Bring Me That Horizon

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Columbia Cemetery

To read my articles, click HERE! And don't forget to subscribe.

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
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  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
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  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
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  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
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  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
    Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
    by Harold Bloom
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
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  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
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    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
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    by Edward Klein
  • The Closer
    The Closer
    by Mariano Rivera
  • Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs
    Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs
    by Michelle Malkin
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
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  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
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  • The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry (Chapel Hill Books)
    The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry (Chapel Hill Books)
    The University of North Carolina Press
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
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  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
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  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
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  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
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  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
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    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
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  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
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    by Brannon Howse
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    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
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Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ JAVIER ~

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity

Friday
Apr292016

To whom it may not concern

In the waning days of February, we were on tenterhooks, waiting for news of my terminally-ill mother-in-law's impending departure from this life.

Everyone had said their goodbyes, either in person, or by phone, or both. Mostly both.

It was down to a matter of hours.

You know how it is: Every time the phone rings (or makes whatever sound your phone is set to make for an incoming call, text, or email), there is a moment where you wonder if this is it.

So it was that one morning a few days before our loved one passed away, Greg (on his way out the door to work) asked if I'd heard his phone sounding off the previous night.

Actually it was a pre-dawn time frame. But it was still dark. And we were still. Still asleep.

No, I said, momentarily alarmed. Was there news?

No, he said. It was this. And he showed me his phone.

Let's pull over and park here for a mo. Greg does not own a smart phone. He prefers refuses to use anything but an old-fashioned flip phone.

The rest of us (the kids, and me) have been converted. We are an integral part of the iPhone nation.

It's funny because Greg is much enamored of his iPad (which I don't understand because I don't have one and have no need for one, being a devotee of the MacBook Pro), and he enjoys messaging the kids on it now and then, in the evenings when he's relaxing.

The kids and I text back and forth on our iPhones more or less at any time of the day or night (but mostly day).

(Through it all, I am a firm adherent to the adage that no news is good news.)

Greg does not text at all. Never ever. And he isn't likely to respond to a text. I may have texted him one time, and I cannot remember why. As I recall, he did not answer, either in words or emoticons.

And I am his wife. The old ball and chain. So if I need to get in touch while we're apart, I call. Repeatedly, if need be.

Ergo, for him to be texting with someone in what amounts to the middle of the night, is basically a nonexistent scenario.

But he had been forced to. This was what woke him:

Looking back I really believe this is what you've been trying to push me to all along lately by constantly bringing up negative stuff and always calling our relationship into question...I genuinely love and care for you and your son, but apparently you were anxious to move on for some reason. Perhaps I was in the way of something or someone else...

Whatever the case is, I hope you are happier and more satisfied and I'm sorry I could never do enough to please you or prove that I love you...

I'm sorry I wasn't awake to see my beloved's face in the dim glow of his flip phone, squinting, pawing the nightstand for his cheaters, wondering what was actually going down.

My slumber was undisturbed.

I inquired how Greg had responded to the heartfelt cyber-missive (which I believe was written by a female).

He said, I texted back:

Check your #!

No emoticons. I don't know if they're even available on flip phones.

See, I would have added a string of appropriately exasperation-loaded round yellow faces. Especially the one with eyes and no mouth. I love that one.

I likely would also have used the word moron.

But that's just me.

The funniest part is, a few seconds later Greg received a final text from Madam/Sir Lonelyheart:

???

Methinks she (or he; who knows) was inebriated.

The takeaway: Don't drink and drive. Don't text and drive. Don't drink and text.

And whether you're eight sheets to the wind or sober as a judge, unless they text you first, don't text anybody between midnight and eight o'clock in the morning.

Just to be safe.

Also: In the interest of leaving total strangers out of your cringeworthy lovelorn ruminations, remonstrations, and supplications, always check your number.

And that is all for now. I hope this post did not disturb you.

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Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend

Thursday
Apr142016

I want to go where he went

If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

= Will Rogers =

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I knew my little pet was getting seriously old -- dog years and all that -- but until a few weeks ago, I didn't know he was dying. Only last year, the doctor told us that Javier's heart was strong.

Even when I realized the worst, I was slow to pick up on the fact that it was time to "do the right thing." Until last Friday, when the penny dropped.

You get a sense that even though the thing you're contemplating is awful, you're not wrong to do it. It's odd. Nothing adds up and yet you're forced to accept the sum of the equation.

On Saturday morning, I called the vet and made the appointment for Monday. The eleventh of April. Three-thirty in the afternoon. I was crying. I may have been a bit short with the girl on the line because I felt she was dithering and not answering my simple questions. It was probably my fault; the act of making the call had upset me.

On Sunday we held Javier endlessly. He was lethargic and unresponsive. He could no longer eat or stand on his legs. His will to live had faded away so quickly. He had no interest in his surroundings or in any of us.

On Monday morning I awakened, after fitful sleep, plagued by second thoughts. Whose idea was this whole pet euthanasia thing? I asked Andrew. He let me talk it out. He said he supported me whatever my decision and he'd be with me throughout the day, no matter what it brought.

I called the vet. I said I'd show up that afternoon with Javier, but just to talk. If I didn't get good answers, I was prepared to bring him back home. The same girl I had talked with on Saturday was kind and patient. Jessica. She said whatever we wanted to do was fine; they were only there to help.

I hung up, satisfied. I'd allow my little dog to die at home! Wouldn't he rather? It was my choice. I'd hold him, giving him water with my fingertip if need be. I had nothing better to do. He'd probably pass away peacefully in his sleep anyway.

Why subject him to a trip to the vet where he'd be dispatched by lethal injection? Wasn't that cruel? What had my baby done to deserve such an end?

Then Javier moaned. Twice. It was the first time I'd heard his little voice in many days. Erica had told me on Sunday, as she cradled and comforted him, that she was sure he was in pain. I'd had my doubts.

Maybe I was wrong. I did a mental about-face and began a process of dull acceptance: We'd put Javier in his teal crate, drive to the veterinary hospital, and talk to Dr. Chambers. We'd learn that we were doing the right thing, the humane thing. Javier would be put to sleep. No more suffering and no more questions.

I looked outside. Andrew, who had been weed whacking in the back, beyond the pool and by the fence, had dug a small grave. There was a mound of red dirt and a shovel standing by. The white lights twinkled in the ivy and the pines sighed in the wind. It was a beautiful day.

At the vet, it was confirmed that Javier was in renal failure. He was never going to recover, in fact was all but gone already, except for pain from toxins flooding his tiny body.

Javier had had a long life, a good life, the doctor reassured us. He was suffering. More pain would follow before he finally expired, and no one could say how long that would be.

Later, after giving us all the time we needed (at least that's what was said) to hold Javier and say goodbye, Dr. Chambers calmly gave our bright-eyed boy a shot. Within ten seconds, Javier's little head sagged. His wide eyes stayed open and seeing that, I guess is when my heart actually broke. 

The doctor faded out of the room. Erica said she couldn't bear to hold Javier anymore. She was sobbing. I took him and I'm pretty sure I made a spectacle of myself, wailing and telling him I was so sorry. He didn't hear me. His little eyes just stared and he was our Javier still, only he wasn't. He had left us.*

Since then, in between crying jags, I have thought: What kind of person takes a hit out on their own sick dog? I'd written a check to pay them to kill him, and then I'd watched them do it.

The power of guilt is strong. The feelings it produces can be irrational. This article by Moira Anderson Allen helped me. A little. She calls euthanasia the "grand master of guilt." I concur.

And now there's an angel statue back by the fence, marking where our Javier is buried. Loving torture, I look out there a lot.

If you'd like to see pictures of Javier's burial, click here.

And that is all for now.

*In all of these photos, Javier was still alive. Except the one of the sky, and the last one.

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Happy Thursday

Tuesday
Apr122016

And then? My dog died.

R I P

= J a v i e r =

1999 - 2016

Click his little name for details.

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Happy Tuesday

Monday
Apr042016

Laugh. Cry. All together now.

March -- whether viewed as a directive or merely a month -- turned out to be a singular challenge this year.

I feel as though all I've done since three-one-sixteen is grieve, cry, travel, rinse, repeat.

But there have been happy moments. There always are, scattered amongst the sad ones.

Then there are those times when, without planning to, you laugh and cry simultaneously. 

Let me tell you about one of them.

I hope when I'm done telling it I won't say to myself: Guess you had to be there -- about the time I read my readers' collective mind and it's saying: What is she on about now?

Oh well. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take. So here goes.

Last December, early in the month, we learned that Greg's mother was not well.

Consequently, once the hols had concluded, and the winter proving warmer than usual all over the country, Greg and Andrew made a trip north to see Mom/Grandma.

A few weeks later, Erica and I made the same trip.

(Stephanie and Audrey had seen her in late summer and hoped to visit again. There wasn't time before their grandmother passed away.)

But at Christmastime, we wanted to make sure we were thoughtful of her. 

So it was that one December day when I was keeping an eye on Dagny and Audrey was out shopping, I asked my daughter to locate and purchase a specific item for my mother-in-law's Christmas. The gift was to be from me alone.

You should know about my mother-in-law that, throughout her ninety years, she was a tall, slender, handsome woman. Since she loved clothes was an excellent seamstress, she made many of her own stylish outfits.

She always looked lovely. The type of clothes she favored were classic, tailored but soft, and -- especially in winter -- warm.

Since I am partial to soft turtlenecks -- be they mock or the fold-over kind -- as layering pieces during cold weather, I wanted to get her one.

So I asked Audrey to go to a department store and find a turtleneck that looked dressy but comfortable, in a pretty color. I provided her with my debit card.

She promptly texted me photos of two separate tops. I chose the one I thought my mother-in-law would like the best: a soft mock-neck in a vibrant shade of raspberry.

I wrapped it up with a Christmas card just from me to her, and Greg took it to the post office.

The holidays came and went. Grandma got sicker. When Erica and I were with her in February, days before her ninetieth birthday and scarcely a month before her death, she wasn't dressing in much besides her robe over pajamas.

Also it was fairly warm there at the time -- not like a normal Northwest Ohio February at all. And so I never saw my mother-in-law wear the shirt I'd given her. Nor did the subject come up.

When the entire family assembled the first week in March at the house that seemed to be missing her too, the girls and I went into Grandma's bedroom one evening.

It was empty except for her dresser and a few side tables, and her cherished phonograph player with her vinyl LP collection. She loved to listen to records that reminded her of her youth.

Her bed had been disassembled and stowed in the basement when the hospice workers brought in a hospital bed. She'd gone to sleep for the final time in that bed, in the room where she'd slept for nearly sixty years.

But we girls turned our backs on the empty room and began rummaging through Grandma's closet. 

Don't look at us like that. It's not as though she was going to walk in and catch us. I'm still not sure why we did it except, for one thing, we wanted to see if she'd worn the things we'd sent her.

(Audrey had picked out a dressy sweatshirt for her grandmother's Christmas. Grandma loved cozy shirts.)

It wasn't long before Audrey located the sweatshirt, the one she'd chosen in a classy shade of plum. She said: I'm taking this back and I'm going to wear it.

I said, I would. I knew Grandma would want Audrey to have that shirt back, and to enjoy it. And I continued looking for the raspberry-colored mock-neck I'd sent.

Not finding the shirt, I worried that she hadn't liked it.

Meanwhile, earlier that day, Greg and Andrew had driven the mile to the funeral home to check on a few last-minute arrangements. The funeral director, Brian, beloved to all of us since Grandpa's passing five years ago, gestured toward the viewing room.

Mom is in here, he motioned. We chuckled about that later, and repeated it a lot during those few days. Mom is in here. We thought it was amusing that he called her Mom. But she loved him, so it was fitting.

We girls asked the guys how Mom looked, and especially what she was wearing. 

Something green and blue, was the answer. That's as specific as the menfolk were able to be. I couldn't think of what outfit that might be, but I knew my sister-in-law Ruth would have chosen something appropriate and beautiful for her mother, so I didn't think any more of it.

The day of the viewing came and throngs of relatives were assembled in the lobby of the funeral home.

Faithful sweet Brian -- who told us we are his favorite family and he hopes to never see any of us again, alive or dead -- indicated that it was time for Greg, Ron, and Ruth -- the children -- and the brothers' wives, to spend a few minutes with Mom privately before the viewing was opened to other family and friends.

And so we followed, and the five of us approached the casket. And I began to laugh and cry at the same time, and Greg looked at me funny and when I explained, he began to exhibit similar emotions.

Because Grandma wasn't wearing blue and green. Well -- she was wearing blue: a sedate but soft suede-cloth jacket in understated slate. And underneath, a nearly-new raspberry-colored mock-neck.

The one I'd given her. The one I couldn't find in her closet. She's wearing it still.

The top and jacket completed an outfit that featured a skirt containing the same berry-and-blue colors. A granddaughter told us that Grandma loved the mock-neck because it was the first time she'd had a shirt that coordinated perfectly with the jacket and skirt -- both of which she'd made with her own hands.

She'd worn the top with the skirt once, and even twirled a bit in delight at the way it matched. Best of all, it was so warm. 

Sometimes things just fall into place.

Eventually we made the long trip home and began to feel normal again. March did what it does: marches.

But before it marched out, I learned that a dear lifelong friend had passed away suddenly.

Greg and I attended her funeral last week, in Atlanta. I miss her so much.

At my mother-in-law's graveside the family lifted our voices into the balmy, windy day and sang a verse of It Is Well With My Soul:

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.

I know it is well with my mother-in-law's soul, and with my friend's soul too. And although I wept my way through March, this knowledge makes me happy. I'll be laughing before you can say April showers bring May flowers.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday :: Happy April

Monday
Mar212016

Angels in the field

Last week I received a text from an exceptionally talented young lady. Name of Lexus.

Isn't that pretty?

Lexus is a high school senior with a serious interest in photography. So much so, she has studied it as part of her coursework.

Thus, she had the assignment of completing a casual externship with a photographer and, since she was acquainted with my work, she asked me to do the honors.

I was thrilled to acquiesce to her request, and so it was that yesterday afternoon, on a cool, cloudy, first day of spring, I bundled Lexus into the Cadillac and we set out.

Destination? Elmwood. As in, the cemetery. It was Lexus's choice. Honest.

Okay well, I may have suggested it but it was Lexus who insisted we go there. All I did was navigate the Raven on a well-known path.

I never tire of attempting to inspire photographers to hone their craft within the serene, near-mystical acreage of a historic cemetery. If you have not tried it, you should.

See? There I go again.

Only consider that all of the elements are there: natural light, an abundance of nature, fascinating detail, essential mystery, and enthusiastic wildlife.

Also life. Just plain non-wild life is there too.

Upon arrival, we made a right at the first opportunity. I was headed for the Sims angel. Speaking of life, this is the angel that changed mine.

I told Lexus about the first time I saw a picture of this angel. It was over a decade ago.

The picture had been taken by another photography student: a seventh-grader who, in order to gain an interesting perspective of his subject, laid on the ground and aimed up at the angel's face and wings.

Viewing the photo at a fine-arts competition, I knew the instant I saw it that locating angels in cemeteries -- and taking their picture -- was what I wanted to do. Something told me that as a field of endeavor, it was wide open.

My camera at the time -- the first digital point-and-shoot of two I have owned -- was used primarily to take pictures of one-year-old Melanie.

Like I said: angels are a favorite subject. But it would be several years before I photographed the Sims angel.

Observing Lexus shoot the Sims angel from her own unique perspective, using her gorgeous Canon DSLR fitted with primo 18-200mm Canon glass, I reflected on the fact that no matter how early or late one comes to art photography, it is of all hobbies one of the most therapeutic and restorative.

It has yet to let me down.

We drove the quiet lanes of Elmwood and stopped frequently at some of my most-loved haunts. The grave of little Charles Frederick never fails to strike a plaintive note.

Lexus found the monument charming. She said she'd never seen anything like it. Like an old pro, she framed up and swung for the fences.

Fat robins hopped and flew from stone to stone, gemming the grass, pecking for worms, flaunting their vibrant feathers. The dogwoods and azaleas were in magnificent bloom. Everywhere we looked, there was tranquil beauty.

We made our way to the Confederate soldiers memorial, the stone-and-concrete platform of which affords a view of the cemetery's expanse from a raised vantage point. I told Lexus that if she ever wanted to do a rise-and-shine type of shoot, this was an ideal place to capture the first buttery rays of sun on a clear morning.

I also told her about the time I face-planted in the dirt in front of said platform, wearing both of my fine cameras. But let's not relive that for the second consecutive day.

Lexus and I chatted as we made the circuit of the cemetery a few more times. We agreed that among our favorite things to photograph are abandoned places and ruins.

We also both love the human face, and architecture. She had some questions about how I deal with the challenges of photographing children. As in, what is the greatest challenge?

Getting them to be still? Ha ha. My philosophy is this: forget that. Just follow them around and take pictures of whatever they do. Unless they'll cooperate and pose. Then by all means, pose them and be quick about it.

When the little angels wear you out, though? Head for a cemetery and practice on the ones that don't move.

It will give you a new appreciation for every blessing of your life. You'll look at your hands in new ways, and your eyes, and your gifts, and the days of your years. Maybe even your broken wing.

As we drove away from Elmwood, Lexus declared that although she'd never given a thought to shooting in a cemetery before, her interest had been thoroughly piqued and she was sure she'd be back to do it again.

To which I replied: Yay! My work here is done.

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Happy Monday :: Happy Spring

Wednesday
Mar092016

One for posterity

TG and our children posed for me yesterday on the steps of the house the Webers built when TG was in kindergarten, and where they lived for fifty-nine years.

A few minutes later, we set out to greet friends at Grandma's viewing.

Today, in a little while, we will attend her funeral.

And that's the end of an era, in the lives of one American family.

Do you have a similar memory?

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Happy Wednesday

Saturday
Mar052016

RIP Joey

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In Memoriam

Joey Martin Feek

September 9, 1975 - March 4, 2016

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In keeping with what seems to be our current theme of all things funereal, I wanted to mention the untimely passing yesterday of Joey Martin Feek.

She was forty years old.

Together with her husband, as half of the group Joey+Rory, Joey had gained a measure of fame in the world of country and bluegrass music.

Even so, I had never heard of Joey until late last year, when I read of her plight in a news story.

Joey learned in June of 2014 that she had cervical cancer. She underwent conventional treatment and was hopeful that she'd be allowed to recover and live a normal life.

However, within a short time the cancer had returned and Joey was pronounced terminally ill. She made the decision last November to forego additional treatment and let nature take its course.

It's remarkable to me that Joey+Rory recorded the following song in 2012, long before Joey knew that she would face her own early death from a relentless cancer.

Have your tissues handy.

Rest in peace, Joey.

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Happy Saturday

Thursday
Mar032016

To hear the key unlock the door

Today we mourn the death of TG's beloved mother.

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1926 - 2016

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She passed away peacefully at about one-thirty this morning.

I was tasked with writing her obituary. You may read it by clicking on her name.

When she learned the news, my sister sent me a beautiful video.

It was a song and I'd like to share the lyrics with you here.

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It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high 
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne 
Delivered from our fears.

It is not death to fling 
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing 
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years 
To praise You evermore.

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save 
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

= Malan/Bethune =

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Happy Thursday