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Wear your pj's to school day?

Sunday, December 26, 2010
Neither did I: but when I got there to subsitute teach as the para-pro. in the Kindergarten classroom, the teacher and most of the kids were wearing flannel or thermal pajamas. I wish I had known... it would have saved me a lot of time getting dressed before I left the house, running late, with my shirt-tail flapping.

That teacher was absoultely fearless: she turned twenty kids loose with little tubs of icing and popsicle sticks with instructions to cover half-pint milk cartons with the icing so they could attach squares of graham crackers and all manner of marshmallows, candy, peppermint candy canes, to make them look like gingerbread houses. I am still wondering what her day would have been like if I had not showed up to clean up the remarkable mess they made: they were literally wearing that icing. I dont' think they actually consumed much - it just did not occur to them to lick their fingers! But they did get it all over their hands, in their hair, smeared on tables and chairs... really amazing...

While they were watching 'The Polar Express' movie after the lunch they did not eat, the teachers were bagging up a pile of goodies parents had sent, so each child went home with about two pounds of cookies, candy, popcorn, etc., leaving me very thankful they had not had a 'party' and consumed that two pounds of sugar before they left school - in addition to some remarkably sticky 'gingerbread houses' that we put in gallon zipper bags to send home for future consumption.

I've already got a couple of subsituting days lined up for January... since my work schedule at Publix has tapered down to nearly nothing, I'll be figuring out some other ways to keep myself occupied.

how was your week - Dec 24th

I worked more at Publix this week than any week since probably back in February. And probably won't be on the schedule for more than an occasional day until Valentine's Day comes around again. All day on Tuesday, and thought it would be a full day on Wednesday, but when I got there, and they decided business was really slow, was sent home by mid-morning, with the request that I would come back early on Thursday.

I'd had intentions to go to Valdosta when I got off work the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday, was packed and ready to travel to go to visit the shut-in Auntie. So I got in the road much earlier than expected, and was there by early afternoon. We went to the cemetery in Quitman to put out red silk poinsettia plants on graves, and did a slow drive through town, out Court Street. Had soup for supper and went to be early, since I had to get up and return to Columbus for an unexpected day on the Publix schedule.

She seems to be getting stronger, regaining stamina, but certainly not at the speed she would like. Very frustrated by the slowness of recovery, and apparently still unwilling to concede that the cumulative effects of six surgeries in less than three years would take a heavy toll on anybody's body. Gradually moving faster, but so fearful of falling, she does not do the exercises and therapy that is obviously required to improve/recover from yet another traumatic health event.

Dec. 24th

Not expecting any body to come and entertain us here on Christmas day... that will be a major non-event. I can't remember when there has been No excitement, No 'crack of dawn' activity in my life: people with ants in their pants at 5:00 (or earlier) on Christmas morning. The hysteria will be limited to seeing how long the batteries I bought at the Just-a-Buck store will last in the electric/remote controlled train set we will be putting together in the morning. Pretty low key anti-excitement to my way of thinking. We need bicycles! roller skates! go-carts! to create chaos!

My early memories of Christmas mornings include having such warm weather that kids were swarming the streets in shorts and T-shirts showing off their new 'wheels'. It was always overcast, usually damp, but invariably warm enough for chasing around the neighborhood without heavy winter wear to hamper activities.

If I was not so tired from getting about four hours of sleep last night (due to irresponsible chocolate consumption, most likely - it was not so fantastically, remarkably, astoundingly good as to be worth lying in bed for several hours with eyes refusing to stay shut, and brain whirring at a gazillion miles an hour.. I'd have rather had the sleep because it's barely dark and I feel exhausted, ready for bed at 8:00!) I'd stay up until late, with the hopes of sleeping past 6:00 a.m. tomorrow: that would be a real novelty.

Since Santa is not coming down my chimney, it would be a real treat to be lazy slug-a-bed - but I guess there is too much 'Choppy' in me for that! So feel free to call, or stop by at 6:30 for a cup of instant, decaf and visit - I'll be up wandering around in my p.j.'s, puttering in the kitchen or emailing...

Dec. 25th

No one here for celebrating, only 'just us chickens', but looking forward to folks coming in the first of the week.I'm cooking, and planning cooking, and waiting, and trying not to eat while I wait. Maybe I should put all my clothes on, every single piece, and go for a walk... don't you burn more calories in cold weather just trying to keep your body temp. adjusted?

I hope....If you wonder why I am suddenly having this flood of communicating with the world - Yes, You Out There: it is due to the fact that I have all-hours access to my computer. The houseguests are in Florida for a week, so I do not have to arrange my typing around the schedule of someone who sleeps late. Guess I need to be making hay while the sunshines? Speaking of which: I have a report of a white Christmas in Tennessee - you will have to check her Stinky Sweet blog for photos, since I am not amongst the techno. advantaged with a fine camera and ability to put pix. in a wee-tiny little hole in the computer.

Holiday luv 2 U.

tech support...

Paula here - providing tech support for my sweet mother - or as much as I can without knowing much about Blogger.

She accidently created herself another blog and cute as it might be - it is going to be impossible for her to figure out what is going on so I am basically going to copy and paste her entries from the other blog in her.

You are about to have about 6 new blog entries to read - enjoy!

plugging away on 'day labor' work...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Since I knew I would be 'stuck' here this week, with no transportation, due to the fact that my car is in the shop for several days getting a new bumper and hood for Christmas - I thought this would be a good time to try to get some substitute teaching jobs. Which I did, and have done.

Both days have been as a para-pro in Kindergarten classrooms, and fairly amusing. I really do not want to be the only person in a room with a twenty or more kids I do not know well enough to call them by name (pretty much the only way you have any control over their behavior whatsover is by knowing them well enough to single out the mis-behaving on a personal basis.) So I have concluded I would much rather be in a pre-K, Kindergarten or first grade class where there is always another person.

I went to great, aggravating lengths to get my certification renewed to be able to increase the pay rate when I do get a job as a sub., but it only applies if I am replacing the actual teacher in the classroom - and most of the calls that occur every morning at 6: 02, and in the evenings during the window between six and nine when the computer calls, are all for para-pro/aide assignments. But I guess that is better than sitting at home and not making anything, so I generally take the para. jobs: which is where I have been twice already this week, and looking for a couple more.

All of which will come to a screeching halt on Friday, when the schools are closing for the year.

All this 'job shopping' has caused me to take several assignments for January, but I suspect that the closer it gets to those days I agreed to work, the less enthusiasm I will have for being confined up in a classroom with a mob of 9 or 10 year olds who are snotty (literally), ornery and generally disagreeable. (I really do not want to bring germs home, so try very hard not to touch anything or anybody - difficult to do when so many of those kids are starving for affection/attention.)

the week that was...

Saturday, December 11, 2010
Spent several days this week in Quitman. Though it does not 'appear' that any progress was made, I know how many big garbage cans we filled up, so feel like we did make some headway. But as is true with lots of things, and accurately documented in some sub-set of Murphy's Law: the more you do the more there is that needs doing.

One of the things I really wanted to accomplish was to get rid of a pile of old nasty, water-filled tires that had been left in the backyard years ago, and hopefully find some place to haul them away and deposit while there was a pickup truck available to load them in. So I went by a shop that sells tires to ask: If I am willing to pay a small disposal fee, will you let me bring you these old tires to add to the pile that you will have a recycling company haul off and turn into asphalt? The answer: we will take them off your hands for $8 each. I think I had 12 tires, so that seemed to be pretty outrageous to me. We started calling around and found that the city would not pick them up (I pretty much knew that), and the local landfill would not accept them. So called the trash contracting service in Valdosta who said they could not take them because that landfill would not allow them either. We finally contacted the landfill in Thomas County, and found that they would take them for about $1 each... I did not want to drive the dry-rotted crappy old bald tires to Thomasville, but could not in good conscience just roll them off the back of the truck into the creek. So we hauled them off to the Thomas County landfill and paid $11 to unload them there: with a flock of buzzards sitting on the bare branches of a dead tree as witnesses, like something out of a very bad movie...

We borrowed/heisted a Thomas Utilities garbage can on the way back to Brooks County, that nearly filled the back of the truck, and was immediately loaded full of more bags of trash when we got it back to the house.... so yes, though you would open closets and cupboards and not feel like anything had disappeared, we really did make some Cleaning-Out progress. Thanks to you, FS! ;)

There is some sort of electrical crisis: some of the lights do not work, both in the kitchen and outside. Will have to get the electrician (who also drives a county school bus, and will work me in around the pick-up/delivery hours) to come and figure it out, and hope it is nothing overly complicate/involved/expensive to remedy, but fear the worst in a house where most of the wiring is nearly 60 years old.

if you were wondering what to give...

Saturday, December 4, 2010
I told my family several years ago that I did not want any 'stuff', nothing they could go to the store and buy, nothing that has to be dusted around.

All I want from anyone on any gift-giving occasion when a person feels the urge to 'gift' is
Time. So if you are thinking about what a person like me would enjoy receiving, now you know.

If you want to make something good to eat, and call me or bring it over for us to share and laugh together, that would be great - but please not anything that I will have to find some place to 'put', and then have to pick up and dust under.

And the more I think about it: the more I have decided that Time is the best gift any of us can give to another: just your undivided attention - lunch, or a cup of hot tea, or a walk in the park together.

I've heard from a very reliable source that 'food' (of the home-made variety) is the perfect gift, because you devote your time to making something tasty/special, and then give it to someone you care about enough to want to charm their tastebuds, see their eyes light up, watch them smile and say: "Ooh, wow! Can I have more???"

There were some years when I spent hours and days in the kitchen making treats to give to people that I never got a response from when Paul had to provide gifts for business. Devoted lots of effort to planning, shopping, cooking and then cleaning for holiday parties. Thankful that era is over - but look back and remember how much of my time was spent in trying to do something different that people would really enjoy, and cannot recall hearing more than a 'thanks' when they walked out the door. So, in the future, my efforts will definitely be aimed at people who really express their delight for homebaked goodies...in a Meg Ryan way!

... so there are exceptions to the Rule of Time...

what to do with leftover 'stuff'...

Someone grew up, got married and moved away, but failed to take all her stuff.

The stuff included a big box full of Christmas ribbon, and bows she had tried to sell at the consignment store where she worked several years ago, prior to the above sentence. I would periodically, usually during the wrong season, come across that box full of Christmas ribbon, and think: too valuable to trash, but what to do?

I actually fluffed them up and took them to the craft sale at church several weeks ago, but no one even bothered to get close enough to look at them, or ask about price... not knowing I would have said: 'Free! How many do you want?!?!'

A very smart, remarkable thinker/friend suggested taking the bows to a Christmas Tree sales lot in early December and offering to sell them to go on their fresh greenery wreaths. I tried, and sold six to the man down the street (who said he did not want to buy any because his wife had gone to buy some rolls of ribbon and she was an 'experienced' bow-tie-er.) That so surprised me, to have someone buy half of the boxfull that! So: like an idiot, I came home and made more bows.

And went to other tree lots to try to peddle the new ones today. With no success. One girl said 'we make our own', and bit my tongue instead of saying, 'yes, but they are tacky'.

So I decided I would just put them out on the tree out near the street (that same tree where the Easter eggs are still hanging) and make a sign that states: Bows for sale. If I make any money, I will be happy. If someone comes by and takes all my bows, I will be slightly sad about the Grinch, but happy the bows are gone.

If you want to know my street address, so you can come and load up on 'free' bows, you can send me an email, since I do not know how to check for comments here?

south GA update....

Friday, December 3, 2010
Last Tuesday I went to Thomasville to retrieve the incapacitated auntie from the hospital to get her back home to Valdosta. I knew, and common sense would tell anyone who had just had the third back surgery in less than three years (plus two hip replacements, and elbow surgery thrown in for good measure), that you can't get up and dance out the door in less than a week. She was determined to not endure another bad inpatient rehab. experience, and insistent she was going to go home.

I'd called a friend of hers in Valdosta to inquire about someone who would come and stay to help her get mobile again. That 'someone' turned out to be: Joy - what a blessing.

Joy came over Wednesday morning to talk, and I guess kinda 'job interview', and stayed for lunch. So thankfully, blessedly, I left! I think they must be getting along well, since I have not had any reports otherwise. I am so thankful for this person who just literally fell into our laps, and feels like what she does to provide assistance and support for people and families in need is a calling. Thankful she was available, and thankful she has a very high tolerance level for strong-willed, stubborn, highly opinionated women. She said she had worked for a woman who was nearly 100, and did not want any help at all, but the family insisted, and before it was over the woman was crazy about her... I got the feeling from listening to Joy tell her story, this cantankerous woman just felt so loved and cared for she could not resist responding.

.....and I am very thankful...

results of black friday...

Sunday, November 28, 2010
I did not devote my day on Friday to shopping. But did go to Sears on Thanksgiving morning and get a couple of things to give for Christmas... and am currently pondering the liklihood of returning a couple of other things that I am already wondering why I purchased.

I may be a crappy shopper, but I am a great receipt saver.

The in-laws have a system whereby people only get gifts they really want: everyone makes a list, and the lists are posted in some common, prominent location easily accessible. So everyone else can look at the list, and make a note of what they are planning to 'gift' - a great way to be sure you are buying something that the receipient really has expressed a desire for... and I know there are families who have a 'rule' that you cannot purchase anything for yourself (except the occasional desperately needed underwear) after the first of October, while letting others know of things you would like to have.

And the best way to be sure the receipt doesn't disappear, is to securely attach it to the item, thereby avoiding searching, grief, loss, frustration, monumental aggravation.


TV irritates the **** out of me, but it is so mesmerizing, it is hard to avoid.... kinda like a train wreck: you know you don't actually want to see the horrific view, but you can't make yourself Not Look.

Why would anyone think that guests, people who drove hours to get to your house, and did all that driving specifically to see you, would want to sit and stare at a television for hours, then get up and drive hours to go back home? This does not apply to friends in FL, but aimed at the individual who lives on Lynch Road, who in all liklihood has an addiction that he does not desire to overcome... probably does not read blog either?


Plans had been laid weeks ago for going down to north FL on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to visit dear sweet friends who would be up from Ocala, visiting near Tallahassee for several days. And then the auntie from Valdosta scheduled major surgery for the day before the holiday and was laid up in the hospital in Thomasville.

I got up at 5:30 and drove to Thomasville to visit the disabled until about noon. She said she was glad to see me, and no one there had thought to ask her since admission on Wednesday if she would like to brush her teeth: a pretty difficult task for someone in a horizontal position to complete (but desperation may be the mother of invention). Left Thomas county headed west, and drove to Bainbridge (almost on Georgia's West Coast) then south to Chattahoochee for lunch and visit... went back to re-visit the auntie, and got home about 11:00. A long day? Yes!

Those amusing people from central FL always have a truckload of citrus fruit to share, so I came back to middle GA laden with oranges, we will be eating until next year. Thanks! And a church cookbook to provide inspiration for spending more time in the kitchen, which will likely lead to re-enlisting in Weight Watchers along with all the other 'resolution-aries' in January. Thanks?

I don't see you nearly often enough, and keep thinking I should just get in the car and drive to central Florida: so don't be surprised... though now with reasons for all to travel to Valdosta, that would be a great place to meet in the middle, especially since my family has a long-standing reputation for 'meeting halfway!

that was certainly different...

Thursday, November 25, 2010
The celebration of Thanks was pretty unusual this year. Several people who are single, and normally kind of 'at loose ends' were invited to come lunch with us: but they all had better offers, made other plans, declined, went elsewhere. So despite my best efforts to get up a crowd to gather 'round the table and share a meal, it did not happen. The 'good news' is hours and hours were not devoted to shopping, prep and cooking for a crowd to come and eat themselves into misery - and there is not a monumental pile of leftovers waiting to fall out on my foot tomorrow, demanding attention.

So as things turned out, it was just the two of us, who seem to have a hard time entertaining ourselves. I had even made an effort at sounding sufficiently un-invited and lonesome all day at Publix on Wednesday, telling people I did not have any plans to cook and was not expecting the company of family or friends, and wondering where we would go for lunch: hoping to wangle an invitation from someone who thought we needed care and attention, as well as feeding.... but, No, it was 'just us chickens'. Eating a mostly non-traditional meal that few would recognize as being 'traditional' (except for the celery with cream cheese/olives and apple salad).

Is that not pitiful?

No, not really. I am thankful, and, in spite of being hopelessly math-impaired, continually attempt to count my blessings.

'twas the day before Tksg....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Creative Craft Fair at church went well. There were some who thought it was a great success, and some vendors who were disappointed with sales of their products. I did not sell much: only one of those papier mache frames found buyer, but three others found new homes. I decided I would have a raffle, and sell tickets for a dollar, and let the winner (one each hour) pick from several choices. So I kinda sorta gave away three besides the one someone liked enough to actually pay money for. I was not attending my business when it occured, and was surprised later when I found one had actually sold. That means in ten years, I have sold a total of: 2. (Which would lead one to think I may have some problems with my 'marketing plan'?that does not actually exist)

The raffling of the frames went well: I think I made about $50 bucks @$1 per ticket,plus a little more from the 'face-painting' booth on the side... I never intended for the painting of rainbows and rockets on little cheeks to actually make any any money, but for amusement only. And now have decided: if I am willing to put the effort into organizing a craft fair once a year for the next eight years, and I have about two dozen of the papier mache frames (I packed back in the boxes to bring home and store till next fall) I can raffle off three every year give them all away in no time at all!

I also tried to sell some really nice holiday bows that have been lingering around my house for several years, which I periodically get out of the box and fluff up in hopes of finding them a new home. But even at what I feel was a very reasonable price: no one was interested in having a new ribbon to decorate that same old tired wreath they drag down out of the attic and put up on the door every Christmas.

My original feeling about having the craft show was really just to give people in our congregation and community an opportunity to see what sort of talent we have, get to know people they attend church with every Sunday, and have never met because they sit on opposite sides of the building or attend services at different times. So, Yes, it was a success. I think at least half of the vendors were active members of CCC, and it was very interesting to see some of the things people do that we would have otherwise never known about. Lots of folks who make jewelry, people who make wooden picture frames from old barn wood, soap makers, folks who make and can their own salsa and pickles, lots of bakers/cooks, people who crochet hats and scarves, make tatted Christmas tree ornaments, makers of baby quilts and crochet afghans/throws, ink & ink artists, hand made greeting cards... a very diverse group...

And some were asking if we would be doing in again, wanting to sign up to do it again next year, so I guess I better go rest up.

Oh - and I did have someone who said she loved my hand made frames, and wanted to get several but was having a financial dry-spell, (due to not having a current sticker on her license plate, and having to buy the tag and pay a fine). I asked if she would be interested in putting them on lay-away and pay for them later. So if she does come through: I actually sold five!

getting our collective ducks in a row....

Friday, November 19, 2010
Thinking I could drop by the church today and spend a couple of hours getting things organized for the craft fair tomorrow, I went over about 12:30, and finally left about 6:45. I have decided the best choice at present is to start praying that no one will get so pissed off - and blame me- that they leave our congregation, and quit the church entirely.

It's been a bit more complicated than expected, but since I don't really have any idea how to plan and put on a Creative Crafts Fair, I am hoping it will appear to most of the people who are participants like it is running smoothly. And will ultimately be a successful event. I have no idea what I am doing, though I sincerely hope that none of the people involved are blog readers, and the people who will be coming up asking me about 'what?' or 'how?' or 'when?' will assume that we have already planned for that 'whatever' and give the appearance of being sincerely in control...

Hopefully it will go smoothly: there are nearly forty people signed up as vendors. Some came in this afternoon, and started setting up. That was far more involved than it appeared on paper (esp. since all I had was some index cards with names on them and a big sheet of purple bulletin board covering), but with folks pitching in, everything came together and we seem to be about as ready as we are gonna get....

More on Saturday night: if I do not get tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.... (so quaint not likely anyone will even think of it to use as punishment if they feel like I have done a compeletely incompetent job - but what did they expect for what I am getting paid???)

Happy pre-spook day...

Saturday, October 30, 2010
It really has been a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Perfect fall weather, great to be alive.

I have a little book I try to remember to make a note of things I am thankful for in, on a daily basis: and today it's just mostly Everything!

Volunteered today and Sunday at the Botanical Gardens here in town, over on Weems Road, for the Fall Kids Fest. I did this last year, and enjoyed being the person in charge of Face Painting, so thought that would be fairly easy and amusing to do again this year. I had a pretty good day, painting assorted body parts; mostly little faces, with cheeks about the size of a quarter, so they probably did not get full value for a $1 ticket.

I think we enjoyed ourselves: I know the adults did, especially the ones who really got into the season and came dressed up in costumes. I found out too late that we could get 'bonus points' for coming in seasonal garb, so will probably wear the clown costume, or the graduation gown and mortarboard tomorrow... to get the 'double credit' for volunteer hours.

When we got started this morning at 10:00, it was fairly slow was slow, so between customers, I used the down time to practice on myself. (Though I did not attempt to paint on my own face, as it would have taken forever holding the mirror, and trying to figure out how to do it backwards.) But think I did a pretty good job of decorating my left hand, arm with various and sundry ladybugs, spiders, spiders, etc in keeping with the season of spooks. And when I got hot from sittingonthe porch at my 'station' in the afternoon son, had to peel my long sleeved shirt off, and found a whole new, uncovered space on my scrawny little bicep: so during the next lull, gavemyself a red heart-shape, with a blue banner, that says MOM in yellow. I am quite attractive in the 'works in a tatoo parlor' way, and really do not want to take a bath before I go to church tomorrow.

Do you ever think that those people you notice ahead of you in the check-out line who are covered from their wrist up their arms, across their torso and down to their ankles must work in tatoo shops? Otherwise think about how much cash they have invested in something that is going to look like the fell in a bucket of paint in twenty years. Now we know what they do when they are having a slow day at work. Do you ever think about what they are going to look like in forty years? Do they ever think about what they will look like in forty years? Don't come knocking on my door, telling me you changed your mind, and want to get all that body art removed.....

Fortunately Mine will come off with soap and water....

creative and crafty, sort of....

Thursday, October 28, 2010
I am organizing a craft event at church, and getting pretty excited about it. Probably as excited as my kids used to get over the prospect of spending the day downtown at the IronWorks Trade and Convention Center when the annual 'Christmas Made in the South' event comes to town: which is this weekend, and I am really looking forward to Not Attending. I am sure with a big fat advertising budget, that big, well established commercial event will be a big success, and with all the advertising that is being done, it will likely draw lots of customers who will spend lots of money, and have lots of vendors take their profit and leave town on Sunday night.

This little amateur event at church will be on Sat., Nov. 20. We have about forty local people who are doing all kinds of neat things: knitting, tatting, crochet, making canvas bags, quilts, 'up-cycling' clothing, handmade wooden picture frames, custom-design jewelery, baked goods,
pottery, papergoods, paintings, monograming, embrodiery, handmade pillows, scarves, utility bags, a wonderful home-made salsa recipe, and my own personal favorite: papier-mache mobiles.

All local people, doing local crafts, with all the proceeds from the event staying right here at home, in our community, circling around and around and around.

I will not confess right here, and divulge to the entire universe (watch what you say on Facebook!) how this whole thing got started, but as for the hand-made papier-mache frames with mirrors: I think the crafts are pretty, and pretty creative, but have to admit that the idea is crafty as in the 'underhanded sort of crafty'. That's all I'm tellin'!

the weekend... past and future...

Thursday, October 21, 2010
All last weekend I was up in the woods of Harris County, serving on the Emmaus Walk as a 'worker bee'. I have worked several times in the past, but this was my first turn on the Worship Committee, which I deliberately angled for so I could do their floral work. It was little actual action, and lots of sitting and chatting- which could either be very dull and boring, or interesting opportunities to get to know people with whom you have Emmaus in common. It was pretty interesting for me... making connections. Plus it was a beautiful fall weekend, and I slipped away every day to walk my miles out on a quiet peaceful country road enjoying the sunshine, fall leaves, sneezing, sniffling, dripping my way along....

And I am going back again today. Having re-enlisted to assist with the floral preparations, so I know I will be there two days. Sneezing, snorting, blowing....

But will be going to Warner Robins on Saturday to visit with some of Paul's neices and their families. We went back in the summer, taking the houseguests who had not seen their relatives in years, and want to go again before they move on into the next phase, where-ever that might take them. We are hoping the nephew who lives in Augusta will be there as well.

So I will enjoy a couple of days of peaceful retreat in the pine-y woods of Harris County, and meeting, building relationships with other worker-bee/fellows who willingly give up their weekend to provide the 'behind the scenes' support and work that makes these weekends such amazing opportunities, so rewarding and enlightening for the pilgrims on their journey.

walking for those who can't... and remembering...

I am planning to participate in the Alzheimers' Association Memory Walk fund raiser again this year here in Columbus. It will be Uptown in Columbus on Oct. 30 (but I am sure there are lots of them being held all over the country during the official Month of Remembering. In addition to being a walker, I hve also made a donation to the St. Luke Respite Program group as a memorial for Choppy.

If you would like to send a memorial gift to fund research for Alzheimers, I would love to have you make a contribution to the team of walkers who will be participating from the Respite program where Choppy was an amusing additon to the group, and attended for several years while she was living here.

Please send your donations to:
St. Luke Respite Care,
Attn: Carol Boers,
PO Box 867
Columbus, GA, 31901
on the 'memo' line, please indicate: St. Luke Strollers.

(I am going to add a post-it note that will also let them know that my gift should be designated as a memorial for Choppy Fluker.)

I took my donation on Wednesday, and they talked about Choppy, remembering what a delight she was, her sense of humor and her facial expressions even when she got past being conversant, how much they enjoyed her being a part of the program.

Happy Columbus Day...

Monday, October 11, 2010
What did you do memorable on 10-10-10?

I baked a special request carrot cake on Friday, the 8th, and took it to Decatur on Saturday, the 9th, so I could go up to TN. to deliver it on Sunday the 10th. Complete with a non-appropriate number of candles for the birthday girl to blow out. We enjoyed a big slice for breakfast, and took a mostly lame turn through Rock See-ity.
It was the best I could do for 'memorable' when none of the other participants would come up with a unique, creative idea. We did take photos there at the 'look-out' spot where you can theoretically stand on a clear day and 'see seven states', thoughit requires leaning waaaay over, squint and hang on for dear life.

I think I will be better at remembering where I was when I hear JFK had been shot. Even though I don't have a photo of that....

a little evangelizing music, please

Sunday, October 3, 2010
I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite people over the weekend. I actually have two favorites, and one of them came to Columbus for a couple of days under the guise of wanting to attend the wedding of a friend. But I know she really just came to see me: I choose to believe that I am truly the 'attraction', the mainest, primary, most important reason for driving eight hours (four hours each way to and from TN, especially the part where the only way to get from there to here and back again is through the misery of ATL traffic!)

We did, I think, mostly nothing together. But that's likely the best part/time of the weekend.

I went to Valdosta on Friday, to attend a funeral.

But was anxious to get back to Columbus, since I expected she would be getting here before I could get back from south GA. They were sitting down eating supper when I got here, and had lots of left over asparagus wrapped in the World's Saltiest, Thinnest Ham slices for me to eat.
BFF from elementary school came over for a little girl-y giggle fest, and they probably stayed up half the night talking and laughing like they have done many times over the years. Then they went on Saturday afternoon, to the wedding together at a big historic church downtown, where the bridal party was guaranteed the perfect backdrop for the perfect wedding photos.

The evangelizing part: spend time with people you love. Don't think you have to have a 'plan', be doing something unusual, remarkable, amazing, or exciting... just take the time to be with people you care about. Life is too short to have regrets, especially those of the 'I miss someone I can't tell, see, call, talk to, be with' variety. Don't wait until the season is right for family gatherings, or you have time to clean the house, or someone has a birthday/milestone event: go to visit, call and say 'meet me for lunch', make the effort.

Do it Now.

Anniversary of a birthday

Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thanks to the people who provided the food and entertainment that made Saturday night so amusing. I knew it would be an occasion of great hilarity - and it's even more of a delight to not know specifically what will cause us to all fall out of our chairs. Just that it will be fun and funny to be with people who are so devoted to laughter. Thanks for making the effort to come and spend the time.

Time, people: that's all we have. Our least appreciated, and most valuable commodity. Time, just give me a little bit of your precious time.

I was reading a book some years ago, that oddly enough was on the reading list for one of my kids, who found it so immeasurably dull she could not make herself finish it - while I was so bored (must have been on a road trip/family vacation of vehicular confinement) I consumed it cover to cover. I think it was an incomplete work by Ernest Hemmingway found in his estate, which someone decided was worthy of printing.

The line I wrote down and still have stuck under a magnet on my fridge from the tome: "If you don't do things for fun anymore, you might as well be dead". I wanted to have that quote sandblasted on my stone after I die, but they reminded me there will be no marble marker, since that defeats the point and purpose of cremation. Therefore, I would like to memorialize it here.

I am continually thinking of things to add to my bucket list, so I guess I better start taking better care of myself in order to live long enough to get all that dare-devil, off-the-wall, totally inappropriate, irresponsible, foolish, crazie, dangerous, unlikely stuff done.

I do not look at, participate in, or know anything about Facebook, so if you are attempting to communicate with me through Facebook: don't bother, since I Never, never, never look at it.

a little petty larceny music, please

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
When certain un-named people were in their teens, old enough to be traveling under their own recognizance (is this an oxymoron?), while still young enough to do really stupid things, as they were still being underwritten by responsible adults of the parent-type persuasion: they began living lives that involved petty larceny of public/state/city property.

Those street signs have been languishing in the carport for a number of years as the 'larcen-ees' matured into a semblance of adulthood, moved out and on with their lives. Most of the flotsam and jetsam that got left behind was eventually carted off to various homesteads in Decatur and Chattanooga, but no one would claim the highway signs.

I have been pondering for several months the best avenue for disposal, and finally decided to take them as an offering to the local DOT office. I loaded them in the car, and drove the evidence over there: defending my appearance by stating that I was definitely old enough to know better, and though my fingerprints were all over the signs, I had nothing to do with the fact that they were apparently in my possession. They laughed, and said we are probably all guilty of this type behavior at 'a certain age' and let me unload those homeless signs. If they had been still attached to the metal posts a couple of them came home with, I never could have gotten them in my car, but the posts are planted in the garden, where I was using them for holding wires to support my climbing bean crop.(Does keeping the posts make me an accessory to the crime?)

I admit I would have been guilty years ago, but I could not get the sign loose from the post (wooden poles at the time), so never actually completed the larcenous act.

oh, my: Goodness

Friday, September 17, 2010
I highly recommend adding a big spoonful of peanut butter to the marshmallow glop before you stir in the cereal when you get ready to make a pan of Rice Krispy treats: Oh, My Goodness.

A Day for Remembering

Thursday, September 16, 2010
I was just starting out,at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, walking away from the gate at BWI Airport, trying to keep my two veterans going in the right direction, after having sat for several hours on the airplane, where all had gotten stiff-legged and desperately in need of a potty break. We were heading down toward the charter buses, and I fell in behind someone (not one of our group, because he did not have our identifying 'honor flight' T-shirt on), who nearly made me turn around and ask to be sent home.
He looked so much like my dad from the back, with bowed-out legs, walking like his knees hurt, but determined to plug away and make it to his destination, in a plaid, grand-pa like shirt, neatly tucked in, with thinning hair, and kinda stooped over posture, I thought to myself: "that's somebody's Papa". I am glad I had already put my dark glasses on, so no one could question why I was so teary, since we had just gotten off the flight, and were not even close to getting to the 'remembering teary' part that would make veterans and people who love them get weepy. If there was any way I could have backed out in that instant, I would have told them to Send Me Home, as I did not think I was able to see it through.
But I could not jump on the next flight, and did spend the day with two sweet, agreeable, relatively healthy, completely independent, totally mobile veterans from Albany. We had a good day, and everyone returned safely home about 10:00 last night.
Each time I hve made that one-day trip with the Honor Flight Veterans, I have taken a little rock, with 'TR Fluker, Quitman, GA' written in sharpie, and put it on the section of the WWII memorial that is the column for the state of Georgia. Yesterday my little offering was a smooth, flat piece of oyster shell that was about the size and color of a quarter. I expect that the Park service regularly goes by and cleans them all off - and it is a continual process of gathering up mememtos, just like all the little rememberances people leave at the Vietnam Memorial. But it's important to me. And I will always remember.

A priceless gift...

Monday, September 13, 2010
I am going tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14 for the third time with a group of WW II veterans on a one-day trip to Washington. They are going to visit the memorials. I am sure some have already been to see the WWII Memorial, as well as the others that are on the itinerary for the day, but I am equally sure that this will be the only time many will have the opportunity to go, and to visit not only 'their' memorial that was built to honor the men and women who served in Europe, Africa and the Pacific, but also to see the Korean and Vietnam War memorials and visit Arlington Cemetary.

My first trip was about a year ago, with a man who was nearing 90, and has since died. The second time, back in the spring, was with a man who lives down south of Ft. Benning in Cussetta. Both of those men were so wobbly I pushed them in wheelchairs the entire day, from getting off the charter flight at Baltimore airport, until they were reunited with family members when we got back to Columbus about 9:00p.m.

Tomorrow, I am responsible for keeping up with two veterans: they both live in Albany, and will be going with a half-dozen other vets from that area. I told them I am very thankful they are both fairly mobile!

When I was driving up the interstate north of Atlanta on Saturday morning (9-11), I went under an overpass where there were several people standing waving huge American Flags - and I hope it went on all day long: great big, bright red and white stripes and brilliant stars. And then traveling farther north, passed through a little town in the hill country of north Ga where the whole courthouse lawn was covered with rows and rows of the stars and stripes. So we won't forget that Freedom is not free...

It will be a sweet day of thoughtful remembrance.

River 'tubing in Not Tubes...

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Went with Paula and her 'posse' (in-laws) on the Hiwassee River in TN 'tubing' on Sat., but we did not actually get in 'tubes, though it was inflatable: a canoe? Yes, an inflatable canoe! The parents-in-law were in one, Paula and Chad were in one, and Uncle J. and I were in the third.

I thought we might want to try the kayaks, but thankfully got outvoted: I saw lots of people overturn, dunked along the way, when they went over shoals and lost control, mostly because they were sitting on top, precariously perched on the hard plastic, with a too-high center of gravity to be easily managed when the water was not smoooooth and traveling slooooow and eaaaasy.

There were several times Paula reported looking over at me and seeing cartoon words: "*&%@" and "!@##" coming out of my mouth, though they were across the water too far away to actually hear them, she knew precisely what I was saying, from the shape of my mouth was making....when we got to the part that you would look up and not be able to see where you were going next - a drop off, that looking ahead you could not tell how far down you would 'drop' until it was 'way too far to change your plans/approach. Kinda like those maps you used to see that would just taper off into nothingness at the edge of the known world, with the words 'There be dragons here', since no one knew what comes next!

The water was not nearly as fast, chaotic, lumpy, bumpy, too high, too low, too cold, too exciting, too stressful, freaking-me-out as the trip in July on the Ocoee when we were white-water rafting with six of us plus a River-guide guy. So the speed and excitement, activity were just about right for what I was prepared to endure, and now that the summer's mostly over, and it's too late to try to go again for this year, I'm ready for more fun...

he's on the move....

Monday, September 6, 2010
The guy who had a new knee joint installed three weeks ago today is out in the streets. He said he was tired of being confined, has decided he is o.k. to drive. I told him I would take him anyplace he wanted to be, but that was not suitable. So, he took himself - mostly just to prove he could? And certainly to prove that no one else could tell him what he could or could not do...

When we were on the way to church yesterday, we had a conversation that went along the lines of him saying he thought he would go to hang out with his little group of Bubbas on Sunday afternoon, and me saying that I did not feel he was ready to drive, does not have the flexibility to have regained the reflex strength necessary to manage brake and acceleration. Plus I know how much he still groans when he has to bend that joint to get in and out of the door/front seat of the car.

I am fairly sure he did not go out yesterday (while I was working at Publix and not available to keep an eye on possible juvenile behavior). But apparently far more time has passed since we had that conversation on the way to church than I realized, because the 'rules of recuperation' have changed dramatically since Sunday morning. I can't imagine how he thinks that there is an enormous difference/change between now and 24 hours ago.

But he decided he is o.k, and even more importantly, decided he is ready. So there he goes. I do not want to think about what he will be like if the time comes when he is really told he needs to give up his right to drive.... reminding me of tellling teenagers that the act of getting behind the steering wheel is actually Not something that is mentioned anywhere in the Bill of Rights: it is a privilege, and yes, it can be revoked if the time arrives that it is not done in a circumspect and orderly manner. But I will not be the one telling him that...

kinda funny

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Since we are the proud owners of a new knee, he is benefitting from the assistance of a folding aluminum walker for additional support. A couple of times since he has been discharged from the hospital, he has encountered dogs that have found the walker to be Very Attractive.

It is apparent that the canines think the tennis balls, placed on the legs of the walker to make it slide more smoothly on the floor, are for their entertainment. They cannnot quit sniffing and licking, pawing with great enthusiasm, trying to get the tennis balls in their mouths. Someone has trained them to believe tennis balls = toys, so they apparently think that every bright green tennis ball they see is there for their amusement.

last night

Sunday, August 29, 2010
I persuaded a friend to go with me at midnight to the Country's BarBQue 5K fundraiser for the Visually Impaired here in the mid-town area.

No - we did not run 3.1 miles.

Yes, we did walk, and Yes, we did finish: in just under an hour. About the time I had expected, as I knew if I was not 'lollygagging' along, I can walk a mile in about twenty minutes.

And yes, I am tired, since I finally went to sleep about 2:30, after getting home about 1:30, and woke up 'way too early!

The highest race number I saw pinned on a shirt was 2350, and I expect there were about half that many more on the race-course, who did not register but were out there milling around and doing the race. It has become a real 'event' and was general chaos, probably for several hours before and after the event. I think the fastest of the runners must have finished in about 15 (or less) minutes, (well before we got the first mile completed) and am pleased to announce there were people 'way much slower than us, who were still straggling toward the finish line when we got in the car and left the scene well after 1:00.

new body parts...

Thursday, August 26, 2010
The man with the replacement knee will be discharged on Friday (tomorrow). I am confident that the therapy people, medical staff at Hughston Rehab. would not let him go if they did not think he would be able to get around once he gets home. I assume he will be going to the outpatient rehab. program (of his choosing, rather than back to the Hughston) several days a week for some time after he is released. I am pretty sure he will be greatly inconvenienced by not being able to drive for several weeks until he is released after a follow up appt. with the surgeon. So we will continue to have a great deal of 'togetherness' here at home.

I want to be optimistic that he will be diligent about doing the exercises and follow the instructions of the people he (insurance company and medicare) will be paying to give him the best advice for getting strong and regaining mobility.

He has been in their inpatient therapy twice a day all week. He reported, after the morning session, that he was able to bend that new knee to 90 degrees for the first time today. I know it's got to hurt - if for no other reason than it pulls on the nearly 30 staples that hold the incision closed, and the muscles, joint, skin is still very swollen/tight from mid-thigh to mid-calf.

later than same day...

Sunday, August 22, 2010
Went by the Hughston Hospital/Rehab. to visit the incarcerated patient, who seems to be in good hands, and better spirits. He said when I was there on Sat., that he occupational therapist came in and made him undress, to prove that he could then dress himself...

I have this theory that we would not have to spend half the outlay on guarding prisioners in jail if they were all issued hospital gowns as soon as they were securely locked up. There would be no need for bars to keep them in the buildings, or fences and razor wire to keep them inside the perimeter to prevent escape. Where would those guys go in flimsy, air-conditioned gowns? They would beg to be put into isolated confinement!

I told Paul when I saw him getting into and out of the chair and bed that he seems to be more able than he has been in weeks, or months. Much more adept at getting up and down, on and off the bed, with less discomfort, practically no groaning when he sits down and has to bend the knee. I am very thankful he will be in a place where they will 'push' him to do more and sooner than he would otherwise be willing to force himself to accomplish, and feel that he will be much farther down the road toward mobility after a week of 2x daily inpatient rehab. than he would if he were just strolling along at his on laid-back pace of getting an occasional couple of hours of outpatient therapy several times a week. I am Very Thankful.

sunday afternoon

Paul seems to be doing pretty well, post-surgery. He went to the Hughston Hospital here and had a new knee installed last Monday morning. He had expected, been sorta lead to believe that he would be discharged and back home, though going to out-patient rehab, by the end of the week.

He was transferred to the Hughston Rehab. hospital (actually in the same building, on a different floor, a completely different facility) on Friday, and told he will likely be there for a week. Which I am sure was very discouraging for someone who expected to be told: get outta here, but also an unexpected blessing (for me!) as he was told he did not meet their admission criteria on Thursday, but it was more than obvious that he was not sufficiently mobile to be able to manage independently if discharged to go home.

So he will be getting 'rehabilitated': a much more intense (and hopefully effective) program than he would receive if he were going to an outpt. program for a couple of hours three times a week... so I am very hopeful that he will be able to tolerate the pain that goes with doing the therapy at the level that is necessary to regain the mobility he needs to get back to enjoying life. He has been so limited in recent weeks and months with miserable pain in his knee, and optimistic that he will soon be able to do things he has not been able to accomplish lately... the recovery thus far has been thankfully uneventful, but the process of doing things that are hurtful will be ongoing. I realize that in order to 'get to the place you want to be, you often have to struggle with things that are painful', and the rehabilitation process following total knee replacement surgery is obviously one of those 'things'.

traveling, again...

Sunday, July 25, 2010
My auntie in Valdosta will be having surgery this week, so I will be on the road again. Going down to south GA on Tuesday, and expect to be there at least a couple of days. I conclude from her past experiences that the average hospital stay following surgery is about two days, and think that is what you get because 72 hours of inpatient is all the insurance companies are willing to cover. Sad that we get the health care our providers decide we should have???

Please keep successful surgery and easy recovery in your prayers. I can't imagine being is such misery that you agree to let someone cut on you - and especially replace your parts with foreign objects - but I know it must be awful to be in constant pain, to the point that you would do most anything for relief. She lives alone, so I don't know what will happen with post-care, but am hoping that there are some options for rehab/therapeutic assistance that will ultimately provide her the level of mobility she is expecting/desires after getting a new joint.

a little traveling music, please...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In the past week, I have been to Chattanooga (twice) and Valdosta/Quitman. So much running up and down the road that the Mastercard people called to be sure that all those places where someone had bought gas on my card were really legit. And I honestly could not remember if I had been purchasing so much in all the places they thought I had been, so I had to keep punching buttons to track myself and find out where they thought I was! Needless to say: they were right, and I will eventually have to pay for all that gas I used in my nifty little Toyo, though I am pleased to report that a lot of the travels were under such conscientious driving conditions that I was getting about 47 mpg. The only way I feel I would have done better is by staying home, but that would mean I have not been places and seen people I wanted to spend time with... so there!

would you care for a blueberry muffin?

Sunday, July 4, 2010
I went with friends up to pick blueberries one morning last week, got up early to drive up near Callaway Gardens, to the 'U-pick' patch and beat the heat. It was a remarkably cool morning, but had rained overnight, so we were thoroughly soaked from wet grass, and dripping limbs by the time we got done. I did not actually want any berries, but went to enjoy their company, and had a good time visiting as we plucked. I passed my fruit along to one of the friends, who had plans to turn her two gallons into jelly/jam.

Reminding me of going with one of my girls when she was very small on a mother-daughter excursion to Harris County for a berry-picking adventure. That was my second trip, and her first time to see blueberries 'in the wild' on the bush. We were instructed to wear belts, and given a plastic gallon jug, with a large hole cut into the side: to thread your belt through the handle on the jug and free up both hands for picking. So that is what I 'wore' when I went last week. I got some funny glances, but got lots of berries!

There are a couple of berry bushes growing in the 'no man's land' between two fences (which have a reputation for 'making good neighbors') that I have picked enough off already for adding to my yogurt, cold cereal, making a batch of muffins to share, and put a few in the freezer. (Which is why I was not interested in stockpiling berries from the U-pick farm, though those bushes were the thickest, most laden with berries I have ever witnessed! They could not hold their limbs up there were so many fat, ripe berries on each one. I picked almost exculsively on one bush and did not even begin to get all the ones that were ripe.)

Oddly: one of the two bushes in my side yard has been historically 'lazy', only marginally productive, but the other is so generous and a producer of such big fat juicy sweet berries, I continually forgive the parsimonious one, year after year. The 'experts' in the world of blueberries instruct to plant more than one variety, to have a crop over an extended period of weeks, (I have no idea what type/variety the ones here are), I wonder if it also has something to do with pollenization? S.i.L. says I should separate the young sprouts coming up from the 'muscle-bound' bush to create more of the one that loves to get all the attention when it is so productive by Independence Day. So maybe in the fall, when it is time to do transplants, I will be motivated to dig and re-plant to increase the crop for the future.

I've also been busily planting a variety of mystery perrenials. F. bought a 'mystery box' that was an end-of-the season bargain from an on-line nursery and gave me things I have never heard of before, and won't be able to i.d. when/if they grow. But they are all in the ground (except for strawberry plants I haven't figured out where to put), and some are looking pretty healthy. I'm determined to plant nothing but perrenials, and have tried to focus on things that the deer find unappealing - though I have discovered what the deer find distasteful, the big black nasty grasshoppers think delectable. So I water, spray, water, spray, stomp, stomp, water, spray, etc...

the best bed....

Thursday, June 24, 2010
The best bed is your own. We have been away for a couple of days, and I am once again reminded that the goodest part of any trip is getting back to familiarity. Never mind the dirty laundry, trying to get over the sense of 'jet lag', copious amounts of junk food that replaced decent, regular, healthy eating, multiple stops at various conveience stores for 'relief' (and another drink, which requires more stops!): good to be at home.

It was a quick trip to Pensacola to visit family. And good to see people we seldom do. Weather was beautiful, beaches as pretty as the travel advertising, so I bought, wrote and sent all the postcards I had stamps to mail. If we had been better organized we could have gotten into the NAS there in time to see the Blue Angels precision flight team practicing early in the day... but as we were on 'vacation' (or whatever you would call a trip away from home by people who have no reason to return other than dirty laundry and hungry cats), we were slow getting going.

I believe the oil will inevitably hit the white sands of the Florida panhandle. The motel where we stayed was a location for a contractor who provides 'haz-mat' training, and we saw lots of people with plastic bags out on cordoned off beaches. So Sad. It will take years for the Gulf coast to fully recover, if ever the wildlife, landscape, enviornment does completely rid itself of man-made destructive influences.

still getting organized...

Sunday, June 20, 2010
You've seen the photos of the 'new'ness. After it got started, I belatedly wished for the forethought to take 'before' photos, but all I have is ones where the interior of the house is just background and the 'sleepyheads' are the center of attention from Christmas long past, so failed to really document the process.

There are still boxes, mostly due to the fact that I do not stay at home long enough to get everything sorted. There are not as many, and they are not stacked in precarious piles everywhere, but there are things I have not found and hope they did not get accidently donated. In the rush of trying to stay ahead of the painting, lots of things got pulled down off walls and shelving and jammed into containers in a sadly haphazard fashion, to mysteriously vanish. I've been hoping to get Nancy Drew in to solve the mystery, but can't even locate the detective, much less solve the 'case of the disappearing pictures'.

When asked what in particular I like best about the renovation, now that the dust has literally settled for the last time, I think it's really not anything: but everything. The freshness of feeling like a new house, while knowing it is the same nest I have been in for over 28 years... hard to explain how it can be 'new' and sameold-sameold at the same time... but if you come to visit, you can see for yourself! I am going to get new doormats, so you are welcome to come inspect and see for yourself anytime: the front door is still red and you are invited!

interrupted sleeping...

I would not be surprised to find that sleeping in my own bed was less than restful. You know how you can go away from home and that first couple of nights you don't sleep good because even your subconscious knows you are in a different place, the bed is different, the light coming through the cracks in the blinds is different, the subtle night sounds from outside are not what you usually have for background noise: being physically in a different place than your own little nest causes you to wake up alarmed all night long.

I've been on the go so much lately, it's frequently been different beds, and unlikely to get a good nights' sleep. A quick trip to South Carolina to visit my pen pal, a couple of nights in North Ga at a state park, a run to south GA to visit the auntie and check on friends and relations across the lower edge of the state. An overnight trip to east GA, visiting people rarely seen and spending the afternoon at a family reunion.

And you know it takes a couple of nights to become adjusted, get to the point that you do get situated and comfortable in that different environment: but I don't seem to stay anywhere long enough. After being in my own nest for several nights, we are going to FL on next week to visit in Pensacola - and stay just long enough for my own bed to feel foreign when we get back home...

the new house!

Sunday, June 6, 2010
By: Paula
Well folks, here are some pictures of the new house. I sorta forgot to take them while the sun was still out and shining in the windows to make everything look bright and inviting but let-me-tell-you it is incredibly bright and inviting! When they replaced all the carpet with warm piney colored hard woods and all the walls are either white or a light, light caramel brown, they created a beautiful, inviting home (not that it wasn't before!!)
This is the fancy-pants master bathroom. It was just a shower/tub combo with a curtain and now it is a tiled beauty of a thing. Dad is especially proud of the not-one-but-two shower heads (I took a shower in there last night and he kept asking "did you use both of them? Did you use both of them?"). They chose some beautiful neutral colored tiles that will look good for years to come!
I used the flash for this one so you would get a better iea of the colors. They look great with the wall color choices - very natural and calm. Makes you want to stay in the shower forever!

This isn't a great picture of the wall color but you can see that in one bedroom and in the living room, dining room, and sun room area they have a chair rail and did the lighter white on the top and the caramel on the bottom. It looks great!

Do you remember the hall-o'-pictures? Well, mom took them all down and isn't going to put them back up!
Instead, she sent them home with my sister and I.
Not sure about that one - sorry, F and Chad. We will now have baby pictures galore on our walls...ha!
Anyway, this one is of the hall and you can see how bright the walls look against the beautiful multi-tone floor. Great choices mom!
The kitchen is ne of the biggest transformations. If you might recall, there were dark, dark wood cabinets, white appliances, white lineolium (?sp), and wall paper in there. Now all the cabinets are a crisp white, the counters are a beautiful faux granite shade and the floors are awesome ceramic tiles. Black appliances round out a just-perfect kitchen.

They chose, after painting the cabinets, to change all the hardware to a brushed nickel and it was an excellent choice!

Here is a close-up of the cabinets, counter-tops and floors.
Don't they look great!

In the hall bathroom, mom couldn't find a mirror that she liked so she just painted the one that was there! It was a ::ahem...ugly:: brass color but had a great floral pattern on it so she just painted it white and them antiqued it a bit with some watered down brown. It looks -a-maz-ing! Might be one of my favorite things in the house - and probably because I know it was a Mom-style DIY!
That concludes our very brief house tour. I wish you could see the whole thing (you should come visit them - they would like that!) because it looks great. So totally different and yet still like home.
Ok, please prepare yourself for this last one...it has nothing at all to do with a house tour and it is sorta gross but I had to share it. Please don't tell mom.
Even though I know she will see it.
I will take the punishment later...

We were in the garage loading up our Uhaul full of stuff yesterday and I saw what I jokingly referred to as a "dung beetle" beside a ball of cat hair. It was very dead but we didn't know how serious I was until today when we found another live one...
Yes, a beetle rolling a tight ball of cat hair in the garage.
Mom said she would pay them if they would stick around.
Weird and gross.
And crazy cool.

it's all done (mostly)

Thursday, June 3, 2010
All the people who were coming and going and coming again to do the de-constructing and renovating are finished. When the people who are supposed to get here over the weekend to get her belongings I have been holding in 'free storage' for several years arrive to pack up all that and move into the New Home in TN, I will feel like I am getting it all under control.

It has been an interesting process. I recall reading stories of people doing home renovations, or advice columns for folks who were considering additions and discovering that they should: realize the work will take 'half again' as long as expected, and they should be prepared to pay 'half again' as much as they estimate it will cost. I thought: 'that's odd/funny'. It's neither odd or funny, but has been very Educational.

We had guys come yesterday to clean carpets and ductwork. So, hopefully, it's safe to actually start moving things back to the places I hope they will stay indefinitely. That means all the furniture I have moved from one room to another as the flooring has been replaced, and from one end of the house to the other as carpet as been cleaned can go back to where it was to start with, and begin to collect dust again.

There is a room with nearly no furniture (just a table and a chair) that looks so nice and clean, I am reluctant to put things back! But I know it won't be long before I start to hear: "When are you planning to do something in 'there'?" At that point, I will just open the closet door and let it all fall out into the floor!

I could still use a commercial dumpster parked in the driveway for a day or two, but it would have to be when I was home alone. (Read between the lines.) We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of things that are/aren't disposable, meaning it is getting harder and harder to be willing to part with things, unless you are in the right frame of mind for 'rid-ding', where you can say: It's All stuff!

Open invitation: come see me! It looks brand new (except for all the old stuff.... and people...)

does this mean they are 'adults'?

Saturday, May 29, 2010
Both daughters have purchased houses in the past couple of weeks. Scare-y? Yes!

F. found one that had been taken over by a bank, and foreclosed. So it will need some work: not a lot, but homeowners learn that 'there's always something that needs doing'. Fortunately she has been in Decatur long enough to know some folks who are pretty handy, and come with a full compliment of tools. She had friends come over last week for a little painting party, with the promised bribe of pizza and beer when it was finished. As it turned it, the paint ran out about the same time the pizza came in the door. Moved over this past weekend, and trying to figure out where things go as the pile of boxes dimishes.

P. and C. did the paperwork yesterday, and are moving this weekend. Looking forward to a space of their own, as they have been living with various and sundry relatives for nearly two years. And will have enough space to put the dog out in the yard (after doing a little fencing) and tilling up some land for a garden (after doing a little tree trimming to get more sun).

How exciting!

doing a little digging...

Sunday, May 23, 2010
I was really hesitant to mail order plants. Having never done it before, it took me weeks to get up the nerve to make the commitment, after deciding and re-deciding at least a dozen times about what to get, how many, which would work best, and how much to spend, I finally hit the send button. You know what a sucker we can all be for a discount/bargain, so when the site offered me a $25 discount, which more than covered the cost of shipping, I was compelled to get off the fence and order. The plants came in the mail one day last week, and I got them in the ground that same day.

One variety was something that is pretty common (gallardia), and could probably have been picked up in the wally world garden center, but the other is something I never saw or heard of (cornflower that blooms a bright, magenta shade of pink, with silvery leaves) before perusing the nursery website. Both are supposed to be colorful all season, and very hardy, heat resistant and ignored by deer unless they get really desperate. I am trying stick with perennials

I've also been very pleasantly surprised by seeing daylillies bloom that have never performed before. Introduced to the ones that are supposed to re bloom all summer long, (thank you, e.e.) I bought a couple of pots several years ago. The deer obviously thought the buffet was open, as they barely had leaves, much less having buds mature to the point of opening. Looking good!

I expect to be digging, re-digging, shifting things to different locations, as my ultimate plan is to do some landscaping out in front of the house when the inside gets finished. Part of my thinking is that the things I have been buying will look good around the entry way when I have a load of topsoil brought in to provide a good bed since everything here is pretty much rock-hard, impervious, tenacious red clay. That will provide a good base, with amendments, to put out some of the perennials for long-lasting color across the plain grey siding. And I can re-locate some of the things I have been bringing home, and make the house look inviting, welcoming, 'homey' and loved before you even open the front door!

Belatedly planted tomatoes in the little back-yard garden plot are really growing, obviously happy to be out of confiment of pots, and the beans out on the home-made trellis are climbing like crazy: fe-fi-fo-fum!

... heading into the 'home' stretch

I am hopeful that the end is in sight with the house renovations. I have moved boxes from one end of the house to the other, emptied them to re-use, and refilled on several occasions. I have moved them from one closet to another just to try to maintain some semblance of order and clear a path for moving around. I have stacked boxes and bins on top of boxes and bins to have space to walk around in rooms. I have piled stuff in the workshop, moved to the porch, and then into the carport in an attempt to feel organized instead of overwhelmed.

But I am optimistic it is all coming to an end. And one of the really good things I have discovered in all this 'boxing up' process is it gives me not one, but two opportunites to get rid of stuff. (That, according to the hard cold facts of Murphey's Law, I will wish I had immediately after dropping the boxes full of flotsam and jetsam off at the Salvation Army Thrift store.)

Guys are coming on Monday morning to move all the stuff out of the carport so the floor will be pressure washed, and have time to dry while the painter is doing the last bedroom and closet. Then he will turn the dirty, dusty, smelly shabby carport into 'like new' condition with a fresh coat of paint: and I can start trying to figure out for the fortieth time which of the stuff that is boxed and piled up is worthy of returning to the house and what is going into the donations to charity dept.

I am currently trying to decide if having a pristine closet, with Nothing on the shelves is worth having to look at a stack of boxes and storage bins piled, literally, within inches of the celing in another room. I love the lack of clutter in the closet, but find it really difficult to squint hard enough to not notice that tottering stack of plastic bins when I go to bed at night.

A small note for future visitors: Do not bring anything here we cannot eat/consume/otherwise use up, unless you are prepared to take it home with you. Please do not be offended, but think of all the pondering, decisions you are now relieved of: 'a gift-free zone'.

it's the season for homebuying!

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Both my girls are signing paperwork in the next couple of weeks to purchase houses.

Lots of mixed emotions accompany this statement. I am so delighted to think they are financially stable, able to make the decisions that are involved, and feel confident that they are ready for such a major investment, giant leap into the Land of Adult-ness and commitment.

But moving into a house they will own and have to support for the next thirty years means they are some distance away: not too far, but not right here. Home-ownership sounds so 'permanent', which is a good thing as compared to living out of your car. Or paying rent indefinitely, which is comparable to pouring money down a rat hole.

One of the things that does appeal to me about this monumental decision they've made: they will have a sense of putting down roots, a bit more settled, and can finally get all the things they have left here in free storage waiting for a place to 'put'. One entire room in my house will be emptied as a result of sending it across state lines. And closet too! Plus they will have lots of wall space for hanging art that needs a home.

One of the new homeowners told me about a musical group self-named as: 'Excited but Nervous' and said that pretty well describes the rollercoaster ride of emotions that occur as you contemplate the obligations, weight of commitment that goes with waiting for all the paperwork to be assembled, prior to feeling like you are signing your life away.

it's looking like 'progress'

The house renovating is really beginning to come together. Pretty much down to getting the last bedroom painted and then trying to figure out where everything goes to put it back into place. If I were not so anxious to have it looking 'normal', I would take the time to go through all the boxes and get rid of more accumulated stuff. And the truth is: if it's been boxed up for so long, you don't know what's in it - chances are you don't need it, and won't use it, and will not miss it when it's gone. (Unless you Do give it away, which is when Murphy's Law says you will be so desperate for the 'whatever' you will make a special 'dedicated' trip to Wally-world to replace it with a new one.)

I have been trying to stay a step ahead of the painter, so pretty much had everything moved out of a bedroom before he started. Then moved everything out of the next bedroom into the one that just got painted: junk 'on the move'. So I will try to shift around again in the next couple of days, and move everything out of the last closet/room before he comes back on Wednesday. After that last bedroom is done, all that will be lacking is the carport - so I have to figure out where to put that stuff that has been accumulating for nearly thirty years: when that gets painted, it will finish everything.

It will likely take months to get everything cleaned, and all the dust from destructing the bathroom, and sanding sheetrock cleaned up. What dusty dust smoothing out sheetrock mud can produce! But it will be so good to feel like I am somehow transported to a 'new' house while still living in this familiar nest. All the things they have done to transform look so fresh and updated, down to little things I have long ignored: like ugly hardware on cupboard doors, and hideous light fixtures even a contractor would have to put on dark glasses to look at.

We're looking good... and on the home stretch!

so... how's 'cheerfully unemployed' workin' for ya'?

Sunday, May 9, 2010
When I made the decision to quit the job that was a constant heartache and drag, nearly two yeras ago, it took me about (snap) that long to get to the point of knowing that I would rather be unemployed than miserable. So I have enjoyed the recent months of Early Retirement and telling people who ask that I am currently Cheerfully Unemployed. But that's not 100% accurate: the 'unemployed' part is fudging -only a bit.

I have been able to hang on to the Publix job by a slim, frayed thread. The floundering economy has had a big impact on grocery sales at the place that 'is not cheap'. As a part-timer, at the lowest (below ground level) point on the totem pole, at the tail end of the pecking order, when the schedulers run short on payroll, I am the one who takes it on the chin. So there have been months when I would work four hours: we are talking 4 hours per 30 days. Just enough to keep me active, to not get dropped off the computer that manages the accounting system. It was a struggle to keep up my game face and go in to work as a bagger/carry-out 'geezer' with a good attitude. (And admittedly there were times when the positivity must have flown out the window on the way down Macon Road, as I could not find it when I pulled up in the parking lot and clocked in for a four hour shift.)

But lately, with a change in middle-managers, and a new, young, go-getter, enthusiastic, high-energy (probably ADD) guy as the big dog in the produce department, I have been working three or four days a week for the past month. Mostly in the floral area, but some doing the onerous work of salad making or melon chopping. It's prom season, and wedding season, and miscellaneous holidays and graduation and vacation time. (I'm thinking M. has so diligently earned many vacation/paid holidays, he could finagle his way into a four day work week for most of the year with just a modicum of forethought and planning/effort!??)

Nice to get a paycheck that actually jingles in my pocket instead of the ones were so miniscule they were hardly worth the gas it took to go and pick them up!

I've been so busy I fear I will get dropped out of the substitute teaching computer for not accepting any 'day labor' jobs! Which is probably not the worst thing that could happen, except it is such a stinking hassle to get back into the program. If they are so desperate for subs., why do they make it such an aggravating process to get into the system? I recently discovered that there are so many unemployeds trying to get work as subs., the MCSD will not accept anyone who has less than a Master's degree into their pool. Those already accepted, un-degree'd are 'grandfathered', but the school system has decided they won't accept apps. from people with 'only' undergrad. Wow!

more hole digging 'therapy'

Saturday, May 8, 2010
I have had such a productive day. I got those gazillion little tomato plants that have been struggling, exhausted, limp, leggy, yellowing in pots, competing with one another for nutrients, desperate to stay alive: in the ground.

A couple of years ago I decided to dig up a strip of that hard, tenacious, ornery orange virtually 'un-diggable' clay along the property line that is about the only full sun location in the yard, replace with real dirt so I could plant tomatoes and then tie them up to the chain link fencing instead of staking. I mixed lots of good stuff in, thought it is actually pretty decent dirt from all the mulch I keep adding and turning over. I am hoping the adddtion of: osmocote, lime and something that is supposed to make nematodes say 'ick', make a U-turn and head for Alabama, stirred up together will produce a good crop.

There will be lots of suprises in store: I have NO idea what kind of tomatoes to expect from all those many wee plants. All 'donations' and mixed up, so we will have an interesting time watching and waiting to see what happens. A couple of plants that were rescued from Publix and sat in pots by the front door for a month, got in the ground a week ago, are already producing: fruit the size of the end of your thumb. Get out the mayo. and white bread!

I planted some peas weeks ago, though don't recall if the see packet was 'English' or 'snow', and I notice they are trying to make a crop. But every time I see a little pod, I pick it and open it up to discover two or three or four little bright green peas that I immediately practice my 'quality control' skills on: so no peas yet.

And some climbing beans that I was told would be so prolific I could expect nearly overnight results, and anticipate someone named 'Jack' to come along asking if I need any help to shinny up the beanstalk. Fortunately I did not have to trade a cow or any cats for the bean seed, though the possibility of seeing the twining vines shooting up into the clouds seems imminent.

'hole digging' therapy

Monday, April 26, 2010
I spent several hours today digging holes and planting things that have been sitting around in pots, desperately wanting to be put in the ground. Some were 'rescues' as they were headed toward certain death in the dumpster at Publix, and others I actually paid money for.

The Publix foster children were hydrangeas that had gone limp, or been clipped off to have their blooms go into a big wedding order M. did over the weekend (kinda cut the wholesale order a wee bit close, huh?) and some bulbs that were well past their prime for quality sales. I've been delighted with hyacinths re-blooming after having been greenhouse forced for commercial sales, but tulips and daffodils don't perform nearly as well after having normal growing pattern altered.

I had some astilbe I bought at a plant sale a week or so ago, and was anxious to get planted. I'm really pleased with the are beginning to flower, and looking forward to seeing how they will do, in a densely shaded spot behind the house. The blooms look creamy white, but I thought I was/meant to be buying pink: we shall see. The first time I saw it blooming in NC, tall spikey stalks topped with creamy and blushing pink blooms, I thought: that's for me, and have wanted to plant some for years. So I am hoping it will do well, grow, multiply and make more!

And finally (after leaving them in a plastic trash bag for nearly a month, I ashamedly admit, when I dug them up in Quitman several weeks ago) got the agapanthus in the ground. I had no idea how to plant, but think they are so hardy they won't care, and will do well despite abusive parenting. I put them out in the side yard, near some artemisia that I neglected for months before finally planting earlier in the year, after having left it sitting in pots over the coldest winter in memory.

I still have not done the digging to get tomatoes planted, but other things growing in the garden are looking good. The miracle 'Jack-in-the-beanstalk' beans are just beginning to curl tendrils up around the wire, starting to do pull-ups headed toward the clouds, and allium are thinking about blooming. I hope the English peas will produce enough for me to pick, and carrots have finally started showing frilly, lace-y tops, so maybe we will have bunny food too.

While I was dragging the hose to water the hydrangeas, I laughed out loud: when I thought of how kids start pre-school, and every week the teacher will focus on things that start with a particular letter of the alphabet. So this week, I guess I am severly regressing, as it appears everything begins with the letter 'A'. I also noted that nearly everything blooming thing I've put out in recent weeks is: blue! After constantly telling customers at work we don't hardly never ever get in anything in cut flowers that is blue...

feels like retail 'holiday fun''

Saturday, April 17, 2010
One of the floral people at another Publix was out sick, and had some business that had to be done today for highschoolers' prom orders. This other store manager called the store where I work trying to 'farm out' the corsage and boutennier work, but my co-worker was swamped with stuff he had already agreed to do, so called to offer me a job as a sub-contractor for one day. I went to the Macon Road store at about 8:30 this morning, thinking I would be done well before noon, and on my own, free to plant things I bought yesterday. But it was what PSI would call a 'hot mess' in that floral dept., and I spent my entire day: till 6:30 trying to get things in order, cleaned up, throwing away a frightening amount of unsellable old merchandise. 'Way too long on my poor tired footses all day: especially when I kept thinking about all the stuff I wanted to be doing instead!

I did not mean to devote my day to that, as I had big plans to come home and spend the afternoon digging holes for all the stuff I bought at the plant sale yesterday. I have grands landscaping schemes, but will be doing some 'sub-contracting' of my own, as I am pretty sure my ache-y back will not tolerate digging, stooping, hauling, lifting that I have in mind for creating bright cheery 'frou-frou' that will make the front of the house have eye-appeal.

Things are progressing inside: I am thankful for peace and quiet of a weekend, but will be even more thankful when it's done and I can cease the boxing, unboxing, re-boxing and recycling boxes. I have been putting things back in pantry and cupboards, and do a little jig each time I empty a box, then remember: everything in the bathrooms, and that monumental mess in the storage/shop will need boxing and moving to paint. The yard sale at the church occured in a very fortituous timely manner, but I'm not through with the paring, deleting and downsizing. I foolishly frivilously hope the church youth group will want to do it again next weekend with all the stuff I could not sneak out of the house in recent days. Most of which comes under the heading of "If you haven't used 'it' in ten years, it's probably safe to say you can part with 'it' "... even though whatever the 'it' is: could easily be considered a collectible, family treasure, or too valuable to just donate.

I'm loving the lighter walls and cabinet facings inthe kitchen, and excited about new floors and a re-do in the bathroom. When he asks: how will we ever get all this mess cleaned up (the 'we' part meaning ME!) I am thinking: the same way you eat an elephant?

the painter is back

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
EVERYthing is out of the cuboards and the pantry in the kitchen. I am now wondering who has been bringing stuff into my house.

I was so ready to feel like I was making progress (having heard from a very reliable source that 'it will get worse before it gets better!), I told them when I finally found enough boxes to put all that stuff into, they needed to go to the paint store and bring me a bucket of: Any color. So I could help things along, and start painting all the shelving, drawer and cabinet insides, thinking that the sooner we start painting, the sooner it will dry and I can begin to put things back and regain control.

We are making progress.

temporarily: 'living in chaos'

Saturday, April 10, 2010
I mistook my efforts at boxing, packing, deleting, diminishing, discarding as effective: but when I left home for a couple of days, the guys came to start re-doing the entire interior of our house while I was gone. Mess was not unexpected, but I somehow was unprepared for the way I feel when it appears 'everything got stirred with a stick'. It is reminiscent of what a child would do to a mudpuddle or anthill, just to see the resulting swirling, troubled waters or bedlam of insects in random retreat.

I've discovered I have a pitifully low tolerance for the State of Confusion we are currently residing in. I even told the guys when I came in on Thursday night to find all the doors off the kitchen cupboards and EVERYthing exposed: I feel like I got caught with my pants down. There are so many boxes of stuff awaiting a truck to be hauled away for the yard sale at church, you can't walk through the doorway into the kitchen from the front door. And more empty boxes came in from Publix today to load and disperse... but I continue to be horry-fied at the amount of flotsam and jetsam we have allowed to accumulate in our lives.

All the furniture in the living-dining area is clumped up in the middle of the room, like wagons circled out on the plains, defending the innocents from attack. The guys will be back next week: to start the actual work of painting ceilings and walls before replacing floor. And completely re-doing a bathroom, so I will be emptying closets, cupboards and pantry. And moving enough junk to fill a dumpster out of the workshop to paint in there.

My current mantra is based on reminding myself what the 'experts' say about how you should go through your closet once a year and dispose of what you don't use/wear, while knowing some of our stuff, junk, jetsam has been collecting dust and rust for a quarter of a century or more. We have been in this house since late 1981: wow!

I've been telling myself Everything in the house has to be moved: either for painting or floor. But right now, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed: probably because everything is so 'exposed'. With boxes stacked all over, and more boxes to fill. Where did my orderly little life go? Where did all this stuff come from?

I know this 'bedlam' part won't last forever, and look forward to living in a fresh new house, with neatly painted interior, new tile floors in kitchen and bath, hardwood in living area. And especially Much Less Stuff when all the superfulous is given, donated, hauled away. The running commentary here is "we will like it so much, we will want to stay!"

A Fortituous Beginning!! on April Fool's Day?

Thursday, April 1, 2010
I hope starting a new job on April One is not a 'bad omen'. As one who does not believe in 'luck' or 'fate', I don't expect there will be any problems for my girl as she makes a major change. She has a level of confidence about her capabilities and positive outlook to ensure she will experience continuing success.

I will admit I am amongst those who have enjoyed a mildly amusing April First prank or two within the confines of my home and family... that will go unexplained here.

For the readers of these musings, today is the day you and I have diligently prayed for: P. is starting her new employment. I hope you were among the recepients of the 'Thanks to the Prayer Warriors' e-mail several weeks ago, after she completed the interview process and was made the offer by the Girl Scouts. She will be working out of the office there, covering one-quarter of the 'pie', as one of four Membership Managers for that area.

When she turned in her notice at HL, she found herself with a week of being (what we at our house have found so much pleasure from describing as): cheerfully unemployed.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Her Life. I know that she is both excited and anxious about what will happen in the coming weeks as she begins to get her feet wet in this new endeavor. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Along with great optimism I am sure there will be anxiety about performance: matching names with faces, learning the ropes of something so completely different, yet so very similar to the 'Service' aspect of what her personable self was so good at doing with the customers at HL.

She is a young adult who has been blessed with a 'servant's heart', seeking ways that she could demonstrate her desires to be a blessing to others within her circle of influence. As she starts this new work, that circle will surely widen, and create opportunities for even greater impact on the girls and families she encounters, as well as co-workers and others in the community. What a marvelous opportunity!

I know the problem, but can't guess a solution...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Whaaaaaaaat in the world are we going to do to change the direction our society is going in?

How can we reverse the course that the young adults in their 30's and the teenagers and the kids coming behind them are headed in?

What can we do to save all our forefathers held dear and generations of Americans have died for: this way of life that seems to be making a beeline for hell in a handbasket?

I have been taking a sort-of continuing ed. course the school district offers teachers who need credits for renewing certification. (I won't go into the aggravating story of why I am not certified: another tale for another time.)
The subject of the two week study is Diversity, with discussion focus on what we as teachers (and parents) can and should be doing to become more aware of factors that have an impact on our lack of tolerance for anyone who acts, appears, learns, differently from ourselves. I've mostly been a 'fly on the wall', as one with very limited classroom time, perversely fascinated (in the manner of observing a train wreck) by the teachers and para-pros as they share their stories and experiences from the 'front lines'.

Someone today talked about a first grade kid who cussed at his teacher. How can a child who is suspended for three days learn while he is not in school? How can a teacher teach the rest of the students when they hear and see such disrespectful behavior? How can parents who appear to be indifferent, absent, focused on self-gratification expect teachers in public schools to instill qualities that are not found or reinforced in the home? When you call in parents for conferences and see the kids being combative and failing to respect their parents or guardians, how can you think they are going to be learning anything they will need to become self-sufficient adults? When the kid receives any type of disciplining punishment at school, and the parents' response is combative, defensive and threatening to teachers and administrators, how can you expect the child will not end up incarcerated, being supported by taxpayers? How horrifying is it to think that 'behind bars' is what the future holds for an elementary school-age child? What is going on in the life of a parent that is so overwhelming and consuming they do not have the time to invest in their children?

I can still recall the last time my dad pulled his belt through the beltloops to use it on my backside. I believe that children and young people need and desire to have limits set, and benefit from being told 'No'. I think having rules enforced by caring, compassionate, nurturing, supportive adults is the first step toward learning self-control and self-discipline. I fear we are seeing a society so wrapped up in self-gratification and permissive behavior they will become adults, our nation's leaders, with no 'moral compass', and will not have a sense of responsibility for anyone or anything greater than the "it's all about me" individual.

What can we do to alter this path we are headed down? How can we change the direction of this seemingly 'run-away' train we are traveling on? Where is that sense of living and serving for the 'greater good'? What happened to Character?