Sunday, August 31, 2008

3:15 PM CDT

One brief, hard thunderstorm, then nothing. Sky is overcast. It is hot outside.
We drove around the neighborhood noticing that few of our neighbors boarded up windows/doors. Most yards are freshly cut and porches are bare of chairs and rockers.

We drove downtown. I kept thinking, "Holy Ravioli! Katrina's damage shows everywhere and we are preparing for another one???" We saw National Guard and Army vehicles moving to staging areas in parking lots. Most grocery and drug stores are closed now.
We ran to the grocery for vanilla ice cream and root beer to make floats over at P. and C.'s Tasted great. Their home is littered with storm supplies like our home.

Our neighborhood has many homes not repaired from Katrina damage. People don't want to wait three years but insurance, etc. etc. slows them down. I saw a few homes finished almost. I know those owners are thrilled with Gustav.

I'll update, every few hours, until the power goes off.

So glad for your prayers and company.


UPDATE 6.02 PM CDT Thunder heard in the distance. It's raining now. I can see the tops of our neighbor's trees blowing in the wind. I saw the small turtle, who visited us last week, making his way on the courtyard bricks. I hope he will be OK. I want all of us in Gustav's path to be OK. Waiting for misery is dreadful. No wonder people drink too much and get in fights. Here we are calm, well, Mr. C. is watching TV, LD is napping and I'm getting fidgety.

UPDATE 9:43 PM CDT Very light rain. Frogs singing. Watched the second season of "Heros". Sewed some. Ate cookies. I'm tired and going to bed. I'll update as long as we have power. Thanks for your prayers.

MSNBC has this graphic for Gustav.

5:52 CDT, Sunday August 31, here.

We are on the Eastern side of the storm.

The sky is clear and filled with stars.

I slept until Sister the Dog decided I need to get up.

My body is sore, not from use but from worry.

I don't want to go through this again. I lost myself in Katrina. I found myself, too, in the faces of family and friends but the search took months.

An Elder at Little Church will lead worship today. I'll stay here to avoid the traffic from New Orleans and Coast evacuations. The contra flow of the interstates began at 4 a.m. today.

More later. Thanks for your prayers.


I hear Sarah Palin and John McCain will be in Jackson, Mississippi today. While I appreciate their concern, I am not comfortable with their visit. Gov. Barber's energy needs to be directed to emergency management, not politics. If the McCain Palin ticket would pray for us and send supplies, we would be happy. I am concerned many people will say the Presumptives' visit is political and cynical.

The sky is overcast. The wind has picked up. The temperature is cooler with the breeze. The Presbyies across the street cancelled worship, so did everybody else in town. Some of us gathered at Church anyway so the Pastor read scripture, prayed and led singing of hymns. Just what I wanted.
Anything moveable outside is inside. I miss our greenhouse from before Katrina. Now we pile up stuff indoors. Those of you who know my home, imagine the family room where our dining table is. That side of the room is piled up with courtyard plants, tools and porch furniture.
Feeling calmer after worship.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The trip to LD's school went smoothly. Long drive on two lane roads in the country. I love having her home. Sister, the best dog in the world, and the Cats went wild greeting her.

It's early morning. NOAA says Gustav will intensify as it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf. Projected path includes my area on the Eastern side. We'll spend today doing the rest of our preparations then decide if we will evacuate.

I'm concerned, as an offical worrier, about getting to Little Church, then home again. The route is about 50 miles each way but coming home, I may meet up with evacuation traffic if New Orleans people are coming up the interstate. Government officials turn the interstate into a one-way corridor to move the greatest number out of the metro area. I won't be on the interstate, but good travelers know the back roads and I may have more company than I need.

I'll be preaching the Exodus text. When the lectionary people put texts together, they have no idea how often the texts hit home. The burning bush moved Moses toward a new life.

Glad for your company. Let us pray for all those in Gustav's path, particularly those in the Southern Carribean today.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Freezer emptied.

House Garbage taken away.

Laundry finished.

Bills and papers organized.

Cat Carriers ready. Pet food ready. Sister bathed.

Cars gassed up.

Going to get LD today and bring her home.

St. Casserole

P.S. SFgirlbythebay made this poster.

Third Katrina Anniversary

Reprint for the 3rd Anniversary of Katrina

Rewriting the History of August 29th : A Prayer

Thank you for letting me understand homelessness,
living without power, without television ,
without cool air in the heat.

Thank you for letting me understand hunger,
the pleasure of dry clean clothes
and the relief of place to sleep.

Thank you for letting me understand
the deep and overwhelming sadness when forces,
beyond our personal control,
take the loved, the familiar, the usual.

Thank you for my needfulness
andThank you for my newfound empathy
for those were homeless before the storm and homeless now,
for those hungry anywhere,
for those in need everywhere.

Thank you for the opportunity
you provided to help my neighbor,
to be my brother’s keeper,
to serve food, to patch roofs, to clear yards,
and to start mending that which was broken.

Thank you for the chance to change ourselves,
from a reprieve from the normal commercial day,
for teaching us to make do, to get by, to improvise,
for drowning our conceit, complacency, callousness
for silencing the noise ,
for stopping the clock,
and for the chance to act our best when the worst occurred.

Thank you for the people who reached in pulled out the living,
cradled the dead, comforted the broken and torn apart,
wept for the splintered and uprooted.

Thank you for the people who didn’t wait
who came right away, who opened their homes,
who emptied their shelves, their closets,
who cleaned, fed , healed, held us,
who told us our spirit was amazing,and who keep on coming.

Thank you for people who measure
their faith by their actions,
and measure their action
by its consistency with their faith.

Thank you for all the people we have met,
who are new friends, new loved ones,
new brothers and sisters, new neighbors.

Thank you Katrina.
Not for wind,not for water, but for the appreciation
of the things no storm can shatter,
no water can wash away,
no wind can move.

---Written by R. and Mr. C

If you wish the correct attribution, email me and I will respond.

St. Casserole

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is post #1001 from St.Casserole.

We are watching Gustav. I have water, hurricane supplies and a heavy heart.

Our cars are gassed up. Pet carriers are clean and ready. Sister, the Best Dog Ever, went to the Doggy Spa last night for a bath. It's easier to evacuate a big "fresh" dog than a dirty dog.

Today is the third birthday of Whistle and Fish, our orange cat boys. Their mom gave birth the day before Katrina hit. Mom and kittens survived because a human watched over them.

Frequent readers know I don't do hurricane damage well. Here on the Gulf Coast, many homes and business are getting back after Katrina. Three years after devastation signs of Katrina's damage are everywhere.

The stress and grief from great loss remain with my people. Talking about our local paper's coverage of the three year anniversary of Katrina, the preacher group worries about the emotional lives of the population. One preacher said, "I asked a group of church ladies if they thought the church should have a remembrance service. One of the older ladies said, "No need, Pastor. We remember."

For a New Orleans perspective, you may want to go read the blog of LettyNOLA. She's adorable. Look for her here.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our area is under a tropical storm warning. This means we will get heavy rain, wind and flash flooding in the next 24 hours.

Fay drenched Florida with heavy rain. We are next.

I'll check our sandbag situation, trench in the front yard and pray that the new Methodist parking lot improvements won't force water into our home. I don't think the Methodists considered anyone when they paved a new parking lot several inches above the street. We are across the street from the parking lot.

The damaged storm drain beside our property caved in during Katrina. The City hasn't repaired it. The orange warning cones and orange netting warning of the giant hole have grown over with weeds (and a four foot tall Pine tree sapling)in the past three years.

It's not easy for a City to prioritize repairs. When the majority of the infrastructure is damaged, where do repairs begin? Our small disaster area hasn't received attention yet. I say "yet" because we've contacted the City, seen the City Engineer and are waiting for help.

When I write about hurricanes, I can't help but wonder if my readers on higher ground think we are nuts for living here. The answer is we live here because we live here. We aren't in a federally mandated move area. We survived Camille and Katrina (we were teens when Camille came and not in this house). Mr.C. grew up here, his business is here and our lives are here.

I would like to move to higher ground in retirement. I can't imagine kicking my walker along as I board up windows in my 80's.

Watching the Weather Channel,


P.S. Someone stole our Obama sign. Mr.C. put the sign up, close to our home, far from the street in February. We thought no one would walk so far onto our property.

UPDATE: 11pm. CDT Looks like Fay, downgraded to a tropical depression, will bring rain tonight and tomorrow. We made our preparations, including stocking up on my Cokes and Mr.C's favorite beer. Not a drop of rain here yet. Blessings and safety to all those in Fay's path.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Week Three of the Empty Nest

Looking around the family room today, I noticed that one of my children left a message for me. The house was quiet, the kitchen sink empty, no tv's blaring out but, there up on the ledge on the high windows, I spotted one blue peanut butter M&M.

Good job, kids! I cannot get it down with the dust mop or the telescoping cleaning wand thingie!

I miss you.

St.Casserole, the Mom

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to Act Like My Cats

Want early morning company and a full cat crunchies bowl? Get Dubby to put his big extra-toed paws on a human face.If that doesn't wake me up, start purring loudly then lean over and bite a nose with tiny kitty teeth.

Need your water dish filled in the Study bathroom? Put both front paws in the bowl then wail as though your tail is being pulled by a Ford truck.

Wait a few minutes after we fall asleep, get Whistle to run into our bedroom and cry out with such misery and grief the entire Angst of the Planet is summarized.If asked "Whistle, what's the matter?", look surprised and saunter out of the room. Do this several times then leave the room and play with a toy mouse.Repeat every night for two weeks then stop for three nights. Repeat.

Pretend you are Fish. Refuse to eat your cat crunchies out of the nice, clean bowl. Pull a cat crunchy out of the bowl onto the kitchen floor with your paw. Eat off floor. Repeat.

Never allow the beds to have smooth covers. Crawl underneath the bed covers and sleep. Use your paws to lift the sheets so that new, really stylin' sheets get torn with tiny holes. Repeat.

If you see someone reading the newspaper while drinking coffee at the kitchen counter, either sit on the newspaper or stand with your tail over the coffee mug. Look surprised when asked to move away.

Is it dark outside? Are the people asleep? Find something to push off the buffet in the dining room, a bookcase in the study, the bathroom counter, just anything which will break. Ask yourself, what makes the loudest and most disturbing noise? Glass or ceramics are good, but a book falling to the floor works, too.

Be like Dubby and stand on the kitchen desk in front of the window. Wait until a car arrives. Framed by the window, you look adorable and welcoming.

Find a trashcan, any house trash can will do. Tip it over. Pull out the trash, doesn't matter what you find. Spread it on the floor. No one has put food trash in a house trashcan since 1983, but, still, you can search. Dream of the day they forget to put the kitchen trash can inside the cabinet.

Tired? Bored? Stressed? Find Sister the Dog. Climb all over her big yellow lab body. Clean her ears. Lick her face. Fall down next to her and nap. Solves. Every. Problem. Everytime.

Did someone go into a bathroom and close the door? Didn't invite you? Stand outside the door and howl. Then stand up on your back legs and try to scratch the door off the hinges. Howl more. Stick your paw underneath the door and try to get the person's attention. Howl more. If invited in to stop the howling, beg to get out of the room quickly. Repeat.

Hey! I love them anyway,


Monday, August 18, 2008

The BLOGHER Reach Out Tour is coming to New Orleans October 25. Anybody want to go?
Want to have a meet-up? The RevGals need representation!

St.Casserole, ready to go to New Orleans

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Little Church looks beautiful! I'm sorry I don't have pictures to show you the painted walls and ceilings, the front doors painted red, the front porch columns are fresh white and the steps are a safe grey with grit in the paint to prevent slipping!
Oh, we are getting so pretty!

After the carpet was pulled up, we saw beautiful wide plank wood floors! No piecing of odd wood or damage, just old wooden floors ready for refinishing! The acoustics this morning in worship sound crystal clear without the carpet. When the floor work is finished and the pews are returned, I wish we would ditch the pew cushions to keep the lovely sound in the sanctuary.

When I first met Little Church, the pulpit had a microphone for the preacher. I never needed it and, with wood floors, no one who knows how to project her voice will need extra help.

Our singing sounded better and filled the space with joy.

Much more work to do in the coming months but I see and hear progress!

If you shake out your pew cushions and see extra change, send it to us...



Saturday, August 16, 2008

I am happy. Lovely Daughter is home! I drove to Hub City to meet her ride and brought her home! She's full of dorm stories, loving her teachers and enjoying her new school. Wonderful.

Mr.C. flew off to Houston for a meeting. He'll be home this afternoon. Lovely Son is working.

Sister and the Cats went wild when they saw LD.

When LD wakes up, we'll search for dance clothing. No, not a dance dance but a dance class she attends each morning. Tights and leotards and whatever girls wear for the class. This isn't the dance class for the actors but a dance class. I'm confused.

She's in all AP courses, on the Ultimate Frisbee team and happy.

I'm happy, too.,

St.Casserole, the Mama

Monday, August 11, 2008

Non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat.

We have rain! Lots of pouring heavenly buckets of rain right now. Our brick back porch is flooding, a reminder that I need to trench new areas of plantings. Only rain shows where trenches or french drains are needed. The new landscaping, added over the past year, changed the terrain.

Traveling mercies to SB and MB as one goes to a conference and the other returns home.

I won't be painting the wrought iron chairs and table today. I bought a charming set for $2 at a garage sale Saturday. With new paint, new seats and a glass top for the table, I'll have a great set for...somewhere...not sure where I'll put these.

I found an office sized shredder at the salvage store several weeks ago. At 90% off, I thought I'd give a cross cut shredder a try. My table top shredder cost more and does less. The tiny pieces look like the cat litter the humane society uses for cats, so I'm adding hand fulls of shredded newspaper to the Cat Boys boxes. Perhaps this shredded paper will be my new cat litter source. At least the local paper will have a use.*

I saw the new paint yesterday at Little Church. The interior is sheet rocked, sanded, and primed. At first look, I couldn't understand why the walls weren't the color we chose. Then I realized I was looking at primer. New sanctuary light fixtures look great! We are all thrilled! Far from finished, we can see what will be, God willing.

I'm missing LD all day long. She phones home but is distracted with all the details of a new place and new people. I'll fetch her on Friday for the weekend. Can't wait!

In 2008 Books Read, I finished the fourth Twilight book by Stephanie Meyers on Saturday. Now I'm picking up Julia Spencer-Fleming's new book.

I miss you,

*I sound like my Father. He crabbed about the local paper, too.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yesterday was a "J" day. I bumped into my favorite children's teacher "J" during the few minutes she was in town. So good to see her! After we finished visiting, I heard my name and turned to see my local "J" and began chatting with her. Then, later in the day, I heard from "J" who I call by another name. We talked about kids, life and summer heat even when you don't live in the South.

Later on, while Mr.C. and I were watching MSNBC and minding our own business, I saw a crawler on the bottom of the screen. It said something like "in a poll, more women would prefer to carpool with Obama than McCain". Can I get a job making up polls like this one? I started laughing and wished the pollster would call me. I'd say for safety reasons, I'd rather carpool with a younger man with good physical reflexes. I'd rather carpool with a man who has an age-appropriate wife than one with a much younger trophy wife because I'd feel safer about his life choices. Finally, I'd rather ride with the calmer Obama than with McCain who has anger issues, according to his friends.

I'd like to give the Atwater Award this week to the Republicans who are criticizing Obama for being popular. Geez! In some ways, a one-eyed cat with few teeth running against the last eight years of our current POTUS would be more popular than a Republican candidate. What kind of wicked mind decides that being popular means one is a celebrity? McCain's personal wealth and history of grabbing attention is dollars and years ahead of Obama's.

That's all.


Monday, August 04, 2008

2008 Books Read

Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse Popular Teen Lit. LD read these first, then passed them to me.

Finished John Grisham's The Appeal. Very troubling story.

I'm keeping an eye on T.S. Eduardo. Follow along with me by going to the National Hurricane Center.

Eduardo is west of my home but worth watching.

God bless those in the path of the storm,


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Lovely Daughter is registered, moved in and THERE.




Today we drive Lovely Daughter to her new school. New School, one of the State specialty high schools is 220 miles away. She'll live in a dorm room with two girls and these three roommates share a bathroom with three other girls. I doubt any of the suite mates have experience sharing a room or bathroom.

I'm not thinking of her adjustments to room mates. I'm thinking of our empty nest.
I realize adult and almost adult children return home but today is the beginning of a new portion of our lives.

I'm not happy to see LD go.

I waited my entire life for children. While I was unsure about how I'd do with marriage, I was clear I wanted children. When God blessed us with LS, then LD, my heart filled to bursting. Marriage to Mr. C. turned out to be a pleasure. Parenting with him suits me, too.

Now, they are leaving our nest. LS begins his junior year at University in a few weeks. He's moved to College Town and begun a job to get ready for registration.

I feel weak and whiney. Crabby and unsure.

We feel good about the specialty high school. She will be secure and safe there, at least, as safe as one can hope for these days.

The school requires auditions and a stringent acceptance policy. For the first time in years, she will attend classes with students who WANT to be at school. Her public high school here is filled with kids who are enduring classes to fulfill state attendance regulations.

Learning is better when students want to be in school.

We've thought this through. We signed the forms. We are ready.

But, I am not ready.

St. Casserole