Monday, December 25, 2006

To All a Good Night

One Christmas Eve service....

Two tired feet and two kinds of gumbo (one with regular sausage and one with deer sausage, if you must know! It was delicious, if I do say so myself.)...

Three scary trees

(seriously, these trees give me the creeps,
they are weird-looking)

and tomorrow is Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I Swear, Gladys, The Young People These Days!

You're gonna either love this, or you're gonna think I have flipped my ever-loving mind. I'm really not a "with-it" kind of woman when it comes to young people's music (horrors!). I much prefer my oldies! But I have heard of the band Cold Play, and somewhere along the line, I have heard their version of this song* (I may live in medium-town Louisiana, but I don't live totally under a rock!). I've watched this video several times and something about it moves me every time.

This is part of the explanatory blurb from the group's website: The current performers in
Young at Heart range in age from 73 to 92. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions.

*UPDATE: I have since learned that it was the very cool Ayekah who sent me the link to Cold Play's original version of this song.

Moving On, For Now

It will be an uphill climb, but I know the path will be illuminated, even if only one or two steps at a time. And I am grateful.

(I will update when there is something to tell. We are still looking at rehab opportunities, and one of us is still bemoaning the fact that we are zooming in on a two year program. I believe something like that is what he needs, pray that he begins to believe it too, and if given the opportunity, will enter the program with hope intact and a positive attitude.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Waiting for the Light, Again

I have not written about it, but my son has been incarcerated for several months now. We had gotten him out and about a month after that he got in trouble again. When we got him out the first time, the judge and I both told him if he got into any more trouble, he would have to sit in jail until his court date.

Thanksgiving was hard for me. And Christmas was looking even harder. We have an appointment with the DA on Monday to talk to him about some possibilities for getting my son some help. I have been fretting over the fact that he was going to be locked up for Christmas and was thinking we could maybe get him out and have him sent to rehab soon after Christmas.

But this past week, an incident occurred which reminded me of how fragile and elusive success is when you are dealing with addiction. We had a young man working for us from a local halfway house and he did not make it into work on Thursday. The people in charge called from the halfway house to tell us that he and three others had tested positive for drugs. We could not believe it. This young man had been counting up the months till he could get out. Now he goes straight back to jail and he loses his good behavior time so he will be serving a longer sentence.

I think we could bail my son out and have him home for Christmas, I think the DA is shocked that we have not done so. And sometimes, it feels cruel to leave him in there when we could get him out and bring him home. But lately, I have had the feeling that what my son needs is more time to wait and figure out that this is his problem and he has t o devote himself to helping himself. I can't do it for him.

I have been trying to encourage him and to remind him of his progress (he has been working on preparing for his GED test and has made great improvements). It is so hard sometimes to know what to do. It hurts to visit him once a week and not be able to touch him or hug him. It's very hard to think of him being in there over the Christmas holidays. But these thoughts have come to me, thoughts of Advent in jail, and waiting in darkness, thoughts that maybe that is how it needs to be, as hard as that is to accept. There are no easy answers.

And maybe I need to deliberately and consciously quiet myself and wait with expectation, as hard as that is to accept.

Does that make any sense whatsoever? As far as my son (and I) are concerned, does it make sense that I should consider this a time of waiting in darkness for the light to come and shine, in particular for my son? Isn't that a part of the task of Advent, waiting for God to show up in the darkness? Could I dare trust that this is a season pregnant with hope, that my son might suffer the darkness of a jail cell in this wonderful season and might emerge with a greater appreciation and a stronger desire for life in the Light?

I had this terrible dream one night that some sympathetic souls had bailed him out and they did not know his problem and when they found out, they were trying to call to let me know he was out and on his way to get drugs, but I almost did not get the phone call because the caller was not sure of my name and we thought it was a prank call. I awoke in a panic with my thoughts set on running to rescue him, and then I thought, I wonder if he is angry at us for not getting him out of that terrible place? Oh my God, the agony. May God's protective hand remain upon my son's shoulder.

Monday, December 04, 2006

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

The keeper of the blog slipped up and forgot her second blogaversary!

What was she thinking?

Obviously, she was not.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Sister & I on Thanksgiving Day

(I am not that short, she is just tall. What can I say? She ate dirt as a kid, I did not, and it obviously stunted my growth!)

She lives within walking distance of Galveston Bay. I was taking photos of my youngest daughter and her boyfriend and asked youngest to get a photo of my sister and I. The original photo had trees and a handicapped parking sign that I edited out. I was thinking of doing something with this for her for Christmas or her February birthday (my mom would probably like one too. Hmmm, two gifts with one stone. That's always a bargain!), but when I printed it, I saw that I did not leave enough border on the edges and the type runs too close to the edges. So that means if I am going to print the darn thing, I will have to do all the Photoshop work over again, once again taking out those silly background distractions, which is a tedious job. Yeah, well, I will get it done right, eventually. But probably not while it is still called Today.

However, that is one of my hopes for the year to come, to be more aware of the value of each "Today" and to use them more fully, whatever my circumstances are. I have fallen into a bad habit of "waa-waa-ing" and have been letting too many days slip through my fingers. Since the majority of my days have already been spent, I would like to use the rest of them to the fullest degree possible.

Today. Right now. Right this instant. It is all we really have.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Caribbean Cemeteries

I am in a slump of sorts. I can't seem to think of anything of substance to write about so here are more pictures.

Though I am somewhat like my mother who loves to peruse old cemeteries, it was SpookyRach over at
Skewed View, who influenced my fascination with taking cemetery photos. Here are a few from cemeteries on Barbados and one from St. Lucia...

I did not hear nature stand up and say anything at all to the world, frankly, but I do sometimes wish my own elements were a little better mixed.

You go down steps to get to the door of this vault. I don't kn0w why I did not think to get a photo of the steps themselves (probably because I was worried about hurrying up and getting back to the bus, because the driver make it quite clear he had no qualms about leaving us if we were late.)

This door looks mighty thin to get a casket through. Notice the ocean in the background. They have a lovely view!

The pink and black theme of this one reminds me of a fifties kitchen or bathroom!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Red Was the Theme of the Day

Hubby had to go to Natchitoches last Saturday for work and my youngest daughter and I tagged along. The downtown area was crowded with folks coming in to watch the "Flipping of the Switch" ceremony that evening. Natchitoches is known for their Festival of Lights. We did not stay for the lighting ceremony but I hope to return and see all the lights sometime before Christmas.

Daughter and I took a carriage ride around the town.

Everywhere we went, we saw evidence of this woman's wedding. First we saw her riding alone in a white carriage, later we saw her riding with her groom (after the wedding, apparently). Here she is at the church with part of her wedding party. They certainly made a day of it. As we were leaving, the girls were loaded up in the carriage to take a ride, but the horse was skiddish so the girls had to be taken out. And the horse was taken back to the barn because they could not figure out what his problem was.

And of course, Santas were everywhere. I could have at least changed my angle of view so this one would not be stuck with a tree growing out of his head! I was inside an old hardware store and I was not sure they would appreciate me taking photos so I was snapping quickly.

This guy looks like he is rubbing his old tired knee.

My parents had an old (putrid) green Dodge that had fins like this '57 Chevy. I think there are still parts of it left in the woods out by my uncle's house in rural Lousisiana. By the time they were done driving the car there was a hole rusting out in the floorboard of the back seat area.

Finally, I like this one, even though the red is not as obvious as some of the other photos. You can see the reflections of me and my daughter on each side of the red plate (I am the shorter one!). The name of the store, the sentiment expressed, Merci Beaucoup, means thank you very much, or many thanks. For a long while my attitude of Merci Beaucoup was in very short supply. I want to remember to be grateful for the blessings of life. An "attitude of gratitude" really does make a difference, and I believe one can always find something to be grateful for.

This is Different (and Boring)

Perhaps a little more introspective than some of the things I usually post, but here it is.


I rarely see current photos of myself that I like. It's been a little bit of a personal challenge to force myself to take more photos of me and to find some that I can at least look at without wishing I were not so horribly exposed (to be able to look at myself without self-condemnation, to be able to look at myself with acceptance). I started out doing reflective and obscured views. Occasionally I will take one of my face that I do not absolutely hate, which is not to say that I love it, only that I can look at it without groaning inwardly about how badly I look. This face is not beautiful, but it is mine, and there is a loveliness there, hidden beneath the apparent harshness. (And this photo is not a completely honest rendition of my face, I erased a very deep "frown line" from my forehead, right between my eyes. Frown line, that is what my mother calls it. I prefer to think of it as my "thinking line", the line that is a visible tribute to all that time I spend pondering the wonders and fallacies of the universe!)

Am I angry?
Am I tired?
Am I sad?
The phsychiatrist advises,
"Have someone who knows you well look at your eyes."

I like this one a lot.
I should have paid more attention to my surroundings.
I was just playing around
(the story of my life, where would I be
had I not spent so much time playing around?).

I love this one.
I think
I have nailed the essence of "me" here,
in this photo,
always safely hidden behind obscuring layers.
The sun is setting behind me.
and all I have to do is turn around
to see the real thing, but I am content
to study the reflection in the window.
(Or am I afraid to see the setting sun?)

I'm forever playing around with the filters in Photoshop, trying to make photos look more like paintings and less like photos. I kind of like this one too.


And now for a tiny moment of complaining:

Since I have been home, I have been falling apart in a million tiny ways...It all began with a visit to the gynecologist where they declared my blood pressure was too high and that I had a terrible yeast infection which was probably due to high sugar levels. Took medicine home for the infection (two "overnight" pills and a tube of gunk).

Next up was the dermatologist checkup. I thought he was going to thoroughly check the rest of me for suspicious moles. He checked the incision and decided to biopsy and remove a black mole that was near the incision sight. I asked him about a couple of moles on my back, but the one that was bothering me must have been hidden under my bra strap. When I got back to work, I kept feeling like something was pricking me on my back. When I got home, my daughter looked and the mole was bleeding. So I had to return the next day to the durn dermatologist, where he froze the sucker off and declared it to be totally harmless, but absolutely annoying, especially when located under a bra strap or at a waist line.

So, with that done, I went to the family doctor, who said he never put much credence into blood pressure readings done at the gynecologist's office and found my blood pressure to be within normal range. But tomorrow I'll go do blood work to find out about the sugar, and also to check the thyroid because yeast infections sometimes indicate thyroid problems (and maybe thyroid problems are behind my case of the "gloomies" I have been experiencing lately, or maybe thyroid problems are behind the lethargy I have been experiencing lately, or maybe thyroid problems are behind the lack of creativity I have been experiencing lately, or maybe thyroid problems are the reason I have not won the lottery lately. Ha! Nope! I am normally somewhat melancholic and lazy! And you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery.) Oh yeah, he also discovered an ear infection (which I knew was brewing), so I am now taking an antibiotic and a decongestant.

In the meantime, I also went to the dentist, got a tooth pulled to make way for a bridge and was assured that my problems could be fixed, thus allaying my fears of having to wear dentures. Sheesh. It will cost as much as small bathroom redo (or another cruise!), but I will at least be chewing with my own choppers for a while longer (and the dentist will let us pay our portion out. Good thing he is young, I imagine it is going to take the rest of our lives to pay my chopper repair bill alone!).

The gyencologist assures me it is all maintenance work. All I know is that for about seven weeks in a row, I have various doctor visits scheduled and I don't like it. And I really shouldn't complain, for I am relatively healthy.

And grateful.

(Small update: Thyroid is normal, blood pressure is not a concern at this moment, but the bad cholesterol is high and the good is low. I have this plan to eat walnuts and oatmeal everyday! I have three months to turn things around, otherwise I guess I'll have to start taking cholesterol medicine. The sugar is slightly elevated, not enough for the doctor to call me a diabetic, but still, another good reason for me to start watching my diet and to get a little exercise going.)

People Pics

Ok, in all honesty, I really was not brave enough to get too many butt shots. I was too afraid of people catching on to what I was doing and maybe throwing me overboard for participating in such a tasteless endeavor!

And to be fair to this woman that may be a bathing suit we see and not visible panty lines.

The woman in the red dress, the blue dress, the lime green dress and the woman on the sitting on the bench in the hot pink dress all bought their dresses on the island of St. Maarten for $4.99. We were all out on the deck, watching our departure from the port, making sure the captain of the ship was doing things right.

It is my opinion that this tattoo is a little too much of a good thing.

I love to watch people when they pose for the camera.

Here we have the winner of the "Whitest Legs on the Cruise Ship" contest.

This is what makes digital photography so much fun, the ability to immediately see the picture one has captured, and the opportunity for "do-overs" if you've messed up the first picture.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I have not totally abandoned this space. I just don't know where my time goes and I have not had much to say. I tweaked the blog template today. Please let me know if anything looks wonky. I think I did things correctly. And by the way, if you have not switched to Blogger Beta, I can't figure out how to comment on your blogs.

This was supposed to be a nice fallish Thanksgiving collage but it morphed into something a little bit different. (I know it's weird, but I have been in some weird moods lately.)

Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh Dear Me

I've switched to Blogger Beta, downloaded Google's software pack (Firefox is really awesome), and somehow managed to delete a pretty major portion of my 15 year old's photos. They were in my Picasa file and I thought I was just removing them from my file, and not the hard drive itself. Ooopsie. My bad (as she might say). I have not yet broken the news to her, think I will wait until after church before I say anything.

Now I see that I can customize the template and change colors all around to suit my current fancy but I am afraid to do anything more!

I was feeling rather proud of myself but now my old photography teacher's words are ringing in my ears -- Technologically challenged.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Scenes From St. Lucia

I think these are all from St. Lucia. I thought I had a foolproof (and lazy) way to keep myself organized on what was what in my photos, but my system turned out to be somewhat flawed. Nevertheless, the scenery was gorgeous.

It is hard to imagine just how massive this ship was.

It was huge. I believe this is the "butt end", aft, they call it, of the ship. It took a day or two for me to learn my aft from my forward end. That was important to know because our room was on the aft end. What does it say that I would rather see where I have been than where I am going?

I'm going to write more eventually. And I have a few potentially humorous and entertaining shots. It is just that I am in a slump right now for some reason and even blogging does not seem much like fun.

I'll be around. . .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Walking into our room for the first time, we were already a bit apprehensive about sailing on the open sea. It did not exactly inspire my greatest confidence to see these two life vests on the bed.
One might say I was immediately inspired to hide my eyes and pray (or to run back to the gangplank, wherever it was, and demand to be released immediately back to firm ground)! They had a different towel creature every night. The bunny and the monkey were my favorites.
In the end, we managed to get our life vests on and make our way down for the muster drill, where they explain exactly what to do in case of a real emergency. It was required by international maritime law that all passengers attend this drill. I think they call it a muster drill because you have to muster up the courage to go out in public wearing that ridiculous looking puffy orange vest.

Don't we look lovely? Kind of like a modern version of that old painting, American Gothic??

(My computer is still not acting exactly right. It took forever to post these photos. In fact, I got two of them posted and had to try for several days before I could get the others to post. I am getting ready to make the switch to the Beta Blogger thing and in the process, I may upload the whole Google software package so that I can use Picasa to upload my photos.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I'm Just Wondering

Every evening on the ship we received a newsletter filled with information about the next day. They listed activites on board and posted info on the island we were visiting as well as arrival and departure times. They also noted what time the sun would rise and set. Fortunately for me, my husband is an early riser, so I got to see the sun rise several times during the week.

The thing I want to know is, how do they know when the sun is going to rise? What I mean is, how can they say it will rise at 6:13 a.m. when the rising of the sun is such a glorious and gently unfolding process?

Has the sun truly risen when you are sitting in total darkness and you see the first small ray of light at 6:13 a.m.? Or has the sun officially risen when all the darkness has dissipated at 6:13 a.m. and there is only light that is visible?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Home From the Sea

and already wondering when I can return! We had a wonderful time. Re-entry to the real world has been a little rough (how about a vacation to recover from the vacation?) We got home late Sunday night and I could have kicked myself for not taking Monday off.

I'll be writing more and posting a few pictures soon and I am looking forward to reading about what all has been going on in blogdom while I have been away.

I have had a few computer problems that kept me from posting sooner, but I think (hope) I may have those ironed out now.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Annie's Antidote for Anxiety

I finally figured out what to do with this little figure. One might say I am off to carpe my diem! Thanks for all the encouragement and the well wishes in comments on the previous post. Sorry I never got around to acknowledging them in the comment section.

The hair is cut, the toes are not painted (and likely will not be), the huge camera memory card has been obtained, I look like the original white elephant in my swimsuit (never fear, there will be no pictures of that sight!) and now, it is time for the beloved (ha ha) last-minute "crunch-time". Here is hoping I do not lose my sanity before my ship comes in!

I'll be back....