Thursday, February 26, 2009

What do you think?

I've changed the colors a bit. What do you think? Is it too dark? Is the reddish-colored text hard to read on the dark gray background? I probably won't leave it this way long; I'll be getting into a springtime mood soon! But, if it hurts your eyes, I'll change it right away.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I don't 'do' Mardi Gras

This photo is from a site called I found it on Google Images.

I grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where Mardi Gras originated in the United States. We went to the parades every year. My parents and I would go with friends, and we always went to the same street corner.
Back then, (the 1950s), they used mules to pull the floats, and men would carry real torches, with real fire to light the way. They would drip sparks and hot, melted wax, so we knew to stay back!
The float riders threw confetti, serpentine, and taffy candy. We fought and got our fingers stepped on for that awful stick-in-your-teeth taffy candy!
Young boys walked the streets selling serpentine and confetti. They would yell, "CON fet TI! CON fet TI!!" and we loved throwing it. It was a little harder to master the technique of throwing the serpentine (rolls of long strips of colored paper), so it went curling off into the distance.
We also learned tricks for catching the most goodies: get close to families with little children - the men or women on the floats would throw more to little children, and they couldn't catch it all, even with their parents' help. Another was to call out, "Daddy! Daddy!" if your daddy was on the float or not. They wouldn't know, and chances are they would have a child somewhere on the parade route, so they'd throw more.
Back then, they showed the parades on TV for those who couldn't make it downtown. I had a friend who often had asthma attacks during Mardi Gras season, and her mother used to stand behind the TV set and throw candy while she and her sister were watching the parade!
When I was a teenager, my friend and I rode the bus to town on Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday), stayed all day watching all the parades. We didn't want to miss the Comic Cowboys - they were the best, with all their funny, non PC signs mocking local and national politicians and current events!
Comic Cowboys
We ate lunch at the St. Francis Street Methodist Church, and when it was all over, we walked home, somewhere between 3 - 5 miles, I'd guess. We were worn out, but happy!
I went away to college in a town that didn't observe Mardi Gras. I remember how sad I was my freshman year the day I realized it was Mardi Gras Day, and I had classes! That was a culture shock!
When we married, my husband and I settled in another city that didn't observe Mardi Gras. By that time, I was used to missing it. We had thought of taking our sons for a weekend so they could see the parades, but we never did. As the years passed, we just didn't think about Mardi Gras much.
We moved back to south Alabama five years ago, after hubby retired and our children were grown. We've gotten older, and we don't enjoy crowds any more. We've gone to one parade since we've been back, and that was one in our smaller suburban town, not downtown Mobile. It was crowded enough. Nowadays, they throw beads, plastic cups, "doubloons" (fake coins), and Moon Pies , but they don't tempt us. We'd just as soon stay home and remember the "good old days!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The BBC book list

The BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books listed here.
I've read 36 of them. There were two that I didn't like: Catcher in the Rye and Wuthering Heights.

I bolded the ones I've 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
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
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 Road - Cormac McCarthy
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 (in French; I couldn't do that now!)
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 Shakespare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Containers: The Pretty, The Practical, and The Whimsical

The Pretty, The Practical, and The Whimsical

I'm in a group on Flickr that is a fun, game group, the ABCs & 123s. From time to time, they have a game or contest on one of the discussion threads. Now, the theme is "Containers," and this is my contribution.

When it was first announced, I didn't plan to participate. The topic didn't sound very interesting to me. A couple of people posted their ideas, and ideas began to form in my head without my consciously trying. Last night, I gave some thought to it, and this morning I collected things and got out my camera.

I hope you enjoy it, too. Maybe you'd even like to join that Flickr group. It is a friendly group, and we enjoy each other and have fun. A couple of the ladies are also my friends on LiveJournal. I hope they come here some day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hubby's birthday!

I wished him Happy Birthday when we got up, and gave him his present, a Shiatsu massage and heat pillow. He tried it out, and said he liked it!

My mother took us out to lunch to celebrate. He had shrimp etouffe and gumbo; I had fried catfish "fingers," and Mother had liver and onions. We drove around through town a little bit, and then visited with her at her home for awhile. She gave hubby a can of cashew nuts, his favorite!

Before returning home, we stopped at the Post Office to mail off some bills, and a book to a Bookcrossing friend, and at Harbor Freight Tools so hubby could get some "beads" for his new-to-him sandblaster. It is a small one, in a box. You put the item you want to sandblast into the box, and it has built-in gloves so you can safely manipulate the item while it is being sandblasted.

While he was inside Harbor Freight, I stayed in the car and read my current book, A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. It is a very funny "travelogue" of his adventures while hiking the Appalachian Trail. I had read Notes From a Small Country, and have been looking forward to reading more of his books

After we returned home, I sent hubby a birthday email, with some fancy fonts and colors, pictures, and links to two songs on YouTube, "When I'm 64" by the Beatles (he's 64 today) and "our song" from our dating days, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" by Elvis. We had a light supper, with ice cream for dessert!

Both our sons called him this evening, to remember him on his day.

This picture was taken a few years ago, while we were on a cruise.

This was taken with my cellphone, about a year ago, at Walmart

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The first Sunday without our (former) pastor

It went well. We had a guest preacher, a retired minister who is now a houseparent, with his wife, at a local church-sponsored children's home. He was good, preaching from Philippians this morning and I Thessalonians this evening, encouraging us to continue being faithful, and to give thanks in everything, the bad as well as the good. I wouldn't mind hearing him again, but he is not to be our pastor, not even our interim pastor. He is just "filling the pulpit" for one Sunday

It will be good for us to hear other voices during this transition time. We are constantly being urged to keep praying for the search committee and for our church.