July 29, 2007

Oceans of fun

When the Ocean's 11 remake came out I don't know how long ago I instantly dismissed it as being just another example of a brain-dead Hollywood mining the vaults for ideas to knock-off. Didn't bother to see it. Didn't want to see. Then, a little while back, I saw it. Tonight I just finished watching Ocean's 12. These movies are great. Really great. It's hard to describe without sounding like a raving movie critic who's just had one too many espressos, but plot intricacies aside the way these guys play it is delicious. It's really all the little quirks -the squabbles and quirky expressions and such- that make the movie so fun to watch. By the way, after watching this one I realized that my youngest brother-in-law looks a little bit like Matt Damon. Is that cool or what? Anyway, whoever is reading this seriously needs to get both movies and watch them. I can't speak for the latest installment, but since part of the conspiracy involved in getting me to watch this one was so that i could watch the 3rd one I suppose I'm going to be seeing that one sometime soon as well. Ooooh, I smell either a date night or a sibling get together in that one. Can't wait.

July 27, 2007

Mamaw and Aunt Kathy

Today while I was tidying the bedroom I found an envelop containing a piece of lace given to me Aunt Kathy. Allen and I got the chance to go down and visit her while she was visiting her sister Mamaw. That makes her Allen's great-aunt really, but we just call her Aunt Kathy. We stopped for some Zaxby's chicken on the way down, and Mamaw had biscuits and beans and watermelon waiting for us when we got there. They'd actually been expecting us for lunch which ended up being kind of funny in and of itself. They're farm girls from Sand Mountain, and dinner to them meant the midday meal. Since I tend to use dinner and supper interchangeably I thought I was telling them we would come for supper not remembering that dinner and supper are two different things to many people.

Anyway, that week was pretty rushed for us, but I'm so glad that we drove down to see them. In between eating and playing cards we ended up getting a fair bit of family history. They told us odd little things about growing up on Sand Mountain like how their mom would have little sweet potatoes baked and ready for them when they got home from school. The funniest thing was them talking about a card game they used to play called King on the Corner. Apparently four of them (Mamaw, Kathy, Phoebe, and Lina) used to play it quite a lot. We found some cards to play with, but they couldn't quite remember the rules. Between them calling Phoebe and Lina and Allen calling his dad we finally came up with some sort of rules. I think it a grandma thing to be glad when a card is played that you can't use. When I asked Aunt Kathy why she was glad I'd played a king when she couldn't use it she said "Well maybe it'll do somebody some good." Sounds a lot like how my Grandma would talk while we were playing games when I was little. Allen (the rascal) ended up winning both games.

Right before we left they started pulling out family pictures. My own family doesn't have a whole lot of pictures of grandparents and things when they were young. Mamaw and Aunt Cathy however have a pictures of their parents and even a picture of one set of their grandparents. Just from looking at them you could tell they had hard lives and that these were people accustomed to work and plenty of it. That couldn't be all there was to them though. Looking at Mamaw and Aunt Cathy and my father-in-law's family you can see that these people of work left a goodly heritage to the generation. There were other pictures too. One of their two brothers in military uniform and another of all the sisters (seven I believe). When we drove off down the dirt road toward the highway we (I) had been blessed more than we could have imagined. Not only had we come closer to our heritage we'd seen again that it is a goodly and godly heritage. The women we left behind had already lived long lives and been through difficult times, and they could say with calm certainty that God's ways are best. It wasn't a big part of our conversation, but I distinctly remember those two dear, gray haired farm girls telling us to trust God and He would work everything out.

I was especially touched by Aunt Kathy's present. I'd post a picture if I had one. It's really just a small rectangular piece of ivoried lace from around WWII. Aunt Kathy told me that it'd been trimmed out of larger piece and that her mother-in-law had done the tiny hem stitching around the edges. The part that really blessed me though is that Aunt Kathy said she wanted to leave me something to remember her by. I'd only met her once before at a family reunion. It never occurred to me that she would love me or want to be remembered by me. But that's really just the way Allen's family is. They welcome you in and love you like you wouldn't expect, and if we hadn't gone down there I wouldn't had known how large and loving and wonderful my family really is.

Childish pleasures

I have a presentable apartment excepting only the back bedroom of which we will not speak. I know I probably appear to shout out the tiniest domestic task as if I'd toppled a Hercules. I guess it's just that I'm starting to (trying to) really not despise the day of small things. I have a tendency to look at every task I've completed and say that I should have done it better, sooner, faster, something. I've very rarely afforded myself the pure pleasure of being satisfied the task I've completed. Even now part of my brain screams out to be discontented with what the work I just did. My defense against this discontent is to be childishly happy at every dish washed and every shirt folded. We have been called to be as children, and so I endeavor to take a child's pleasure in my tasks.

Note to self on being tired

Dear Natalie,

When you haven't any coffee in the house (and your darling husband doesn't want you drinking it right now anyway) and you didn't get enough sleep and didn't get the jump on the day that you so very much wanted/needed there's no reason to a. get mopey, or b. worry about it. Drink some water. Pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk, and get on with your life.

Love, Natalie

P.S. make sure you write those notes for Ron Paul this weekend. You promised.

GO Ron GO!

P.P.S maybe you should go look at Ecclesiastes again. Sounds like you could use the encouragement.

July 26, 2007

small victories in the kitchen

One way or t' other Allen and I got into very bad habits about the dishes. Oh the nonchalance with which we stacked them blithely in and around the sink, and oh the sad resignation with which we set our faces grimly towards that stack and vowed to conquer. Last night though despite my aching heels and our own weariness we went into the kitchen as one and rinsed and wiped and stowed and stacked and swept that kitchen into rather good order. One of the jolliest things about the task is that since we'd done the same the evening prior there were only the nights dishes and a few sundries to tend to and not some ghastly pile to strike terror into our weary souls. It's a small thing to be sure, but small things need doing as well as large.

Now if only I vacuum the living room and take a whisk round the bathroom, I'll be doing rather well. The bedroom needs picking up, but that can wait till tomorrow if it needs to.

July 18, 2007

have hammer will bang things

No I didn't just babysit a little toddling boy. I put together some box-ish shelf things, and glory or glory the instructions directed me to nail the little faux wood cardboard backing in place. I hadn't had an excuse to swing a hammer in probably a year, and (although swing is undoubtedly too grand a term to describe the pecks necessary to penetrate that almost wood) I enjoyed every minute of it.

the ongoing storage sage

A while back I mentioned that in converting our apartment from a one bedroom with den to a two bedroom they managed to leave out an entire closet. Also, I don't have quite as much cabinet space at I had previously. Sooo, I've been trying to scrounge out storage wherever I can. My latest addition is a small shelf unit that goes under the pass through between the kitchen and the dining area. In order to get something small enough I had to get some of though little bang up pre-fab box units that you can stack together. It works pretty well. It's small enough to be unobtrusive which considering it's lowly origins is a definite bonus. It's also sufficiently sturdy, but that's about as much praise as it deserves. The corners don't all meet, and the finish is glaringly thin and laminated, but it does the job I require of it. Some of it's flaws can hopefully be mended by the addition of a longish table runner draped over the top and sides. I've yet to completely organize it, but I plan to move all or most of my drinking glasses, table sundries (napkins, salt, etc), and the our two gallon filtered water container to the top and fill most of the rest with the herbs we take and possible some cookbooks or the like. That should clear up some space in both the kitchen and the bathroom and declutter my table and the pass through window sill.

July 13, 2007

And then they took my radio -ShantyRaidio that is

I never mentioned it here before, but I play this immensely fun on-line game called Puzzle Pirates. Allen got me started on it, and now it's one of my primary time wasters. In some ways it really is a community. A whole web of player sites (of which I know only a part) has sprung up around the game. One of them was a radio station run by some players that played a mix of folk, celtic, piratey, and pretty much anything involving a sailor, ship, or ocean with a little modern thrown in for good measure. Most of it was just plain fun music -some tender, some bawdy, some witty, some raucous. It was the music that played to an odd little loosely bound community. But now it's threatened. Ultimately it's a property rights issue. We are not said to own what we purchase. It's not so much different with our real property. We pay must pay property taxes, and for the privilege the government tells us what we may and may not do with it.Shanty Raidio is a little thing, but it's a little thing that I enjoyed. When it seems that so many dear things I love are threatened the loss of even the smallest cannot be viewed with equanimity.

July 12, 2007

Highbury dancing

It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any descrption, and no materal injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made--when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt--it must be a very heavy set that doesn't ask for more.

Emma, by Jane Austen

July 11, 2007

American and proud of it.

Even as our country steams ahead past the "bridge out" sign, I find reasons to be proud. Bridges can be rebuilt. Trains can be stopped. I am an American, and I fight for my heritage.


July 10, 2007


Today happiness is a bowl of cheesy grits, a clean sink, Luis Armstrong on the cd player, and a Jane Austen novel just waiting to be read.

July 8, 2007

hope in small places

Allen sort of stepped on my glasses while I was taking a nap this ...morning? Afternoon? I'm not exactly sure. (laugh) Since they were rather bent and not exactly comfortable to wear he went out to the car to look for my old pair that I'd stashed out there a few months ago. He came back inside with a small box he'd found in the glove box. Closing his fingers over something in the box he placed in my hand a pair of simple pearl earrings that my dad had given me some years back and that I had given up for lost. They were in that box because for my last birthday Allen had taken me to a little store which sold some pretty amber jewelry I'd admired and told me to pick out a pair of pretty earrings. I had been wearing my pearls that day but had slipped them into that little box when I put on my birthday earrings. Before today I'd rather sadly given up my pearls as a lost cause -beyond hope or recall. Yet again God reminds me that nothing is beyond hope, and nothing is beyond His attention. The message could not be more plain. "Hope where you see no hope, Natalie, for God is working in ways too small and too grand for you to imagine."

Overflowing with need

I found this on Doug Wilson's Blog and Mablog, and it encouraged me so much I had to post it here.

Father and God over all, we gather before You to honor Your name, and so that You might bless us, Your people, as we seek to honor Your name.

We come before You as an empty people, but we come in order to overflow. We pray that You would perform this miracle, as You have done so many times before. How can we be the fullness of Your Son, the one who fills everything in every way? Nevertheless, Your gospel has accomplished this, and we pray that You would continue to perform this wonder. We would be the widow’s cruse of oil, empty and overflowing. We thank You for receiving us.

What a blessing to be reminded that God is fully willing and able to take my pitiful little obediences and gropings towards faithfulness and make them abounding affirmations of God's love for His children. There's a verse that my husband often says, and I'm probably going to misquote it badly. It says, "Know then that God is able to make all grace abound to you so that at all times and in all things you will abound in every good work." How gracious is our Father to us. I am little and fast emptied, but God is full and ever pouring.

July 5, 2007

Wow! and Wow! Is this guy for real?

I've been poking around lewrockwell.com this evening, and I couldn't resist posting this except from a piece Ron Paul wrote back in 2003. It's not often a politician says exactly what I've been thinking.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.

I only posted this quote from the end of his article, but you can read the rest of it here.

July 3, 2007

Linguistic antics in the linen closet

Laundry is that which I need to do.

To do laundry is that which I need.

Is that which I need to do laundry?

I need to do laundry.

And now for something completely different...