Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ever felt like this? I'll be taking a break for a few days. I'll ask Mr. C to guest blog for me to keep you company. Blessings to each of you.

St. Casserole

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The LH commented, about my previous post, that you'd think I looked like the gal in the blue raincoat. Here is another picture of me, handing off a latte at the coffee bar I built in our carport. Nothing like a mini "CoffeeBucks" in one's own domicile. I brewed the latte with a coffemaker I found at a garage sale. I got the cash register (lower left) at a garage sale, too. I look great in green. Everyone tells me so.

St. C.


Here I am showing off our new dishwasher. Not everyone has an industrial dishwasher in a residential kitchen but we Casseroles felt this attractive machine added to our ambiance. My blue raincoat, short but foxy, helps me as I use that spray thing on the dishes.

Seriously, Folks, the dishwasher centers a home. Even if your dishwasher is you and your hands, where you stand to clean up glasses, knives, forks, cups, plates and pans is the epicenter of homelife. I should know as I spend time each day loading and unloading our dishwasher (a smaller under-the- counter model than pictured). Out come the clean, in go the dirty. I remove kittens from the lower basket, add the soap tablet and turn that baby on!

What was dirty become clean. What was unusable because of germs returns as sanitary. Life together means cups, more cups, glasses, more glasses and lots of large pans. Ordinary life is messy. The glory of life together is mess and order, meals shared then departure to places where one's life is spent until returning home.

Even philosophers do dishes.

St. Casserole

When He Knew

White House Was Told Hurricane Posed Danger - New York Times
The NYT gets big smoochie kisses for keeping the story of Katrina going.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday Morning

Much doing, being and coping scheduled for this week. At the end of the week, I'll take a blog break for several days. Mr. C. will guest blog if he has time about whatever he thinks is blogworthy.

I'm considering packing the blog with multiple posts each day to entertain myself but don't know if time will allow this.

According to an article I read is the worst day of the year for seasonal affect disorder, post-holiday debt blues and general all around yukkiness.

Let's sing Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" as loudly as we can, ok?

St. C.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cat Homework

Fish the Kitten here. We are naughty kittens. We have to write an essay about our behavior. Whistle, my brother the kitten, said he didn't bring a pencil. Then, he said the dog ate his essay. He is sleeping on the striped chair in the family room. I'm in the study using Her computer. Here is my essay:

I am almost five months old. I am curious about everything. I like to get into the shower with my people. I like to climb on chairs, tables and walk on the kitchen counter. I like to get into kitchen cabinets. I like to eat Your pecan raisin bread even if I have to chew through the bag to get it. I leave my cat toys around. I do not flush.
Everything I like to do I am not supposed to do. I do those things I ought not to do. I did snuggle with you really nicely the other day. I want to go outside when the kitchen door opens.
I am in big trouble for being myself. May I have another cat cookie? I can't think of anything else to write. Your kitten, Fish D'Wayne Cat 1-22-06

If I were a Human, I'd just be glad to have opposable thumbs so I could use a can opener, pull open the refrigerator door. If my kitten mis-behaved, I'd think, "Kittens have good fur so I'll recognize that kittens are superior and not fuss."

For St. Casserole, I remain,

Your Fish

Molly Ivins Calls the Dems to Lead or Hush

Did you read this Molly Ivin's article several days ago? It just arrived at our Backwater Gazette this morning.

Y'all don't comment when I lift articles from newspapers so I risk your ire here but rats-a-tooney (!), read this one.

The Sun Herald 01/22/2006 Dear Democrats: Put up, or shut up

I'd visit with you more but I'm going uppada Church,

St. Casserole

Friday, January 20, 2006

The RevGal Five: Pleasures

What are five pleasures for you?

1. Eating Ginger Snap cookies.

2. Being quiet for at least a little time each day.

3. Making something out of something else.

4. Listening to Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks.

5. Looking at the LH.

St. Casserole

Sometime after Katrina, Biloxi Mayor A. J. Holloway got a visit from singer songwriter Paul Simon. Mayor Holloway is pictured on the left. The Mayor has served a number of terms in Biloxi and is known for his candor and energy. Never rude or careless with his remarks, the Mayor speaks as a person rather than as a spinning politician. People like him and his staff. This photo, from the City's web site, may have been taken by Vincent Creel, the Mayor's spokesman and all-around-great-guy.

Whatever Mayor Holloway accomplishes in his public life (his gifts are considerable), he is best known in the Casserole family for this incident: one Sunday afternoon when our LS was a small child (3-4) he announced that he wanted to go hug the Mayor. LS knew the Mayor from my attendance at City Council Meetings and from seeing Mayor Holloway around the city. I drove to Holloway's home, knocked on the door and when Mrs. Holloway answered the door, I told her of LS's request to hug the Mayor. She said the Mayor was taking a nap (how can you not like a Mayor who knows that Sunday afternoon is for snoozing?). She pointed to a sofa, the Mayor woke up, LS ran over to him and gave him a hug. Satisfied, LS was ready to leave. Mrs. Holloway laughed and thanked us for coming over.

Tell me life in a small down isn't good.

We moved one town over about ten years ago. We consider ourselves Biloxians still even though we love our current city, too.

I'm glad Paul Simon, who lives where you can't go hug the Mayor, got to meet our Mayor.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Mechanical Contrivium: Trivia about Saint Casserole

The Mechanical Contrivium: Trivia about Saint Casserole: "

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Saint Casserole!

  1. Saint Casserole can give birth ten days after being born, and is born pregnant!
  2. If you lace Saint Casserole from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe.
  3. In Eastern Africa you can buy beer brewed from Saint Casserole!
  4. Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are Saint Casserole.
  5. Saint Casserole cannot jump.
  6. The first Saint Casserole was made in 1853, and had no pedals.
  7. Saint Casserole can live for up to a week without a head!
  8. Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw Saint Casserole into a volcano it would stop erupting.
  9. It takes a lobster approximately 7 years to grow to be Saint Casserole.
  10. Saint Casserole was the first Tsar of Russia!
I am interested in - do tell me about
Hat tip to so many bloggers, I can't recall which one pushed me over the edge to follow their lead.

Your Own Tsar of Russia,

St. Casserole

Garage Sales

I miss garage sales! People lost so much stuff there isn't any for sale on Saturday mornings!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Everyone has a story...

Everyone has a story down here on the Coast. August 29, 2005 changed our lives.

I bought a vacuum cleaner for the church today. At the Oreck store, I asked how the owner was doing, "How's it going?" He began to tell his story.

On Sunday, the 28th, he evacuated in his RV with his three dogs, photo albums, his father's childhood rocking chair and a few other essentials like food and water. He waited out the storm in Theodore, Alabama (near Mobile).

Before he left home, he saw his neighbor who he'd known for 17 years. His neighbor planned to stay through the storm with his wife and two young children. He asked Oreck man if it really made sense to leave when their neighborhood hadn't been damaged during Camille (1969 landmark hurricane here). Oreck replied that if it were only the neighbor and his wife, maybe they could risk it but making two children remain when the predictions were grim for a Cat 5 storm seemed irresponsible. The neighbor puffed over this.

Five days later, when Oreck secured gas finally in Mobile, Alabama to return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he found his home destroyed. A wall of water, 12 feet high, swept through his home leaving him with a tilted roof, a few walls and several feet of muck.

His neighbor ran to greet him and swooped him up in a hug. "You were right!", he said. "The water rose so fast that we had to break out the kitchen window and pull the children under water, then bring them up to the roof to escape the house. Then, the water began covering the roof so we held onto trees. After a few hours, the debris in the water kept hitting us and we got separated! All four of us went in different directions! I thought my family drowned! It was hours before we could find each of the children floated on a piece of debris way over there!"

Standing in the parking lot of Oreck's store, I began to cry.
It kills me to hear stories like this. I hear at least one storm story everyday. Somedays, I hear as many as five. People are brave. They stand up tall and say with conviction "at least we are alive" or "we got a FEMA trailer" or "we are better off than most."

Oreck man began to cry, too. His neighbor's child doesn't want to go to sleep because the nightmares terrify her. The neighbor is guilt-ridden because he put his family through this.
Oreck man's home won't be liveable until March or so. He's tired of living in the RV with his three dogs.

May I quote my Aunt Betty here? "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" or as I say, "Lord, Have mercy!"

St. Casserole

Sunday, January 15, 2006

From the Pastoral Notebook

The only way I survive Sunday nights begins on Sunday afternoons. I take a pastoral nap. I come home dragging from worship. I careen into our driveway, stomp through the kitchen door, scan the kitchen to see how much damage has been done in my absence, throw myself into comfortable clothing and go to sleep. I am dead to the world for two hours. After this, I can handle Sunday nights.

I missed the MLK Jr. Coast Celebration this afternoon due to sleepiness. I regret missing events like this but if I don't nap, I can't function.

"Why is this?" you ask my tired out ol' pastoral self. It's because leading worship and preaching takes it out of me. I am drained of all useful life after the worship service. I felt the same way when I preached twice each Sunday.

So, as a gift to your pastor (all you non-clergy folks) please don't ask them to do much on Sunday afternoon or evening. Leave 'em alone to re-charge.

No matter how much I love you, I don't want to go to your baby shower, church event, sports thingie or anything. Let me sleep.

Pastorally Refreshed at This Moment,

St. Casserole

The Sun Herald | 01/14/2006 | Not a day off since Aug. 29

The Sun Herald 01/14/2006 Not a day off since Aug. 29

We have many heros. Dana Black is one. Read about her here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

St.Peter,Golf, Woman and Hell

Once upon a time, St. Peter was going to play golf with God. He told his helper, "Don't call me. I mean it! Don't call me about anything!"

St. Peter's helper stood by the Pearly Gates waiting. Up came a man seeking admittance to heaven. The helper asked him, "What have you done for the poor?"

The man said, "Well, once when I was walking to my office a drunk was leaning against my building. I gave him .50 to go away."
"What else did you do for the poor?", asked the helper.
The man thought long and hard. "I gave .50 cents to a bum once", he said.

The helper thought long and hard. He picked up the heavenly cell phone and called St. Peter.
He told St. Peter the man's story and asked, "What should I do, St. Peter?"

St. Peter said, "Give the man his dollar back and tell him to go to hell!"

Tonight I got a call from a woman in another State. She sends a check to Little Church every month. She's faithful about sending us a check. I don't know how much it is because I'm Presbyterian and we don't look at who gives us what. At least, I don't.

She was enraged by the changes we plan to make at Little Church. We intend to paint the interior of the building, replace the plain glass tall windows in the sanctuary with new wood windows, get new electrical wiring and put in a small kitchen. Enraged.

It's been awhile since I've had someone speak to me as she did today. I speak civilly to adults and children and I'm used to being reponded to in kind.

She asked about the church's finances as though she had a right to know our most intimate arrangements. She didn't agree that any of our repairs and restorations were needed in our old simple wood building.

I explained to her that our repairs are paid for already. We are waiting for workers to do the work. All of the improvements we dream of at Little Church are being done with money donated to us by loving churches around the U.S. They know we've been hard hit by the Hurricane. They know we are a small church. The churches gave with an open hand.

She assumed I was an upstart, with no sense, trying to change "her" church.

(I suppose I should be thrilled that she thinks I'm an upstart!)

She doesn't attend Little Church. I've never met her after 3 plus years as pastor and four years before that as occasional supply there.

It's only because I remember every counseling skill I learned at Seminary and CPE and the fact that I control my temper that I didn't say,

"Here's your $ and go to hell!"

I just thought you should know,

St. Casserole

Cat Report

Fish here.

This isn't a picture of us. We are almost five months old and these are baby kittens. We are big kittens.

Our mid-term exam grades came yesterday. I don't think we get prizes. I made an A in Deportment as did Whistle but we both made an F in Staying Off the Kitchen Counter.

We got an A for being cute, an F for getting in trouble.

I'm going to study harder next term. Whistle says he isn't going to buckle down to the Man.
He's reading Catechetics and Dogmatics. I'm studying botany so I'm reading Cat Tails and other Plants beginning with "Cat".

Andy, the big cat, doesn't like us. No progress there. The Pee Pee Puppy loves me but Whistle won't play with him.

I think my essay will be on "Human Expectations: Why So High?" so I can research why humans want us to do this but not that. I can't make sense of it.

Gotta go. Time for Basking in the Sun. We both made an A in this!


Friday, January 13, 2006

Bush Protested in New Orleans

Howie Luvzus � Blog Archive � New Orleans Protest

Hat tip to B. Rox for this look at Howie Luvzus' photos.
I understand that Catholic school girls in plaid uniforms wore life jackets and weighters to the event.

C'mon, Y'all. It's hard work being the POTUS. He's got the entire country to handle. Hard work.

Just so you know,

St. Casserole

Yep, I'm Going

The picture is metro Birmingham, Alabama the site of the 2006 General Assembly of the P.C. (U.S.A.) where we will all meet in June. This Assembly celebrates the 300th Anniversary of the first G.A. where Francis McKemie served as Moderator. I wish he could come back for this one.

The theme is "A Mighty Cloud of Witnesses" because we need a witness and because we will be sharing time with our sisters and brothers in two Cumberland Presbyterian denominations. Or, so I understand from going to the PC (U.S.A.) website.

We need a witness because this Assembly contains a Big Elephant of An Issue which will hover over us the entire time. If the Big Issue passes, Christians plan to bolt. If the Big Issue fails, Christians plan to bolt. If the Big Issue is tabled, Christians plan to bolt.

Did I mention that I'm not up for this? I've gone through a house fire, hurricane, loss of friends through death and moving and I think I saw a wrinkle on my face when I looked through my 8x
magnifing mirror. Further, I can't be discussing schism until I've mastered the Gospel of John and Jesus' will for my life.

If you are a RevGalBlogPal and will attend this meeting, let's prepare a secret signal beforehand so we can meet up. I'll need the encouragement. Don't want to lose my privacy though because this blog is important to me and I like to think I can speak freely here.

The last Assembly I attended was in Philadelphia in '90, I think. LS was in a fold-up stroller and Mr. C. attended with me. LS gave me a black eye by bouncing back into my head while being a precious toddler. The big face bruise drew all sorts of miserable looks because domestic violence was a prime topic. Poor Mr. C. suggested I wear a sign saying, "The Baby bumped me in the face with his hard little head." I have a cracked front tooth as a souvenir of this event.

I worry that I'll return to Hurricane Backwater with more than a black eye this time.

St. Casserole

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hey! Are you lurking at me?

Walking outside this morning, the world is very quiet. No birds are singing, no cars or trucks (or nail guns on roofs) make a sound in the darkness. The little kittens woke me up to remind me that an early breakfast is a good thing. After feeding the ginger guys, I strolled in my tree-less backyard to enjoy the quiet.

The sun will rise in a few minutes to light the dark sky. My neighbor will deliver our newspaper to our kitchen door. The day will begin.

Right now, back in my study, I am filled with peace and quiet. Peace, because God's promises include a new day to come and quiet because the world is still.

Thank you, God, for this new day.

St. Casserole

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

People say to me, "St. Casserole, what's with your blogging? Where you at?"

I have only one thing to say:

*The Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie birth announcement

*The local meat store advertising "stuft" meat

*DeWalt Tools advertising on local billboards saying they are helping us rebuild.

*Preparing for Sunday's sermon

There! You know what's going on now.

St. Casserole

P.S. MAAS is my favorite sterling silver polish. Works on all metals or so the label says.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Rats! A big millionaire bought my fantasy home! Tamir Sapir, according to the NYT yesterday, bought the Duke mansion for 40 million and will use the home to showcase his art collection.
The Duke mansion is across the street from the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. I enjoy sitting on the steps of the Museum and staring at the mansion. I've renovated it, inside and out, in my imagination for several years.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Life in the "Out" Box Monday Morning

With Songbird gone, what else is there for a kitten to do but crawl into the "Out" box. Really.
A kitten feels depressed that Songbird who rescues kittens from walking on stovetops, brings furry toy mice and says kind words (regardless of trouble a kitten may find himself in) leaves to return to her family. Until lunchtime, Fish says life has little or no meaning....

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Five Housewifery

Four things I love having in my kitchen/household arsenal:

1. 409 Cleaner. Works well. Be careful where you spray it as it will clean and leave spots if, for example, you spray it directly on a wall. Rinse quickly if this happens but you may have clean spots or clean lines.

2. Kitchen Aid Mixer. Does exactly what it is supposed to do. Works well every time. Is the Cooks Friend. Very heavy. Place is where you want it to stay as dragging it out of a cabinet or back and forth from the pantry is an exercise ritual, not a housewifery event. Because of heft may be used as a weapon. All attachments make sense, especially the lid cover for adding liquids as you mix.

3. Mr. Clean Miracle Sponges. I've mentioned these before. New uses are polishing old, badly tarnished silver plate or hotel plate; getting tar off my car if used lightly, cleaning wooden offering bowls you bring home to "freshen"; and cleaning wall spots.

4. Miscellany Drawer containing: rubber bands, kitchen shears, books of matches, broken pencils, paper clips, grocery store receipts, batteries and the phone book. I clean this drawer regularly but it is the repository for anything without a regular home or the "dumping drawer" for lazy kitchen cleaners.

5. What is a waste of time? tarn x (strips patina, stinks and harms sterling), most smooth surface stove cleaners, marble polish, fancy chip clips (use wooden clothes pins instead), wine glass name tags, dry carpet treatment for dust mite removal and Windex non-streak (it smears).

P.S. I suggest MAAS metal cleaner for your sterling. It is gentle, concentrated, works well and doesn't smell. Can be used to clean other metals, too. I've used it for years and do not see it damaging sterling silver. I like Clorox Clean-up for cleaning shower tile walls and bathtubs , toilets, etc. It contains enough bleach to be a dangerous product around small children and little cats so it must be used with caution. I really, really like having Half and Half in my frig for coffee.

Just So You Know,

St. Casserole
Our LS turned 18 and must register with the Selective Service within 30 days.

I have feelings about this. We will register him, of course, because we are citizens.

What are your feelings about registering young men with the Selective Service?

St. C

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Whatever: Being Poor

Whatever: Being Poor

I can't recall who I should "hat tip" for this post. Read this and see if it stick with you, day after day, as it has with me.

St. Casserole

New Orleans Yesterday

I waited 'til this morning to write about our trip to New Orleans yesterday. Processing what I saw, along with deciding what was noteworthy for this blog, slowed me down. I think I'm ready.

The drive to New Orleans on 1-10 West shows the storm's devastation well. Trees on either side of the highway are twisted, bent and down on top of other trees. There is debris in the gulleys along the wetlands area. Can these wetlands be recovered? Traffic moves along at a steady clip where the lanes are open then slows to nothing when the lanes narrow along broken highway areas.

We approached N.O. over the Pontchartrain Bridge which delighted Songbird with it's length and the view of the Lake. Not much traffic here but it moves along.

Entering the City over the High Rise, we see the dark colors of damaged buildings and broken homes. The trees standing after the storm are brown. Can the trees be saved?

I am very angry that public discussion of the re-building of New Orleans has some people thinking we can just let the city die. How can that be? Is it because New Orleans has a large population of poor people and ethnic groups? Is it because the city is Southern? Can you imagine any other city in the United States being considered as negligible? If you think we can lose New Orleans, I'd like to slap you in the face and I have never slapped anyone in the face. You can be the first.

We drove to the Quarter easily on the familiar route I've used for years. No problem. We see water lines on the old buildings showing how high the flood water rose. The big public housing complex is boarded up. There aren't traffic lights so we depend on stop signs. This is terrifying as New Orleans drivers, like any big city drivers, are aggressive. Can you believe that there aren't street lights yet?

The Quarter is quiet, clean and a few stores are open. I see that Brennan's has reopened across from the newly restored Supreme Court building. Several hotels look open.

At Jackson Square, I try to determine where your President stood for his Jackson Square Address. I listened to every word he said that night and I see as I look around that his words have fallen into the Mississippi River and disappeared.

I go to shops and drop money on trinkets, calligraphy, an antique print. I am doing sympathy shopping to encourage the shop keepers. I am weirded out.

Very quiet in the Quarter. I've never seen it like this.

If I tell you that it looks weird, you won't come to the French Quarter and if you don't come and revive that area with your presence, it will die.

New Orleans appears to be waiting for it's "tipping point". Stay or go? Rebuild or walk away? Hope or despair?

New Orleans is living between the past and future. Nothing new there as it is a city of history and exuberance. These days, the living between is more poignant and painful than I've ever seen.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Considerations for Planning a RevGalBlogPal Retreat/Study Leave Event
Place is important so let's go to St. Casserole's
Each of us will present a paper on our understanding of ministry
Knitters and cat lovers will receive special points.
All morning sessions will include strong coffee. Wearing one's bathrobe is mandatory.
This is an grown up event so only nursing babies may accompany RGBP attendees.
I hope there will be lots of chocolate.
Maybe a Lilly Grant will help us assemble. I'll be happy to write it.
Rats! If we get together, I'll have to admit that I'm not 120lbs as I claimed in my blog.
I would miss my wedding anniversary to meet all the RGBPs, sign me up!
Free polls from
I'm going to New Orleans today. I've taken my sweet time returning to a city I love. I've been busy but that's no excuse to avoid the Big Easy.

My first trip to New Orleans was in 1969. I arrived wearing bell-bottomed blue jeans, a peace symbol embroidered on the back pocket. I carried a batik cloth bag over my shoulder filled with bits of paper, a few bills and lipstick (somethings never change). My hair was past my shoulders and parted in the middle. I arrived as a stereotype before the icon appeared.

I returned to N.O. over the years for visits, work, conferences, parties, to see relatives. For all kinds of reasons including buying a toddler train toy for LS and to take LH to the great folks at Oschner Hospital years ago. The city is a magnet.

Haven't been back since the Storm, though. I'll go today. I'm not sure I can stand seeing the destruction. Maybe I'll be on roads so paved with tourist tracks that I won't see any misery at all. I'm a chicken. It's like going home from college the first time and seeing your parents look old. I'm not up for that today.

I'm going in.

More later,

St. Casserole

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Console (v.)

console (v.)
1693, from Fr. consoler, from L. consolari "offer solace," from com- intensive prefix + solari "to comfort" (see solace). Consolation dates to 1374.

solace (n.)
"comfort, consolation," c.1290, from O.Fr. solas, from L. solacium, from solatus, pp. of solari "to console, soothe," from PIE base *sel- "of good mood, to favor" (cf. Gk. hilaros "merry," O.E. gesælig "happy;" see silly). The verb is recorded from 1297.

A visit with Songbird consoles the spirit. Her personality offers solace to others. It is a comfort to have a listening ear and soothing friend. She sets a good mood for one's heart. We are having a happy and silly visit.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A visit with Songbird means
talk and play, talk and play, talk and play
discuss theological issues and concepts for co-authoring book
discuss in detail the Casserole kittens cuteness
go shopping for pink purses
talk about everything
go see the ruin of the Gulf Coast
drink strong coffee; talk with Mr. C
Put green food coloring on Whistle's head
Marvel at God's goodness in the midst of misery
Free polls from
What's the point of blogging when Songbird is here with us?