THIS IS WHO WE ARE

This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Me at work today . . .

I could relate to this little guy today at the office. (Except he's way cuter!) It was a L-O-N-G day!!! I think I even drooled on my laptop! Not really, but it was hard trying to stay awake all day.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hotel Mike Mike Mike . . .

Mike yankee bravo lima oscar golf sierra alpha bravo Oscar uniform tango tango hotel echo Charlie India victor India Lima whiskey alpha Romeo Mike uniform sierra tango Romeo echo alpha lima lima yankee sierra uniform Charlie kilo bravo echo Charlie alpha uniform sierra echo november Oscar bravo oscar delta yankee echo victor echo Romeo Charlie Oscar Mike Mike echo november tango sierra Oscar november tango hotel echo Mike. India Mike Juliet uniform sierra tango alpha lima India tango tango lima echo papa uniform zulu zulu lima echo delta, bravo echo Charlie alpha uniform sierra echo India tango hotel India November kilo tango hotel echo yankee alpha Romeo echo sierra Oscar delta alpha Romed November echo delta India November tango echo Romeo echo sierra tango India November golf.

Quebec uniform India tango echo Quebec uniform echo echo Romeo! 

WHISKEY HOTEL ALPHA TANGO ECHO VICTOR ECHO ROMEO!!!!

(Sierra India golf hotel!)

[NOTE:  This post should not be taken seriously!  I was just in a weird mood and was clowning around with the NATO phonetic alphabet.  I know my enthusiasm for Lincoln and the CW is not shared by everyone.  Comments really aren't necessary!]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Mystery From History: Why Was He Spared?


After Kristi graduated from high school (15 years ago!!!), she began exploring her passion for musical theatre.  She was in several high school productions (video to follow in the future!!!), some work at CSLB, and some community theatre (Golden West and OCC).  At OCC she was in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, probably one of the darkest but most fascinating shows in American musical theatre.

Anyway, last night as I was looking through my book of Civil War newspaper articles, I came across this amazing story out of the April 28, 1861 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (only 16 days after the War began).
John Wilkes Booth

Actor John Wilkes Booth
Stabbed But Recovers

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Mr. John Wilkes Booth, the Shakespearean actor, is recovering from face wounds suffered at the hands of an actress here Thursday night.

Miss Henrietta Irving, who has been appearing at the Gayety Theatre, as has Mr. Booth, rushed into his room at Stanwix Hall and cut his face with a dirk.  She then stabbed herself, but not fatally.

According to one account, the cause stems from unreturned affection.

This is the third time in a few months that Mr. Booth has narrowly escaped death. He was wounded in an accidental shooting while appearing in Columbus, GA, last fall and injured on stage by a dagger here in February.

______________________

Oddly, this scary, world-changing man came close to "being removed" from the flow of history. But he wasn't.  Unfortunately, he was convinced that the thing for which he is remembered was "doing God's work."  Two quotes of his certainly make your adrenalin level escalate:

"This country was formed for the white not for the black man.  And looking upon African slavery from the same stand-point, as held by those noble framers of our Constitution, I for one, have ever considered it, one of the greatest blessings (both for themselves and us) that God ever bestowed upon a favored nation."  (November 1864, in a letter to his brother-in-law.)

Regarding his assassination of President Lincoln:  "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment."

Isn't that bizarre?  That's just one more of the crazy realities of life that fill us with questions like "Why?" and "What was God thinking in allowing this to happen?"

Well, that's just one more reason why I've appreciated reading William Young's THE SHACK.  It helps on the perspective of nasty junk like that.

(This really didn't start out as another SHACK commercial!  Honest!)


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Okay, Stacey...Get Writing!

I noticed on Heidi's blog that Stacey Accetta had joined BlogWorld.  I thought, "This is cool," so I clicked her link.  EMPTY.  Lovely picture of the family, the links are all set up, but NO POSTS!  I guess it's like building a house and getting the walls painted and the carpet laid.  Ok, Stacey...everything's ready.  We want words.  Ideas.  Ranting.  Rambling.  Opinions.

I'm (we're) holding my (our) breath!  [Hmmmmm...Maybe we shouldn't hold our breath.  I just checked your profile and discovered that your blog has been in existence since FEBRUARY!!!!!  What's up with that!?!?]

By the way, RONI KOBEL, you're way overdue for a nice long blog post, too!  (Even a short one would be nice.)

Jesus Loves Me

I found this simple but stunning little picture online this morning.  It just spoke to me for some reason...primarily that we are God's children and that He loves "little ones" through Jesus.  To quote Laurel Baker's favorite songwriter, "I am loved.  You are loved."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yuck! Poohey! Blech!

American Idol stinks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No ZZZzzzs 4 Me

FYI . . . It's 3:30 a.m. and I'm on the sofa in our suite here at the retreat.  After about a 30 minute crescendo of snoring, I left the room.  
I won't name my roommate, but it rhymes with schmoos schempelton.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thanks A Lot, Kristi (and Elvis!!!)

Well, here it is 2:15 a.m.  I woke up about 1:55 to "deal with" all the coffee and iced tea I had before going to bed.  (And I'm not referring to caffeine here!)  

Couldn't go back to sleep.  Why? you ask.  Well, it's that "God Of This City" song we learned last week.  I really love the song, but nearly every day (and night) this past week I had 3 or 4 different "mind loops" of the song going through my brain.  I had just about gotten over it when we used it again THIS week.  Now, it's back in all its Surround Sound glory!

The really annoying thing about the dominant loop of the set is how it's morphed with the King's "In The Ghetto."  I can't really explain it, but if you happen to know both of the songs, you can probably imagine what I'm hearing blasting away in the karaoke bar between my ears.

Actually, it's probably God telling me to go into the inner city and make a Kingdom difference. But it's still annoying!  (But it beats being stranded at the Atlanta airport!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Some Beauty For the Day

"Outstanding"

Good morning, Shutterbugs.  Since so many of you have such great skill with your Nikons or whatever, I thought you might appreciate some of the work of a young Dutch photographer I came across a couple of months ago.  His name is Gert van Duinen and I love the stuff he does.  (He calls it "landscape candy.") This mill shot above he titled "Outstanding."  I love the sky.  Wish I could see it in a larger size because the detail looks amazing. This particular mill was built in 1872. (Since he uploaded it to his site yesterday, I imagine he took the photo yesterday morning. Isn't it cool that we can enjoy the beauty of a Netherlands morning a mere 24 hours later? Technology--gotta love it!)

The pics here were taken with a Nikon D80 (whatever that is!).

If I had the money and the wall space, I'd love to surround myself with large, framed prints of photos like these.  (If you're interested, you can see more of his work at his website.)
 
"Swamp Thing"

"Swamp Thing" was taken in the wetlands of the Netherlands.

"Domus Novae Lucis"

This monastery was built in the 13th century in the town of Ter Apel in the Netherlands.  The title means  "Home of the New Light".  Man, I'd love to go exploring here!

"Call It A Sundown"

This beautiful sunset shot was  just taken a week ago (April 12).  On his website, van Duinen says the birds were everywhere that evening, and that it was the warmest day they've had so far this year. Another beautiful sky shot.

"Little Ole' Barn"

"Evening Fall"


"Wonderful Winter"

"Almost Heaven"

I really love this last picture.  Reminds me of a Renoir painting, and even more of the 7th book of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.  I can just picture children running through the field, and Jesus right there with them.

Hope you all have a good day!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Finished It! . . . WOW!


If you read this blog much, you know I like books.  You know I LOVE books.  I've been called "a reading fool" (in jest, I hope!).  So please don't discount this post just because "Don's blogging about another book again."

There are books and there are books.  The Shack is definitely in a league of its own.  As I said in my post Tuesday, I'd never heard of it before that morning.  I happened to mention it to Bob Ewing, and of course he had a copy and had read it.  (He mentioned that he really liked it, so I borrowed his copy and set aside my Bruce Catton books on the Civil War to read it.)

It's an amazing little work.  Only 248 pages of fairly large print, so it's an easy read.  The author, William Young, was unknown to me, and isn't a particularly astounding literary artist. I doubt that he'll be receiving the Pulitzer for this book--but you never know. In spite of its "ordinary-ness," it's a truly profound work. On the cover, Eugene Peterson (editor/writer of The Message:  The Bible In Contemporary Language) is quoted:

"This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS did for his.  It's that good!"

It's the (true-ish) story of the journey of one man (Mackenzie Allen Phillips) through the darkest and coldest of valleys, emerging into the unlikely presence of God.  Young describes Phillips' encounter with the Trinity in a jaw-dropping, convention-challenging way.  I loved it!

Like many other authors, Young includes a quote at the beginning of each chapter in the book. I was thrilled that for chapter 16 he quoted one of my favorite Christian writer/thinkers of the past, A.W. Tozer. This quote sums up the theme of the whole book, and one that gives me great comfort--especially when I feel like one little speck of dust.

"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children.  He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others."

READ THIS BOOK!!!!!  (Go to www.theShackBook.com for information.)  I'll be reading it again--after I buy my own copy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wow! Powerful Video

I was working on an idea for a choir piece for Memorial Day Weekend. In the process, I came across Martina McBride's "Independence Day" music video.  If you happen to listen to Sean Hannity (Diane Davis' favorite radio host!!), you'll recognize it as his theme music. Anyway, I never really knew the context of the song.  VERY moving piece.  I recommend you click here and take 4 minutes to watch. You might want to have a Kleenex handy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Target Lady


Tonight in Drama Ministry Team meeting we were chatting a bit about how funny the SNL Target Lady is.  Unfortunately, YouTube isn't allowed to run any of the skits, but I found one on Flicklife.  Click here if you wanna see Kristen Wiig do her thing.

Looks Like A Great Book

I just happened to come across a blurb on this book today.  I know nothing about it really, but in light of the deep discussion on Kristi's blog Sunday (the theological one, not the potluck one), I'm thinking it might be a good read for several of us.  Some reviewer called it the best book they'd ever read.  I briefly looked at the website and it certainly sounds intriguing.  It deals with meeting God in the truly horrible things of life.

Back to work.

Scary Scary Scary - Little House Meets Twilight Zone

Just getting ready to go to the gym.  Thought I'd check email/blog.  Good Morning, America is on. They're interviewing the "women-folk" of that polygamist ring in Texas.  
I heard a couple of them on radio news yesterday, but seeing them made it twice as weird.  They really look like extras on LITTLE HOUSE, wearing plain-colored prairie dresses, with their hair up in carefully-crafted buns.  And they sound like cliche cinema psycho killers when they talk: that whispery, velvety, totally-in-control voice quality that makes me tremble like a frightened dog.  This IS the 21st century, right?

Off to the gym to see normal folks in their smelly sweatsuits.  

Monday, April 14, 2008

ELLEN D. Was Fun


An update on Date Day . . .

We had a great time!!!  We were #6 and #7 in the guaranteed line.  Since we had 4 tickets, we "shopped" for new friends in the stand-by line when we got there.  We "adopted" a neat couple from Santa Maria who used to live in Los Alamitos.  (No, we didn't interview prospective friends!)  Turns out they were a neat Christian couple..very active in the New Life Church in Santa Maria.  She used to be a vocalist on their church's worship team, but not able to sing now for health reasons.

The show itself was basically uneventful.  Not a single audience give-away.  Boo-hoo.  I'd have been happy with a bottle of bubbles or a box of paper clips!  But NOTHING?  (Well, one girl got a plethora of stuff related to Beckham, but that was a random thing.)  Probably the most interesting thing was the sweet little lady who fainted in line.  (She was sitting right next to me in a waiting area.)  They had to call 911 and the EMTs.  BUT, she refused to give up a seat at Ellen's show to go to the hospital.  Very cool.  Her name is Marjorie, and Ellen actually gave her a sweet on-air shout-out.  

If you watch the show tomorrow, we are right on the aisle, one row behind the dance-through row (filled with VIP guests).  Ellen walks by Lyn a couple of times. Way fun! 

The woman who fell through the runway in a South Carolina fashion show was a guest today. Also the super-egotistical star of CRIMINAL MIND.  Not impressed by him at all--but that's okay.  He's VERY impressed with himself.

Matt Walker--pay special attention to the first experiment by the "Science Guy."  You'll love it! Also, the Potato Gun.  Ideas for camp!

Yes folks, it was a super-celebrity show today!  But Ellen makes even mediocre fun.

Love you all...Thanks for the neat comments on this morning's post!

Date Day With My GFFL

Today is "date day" for Lyn & me.  (The "GFFL" in the title = "Girlfriend for life!!")  We are going up to beautiful downtown Burbank for the taping of tomorrow's ELLEN show.  (We went with Kristi in February, but only made it to the Riff-Raff Room.  Today we have guaranteed seats.)

Anyway, I was planning to do my own little Blog Tribute to my wonderful wife on our 36th anniversary (June 16), but since my fellow bloggers keep writing about their wonderful husbands and wives, I knew I couldn't wait until June.  Especially since I have the best spouse on the planet.  The delay just wouldn't exactly be fair to her, would it?  The fact that she has no idea I'm doing this on such a random day is all the more fun.

Today isn't our first "Date Day" of course.  When we were first married, we lived in Melbourne, FL, and took advantage of every opportunity to slip over to Walt Disney World.  (It opened in October of '71; we married in June of '72.)  One of those Disney Date Days found us at King Stephan's Court in the Cinderella Castle.  THIS summer our whole gang will be eating there together.  TOO much fun!

At King Stephan's Court - circa 1973
Lyn has always been a tireless, selfless woman.  My dad used to love to tease her about never sitting down for more than 30 seconds.  She always made the battery bunny look like a wimp. Every Christmas at our first ministry (Eau Gallie Christian in Melbourne), Lyn & I would present a concert of vocal, piano, and organ music on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas. We would follow the concert with an open house at our home.  Of course, Lyn baked and cooked everything that the crowds consumed.

Lyn on the afternoon of one of
our Christmas Open Houses
While we were at Melbourne, we got the wonderful news that Kristi was on the way!  She took her jolly good time getting started, I gotta tell you.  (Let's just say, we are thankful she's not part of a set of quad- or quintuplets!)  When Lyn was 8 months pregnant, we moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where I began my teaching career at Johnson Bible College.

The happy "children" at their
farewell party at Eau Gallie Christian
We loved being at Johnson.  Kristi and Jennifer were both born there. Lyn was always such a sacrificial, devoted mother.  We didn't have the luxury of being near grandparents, so the "Date Days" back then were few and far between.  In fact, other than their time in childcare when Lyn worked, the girls were almost never left with a baby-sitter. We just never left them with other people.  Lyn just wanted to be with her girls.  In the picture below, note two things:  Lyn with short hair and us at the zoo.  Kristi has passed on her love for animals to her own girls.

With Kristi at the Knoxville Zoo on
a hot Tennessee summer's day
Here's the Lyn we all recognize more quickly--with that long, beautiful blonde hair of hers.  Not sure what the occasion was, but everyone certainly looks happy, huh?  I think Jennifer looks so much like Lexi here!  Kristi is thinking, "I LOVE my dress!  I LOVE my dress!"  :)   [Well, WE did!]

The picture below is with Lyn's grandfather, Roy Reid, who passed away 10 days short of his 100th birthday.  (As you may recall, her maternal grandmother recently passed--just 5 months short of HER 100th.  Good genes here!) 

Love this picture!  Lyn is beautiful, Kristi is
SO Haley.  I imagine Emily will look like
Jennifer here in a few months.

Fast forward to California. (I didn't have any pictures on my computer of our Louisville years. Wamp Wamp!)  Moving to the Golden State was totally my idea.  I always wanted to live here. I know it was not Lyn's life goal.  It most certainly was not in Kristi and Jennifer's plans. Yet Lyn was ALWAYS supportive of my desire to teach at PCC. Even if it meant a cut in pay, paying rent (after finally owning a beautiful home of our own), commuting our daughter over 2 hours a day to OCHSA, and being 3,000 miles away from family and friends).  Darn! I'm such a J-E-R-K!!  

One of my favorite "current" pics of Lyn.
At the Ballaggio "Conservatory" in Vegas
Thank you, Lyn, for being the greatest wife, girl friend, companion, and co-minister a man could ever ask for.  I'm looking forward to our Date Day!  Even if Ellen's show is probably going to be B-O-R-I-N-G when it airs tomorrow!!!

Christmas at Five Crowns 5 years ago.
Yes, I've gained weight and need to
lose 20 pounds (at least).  But this
is about Lyn!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bonjour!


Nine years ago, Lyn and I were in Paris.  I had just begun my sabbatical from Hope International University, and would be spending the entire month of April and the first part of May in Europe.  (It was a fantastic trip!)

Nine years ago today was a Sunday.  We went to services at Notre Dame Cathedral and it was without question one of the most deeply moving experiences of my life.  It should be noted that this was strictly personal to me.  It didn't do nearly as much for Lyn.  For me, however, it was the convergence of several things that made it such an affecting experience.

First of all, the building itself.  I knew from teaching Music History and Literature for so many years that the building of ND was a process that took hundreds of years.  (Have you read Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth?  Same kind of thing, only more massive.)  I also knew that "harmony" as we know it in the music of western civilization had its beginnings right there in that building.  So every time you hear a guitar play a "chord," remember: the concept began at Notre Dame!
Then there were the windows.  There are two massive "rose" windows on either side of the altar.  One depicts Old Testament themes, and the other, New Testament.  When we arrived at the cathedral it was overcast.  Just at the end of the mass, the sun broke through the clouds and an enormous burst of colored light came crashing through those enormous windows, filling the cathedral.  It was pretty overwhelming to me.

Though not as dramatic as the visual "assault" of the stained light, there was the fragrance. Prior to the sunburst of color, the priest's assistants had been swinging their thurgibles (incense holders on chains)...3 arcs each for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Incense completely filled the cathedral with it's subtle but rich fragrance. Then, at the conclusion of the service, and the dismissal blessing by the priest (in French, of course), the pipe organ burst into a fortissimo postlude which caused your flesh to break out in massive goosebumps.  

It was like God had put Cecil B. deMille in charge of the weather that morning, because it was at almost exactly the moment the thundering organ music began that the sunlight hit the windows--as if "on cue."  

The timing was truly perfect.

Thus, it was the stacking of all these things--knowledge and the senses--that gave me such a rush, both aesthetically and spiritually. History, sight, sound, and smell all came together. (Had I gone to the altar as a pseudo-Catholic, taste would have been part of the equation!)  Although I understood only snippets of what the priest said, I knew enough of the liturgy to be able to contemplate the mysteries of the sacrifice of Jesus, so there was also the "theological" element in the mix.

While everyone was exiting the cathedral that morning, I remained transfixed in my seat (a hard wooden bench, actually), tears rolling down my face as I studied the brilliant window, inhaled the sweet air, and listened to the earthquake-like tones of the organ.  (Lyn was happily taking pictures; when she saw me, I think she was worried that I'd had a jet-lag relapse.)

I will always treasure my memory of April 11, 1999 at Notre Dame, Paris.  I keep hoping for another Art & Soul milestone like it, but I have a feeling it might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing--all the more worth treasuring!  


Thursday, April 10, 2008

God bless Darlene Z.

 
When we were exiting the CBS theatre Tuesday afternoon after the AI dress rehearsal, we were excited to hear "Shout To The Lord" being sung backstage.  We just assumed it was a bit of impromptu praise time by the gospel choir backing up the soloists. Little did we know that it would be the opening number to tonight's IDOL results show. What a great thing!  I'm sure Darlene must be honored beyond words to have had it sung.

Way cool!

NOT so cool, however, was saying good-bye to Michael Jons!  What's up with the voters in this country?!?!?!  He DEFINITELY should not have gone home tonight.

Sorry...I couldn't resist!

I'm sure most of you have already seen this...all of you on the FCC staff have, I know.  Anyway, it has pretty much given me a chuckle all day, so I thought I would post it here for anyone who might NOT have seen it.

I actually put it on my office desktop this morning!  Since it's non-partisan (basically), I think it's o.k. Unfortunately, the metaphor is a little more accurate than I like to think about.  Just a smidge scary.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What up, Randy?

What was with Mr. Jackson tonight???  
I had a blast today going up to L.A. for the dress rehearsal of tonight's American Idol show.  Since everyone I was with blogs (Curtis, Kristi, Matt and Christie Walker, and JJ Peterson's girlfriend, Rachel) I won't go into details here.  I'm sure they'll provide lots of fun posts.  (Kristi has quite the story to tell.  Those of you in the Los Angeles listening area, be sure to listen to Ryan's early morning show tomorrow on KIIS-FM.  She'll be giving him a call.)  It was so much fun seeing the studio and watching how they run the show.  Of course, hearing the singers perform was not bad either.

But tonight . . . I felt like Randy was just way too negative about the early contestants. (Hence, the dragon graphic.) It was like he had to be "tough guy" for the first few numbers.  So, what happened with Jason's song? This afternoon I was yawning through the ukelele number, yet, all THREE of them loved it!!! Am I just an idiot or something?  I thought the performance was plain silly, and was amazed that the three judges were so enthusiastic about it.  (I can see Paula being ga-ga about it, but Simon and Randy?) This is at least the third time Jason has sung that he seemed to have wowed the judges.  I just don't get it!  (My apologies to all you Jason fans who may be reading this. But, will one of you please tell me what I'm missing here?)

A special shout-out to our dear friend Lisa Dondlinger for making it possible for us to go to the dress!  (She's a violinist on the show.)  It was terrific!  (Despite the dragon!)

Oh yeah...Lisa says tomorrow night you should have some Kleenex handy for the Idol Gives Back show.  (They taped it over the weekend.)  Should be really special.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Turner In His Tux

It was a Friday night long, long ago.  Rick Terry (from PCC/HIU) and I presented a two-piano concert at FCC.  It was quite the event!  

My assistant for the evening was the one and only William A. Baker, freshman music major. Ah, Billy, you were great.  Here's my way of thanking you for a job well done!!!

Since Kristi posted that 1995 picture of herself and Curtis, I thought a 1992 memory would be in order as well.  Note that Rick and I haven't changed a bit.  ROFL!!!!!

video

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wonderful Discovery--the classic song EMILY

What a cool serendipity this afternoon. After my "making-up-for-the-all-nighter-at-the-airport" nap, we drove up to Disneyland to meet Jennifer, Brian, and Emily. As we approached the park, we heard Frank Sinatra on XM-Radio singing the song "Emily." I had totally forgotten about this beautiful classic song from the Great American Songbook. I came home and found some wonderful renderings...Andy Williams (one of my all-time favorite singers) does a great job.  As do Barbra Streisand, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Dave Koz, and (of course), Sinatra himself.

Then I found this YouTube performance of the song by the late great jazz pianist, Bill Evans. And another by an unknown (to me) jazz guitarist who posted his rendition. Also quite nice.
Here's the first verse of the lyric....really sweet!

Emily, Emily, Emily
Has the murmuring sound of May.
All silver bells, coral shells, carousels,
And the laughter of children at play.

Enjoy both versions, and think of our little angel!




Saturday, April 5, 2008

And Now . . . LIVE from Atlanta, Georgia!!!

Greetings from the LOVELY Atlanta International Airport!!!  It's now 2:30 a.m.  I arrived at the Indianapolis airport at 3:30 this afternoon (er, YESTERDAY afternoon), thinking I would be catching a 5:30 flight for Atlanta, and then an 8:30 flight for Orange County.  

Atlanta Int'l Airport Food Court, 2:15 a.m.
Well, storms have been hitting Atlanta all day long.  Flights in and out of Atlanta have been delayed or cancelled throughout the day.  I flew standby on a flight that was SUPPOSED to leave Indianapolis at 3:45. We left at 8:30!!!! (The 5:30 flight I was originally booked for was probably going to leave about 9:15 or 9:30.) Of course, when we arrived in Atlanta, my O.C. flight was long past its departure. (Actually, the attendant who finally worked out my rebooking told me that the flight had been filled and ready to take off when it was cancelled. [No doubt because of OC's sound abatement regulations.  No planes are allowed to fly into John Wayne after 11 pm.])

So I had to rout around the airport--no agents were anywhere NEAR our gate when we landed (grrrrrr).  I finally found this line of stranded folks waiting to rebook.

The first line I was in tonight
Within a matter of minutes, another hundred or so people were BEHIND me.  That number doubled or tripled in short order.

The folks behind me in my first line--about 
5 minutes after I got in line myself
This was the agents counter at the first line--
I was getting close!!!
Then an agent had the gall to tell us that if we knew we were not going to be able to make any connection tonight, we would probably find faster service by going to the main terminal.  It was like the Gestapo telling the poor folks on the trains they were going to showers!  Here was what I found in the terminal. A longer line than I was in up at the gate area!

The line in the terminal--when I arrived
In 15 minutes from the time I got there, THIS is what the line looked like!  (below) So much for a "fast line".  I was in this main terminal line nearly 2 hours. Just imagine how long the folks behind me will have to be there.  (I know they'll be there until 5 or 6 this morning.)

The poor souls behind me in the terminal!
The picture above doesn't BEGIN to show how long that line became over the course of my two hours.  I feel so badly for the folks there.  

Oddly enough, everyone seems to be in pretty good spirits. Exhausted, but civil.  

I figure I've been traveling by air for nearly 40 years.  I guess I was due an airport catastrophe at some point.  Hopefully, this will be my one-and-only.  (I was talking with a lady in Indianapolis who has had 3 overnight "sleep-ins" at airports.  Of course, she travels every week of the year on business.)

Well, I guess that's all for now, folks.  I oughta go find myself a bench to sleep on.

By the way, the earliest I will get out of here is 9:30 in the morning (and that's stand-by).  The earliest confirmed seat I have is 8:30 tomorrow night! (uh, make that tonight!)  NOT looking forward to THAT!

UPDATE:  6:55 a.m.

Well, I did find that bench--at gate 24, I think it was. The rebooking agent gave me a little disposable blanket, so I laid out on 3 padded seats, propped my computer case under my knees, and covered myself up.  I think I got in 1.5 or 2 hours of sleep.  (To the 75 decibel accompaniment of CNN and the lawnmower-like floor buffing machines.)  It was a lovely evening.  Seriously, when I woke up at 6:15, I actually felt a little bit rested, so I must have managed to hit a deep level of sleep--while learning all about the political situation in Zimbabwe from the good folks at CNN.

After I woke up, I was able to clean up a bit (thanks to the little Delta overnighter kit).  Shaved a few whiskers. Brushed a tooth or two.  That definitely helped.

I'm now hanging out by gate 32 to see if I'll possibly make the stand-by connection to John Wayne.  If I don't, I'll be open to suggestions as to how I might pass the remaining 12 hours I'll have to spend here.  There IS a Starbucks right across from my gate, but I won't expect anyone to know my name, Heidi.  :)

The $7.95 I spent on Wi-Fi access is probably one of the best investments I've ever made.  At least I can entertain myself with something other than traveling woes--mine and 10,000 other folks.

FINAL UPDATE - 6:00 p.m.

Well, I'm sitting in my La-Z-Boy in my own family room, surrounded by my wife, my dog, and two older grand-daughters.  Got a shower and a 2-hour nap and I feel human again! I DID get to go stand-by on the 9:30 flight--arrived in OC at 12:30 (an hour later than scheduled, but WAY earlier than I thought I'd get home.  I thought it was funny how the flight crew kept apologizing about the 1 hour delay out of Atlanta.  It's all perspective!