Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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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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I am a Blue Star Mother

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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
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • 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
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • 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
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • 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
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • 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
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • 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
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • 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
    by Lynne Truss
  • 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
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    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
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
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

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity
Monday
Apr302012

Dropped notes can sound just as sweet

Our pastor recently asked if everyone in the congregation who plays a musical instrument and was willing, would bring it to church on Sunday nights and sit on the front two rows, playing along during the song service.

We don’t attend the kind of church that has a worship team. There is no drum kit, no rock band. We’re old-fashioned: We have a choir accompanied by a piano, an organ, two keyboards and one guitar (all of which are for the most part hidden from view), and we still sing from hymnals.

Our foyer is spacious and large-windowed and comfortably furnished and eminently functional, but minus a coffee shop or a splishing fountain or a gift emporium or softly-lit cozy group seating around a snapping fireplace.


We don’t hold church in a big all-purpose room with padded stackable chairs and black floors and walls and ceilings, and a stage and no pulpit and half a million dollars worth of theatrical lighting, and people in sagging (that’s the guys) or tight (that’s the gals) blue jeans jamming for an hour or more as a prelude to an effeminate panty-waist male with scruffy facial hair and his shirt untucked bringing a fifteen-minute fuzzytalk that makes everyone feel swell about their lives.

Our pastor (who wears a suit and tie to every service) doesn’t prate about how spiritually evolved you must be, how superior, how cognizant of real grace, if you’ve swallowed whole this idea that doctrine divides, and that by telling Christians they ought to eschew bad habits like drinking and smoking and going to bars and that they should clean up and dress up and take the moral high road and present themselves differently from every other Joe Schmo walking down the street, you're engaging in legalistic hate speech.

If that last bit describes the sort of church where you're a member and you just love it and you get such a blessing from the uber-tolerant come-as-you-are vibe and it makes you mad that I would dare sarcastically imply the degree to which I have no use for such an organization, you are welcome to exit stage left.

We’ve made it easy for you! One click and you're gone like yesterday.

If you’d like to leave a comment defending that kind of church, go ahead but don’t cuss or I’ll delete it.

(It strikes me as odd that so many people who identify themselves as Christians – like in their Twitter and Facebook bios and such, or on their blog’s sidebar, or even in conversation – use the same nasty language as the sinful world. It makes no sense to me whatsoever, if you want to know the truth.)

At any rate, this blog that I pay for and over which I maintain sole editorial control is profanity-free and crude-terms free. If you’re not sure whether I’d consider a word profane or crude enough to edit you, don’t use it because that probably means I would.

Where were we? Oh.

Our church sanctuary is new and it’s beautiful and airy and full of light and it has pews and stained-glass windows and a choir loft and a baptistry and a platform and a pulpit. We have two screens but they’re used sparingly and never to display the lyrics of contemporary Christian choruses telling God how awesome He is. We don't read from the NIV; we stick with King James.

We hold actual books when we sing the old-timey hymns about salvation and heaven and consecration and hope and joy and purpose and service and the shed blood of Christ being the only remedy for sin. We sing about His substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the tomb, and His promise to return for His bride.

We’re all about the Blood, the Book, and the Blessed Hope. We have sermons and altar calls. We are traditional. We are not charismatic. Men dress like men and ladies dress like ladies. That means modestly. We don’t dance around in the aisles or run up and down, hollering, distracting everyone from the reason to have church in the first place: the faithful preaching of the Word of God.

If somebody gets convicted about the way they’re living and decides to do something about it, we rejoice with that person. It’s all about self-examination with the plumb line, the true-up, being God’s Word as revealed by the foolishness of preaching, and our responsibility to align with our Creator rather than Him being obligated to see things our way.

Because He isn’t.

We’re not a part of the widespread and widely-accepted non-denominational (read: liberal) religious New Age fake-out that has swept the world and duped untold thousands of Christians and would-be Christians over the last three decades. We’re not a spooky outlandish cult with weird rules and regulations. We are Bible-believing Christians first, independent fundamental Baptists second.

Neither the message nor the method is likely to change any time soon.

No apologies for any of the above will be forthcoming. If you’re reading this and your blood pressure is rising and it makes you feel all self-righteous to label me judgmental, knock your lights out, only know that the moment you do that, you are yourself judging.

Tricky thing, that. Judging is judging is judging. As soon as you accuse someone of judging, you judge. So if your favorite verse is “Judge not lest ye be judged” and you believe I am judging, think for ten seconds about what that actually means.

Just because someone’s standard differs from yours and they have the temerity to point out that difference, and to be very specific in doing so, doesn’t mean they are judging you. Judging is not the same as discernment.

When a person stands for something and is unafraid to name that thing, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are judging those who don’t stand in the same place or in the same way. It could simply mean they are not afraid to tell you where they stand. No hidden agenda.

Why did I go off on that tangent? Oh. In church last night something happened that I want to tell you about and I thought I'd provide some context. Perhaps I offered too much. Deal.

There is a little girl – I don’t even know her name – who occasionally sits with her grandparents two pews ahead of TG and me. TG and I always sit in the same place: fourth pew from the front in the section on the far right-hand side of the sanctuary if you’re facing the pulpit.

This girl who appears to me to be about nine years of age, has a purple child-sized guitar that she plays on Sunday nights during the song service. She sits up front with all the others and just strums away. I love to see her play it.

Although our sanctuary is carpeted, beneath our feet as we sit in the pews is tile the same color as the carpeting. Dark green. I guess the reason for the tile is ease of cleaning. At any rate, if you drop something onto it like your pen or one of those hymnals, it tends to be loud.

Last night as our pastor was closing out the service and everything was very quiet, this cute little girl two rows in front of us somehow lost control of her purple guitar and it clattered to the floor. I don’t know whether she was holding it and let go, or it got nudged off the pew, or if she had it propped up and it slid.

The point is, purple guitar hit green tile and made a noise so sharp in the high-ceilinged and acoustically-sensitive sanctuary, that I nearly jumped out of my skin. I hate loud unexpected noises anyway and this was a doozy.

The pastor jumped too, and he looked over to our section and exclaimed a little bit about the jarring nature of the noise.

Well, the little girl was mortified. Everyone was standing at the time but she sat back down and hunched over in the pew and as I watched, she just sort of shrank into herself. Her head was bowed. I kept a weather eye on her back and I was afraid she’d begun to cry. She was clearly embarrassed by her ecclesiastical faux pas.

Her grandfather left his place at the opposite end of the short pew and walked over to her side and put his hand on her shoulder. She didn’t look up.

Thirty seconds later the pastor said “Y’all are dismissed” and I went straight to the little girl. I took her in my arms and I felt her shoulders shake. I put my face in her hair near her ear and I told her the truth: I drop everything. I said that if somebody wants something to end up on the floor, all they have to do is put it into my hands.

I drop things all day long. TG says I get ahead of myself and that’s why I do it. All I know is, the second I touch something it’s as though it jumps right out of my fingers and hits the deck. It’s a wonder we have any whole dishes.

My mother tells the tale of one pitch-black night when we were running in terror from my stepfather. It happened in Chicago. Mama woke us up and said grab your schoolbooks, shhhhh, don't make a sound. And when we got out onto the landing of our apartment building and were making a run for it, I dropped my books.

Mama says she was too scared to stop and pick them up because she'd yanked the money sock right off Daddy's foot while he slept and she was sure he'd awakened enough to run after us. I remember this incident like a wink, like the quickest snapshot you can imagine.

Anyway, after I had told Darling Little Miss Purple Guitar about my tendency to drop everything, I pulled back and looked into her face. Pale. Sweet features framed by thick chestnut-colored hair cut chin-length. Huge hazel eyes, and they were full of tears. Her bottom lip trembled and she couldn’t think of anything to say.

So naturally I started crying because the look on her face was so full of mortification, and then we went to my purse and blew our noses and got her a stick of gum, and I told her that everyone who ever attempts to do anything good in this world will eventually make a wee mistake. No worries, luv. Savvy? I hugged her again and we went home.

But all the way I thought about the awful loud noise of her guitar smacking the tile, and the way everybody jumped and her humiliation was so public, and her little shaking shoulders and her wide hazel eyes brimming with hot tears.

And I just thought about how terrible it feels to drop things. To drop a word when we should have kept it to ourselves, to drop people’s hearts and expectations of us, to drop something dear to us so that it breaks, to drop the ball metaphorically (or actually, or to hang onto it but run in the wrong direction), often with disastrous results.

But then I listened to my own words, spoken only a few minutes before, meant to console one hurting heart but turning now to console my own. If you attempt to carry anything – another’s burden, your own burden, a message, a vision, a truth, a tune, a toy, a cup of water – you’re eventually going to drop something.

It can be appalling, humiliating, painful, and embarrassing when that happens. It can sting like falling out in the street and skinning your knee and your elbow at the same time.

But don’t let it stop you from picking up the dropped thread again and going forward. Time is short; hearts are hurting; there exist both eternal truths and actual answers.

Soldier on. Don’t drop out.

Saturday
Apr282012

Snapshot Saturday: Take your pick

So which would you rather have?

A corvette ...

... or a hamburger?

Let me know!

Meanwhile, happy weekend!

~*~

I'm linking to the lovely Alyce (rhymes with peace) of At Home With Books.

Thursday
Apr262012

I'll nibble my kibble but my thoughts will be elsewhere

So. This is my dog.

You know: Javier, Columbia's Finest Chihuahua.

Except for what he did yesterday.

As is my daily matutinal habit I got up, whisked Javier outside to check his messages, and set about preparing my breakfast.

This is my routine.

First, put on the water to boil for fresh, strong, hot coffee made in the Barenthal (or Bodum, depending on my mood) French press.

While the water is boiling I eat an orange. I do not sit down for this.

After I've poured the water over the grounds, I drop two slices of oatmeal (or cinnamon raisin, depending on my mood) bread into the toaster.

While I'm waiting for the coffee grounds to soak up the water and for the bread to become toast, I let Javier back inside.

He much prefers inside to outside. Much. Remember that.

Next I pour a generous amount of real half-and-half into my coffee mug and heat it in the microwave for one minute.

Usually by the time that's done, the toast has popped up.

I unite my strong, hot, fresh coffee with my warm half-and-half in my favorite mug and stir with a long, skinny, red silicone spatula. Never a spoon.

Then I place my toast on my favorite plate and butter it lightly. The toast; not the plate.

At this point I go downstairs to the family room (or upstairs to the guest bedroom, depending on my mood) where I will situate myself comfortably either in my favorite chair or on the bed.

Yesterday I went upstairs. As usual, smelling toast, Javier followed me.

Since the bed on which I planned to sit is too high for him to jump onto, I helped him up.

But first, naturally, I placed my toast and coffee on a table beside the bed.

Then I forgot I'd left my phone downstairs in the kitchen.

So I went to get it. I was gone twenty seconds. If that.

WHEN I RETURNED guess who was at the edge of the bed, straining as hard as he could toward my plate, LICKING MY TOAST?

You got it right the first time.

Javier.

A/K/A

I barked his name. He jumped back. I glared. He cowered.

"It must be true what they say, that you are what you eat, because buddy, you are officially toast," I said.

"Well, officially I'm only butter," he thought. I KNOW he thought it.

"Either way that was a crummy thing to have done," I said, not willing to let a dog have the last word.

Then, not wishing to discuss it any further I picked his carcass up and carried it downstairs and deposited it outside where he remained until we left for prayer meeting, at which point he was allowed to be in the sunroom.

However.

Unfortunately, recidivism is pronounced in Chihuahuas.

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Happy Thursday! Keep a weather eye on your toast!

Tuesday
Apr242012

Born free but didn't die that way

Since I'm the Columbia Cemetery Examiner (that's a writing gig), I constantly dream up new ways to write about cemeteries and what's in them.

Not the human remains, but what remains of our human story long after we've checked out.

So it was the other day when, while researching something quite different, I stumbled across a PDF booklet about Penitentiary Cemetery in Columbia.

I downloaded said document forthwith and have perused it several times.

Of particular interest to me was the existence of these cemeteries (there are two that I know of in Columbia).

They're exactly what they sound like: where state officials inter those who die while incarcerated. Provided, of course, family members neglect to claim the remains.

The cemetery at Broad River Correctional Institution less than six miles from my house hasn't seen an interment since 2000. Nowadays if you're not claimed, you're cremated.

What happens next, I don't know. I'm almost afraid to ask but I will ask.

I plan to go over there within the next couple of days.

But yesterday TG and I tooled over to Penitentiary -- or State -- Cemetery, which hasn't seen a burial since 1987. It had been in use for nearly a century prior to that.

There isn't much left. Vandals have stolen lots of the metal plates and parts of stones, especially those related to inmates who died by execution. What's extant is in bad condition.

But the grass is kept nice and the location is peaceful. If you can find it, that is.

I often go to Elmwood Cemetery, a 168-acre parklike burial ground established in 1854, to walk and take pictures. It's visible from I-26, a five-minute drive from downtown Columbia's geographic center.

But until yesterday I didn't know that Penitentiary Cemetery lies a stone's throw from Elmwood, down a very rutted and washed-out dirt lane accessed from Elmwood's extreme northwest boundary.

TG is intrepid and we followed our noses down there, although the day was dying. Another very overgrown dirt lane branches off to the clearing where the cemetery is situated, enclosed by cyclone fencing.

The gate was wide open.

I counted approximately fifty gravestones, all from the late 1930s. Many are broken and some are becoming one with the ground. What stubbornly stands upright resembles rotting teeth.

More recent graves are marked with a "license plate" -- that being a metal sign about twelve by eight inches, bearing only a number.

No names on those.

There are however, a few larger metal markers imprinted with the name of the deceased inmate. Most of the signs are badly faded and falling down.

By digging around a bit (on the Internet; not in the cemetery) I found that Ellen Kirt, who died on January 25, 1938 -- coincidentally fourteen years to the day before TG was born, and the day my mother turned seven months old -- perished of tuberculosis.

I don't know how old Ellen was, or what deeds she did to end up in prison. I wonder if, had she lived, she would ever have been free again. At least in the physical sense.

Outside the fence is a large marker denoting the presence of "692 individuals" whose remains lie in a wedge of densely-wooded land between the dirt road that runs alongside the cyclone fence and a dirt road on the other side abutting the railroad track.

The remains were moved there in 1977 when I-26 was expanded. Too bad, folks. Your grave is now a road.

There were large hoof indentations in the red soil, going in the direction of the railroad tracks.

"Deer," said TG, pointing.

I took pictures but they didn't turn out so well. I can tell you though, those deer were big and they walked there when the ground was muddied from recent rain.

Not too far from the large mass-grave marker is a ledger broken into four pieces as though a giant stomped on it right in the middle just for spite.

Turning back toward the cyclone-enclosed penitentiary burial ground, I noticed the incongruence of tangled masses of tender English ivy gripping, wrapping, clinging to the fence, flinging long ambitious vines skyward with innocent abandon.

I read it as life and hope continuing in defiance of the terrible mistakes that lie buried for all time a few feet away.

On the other side of the dirt lane, the darkly wooded mass burial plot is edged by a wall of honeysuckle long and high, the yellow-white blossoms spilling out everywhere, leaking their perfume into the still forgotten greenness of the space.

Before leaving TG and I visited the white-fenced area where lie markers dedicated "In Memory of Those Who Have Contributed Their Physical Being to the Advancement of the Healing Arts."

As we drove away, the day was flaming to a close and I made TG stop so that I could take more pictures.

He was on the phone with Andrew anyway, who'd called to tell his dad he'd played tennis with a nice Christian girl who happens to be a highly-ranked player at the University of Tennessee.

Yeah, she beat him.

I'll bet there's a story there. A story about life and its infinite possibilities.

I think I'll go explore some more of those while there's still time.

Sunday
Apr222012

Let's hear it for "working" mothers

My daughter sent me this video.

I think that solves it.

Now I'm all stoked about the 2012 Olympics. London, baby!