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Friday, October 31, 2014
...through the Virginia countryside. We'd talked about going to a place down on the James River where there are a number of old plantation houses. Really Old. Like 1600's. History lesson: the first English Thanksgiving actually occurred here, on the banks of the James. When the first boat load of Anglos came ashore and did as they had been instructed: had prayer meeting and gave thanks for a safe trip across the ocean into the unknown. This according to the tour guide on the Berkeley Plantation.

He also said that it was a 'working plantation' that had been reassembled after being sold off piece meal over the years, and was back to nearly one thousand acres, where a variety of crops are currently planted. We saw large fields where corn and cotton had been harvested, as well as several fields of soybeans that had dried on the plants.

There are five plantations in a row, still with the huge, brick homes intact, facing onto the James along the north bank of the river. Situated on rolling farm land between Williamsburg and Jamestown. At Berkeley you can stand on the brick steps on the 'riverside' entrance and look down a series of terraces to see the flowing water. Our tour guide said that the grounds, down towards the water are available as a rental venue. Neither of us had the gumption to ask about the price: we assumed thousands. Which would be a nice source of additional income in the spring and summer.

We talked as we drove about how many people it would take to successfully operate a business of that size. And although slavery is an anathema would have been the only way to be successful in such a huge farming operation from year to year. Especially when you consider that every required manual labor, hands-on physical effort. Amazing to think of the size of the buildings, made from handmade brick, right there on the grounds, and built over a number of years, with every thing done by hand. All the ornamentation on the house, every piece of wood from trees grown on the property, cut, milled on the property. Every piece of furniture made by hand. Much of the upholstery done on location.

Too much information, too many fascinating details to take in and remember. We were told the  Berkeley Plantation was owned at one time by the Harrison Family, who produced Benjamin Harrison, one our Presidents. The Plantation also celebrates the First Thanksgiving on the first Sunday in November each year. With lots of good eats, costumed re-enactors to commemorate the arrival of the first Anglos, Native Americans, games, music, more good stuff to eat, vendors selling trinkets.


....has, oddly enough, meant sleeping better in 'strange place' than I do in my own little space. Really unusual for me to sleep until 6:30 or seven o'clock in the morning. But it has happened twice.

The familyhere is very involved, committed to their home church. And spend a lot of time in a variety of activities that support programs and ministries the Baptist church organizes. My sis-in-law, E. was getting stuff organized to fill boxes for the Christmas Child Ministry of Samaritan's Purse Ministry of Franklin Graham. Came upon the idea of painting some little wooden cubes (left over from long deceased crafting project) to put in zipper bags for shipping off as games the kids could play, matching colors, learning numbers. So we spent the morning painting cubes to add to the shoeboxes. Went to have lunch with her dad.

And the afternoon volunteering at a middle school adjacent to the church. Where members of the church offer their time one day each week to assist with copying needed by teachers. If it had been me doing the multiplicity of copies, on a machine that constantly had paper jams, I would have been saying some unprintable words. But the sis-in-law was remarkably patient, constantly opening the door to the innards, fishing in the mechanical parts to pull out crimped up sheets of paper - starting again, only to repeat the process. This copier was born smarter than I am: copies front and back, can punch holes to go in binders, and staple  multiple pages together. But also profoundly aggravating when it would constantly jam and bring the whole process to a screeching halt. I was not dealing with the frustrating machine, and I was grinding my teeth: so I know she was thoroughly annoyed by the constant endless jamming up.

Then I went for a walk down the street, admiring colors of leaves on trees on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

travelin'... (Wednesday)

...meant that I got up on Wednesday morning, early enough to tag along on a short walk with the dogs. Then on to the airport to sit around and wait for the 10:30 take off. If the flight was leaving from Columbus, I could get to the airport and on the plane in under twenty minutes. But taking a flight leaving Hartsfield is not so simple or fast .It can take fifteen minutes to find a parking slot and get across the street from the deck to the terminal, taking your life in your hands. The processing through TSA can take twenty minutes or more, depending on the number of people going someplace and length of lines.

 Then you have to get from the terminal to a particular concourse. Underground, after descending on the world's longest escalator, and get onto the train. You can expect that the gate  number you are looking for will invariably (Murphy's Law) be at the far end from where you get of the people mover and back up the escalator into the concourse.  And the foot traffic on the concourse, with people from all over the world in a mad dash, hurriedly on their way to connecting flights, more than willing to run over your toes.

It was an uneventful flight. And the seats were half-empty, so no one had assigned places. Got to Richmond about noon, and had to wait for my luggage. I was transporting goods that I knew would create problems as a carry-on, so had checked my bag on the sidewalk at ATL. Naturally we were waiting at the wrong end of the terminal at RIC at carousels that would never disgorge my suitcase. But with help, we found my luggage as well as lunch at Panera and came on to the house.


...on a little trip I have been planning for months. To Virginia to see my brother. I know he does  not have any reason to want to make a trip to GA, so decided if I want to see him - only sibling- I will just have to take the mountain to Mohammed. So I started back early in the summer suggesting I would like to visit for a few days.

I had to work on Tuesday: from noon till 8 p.m. Meaning I could not start my trip until after I got off work. I had tickets to leave Atlanta on Wed. at 10:30, and wanted to Not drive up there on Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning. But my plans to go up on Tuesday afternoon went totally awry when I discovered myself doing the cooking demo. all afternoon. I finished the clean up about 8:15, and got in the road to drive to Decatur.

Arriving  hours later than I had intended, and actually just in time to flop into bed. But thankful that I would not be having to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get on the road trying to avoid all the going-into-town traffic headed towards work in the city.

my day got away...

Monday, October 27, 2014
... and I did not do any of the stuff I had planned to get accomplished. I went across town early this  morning, to go with TP to a dr. appt. By the time I got there, it was fifteen minutes before the actual appointment time, and it was nearly over. He had a little place on the side of his head that he brought to the dermatologist' attention. And it was taken care of, they were just being chatty by the time I was delivered back to the little cubicle.

My phone rang shortly after I left the dr. office, and it was someone on the staff of a school on the south side of town, desperate for a substitute teacher. I agreed I could get down there, but said it would take me an hour to get there. Knowing I wanted to get home first and find some lunch to take along. I got to the school about ten o'clock, went in the office to sign in and was told/reminded that the way the GA pre-K program is set up, the guidelines specify there will always be two adults in the classroom. I can think of lots of reasons for this - and honestly: think it is not a bad idea, for all teachers to have a back up. Like every parent needs someone to be part of a tag-team: someone is on duty, while the other is resting, preparing for the next shift.

The admin. assistant who called me, and was so happy to see me come in the door, thanked me four times before I could get out and down the hall to the classroom. She said that if it was discovered they did not have two adults per room, the state could shut the program down - which I assume means withholding funding. I remember talking to a pre-K teacher some years ago, who said that the program requires one adult per ten kids. So if there are eleven children in the class, there has to be two adults, and if there are twenty one, they would have to put three adults in the room. I don't expect any teacher would agree to dealing with twenty-plus four-year-olds, no matter how many para-pros there were available for crowd control.

Anyway: spent most of my day with four year olds. Pretty well behaved, and a good teacher that seemed to have mastered the ability to manage/control her students.  It's the nature of four year olds to be distractible and bouncy, but they were a good class.

And left there to go by the church and do a bit of paper-cutting to make a decoration for that Sunday School class I have been creating illustrations for to help the teacher with demonstrating her Bible verse for the month. This coming month, in November, the verse is Psalms 111:1, I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.  All the teacher wanted for illustration purpose was a big tree, with no leaves. I assume she will either make hand-prints to put on the tree for colored fall leaves, or give them cut outs to color and stick up on the leaf-less tree.

a good citizen...

Saturday, October 25, 2014
if that is the same thing as a conscientious volunteer. I have been doing some of that today. Went to walk down town, as a participant in a fundraiser. 'Hopegivers International' was promoting the event to try to raise money to provide for orphans in India. I had asked several people at work to make donations to help me towards a goal of $150. I fully intended to write a check, and did. On considering this project more, I think there are lots of people nearby who are hungry, so don't know that raising money to feed people on the other side of the globe is such a wonderful idea. And as always, wonder how much of funding actually end up being used for the intended purpose.

I don't know if they were pleased to see me, or just happy to see the money I handed over, but they gave me a really loud, lime-green T-shirt to help advertise their cause. Which I will probably not wear, as I do so much griping about having to wear my un-favorite color when I go to work in the Publix green knit polo-type shirt I am required to wear. A really awful shade the company decided on: almost an olive drab, military issue color.

And after I walked a bit downtown, I had agreed to help with a thing the Girl Scouts were doing at the Columbus Museum. I did not really know what to expect, other than the fact that they would be 'painting without brushes'. As it turned out, the instructor, a staff member in the Education Dept., took them on a short tour, talked a bit about art, then turned them loose with paint and: cotton swabs. Then later they had a go at painting with feathers, and finally just using their fingers. Not something I would care to turn a dozen 8 and 9 year olds loose with - but I was only the 'helper'. Thankfully, I am also not the person trying to get tempera paint out of their clothes.

After spending  much longer than expected in the painting experience, I went by the hardware store to buy some cabbage plants. And accidently bought some cauliflower and parsley too. Got them all planted this afternoon.

a funny story about the funny stories...

Thursday, October 23, 2014
... happened today when I was substitute teaching in a second grade classroom. I'd gotten the call several weeks ago, and agreed to go and spend the day at a magnet school. Thinking that when I had done this type thing in past years, the teachers were all in a grade-level workshop, in the media center. Not even leaving the building, but devoting their day to some sort of in-service training. Not true this time, as I understand they were all at Columbus State attending a training.

When I got there, we began the day at 8:00. With me not knowing the kids, or their routine, or what to do about little details that are an important part of the early morning drill: taking roll (has to be done on the teacher's personal, school issued computer) and lunch count (you first have to find out what the menu for the day would be prior to asking who wants what) .Then various other things that happen right off the bat: pledge, singing, announcements that won't happen without the Smartboard, that can't happen without the computer. Which is not all bad, as I would not know how to start it anyway due to being technically challenged.

As you might know, from time spent with small people around this size and age, they still enjoy telling everything they know, and love to be able to inform adults when they appear to blunder around, floundering due to lack of knowledge. So I had plenty of guidance throughout the day, correcting my every mistake, as I would attempt to proceed to do tasks out of order, or 'not the way Ms. T does'.  But all in all, it was a good day, with pleasant, well manner youngsters who were for the most part agreeable and cooperative.

Something made me think about the recent blogs about fishing fiascoes, so I told them about my blog, and the stories I shared here. I think it came up when someone said: you sure do like to use big words. I agreed that I could get wordy, and admitted that I do enjoy writing and using a varied vocabulary.  And told of recent writings, reminiscing about the time Papa got hooked and how desperately I did not want to skewer the worm, but did it anyway. They enjoyed my stories, but of course, had their own to tell, in an effort to get completely off track/task, and wandering out into space on unrelated tangents.