Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Candy Quiz

Woo-hoo! It's Halloween. Which may seem redundant during election season.

So let's have a bit of Halloween fun! Here's my Halloween Candy Quiz--you can play by answering in the comments or posting it on your blog with your answers (please let me know in the comments if you posted your answers elsewhere). I put my answers in orange!

Halloween Candy Quiz

1. What is the worst "treat" you or your kids ever received for Halloween?

Babs' first grade class was served unsweetened gelatin squares (Knox Blox) by a home room mom who was a health fanatic. Ugh.If Halloween is about anything, it's all about sugar.

2. What was the most memorable?

This dates me, but a neighbor gave out caramel apples and popcorn balls when I was a kid.

3. What candy is the most likely to be shared with others?

Babe Ruth, Jelly beans, any hard candy

4. What candy is the most likely to be hoarded?

Three Musketeers bars, M&M's, Hershey bars

5. What is the best chocolate Halloween candy?

I love the Halloween colored M&M's. And they don't melt.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Housing the House-Builders

Portia's brother-in-law (Bob the Builder) flew into Houston Monday afternoon on a scouting expedition for his Florida construction company. He's been engaged to rebuild an apartment complex in Galveston that was severely damaged by hurricane Ike last month.

Remember Ike? It was chased off the front pages by the stock market meltdown, bailout and the presidential election. But there are thousands of people still displaced from their homes, boats littering the side of the highway near Galveston, and blue tarps on roofs of businesses and homes all over the region awaiting repair. The storm is the third most costly in American history. Some say the damages could be as much as $21 BILLION.

Bob's company is one of many from out of state coming into the area to help with the reconstruction. These companies must show that they will bring in their own workers, because there is a shortage of available labor in the area.

That means that his biggest challenge will be finding temporary housing for the employees of his company in addition to evaluating the scope of the project. This is a familiar story to those of you who survived Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hotels, motels, apartments and rent houses near Galveston are booked full with evacuees whose homes are unliveable--like the apartments that Bob's company plans to restore. It's a real Catch-22.

Presbytery of New Covenant's Ike recovery effort continues. We expect Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Villages to be set up by Thanksgiving to house volunteer teams of workers. If your church group is interested in arranging a work trip, contact the PDA at

Volunteer work crews are welcome and much needed, but the folks waiting to return to their homes will also need companies like Bob's to come and work. And those workers need a place to stay. I'm praying Bob can work that out for his employees and the people who had to leave their ruined apartments.

The Wizards of Washington

Hat tip to Brother W---

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pink Ladies Swing for the Cure

Yesterday was a gorgeous, brisk and breezy, bright and sunny day for the annual Pink Ladies Golf Tournament, benefiting breast cancer research. The Pink Ladies were out in force--and my team consisted of St. Betty, The Defender, Jane Long and Mrs. America. Plus me.

Here's the line of golf carts all decked out in pink, waiting for the starter's call:

Prizes are given for the most creative cart decorations. Here are two of our favorites:

Prizes are also given for costumes. Here are a couple of the winners:

I don't know why Mrs. America,who has served as a local election judge, didn't win for this one:

Tournament play is a best ball scramble. Our team score was 38. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Favorite Longhorn: the rest of the story

The Dallas Morning News ran a wonderful feature article on Chris Ogbonnaya (My Favorite Longhorn) which tells the remarkable, inspiring story behind this now-star college football player.

It's the perfect antidote for the depressing news we're all getting recently.

Thanks to the reporter, who really did justice to her subject and all he has been though.

Go 'Horns! Go, Chris!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bible In a Minute

For those of you who don't have the attention span for Bible in 90 Days....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Heart Early Voting

It's the second day of early voting in the great state of Texas, where the deer and the antelope play, and we're considered too red for the presidential candidates to fight much over. Thank God.

Yesterday was by far the highest turnout ever seen here for the first day of early voting. There were about 20 people this afternoon voting when I stopped by, but there were plenty of machines and no lines.

Early voting is a wonderful thing. In Texas, you can vote at any of the early voting locations in your county and voting hours are scheduled at nights and on weekends, too. Officials expect about one third of all votes to be cast early.

It is so much easier and more convenient to vote early than to fight the crowds on November 4, that I don't know why everyone doesn't vote early. This is particularly true in our precinct where intrepid voters have to traverse the local high school's student parking lot in order to vote in the auditorium. A word to the wise: don't try to vote between 7:15 and 7:30 am or between 2:30 and 2:45 pm.

Now that I've voted early, I'm not listening to any of the candidates anymore.

~fingers in ears~

"La, La, La. I can't HEAR you!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beatrice Blogs: Olivia's No Good Very Bad Day

Woof! Beatrice here.

I noticed QG hasn't told you yet about Olivia's No Good Very Bad Day yet, so it's clearly my duty to fill you in. It's quite the saga.

Saturday morning Portia called from the vet's office, saying Olivia threw up several times in the night and they were trying to figure out what was wrong. Then she called again and said when the vet clinic closed at 2, she had to take her to an emergency vet clinic for more tests.

El Jefe and QG looked very worried, so I tried to distract them by bringing my ball for a nice game of catch. It took me a while to get their attention, but at last they co-operated and I think it helped.

Then Portia called again and said Olivia had to stay overnight and might have to go under the knife for something called a blockage. QG told El Jefe that the vet had to "ream her out." Don't even want to know what that means. Woof! Sounded bad.

But she came over the next afternoon and seemed fine to me. Guess she didn't need the knife after all and no one knows why she got sick. What a drama queen. Everyone made a big fuss over her but she didn't feel like playing as much as usual. Humph.

Portia wouldn't let her have any treats, though, so El Jefe had to sneak some to me when she wasn't watching.


Then this evening Portia called to say Olivia had a follow-up appointment with the vet who says she is back to normal now. I'm glad because she is supposed to have a sleep-over with me this weekend!


UPDATE from QG: Unfortunately Olivia threw up again early this morning and Portia is taking the day off to take her back to the vet. Hopefully she'll figure out what is wrong this time. Prayers appreciated.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: The diagnosis is that the antibiotic upset Olivia's stomach. The prescription is Pepcid with her meal. One for Olivia and two for Portia....She's doing well this afternoon. Thanks for the prayers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bum Knee Haiku

Knee drags up the stair
Hands with death grip on handrail
Ouchy ouchy gritted teeth.

Surfing net for shoes
Not cute ones, supportive ones
Makes me very sad.

Can't stand it any more
Bum knee just got Euflexxa
Shot yesterday. Yeah!

Relief in two months
The doctor predicts for me
Lasts for many months.

Dodging knee surgery
Worth lots and lots of shots
Fire away good doctor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Prosperity Gospel Praise Songs

No, this isn't from Lakewood.
I know what you're thinking out there. Put down that can of snark!

Hat tip: John at Locusts and Honey

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Book Review: William Wilberforce-The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Campaigner

I've happily spent the past couple of weeks away from the sturm und drang of the presidential election immersed in the inspiring story of a very unusual politician: William Wilberforce who spent a lifetime advocating legislation making the British slave trade illegal.

Early in his long career Wilberforce experienced conversion to evangelical Christianity. He was tempted to retreat from public life but ultimately heeded the advice of his great friend, later Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger who wrote him, "Surely the principles as well as the practice of Christianity are simple, and lead not to meditation only, but to action."

The long fight to outlaw the slave trade caused Wilberforce to consider retreating from the effort on several occasions, but it was always his conviction that he was following God's call that kept him from doing so. John Wesley wrote him on one such occasion, "Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God be for you who can be against you. All of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing."

The author, William Hague, served in different capacities in the British government, including serving as leader of the Conservative party. He is from Yorkshire, which is the county Wilberforce represented most of his career in the House of Commons. His experience and background in British politics and history (he also wrote an acclaimed biography of Wilberforce's great friend William Pitt the Younger) contribute to the authenticity of this biography.

Hauge persuasively argues that Wilberforce possessed an unusual combination of vision and the ability to make realistic compromises in order to advance that vision. His devout faith was winsome and drew people to him as he managed to live according to those principles in such a way that his character became his crowning glory. Hague concludes: "It is the combination of Wilberforce's achievements and his qualities that mark him out as a figure rare indeed...In the dark historical landscape of violence, treachery and hate, the life of William Wilberforce stands as a beacon of light, which the passing of two centuries has scarcely dimmed."

Wilberforce never wearied of well-doing. Would we could say that about any modern politican. This biography should be required reading for every member of Congress.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What If?

Since I missed worship at my church last Sunday because I had committed to represent presbytery at a mission fair at another church, I downloaded the sermon on my iphone. Our pastor said that he was seriously considering having a Sunday when the church was completely closed so that the congregation would worship by engaging in service to the community.

Our presbytery is considering doing something similar next year--having an abbreviated meeting on a Saturday and then encouraging all of its congregations to go out into their communities on Sunday and engage in appropriate community service projects.

It must be some kind of movement! What if it really happened?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Prom Queen of Love

Because we all need a feel-good story right about now, you'll want to read about the Texas high school that elected a young lady with Downs syndrome as the prom queen: Prom Queen of Love.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lakewood Updates

The Defender called in last night with an Osteen report from the Texan-Dolphins game.

Yesterday morning she spotted a big mobile home with a huge TV screen in the tailgating area of the parking lot. Gathered around the screen was a party-hearty gang, beers and other adult beverages in hand, watching Joel Osteen preach in HD.

"Did they think watching Joel on TV while partying at the game counted as going to church?" she asked.

In other Lakewood-related news (just in time for Christmas!) Lakewood Church co-pastor Victoria Osteen has written a book, too. The Houston Chronicle reported this yesterday under the headline "Victoria's Secret--God Thinks You're Special".


Thursday, October 09, 2008

QG, the columnist

Truly, one never knows where blogging will lead you!

I've been asked by the denominational PresbyMagazine to write a "Best of the Blogs" column on a monthly basis. They offered me an official contract and remuneration and everything just like a real, professional writer! (Note to self: get El Jefe to review contract. Remember old law school adage--she who acts as her own lawyer has a fool for a client.)

Here's where I can use some help from my readers--both Presby and otherwise. This is a print magazine with a deadline that is two months in advance of its publication. That is an eternity in the blogosphere which moves at the speed of light.

I'm thinking that the columns can focus on different categories of blogs that might be interesting to the denominational readership instead of on specific posts that would be pretty dated by the time of publication. For example: pastor's blogs or staff blogs or blogs that focus on polity issues, or blogs that focus on different areas of ministry such as mission or youth. The column would emphasize PresbyBlogs, but would also include bloggers of other denominations. What do you think?

I'd love any suggestions for this venture. And yes, I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Book Review: Supreme Courtship

Christopher Buckley's newest book, Supreme Courtship, might have been a great piece of escapism from the follies and foibles of the current Presidential election season but for one thing. Buckley's protagonist, Judge Pepper Cartwright, seems to be a Sarah Palin clone. And Buckley's book was published before Palin was chosen for the veep position on the Republican ticket, thus showing the prescience of the author.

Okay, so Pepper is a Texan, not an Alaskan. And she's the judge on a reality tv show a la Judge Judy, not a governor. And she's soon to be single with no children. But otherwise...she hunts and shoots and is blunt and very western.

Here's the premise-- President Donald Vanderkamp has had two eminently qualified nominees for a vacant Supreme Court position shot down by the Senate Judiciary Committee led by a smarmy Senator who covets the appointment for himself. When the second one is shot down for not appreciating To Kill a Mockingbird enough for the Chairman's taste, sick to death of this absurd wrangling, POTUS surfs his TV and stumbles upon Pepper's show.

A diabolical plot is born in his mind, and he nominates her to the Supreme Court position despite the horror and dismay of his advisors. POTUS desperately wants to loose his race for re-election, so he cannot be disuaded from what others see as his reckless insistence on Pepper's nomination.What follows is a witty satire of the confirmation process. It's a hilarious ride to the end of the story, but it did leave me a bit uneasy because its just absurd enough to be plausible.

Fans of Christopher Buckley, you won't want to miss this one!

Update: Viola kindly pointed out my mistake in saying that Palin was on the Democratic party's ticket--ugh. Sorry, everyone! How stupid was that? I made the correction in the post above. Thanks, Viola!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My Favorite Longhorn Now a Star!

El Jefe and I were thrilled to read this article in the Houston Chronicle this morning about our favorite Longhorn football player, Chris Ogbonnaya.

Recognition for Chris O. is long overdue, in our book.

Be sure to read all the way to the end to learn that Chris is a semi-finalist for the "academic" Heisman trophy. That's the best news of all.

Way to go, Chris!! We'll be watching this Saturday!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Psalm for Financial Turmoil

The LORD is my shepherd
I must not fret
He makes me lie down and sleep at night
He calms my nervous stomach
When I read the financial news
He restores my confidence in Him
Yes, though my 401k plunges to zero
I will fear no evil
Because His grace abounds
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life
And my real treasure will be in heaven forever.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Checking In


El Jefe and I had a lovely weekend in New Haven, attending the football game between his beloved Yale bulldogs and the Holy Cross Crusaders. (I'm frankly astounded that their mascot hasn't been changed by the Political Correctness Police. But Whatever.) The bulldogs won. Woo-hoo!

Between unbloggable doin's and Adventures In Home Ownership, I may not be around for a couple of days. We'll see.

Talk amongst yourselves.

I'll give you a topic: " If a sub-prime mortgage and a liar loan mate, should the Congress that set up the blind date be held responsible for it?"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ringing For Recovery

After taking a break from Hurricane Recovery Blogging yesterday in the interest of Home Maintenance, I'm back on it today.

You can help ring in recovery from Ike by buying and playing music written to raise money for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance or another local assistance organization. Sondra Tucker, Director of Music at ChristChurch Presbyterian, Bellaire, Texas sent the following information to Presbytery of New Covenant:
“I have written a piece of music for handbells that I am distributing to anyone who makes a $25 or larger contribution to PDA or another local area relief organization. The details are at Since so many of our congregations have handbell ensembles, I hope that you will consider forwarding this message in your next e-letter. I am proud to report that in the two days the piece has been posted, it has collected almost $1000 for disaster recovery from organizations across the country.”

Thanks, Sondra! What a great idea! Let Hurricane Recovery Ring throughout the land. If there is a handbell choir in your church, let the director know about this opportunity to help while making a joyful noise.