Monday, December 17, 2007

Who Says Lawyers Can't Preach?

This just in from the Little Blue State newspaper (names have been changed to protect the innocent) --

216th anniversary of Bill of Rights celebrated in Capital City

By M M, The News Paper

Posted Sunday, December 16, 2007

Capital City – Ruby, executive director of the Super Duper Civil Rights Organization of Little Blue State, said it used to be that she would give talks and point to civil rights abuses that occurred historically.

Someone in the audience would always say: "We're not like that. We won't do that," she said.

But Saturday, as she spoke at Bill of Rights Day in the Little Blue State, she focused on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution -- the right of people to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

Ruby described it as "a bedrock of our government."

And she gave the crowd some timely examples that she said raise questions about how far a government can and should go: detention of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo, the government's use of security letters to get information about individuals and the FBI files on a pacifist group that is opposed to the War in Iraq.

Her fear, she said, is "at the end of the day, there will be a government that will be stripped of funding ... with nothing left but police powers."

Her organization is often widely criticized when attorneys defend unpopular positions.

"We only have one client," she said. "And that's the Constitution and its Bill of Rights."

When conflicts arise, "most of the time there's somebody out there who wants to limit those rights," she said.

Ruby was one of two speakers at the Capitol City Bill of Rights Day. The event marks the 216th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 15, 1791.

Even before it was adopted, Ruby said, the document was controversial.

The guarantees outlined in the Bill of Rights "were already widely acknowledged in the colonies," she said.

In fact, the Little Blue State already had its own Declaration of Rights -- a document from 1776 that is "almost completely forgotten today," said state archivist, Document Man.

One argument opposing the Bill of Rights was that it covered rights the people already had or natural rights that couldn't be taken away, he said.

"The Bill of Rights was kind of an exclamation point," he said. "It confirmed what people believed."

Another argument against the document was that the fledgling nation didn't have a person with the power of a king who would hold so much power over the people, he said.

For Ruby, protection of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is not a partisan issue.

On Saturday, a member of the audience asked Ruby why her organization takes on cases like the Little Town, Pa., municipal ordinance that proposed punishing landlords and employers for doing business with undocumented immigrants.

The ordinance was struck down in July.

"The Constitution protects everyone in the United States whether they are a citizen or not," she explained.

Those who attended the anniversary got two special treats. First, they got to see the Little Blue State's copy of the Bill of Rights.

Document Man also brought out Little Blue State's signed ratification of the Constitution.

The document, written in faded brown ink, is an important part of Little Blue State's history, Document Man said.

"I pulled it out of the vault this morning," he said.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Five: Rejoice!

Posted by Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals

Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice!

Rejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness.

What makes you rejoice about:

1. Waiting?
Anticipation is a lovely thing. Lately, it seems life is moving so fast that anticipation isn't part of the process. Events arrive before I realize they're coming. My life can be described in one word: Vvvrrrrooommm.

2. Darkness?
I love candles, Christmas preparations, snow days, frosty windows, a warm place by the fire, a book, hot cocoa and dinner with friends.

3. Winter?
Cold. Cold. Cold. Wet. Wet. Wet. Finally, the sun has broken through the clouds and dense fog of the last few days and I am so grateful. Today is the kind of winter day I love -- crisp and bracing.

4. Advent?
I haven't really observed Advent this year, but I have lovely childhood memories of lighting Advent candles at church and at home.

5. Jesus' coming?
If you mean Christmas, I'm ready, but the second coming, not so much. It's impossible to separate the two anyway. As Sally noted, "we cannot take the Easter out of Christmas."
One Palm Sunday, a number of years ago, my then four-year-old son looked up at me during the reading of the Passion Play, stricken, and sobbed, "You mean they killed the Baby Jesus!" He was inconsolable at the injustice of it all. I've never looked at a nativity scene the same way since.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Laughing Lion

My friend Songbird wrote a beautiful sermon, Where the Wild Things Are. In it, she talks about bravery, lions, and her own wonderful courage.
A few years ago, she came to visit me and we went to a museum together. She bought a mug imprinted with Tony Sarg's illustration of the Laughing Lion and I bought a key chain with the same image. I carry it with me to make me feel brave and cheerful.
Unfortunately, the museum is very wary of anyone reproducing their images, so I will make do with a link to their shop, where you can purchase a Laughing Lion mug of your very own. Perhaps it will make you brave and cheerful, too.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday 5, Preparation, Preparation . . .

The Annunciation by Henry Tanner.
Visit The Art Archive for more info on this painting.
Sally at RevGals writes for this week's Friday Five:

This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture.....

Here then is this week's Friday 5:
Before we begin, I want to acknowledge Deb, who posted one of my favorite paintings, The Annunciation, by Henry Ossawa Tanner. You can see it in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Second, my heart goes out to Sally and all those who grieve with her.

1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?

I try to off-load as many tasks as I can, but truth be told, I'm not very good at delegating. Mostly, I just put one foot in front of the other until I'm finished.

2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?

Unexpected visitors are a way of life at our house, so I often just add to whatever I'm already making for dinner. It usually works out just fine.

Three discussion topics:

3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations.....

and, unfortunately, I am neglecting it. Perhaps I should repent.

4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....

Absolutely true.

5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...

Also true. Too bad I didn't figure this out when I was younger.

Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?

Eternal optimist that I am, I believe I'm prepared, but on December 19, I will realize that there are more things to do than time to do them.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five: Don't Call It a Comeback

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?

Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)

Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
Disappointing cookies. They're colorful, all shapes and sizes, piled high on a plate, covered in sprinkles and sparkles and silver balls, and they taste the same -- dreadful.
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Mulled anything.
3) tradition (church, family, other)
I am really, really, really tired of the so-called "War on Christmas." I'm saying it for the last time, the ACLU wants you to celebrate (or not) any holiday you want without interference, but the government should not be in the business of setting up Christmas displays. Let's leave that to the retailers, OK? Please, just don't get me started.
4) decoration
Fake Snow. Yuck.
5) gift (received or given)
Secret Santa/White Elephant gift exchanges (but see the post here for the solution to your Secret Santa woes.)
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
I vote for "Christmas Shoes" and Garden Girl puts in her vote for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"

Secret Santa Solution

I don't enjoy Secret Santa gift exchanges, so no more gag gifts, soap, candles or boxes of candy for me. This year, we're doing something different and I am so-o-o-o excited. It starts like a Secret Santa exchange: draw names, keep it secret, gather to celebrate and exchange gifts. Here's the twist -- the Secret Santa gift is a toy that reflects the life and interests of the recipient. So my friend the artist might get a coloring book and crayons and my friend who travels for work might get a toy airplane. Be as silly and creative as you dare. Once the presents are open and the party's over, the presents go to a local organization that collects toys for children. (Most of them don't want the toys to be wrapped anyway.)

Everyone wins. The gifts are personal, inexpensive and fun, and best of all, they end up in the hands of a child who will love them. Way better than soap, candles or golf balls. I hope you'll spread this new tradition to your friends. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For Real? Yes, it's For Real

Yep, you could've bought this Christmas ornament for your tree, but unfortunately it's already SOLD OUT. No kidding . . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ten Random Things About Me

Songbird tagged me. Hmmm, maybe she's trying to tell me something. I haven't posted anything in a long time.

Ten Random Things About Me --

1. I went to a school where they gave demerits for just about everything. To this day I take no pleasure in chewing gum or walking on the grass. Most of my demerits were for being "out of pocket." That's demerit-ese for being somewhere you aren't supposed to be. It's a good thing they don't give demerits to grown-ups.

2. I have three last names. My first name is my mother's maiden name; my middle name is my great - grandmother's; and my last name is mine. Very Southern.

3. I eat peanut butter every day.

4. I grew up in a house just few yards from the waterfront of a busy harbor, but I don't like to swim and I don't know how to sail. I'm taking sailing lessons this spring! I can't wait.

5. I had three babies in four years and my sisters nicknamed me "the planned parenthood poster mother."

6. I like C-Span, or as my children say, "Nerd TV."

7. I was the first girl acolyte in my church, maybe in my diocese. I remember being incensed (wow, that was a Freudian slip) when only the boys in my confirmation class were asked to be acolytes, and insisted I be allowed to attend the training.

8. I have three tiny tattoos, one on each hip and one on the small of my back. I got them when I had radiation after a cancer diagnosis a couple of years ago. When my son got a little tattoo on after his 18th birthday, I told him that I had one first. I have considered adding a few more dots so that I can spell something in Morse code, but I haven't decided what the message should be. (Not S.O.S.)

9. I regularly cook dinner for between 12 and 20 people.

10. I sing in the car, but only when I'm alone, because I have a terrible voice. I know the lyrics of just about every song Diana Ross ever recorded, even though she was way before my time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's a Pumpkin/Apple Friday Five

From the RevGalBlogPals --
All Hallows Eve (Halloween) is near. As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. We didn’t yet worry about razor blades in apples or popcorn balls or some of the other concerns people have with Halloween these days. Halloween was a chance to be mildly scared, and better yet, to dress up and pretend to be something we really weren’t.
Let’s talk about that a bit, but then let’s add in some food ideas for this year. Where I live the leaves are falling, the temperature is chilly and pumpkins are for sale everywhere, along with many kids of apples. What's more, the "Holiday Season" will soon be upon us. ACK! I could use a new idea for dessert. So, here we go…

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
We went from house to house in our little neighborhood where we got huge amounts of treats from the neighbors. My mom was not very creative, so we always had costumes with masks. Horrible -- my hair always got tangled in the rubber band that held the mask on; my warm breath collected in a damp cloud under the mask and made it wet and clammy; and I tripped because I couldn't really see. I so wished my mother made elaborate costumes like some of the other mothers, but now that I am the mom, I am totally in her corner.

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
We live in the country, so we go to a cousin's house for trick or treating with Nature Boy, who is eight. Nashy, Shiny and Witter are now old enough to be involved in more grown-up activities involving DJs, dancing, and costumes designed to impress.

2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
I never had either until a couple of months ago (they must be a northern thing) when I discovered these in Seattle. Heavenly. They even have a store in the Little Blue State!

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
Have you never heard of the Punkin Chunkin??? Hundreds of people make crazy machines to hurl pumpkins as far as possible. Here at Old Stone House, we grow a few pumpkins, carve a few pumpkins, and make our pumpkin pie from a can. And although we've visited the Punkin Chunkin, we have no plans to participate.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
Garden Girl and Nature Boy cut corn stalks from the garden to festoon the back door and we have lots of pumpkins, gourds, and dried ears of corn both inside and outside the house.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?
I make a living speaking to people, sometimes about very difficult subjects, and I'm pretty comfortable with public speaking, but I'm not a success as an actress. In my current "try anything once, even if you're scared" mode, I am scheduled to audition for the Vagina Monologues, though if the truth be told, I'd rather discuss my own vagina than be onstage as someone else.

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.
You can find a recipe for the best apple pie ever at my partner's blog -- and no, you don't have to grow your own apples! P.S. The real secret is heavy cream, very cold, poured over warm apple pie. Mmmmm . . . maybe we need apple pie for dinner.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Five: Thankfulness List

From Mary Beth at RevGalBlogPals:

Welcome to the Friday Five!

This one is going to be veeeery simple: List at least five things (people, places, graces, miracles...) for which you are thankful. You may elaborate as you wish, or keep it simple.

I'm an extrovert, so the first hundred or so entries on my list are people: My partner, Garden Girl; my children, Nashy, Witter, Shiny and Nature Boy; my sisters, Supermom and Annie-boo and their husbands and my sweet nieces and nephews; Garden Girl's brothers and their wives and all the other sweet nieces and nephews; Garden Girl's mom and her dad, whom I miss so much; my own mother and father who both died before their time; my ex-husband; my friend Songbird and the online community she introduced me to; my book club; my church community; my colleagues; my neighbors here on Crunchy Gravel Lane; and the many friends who support me every day with their smarts and humor and courage.

I'm also thankful for my heroes, some of whom I know and some I've never met: Viktor Frankl; Mr. Rogers; Bill & Marcie, who run our local homeless ministry; my oncologist; Maria Montessori; Clara Barton; Job; Jonah; Julia Child; David Schelat; Louis Armstrong; and whoever invented refrigeration.

I'm thankful for life's pleasures: stained glass windows; any beverage that bubbles -- champagne, beer, ginger ale, Diet Coke, or San Pellegrino; sailboats; birdbaths; kissing; iPods; hymns (but not hymns on iPods -- hymns do not survive the recording process); arugula; any place where beauty is collected in one space for everyone to enjoy -- museums, cathedrals, opera houses, theatres, bookstores, fine restaurants, botanical gardens, and Paris.

I'm thankful for life's guilty pleasures: People magazine; Oprah; TiVO; Jon Stewart (not really a guilty pleasure except that I can only watch him on TiVO); peanut butter; lipstick; Retin-A; the entire self-help genre; bubbly beverages (see above); and text-messaging.

I'm thankful for food, which gets its own category (and probably explains why I need to lose weight): bagels; cheese -- the older and stinkier the better; blueberry cobbler; perfectly set scrambled eggs; chocolate chess pie; anything with sweet potatoes; curried vegetables; roasted carrots; Zweiback toast; anything wrapped in puff pastry; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries; whipped cream; steamed crabs with Old Bay seasoning; Weetabix; lentil salad; clementines; tapenade; and the almond macaroons from the grand hotel in our town.

On my best days, I'm thankful for all of it-- good, bad or indifferent. We're all so fragile and so precious that it seems insane not to be thankful for whatever is in the world with us, but on my worst days, my own problems, large and small, are like a stone in my shoe that keeps me from feeling any pleasure life offers, and I gripe and feel sorry for myself. Fortunately, those moods can usually be cured by one thing or another on the list above.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blessing of the Animals

Today was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, so we attended a blessing of the animals at Church in the City. Our contribution? Our puppy, Blue, recently acquired from the Little Blue State Humane Association* and a young bearded dragon, still small enough to be carried in a large jar, but destined to grow to a couple of feet in length. We left one dog, two geckos, a cat, a hamster, and numerous fish and guinea hens at home.

Our interim rector has a way with children and animals. She didn’t flinch when our eight-year-old son and his friend ran up to the old high altar to inspect the timpani. Nor did she flinch when she blessed our nameless bearded dragon and stroked his knobby head. She blessed our puppy with such dignity that he temporarily gave up chasing the miniature pinscher seated next to us. But best of all, she blessed the animals one by one, calling them by name, except for the lizard of course. This pleased Garden Girl no end.

A number of years ago, I persuaded Garden Girl to come with me to a blessing of the animals, thinking that this would be a good way to get my unchurched animal loving spouse into the swing of things with us Episcopalians. It was not our finest hour as a church. The service was long. The dogs and cats growled and scuffled in the recently restored colonial church, scratching at the pristine doors of the box pews. And the rector blessed the people, not the animals, praying that the owners would be blessed by caring for their beloved pets. This did not sit well with Garden Girl, who worried that the priest considered blessing the actual animals heretical, until I reminded her that Episcopal priests have been blessing the hounds from time immemorial.

Fortunately, tonight’s service was nearly perfect, and included a reading from Job: “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."

*The Little Blue State Humane Association is holding a black tie benefit gala in November. Blue has been invited to be on the host committee, along with Garden Girl and me. Tee-hee.

UPDATE Here is a photo of Nature Boy and his friend Best Kid Ever, taken by Best Kid's mom.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Eulogy

On August 19, Garden Girl's father died suddenly. I miss him more that I can say. Garden Girl gave the eulogy at his memorial service, and she captured what we were all feeling as we said goodbye to him. Here is what she said:

I will miss lots of things about my father: his advice, his love for the farm, his really bad driving, the funny way he walked because of all his horse accidents, and the fact that he always had a penknife when you needed one.

But what I will miss most about my dad is his having dinner with him. Our family had dinner together every night when I was a child, and it was at the dinner table that I saw the best of my father, and learned the most from him.

My three brothers and I would always try to get him talking about certain favorite episodes in his life. We loved to hear about how he grew up living above the little corner grocery store that his parents ran here in our town. He always joked that they were so poor that his parents couldn’t afford to give him a middle name. We never tired of hearing how he and his equally poor friends would crash weddings in dental school so they could eat, which worked fine as long as they didn’t say they were on the bride’s side and then discover they were at a Bar Mitzvah.

We loved to hear him talk about his stint as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, and how he could sell anyone a vacuum, whether they needed one or not.

We always begged to hear about how he got his started in the horse business, which is a story that my brothers and I often tell at our own dinner tables.

During dental school, Dad answered an ad for a Riding Master at a camp in upstate New York. Now, Dad was a city kid. He didn't know which end of a horse to feed or how to ride.

He took a train in a middle of a snowstorm to New York City, where the owner of the camp lived. The gods of chutzpah must have loved him, because the snowstorm was so bad that they couldn’t get to the riding academy for a riding test. By the end of the interview, Dad had the job.

He got to camp a week before it opened, taught himself to ride, and pretty soon had more kids in the riding program than in any time in the camp history.

At the end of the summer, Dad told the camp owner that the horses weren’t really up to his standard, and that the owner should pay him to bring horses from his own "farm" the next summer. The owner agreed.

Just to review, Dad lived in a shared bedroom in his dental school fraternity house. His parents lived above the store. There was no farm.

A week before camp started, he went to an auction and bought the horses. He paid a shipper to take them up to the camp. He was in business. At the end of camp, the horses were shipped back to the auction, and Dad went back to school.

Dad named the business “Wonderland Farms” because it started out as a farm in a closet, and he wondered where the land was.

Some of my favorite stories started with my father saying, “I had a really interesting thing happen today in the office.” Now, you might not think that much interesting happens in an orthodontist’s office, but, if it was my Dad’s office, you’d be wrong. He had a gift for waiting to bring a story home until he knew the ending. He would talk about interesting cases, wonderful patients he had, the bravery of children he treated at the Children’s Hospital, and tell funny stories about his colleagues.

He would talk about his staff, “his girls,” as he always called them despite my telling him on many occasions how politically incorrect that term was. He loved them like family, as he did Jack and his staff in the office next door. We always wanted to hear about Barbara, who started with him when she was a high school intern, and 40 years later, was still with him.

This may sound old-fashioned, but my dad truly loved his patients. Their problems and triumphs became his. The bulletin boards in his office were always covered with newspaper clippings highlighting the exploits of “his” kids and adults. He was so pleased that in his pending retirement they would be so well cared for by Connie and John.

My brothers especially liked to hear tales of the many adventures my dad had on his hunts. “Tell the one about how you were lost overnight on the mountain.” “Tell the one about how Mom found a tarantula in her boot.” “Tell again about the time the grizzly bear charged Mom.” Dad was Indiana Jones and Mom was Annie Oakley, and we would sit at the table long after the meal was over and beg to hear the stories again.

We loved to hear of his adventures with his friends. Whether it was crazy gift-giving traditions – a certain candy bar comes to mind – sports events, or laughs shared at his favorite lunch spot, the old Howard Johnson’s, he and his co-conspirators were always having fun in each other’s company.

I learned a lot from my father at the dinner table. He valued friendship, honesty and loyalty, and taught us to do the same. When he gave his word, he kept it, and we learned from his example. He loved my mother, and they were in it together. He supported his children no matter what.

Eventually, we did our share of the storytelling. He always wanted to hear about the latest exploits of his grandchildren. The “big kids” told him their own tales, and we proud parents spoke for the little ones, who were always right there, often sitting on his lap pulling his beard. I loved telling him how I couldn’t go anywhere in the Little Blue State without someone telling me that “your Dad fixed my teeth.” Even my interview for a clerkship with the most feared Little Blue State Supreme Court Justice of his day began with “Your dad was my orthodontist.”

Dad wasn’t famous. His obituary won’t be in the New York Times. No biographer will write his story. He was a man who lived an honest and happy life. He raised four children who adored him, and was married for almost 47 years to his one true love. He had lifelong friends, work he loved and many adventures. He died too soon.

I didn’t get to ask him what he thought his legacy was, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have used such a grand term. He would have rolled his eyes, and said, “Oh, come on.”

I know I hope my seven year old son, named after his grandfather, will remember him. I’m going to be re-telling my Dad’s stories to be sure that he does.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Five -- Seasons Change

From Reverend Mother over at RevGalBlogPals:
It's Labor Day weekend here in the United States, also known as Summer's Last Hurrah. So let's say goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn. (People in other climes, feel free to adapt as needed.)

1. Share a highlight from this summer. (If you please, don't just say "our vacation to the Canadian Rockies." Give us a little detail or image. Help us live vicariously through you!)

We went to Hippie Camp in June, where the highlight of my summer was watching my partner, Garden Girl, fly through the air with the greatest of ease on a real trapeze!

This summer I enjoyed our garden more than anyplace we visited. Eating dinner with friends among the Asian lilies, butterfly bushes, and climbing roses was just magical.

2. Are you glad to see this summer end? Why or why not?

I don't like endings very much. We had an unexpected and tragic death in our family and I am feeling the end of an era as well as the end of summer. My oldest child is a senior in college; my second child just started his first year at the university; my third child is a senior in high school; and my youngest will be in second grade. Time seems to have done one of those telescoping things where routines and roles that seemed semi-permanent shift suddenly and the slow march of days feels swift and the current of time feels very strong.

3. Name one or two things you're looking forward to this fall.

Other people make resolutions in January, but I think September is the real beginning of the year, and I look forward to sharpened pencils, new notebooks, and erasers with clean edges. I look forward to picking apples in our little orchard from trees grafted from Garden Girl's family farm. Best apples ever! And I love, love, love Thanksgiving.

4. Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another? (Cleaning of house, putting away summer clothes, one last trip to the beach)

Fall is my favorite season and I savor the last few nights of sleeping with the windows open before we put the storm windows down until spring.

5. I'll know that fall is really here when we light the first fire of the season. The fireplace and chimney are clean and ready for the first cold night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Where've You Been?

Garden Girl and I have had a busy couple of weeks.
*I've spent three full work day days in the Little Blue State Women's Prison taking depositions of the warden and other high-level staff. Arrgghh!
* Witter celebrated his 19th birthday with two dinners, one on the actual day with me, Nashy, and two of his friends, and one with all the family, including grandparents.
* We packed off Shiny to West Virginia to build houses with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. She packed her own hammer, screwdriver, tool belt and work boots. She came home with her pants duct-taped together and declared that Sawzall is her favorite tool.
* We hosted 30+ people for dinner to say goodbye to my wonderful staff attorney who is departing to a new job in DC and hello to my wonderful new staff attorney who is arriving from her her old job in DC.
* Sold a business.
* And tonight, we spent the evening with friends at the beach.

Friday Five, Word Association Redux

This one is patterned off an old Friday Five written by Songbird, our Friday Five Creator Emerita:

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

1. vineyard -- a future project for Garden Girl. There's always a Garden Girl project at our house, usually of the fruitful variety. I see vines in our future.

2. root -- word. Our 6th grade teacher thought the perfect pre-teen punishment was writing out the etymologies from pages in the dictionary. I secretly liked it, and I think our teacher did, too. Part of the drill in lower school was that detention involved writing, usually the same thing over and over, but at Big Brain Academy, it was never "I will not chew gum in class." Mrs. Land made her class write out "Self-discipline is the yoke of a free man" as many times as she thought fit the crime. Mrs. Hopkins made her class write out complicated math problems. Blessedly, our class got etymologies.

3. rescue -- boat. The Coast Guard was a highly visible presence in my early life, and my father always called the cutters that moved though the harbor in front of our house "rescue boats." I love the Coast Guard. They're like firefighters, the good guy branch of the service.

4. perseverance -- Put one foot in front of the other. (It's a song from a 1970 holiday cartoon special, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town.")

5. divided -- Conquered. A united front wins every time. (Sometimes this is not good, e.g., the Karl Rove-inspired Republicans.)

(Each of these appears in one of the readings from this Sunday's lectionary.)

Monday, August 6, 2007


On Sunday, Garden Girl and I took Nature Boy to the Big City to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. We met my sister, Bethie-Boo, her husband, Uncle Fun, and the cousins, my nephew Namesake and niece Button. Namesake and Nature Boy are both seven year old boys, and like all seven year old boys, love to climb things. First, they climbed into an "E" --
Then Button joined them --
Then everyone got into the act. (If you look at the "L" you'll see why we call him "Uncle Fun.") Then Nature Boy decided everything in the Big City was made for climbing.Because Button and Namesake are friends with the little girl who plays Jane Banks, we got to meet the actress who plays Mary Poppins and take a backstage tour following the show. The children got to see Mary Poppins' umbrella and carpet bag. They even got to see the letters that spell "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
And although the boys loved meeting Mary Poppins ---
They loved Bethie Boo the most.Thanks, Bethie-Boo! Thanks, Uncle Fun! Thanks, Button! Thanks, Namesake! We had a wonderful time in the Big City.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Shield the Joyous

Two of my daughters spent last week at the Royal School of Church Music choir camp. My older daughter Nashy started going to the RSCM course at age 8, is now old enough at 21 to be a proctor. My younger daughter, Shiney, 17, was a PIT this year (Proctor in Training.) Nashy and the program director colluded to keep Shiney's PIT assignment a secret, and only upon her arrival at camp did she discover that she had been assigned to her sister. There were squeals and giggles and promises to make this the best year ever for the senior girls (14-17) in their care.
My children are all on the cusp of big changes. Nashy will graduate from Womens College with a Welsh Name this year; Critter will be a freshman at Big U Nearby; and Shiney will be a Senior at Tiny High School. (Even Scout, at 7, has blossomed into a reader, which is at least as big a change as college.) I'm glad they like each other, though goodness knows, they've had their days. On the way to camp, Nashy, Shiney and Critter agreed that, even if they had to leave the Little Blue State to pursue careers, they would stay nearby so they could see one another and watch Scout grow up.
I have two sisters and when the three of us are together, we laugh and talk and cry and then laugh some more. I know that no matter what happens, they're on my team. As an adult, I know lots of people who are estranged from their siblings, some actively and some through neglect. I can't imagine making it this far without my sisters and I only hope my four enjoy all the laughter, love and loyalty my sisters have given me.
Yesterday, Garden Girl, Critter, Scout and I set off to pick up the girls from camp-- three hours up, three hours back, and a beautifully sung Evensong service in between. Just beautiful! I'm glad to have everyone home, even if it's only for a little while.

And although they didn't sing this collect during Evensong last night, I'll include it here because it's my favorite.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thunder and Lightning, Oh Yeah . . .

The big shindig was last night, and a good thing, too, because right now, the thunder and lightning are cracking in near synchronicity. I am grateful that the bad weather held off until today. I don't think we could have moved the entire party, band and all, into the house, and we certainly couldn't have let everyone shelter beneath the metal tent poles.
Last night, the weather was almost perfect after a hot and humid day and some threatening afternoon storm clouds. All the exhausted new lawyers, fresh from the bar exam -- or not so fresh, as the case may be -- underwent one last rite of passage and broke bread with the people they'll soon be working with. At least this last lap of the endurance test includes great food, a fine band, and many mojitos. (I stuck with no-jitos myself, because I'm a lightweight of the first order. Fortunately, lime juice and simple syrup with fresh mint tastes delicious even without the rum. I waited until the caterer served dessert before I dared have a glass of wine.)
The party preparations continued right until the last minute. In fact, the morning of the party I channeled my mother and began "fluffing" the house, polishing silver, lighting the new candles to blacken the wicks, ironing one or two guest towels for the powder room, and arranging the piles of books into somewhat more artful piles. By the time Garden Girl and I had a chance to dance, the party was nearly over.
P.S. The little guinea keets got lots of curious visitors. A couple more have hatched in the last few days, including one that hatched as the first guests arrived.

Friday Five - Floods and Droughts

Sally posted this at the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five. (Thanks, Sally, this was fun.)

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?
I used to live on the edge of Hurricane Alley. We lived on a riverfront and I loved standing in the wind, watching our calm harbor turn to whitecaps, the usually busy commercial waterway empty and gray. Once I weathered a hurricane at Nags Head and the surfers were everywhere, riding the waves before and after the storm. I can still remember the wind whipping my hair into a salty mess that slapped my eyes and mouth. What is it about teenagers that sends them toward the water in a hurricane? I thought I'd left hurricanes behind when I moved the Little Blue State, but in 2003 Hurricane Isabel brought floods that briefly cut me off from my house and children and left us without power for 6 days. My grandfather, who was in his eighties, left his home in Virginia to go to dinner and got stranded by inland flooding and it was days before we knew for sure where he was and that he was OK.
Come to think of it, Hurricane Floyd (1999) was also a doozy. Our office building was swaying in the wind by the time I left for home.

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?
We all have to do better. I know I do.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree?
Agree. One of Eucharistic Prayers in the Book of Common Prayer refers to "this fragile earth, our island home." Just beautiful.

And because it is summer- on a brighter note....

4. What is your favourite season and why?
I love every season as long as it's not humid. I grew up in a place where the summers were hot and humid and the winters were cold and damp. No, thank you. Clear, hot summer day, snowfall, rainfall, crisp autumn, the whispered warmth of spring -- I love them all. I could never live in a place without seasons.

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather....
see answer to 4. I can bear almost any forecast except "hazy, hot and humid" or "freezing rain."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Party in the House!

The Little Blue State Bar Exam ended today, and tomorrow we celebrate with Garden Girl's law firm. Two hundred people -- lawyers and their spouses and partners -- will converge on our front lawn to eat and drink and dance the night away. The new lawyers will be exhausted and the young lawyers will be glad they already passed the bar and the old lawyers will be grateful the party's at our house and not theirs. We've spent the last few weeks painting, cleaning, re-hanging pictures and re-upholstering the dining room chairs (a DIY by the 18 year old son, thank you very much) and cleaning -- did I mention cleaning? Even the teenagers have spanking clean rooms for the occasion. Garden Girl has worked her magic and every corner of the garden is just beautiful.

We also have new members of the family. Two of our guinea hens have been broody for weeks and we were so worried that they would be disappointed. We were so wrong. Yesterday, Garden Girl got a call from our neighbor, Painter, telling her that there were tiny guinea keets scooting all over the place and to come home quick! Painter and Garden Girl got them safely inside the hen house, far from curious dogs and hungry foxes, and today, a dozen or so little keets are keeping their mamas hopping . So cute!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Best. Vacation. Ever. (Well, in a really long time, anyway.)

We're home from our vacation at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, where I studied writing with Lynda Barry.
Here's what I learned on my summer vacation:
* Communal dining is heaven, especially if it's on a porch. Somehow, the second night at Omega we made our way to a table of people we really enjoyed and spent the next four days eating meals with various combinations of our new friends.
* Being in a place with no cell phone coverage, no phones in the rooms, no televisions, no radios, no music that wasn't a live performance, no alcohol and no meat might be the perfect vacation.
* I'm slow. I have a hard time making transitions, and I'm often late.
* I've needed a good cry for a long time.
* Fiction-writing came more easily to me than autobiography, which was a surprise.
* Lynda Barry's most recent book One Hundred Demons, part novel, part comic book, part therapy, part writing instruction, may be the best book about navigating the path from childhood through adolescence to adulthood I have ever read. Just wonderful. As Lynda would intone like a chant or a blessing: "Go-o-o-od. Good. Good. Good." Because life is good, all of it, even the really painful parts.

* Lynda Barry rocks. If you want to take her course, Writing the Unthinkable, she's offering it Chicago on Labor Day weekend. (You can sign up on eBay.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

We are away on summer vacation until Friday. I am taking a class with Lynda Barry, the cartoonist who created Marlys, pictured at left. Doing something new and different is what vacation's all about, and here at hippie camp, we get to eat incredible vegetarian food, so I can stay on my diet without feeling deprived even one little bit, and my seven-year-old is trying new food at every meal. People are here from all over the country for the many different programs offered during Art Week.

Some of us are writing or painting or dancing, but some of us, like Garden Girl, are on the trapeze -- yes, you read right. Garden Girl is flying through the air with the greatest of ease every day for a week. Today she managed to accomplish the trick you see here: she went out on the swing and let go so she could be caught by the catcher. I'm happier on the ground, but I love knowing she's flying. Wow!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Five: Wotcher Harry . . . or not

ReverendMother posted this fun Friday Five: As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:

Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?
Right now, I'm loving book one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, because even as I write this, Garden Girl is reading the next-to-last chapter to our seven-year-old, who has his head shoved under a pillow in exquisite agony as they approach the end of the story.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?
Minerva McGonegall. First, I always wanted to be named Minerva, and second, she has just the right mix of total authority and a twinkling appreciation of mischief. I hope I'm that kind of grown-up!
I'd like to go to dinner with Dumbledore at the Weasley's house. Chaotic hospitality! I think I'd feel right at home there.

3. How careful are you about spoilers?
It doesn't matter how I feel about spoilers. Multiple copies of Harry Potter 7 will arrive at our house on June 21st and unless I can summon my Evelyn Wood speed-reading skills, the children, who have the advantage of being on summer vacation, will finish first and let something slip. But even if I could sequester myself, I'd have to find out. I'm very good at keeping secrets, but can't stand it when I know someone else is keeping one.

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.
A happy ending, please.

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?
No. I like the idea that there will be an end, so if there have to be more books, let's stick to prequels.

Option 2: Please Mommy, Anything But Those Blankety-Blank Books!

And we do mean anything:

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.
I love the Queen Anne's lace that lined the roads where I grew up. As an adult, I discovered the pale papery lichen and cushiony moss that clings to rocks and tree bark along the trails of Acadia Park in Maine. I know it's not a flower, but it's beautiful.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.
I'd love to build a tiny straw bale house in the woods behind our garden. I've always wanted a little retreat with no phone or doorbell.

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one?
No, but I'd love one. I have Treo with web access and e-mail and I'm addicted, but it's not nearly as elegant as the iPhone. (but I wouldn't bring it to my tiny house in the garden.)

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?
Can you fit hypocrisy and meanness in a blender?

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?
At last, a question within my professional expertise. I love the jury system, and I think they got it right. For heavens sake, if the First Amendment can protect the Klan and these guys, it can stand up to a little dog poop. Here's the thing: nobody wanted to hear what Martin Luther King had to say either.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The God Interviews

This little web enterprise by Natalie D'Arbeloff is just lovely. Check it out here. It's easier to see and read if you go to the bliptv version and view it in full screen format. You may need to stop and start so that you can read the pages. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Reverendmother posted this Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals :

Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!
So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing - summer nightie. It's Saturday morning, and I thought I'd missed the Friday Five. Thanks for posting, ReverendMother.

2. Reading - A Twist of the Wrist by Nancy Silverton (a cookbook by the founder of the La Brea Bakery); just finished The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka (not nearly as satisfying as The Not So Big House, her treatise on architecture); next up, our family summer reading book, The Brothers Karamazov.

3. Eating - Diet Coke, breakfast of champions, but in a minute I'll have the same breakfast I eat every day: Weetabix with 1% milk and Splenda

4. Doing - snuggling on the sofa with my seven-year-old son, while he watches The Fairly Odd Parents, which I secretly enjoy because it's so subversive. My favorite character? Jorgen Von Strangle, toughest fairy in the universe and dead ringer for Arnold Schwarzenegger. You're never too old for Saturday morning cartoons.

5. Pondering - paint colors, because (hooray!) the painter arrives Monday AM

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Put Down the Duckie

"Put Down the Duckie" is one of my favorite Sesame Street songs. If you listen to a little of this clip, you'll see why. (If you have five minutes to spare, listen to the whole thing. It's a star-studded trip through the late 80's.) Ernie gets great advice: "You gotta put down the Duckie if you wanna play the saxophone." Ernie wants to play the saxophone: I want to ski, hike uphill, and sit cross-legged on the floor. After years of inactivity and too much good food, I'm on a diet, trying to learn a new way to eat and exercise.

I love reading, writing, conversation, going to the theater, and drawing. I find these activities deeply engaging, recreational in the best sense of the word, and I hate the word sedentary---where would the world be if Jane Austen had been into extreme sports? I know that other people find physical activity satisfying in ways I don't understand. My partner Garden Girl builds stone walls and digs ponds for fun, then returns to the house sweaty, muddy and triumphant. I don't get it, but I want to. (Well, maybe not dirt part.)

I love to share a meal with my family and friends. Everything from planning the menu to the last candlelit moments lingering at the table is a pleasure to me. Even the clean-up is a chance to continue the conversation or reflect on the evening. I love to go to the market and find a great new cheese or splurge on wild king salmon. I love to see my children make old family recipes. I love fine dining and beautiful cookbooks.

I want to join my skiing, bike-riding, soccer-playing family, but to get there I must put aside the familiar and beloved habits I've acquired, at least for a little while, and learn a new way of being. It's not a matter of just eating moderately and exercising a little, I have to change the way I view myself in the world. I've got to put down the duckie so I can learn to play the saxophone.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Five: Gifts and Talents

From Sally over at RevGalBlogPals:
Our Circuit (Methodist) is having a "Gifts and talents day" tomorrow- we have a minister visiting from another circuit who has modified the Myers Briggs personality test and added a few things of his own to run a day where we get to look at ourselves in the light of giftings and of the whole church. The idea is to encourage everyone with the news that there is room for you in the ministry of the church- and perhaps to discover where that ministry might be.....

It should be an interesting day, and one where I hope people will leave feeling encouraged and challenged...

So with gifts and talents in mind here is todays Friday 5;

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them?
I've loved them since I was old enough to read Teen and Tiger Beat, but I don't take them too seriously. Confession: I am weirdly superstitious about horoscopes and fortune-telling and would never, ever go to a psychic.

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture ?
I don't know. Does anyone know of a test I can take?

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had yours yet? If so what was it, if not dream away what would you like it to be?
I haven't had my 15 minutes of fame, but I've been a guest on the Jim and Tammy Show (that's Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker) and our family was on Trading Spaces. I frequently have my picture in the paper, but that's about work, not about me.
My fantasy? I'd like to be a talk show host and get to learn about new people every day.

4. If you were given a 2 year sabbatical ( oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...
Podcasting. I'd like to interview all my heroes and have them tell their stories to the world. The coolest part: some of my heroes don't even know they are heroes. How fun would it be to call them up and invite them to appear on "Ruby's Hero Show?" Some of you are my heroes and don't know it yet. Wouldn't you like to get a call?

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you.
I am not an athlete and never have been. In ten years at the same school, I never once won "Athlete of the Week" and there were only 35 girls in my class. This was before schools worked so hard to enhance self-esteem, and the faculty thought it was just fine that the little Oscar-like trophy went home with the same four or five people week after week. I'm over it. Really. But, it would be fun to be strong, fast and competitive.

Bonus question: Back to the church- what does every member ministry mean to you? Is it truly possible to encourage/ implement?
Maybe if we invite enough people to appear on your local version of "Ruby's Hero Show" they'll understand how awesomely beautiful and gifted they are and they'll start being all God created them to be.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Nights

My partner, Garden Girl, says that I work too-o-o-o much, but really, what else would I want to do on a summer evening but read today's opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court? (I definitely don't want to repeat last night's adventure, which you can read about here. Scroll down past the cute baby birds if you want to know how I ended up covered in copious amounts of goose poop. Garden Girl and I have different ideas of how we'd choose to spend a summer evening. But I digress.)
Reading the Court's opinions this term has been like visiting the Mad Hatter's tea party with Ruth Bader Ginsburg playing the part of Alice. So far this term the Supremes have ruled that --

*a law outlawing a late-term abortion procedure is constitutional, even if it might be unconstitutional in some circumstances -- but this OK because a woman in a life-threatening situation can still get a court order to have a procedure to save her life

*a nonsensical sign that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is not protected free speech because there is an exception to the First Amendment for oblique drug references by students who want to get the attention of CNN reporters

* an inmate's appeal of a life sentence may not be heard by any court because it was filed a day or so after the deadline for appeals because of a judge's error in calculating the deadline

* a woman cannot sue for pay discrimination unless she files her claim within 180 days of the initial pay decision, even if she doesn't know about the pay inequity until much later, and even if the initial pay discrimination continues and compounds over the years

This is just a sample, and the justices writing for the losing side in these cases are visibly frustrated. The usually mild Justice Souter wrote of the decision throwing out the inmate's suit: "It is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way." Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Five--Hot Town, Summer in the City

as posted at RevGalBlogPals

Hot town, summer in the city...or town, or suburb, or hamlet, or burg, or unincorporated zone, or rural area of your choice---pretty much anywhere but the southern hemisphere, it's summer. (Australians and others, consider this an invitation to take a break from winter for a while.)

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s)

Beverage: 7 oz. pony bottles of Rolling Rock beer, ice cold, with a little sand and salt clinging to the emerald green glass

Food: Guacamole and chips (see a future post for info about table-side guacamole service by Very Hip Fancy Restaurant)

2. Song that "says" summer to you. (Need not be about summer explicitly.)

This is the B side of Mack the Knife and it says summer, summer, summer to me. I learned to dance like a grown-up to this song! Take a minute to listen and imagine dancing on a summer night on a wide porch overlooking the harbor.

3. A childhood summer memory

Catching lightning bugs and coming inside after riding the waves at Ginger Beach so many times that when I got in bed it rocked like a raft in the ocean, with my feet dusty from going barefoot all day, and my mother saying "Why don't you take a nice cool bath?" -- to this day I don't understand the attraction of a hot bath.

4. An adult summer memory

I have some great summer memories, but the summer I remember most vividly is the summer of 1988, the worst drought since the dustbowl, with temperatures above ninety for more than 15 days in a row -- and I was very, very pregnant.

5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future. (weather, location, activities)
See answers to 1-3 above and add some books from last week's Friday Five and you got it!

Optional: Does your place of worship do anything differently in the summer? (Fewer services, casual dress, etc.)
Our congregation has two church buildings in different parts of town -- I know, it's a long story. The smaller, older building has air-conditioning, so the main service is held there in the summer. My seven year old son loves to pull the bell-rope that hangs in the tower and let it lift him off his feet! I love worshiping in the colonial building that is so like the architecture of my birthplace.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Good Day in the Little Blue State

I have met these folks, and the good news is that they were not in the Little Blue State today. A gay rights bill is before the General Assembly for the fifth time in ten years. If passed, the bill will ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Over the years, there have been protests and hearings and threats and name-calling. But not today. In a Senate hearing today, only three people spoke against the bill. More than twenty people spoke in favor, including several statewide elected officials. No protesters, no posters, no hate-mongering. Well, maybe a little hate-mongering, but it wasn't very effective.

As soon as the hearing ended, we moved down the hall to the Governor's office where she signed into law a bill that will allow same-sex couples and dating couples to obtain Protection From Abuse Orders in domestic violence cases. It doesn't sound like a cause for celebration, but it is. This new law will save lives.

Tonight when I came home, I ran across this statement from Mildred Loving, who spoke out for marriage equality for same-sex couples on the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court opinion that struck down Virginia's ban on inter-racial marriage.

Here's a picture from the Senate hearing. I'm the one who's Easy to Spot in a Crowd.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back in the Nest

I've been traveling and I am too tired for words so I'll tell you about my trip in pictures:
I've been far away in a city whose skyline features this landmark--

And I stayed in a hotel that looks like this--

Coincidence? I think not.

Laura Love sang Happy Birthday to my friend Larry.

I saw one of my heroes.

And I am glad to be home to see that this little nest

looks like this.

And the mama bird is close by.

P.S. thanks for the pictures Garden Girl.