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travelin' today...

Friday, January 19, 2018
... on the road to South Carolina today. Hopeful the interstate is not icy. On the way north yesterday, driving to Decatur to spend the night, it was clear so I am not expecting any problems. There is still a lot of snow in places where the sun did not melt it, and likely plenty of icy places where it did melt, and refreeze in low temp. overnight. But I feel like the interstate gets enough traffic that it dried off and will not be slick as owl s#*t as I am driving north.

I've not been to SC for several months, though I normally try to get up to Greenville to visit my pen pal every few weeks.  Health issues intervened: first me not wanting to negotiate the busy thoroughfares with a broken arm, anxious about ability to maneuver with my handicap. Then my pen pal was in the hospital for some time, and wanted to be left in peace when he got home. Asking that he not have visitors until after the holidays. Plus crazy weather no one can predict much in advance.

I have figured out, through trial and error, enough about my phone to see what the weather is like. For someone who is hopelessly inept with technology, that is quite an accomplishment. I'm pretty impressed, to know where to look to see what the prognosticators are telling us we can expect. Looks like warming and sunshine today, so I am feeling like it will be a pretty day to be out on the road.

winter wonderland pics

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This is what it looks like in middle Georgia when it snows. I think we had about two or three inches. The most interesting part is how long it stayed on the ground, due to the cold temperature. Very unusual for the below freezing cold to linger around for several days, but it was still there in places where the sun did not hit to warm and melt two days later. It's really pretty to be on the inside were it is warm and cozy, and not experiencing the below freezing temp., but not so fun to be on the other side of the glass where you feel the effects of weather down in the teens for extended period. Maybe being from the south makes blood thinner, so we have less tolerance for the cold. If so: really thankful I do not live in Michigan.

it was so amusing...

... after I saw that short clip, from an advertisement on television, I found myself smiling, and occasionally chuckling all day long. Everyone needs a reason to smile, bright spots in each day especially in these dark, brooding, overcast winter days. This is so amusing, I laughed out loud when I saw it, at 4:30 in the morning, getting myself layer-ed up to head out to work.

You need the reference of a recent posting about my eating habits. "you might recall..." is about my willingness to eat things found in the fridge that would put other people in the bed, or hospital, or grave. When I used up all the almond milk I put on cereal or make smoothies with, I was reduced to drinking the bottom of a carton of (cow) milk that was not really safe to consume. Oddly: I had looked at the date on it previously and decided I would not use it. Then, the next morning, without a second thought, poured it over my cold cereal and gobbled it down.

Later, but not much, when I began to have undesirable symptoms of making a bad choice, I immediately remembered about that out-dated milk. And will be much more conscious of date checking in the future. I am really remarkably dependable about using a sharpie and masking tape to put dates (and ingredients if you cannot see in the container) on lids of everything that goes in the fridge. I knew better. And after than gut-wrenching experience, will certainly be more aware in the future.

The funny part (even though there is really nothing amusing about food poisoning) is the short clip a friend sent after she read the blog. It's only about five seconds long, but shows what happens when one is less than diligent about date-checking for dairy products. I've often heard that you can feel safe using milk even if it is several days after the date printed on the carton. But when the date is from the previous year: don't even give it the sniff test, just pour it out. And thank me when you are not hugging the toilet later in the day.

snow day here...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
... pretty unusual for middle Georgia. I received a call, telling me 'don't come to work.'  Which has never ever happened before. Sun is out, so the white stuff will likely melt in the course of the day. There has been enough traffic on the streets, that I don't think they are icy, (though looking out the window, it is obvious they are not at their usual over-the-limit speed) but if it stays below freezing, it will be a problem tomorrow.

It is ironic that I got the call to stay at home: I had earlier been pondering the idea of calling in and telling them I would not be there - even though I have never in all these years missed work due to illness. As a part-time person, I do not qualify for sick-leave days, and therefore have no time off accumulated. Which works out well, as I am not in poor health. (Having completely recovered from the dangerous dairy product story!)

I have on the rare occasion reported that I could not get there: once due to a hurricane. The family was on a cruise in the Caribbean, and the ship could not dock due to high winds. The boat would have to travel under a bridge for passengers to disembark, and we could not do that until the Coast Guard inspected for safety and gave the OK. Which gave us an unexpected day of cruising, and caused me to have to call and say: I cannot get to work.

Recently, I was out of town, going to visit family in VA., and had a problem with return flights. Delayed due to weather, and missed connections causing me to be on the job according to work schedule.  Which I consider circumstances beyond my control, even though I did not inquire of my boss if that was a legitimate excuse. Not being able to get to the workplace seems acceptable to me...

Snow is pretty rare here, but since we are living in the end times, anything can happen.... dramatic climate change: floods, droughts, mudslides, extreme heat and excruciating cold. Men being called out for behaving badly and getting their just desserts/consequences, zombies, solar flares affecting energy/electronics and communication.

going to see...

... antique firearms at the museum on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Even though I do not know much about the exhibit, I know enough to feel like I should not miss the opportunity to see what is there. When at a family gathering last summer, I heard about a special exhibition that was opening in December, running through the latter part of February. I have plans to go on Saturday, and hope to find my way to the museum and look at the rifles that are in the show.

There are guns and long arms that were made by people I am related to. According to my cousin, who lives on the other side of the state, and does a much better job of keeping up with what's going on: the title of the exhibit is "Artful Instruments of Death: Georgia Gunsmiths and Their Craft." I have known that there were forebears who lived in east  GA before the War of Northern Aggression who were makers of firearms, and think my dad's grandfather was one of the men from that area who made his living as a gunsmith. The cousin, in suggesting family members would want to go to Athens to see the collection reported that many of the artifacts in this special show have never been in a place to be viewed by the public before: a number of the items on display are in private collections, lent to the Georgia Museum of Art especially for this occasion.

I have a vague memory of hearing family speak about long arms that were buried in order to keep them out of the hands of Union soldiers. Taken from a gun shop, well wrapped, and carefully hidden to keep them safe. Guns were in every household, used for supplying meat to feed families. Back in the early and mid-1800's boys from a very young age were schooled in handling guns, especially rifles that could be used to hunt game and put food on the table. So knowing that great grand-dad WT went off to war as a sharp-shooter/sniper for the Confederacy at the age of fifteen is not surprising.

Plus it was expected that if you used the gun, you would be the one to care for it, to have it cleaned and ready to shoot again as needed. Along with the privilege of using the rifle, came the responsibility for its' care: just like farm animals/livestock. You take care of it, so when the time comes it will provide the service you need. In that era, young men accepted the necessity for taking care of equipment, in order to be able to have the tools ready and dependable when the need arises.

book review: "Unbroken"...

Monday, January 15, 2018
... by Laura Hillenbrand. You probably saw the movie that was based on the book. Same title. One of the best I've read recently, and an amazing story. The subtitle: 'A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.'

Louie Zamperini was probably headed towards incarceration until he took up running. He was a rascal as a kid, and according Hillebrand's story probably incorrigible as a adolescent and in his early teens. His older brother encouraged him to run, get involved in track in high school, serving as his 'trainer' and forcing him to continue to run when Louie wanted to quit.  He was so good he won numerous state awards, and competed in the Olympics the year they were held in Germany when Jesse Owens was a participant.

Louie volunteered for service when the US entered the war, and was trained as a bombadier. He was sent to the Pacific, and his crew went down during a search and rescue mission. Louie and the pilot and one other crew member survived the ditching, spending days on a small raft floating towards Japan. The other crewman died at sea, Louie and the pilot were captured and spent years in POW camps on small islands, being starved and tortured. A horrendous tale of mistreatment and abuse. Many POWs were used as forced labor, often injured, with no medical care, and insufficient food to keep them healthy, insufficient clothing, shoes, blankets for snowy winters. Many just disappeared, with no records kept of deaths, burials.

As the Japanese began to realize they were loosing the war, they received orders to kill all the captives, and many were put to death. Louie and others in the camp where he was held were eventually found, rescued, and returned to the US, though many families had assumed they were dead. They often took months to recover from illnesses and starvation rations, as well as the physical and mental abuse suffered at the hands of their cruel captors. 

It is a remarkable story. Well researched, with lots of first hand interviews. Numerous quotes by fellow service men, as well as Zamperini, who the author spoke with many times. Louie was a remarkable man, a survivor in every sense of the word. He, as did many if not all, veterans struggled to adjust to life back in the states, having war time experiences many could never grasp or fully understand. But he managed to overcome his personal demons, turn his years of  being a POW into a story people wanted to hear. He spent many years traveling, telling audiences the story of his amazing life.

third trip...

... to Virginia in recent weeks. I am so thankful the first of the series of trips was early in December when I invited myself to visit. Enjoyed spending a couple of days with my brother and wife at home, though the weather was not fun. Freezing temps. and snowy, icy roads. We even saw the energetic grandchildren, running in circles around the house. Glad I had the opportunity to go and stay while things were peaceful, and before their lives began to fall apart after she insisted he must go to the doctor.  He had been having uncharacteristic headaches, struggling to remember things he should know, erratic driving on occasion.

My brother is still in the hospital, but has been moved from Intensive Care Unit to an area that cares from neuroscience patients. He has graduated to eating real food, consuming everything they will give him to drink, and disconnected from IV. Not attached to any tubes or wiring other than a heart  monitor that makes an ungodly sound every time he changes position in the chair they have him sitting in. Even the most comfortable recliner in the world would get tiresome, butt-wearing after sitting all day long.

Daughter and I went to Richmond on Friday morning and returned to Atlanta on Sunday night. Spent most of the weekend sitting with them in the hospital room. His wife is likely exhausted, having lived at the hospital with him for two weeks while he has been there, recovering from surgery. The doctor has been off and will not be back until tomorrow, but she is hoping he will come in and tell them what will happen next on Tuesday. I know it has been exhausting for her over these trying days and hope they might get some good news when the surgeon will come by and see them on the morrow.