White House Press Spokesman Tony Snow has announced that he will leave his job on Sept. 14, to be replaced by Dana Perino. He's served well, even amazingly, in a grueling job while battling cancer and enduring two rounds of chemotherapy. A shot of him yesterday had him looking shockingly weak, but he said he feels strong and needs to return to the private sector for financial reasons.
Snow has been a favorite of mine since his pre-White House days, and I wish him health and strength and success as he leaves...
And for the record, there is no daylight between my position and hers...
Labels: Social Observation
We gained a few details today, like the fact that the latest tests show that CJ has balance impairment of 66% on her left side and 44% on her right, and that she has indeed been diagnosed with an "A. Chiari malformation", and that her hearing is normal but they think the balance problems may be coming from inner ear damage, etc. etc. BUT NO CLOSER TO FIGURING OUT WHAT TO DO. They are sending her back to neurology and once again we will attempt to insist on a referral not just to an outside civilian doctor, but to a major facility who deals with Chiari on a regular basis. And yes, thanks for all your recommendations...we now know where the good ones are :-)
CJ has handled the non-event today very well. I'm looking for the valium ;-)
Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow...despite my frustration He is in perfect, loving control...
To anyone who stops by the blog today, please pray for CJ. We are seeing the doctor this afternoon who has looked at her latest brain stem MRI's and will be attempting to point us in the direction of next steps. She seems fairly relaxed about the appointment, but not so her mother. I've done my best to give it to God in prayer this morning and last night, and though my heart is at peace, my stomach is still in knots.
Will update tonight. Thank you for your prayers.
Last week while at my mother's, I ran across some poems I've written in the last few years and thought I'd lost when I had a computer crash. This was a time I was very glad that she still likes to keep hard copies of everything...I was able to retrieve several pieces that, though they wouldn't be worth much to anyone else, are treasures to me because of the people and things to which they're connected.
I share one here, written at a time that I was dealing with discouragement over health issues and pain in my own life and others close to me...
O sweetest Rose who yesterday
stood erect upon my ledge
and proud with blood-red bravery
withstood the knife's cold edge
Your velvet sides surrounded sure
a secret deep within:
the knowledge that ere dawn arrived
You would be broken then
And scattered there upon the lace
which once had graced your hues
would lie the velvet petals limp
and fragrance now diffused
Do you not grieve for life withdrawn,
for yester glory gone?
Do you not mourn the death of all
that slips away undone?
“Ah, no my Friend, for you mistake
the fragrance for the Tree
You view my fading light and strength
as a Rose that used to be
“But look! Oh, look beside the stoop
from where my green stem grew
and see the Life still supple there
and rugged through and through
“Here is the Rose! Here I reside
long after petals yield
Here stalwart branch and tender bud
hold hope for hedge and field
“No grief have I today, my Friend,
O'er glories now unseen
for Life is sheltered in the Tree
whose beauty I have been!”
Here are a few pictures. The wall color in some of the shots is truer than others. It really is not the bright purple that it looks in some of these!
The picture over the bed is just sort of a "placeholder." I am going to frame two very large pieces of cross-stitch that I finished in 2005 and hang them over the bed.
The picture below is a much better representative of the wall color!
And this is on the wall with the darker color.
These milk-glass lamps are treasures from my mother's home...not sure if they were also my grandmother's but they are certainly her "style" and make me feel as if I were at her house. I've just now brought them to mine.
Another treasure I brought home from mom's is this old kerosene lamp which I simply adore. It sits on the chest of drawers that John's grandparents bought when they first married, around 1920.
And the bathroom...again, not quite the true color but in real life the new towels go nicely :-)
Still trying to find the right light fixture for the bathroom, so that part is yet to come.
So...that's all the pictures for a while. The house will be a work in progress for years, I'm sure, but we've made genuine headway this summer. A special thanks to Dirk for his hard work, patience, and willingness to work around our schedules and his mother-in-law's color-challenged decision making.
This week on the trip to Fort Worth, I finished the audio book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, the heartbreaking autobiography of a young boy in Sierra Leone who is captured and forced into service as a child soldier in the civil war there. Despite a rather unsatisfying and unceremonious ending, the book was more than worth the time and gives a painful window into realities that are far removed from our own.
Then on the way back, I listened to the first half of God's Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe by Amir D. Aczel, an author I've read before (The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity; The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World; Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science; Fermat's Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem--all fascinating and well-written). A combination of astronomy, theoretical physics, mathematics, and philosophy, God's Equation has thoroughly captured my imagination and attention. I hope I don't die before I get all of Aczel's books read (or listened to!) Well, okay, he has some on obscure areas of business statistics that I may skip, but...
Bethany starts her first college classes Tuesday. Never mind the fact that we just brought her home a year or two ago and that she just lost her first tooth last week I think, here she is getting her first checking account and buying college texts. You'd think that on #6 of 9 we'd have gotten used to it. Nope.
And our forecast shows rain for the next seven days. When I opened the water bill last night and it said $29, I once again smiled at all the ways this very gentle, wet summer has benefited us. It's nearly September, and I never really felt summer hit us. No complaints...unless it decides to come late and steal our fall...
Whether you're starting school this week, already in the middle of it, waiting until after Labor Day, or whether your late summer is spent in work and other pursuits, I hope the coming week will be one full of God's mercies and loving surprises. Have a lovely Sunday evening!
Be thankful that you live in a free country. Life's tough in China:
Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."
This part isn't quite so funny:
According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 20 percent of all U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10 percent of all born-again Christians, embrace it as their favored end-of-life view.
If you need the details of how to go about applying for reincarnation, the story is here.
Got here yesterday afternoon at around 4, dog-tired but thrilled to have had such a good visit with Mom. She looks and sounds better than I've seen her in two years and this was a tremendous encouragement to me! The progression of her Parkinson's seems to have been arrested somewhat by the right combination of medications and physical therapy. Earlier this year when she had a mild stroke, I wasn't sure that she'd ever be out of bed again, but Wednesday we went out to lunch and did a little shopping...she was feisty enough to insist that a shop owner take the shirt out of the window so she could buy it since it was the last one in her size! Go Mom!
I stayed on an extra day so I could go with Mom and my sweet sister-in-law to Mom's neurology appointment. Her doctor was very pleased with her progress and glad that Mom is doing so well in following her recommendations. Parkinson's is a hard road
The extra night also gave me some quiet time in the lovely guest room to do some work. I've been doing a lot of business writing lately and it helps to kind of pull away and have some uninterrupted time. I have much to learn in the field of writing for fundraising...and while I'm on the steep side of the learning curve it really helps to have concentrated hours of solitude. My business partner can do this in her sleep; all I can do while I sleep is....sleep :-)
While I was gone, DIRK FINISHED THE HOUSE PROJECTS! I came home to shining trim and shelves over my windows, spotless doors and all the paraphernalia cleared away. We are totally done with this year's redecorating phase and I will be spending some time in the next few days getting pictures up, shelves stocked, and everything plugged back in! A GREAT BIG PUBLIC THANK YOU TO DIRK FOR ALL THE GREAT WORK and to Aubrey and kids for sharing him with us all summer :-) More pictures later, but here's a shot of some of the trim on the bay window side. The color is not coming through accurately at all, but at least the contrast is visible:
At Covenant of Grace Church, Pastor Dirk continues preaching through Genesis. Trying to calculate how many notepads to buy, Tami emails:
At present speed, it will take Dirk 5 years and 7-8 months to get
through Genesis. :-)
This is based on it taking approximately 12 weeks to go through 2
chapters. There are 50 chapters in Genesis. This would take a total of
300 weeks to finish. Divided by 52 weeks, that is 5.769. So only 5
years, 4 months to go!
Personally, I think Tami is being rather optimistic. I'm wondering if I might have children living in my home at this very moment who may never find out that the Israelites actually LEFT Egypt :-)
Speaking of church, we had a FABULOUS Italian meal after the service today. We have some great cooks in our church family. But the best thing today was the baptism of little Gage.
I'm going to spend the next couple of days in Fort Worth visiting my mother and other family. When I get back, there will just be a few countdown days until our school routine begins. I'm looking forward to it even though I'm a little nervous that the house still isn't as orderly as I'd like it. The painting and trimwork has taken a little longer than we expected due to weather, sickness, etc. but we're not too far from being finished.
CJ had another MRI last week and now waits for yet another consultation for next steps. Sometimes it seems that it will never end...and yet we continue to cling to the One with the only real answers. Thank you to those who have faithfully prayed for us for over two years.
The Papa has been busy this week planning the next family vacation. Yes, I know we're just barely home from the last one, but some of our kids didn't get to be with us and he is determined to remedy that. In August of next year, we will head for the Smoky Mountains and a lovely lodge near Pigeon Forge, TN, that sleeps 25. As it stands now, all of our children and grandchildren will be in one house for a week, and if you know The Papa you know that nothing makes him giddier than that prospect!
Oh, and a HUGE WELCOME from all those at Granny's House to baby Caleb Cambron, the newest addition to our circle of friends!
Hope you have a great week...I'll be back after a short break...
Labels: Political Humor
...was Chicken Day at Granny's!
Yes, ten days after the famous Beef Day I tackled the poultry side, and I am nursing sore feet and legs tonight but my freezer is happy! Tucked away I have
*2 meals Creamy Bacon Chicken
*2 meals Chicken Divan Soup
*2 meals Orange Curried Chicken
*2 meals Spicy Thai Chicken
*3 meals Sticky Roast Chicken
*Half a dozen bags of cooked, seasoned chicken for use in chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken salad, chicken enchiladas
*LOTS of great chicken broth
I cooked 30 pounds of chicken today! Really! Using the oven, a huge stockpot, saute pans, and two crockpots I put away enough chicken to keep us eating for weeks!
Together with my beef and pork meals from ten days ago, we now have in excess of thirty LARGE meals (each one serving at least 8 in most cases) to pull out on school days for the first couple of months of the fall.
I'd pat myself on the back but my arms are too tired :-)
Tonight a little group of 35 of us went to the Magik Theatre in downtown San Antonio and saw the live production of School House Rock. If you are a GenXer or raised one, or in some cases if you are the child of one, part of your heritage is "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here," "I'm Just a Bill," "Do the Circulation," and "Conjunction Junction." And the little group that performed these and many others for us tonight was superb. Amazing how everyone in our group from 2 to 50+ had great time and thoroughly enjoyed the production. I could have sat through twice as much, but some of the little ones were about maxed out after an hour. No matter...I'll get out my DVD and dance!
@ the counselor before laying this name on their son.
BEIJING — A Chinese couple seeking a distinctive name for their child settled on the e-mail 'at' symbol — annoying government officials grappling with an influx of unorthodox names.
The unidentified couple were cited Thursday by a government official as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language.
We've had 8 inches of rain so far. And this city is not known for its ability to drain, especially in a year when we've stayed saturated anyway. All over the city, roads are closed, events canceled, cars stranded, phone lines down. The news is telling us that two miles from our house a man is stranded in a tree. Needless to say, I am very glad to be safely in the house. Being soaked once today was more than enough, and of course getting wet is a minor issue compared to being swept away by a fast-moving flash flood.
I'm reminded on a day like this that life can change as quickly as the weather, and our times are in the hands of the One who controls both.
[Thomas Szasz (b. 1920), U.S. psychiatrist. "Social Relations," The
Second Sin (1973).]
(hat tip: trish)
Like, maybe you hook it up to your alarm clock and then sleep on it and it MAKES you get up in the morning?
Tiffany at the Longenblog, always longoncommonsense, shares some Babycenter advice that's rather short on common sense. If you want to know how to discipline your preschooler and teach her how to behave in a clothing store or restaurant, DON'T go here.
Yes, the summer heat is back. I don't like it. It saps my energy. But I am so very grateful for the real winter, rainy cool spring, and temperate summer we've had so far. It makes it a lot easier to bear knowing that fall isn't far away. It's the years when the heat starts in March that I feel as though I'm going to explode by June.
Tomorrow morning Dirk will start the last stage of this summer's projects: painting and installing baseboards, crown molding, and decorative shelving in our bedroom. As soon as that's done (and I'm about ready to have it all done!) I'll be ready to get a few more pictures up. But did I mention that I love it?
The week was a busy one, with another busy one to come. I'm glad I didn't push myself to start school in early August this year as I do some years. With the big family vacation, the massive redecorating, and getting in a groove with some business projects, I needed to leave myself a little breathing room. It's taken me a lot of years to know myself...I'd have saved myself a lot of grief earlier in my life if I'd taken care to pace myself better. But then, perhaps your fifties are an appropriate time to be taking advantage of the lessons learned in previous decades. Whatever, I'll take them...
What I DON'T want to have to take is the inch of gray roots peeking out under my highlights. That part of aging I could do without! Time to get the hairdresser on the line.
I've missed reading lately...other important things have crowded it out temporarily. Once my school planning is complete I hope to get back to a few books, my iPod books, and my Netflix list. I've been seeing some great reads reviewed on other blogs and I have got to move fast!
I'm also getting the "hankerin' " (sorry, a word specific to southerners over 40 years old) to do some sewing, cross-stitching, crocheting, quilting, something with my hands again this fall. Okay, well,scratch the cross-stitching. I already gave the majority of my eyesight to 22 count Hardanger and I probably can't afford any more losses on that score. But looking through my scrap drawers this week had my mouth watering and wondering where I could fit that in.
Speaking of fitting stuff in, I'm still looking for a day this week to do our chicken freezer meals. Need to get that done before I forget how good Monday felt!
And because I'm rather shallow today I leave you with this: is it a sad world when the courts have to decide who's the better parent, Britney Spears or Kevin Federline? Sheesh...
Happy Sunday night!
Granny's been a bad, bad blogger. I have lots of excuses, none of which really matter, but I haven't gone away forever! I'm hoping to be back in a day or two with some new pictures of my GORGEOUS bedroom...or at least, the WALLS are gorgeous! Several things need work on but oh, how I love my walls. My instincts (well, helped by the advice of people I trust LOL) were right and I think I have a new favorite color...
My niece Courtney (Mark's daughter) is here visiting us for a few days and keeping Shelley occupied during the last few days before school starts. I'm stunned by the fact that she's 15! Never mind that she's just four days younger than Shelley and so I should have known this--she is supposed to be six!
I have a few more things to do to get school ready. I know the kids probably wish I'd forget, but I won't. I'll treat myself after one more week of work to a trip to Lyric's to rest and watch movies for a few days and then I'll come back and we'll dive in.
Summer is back. Boo-hoo. Probably until November....
3 13x9 pans of lasagna
3 beef-potato pies
3 meat loaves
2 meals of shredded beef taco filling
2 meals of marinated round steak
2 meals of honey-mustard pork chops
3 meals of beef stroganoff
We're SO proud of ourselves! We decided early in the day, based on a couple of factors, not to try to do our chicken dishes on the same day as our beef and pork, and that was WAAAAY the right decision. We're tired but not exhausted and we still think we might actually like to do this again, which for me is the measure of whether or not we were successful!
We've put away 18 meals for use on coming school days, and in the next few days we'll do a dozen or so chicken meals...and I will for sure be scheduling these days once every couple of months. It was very satisfying, plus (for me) a very nice mother-daughter day. Shelley keeps angling for some kind of compensation (two cats), but in truth she was not only an invaluable partner but a fun companion. Not to mention that I think she learned a lot today!
Drive-thru experience about more than lattes
hat tip: dina w.
One of the sweetest memories from my childhood was having my mother turn on the radio in mid-morning and hearing the Haven of Rest Quartet program, announced by the ship's bells.
I grew up in the world of gospel quartets, and I never quite acquired the taste for that music that most of my family did. To me, much of it was showy, fluffy, cheesy, and as I began to see in later years, theologically shallow at best and error-filled at worst. I did appreciate close harmonies and musical precision, and some of the mid-century quartets at least provided that. (Many did not, and I developed a disdain for sloppy music long before I could sense sloppy theology.)
But the Haven of Rest Quartet was different. They had the best blend of harmony, quality arrangements, and solid lyrics; and the heart of their music was hymns, beautifully and tastefully presented with no dramatic sliding basses or tenors vying for mezzo-soprano positions. My home was enriched by their radio program and LP albums for most of my early years, a gift for which I am still grateful.
It's amazing how music is stored in the brain and can recall vivid scenes, emotions, and relationships that are hard to "dredge up" any other way. Tami had a great post on this just yesterday. So this morning as our congregation opened our hymnals and the piano played the introduction to "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place", I was once again nine years old, taking my seat at the kitchen table to listen to the sweet, smooth strains of the Haven of Rest. This was, along with "I've Anchored My Soul in the Haven of Rest", one of their "theme songs" and beckoned us at 9:30 to turn off "Andy of Mayberry" and be immersed in the world of what was then referred to as "sacred" music. Far from resenting it (even though I might have fussed a little) I savored the excellence and the peace that exuded from these voices.
And so, as a treat to myself and a "thank you" to the Father for planting this another priceless hymns in my brain and heart, I reprint here the precious words:
My faith has found a resting place, from guilt my soul is freed;
I trust the ever-living One, his wounds for me shall plead.
Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt;
a sinful soul I come to him, he'll never cast me out.
My heart is leaning on the Word, the written Word of God;
salvation by my Saviour's name, salvation thro' his blood.
My great Physician heals the sick, the lost he came to save;
for me his precious blood he shed, for me his life he gave.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me.
And with that, the Sunday Snippets ends for today. The Papa and I, who two weeks ago celebrated our 34th anniversary, continue the celebration today by a night on the River Walk and I'm going to pack :-)
A segment of animated footage promoting the 2012 Olympics has been removed from the organisers' website after fears it could trigger epileptic seizures.
Prof Graham Harding, who developed the test used to measure photo-sensitivity levels in TV material, said it should not be broadcast again.
Charity Epilepsy Action said it had received calls from people who had suffered fits after seeing it.
Organiser London 2012 said it will re-edit the film.
Certainly sad for the people who were affected, but it's another fascinating window into the marvelous organ that keeps us breathing, thinking, talking, moving, and feeling. How in the world could seeing a certain combination of motion and light cause a "short" in the brain and initiate the kind of fireworks that translate into a seizure?
When I was very young and changing the version of "what I want to be when I grow up" every few months, one of my more lasting visions was of becoming a researcher in neurology and brain injury. Don't read anything into the fact that I had nine children instead...but I've never lost my intense interest in the workings of the brain and the implications for education, for treatment of stroke and Alzheimers, and for therapies for paralysis. So even an unfortunate event like this one continues to pique my interest
The writer of the above article was careful to state that it was not the Olympic logo itself that caused the seizure, but the promotional video for the logo. But...have you SEEN the LOGO? When I first saw it, I thought I was getting one of the visual auras that precedes my migraines! They probably paid someone big bucks to design that thing...I mean, WHAT IS THIS??
Seems there's a game popular in some parts of the world that is causing trouble:
HONG KONG (AP) - Playing the popular Chinese tile game mahjong can lead to seizures, Hong Kong researchers say, calling the phenomenon "mahjong epilepsy."
In a study published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal's August edition, researchers from the Queen Mary Hospital reviewed 23 cases of mahjong players in Taiwan and Hong Kong who suffered seizures. They concluded that mahjong-induced epilepsy is a specific condition - not the result of the stress or exhaustion associated with the game.
Most of the 23 patients never suffered seizures other than when playing mahjong and the seizures occurred as early as one hour into their games, the researchers said. One patient stopped having seizures after quitting mahjong but relapsed after taking up the game again, according to the study.
The researchers called mahjong a "cognitively demanding game."
Uh...I don't know if I'm buying into this theory that it's the mahjong that's causing it:
"It involves substantial higher mental processing and outputs: memory, concentration, calculations, reasoning, strategies, sequential thinking and planning," they said.
Hmmm...sounds suspiciously like mothering to me.
Maybe you've seen on TV or read about the giant toy recall from China, lead content being one of the major issues. It's not a new thing, but this one has been particularly big:
Mattel's announcement that it was recalling 1.5 million toys could force a reexamination of how the $22 billion toy industry is overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which largely relies on companies to report problems themselves, consumer groups, analysts and lawmakers said yesterday.
Like the 1.5 million Thomas and Friends trains and accessories recalled by RC2 Corp. in June, the Chinese-manufactured toys in this recall contained too much lead, Mattel said.
Here's what I didn't know:
About 80 percent of the toys bought in the United States and about 65 percent of Mattel's toys are made in China, according to the Toy Industry Association and the company. "Toys were one of the first consumer products to go to China in a big, big way," said M. Eric Johnson, a management professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, who has studied the trend.
Maybe you've been reading the fine print on your kids' toys, but I haven't. I've never been a big stickler for avoiding toys from a certain country or for boycotting every toy company who does business with a totalitarian state. But for some reason this figure alarms me, not only because China isn't known for having the highest scruples in their production, but also because their current trade surplus is in the stratosphere, and toys must be putting them in another galaxy!
I have no huge solutions or recommendations, except this one: go read The Longenblog.
Great-great-granny earns masters degree at 94