Friday, January 29, 2010

What I Loved About Corpus Christi

We're back from our trip to the sunny shores of Corpus Christi just in time to experience the snowy yards and icy streets of Oklahoma City. Great timing, huh?
Here are a few things I enjoyed during our days near the gulf waters.
I loved the sound of the waves. I loved watching the water, under overcast or sunny skies. (We had both.)

I loved driving on the beach, which was practically deserted in January. I was raised in southern California, where the beaches are totally covered with people. To be able to drive across the sand was a real treat.

I loved watching the birds--as long as they kept their distance. (I saw Hitchcock's movie about birds. It made a lasting impression.)

It was a bit early in the season to see Girls Gone Wild at Padre Island, but we did see a lot of GULLS Gone Wild. (Sorry. Couldn't resist saying that.)
I loved discovering what had been washed up by the tide.

But here's what I loved most of all.

I know, that's pathetic, but what's a chocoholic to do?
Yes, I ate fruit and marshmallows dipped in chocolate, on top of eating chocolate covered potato chips all week.
Is it possible to eat large amounts of chocolate and still lose weight? No, it isn't.
Is it possible to gain weight after only a week of eating chocolate in abundance? Oh, yes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

From Sunny Shores

On Tuesday night, I finally received a fortune cookie message that was absolutely accurate. It read “A vacation to sunny shores is soon in store for you.”

As predicted (and already planned), we left for Corpus Christi on Wednesday. Why Corpus Christi? It’s warm, even in January. And we have never been here before.

What are we doing? Our hotel is on the beach, with chairs on a deck. We have spent a lot of time just sitting there, enjoying the gulf waters. We can be incredibly lazy people.

We’re also eating entirely too much chocolate. I’m not mentioning any names, but a certain preacher told me about a candy factory in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. I guess I can’t really blame her for leading me into temptation, but we checked it out on our way south. Bedre Fine Chocolate makes a very fine chocolate covered potato chip.

Before I leave this place, I hope I get a fortune cookie message that says “A return to sensible eating is soon in store for you.” But until then, we’re enjoying our vacation on sunny shores.

Friday, January 15, 2010

First Anniversary of My Blog

It’s been a year since I started putting my thoughts and photos on the internet.


Not all of the significant people in my life read my blog, but some do. My husband reads it because it helps him keep track of my thoughts and activities. (He might even claim that he only knows what’s happening around here because of my blog.) I think my adult children read it just to protect their own interests. Some of my friends read it, including friends from my youth. A few of my relatives follow my blog, and it has opened up more communication between us. One cousin tells me that her friends read it. Two of my favorite (famous) writers dropped by and made comments, which thrilled me. Some of my most faithful readers started out as strangers; now they are friends.


The posts that got the most attention were probably the two about the raccoons in the house. (See here and here.) People also liked my birthday list, where I mentioned 62 things I’ve done in 62 years. Cat lovers particularly like my cat stories. My SCBWI writer friends love it when I write about our conferences. My church friends like my descriptions and photos of church activities.



I’m particularly proud of the writing in certain posts . . . the “Where I’m From” post . . . the thoughts about each of my family members that I’ve written on their birthdays (Husband, Daughter, Son #1, and Son #2) . . . the story about the death of our friend Ed Pugh . . . this year’s Christmas post . . . my review of 2009 . . .


Often, I feel like the topic chooses me instead of the other way around. Whatever is claiming my attention that week seems to insist upon being recorded.


Even as a retired person, I’m a busy person, so I don’t write as often as I’d like. I try to let no more than a week go by without making a post.


Although I spend a lot of my time writing, I mostly write novels. While plodding through draft after draft of a novel, I get discouraged. But blog writing provides validation. In the past, I often told the non-writing people in my life that I am a writer, but I’m not sure they believed me. Now I regularly hear “You are such a good writer!” That encouragement keeps me going. I love knowing that people are actually reading and appreciating the words I write.


Because of the counter I have on my blog, I know I have lots of readers, but few people comment. Please don’t be shy. I’d love to hear what you think, even if you sign in as “Anonymous.”


I hope to entertain and touch you with my writing for years to come. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Yet Another Reason I Love My Cats

Part of me hates to admit it, since only a decade ago I would have considered the whole idea disgusting, but Dr. Lobo and I often sleep with at least one cat.

There’s something really sweet about a small, furry animal curled up next to me. It reminds me of those days of “the family bed” when at least one precious baby shared our sleeping space. Actually, except for those times when they crawl across your body, cats make better sleeping buddies than babies or toddlers, since they tend to stay in one place without moving for long periods of time. If there’s one thing cats do well, it’s sleep.

This week, I’m welcoming any or all of my cats into my bed. Like most places across the country, it’s cold here. Temperatures have stayed in the teens or low twenties, with some dips into single digits. And of course in Oklahoma, the wind comes sweeping down the plain, driving those wind chill temperatures below zero. Baby, it’s cold outside!

Yes, cats can be a bother. They hiss and chase each other through the house. They present dead mice and birds to us. Worse, they bring wounded mice and birds into the house, where they bat them around and chew on them before moving in for the kill. They leave hair everywhere.

One cat follows me and cries for food every time I walk into the kitchen, even if I fed him five minutes earlier. That same cat, who happens to be my favorite in spite of his many faults, snores. Yes, snores.

Still, on these frigid nights, I adore my cats. I’m almost tempted to adopt a few more.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival

Last Saturday I traveled to Fort Worth with a busload of my church friends to see The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival at University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This celebration marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas.

An ancient legend serves as the basis for this festival: an Oxford University student, while strolling in a forest reading the works of Aristotle, was charged by a wild and raging boar. The quick thinking student thrust his volume of Aristotle into the throat of the boar, putting an end to this deadly threat.

Hence, a festival celebrating the triumph of reason over brute force began at Oxford. When the Church adapted the festival, it gained a Christian significance: the boar’s head, symbolic representation of evil, is overcome by good through the teachings of Christ (symbolized by light).

Already old in tradition when presented at Queens College, Oxford, in 1340, The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival is perhaps the oldest continuing Festival of Christmas. The first known public presentation in America took place in 1888. University Christian Church has celebrated the festival since 1976. Over three hundred costumed church members, clergy, and musicians participate. It’s hard to imagine how much work goes into this performance.

My pictures don’t convey the beauty and wonder of this festival. I took over a hundred photos, and my friend Kathy gave me her hundred or so photos, but I'm trying to control my obsessive tendencies, so I'll only show you a few of them. Besides, too much happened too fast for me to document it like I wanted to. Think people—lots of people—in medieval and costumes. Think pageantry. Think spectacular.

Here are a few highlights:

The boar's head has to be carried in, of course.

Pretty dancing girls add beauty and grace to any performance.

The famous Good King Wenceslas made a guest appearance and took care of the peasant gathering winter fuel.

There were some unexpected moments of drama.

Angels appeared to some shepherds. (And wise men came bearing gifts, but like I said, I can't show you everything!)

Space limitations notwithstanding, of course I have to include the photo of all these cute kids. I'll show up to watch kids perform any day! They were great.

The climax was awesome.

Very exciting! (A bit too much excitement for the baby, perhaps, who began to wail.)

The pageant concludes when the minister and Yule Sprite carry the Christ Candle into God's world, that God's love may be known to all.

If you ever get a chance to go to one of these festivals, GO!