservative; a part of that vast right wing conspiracy upon which Frau Clinton likes to lay blame for many failings of her party? As much as I dislike the heir apparent for the Republican nomination, I would never vote for Hillary.

Did you call me with hopes that you could play the gender card? That I would consider Hillary because she is a woman? Wrong. In my lifetime so far, there has been one woman who garnered my respect and admiration as a political figure. That person was Margaret Thatcher. Dearest Fran, Hill is no Margaret Thatcher.

Maybe in your Hill-induced delirium you assumed I agree with her policies. Fran, Frannie, Fran, you are wrong again. She is doing her best to impose socialism on my country. Could it be that Hill is on the verge of Obamafacation? Her lead is slip, sliding away. Is she really so desperate that her campaign would call people who would never vote for her? Sadly enough, Hillary is the more conservative of the Dem nominee hopefuls. Still, I shudder at the thought of either one assuming the presidency.

Might I make a bold suggestion? Perhaps you should know more about who you are calling.

In this case, your ignorance would not have been bliss. I sure regret missing that call; if only to hang up when the words "Hillary Clinton Campaign" came out of your mouth.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Intercessory Prayer - Part II

…The Miracle of My Time….

I have previously posted my thoughts on intercessory prayer. Specifically, our direct connection to God and using said connection when we pray. I do not believe in offering prayers to deceased saints. The dead cannot hear nor speak on our behalf.

I am the first to admit that I do not pray with the consistency I should. That is my burden to bear and something I am working to resolve. However, when my Aunt Monica was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in 2007, I can say that I, among numerous others, prayed diligently for her recovery. I asked my friends to pray. My sister asked our church. Our parents asked their church. Aunt Barbara requested prayer services from her church. My Aunt Monica and Uncle Tom asked their church and friends.

I saw my Aunt Monica in July 2007 shortly after the birth of her 7th grandchild. She was looking as well as could be expected after being bombarded with toxic chemicals in an attempt to save her life. Her hair had grown back, she was buoyant and vivacious. But the shadow of cancer hovered. The mass was not shrinking as much as the doctors had hoped; especially after 6 months of chemo.

The next day she traveled back home and visited her doctor. The mass was still present and the fluid on her lungs continued to build. The doctor made a decision to insert a drainage tube. My aunt said the drainage tube was the most uncomfortable part of having cancer. Shortly after the tube was inserted, some 3 to 4 weeks, she returned to the doctor for her next scan.

August 2007, the scan revealed something surprising. The mass was gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Non-existent. Her doctor, understandably astonished, said, “You must have had a lot of people praying for you.” Yes!!! Yes, she did. My aunt had many people praying for her; and those prayers were acknowledged by the Great Physician.

So my friends, here is my proof that intercessory prayer does work. With prayer, faith, and God’s work clearly evident; how can you not intercede on behalf of others?

Prayers are answered. Some in direct, tangible ways; others in ways we choose not to see.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

God Can You Hear Me

I've been here before
It's hard to ignore
I'm so used to fighting
The same old wars

Oh what do you see
When you're looking at me
Have I taken You for granted
I can't afford this pain anymore
Won't You help me understand it

God can You hear me
I need You here tonight
I'm tired of pretending
That everything's alright
And I know, I know
That You hold tomorrow
But I need You here tonight

I want to feel
I need something real
I want to go closer to You
I lay down my will

Oh this human disease
Yeah it's killing me
Tell me have I been left stranded
I can't ignore
This pain anymore
Won't You help me understand it

God can you hear me
I need You here tonight
I'm tired of pretending
That everything's alright
And I know, I know
That You hold tomorrow
But I need You here

Say
Won't You say
That You'll carry me
Carry me through the storm
Please stay
Won't You stay Till the morning comes
Morning comes
Just stay

---Tait---

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Dallas Morning News' 2007 Texan of the Year

…the pimple on my buttocks is more Texan…

Disclaimer: This blog in no way represents, describes, proves, or disproves a pimple is present, has been present or will be present on the posterior of the blogger. However, if it did, does or will be present, said pimple is definitely more Texan than the DMN's choice for the 2007 Texan of the Year.

Drum roll, please. The DMN’s Texan of the Year is: “The Illegal Immigrant”.

My response to this tidbit of information heard on the 10:00 PM edition of the local news (owned by the same corporation as the Dallas Morning News): “You have got to be @#$*)&% kidding me!”

The editorial board of the DMN must have misplaced their communal brain, if they had one in the first place. To be a Texan, you are a valid citizen of the state of Texas. Applying simple logic, if you are an ILLEGAL immigrant, how can you be a Texan? It’s tantamount to me saying because I vacationed in Ireland for a couple of weeks, I am Irish. I love Ireland, anything Celtic actually, but I’m certainly not Irish because of that!

Obviously the article is biased toward the illegal immigrant. I’ll pause while you get over the shock. However, in all fairness, it does point out some of the negatives of illegal immigration in very glossy terms; as if the negatives should be analyzed with a “ho-hum, so what, who cares” attitude. Why should it matter that our schools are busting at the seams, our social services are being depleted, and our laws are being broken?

Notwithstanding the illegal status of the Texan of the Year, I find the article particularly pointed regarding the nationality of the illegal immigrant. The mentioned illegals are those of Hispanic heritage. Gasp! Hasn’t it been pounded into our collective consciousness that Mexicans are not the only illegal immigrants and by singling them out, we are xenophobic?

Say it ain’t so! The DMN is discriminating against illegals of other nationalities. Where is the hue and cry over the Vietnamese, the Ukrainian, the Canadian, the _______ (fill in the blank) illegal immigrant? Why is the focus of the article solely on those of Hispanic descent? Doesn’t Texas harbor illegal immigrants of diverse ethnicities working jobs which Americans don’t want to perform at the (substandard) wages the employers want to pay?

The crux of the matter is proximity. By virtue of geography, Mexico is the only nation with which Texas shares a border and lest we forget, Texas was once a part of Mexico. Maybe the Dallas Morning News wants us to welcome the prodigal flocks back home. After all, according to the article, Texas’ thriving economy is being built on the backs of these illegal immigrants and we elitist, non-Hispanics are reaping the rewards.

I am at my wits end. As a taxpayer, I have to fund the costs of their medical care while I pay for my own; and no, I do not advocate a national health care system. As an automobile owner, I have to carry non-insured/under-insured coverage as the propensity for illegals who drive (and they do drive) is not to have insurance. As a citizen, I have had to endure endless protests and marches by illegal immigrants and their supporters; calling for civil rights and privileges which are not theirs to have. I have watched as my flag was removed from a school flag pole and the flag of Mexico flown in its place. I have read articles about a school district which handed out the Mexican flag and asked all the students to recite the Mexican Pledge. I drive down the highway viewing billboards in Spanish. I travel through parts of Dallas that are beginning to remind me of Mexico. Official documents are in both English and Spanish. Where are the other English/”pick your language” documents?

Don’t misunderstand me; I sympathize with the plight of the downtrodden and poor. I feel for the people who cannot take care of their own. I understand the desire to escape from poverty. However, with all that said, I have lost my sympathy for the illegal immigrant. I simply see a group of people who have no pride in their own country; willing to suck the teat of our goodwill at any cost. There is no desire to be American, only the craving to take what we have and call it their own. Why won’t they fight to make Mexico a better place?

To those who would have us believe that illegal immigration is a good thing, I say: Don’t play the “poor illegal immigrant” card. Don’t call the cities that try to pass/enforce laws “villainous or hateful.” Don’t cry when you have to face the consequences of breaking the law.

Most of all, don’t insult us by nominating a Texan of the Year who is not remotely Texan nor American for that matter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Prologue: 2007 Texan of the Year

Remember the Alamo!!!!

Let’s take a step back in history. Once upon a time, there was a skirmish at a place called The Alamo where larger than life heroes met their fate at the hands of General Santa Anna. The bloody defeat did not vanquish the Texans’ fight for independence from Mexico. Even after the Massacre at Goliad, Texans fought and won their freedom at the Battle of San Jacinto.

On April 22, 1836, Texas ceased being a part of Mexico and the glorious Republic of Texas was born. In 1845, Texas joined the United States to become the 28th state of the Union.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Day at Blarney Castle


I did not kiss the Blarney Stone. It is said that the stone was part of the latrine system and raw sewage was poured over the stone down to the moat. I join with the Irish in laughing at all us tourists who spend money to kiss the stone; obtaining the gift of gab. Hmmm, diarrhea of the mouth. Fitting, indeed.

Blarney Castle itself is tall; more so than the other gazillion castles I saw in Ireland. The grounds are beautiful. I would have loved to picnic there, but alas, I decided to spend money at Blarney Woollen Mills. Belleek China, Waterford, and Galway Crystal made the journey back home. I can't tell you how nice it was to purchase items that did not say "Made in China".

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Albus Dumbledore Is Gay?!?

...Now Harry, grab my "wand"...

Suddenly strains of Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” started playing in my head. “Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied, we’ll just glide, starry eyed…” Please hold while I shake myself. Whew!

With closure of her phenomenally successful Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling tells the world that the beloved Headmaster of Hogwarts is homosexual. What?!?!?! What do you mean, “what?” It’s called alliteration. Not that, what do you mean Dumbledore is gay? She meant gay as in happy, right? No, silly, she meant as in he loved another man. Like a brother, then? No. You get the picture? Yeah, but it’s not something I really want to visualize.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the books in the series. When Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was released in July, I re-read every book so my mind would be fresh on all the details. Yes, folks, six books in less than two months. Maybe I skim read them, missing important clues as to Dumbledore's sexuality. I simply do not recall any veiled, obscure, or completely disclosed references to Dumbledore's preference for men. Perhaps my gaydar was malfunctioning.

Why now? A couple of media reports referenced this sentence from The Deathly Hallows: '"You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me.'" Dumbledore was speaking to Harry about Grindlewald; discussing how he was inflamed by Grindlewald’s idea of wizard domination and muggle subjugation. Somehow I am supposed to extrapolate being inflamed about these ideas to being flaming? That Dumbledore was in love with Grindlewald?

Let’s think about this. If you are a single male, inflamed and passionate about another man’s ideas, you’re gay? Ponder that for a moment. How many men would be homosexual if that was the case?

If Ms. Rowling knew, from the beginning, that she wanted Dumbledore as a gay character, why not “out” him in “The Sorcerer’s Stone”? Or, why out the character at all? Shouldn't it have been obvious to the reader?

I am not in a dither about it. Whether a fictional character is gay or not, has no meaning to my life. Wait, let me take that back. I’m wrong after all. I am blogging about it; and it has offered me some humor in the last couple of months.

In the end (to pun or not to pun), who cares? Does it really make a difference? Are the books any less meaningful to the reader because in the 11th hour of her fame, Rowling says Dumbledore is gay?