Sunday, August 31, 2008

Support Cat House on the Kings...

Watch this video and if your heart doesn't thaw, check for a pulse because you may be dead.


I needed this, especially in light of the many pets left behind during Katrina; cruelly left to die alone - as were their humans who would not leave them.

Give as you are led.

And yes, I cry easily when it comes to animals.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's Musical Muse?

Teh-heh! I want a mylar (aluminum foil?) wraparound, too.

To quote another blogger: Now "That's a wrap!"

Yes, I know, my bad. Maybe it's the loss of blood.

And so it goes.
*

Bloody Hell and Hurricanes

Amid the groaning, gasping, and writhing these last few days, the stone continues the ride to freedom. How do I know? The erratic presence of blood in the urine is usually a dead giveaway.

The lower back pain subsided again last evening and I was able to call my sister to check on NOLA and the Gulf Coast situation without my voice trembling. We talked for about an hour and she said that St. Bernard Parish was evacuating and some areas of Orleans Parish were waiting for word. Of course, the parishes closer to the Gulf were already under a mandatory evacuation order, but Mayor Nagin has been his usual useless self.

I mentioned that news stories I’d seen were more concerned for the oil rigs than about people in the area. Said I’d been trying to reach her all day; calling every hour on the hour; she said she had been in tenant meetings all day planning the evacuation of all tenants from the apartments. She’s very glad to hear from me and will call when they get to wherever they plan to go. Needless to say I’m happy to have caught up with her as well.

She had already gassed up the car and packed basic supplies; she would pick up my niece and her children when the final decision was made. I can tell that she’s anxious, if not downright scared. Who can blame her after all she’s lost?

Note that the "cone" of the projected path in the image above has narrowed today to encompass Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. That doesn't bode well.

So, with peace of mind that the sister was OK with a getaway a plan, and being relatively pain-free I turned in for some needed sleep. That peaceful rest was shattered at 5 am when I woke feeling that I had been kicked – hard. Took something for the pain and returned to bed hoping to lie still while the pill took hold and breathing would get back to normal.

Half hour later and still no let up; now bathroom calls, so off I go (so to say) and it is immediately obvious that nothing is happening. As I look down to figure out the problem a small clot plops out and a stream of cola-coloured urine explodes into the bowl. No pain, but said clot means the little irritation has been on the move.

While the level of pain isn’t as horrific as last week (at least at the moment), I am wondering if there might be a second rock about to dislodge and go with the flow – sorry – following its brother. I dread to think about that, but there is that possibility.

Yes, I am drinking plenty of water and the occasional green tea, but mostly water.

And so it goes.

*

Obama Caturday

And so it goes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Three Years Later...


Keep NOLA and the entire Gulf region in prayer.

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Kidney Stone!!!

Yep, here we go again! I can't believe this.

While at work this afternoon I suddenly experienced excruciating pain in the lower back and the urge to be sick.

Breaking out in a cold sweat and trembling uncontrollably, which only made the nausea more pronounced, I closed the store and spent about 10 minutes face down in the porcelain pot.

The lower back pain was diminished. Praise be to God.

Still there, but not as prominent, is the blood in my urine telling me that I am in for another bumpy few days.

I hope this makes sense.

I am exhausted and in great pain.

And so it goes.
*

Uneducated Electorate Promotes Democracy Lost

I've been saying this for years, but Dreyfuss explains it very well. Oh, this isn't just another PSA aimed at getting folks to vote.
No, this is reality and the future in waiting.



Yes,watch it again. And again, if necessary. Just do the right thing for the country, yourself and those who will come after us.

And so it goes.
*

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

GLBT Activist Del Martin: R.I.P.

Del Martin was 87 years old. Del and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyons, longtime equal rights activists were the first to marry in San Francisco in both 2004 and earlier this year. Married by SF mayor Gavin Newsom personally in 2004 and 08, they became a symbol of long term committed relationships.

This interview from Towleroad puts a human face on these two women as well as the misguided, hateful efforts behind Prop. 8. Here is the interview embedded with permission:



More on the story HERE. Includes a photo of their recent marriage with a beaming Mayor Newsom in the background.

Prayers ascend for Phyllis, their friends, and families.

And so it goes.
*

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An American Prayer

I found this on HuffPo yesterday and read the story with interest. Didn't have the energy to view the video at the time, so I put it off until tonight. Here's part of the back story by co-writer Dave Stewart, which can be read HERE.

Earlier this year when I was recording "American Prayer," a song I originally co-wrote with Bono, the phrase, "When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me" seemed to take on a whole new resonance, given the inspirational candidacy of Barack Obama.

The song always contained one of my favorite passages from Dr. King, which was hauntingly delivered the night before he was assassinated. King says: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"

People long for a connection -- whether it is to music, to their country, or to a big idea.

The video:


And so it goes.

UPDATE: Just received a link to this video from Happy in Nevada and she was right, I did enjoy the video and its message.

Monday, August 25, 2008

McCain Has More Houses Than I Have...

Thanks to Cajun Boy in the City (originally his idea) I decided to create my own list of things I own less of than McCain has houses, which at last count appears to hover in the seven to ten range. Here’s a short list:

Summer shorts.
Pairs of shoes
Wrist watches.
Dress shirts.
Dress slacks
Flip-flops. (Yes, I live near the ocean.)
Tank shirts. (Yes, I live near the ocean.)
Swim trunks. (Yes, I live near the ocean.)
Feather Boas (It's a long story.)
Wine glasses
Water glasses
Old Fashion glasses
Coffee mugs.
Sheet sets.
Pillows
Bottles of wine
Framed artwork.
Pots and pans
Bottled Herbs.
Jeans
Live plants.

You get the idea.

This story seems to have legs and the right-wing-nuts are sputtering. So, go ahead, look around at your stuff, and make your own list. Trust me, it does a body (and soul) good.

Oh, and be sure to link to cajun boy in the city's blog. He'll get a kick out of that.

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chaplin's Great Dictator: Listen to These Words

A favourite scene from one of my favourite Chaplin films, but I am sure I will share others later. We need these words now more than ever.


I once owned this film on VHS when home video was new back in 1977 and I paid a whopping $100.00 for the two-tape set. I have no idea what happened to it after the break up and settlement, but I hear there is a new, restored version on DVD and I am sure it will be at least a 5th of the price paid for the tapes.

And so it goes.
*

Dread Of The Living Night

Unseasonably cool evening and overnight temperatures and low humidity charmed me into opening the windows and turning off the AC for the past few days.

Last night all that changed as the temps left the comfort zone, the humidity began to rise until I woke in a pool of sweat. Groggy and in the state of half sleep, initially I thought I was ill, but as I slowly became aware of the circumstances realized that the entire apartment had become hot and humid. No leaves rustled outside and not a lick of wind circulated through the apartment. Being tired and sore made me all the more irritated.

I hate getting up once bedded down, so I threw off the covers and tried to get back to the pleasant dream I was enjoying, but it was no good.

Tossed and turned until it was unbearable; got up, took a shower, shaved and made an iced decaf coffee. It was then I looked at the thermostat to discover the apartment temperature was 78’, the starless sky told me that clouds were hiding them, and the humidity was at 80%. Rain was in our future.

So, I closed the windows, cranked up the AC to dry the place (and me) out and grabbed a short nap on the sofa before getting ready for work.

The rain (when it came) was like a premature ejaculation; all noise and over too soon. By afternoon the humidity vanished and the winds picked up again so when I returned to the apartment the windows were opened and ready to accept the cool breezes; the bird songs emanating from the trees and marshes close by.

Tonight’s forecast calls for a low in the upper 50s’. Um, this is August, folks! Seems to me that autumn is coming way too soon and winter may be upon us before Halloween.

{{{{Shudder}}}}

I pray for a good night’s sleep tonight. I need it.

And so it goes.

*

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bad: How Many McMansions?

A bad weekend for McCain. In this clip from The Jed Report Grandpa McGrumpy is getting it from all sides - with one notable exception. Can you guess who that master of spin might be? Oh, come on, you know...OK, watch for yourself.

Yep! The same guy who trashed him in 2000. Ain't politics grand, though?

And so it goes.
*

Caturday? Good & Bad...

And so it goes.

*

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama Names Rick Astley as Running Mate

Greatest Prank Evah?

Springfield, IL - August 23, 2008 - In front of a cheering crowd as well as in a text message to over three million anxious supporters, U.S. Senator and prospective Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama declared to the world that he had selected 1980's pop musician Rick Astley to be his vice-presidential running mate.

"And now, America, what you've all been waiting to hear!" shouted the Junior Senator from the state of Illinois, as an American-flag-decorated curtain dropped behind Mr. Obama, immediately followed by the familiar opening drum beats and funk synthesizer chords of Astley's 1987 hit single, "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Pumping his fists downward in a striking motion as he spoke, Mr. Obama continued, "you just got Rickrolled, America!"*

While the title of "greatest prank ever" remains speculative, experts from the Guinness Book of World Records verified shortly before press time that Obama's announcement likely set the world record for the longest sustained silence from a crowd of over 10,000 people, at roughly over seven minutes.

* Rick has an uncanny resemblance to my friend Ron. I think it's the hair and ears, you know.

And so it goes.
*

Five Hilarious Anti-Obama Smears

Over at Alternet, Brad Reed offers this article entitled “The Right’s Five Most Hilariously Boneheaded Anti-Obama Smears".

In recent months, right-wing opinion outlets of varying pedigrees have accused Barack Obama of participating in an increasingly preposterous web of dopey conspiracies, including plots to make himself the next Hitler, to forge his birth certificate and, most sinisterly, to make children learn Spanish. And thanks to the wonder of the Internet and right-wing blogs, we can now chronicle how right-wing memes are spawned, from their genesis within the comments section of the Free Republic Web site to their viral spread across the Michelle Malkin blog empire to their final destination in the pages of "respectable" conservative opinion journals such as the Weekly Standard, the National Review and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. In this article, you will learn about the Right's five most unintentionally hilarious not-ready-for-prime-time smears that have been trial-ballooned in various forms during the 2008 presidential campaign. Each conspiracy will be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 wingnuts that will be a reflection of its originality, implausibility and sheer, flat-out insanity.

While I'd like to say that this article will be informative and enlightening, I'm not going to lie to you: Your IQ will plummet by at least 10 points just by reading about the first two smears, and by a whopping 30 points by the time you get to Obama's unseemly affection for fancy vegetables. I recommend listening to a nice collection of Bach cantatas while reading this article, and also having copies of Joyce's Ulysses and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow nearby in case you need to take a break and feel smart again. Now if you're ready, we're going to move on to the first smear, which just happens to be:

I will list the five titles below.

SMEAR #1: OBAMA IS A COMMIE NAZI!

SMEAR #2: BERNIE MAC/LUDACRIS/SOME OTHER BLACK ENTERTAINER WILL BRING DOWN OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN!

SMEAR #3: OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE PROVES ?

SMEAR #4: OBAMA EXERCISES TOO MUCH AND DOESN'T GORGE HIS FACE WITH FATTY, UNHEALTHY GOO!

SMEAR #5: OBAMA WANTS YOUR CHILD TO LEARN SPANISH!

Go over to read the whole story HERE. It is somewhat long, but worth it.

Warning: Spew Alert.

And so it goes.

*

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shearer: What Bush Said and Didn't Say About Katrina

Harry Shearer is the only "celebrity" who has followed and written essays about Katrina throughout these three long years. Over at HuffPo and his own site, he picks at Bush's speech yesterday at Jackson Barracks in NOLA:

"Never before has our nation seen such destruction by nature."

It's almost three years after the federal levees failed and flooded 80% of New Orleans, and George W. Bush stood today in Jackson Barracks, the National Guard h.q. in the Lower Ninth Ward, and spoke those words. They were not an ad lib, they were part of his written text. His speechwriters and advisors found it advisable to ignore three independent forensic engineering studies, and the Corps of Engineers' own 6000-page report, and blame the flooding on "nature."

He also said "we don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past," in regard to the Corps' work in rebuilding the levees and floodwalls. Yet there has not been a true accountability moment for the Corps, which one federal judge has said "knowingly" built a deficient system, under Congressional mandate, that failed to protect the city under conditions it was supposed to withstand. So we can ignore the reasons for the "mistakes of the past," and yet avoid repeating them?

As disturbing as the words he spoke were the words Bush never mentioned: in almost half an hour of remarks citing indications of progress in New Orleans since the disaster and citing the work that still needs to be done, the President never uttered the words "coastal restoration." When he bragged that he had, after protracted urging by the Governor and the state's Congressional delegation, allowed Louisiana to repay the federal share of levee rebuilding over thirty years instead of three, he said he didn't think the state should have to choose between better levees and "other" urgent programs. What is the urgent program the state is free to spend the money on? Coastal restoration, the rebuilding of the wetlands being lost at the rate of a football field every hour or so -- but the state's spending plans fall considerably short of what's needed to repair the buffer that protects New Orleans from more severe hurricanes, an area that also serves as the source for 40% of the nation's fresh seafood. If we can't even utter those words, can we face the task of repairing "the mistakes of the past"?

Gotta admit, the guy's got balls, to come to New Orleans and say, and not say, what he did. What's really amazing is that people gathered in Jackson Barracks, whoever they were, applauded him.

UPDATE: For those who insist on seeing all this through a purely partisan lens, a corrective note: After the Presidential debate commission rejected NO as a debate site ("not ready to host a major event"), the local org Women of the Storm partnered with Google/YouTube to sponsor an independent debate, and invited both candidates. McCain accepted, Obama declined. Just sayin'.

Thank You, Harry.

And so it goes.

*

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Impressive Live-Blogging of the Saddleback Forums

If the Wayward Episcopalian had not commented earlier on this blog I would have never known him or how insightful and talented he is.

If you missed the forums check out the links from his blogpost Liveblogging Rick Warren's Forum to MyDD where he did his live blogging of the entire evening.

And so it goes.

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Doctors Cannot Withhold Care to Gays

Well, this is quite a bitch slap in the collective face of the far right religious wingnuts.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― California's highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

The ruling was unanimous and a succinct 18 pages, a contrast to the state Supreme Court's 4-3 schism in May legalizing gay marriage.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections and Benitez has since given birth to three children.

Nevertheless, Benitez in 2001 sued the Vista-based North Coast Women's Care Medical Group. She and her lawyers successfully argued that a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation applies to doctors.

The law was originally designed to prevent hotels, restaurants and other public services from refusing to serve patrons because of their race. The Legislature has since expanded it to cover characteristics such as age and sexual orientation.

It's about time our side wins a few; we've lost more than our share lately.

Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, August 18, 2008

Full Moon: Coming or Going?

I remember a Far Side Cartoon with the caption: Full Moon and Empty Head…let me explain.

Last night at about 2 am, a bright light awakened me. It was the moon fully bloated and intruding into my bad dreams and not-so relaxing sleep. Figures. It was the likely source of both.

A full moon is a awesome thing to see and admire, so I got up and sat near the window to take it all in. I fell asleep sitting there and woke with the knowledge that this decision had done a number on my back and getting ready for work stooped over and looking like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein would be my fate.

As a result, I had to perform usual morning activities in reverse order. Very disconcerting and difficult to understand while still groggy from lack of sleep. But I did it and hit the road only a few minutes later than usual.

As I headed down the highway I witnessed a State Trooper vehicle backing out of a parking lot and heading in the wrong direction – directly at me – I pulled to the curb thinking that I’d hear the wailing of his siren any second as he barreled north in the southbound lane. Never happened.

Got back to the errands at hand, and as I entered the main drag into town was confronted by a local Rehoboth Beach police car backing out of a side street, Washington street. No flashing lights, no siren. WTF?

Finally arrived at the Church St. and Rehoboth Ave. intersection and no traffic in sight I turn onto the avenue and head into town to check the PO box when I became aware of a white Cadillac in front of me who was (yes, kids) backing up and aiming right for my car. WTF, again. Hit the horn!!! The driver slammed on the brakes inches from my bumper; shut off the engine and just sat there. I was spooked enough by this time to slip by and get out of the line of potential destruction.

Picked up the mail and made my way out of town and back onto the highway to work. The full moon was still high in the sky though fading in the light of the rising sun. I crossed the canal bridge heading back to the highway when I am – once again – confronted by yet another back-to-the-future anomaly. This is unbelievable in its size and level of the bizarre. There are seven vehicles (including two dump trucks) BACKING out of a side road ONTO the highway disregarding the prospect of northbound traffic. They just did it all at once.

Don’t ask. I don’t know what any of this means, but too many coincidences in one day for my taste.

I made it to work and thankfully, didn’t experience similar episodes on the way back to the apartment this evening. But I am looking forward to a quiet day with no driving; only a walk around the marshes tomorrow.

And so it goes.

*

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If You've Ever Been Owned By a Kitty...

you will identify with this animation.



Like I said, I miss a kitty on my lap, under foot, or attempting to trip me as I move from room to room.

And so it goes.
*

Relaxing Sunday

Lately, for some reason this blog is receiving numerous visits from the likes of Saudi Arabia, China and Kuwait . All are referrals from Google and the search criteria always includes "gay - gay rights, gay films, gay heroes". You get the idea; see a pattern here?

Now, what does this tell us, class? Uh-huh.

Moving on; it's been a beautiful day here. Perfect weather to take on whatever outdoor activity one had in mind. I took pictures, walked around the marshes, and sang to myself (thank G*d I was alone and in the marshes!) while enjoying the freedom of the day off.

While prepping dinner (avocado with shrimp ramoulade, country pork rib, and red bliss potatoes sauted in garlic butter) I came to the realization that it's about time I planned a photo trip to Assateague Island to visit the ocean, the ponies, and other wildlife there. Maybe after Labor Day weekend; maybe I can find some others to join me.

Last evening I watched - not one, but two - concert DVDs. Queen Live at Wembley and since is was still early (and I was cranked up) Paul McCartney in Red Square. Great experiences.

Update: I have not listened to, nor watched news coverage since yesterday morning. I fear I will be breaking that fast as I turn to the web for what's new. OR, maybe I'll watch more of the special features included in The Jazz Singer 3-disk DVD set received as a birthday gift. Tough call.

And so it goes,

*

Bumper Sticker of the Week.

While running early morning errands I saw this in the Staple's Parking Lot.

"If you're going to ride my ass, you could at least pull my hair."

I almost ran over the curb.

And so it goes.
*

McCain: Dazed and Confused.

Talking Points Memo has created a funny compilation video of goofs, gaffs, and guffaw-inducing mistakes made by poor grandpa (get off my lawn!) McCan't.



The Repubs have certainly lost their way if this is truly the best candidate they could cough up. Well,considering the others that tried, I guess the jury is still out on that. Who cares!

Just heard that Old John is said to be open to a pro-choice VP, but not a pro-equal rights one. Nice.

I got a real good laugh to begin my day.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Turn Off the News, Really.

As promised in this morning’s post I turned off TV and NPR news today. I weeded the flowerbeds, cleaned the dead frogs out of the pool filter, prepped country ribs for dinner and cleaned the apartment.

I listened to the jazz and Show tunes channels via DirecTV; sang along and had my spirits lifted beyond all expectations.

I could get used to this occasional deprivation, but I’m uncomfortable not knowing what’s going on in the world.

Showered and enjoying a festive cocktail while dinner is warming; after which, I plan to watch a concert DVD, though I haven’t decided on any one in particular. I have a few and enjoy them all. So, we’ll see what turns me on tonight.

I am very relaxed this evening. Hm… I may be on to something.

And so it goes.

*

Bishop Gene Robinson's Blessing to All

OK, so I cry when I watch this. Sue me.



As his dignity remained intact and even grew, that of the bigots at Lambeth was diminished accordingly.

And so it goes.

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Embarrassing Caturday

I miss having a kitty around. Maybe someday. As usual the image is from here.

And so it goes.
*

McCain does Not Speak for The McCain Campaign.

Well, that's a relief!

McCain to Russia: "In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations."

Oh? Then how about:

2008 invasion of Georgia by Russia
2008 invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia
2008 invasion of Anjouan by the African Union
2006 invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia
2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israel
2003 invasion of Iraq by United States-led coalition
2001 invasion of Afghanistan by United States-led coalition

Question, please. Is he really that stupid, or does he think WE are?

I will not listen to/watch news today.
I will not listen to /watch news today.
I will not listen to/watch news today.
I will not listen to/watch news today.
I will not listen to/watch news today.
I will not listen to/watch news today.

And so it goes.

*

Friday, August 15, 2008

Me as Wine




You Are Chardonnay



Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).
Deep down you are: Dependable and modest.
Your partying style: Understated and polite
Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat.

It Was All Good

August night and the windows were open, (sing that to the tune “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess) as I drifted off to sleep without a care Wednesday night.

Slept later than usual for me and after a light breakfast and a strong iced coffee headed off list in hand to triangulate the route for the errands to be done. Happily, they were completed in record time.

Back at the apartment there’s a phone message from my friend Ron, attempting to catch up on life. On returning his call he suggested doing dinner again, possibly tonight.

There was web work to be done and a site updated, so I initially wanted to beg off – with the financial situation being what it is – but after thinking about it decided it would be a good thing for body mind and spirit. (See this previous post for more.)

Worked on the web content and prepped it for uploading later this evening. Ron arrived and drove us to the restaurant, which is outside of town. We ordered wine and selected from their new Bistro Menu. The service was good and the food was delicious. The conversation ran our usual gamut of local news, politics, and tourist encounters.

The waiter and I shared travel experiences (he was at least half of my age) and I was happy to learn that some young Americans still have the travel/adventure spirit. It gave me hope. Yes, he has been to Alaska. Juneau, Alaska.

The drive home was the usual “dodge the asshole” road game but we survived without a scratch.

The website was updated and uploaded and I was pleasantly satisfied (the steak did it) for the first time in weeks. It was nice to be out among the living. I gotta do this more often. Thanks, Ron.

Tomorrow I pick up the new point & shoot digital camera I’ve had my eye on for a while. It appears my luck may have changed for the better. I received a $40.00 gift card and the camera is on sale at 20% off. It will be a birthday present to myself. I may even wrap it and place it under my birthday butterfly bush…

And so it goes.

*

Stupidity in Bloom

First he's caught on tape slapping his knee with an American Flag in a feeble attempt to keep time with the music, and now this.

Caption it, if you like.

Every time I think he can't get more embarrassing, he proves me wrong. Again and again.

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another Day in The Life...

Nothin’ Says Lovin From the Oven.

The workweek went surprisingly well and while the days were long, the hours were fun filled for the most part. And that’s saying plenty for an August. If you have ever lived in a beach resort during this month, you know what I mean.

I may have mentioned earlier that in the past 13 months I have killed three toaster ovens. How? I haven’t a clue. I don’t use them daily and never for toast. I have a Cuisinart toaster for that job and it performs better than any of these cursed devices ever could.

OK, the first early death could have been anticipated; it was a $20.00 Wal-Mart special. Yes well…it was purchased in July 2007, when I was a mental and physical basket case.
Not an excuse, just full disclosure.

The second was a slightly larger Black and Decker that performed no better and croaked after a few months of service. Following that death I was not going to invest in an even more expensive oven so bought a refurbished unit from the B&D outlet store. It lasted one month beyond the “limited warranty” period. Surprised? Nah!

I’ve decided to go beyond this toaster oven crap and with winter approaching want to bake and roast again. Besides there are some really good recipes offered by Peter over at Tippin’ the Scales that sound so good, are relatively easy, and require baking. So, I began looking into a more substantial combo machine. I’ve come up with a Cuisinart TOB 165 Convection/Toaster Oven combo (with exact heat sensor) and that’s where I’m heading. It roasts and bakes in less time than a regular oven and doesn’t heat up the apartment. It uses up to 1500 watts, but less at lower oven settings due to that “exact heat sensor" technology. While I have never used a convection oven, members of a cooking club are certain the experience will be positive to the point of addiction. OK, I’m ready.

I was getting energized about this purchase, but it’s going to have to wait. I was blindsided by the need for a new eyeglass prescription (almost thrice the price of the oven) and am short of funds to make the purchase right now. Looking forward to next month.

Meanwhile a crock-pot of chicken vegetable soup is bubbling nicely on the countertop space that would otherwise hold the longed-for oven. Bother!

Your usual table for one, Mr. Bitter?

And so it goes.
*

New Anti-McCain Ad: Better than the Pros Produce

A friend in NYC sent the link.
This one is just so good. Understated. Clear and concise content. Great voice over. Have a look and see what you think.



Update: I see that John at Americablog has this one embedded, too.

And so it goes.

*

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Katrina, Three Years On...

Party like it's August 29th.
"Let's do what we do!" A great suggestion from Louis Maistros over at Humid City. Loki and the HC krewe are always on top of things. Here's a taste:
So it’s August and the big anniversary is coming up. Me and the family usually head to Gulf Shores, Alabama to lie on the beach, count our blessings, and forget. We really don’t need a flashy annual reminder of what turned our lives upside down.

I understand the desire to commemorate what happened, and to pay tribute to the lives that were lost. But that’s really not us, y’know? This is the land of jazz funerals; where the usual drill is to look death in the eye, thumb our collective nose at it, and strike up the band. All this commemoration stuff is a just a flat-out bummer, and it’s out of character.

This year, let’s do what we do. Turn the beat around. Take a sad song and make it better. Transform our blues into a turbo-charged, sugar-frosted luv-mo-sheen. Let’s take the anniversary of the worst thing that’s ever happened to this city and make it a day that promotes change for the better and celebrates the power of redemption over catastrophe. Let’s be a city of wise-aching smart alecks. Yes, this is what we do.

I have a proposal for my fellow New Orleanians.

This year, on August 29, instead of mulling over our misfortunes, let’s take a cue from the president. Let’s follow his lead – with an act of solidarity and tolerance that will push the boundaries of human comprehension.

This August 29, let’s shuffle off the collective gloom by having a citywide party that celebrates the birthday of John McCain.

Huh?

Pop quiz: Where was President Bush when the big storm hit, on August 29, 2005?
Answer?

Go HERE and read the whole thing.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jacques Brel: Perfect for this Evening.

It was a long and tiring day; bad weather and not-so-happy tourists. Then I returned to the apartment and found this. I had been humming it all evening and wondered if by chance it might be available. As you will see, it is.

It brought me back to my teen-hood and 1964 while working and meeting new people in NYC, was introduced to the music of and fell in love with Jacques Brel.
This may have been a Scopitone film, but I don't remember. Here he is with "une valse a mille temps" for all the world to see, again.
I will sleep well tonight with his face and this tune swirling in my head.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Verdict: Get Out More!

I’ve been sorting this out in my head, so here goes.

“Get involved again. Be more social. Volunteer again. Someone or some group can use your talents. Forget about the old ‘friends’ who ignore you and have left you behind. That is all in the past now. If you happen to see them out and about say hello and move on.” These are observations/suggestions as voiced by my therapist during our session yesterday morning and, of course, he’s right.

I’ve been here before and had been making progress in being more social. So what happened? Not having seen him since May let me backslide and lose the forward momentum. Working and saving every penny to pay the bills (attorney fees, an eye exam & new glasses, etc.) has meant little money for outside social activity. Life has to be more than working, cooking, sleeping, grocery shopping, cleaning, doctor visits, oh, and working.

Volunteering? Yes, there are a couple of good options around; the Film Society is gearing up for it’s annual independent festival; a new no-kill animal shelter is struggling to get off the ground and maybe could use an extra pair of hands. Inquiring phone calls will begin on Monday.

A second part-time job? Absolutely, that would be a great help and after the session yesterday I applied at three different places to get the ball rolling. There may be nothing available right now, but when the young’uns head back to college at the end of this month, who knows?

Need to plug on. Spinning my wheels is tiring and a waste of energy.

And so it goes.

*

The John Edwards Cocktail: 2 parts Betrayal, 3 parts Anger, two dashes of Bitters...

Shake well and serve with lemon zest.

It ain't a Sazerac and it's a nasty thing to swallow.

In the midst of the images, quotes, accusations, bizarre confessions, Elizabeth's revelations, and the possibility (now) of her previous knowledge during the campaign, have kept my addled brain sputtering and hissing since the MSM finally took on the story.

OK, let's face this one true fact: (redundant, yes, but that makes it doubly true) ALL MEN CHEAT!
Powerful men do some powerfully stupid things - uh, like exploring diaper fetishes with hookers, chasing young boys, and cheating on spouses, get it? Well, if you don't you're lying to yourself and that's not a good idea.

Example: Having been approached by a reporter earlier in the evening and confronted by same reporter later that same night then thinking it would be a good idea to run away and barricade himself in a hotel men's room in the wee hours is about the dumbest thing I've heard since Larry Craig's excuses following his men's room gay sex escapades. Oh yeah, 'wide stance', indeed.

As my old friend Archie used to say, "you may think you amount to a great deal, but to a mosquito you're just something to eat." Sorta puts it in perspective now, doesn't it.

What really frightened me about this whole sordid affair (no pun intended) was the possibility that Edwards - with his fuckingly (yes, it's now a word) blatant lies - could have been the Democratic presidential nominee and I shutter to think of what would have befallen us all when this hit the fan.

Let me repeat this - very slowly - so that it may sink in: in this age of the web, instant access to transcripts and YouTube video archives, among other sources, lies and deceptions are much easier to detect and report. Whether the MSM is willing to do so is another matter, but everything hidden will come into the light. Or something like that.

I am sorry for everyone involved, but especially for the nation and everyone who believed in him.

IMHO, this man needs a good bitch-slap and a buzz cut. E'nuf said.

And so it goes.
*

Morph Caturday

And so it goes.
*

Friday, August 8, 2008

Accountability and the Bush Administration

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: We Did It!


Bravo, Dennis!

Go on, add your name to the petition. Yes, it's that important, but only if you care about the country, justice, and the Constitution.

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh, Is She Evil or...

Not having done laundry since before my NOLA trip I had lots of the dirties needing washing. The Laundromat opens at 6 am; I get there shortly thereafter and paced myself to get the other errands done each in their own time.

Aside from the cleaning lady and her sweet daughter I was the first customer in the place. So I stuffed the dirties into a washer and set them washing.

An SUV pulls into the parking area next to my car.

This tiny orange haired elderly woman slid down the side of the vehicle to the ground and waddled to the back, popped the hatch and pulled out a hand cart holding two colourful crates filled with laundry supplies and stain removers. On top of these sat two large plastic bags filled with clothes.

As she waddled up to the curb I asked if she needed any assistance. She offered a nonsensical smile and continued passed me.

Surveying the situation, she frowned, turned to me and asked, “are those your things in these washers?”

I replied in the affirmative and her frown deepened. “Well, these are the washers I like to use, so I’ll just have to wait until you are finished. Note: there are 20 other machines available and no one else is in the place.

She sat talking to herself, sorting out her things and eyeing me suspiciously. When my washers finished their job, I moved everything to a dryer near a folding table; set the timer and returned to my reading for about 40 minutes.

She began filling the washers with no regard for the instructions for proper washing. I thought about helping her, but instinctively knew she’d have none of it.

Later I look up to find her wet clothes sitting in those plastic bags as she eyed me carefully.

What was all this about?

Me: Is there a problem?

Orange lady: I’m waiting for your dryer.

Me: Well, there’s just the two of us here and the dryers on either side of mine are waiting. Why don’t you just put your things in one of them?

Orange lady: I like to use this one so I have easy access to the folding table. So, I’ll just wait until your things are dry. Note: there are 5 other folding tables in the place and each is directly across from a dryer.

OK!

The timer goes off and my things are dry so I begin removing and folding them carefully.

Orange lady: My, you are fussy about your clothes, I see.

Me: No, I just want to take up as little space as possible when I put them away.

She ain’t happy.

Orange lady: Well, you really are fastidious about polo shirts and shorts. I would just throw them back in the bag and leave it at that.

Me: No, you wouldn’t. And you know it. You can either wait or use any one of the other 11 dryers. Your choice.

Her sweet smile was betrayed by her eyes that told me that I should never accept anything edible from her hands.

As I finished folding and put everything away, I headed out to the car and prepared to leave. She was already waddling with arms full of laundry from her plastic bags to my dryer, but she looked up to catch my eye and said, “Well, I hope your day ends better than mine has begun.”

I smiled and replied, “ My wish for you is the same.

The smile quickly vanishes…the orange lady does not.

Damn!

And so it goes.

*

Post Katrina: No Shortage of Volunteers

Contractors however, take credit – and the cash – for the work. From the Times Picayune:

Doris Grandpre knows exactly who gutted her 7th Ward house last year, then helped her start rebuilding the single shotgun where she lived for three decades before Hurricane Katrina.

"There was David. You got Christopher. Then there was Jason. Oh, and Simon," Grandpre, 76, said this week, recalling the student volunteers who came from Boston and Seattle to tear out her plaster walls and save the few precious items the flood did not destroy.

"I call them my little angels," she said.

It appears, however, that another crew has taken credit for demolition work at Grandpre's house. City records show that Hall & Hall Enterprises, the highest-paid contractor in Mayor Ray Nagin's home remediation program, billed the city $7,830 for gutting and boarding up the house and cutting the grass at the St. Anthony Street property.

The house is one of at least seven addresses that appear on two lists detailing post-storm remediation. One list belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response, which organized volunteers from across the country to come to New Orleans and provide free home remediation services, such as gutting and boarding up homes, to residents in need of help.

Those same addresses appear on a list produced by the nonprofit New Orleans Affordable Homeownership Corp., which oversaw a remediation program that contractors billed a total of $1.8 million.

The homeownership corporation, also known as NOAH, billed taxpayers more than $25,000 for work at those addresses.

Grandpre, a retired nursing aide at Charity Hospital, said Wednesday that she has no idea how her address got on NOAH's gutting list. Since January 2007, she has lived in a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer in her side yard, and no city contractor has ever stopped by.

"A group of kids took the stuff out," she said. "The only people who helped me was people from outside the city."

Operations shut down

The duplicate entries on the NOAH and church lists raise more questions about the management of a short-lived city program designed to help elderly and poor residents along the road to recovery. A city official said last week that, to his knowledge, NOAH had paid out all of the $1.8 million to its subcontractors.

In light of the scrutiny, NOAH's board of directors suspended the organization's business last week and served notice Wednesday that its remaining four employees will be terminated Friday as of 5 p.m. Officials declined to name the employees or disclose their salaries. NOAH's former executive director, Stacey Jackson, resigned in June.

Now it seems to me that the contractors didn’t just pull addresses at random, but actively sought out properties that were being cleaned up, saw that the volunteers were from some church or school and figured they could bill for the cleaning since the volunteers would be going home in a week or two and no one would ever know…wrong!

As we approach the 3-year commemoration (I won't say the "A" word) of the storm, I can't believe this is still happening.

While in NOLA recently I spoke with a number of people who lost their home, or the home of a family member. In some cases (NOLA families are notorious for living in close proximity) the homes of entire families were destroyed. And not just in the Ninth Ward. The scars are visible, but the determination to rebuild is contagious.

Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just one of those Days...

OK, I skimmed the pool, removed the dead frogs from the filter, pulled weeds, picked dead flowers off the annuals, and watered those in the window boxes. Now, it is important to remember that I am a tenant here and perform the above chores as a way of helping out my landlady because keeping up with the maintenance is too much for one person. Yes I know, I am a bit old to be a pool boy, but...

That said, I am now indoors having had a shower and ready for a cocktail.

The workday was productive, positive, and in many ways a happy experience. A few regular summer customers came in and we had a few good sales.

Needless to say the usual number of bizarre touristas darkened the doorway as well, and though everyone has the right to be stupid some folks abuse the privilege; here are a couple of today’s short exchanges.

Oh, did I mention how much I love (not!) cell phones?

Obnoxious Cell Phone Junkie #1: Having screeched into her cell phone for a good 5 minutes – nonstop – She asked: “Do you know what I need?”

Answer: Oxygen?

Obnoxious Cell Phone Junkie #2: (Interrupting her longwinded conversation - shredding everyone she was forced to share her most important holiday with - to come up for air) She asked: “Hi! Where am I?”

Answer: Honey, after exposure to that conversation, I’d say you are anywhere you say you are.

After work I stopped at the supermarket and while in the checkout line I overheard this:

Kid: Mom, why do we have to wait so long to get out of here?
Mom: Honey, we have to wait for the yokels to get out of the way, first.

Are these people unaware that they are broadcasting intimate episodes of their (boring) lives and we really don’t give a shit?

And so it goes.

*

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Big Read: The Big Stupid

I thought this list had a ripe smell to it. Turns out this list isn't from the Big Read at all, just a mish-mash list compiled by whomever decided to send it out there. I wondered why the "Chronicles of Narnia" and " The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" were listed separately and why the likes of Fahrenheit 451, Call of the Wild, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter were omitted. Go directly to The Big Read to learn more about the program. Anyway, I spent a lotta time on this, so here it is.

The Big Read thinks the average adult has only read six of the top 100 books they’ve printed below.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you read part of but never finished.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Strikethrough those you hope to never read again, and sometimes wish you could un-read.

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (The Tempest, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night / What You Will, Henry IV, part 1, Henry V, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline)
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  34. Emma - Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Just got my new glasses, so I am ready to mark bold more of these suckers by Summer's end, but this time it will be from the BIG READ list.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reunion Photos

Click on any of the images to make biggen.
Thanks to Barbara, Mary Rose, and Will for some of these. Frankly, I was too absorbed and amazed by the whole experience.
Bonnie and Will arrive for the Thursday lunch - there were 14 of us present for this one. It was great fun and a wonderful way to get some precious time together.

Mary Rose, self, and Leslie at our first group lunch together on Thursday.

Will and Bonnie on the patio at Feelings before dinner.

Chuck and Margaret at dinner at Feelings outside the Quarter.

Lynn, a bronze gal, and some guy on one of our morning strolls around the Quarter.

First shot of the full group; a little skewed perhaps, but weren't we all!!! People kept coming, going, and moving to different spots so those taking these group shots were a little confused.

Hazel getting a surprise kiss from me with Lynn's obvious approval.

My three roommates! (Wasn't that a TV series?) Dione, Lynn and Bonnie at the dinner. Unfortunately, there seems to be no shot of the four of us together. Poop!

Pam, Marilyn and (the ever energetic) Lynn on the patio at the dinner.

Another shot of the almost entire group at the dinner at Deanie's.

This was shot early on Thursday morning of what appears to be a couple of off-season Mardi Gras revelers; leftovers from a Wednesday night on the town letting 'the good times roll'. This is a common sight around the Quarter.

I remember some folks shooting video during the evening but so far, nothing has come my way.

And so it goes.

*

50th Reunion: Part Two

Note: Events following my return from the reunion trip in addition to coming down with some intestinal bug knocked me off schedule, but let’s see how much I remember about the final day, reunion Dinner, and return flight…(click the image at right to make biggen.)

For unknown reasons all three of us roomies were bright eyed at dawn on Saturday, July 19th. Had coffee on the balcony while planning some shopping for friends and ourselves; items not generally available where we live.

So we set off for a final visit to Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait; stopped at Central Grocery for sausages and spices, Aunt Sally’s for Pralines, hunted for a bottle of Absinthe (now legal in the US) and a few boxes of Zatarain’s crab boil (both of which were outrageously expensive (in the Quarter, at least) and not purchased.

Side Note: This turned out to be a smart move since both those items were subsequently purchased locally for half or a third the price.

We browsed a couple of photography and art galleries; the gals shopped for summer dresses, and when we grew hungry, stopped for lunch and a cold beer at Pierre Maspero’s (again) where Will dropped Bonnie off to dine with us before making our way slowly back to the hotel. Bonnie in her wheelchair with oxygen tank on her lap bounced about on the notoriously uneven brick sidewalks. Poor baby.

Through the afternoon all three fussed over what they would be wearing to the big event. For a few hours I was the fashion consultant - a sort of Tim Gunn wannabe if you will, and in the end they looked absolutely radiant.

Leaving the hotel we learned that the keys to all guest’s cars were lost, well not quite lost, but the daytime valet manager moved the key cabinet to a secure location (did Cheney know about this?) without telling the evening staff where it was. We also learned that Lynn’s car was off site anyway, so even with her keys we would be unable to find the vehicle.

Lynn (God bless her) who had been on the cell phone all day coordinating last minute details, now had to find a way to get us all to the restaurant – and quickly. She reached Raul just as he was about to park having dropped off Mary Rose and the kids; he came to our rescue and thankfully had enough room for all of us and Bonnie’s wheelchair to boot.

When we arrived everyone was already enjoying cocktails and catching up. We were a bit frazzled by the delay and confusion, but soon calmed down as the hugs and kisses began making the rounds. Everyone recognized me with the exception of Hazel Romano herself. (I was profoundly wounded. Nah, not really) Well, I did have a lot of hair 50 years ago and as soon as I introduced myself she grabbed me and told me how sorry she was for not recognizing me straight away. I was reintroduced to her daughter Dawn, who as a toddler was more than happy to be held by me while I danced around the studio, and later would arrive during rehearsal breaks to sit on my lap. They were having usual summer mixed drinks, but wanting something different I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea, which came in a mug the size of the Long Island Sound. Delicious!!!

I felt much better as I sipped and talked with everyone remembering events and fun times before we were directed out to the patio for the photo-op.

Taking our seats at two long tables we began to peruse the menu for the evening (I could have eaten one of everything). The meal began with shared platters of boiled crawfish, shrimp, and potatoes and corn on the cob, and then I had the Creole Spinach salad (baby spinach, crumpled bacon, hard boiled egg, sweet red onion, fried oysters topped with Creole honey mustard dressing) with a Crawfish Etouffee on rice with French bread.

As Hazel enjoyed another cocktail, I ordered another LI Iced Tea. Table-hopping ensued and the noise level rose accordingly. All too soon it was the witching hour; time to say our goodbyes with promises to do it all again sometime in the near future.

Our threesome had barely gotten back to the rooms before suggestions began burning up the phone lines. Suggestions for everything from another reunion next spring (before it gets too hot to deal with comfortably) prior to or following an annual pig roast hosted by two of our members, to a plan for a cruise getting a good deal on a group rate. Naturally, Lynn and I lobbied for one to Alaska…my bad!

Will, having taken Bonnie home for the night to monitor her condition, left the three of us to spend the cool late evening breeze on the balcony with a nightcap and a re-cap of the week’s events.

My flight was scheduled for early morning; Dione’s flight to NY was in late afternoon, so I made a reservation with the airport shuttle not wanting Lynn to make two trips to the airport and giving those two a bit more time together. They had done so much to make this happen and it was time to slow down. Besides, having always considered airport farewells emotionally draining, this was a better alternative. Still, they woke to share coffee on the balcony once more before hugging and kissing me goodbye. Ain’t that love?

The flight to Philly was full, on time, and uneventful (God is good!) and the drive south to the beach was fast and traffic-free. All northbound traffic was bumper-to-bumper for at least 20 miles with all those beach weekenders trying to beat each other home. I just set the cruise control and relived the last 4 days quietly with great joy.

Thank you: Hazel, Lynn, Dione, Bonnie, Will, Tommy, Marie, P.J., David, Leslie, Marilyn, Margaret, Chuck, Barbara, Bruce, Corrado, Henry, Kirk, Trudy, Pam, Mary Rose, Raul, Tricia, and everyone else who celebrated with us.

Reliving old times is one thing, picking up from that place and finding that there is something more to those friendships is another thing entirely. I believe we all felt that special connection again.

I look forward to the next one, if there is one, and hope to have more time to share with the others the lives that happened to us in the interim.

A toast with Absinthe to celebrate the reunion experience is in my plans for this evening.

Pictures to follow.

And so it goes.

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