Monday, March 31, 2008

CONCENTRATE ON THIS SENTENCE

When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.

Concentrate on this sentence...

"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (or a spring weekend)

Overall, felt pretty poo-poo all weekend, but made myself get out and go. Riley had a baseball game on Friday. That little stinker caught a pop fly and then threw to first base for a double play! He got the game ball, btw! I am truly on cloud nine when I am at the ballpark watching all those kids playing ball. Hannah had a 10:45 a.m. game on Saturday. She is playing first base and started off having an off-day, but she rallied and they won their game. She hit a hard one to the fence as well. I then went on the Helena Sports Complex where Bay had a 12:30 game. It was one of those really close games where you go ahead, and then they go ahead and it's just back and forth all the way through. It was a nail-biter, but they pulled it off by one point in the end! Bay hit well, played part of the game in pitcher's circle and then went to third where me made a great catch for an out.

We left the ballparks behind and headed for the lake where Fannie Brown awaited our arrival. We got there shortly after 4 and she had a casserole and some string beans ready. She's adding on to the front (facing the water) of her house and we sat on the enormous covered upper deck and watched it lightning and rain all evening. It was a really relaxing evening, even though she noticed my mood and thought I was uptight. But it was nothing other than a general feeling of worn out with the neck problems/pain.

Sunday morning turned off cooler than had been predicted. LG had taken me to Wal-Mart and bought me my own fishing rod and we got a new tackle box since my stepson keeps LG's all the time, so we're just starting over with a new one. LG got a new reel, and we both bought official fishing licenses this year. We bundled up and went down to one of the piers to fish. Fannie had gotten some minnows for us. I was chastised and hassled relentlessly because LG was baiting my line AND removing the fish from the hooks when I'd catch one. I was told that I needed to learn to do this myself if I was gonna fish. I promise, I will.

It was really windy and that made the breeze off of the water even more cold than up at the house. I was enjoying the fishing, though. I caught about 5 or 6 crappie and one small catfish. LG caught numerous crappie, a bass and a large catfish, about two pounds. If we weren't cold and we weren't just out there for fun, we could have spent the time to clean 'em up and put 'em in the freezer to add to for a big fish fry one weekend. Maybe next time.


I put my seat back on the way home and slept just about all the way. All I wanted was a shower and my jammies and that was accomplished by 6:15. After a nice big bowl of Special K, I was in bed watching t.v., and turned that off by 8:30. I had a really solid night's sleep. I was t-a-r-d - TARD! It was a full weekend, and Sissy has another game at 6:00 tonight. I know I will miss a few following my surgery so I guess I'll try to see as many as I can.

On a side note, I'm sure the few regulars who visit me have noticed that the blogging has slacked off a bit. Yes, it has. I don't know if I am losing whatever satisfaction I was getting, or if it is because I don't feel well. That plus the lack of feedback makes it seem rather pointless. I don't know how much longer I'll stay with it . . . . the fire is merely smouldering embers and may simply die out.

It's Been One of Those Days


I went into the gas station today and asked for five dollars worth of gas ..... The clerk farted and gave me a receipt.

Those Born 1930-1979

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's,60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna froma can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when werode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day wasalways a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computer! s, no Internet or chatrooms.......WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made upg ames with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, show it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno: "With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mudslides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up thec ountry from one end to another, and with the threatof bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge ofAllegiance?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It Can't Go Without Mentioning . .

LG and I signed in and found a seat in the nice big waiting area of the neuro surgeon's office yesterday. It's located in the new North Tower at St. Vincent's, on the top floor, and the blinds were all up and we had a great view of the Lakeview area and north of University Boulevard. There's a television mounted high on the wall and the feint sounds of newscasters keeping people up-to-the-minute on CNN's news was pleasant, but not overbearing. The section in which we chose to sit was empty, except for the two of us. The office was shaped like an "L". We were seated in the verticle side of the "L". Seats went all the way around the wall, but there was also a single row of seats, back to back, down the middle leaving just enough room to comfortably sit, but a bit harder to manuever a walk-through.

Naturally, as people come and go, one looks to see who's coming in, who's going out, it's habit. I looked up as I heard the elevator doors open and someone entering the offices and my heart sank. I whispered to LG, "there's the guy and his mutha, the yankees who thot the wait was so ri......di.....cu.....lus yesta-day". Yep, there they were. What luck? Not in a million years. Mutha signed in and of all the seats in this entire office, guess where they sat? In the middle isle in two chairs facing LG and I .... we musta dun somethin wrong somewhere. Here they were again, that Yankee brogue, speaking loud enough for all to hear (hey, don't people whisper in doctor's waiting rooms anymore?) .... the son, "yeah, spending all those dollas overseas, it's bullshit!" And Mutha did cover her mouth but responded in kind. They are two peas in a pod, those two. No wedding ring on the man's hand, and not to wonder why . . . he's all Mutha's son, from the tip of his longest hair, to the end of the longest toenail.

Just an oddity of rotten luck that I had to mention.

Abbey's Listening To . ..

BLADE!

I couldn't resist the title of this post . . . yes, I am going under the blade one more time. I suppose my prayers were answered. I prayed that all the diagnostics would find something, but that it would be a little something, one that could be repaired, as opposed to something chronic to which those awful words "you'll just have to live with it" would be the only comment.

I'm not dying, but it will be a painful surgery, I am told, but a relatively quick recovery. Doctors always tell me a certain number of weeks for recovery, and then I find that I am no where near ready to get out, and most of all, return to work in the short time span that they project. Not a problem. I've addressed the issue with the powers that be and I am blessed to work with compassionate and caring folks. The bottom line is, "get well, we want you back." Music to my ears.


I'll be around a while as it takes time to get on the surgery schedule. So, stick around . . .

Abbey

SPECIAL FORCES

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the United States Redneck Special Forces (USRSF) .


These boys will be dropped off in Iraq and have been given only the following facts about terrorists :

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste just like chicken.
4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
5. They are directly responsible for the death of ELVIS.

The Pentagon expects the problem in Iraq to be over by Friday

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

General Hospital

As some of my fellow bloggers are aware, I was to have a myelogram yesterday. I was initially told to be at the hospital at 7 a.m. However, the doctor's office called and said there had been some last minute surgeries scheduled and that I should arrive at 9 a.m. No problem. That gave LG and I time enough to scoot by Starbuck's and pick up our favorite vinte frapacino.

I arrived, signed in and was given one of those little remote buzzers, the kind that lights up and hums when you are being called. I'm still a little dumfounded because all through the day, you could hear someone hollering "Buzzer number [so-in-so]" .... <a big Tim Allen "huh?"> It's still a mystery. Once I got through that registration, I was sent a few feet away to Radiology registration. There I was given yet another "buzzer". This one was used for the purpose that was intended, thankfully. I was called in just a few minutes. I was assisted by two girls, one being a first-year student. We went to x-ray first and they took a couple of those. Then on to a room where I would change into one of those beautiful couture gowns associated with being among the elite in hospital-dom. We filled out papers, signed papers, and then I changed, locking my belongings in a closet. Oddly, out of all the gowns squashed in the drawer, I pulled out the biggest one in there - made for a man, not for a woman.

Five minutes later, the student returns to inform me that the doctor will be delayed "at least an hour and a half. You can sit in here or go back to the waiting area." Well, hell, there's no question .... I was not going to sit in a small room with no windows and a hard chair for "at least an hour and a half". Here I go, putting my clothes back on and walking back to the waiting area. LG smiles. He thinks I'm all done. Nada. Our wait would last four and one-half hours.

Observations in the waiting area are interesting and sometimes, very irritating. I sat by a lady who happened to have had a cervical fusion performed by the same orthopedic who performed mine in 2003. She has also changed physicians and is still having problems with neck pain and migraines. I found a kinship right there.

We decided to find the bookstore and purchase a book or maybe crossword puzzle book for moi. It is so frustrating. Everybody is on this Sudoku stuff and those books were in mass, but not a single crossword puzzle book to be found except one, lone book of puzzles from The New York Times. Honey, I ain't dumb, but I ain't smart enough for those puzzles. We bought it and it didn't take me long to put it down in favor of the Dean Kootnz novel, "Father".

I'm trying to read and something is interferring with my concentration. It is two individuals, apparently mother and son 3 feet from us. Over and over, the slow spoken YANKEE brogue saying "THIS..IS..RID..IC...U..LOUS". They go on and on about what they cannot chant, and I cannot concentrate. The son decides to walk past us to the lady sitting next to LG and he engages her in conversation regarding the state of affairs and the long delay. By this time, the pain in my neck and shoulders is revving up and gaining speed. I'm on the verge of saying something I should not. Instead, I got up and went 15 feet away to another area to read. LG ran into some folks for our old ballpark days in Adamsville and talked a while before joining me. All was well, quiet, pain, discomfort, and still waiting.

I note a young man in a wheelchair with his foot all wrapped. He is briskly wheeling himself all around the area and ends up "parking" right in front of us. Here comes Mama. Apparently a VIP Mama. Cell phone and papers were in hand, she was prepared to do business. I knew what was coming. Mama sat down, spoke as loudly as she probably does at home (loud enough to indicate she wants everyone to notice her), gave her son $20 and off he went. She proceeded to make several calls and I think I heard about her son and his foot and other business that I didn't really care to know at least 4 times. It was the most obnoxious thing. I cannot stand people conducting business, more so, LOUDLY via cell phone in a public place. I mean, the doors were 10 feet away, she could have gone out there in the foyer. Self-centered and not a thought to anyone but herself. LG senses my tension, I'm leaning forward, elbows on my knees and face in my hands. He begins to gently massage my back in an effort to both calm me and silently tell me, "be cool."

I was finally called back at nearly 2 p.m. They were behind, they were in a hurry, hurry up, strip and get back out here .... fetal position, put your chin down, bee sting, OUCH, followed by another sting and deeper penetration of a needle. The dye is injected and immediately, I feel it flowing and straight to my head. "Oh my head is hurting", and the tech said "your head is gonna hurt", and I said, "NO, I mean, IT'S REALLY HURTING", like someone had put a large cement block on my head. It was excrutiating, but it subsided in a few moments. I was contorted in several positions for x-rays and then to the CAT room for a scan. It took a sum total of 20 minutes.

I was starved and in pain. The nurse told me to recline my seat in the car, so I did on the way home. LG took me by Whataburger and that really hit the spot. He turned down the bed and my orders were to lay on my back, head elevated, for 6-8 hours. Well, heck, that was the rest of the day. I took some meds for pain and such, and I got a few little cat-naps. I did not want another episode like the last time with the injection sight leaking spinal fluid, or else I'd end up in the ER for a blood patch. So, I did exactly as I was told.

We see the doc this afternoon. I keep saying he's going to do one of two things: put me out to pasture or shoot me and put me out of my misery. In actuality, my prayer is that they find something, but that it is minor and can be fixed, as opposed to finding something and saying "there's nothing we can do, you'll have to live with it." Don't know if I could do that .... it'd be a struggle.


Keep sharing the love everybody. Appreciate all the visitors, even the ones who do not post a comment. You're welcome to visit and to comment any time, anonymously or otherwise.

God bless you all,
Abbey

This Day's . . .

I dedicate this to the poor misguided soul who quite sadly seems to have one purpose ~ to disrupt my corner of the world. WAKE UP!

There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present. Hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of some less fortunate fellow traveler. Today you can make your life significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with it as you will.
~ Grenville Kleiser

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

~ Colossians 3:2, The Revised Standard Version

A Story with a Moral Message

A woman and a man are involved in a car accident on a snowy, coldMonday morning; it's a bad one. Both of their cars are totally demolished but amazingly neither ofthem are hurt. God works in mysterious ways. After they crawl out of their cars, the man is yelling about womendrivers; the woman says, 'So you're a man. That's interesting. I'm a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but we're unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be
friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days.'

Flattered, the man replies, 'Oh yes, I agree with you completely,this must be a sign from God! But you're still at fault...women shouldn't be allowed to drive.'

The woman continues, 'And look at this, here's another miracle. Mycar is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.'
Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head inagreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the woman. The woman takes the bottle and immediately puts the cork back on, and hands it back to the man. The man asks, 'Aren't you
having any?'The woman replies, 'No. I think I'll just wait for the police....'

MORAL OF THE STORY: Women are clever, evil bitches. Don't mess with us.

Monday, March 24, 2008

PHARMACOLOGY (Adult Humor)

In pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also call Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of "cocktails", "highballs" and just a good old-fashioned "stiff drink". Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's rese arch. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

Abbey's Listening To . ..

SAN FRANCISCO - DAY THREE

By the beginning of our third day in San Francisco, we were want of energy. We slept a little later and ended up at the little diner about mid-morning for breakfast. Following breakfast, we hopped the cable car using the map to determine where to get off this car and pick up the next that would take us into downtown San Francisco. Our objective was to see Coit Tower. We had no idea that we might find a bus or cab to take us up the steep hill to the tower, and ended up walking what seems like over 1,000 steep steps up to the top of Telegraph Hill where Coit Tower rests. I have copied the following from an internet site entitled "A View On Cities".

"The 210ft Coit tower on top of the Telegraph Hill is a monument dedicated to the San Francisco Firemen.

History

The Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was an eccentric personality who was best known for her support of the local firemen. After she died, she left one third of her fortune for the beautification of the city. The result was the Coit Tower, which is both a memorial for Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen. The concrete tower was constructed by Arthur Brown Jr., best known for his beautiful City Hall.

Murals

The interior of the 63m/210 ft tall cylindrical tower is decorated with a large number of murals, most of them depicting life in California during the Great Depression. In total 25 painters worked on the project, which includes - among many other scenes - a bank robbery, a scene from the harbor and a look into a department store. The murals are protected as a historical treasure.At the top of the Coit tower is an observation platform with spectacular 360° views over San Francisco.

Telegraph Hill

The Coit Tower is built on top of the 87m/285ft high Telegraph Hill, which is situated between Fisherman's Wharf and the Financial District. In 1850, a pole with movable arms on top of the hill was used as a signaling station. The wooden arms were adjusted to signal the incoming of ships. In 1853 it was replaced by an electric telegraph station, hence the hill's name.

Pioneer Park

Surrounding the tower is the Pioneer Park. It was bought in 1876 by some businessmen to protect the hill from development. They donated it to the city on the premise that the area would become a park. The Coit tower can be reached by walking up the Greenwich steps or via the scenic Filbert Steps at Montgomery Street."

The trip to Coit Tower ended the way it began, by traversing back down the same steps that we climbed earlier to visit the monument. Needless to say, we were pooped and hungry! We had an early dinner at a nice restaurant on Pier 39 and headed back to the hotel before dark. My seminar was to begin bright and early the next day, and we would leave the following morning to return home.
San Francisco is an interesting city, but I wouldn't want to live there. The wind blows ALL of the time, and the fog rolls in most ever day year in and year out. As a girl in her 20's, I recall that visiting even in the middle of summer, one always needed jackets and long pants, for the winds from the Pacific are very high and very brutal. I recall years ago going someplace down on the wharf and picking up fresh crab right off the boat, and there'd be people down there with steam pots who would steam your crab for you right there for a couple of dollars and then you could just sit down and eat. Those were some delicious crabs.
We didn't replicate our mistake coming in - we caught an actual cab to the airport and the difference in price was about $35. I don't know if I'll ever return to San Francisco; it's like "been there, done that" and we have so many other places in America that we have not yet seen. But I think everybody needs to go at least once. The wine country is within a reasonable distance and you can take a tour there as well as the tour through the redwoods. Lots of avenues to explore, in other words.
But, you know, there's just no place like home.
God bless,
Abbey

PROBLEM CHILD

Dear Problem Child:

You continue your attempts to post comments containing damaging material, but to no avail. Please know that your comments come to the author FIRST for approval. I can see you behind your keyboard, your little evil fingers working away, the clock on the wall ticking away precious moments of your short life, while you waste precious time attempting to place damaging links into bogus alias comments. You poor thing, please know that I do not ever open links from persons unknown to me. You must find some other way to rock my world. But it would be so much nicer if you could just see the error of your ways and turn your life around to a more honest one, one where you don't have to live looking over your shoulder.


Your comment from "Nenos" went nowhere. And your second comment under the bogus alias this weekend was also rejected. These are classified as "efforts in futility." You are only bumping your head, so please stop before you hurt yourself.

PEACE,
Abbey

This Day's . . .

O God, I saw Thee push the black bolts back today and set ajar the Gates of Dawn, and the Spirit of Morning coming through at once was everywhere. The golden torrent of her hair she shook wide and free and lightly tiptoed up the sky, while all her trailing skirts spread glory. She blew a whisper through the woodland and it broke in song; she glanced along the streams and they mirrored heaven; she ran across the lawns, through gardens enamel-petalled and aroma-drunk. They stood unutterably still and rich, as if their soul had come. Glorious God, I saw Thy Morning, and it seemed like resurrection to a life once dead in trespasses and sins.

~ Oswald W. S. McCall

He told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this- that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

~ Matthew 28:18-20, The Living Bible

Sunday, March 23, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - DAY TWO


After breakfast at our little diner across the street, we caught the cable car and traveled down to Fisherman's Wharf. I'm a people watcher and this was a virtual feast. Most of all, you will see all kinds of "gimmicks" to make a buck or two. You may see a mime or two in the photo's in the sidebar album, who every now and then will inconspicuously press a button and water may spew from a flower on their hat or elsewhere. On particular "artist" irritated me. He was there every day that we visited the wharf and he did the exact same mermaid "sculpture" out of sand on the concrete walkway. People would stop and look, and I happened to take a photo. This guy began to follow and practically attacked me. He was relentless in asking me for money for the privilege of photographing his "art". A female popped up as well, and was probably his girlfriend, saying "he's talking to you", when I was trying to be nonchalant and feign not noticing him following me around, while loudly repeating, "a donation for your photo" over and over. I finally stopped and told him that I would gladly delete the photo from my disk. He was appalled, but not at much as I was. Nevertheless, he didn't get one red cent from me.

Another person had taken limbs from a bush and made a screen about 3x3 feet ... he'd hide behind it and people would walk up and he would jump up and scare them! It was hilarious to watch, and people were actually donating money to this guy for this! Unbelievable.

In other places, you might find a man who had spray-painted his entire self, clothing and all, with glitter paint, standing in a pose on a milk crate, near which you would find a small bucket for donations. This is absurd, to be frank. I wanted to walk by and say, "get a real job." I saw these people all over San Francisco, just standing on sidewalks, some holding the donation cup in their hand ... pretending to be mimes, but all they were is one panhandler after another.


The image to the left is of the new "public restrooms" that you will find here and there on the Wharf and other places. I took this photograph while waiting for whoever was inside to come out so I could go in. It took them a VERY long time, but when they came out, so did the smoke, and it had the most horrid smell that I new it had to be crack or some other hard drug. It was disgusting to say the very least.


We spent most of the midday and afternoon walking around Pier 39, in and out of shops, stopping to get a beverage, maybe a snack, buying souvenirs, sitting and watching people. Late in the afternoon, we made our way to Pier 31 where we were to catch the ferry to Alcatraz Island for our tour of the prison.

The tour is guided and is one of the most interesting historical tours I have ever experienced. This is one that I highly recommend. The guide was very knowledgeable about the island's history, how the prison came to be and the many stories of inmates who were incarcerated there. What was once the warden's home is now but a stone shell, but you can imagine the home as it once was when it was inhabited. There are large, delapidated and abandoned buildings that were once "apartments" for the families of the people who worked on the island. The inside of the prison is eery and ghostly; you can almost hear the voices of the inmates that once lived there in 6x9 cells. The ceilings were so low that a man of 6 feet would not be able to stand completely erect. It was a virtual box. I tried to envision life in this place as an inmate.

Solitary confinement was the worst. It was completely dark, no mattress for sleeping, nothing, and they were kept in solitary completely naked. Inmates would play a game to try to pass the time and maintain their sanity. It consisted of flipping a coin in the air and then spending time to find it in the dark, when they would toss the coin again, and again search for it. I've placed several photographs in the album of the cellblock. Of course, we heard the story of The Birdman of Alcatraz, Al Capone and others. The tour of the inside of the cellblock is a "go at your own pace" type thing. You receive earphones and a boxed recording and you can start and stop whenever you want to spend time in one place. You receive a very detailed account of the lives of inmates, especially the famous ones, why the cellblocks were built the way that they were, the administration building, and the mess hall.

On the upper part of the cellblock were windows that didn't keep out the elements very well, and being an island in the middle of this bay, the wind never ceased. There was no heat and it is said that the cellblock was extremely damp and cold. But, the worst of the worst criminals were incarcerated there, and they didn't deserve any comforts of home.

We traveled back to the mainland by ferry and it was growing dark, and cold. We had walked so much and our feet were hurting, and we were hungry. We ended up eating at a rather expensive place just because we saw it and it was open. The food was good, but overpriced. It was about three blocks from where we could catch our cable car back to the hotel. Once there, we decided to have a cocktail and wind down from the day, followed by a wonderful sleep. We were on the 9th floor and we could hear, albeit faintly, the sounds of the city - sirens and such, and in the early morning, the ding-ding-ding of the cable cars as they began to run again.


One thing that is prevalent to living in the City is the townhouses, rows and rows of them line every single street, all different colors, some more delapidated than others. There are a LOT of Asians in San Francisco, and China Town is on the list of places to see, but didn't interest us in the least. I wanted to visit Haight Ashbury, but found out that it was first, quite a distance from where we were staying, and second, it had become so run-down and infested with undesirables that it really was not a safe place to walk around. So much for fulfilling that dream of the 60's.

By now, we are all extremely tired and feeling like we've seen just about all we need to except for Coit Tower. We will visit Coit Tower tomorrow, and return for one last walk through Pier 39 before heading back earlier than before to our hotel. See you tomorrow.

Have a blessed Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Does Your Name Mean

I got this from Leigh at "General Ramblings" and found it really interesting. I typed in my "given name" and this is what is says:

"You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality.You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life. You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person."

I think this is 90% accurate, but I must comment on "Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing." I believe this is in the eye of the beholder. I don't believe I have a selfish bone in my body, however, there is always room for people to be misunderstood. Overbearing? I think I do this without realizing it, but still, a work in progress.


If you'd like to find your own name's meaning, you can click here.

Abbey is Listening to . . .

I needed something easy and familiar. James Taylor never fails to satify the need in me. I'm a bit under the weather with the neck problems growing increasingly worse, so I'm just resting today and this is just the right the medicine to sooth my soul. I truly love every song on "Hourglass". . .

Thursday, March 20, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO

I've posted a new album on San Francisco on my sidebar. Double-click to view the slideshow.

We visited the City of San Francisco in June 2007. I had a seminar to attend, so LG and Fannie went along and we went out four days early to take in the sights. I have visited S.F. many times when I lived in Los Angeles, it being a great weekend getaway. You could fly up on PSA for $50 back then. It was very special to share this old haunt with two people that I love.

We arrived very late on a Friday night after a very long non-stop flight. We got suckered on our transportation. We were so tired, we got into a "hired car" rather than a cab and paid about $70 for our ride from the airport to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. We checked into our rooms, and as luck would have it, LG and I had a double bed instead of the queen that I had reserved. Fannie's room had the nice queen bed and was, in fact, larger in every way. Had to take care of that the next day via the manager taking us to four rooms, each having a double sized bed, before she found a queen. Grrrr...... In due respect, the hotel had undergone recent renovation and I suppose their computer system had not been updated to show which rooms contained what size beds.

We ate most of our meals at a little old-fashioned diner across the street and I have since forgotten the name, maybe "Lizzie's Diner" or something similar. But, it reminded me of a 50's diner, complete with framed covers from "Photoplay" and other "movie magazines" of the 60's, reflecting those dated photos and headlines of stars such as Liz Taylor, Kim Novak, Eddie Fisher, Natalie Wood, Frank Sinatra, Robert Wagner, James Dean, and on and on. The red vinyl booths were classic, as were the red vinyl-covered silver metal chairs. There was a long bar with the old-fashioned stools that spun and they were also covered in red vinyl. In the middle of the diner was a very old Buick sedan, the headlights of which were always "on", and inside sat a mannequin in the driver's seat. The mannequin was of a female with a boufont hairstyle and fashionable clothing of the era. It was pretty cool. Ambiance is everything . . .

Our first day, I had purchased advance tickets to the redwood forest (Muir Woods) and to Sausalito. I bought us three-day passes on the cable cars at a kiosk near the hotel. Three days for $11 for each of us, or you could pay by the trip which was $5 per, so it was a deal! There are cable car "stands" duly marked and when the cars stop, you just hop on, providing there is room. Half the time, the conductor didn't even ask us to see our passes! Might have saved our money and taken the chance if we'd known. We took the cable car down to Ghiradelli Square, next to which were the travel companies and the place where we caught our small coach. We took off and went across the Golden Gate Bridge through Sausalito, and into Muir Woods. We were given an hour and a half to walk through the forest and visit the gift shop. It was simply magnificent.

The photos in the album do not do justice to the absolute and awesomely beautiful trees. The enormity of literally hundreds of trees that I might classify as "monsterous" was breathtaking. The very thought that these trees had been there for hundreds of years is hard to fathom. It was extremely educating and enjoyable to be in the midst of such history. Not to metion, humbling. I wish we'd had more time, for there were many trails one could take to see this beautiful creation by God.

We met back at our coach at the appointed time and traveled back into the small town on the bay named Sausalito. At that point, one could choose to stay as long as one wanted in the town and take a ferry across the bay back to San Francisco, which is what we chose to do. The ferry was $8 per person, I think. Sausalito is a very charming little town and again, has the most wonderful ambiance about it. We went down to the docks where the privately owned boats and some very nice yachts were docked. It is extremely windy in the entire area of the San Francisco Bay and Sausalito is no different. We began to walk the streets and venture in and out of one shop or another.

One of the highlights of this excursion was an art exhibition of the works of Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane. I won't go into too much detail, but suggest you Google if interested and look at some of Grace's work. She is extremely talented and having been in my teens in the 60's and through the hippie and revolutional movement, I found her art to be very interesting and appealing. There were no labels as far as price on her pieces, and I was too embarrassed to ask, but decided to Google for myself when I returned home. Her piece entitled "White Rabbit" is quite interesting in correlation to the words of it's namesake song. She did a marvelous black and white of the face and head of Jerry Garcia, which is simply breathtaking. I purchased a nice pull-over at a small shop across the street that reads "Haight Ashbury", and of course, there were many tees to choose from, expressing this and that in relation to cannibus, wine, hippie grafiti and the like.

We took the ferry back across the bay as it began to grow quite cool and the constant wind enhanced the cool temperatures. The ferries are large boats of usually two levels. There are some chairs and tables, but a lot of folks had to stand. This particular ferry smelled like a sewer and could have used some cleaning, but it served one purpose - to get us from point A to point B. The waters of the bay are very rough, and our big ferry handled them well, rising and falling with each wave. Thank goodness none of us are afflicted with motion sickness. But you didn't want to go out the doors and stand on the bow, as the waters would frequently splash up over the bow and you could be soaked with the chilling water.

We had dinner at the little diner, and found that the dinner choices were just as tasty as breakfast. I might mention that Fannie Brown had contracted some malady a day or two before the trip and she was doing her best to enjoy herself, but she still did not really feel up to being a real "party joiner". We returned to the hotel, went to our rooms and hit the sack. It was an enjoyable but tiring day.
Day two and we're off to Fisherman's Wharf and our trip to Alcatraz Island. Look for the story of our adventures on day two tommorrow.


Most of all, God bless each and every one of you, your loved ones and friends this Easter. My the Light of God shine upon you and bless you all abundantly.

Love,
Abbey

Abbey's Listening To . . .

This is really going back, to the early 70's in fact, but I am a huge SD fan and have their boxed set. This was my first SD purchase, published in 1972. Fabulous musicians and creative lyricists. They came into my life at a very special time, and therefor, listening to them brings back literally 100's of very fond memories of my days living in West L.A. I love them all, but favs are "Brooklyn", "Midnight Cruiser", "Do It Again", and "Dirty Work" .... I have goose bumps just reliving it in my mind's eye.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Images From NASA's Space Shuttle, "Endeavor"







































































Heartlight for Wednesday

VERSE:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you. ~ Acts 3:19-20

THOUGHT:

When was the last time that you caught yourself straying from a passionate walk with the Lord? Refreshing times come when we change our hearts and lives to live for God and with God in our everyday lives! In fact, Jesus has told us that he will reveal himself to us as we live obediently for him (see John 14:15-21). His home will bei n us until he returns for us and we get to enjoy the ultimate refreshment -- going home to be with Him forever.

PRAYER:

Father, I am consciously turning my life over to you today. I ask for your forgiveness for any sin that I have committed. Please refresh me through a deeper awareness of Jesus' lordship and presence in my life today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

WISDOM:

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life; but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

~ Proverbs 15:4, King James Version

This Days . . .

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He had at the outside 120 faithful followers.

~ Richard Halverson

Wow, that's not very many. Imagine how many followers He has today!!

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

~ Mark 15:1-2, The New International Version


Abbey's Listening To . . .

Congratulations, Sir Paul, on yesterday's court victory. If you'd like to download the Judge's full ruling in the divorce case, click here. You'll find the link about midway down in the article. In honor of Sir Paul's victory, and of the fact that truth and justice always prevail, I am listening to his first solo album "McCartney", released April 17, 1970. It's always been a favorite, and the cover was photographed by his late wife, Linda. Personal favorites: "OO You" and "Maybe I'm Amazed".

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Abbey's Listening To . . .


Chinese Eye Test

This is a Chinese eye test. Look at the image below for a minute or so.


If you cannot decipher anything, then try pulling the corner of your eyes as if you were Chinese. Do you see it now?

This Days . . .

We are rapidly approaching the peak of the Season of Lent, culminating in the final days of the life of Christ. As Christians, we must meditate on all the events in Christ's life in those final days, right up to and including his crucifixion. If you truly search within you own heart, close your eyes, and envision yourself as an onlooker in the actual place and time of these events, I don't believe you will be able to bare it all. You eyes will well with tears, your heart will swell until it feels it will explode, and your humility in the presence of God and His Son will be so wonderfully great that you will give your most heartfelt thanks, over and over, for the wonderful opportunity to be a Child of God.

In Christ,
Abbey

Easter not only happened; it happens. It is not only a past event to be celebrated with new hats and hallelujahs; it is an eternally present fact to be appropriated by faith and obedience.

~ Leonard Griffith

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

~ Matthew 26:36-39, The New International Version

Today's Heartlight


VERSE:

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

THOUGHT:

"Transformed ... with ever-increasing glory." In other words, it's an ongoing process, but with the continual help of the Spirit, we're going to arrive at our goal -- to be like Jesus! The point is not to give up on our journey. Let's keep looking to Jesus and keep trusting that the Holy Spirit is doing God's work in us, making us more and more like Jesus each day.

PRAYER:

Father, please forgive me for the times when I've let my faith grow complacent and I've lost my focus on Jesus. Please bless me as I try to be more intentional in my plans, especially my spiritual maturity. Please make me more like Jesus each day. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

TODAY'S WISDOM:

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

~ Proverbs 1:33, King James Version

* * * * * * *
What a wonderful blessing today's Heartlight has been to me. I don't know what I would do or how I could go on without my Father's guidance.
God bless,
Abbey

Monday, March 17, 2008

"DEXTER"


We are absolutely loving "Dexter", which originated on Showtime, but is now being shown on Sunday nights on CBS. A friend of LG's loaned him the DVD set of the first and second seasons, and we watched four episodes just last night. It was touted in the media as being essentially the same show as that shown on Showtime, but nevertheless, the expletives and minor gore that has been deleted for prime time television really does make a huge difference. Those elements give it the intensity that was intended, I feel.

If you are not familiar with "Dexter", the title character grew up with foster parents. He and his foster father, who was a police officer, were extremely close. In flashbacks, you see Dexter and his father in conversations. Even at an early age, Dexter had a penchant for killing living things. His father found, for example, the grave of a dog that Dexter said he killed because of it's incessant "barking at every leaf that blows by". The father knows that something dramatic happened to Dexter before he came to live with them, but Dexter cannot recall. The father is so compassionate, and he gives Dexter all the love and support one could hope for. Throughout his growing years, his Father provides solid guidance on how to steer his urges in a different direction, since he is incapable of curtailing them.

As an adult, Dexter also works for the P.D., as a blood analyst. He was never "cured" of his aversion for blood, and he has never overcome not being able to feel - whether it be love, sadness, or remorse. What his father taught Dexter before he died, was how to turn his curse around and use it for a good purpose. That purpose is to only kill those who are evil and deserve it. And thus, in every episode, some doomed person or persons find themselves in Dexter's path. They are people who do monsterous things but get away with it. Dexter serves as judge, jury and executioner.

Dexter has a sister, also a police woman, and a girlfriend who is perfect for him because she was the victim of repeated rape by her husband, so she isn't really interested in sex (of course, neither is Dexter). In fact, whenever a relationship heads into the valley of emotion, Dexter knows it will sabotage itself because he is incapable of love. He questions that fact in every episode, wondering how he would feel if he could feel.

It is an unusual and macabre series, but it is what appeals to LG and I. Additionally, we were huge fans of Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") when he played in "Six Feet Under" on HBO. Somehow, I think nobody but Michael could play this part, and he does it brilliantly. If there's not an Emmy in his future, well, there ain't no Leprechauns!!!

RATED: FIVE STARS

He's a Man Now

Well, he's 25 years old now. My son, that is. My little boy is all grown up and I can barely get my arms around his large, but solid body. We had a birthday celebration for him at 2 Pesos in Pelham on Saturday night. For the first time since Christmas, I had my entire family together. I know that my daughter and my son, and probably LG, all look at me and think I'm too demanding, or that this shouldn't be such a big issue, but I will always have empty nest syndrome. And although I have only two children, getting them together at the same time proves to be quite a task.

I picked up a large cookie from Publix and we arrived to fine my sister and her Jester at the bar. I had asked Kiki to set us up on the patio, and it was a beautiful night and quite comfortable. There's no real stories, just lots of conversation, the kids running back and forth to tell me one thing or another - Sissy made 101 on her Social Studies test. She also caught a pop fly at her ballgame (scrimmage) for an out, and caught another to tag the runner out on first base. Yep, she's playing first base. She hit a double as well. If it weren't for her Daddy practicing for the last two years with all three of the kids, they would not be so advanced in their sports skills. This is Sissy's first year to play softball and she's off on the right foot.



The boys just wanted me to plant a kiss on each cheek and leave my lipstick marks on them. That was unique - usually kids don't like that kind of thing, but of course, it made my heart well up inside.






My sister and I sat across from one another and I don't see her that often either, and I appreciate the Jester driving and allowing her to let her hair down. I think she had three margaritas, at which time I warned her off another. God love her, she took some of the photos and I kept laughing hysterically because she would push the button and then put the camera down facing the table before the flash would go off.

Kerry's sweetie was with him, Tess. The kids love her to death and Tess loves kids. She is in the photo with Riley. Why do these kids insist on making funny faces when you're trying to get a good picture? I tried for a family photo op, but the Jester was taking pictures of the group and everything was in disarray - me being the perfectionist, I wanted my entire family to "pose" so that I could say, "this was Kerry's 25th" .... but even in disarray, I guess it shows everybody doing their own thing. Just so they have a good time, that's all I care about.

Brief, But Nourishing Respite

We had the very best weekend. LG and I left Friday and headed to Fannie Brown's lakehouse. We arrived well before dark time, and were able to take a good look at the room addition and remodeling. It's really going to look great and give her a lot more room, plus, her neighbors cut down about three trees that impeded her view of the main channel, so that will make it even more awesome. Par for the course, we just couldn't wait to walk down to the patio house by the water.

We stocked up our cooler with beer (for me) and ice for the other two's cocktails. The rain had stopped and we even had a bit of sunset to see. We fired up the chiminea and before we knew it, it was going on 8:30. We had planned a big taco dinner, and Fannie had made guacamole dip, so she headed back up to the house to get the dip and chipes. Yummy, it was so good and I guess we were hungry. We ate a pretty fair share of it.

Again, before we knew it, it was 10:00. No need to cook tacos now! We had all had a nice and ample amount of alcohol, just enough to make things relaxed and pleasant. We had some great laughs as we always do, and the sounds of the night, the water, the distant lights of other homes on the shores of the lake - it's just the most peaceful place on earth to me. I am a water sign anyway, so it's no wonder that I would enjoy it so much and long to live near the water myself. I have envisioned this for quite some time, and God willing, it will come to fruition before I leave this world.

We were up around 8:30 on Saturday. Fannie had the coffee ready, and we had some great cinnamon raisin toast and fruit. We headed back down to the patio house and it was just the most pleasant day. The wind would kick up a bit here and there, but overall, it was pretty grand. LG grabbed a pole and some minnows and headed to one of Fannie's piers to fish. She and I were walking around the land and she was having trouble taking down her old flag from the flagpole. It has gotten rather tattered and she wants to put up a new one.

I went to the pier, where LG hadn't caught so much as a nibble, and I took his fishing pole and told him to go help Fannie with the flag. I have a quasi sixth sense and I'll think things and then they happen. Soon as he gave me that pole, I thought to myself, "watch me catch one after he's been out here for 45 minutes without a nibble." Right then, the bobber went under water, so I jerked the rod to secure the hook and reeled it in. You'd have thought I had a 5 pounder on there. The rod was bending and I was reeling with some force. Alas, up popped the little crappie and it was a beautiful fish - all silver and shining. LG and Fannie were quite impressed and LG took the little feller off the line and I told him to let him go easy, not to drop him in the water so as to keep from shocking the little guy.

I took a few photos, which I'm posting here. I'm thinking about investing in a good digital camera (mine was $600, but doesn't have all the lenses and bells and whistles) and just trying my hand at subject matter.

We returned home refreshed and relaxed, and just in time to clean up for the Birthday Party (next post)!

Happy St. Paddy's Day, everybody, and y'all have a blessed week!

Abbey