I go to a water aerobics class several times every week. We usually do a lot of walking, jogging and jumping jacks in the pool. It is a fun class full of energetic senior citizens. Our instructor decided that today we would celebrate Halloween by dancing in the water. The dance we tried to do was Thriller. Picture a group of about twenty gray haired white ladies, most of them in their seventies and eighties, trying to do the zombie walk in the pool. The life guard nearly split his sides laughing. We got so tickled with ourselves that we had tears of laughter running into the pool. This was one of those moments when being old was pretty fun. I can assure you that we looked nothing like this.
We have one of those digital picture frames sitting next to my computer. I look at it a lot. It contains random pictures of my family and some our many adventures. There is picture of my granddaughter being inducted into the Honor Society followed by a picture of my daddy when he was young and handsome. There is a picture of me at a Halloween party in a bright orange dress and then a picture of my infant son. There are several pictures from our cruise to Alaska and one of us by Niagara Falls. A photo of us with all our kids and grandkids gathered around a Christmas tree comes up after an image my young mother in the funny hat she often wore to church. I have a picture here of my great-grandparents who died before I was born and then one of my grandsons playing at the beach. It is a very random collection of memories. I like that I never quite know what will come up next. It is like my memories of life. It is not a nice, neat series, but just a jumble of life with all sorts of emotions. Life is just a messy collection of moments that add up to make us who we are today. I love my random collection of pictures.
Today is granddaughter #1's twenty-second birthday. I find it hard to believe that I have a grown up granddaughter. She was a baby just yesterday. Now she is living in Orlando working in an accounting internship at Disney World. She is a self-supporting grown-up young lady. Time really does fly. The picture is of her standing in front of Casey's Corner, a hot-dog eatery on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. She worked there for four months before getting in the the accounting internship. Isn't she beautiful?
Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin. What do these people have in common with Barack Obama and John McCain? They are all running for president of the United States of America. We received a sample ballot in the mail this week end. I was surprised to see that there were actually six candidates on the ballot plus a write in option. If you are still one of the undecided voters it seems that there are more options than I realized. Our ballot also has two proposals to amend the state constitution. The first question is whether or not to allow early voting in Maryland. This is obviously already being done in other states. It seems like a good idea to me. Do you have any opposition to early voting? My neighbor says it increases the probability of voter fraud. What's your opinion? The second question is whether or not to allow state sponsored slot machines. This idea is being pushed by the horse racing industry as a good way to increase funds for public schools. I'm not sure what I think about this one. It seems like lower income folks would be the ones who spend the most here and I'm not too comfortable with the whole idea. I know a lot of people love to play the slots. Bus loads of senior citizens travel to neighboring states to spend a day with the slot machines. What do you think? Are slot machines a good way for the state to raise money for the schools? Or is this just a way to enrich the racing and gaming industry?
Today is my firstborn daughter's forty-fifth birthday. We went out to lunch and had a lovely time celebrating together. Today's lunch was nice, but not nearly as memorable as her twenty-first birthday celebration.
Laurel had been married four months on her twenty-first birthday. She and her sweet young husband were living in Nashville Tennessee. She was far from home and a bit homesick. Her husband and I decided to surprise her on her birthday with the thing she was wanting the most, a visit from her mom. He told her that he had invited a classmate home and to prepare a little extra for dinner. A friend picked me up at the airport and just before dinner I walked into their little apartment. She screamed and jumped up and down for a long time. She just couldn't believe I was there. During the night she tiptoed into the living room to check and make sure that I was really there sleeping on their couch. She was very excited. The next day she had to go to work and I set about making birthday dinner and a birthday cake. Laurel loved spice cake and I came prepared with the ingredients for her favorite cake. I had made birthday cakes for her and her sister and brothers every year. I was a good baker. My cakes were always good – except that year. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but that was the ugliest cake I have ever made. When I started to spread the icing the cake started to split down the middle. I tried to repair the split with toothpicks and more icing. The split widened. There was a large gap that just grew beyond fixing. There was no time to bake another cake so we just celebrated with the world's ugliest cake. My beautiful daughter loved it. We ate every ugly bite with gales of laughter. That birthday cake is remembered with more smiles than any other I have ever baked.
We had a lovely day Saturday. Our son and grandson joined us for day of play. I'll share a few pictures The color was not quite at it's peak, but the trees were still beautiful as we walked in the Catoctin Mountains.
We rested at Cunnigham Falls.
This covered bridge near Thurmont Maryland reminded us of quieter, more peaceful times.
You had to hold your nose to take a picture of 15,000 turkeys. They really did stink.
The day was topped off with a chance to go pumpkin chunkin'.
After water aerobics this morning I went to chat with a couple of my classmates. Their words left me feeling sad, angry and frustrated. They were telling one another why they were voting against Barack Obama. One said the only reason his mother got him up at four-thirty in the morning was to pray. His mother was a radical hippie who was teaching her son to be a Muslim. His mother had never really married his father and she was just going from one Muslim man to another. They were afraid of Obama because he is black and he could never understand how white people feel. I wanted to say many things, but there is no rational argument that is effective against bigotry and racism. I did say I thought they had some misinformation and that I would vote for Obama. They changed the topic and I soon left. I found their words disturbing because they were just a representation of the irrational fear they felt. It depressed me.
This afternoon I went to practice singing with the senior chorale. We are preparing for our holiday program which will be a set of ten hallelujah songs. There is quite a variety of music, everything from Handel to Ray Charles. The music we sang today was all happy, foot tapping , clapping music. It made me feel good to sing it. The room was filled with a happy sound that pretty much washed away the sadness of the morning.
I love that God has given the gift of music.
This is not our chorale singing, but it is one of the songs we are practicing. How can you not be happy singing this?
I love weddings. They are such happy, hopeful occasions. Love is in the air. The bride and groom are overwhelmed with romance and wonder. Families celebrate the joy. Friends share the love and the excitement. People travel from around the country to be together for the celebration. Weddings are just fun. Of course there is the whole serious side of the wedding that this couple is promising to share a lifetime together. It is a serious commitment. It is just a beautiful occasion. This past weekend we joined our good friends Tim and Julie as their son Cory married his sweetheart. He and Brittaney seemed so happy. It was wonderful to see two families come to bless this young couple and to celebrate together. Congratulations Cory and Brittany! God bless you on this new journey of life.
The bride and groom and Ava share a dance
Ava, the flower girl, daughter of the bride and groom
The election next month will mark the twelfth time I have voted in a presidential election. Six times I cast a vote for the winning candidate. Three times I voted for the Republican. I voted for Nixon, as did most of the country, and I voted for George H Bush. I will vote with the Democrats this election, meaning that nine times in twelve I voted Democrat. My first presidential vote went to Lyndon Johnson. LBJ for the USA was the chant around the country. It was shortly after the Kennedy assassination and LBJ was still riding JFK's popularity wave. He won in a landslide against a senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. I thought Goldwater was as scary as the current candidate from Arizona. I was afraid that he would take away social security and I was afraid that he would lead us into a nuclear holocaust. The times were scary. I remember lines stretching several blocks to vote in that 1964 election. People waited for hours. This is one of the ads run by LBJ that year.
I am more excited about and interested in the current campaign and election than I ever remember before. It is the first time I have ever felt strongly enough to donate my money towards a campaign. It has been a long, arduous campaign. I will be glad when it is over.
Who was the first person you voted for to be President of the United States?
I watched tonight's presidential debate. Truthfully I thought it was a bit boring. It was serious and civil and just a repetition of things they have both said before. This was no game changer. I still like Obama. I suspect those who liked McCain before the debate still like him afterward. I will be very glad when this election is over and we can talk about something else. It has just gotten meaner and dirtier lately. It is hard to listen to any more. Today I went to class at church, went out to lunch with my husband and a good friend, went shopping, got a haircut, ate Chinese food for dinner and went to a deacons' meeting at church. What did you do today?
A man who was an important part of my life died this week. I never met him, but he was a big part of my coming of age. His name was Nick Reynolds. He was the lead singer for the Kingston Trio. The music sung by this group filled my world in the years when I left home and began life as a young adult. It was the music I heard in the dark little cafe, the Ly Bayou, where my husband and I would hang out with a bunch of our college friends and talk about all the big, important issues of life. It was the music I heard on the radio at night in my dorm room. It was the music I played on my record player. Today when I hear these songs I am once again a nineteen year old girl filled with sadness for poor old Tom Dooley and wondering just Where Had All The Flowers Gone. The big question for all of us was whether or not Charlie would ever return.
Eleven years ago today I was in the delivery room with my daughter as she gave birth to her third child. It was an unbelievable experience to be present with my little girl as she went through labor and delivery. I can find no words to adequately describe what it felt like to be present at that time. When the moment of birth finally arrived her husband stood on one side and I stood on the other as she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl. My little girl cried with relief and joy as she told me this baby would be named Alexandra Susan. This baby would carry my name. I cried at that and felt overwhelmed with joy. The new father and I stood gazing at this new life when I became aware of a commotion behind me. The obstetrician began barking commands. I heard words like hemorrhage, her pressure is falling, turn up the IV, may need to do surgery. My little girl was in trouble. I was overwhelmed with different emotions as I watched doctors and nurses rush to help her. Scared does not begin to describe the emotions surging through me. I don't know how long it was before the doctor finally said that it looked like everything was under control. They would keep my girl in the delivery area overnight where she would be monitored closely. If she was still OK in the morning we could assume all would be fine. All was well in the morning and the joy again overwhelmed the fear. Lexie Sue is now a beautiful and talented young lady who brings this family great joy. Happy birthday Lexie Sue.