Friday, September 30, 2011

Six months


Maybe things will slow down a little now.

I've mostly cleaned out my old house and gotten it ready to rent out. It's about time; I've been married for six months now!

For two middle-aged people used to living alone and doing things exactly their own way in their own houses, marriage is an adjustment.

I see no reason, for example, to store bath soap in the kitchen cabinet. It's not really very useful there. So, I store it on the bathroom shelf, and my adored tears the kitchen cabinet apart looking for soap.

He has a general policy against rearranging things.

My adored one likes routine. I get bored. When I drive to church, I always take the shortest, most direct route, so we can hopefully get there on time. I take various alternate routes on the way home, however, because I like to see what's going on around town. My adored sees no reason for this.

He thinks he can improve my driving and parking-space selection with various helpful suggestions he freely offers; I think not.

I'm a better driver, anyway.

I think he needs to get rid of more junk; he thinks I need to get rid of more junk. He likes animal fat; I explain why olive oil is better for my health and his.

But, my adored one has a great heart underneath his self-proclaimed "grumpy" old exterior. He makes me coffee in the morning. I even saw him pick up the bottle of olive oil to cook something the other day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chickens across Texas


This column ran in the newspaper lately. Soon, I'll have some more to say on the afterlife, but in the meantime, "Chickens across Texas."
I've lost two of my pets in recent months — my beloved dog, Molly McGuire, and the baby of the family (at age 7), Jack the Brat cat. Some readers saw Molly out and about town. She loved to go places.
Now, I have one pet left, a 13-year-old cat named Shamu, who must take medication twice a day for a hyperthyroid condition.
When my husband and I went on vacation recently, a belated honeymoon at a beachfront condo, we were loath to leave Shamu behind. So, we covered his carrier with a brightly colored beach towel and sneaked him in.
Traveling/sneaking with pets is a tradition that began in childhood. Dogs and cats got special status in planes my father flew across the Atlantic and the Caribbean, getting them to new Navy duty posts.
When I was just a small child, we traveled in a big, old station wagon from Hutchinson, Kan., to Corpus Christi, Texas: my parents, a carsick border collie, two kids and two chickens. The chickens had come into the house as Easter gifts — one dyed bright blue and the other bright pink. Most of the dye had grown out, leaving them strangely mottled.
Dad stopped at a gas station for directions. The attendant looked in the station wagon and saw a border collie foaming at the mouth, two strange-looking birds and two grubby kids. He backed up about six steps before giving directions. That border collie, Lassie, traveled to North Africa and back with us.
I returned through U.S. Customs from Panama with a screaming small parrot inside a covered cage; I had hoped to slide through quietly. Nobody asked any questions about the noise or what was under the towel. I think no one wanted to wait all day with a screaming bird until he was taken to quarantine.
Cats and dogs have stayed with me in hotels and motels too many times to count.
When Molly was about a year old, she traveled with friends and me to West Texas and back. A motel maid in Texas spotted her in the room, but said nothing.
These animals are such great companions. I read recently that because of their long association with humans, pets absorbed the ability to love. I believe that's true. There's no more unconditional love than a dog can give, or a cat.
Molly, who was my Christmas present to myself in 1999, adopted from the Flagler Humane Society, was full of the kind of joy and love that can come only from the Holy Spirit. Jack would jump on the counter and stand on his hind feet to nuzzle my face as I put on makeup in the morning.
I've learned much from living with pets. One lesson is how love can triumph over the misery in this world. Another is, if there's a heaven, Molly and Jack will greet me there.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Goran Koch-Swahne



I just read over at Padre Mickey that our friend Goran Koch-Swahne passed away. I'm so sorry to hear that — Goran seemed like a gentle friend, though so far away in Stockholm.

God bless you, Goran, and may you rest in peace, with angels watching over you.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Watching Emily



Tropical Storm Emily has formed in the Atlantic. It's the first storm this year that's even looked like it might give Florida a hard time. We'll have to watch her progress.

Dear Lord, look after the people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and others who might be in Emily's path.

Back to the grind


It's been back to work, and the vacation has already worn off. It was great while it lasted, though!

My employer has been faced with the problem most small businesses are having: health insurance. The premiums jumped up again, and a quest started for better rates. Slightly lower rates (lower than the renewal of the old policy — still more than we were paying) were found, with a much higher deductible. Some employees said they couldn't afford the insurance any more. Understandable. Some wanted the employer contribution in cash, instead.

The issue became very emotional. People's health issues became a topic. A finger was pointed at me, because of my diabetes. That was, however, only one issue among a number that led to the higher rate. I verified that through the insurance agency.

I still don't like it that someone tried to play the blame game at my expense.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The vacation continues



The view from our balcony:




Did I mention we brought Shamu to the beach with us? Although he doesn't appear interested in splashing salt water with us down at shore, he seems to be having a good time. He's getting lots of attention with us not dashing away to the office, and rubs and extra tinned cat food - forget the dry rations this week!

Shamu likes sitting in my lap. He doesn't like the camera in his face so much.






He's quite vocal when he inquires about breafast, until I turn the camera on him. Then, he quiets down.

video


While he's not dashing off to the office, Mr. T, my husband of just about four months now, brought some of the office with him. I expected that — he's on his laptop and the phone, making calls, writing e-mails and drafting briefs.

Mr. T isn't a fatcat attorney. His passion is Sunshine Law — forcing local governments to act in the sunshine, and going after them when they don't. He also defends clients caught in the hooks of foreclosure mills, usurious credit-card holders and other rat bastards.

Mr. T at work.

And he does it with zeal. That's one of the things that drew me to him. I'm glad he's getting out of the office and getting some relaxation this week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things that make me go {sigh}


I've been phasing into the Presbyterian Church without becoming active in it yet, and I'm pretty happy there. I thought I would miss the Episcopal rituals, but for the most part, not, and I haven't missed the "stuff" in this diocese.

Then bloowie, I was propelled eight years back in time. A couple of months ago, the Presbie Church, y'all may have noted, OK'd gays/lesbians to wear the collar. The world didn't end or anything. Clouds still roll by. The sun sets and rises.

At its June 21, 2011 meeting, the Session followed the lead of the Presbytery of Central Florida and passed essentially the same motion that had been approved by the Presbytery, when it met on June 7.

“We believe that when the Book of Order states in 2.0104b (Amendment 10-A) that ‘standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life’ that this means among other things that officers in the church are required to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to live according to these requirements shall not be received, ordained or installed as ministers of the word and sacrament, elders and deacons in .... FL.”
...
This motion is to provide guidance to those nominating committees and the Session itself as the ordaining and installing body of this congregation. Rev. Frank Allen, the Stated Clerk of Central Florida Presbytery attended and gave guidance to the Session in its discussion of this motion. The motion passed on a 5-4 vote of the 10 voting members present.


Sigh.

Same old stuff here in Central Florida. Still, the national church's action is encouraging, and the fact the motion narrowly passed here on a 5-4 vote is encouraging, too.

I haven't heard any of the nastiness that was going around here in the Episcopal parishes post Robinson. I hope that's because there isn't any, and not just because I'm not "in" enough to be hearing it. There's certainly been nothing in the sermons.

I think how easy it was for Mr. T and me to get our marriage license and get married. Then I think of some of the people I know who have been in committed relationships for many years, and can't make it legal, even in the civil sense.

Sigh.

How we want to make God subservient to our prejudices and wants.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second honeymoon



Ah, yes. We're in the second day of a glorious week at the beach. It was a wedding gift from dear friends who own a beachfront condo.

Mr. T and I had a mini-honeymoon in the Keys a few weeks after the wedding. Now, we've got more time to relax. Right now, my warrior is napping, exhausted from working so many hours so he could get away.

Not that Mr. T will get away completely. He never does — the trip to the Keys was tied to a case he handled while we were down there. But it's good to get a break.

Last weekend we spent near Birmingham, Alabama, at the invitation of Mr. T's aunt. It was a great Fourth of July weekend, with a big multi-family bash and a great cookout. I met some distant cousins of mine, so I had some family there, too.

My cousin Jack is from West Virginia, like my father, and from the same little county, though they never knew each other. My father would have been a little older. Jack's wife is named Pat, like me.

Then, away this week. I'm prepared for a nice, relaxing time. Reading, beaching, blogging, sleeping, whatever I feel like doing. The good life.