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taking good health for granted?

Friday, September 30, 2011
My daughter came down from Decatur one day this week to visit. She drove down for the express purpose of going to sign up at a Marrow Registry drive. After hearing about this event a couple of weeks ago, she said she had been wanting to do this, desiring to get her information in the national system in hopes of providing a match for someone who needs a donation of bone marrow. So she came down on Wednesday, and went through the (completely painless) process of registering as a donor. Amazing. Gratifying. Sweet. My girl.

It was even more impressive than those of us who routinely donate a pint of blood every two months to the Red Cross. I don't know how many people they  recruited for the program over the two day drive, but when we went in mid-afternoon on the second day, the number was over 550. That's fantastic.You don't really need it- and it can make such a huge impact in someone else's life... You'll keep making more, and what you so obliviously continue to generate (all the while taking good health for granted) can literally Save a Life.

how was your Saturday?

I spent the morning running around town trying to find fresh flowers for friend who is getting married tomorrow. I called all over, asking for different flowers, and made several stops to accumulate everything I needed.Came home to put everything in water...

Then I went back to town to have lunch with a friend. Remarkably spry and full of zip for 84 years old, she is a member of the church my family attended for years, and keeps me informed about Presby. news.  We went to get a sandwich and were sitting talking, when we overheard a woman near us providing severe admonishment to two young boys. They were just amusing themselves and each other, but not behaving a manner she felt appropriate. We both commented/complimented her as they were leaving: saying most little people are rarely disciplined, and seem to have no one in their lives who will enforce rules until they develop self control, learn to manage impulsive behavior.

We started talking about a person we know casually, and I commented that I see her regularly enough to feel like this individual never has anything positive to say, seems to be a chronic complainer, does not have the ability to look for the good in life. Sad that some people are so blessed and do not seem to know it.  Got to talking about someone else, and my response was they just do not have it in their make-up to appreciate life. Living in America, with men and women in foreign lands to insure they will still have the opportunity to gripe and complain. And unwilling/incapable of getting up every morning and being thankful for breath, clean air to breathe, sunshine, blue sky, freedoms no one else in the world enjoys.

Spent the afternoon working on wedding flowers: boutenniers, corsages, nosegays, bridal bouquet, two large church arrangements.  Those cut arrangments are so big it took two trips to get them to church, but look so small in the sactuary, they nearly disappear. I am mostly done, just need to go to HobLob. tomorrow to get ribbon to wrap the stems of the bouquets.  Spent hours sitting out on the screened-porch listening to birds, talking to the black cat who was very chatty, enjoying a pleasant day, living a good life. Hope she likes her flowers!

a turtle story....

When my daughters were small, and we would be traveling along a highway, I would occasionally spot a turtle meandering across the road. Much to their mortification and amusement, I invariably pulled over, backed up and stopped to give the slow-moving reptile an assist. Occasionally putting it in the floor of the car to bring home and release in the wooded area behind our house that slopes down a steep incline to a small creek. Setting it free in  what I hoped was a safer environment where it could live for a hunderd years and enjoy making many generations of hard-shelled grand-turtles.

I was on  my way home from errands this morning, and saw a turtle with a shell about the diameter of a salad plate crossing the four lane a couple of miles from the house. So: guess what I did? Yes! The Turtle Rescue Squad rides again!!! Made a U-turn, went back and jumped out in traffic to get the turtle (who acted like he really did not want/need me intervening in his plans), and put it in a box to bring home. He had remarkably long claws, and nearly got dropped when he put all four legs out and started 'swimming' in the air when I picked him up to turn him loose in the back yard. I was quite startled, and I am sure he was as well.

Then I remembered how  my dad used to find turtles muddling around in his back yard, scooting through the flower beds, trundling across the expanse of lawn at the speed of practically nothing. He would go in his workshop and find a can of spray paint and squirt a small dot of color on the shell, so the turtle would be easier to spot in the future, plus he would know when he saw it if it was the same one or someone new had come to visit. I don't know how many different shells he squirted a dot of paint on over the years, but I know there were quite a few, and the idea of finding on that had taken up residence greatly amused his granddaughters.

I saw one some months ago, picked it up off the road it was trying to cross and brought it home, put it down in the back yard and assume it bulldozed under the chain link fence and made an escape into the wilds of eastern Muscogee County.  It was only about the size of a small cereal bowl, and  what used to be called a Box turtle, last seen wearing (a turtleneck? ha!) a brown shell with mottle yellow markings: tortise-shell colored, of course... Completely vanished, obviously having changing his attire (like the turtle in the BC comic strip when he takes his shell off) to make a clean getaway, but hopefully still alive and well, living someplace under an assumed identity in the Bull Creek watershed.

After this guy startled me so badly, extending all four legs with long claws plowing through the air,  I quickly put him down on the driveway. And yes, I did get a can of paint and spray three little white dots on his black, ancient-looking carapacel. He was hunkered down, trying to look invisible, immobile, inside the fence when I left at noon, and completely vanished when I returned an hour later - but I will definitely know it's him if/when he reappears. Yea! Turtle Rescue Squad!

in support of research...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
If you know me, you know that my mom died a couple of years ago, after a long slow decline into dementia. She was such a bright, lively, active, interesting person for so many years, and as with all our loved ones who slowly loose themselves, it was difficult to observe. It is frustrating, aggravating and misery-inducing to be so helpless as you watch it happening - something that I frequently, distressingly compared to sitting on a run-away train, with nothing to do but wring your hands, fretting your life away: knowing full well you should be doing Something, but having not the slightest idea of what that Something should be...

Her dad, my grandfather, died in a nursing home, with dementia-like symptoms, even though at the time, 'dementia' was not a specific diagnosis. I think the term back then was 'hardening of the arteries'. Research has progressed some, if you want to think that being able to put a label on it is progress. But there is so much more that needs to be done:

Which is why I am walking. The local Memory Walk for Alzheimer's Disease is in late October. There is an office here, part of the national association. Like lots of other events, there will be teams who are asking for donations, seeking sponsors to help with the fundraising to aid research and find the cause, that would then provide means of a cure.

I'll be walking with the team from St. Luke United Methodist Church. This is the group that operates the Respite Program my mom attended for several years while she was living here. They still talk about her, remembering her amusing self, with a great sense of humor, even when she was sinking into the 'forgetting disease'. If you would like to send a donation, it would be most appreciated, and will go directlly to the Alzheimer's Association. They will send you a letter to use for tax purposes.

If you are able to support this effort, please send your check to
Alzheimer's Association, GA Chapter,
in care of: Carol Boers, Respite Ministry at St. Luke UMC
P O Box 867,
Columbus, GA 31901

I thank you in advance for your support. If you are interested in taking action, we will be 'walking the walk' on Oct. 29, at 8:30 a.m., in the 1100 block of Broadway in Uptown Columbus. A donation gets you a shirt with lots of cheezy advertising on the back. I'll be wearing mine: Hope to see you there?

counting other people's blessings...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A family friend is buying a house. She is a recent graduate from pharmacy school, started working in a great job less than two years ago. Actually having the house built, so she gets to pick and choose, and have it done just the way she wants.This is All Absolutely Amazing to me. I am so excited for her, and delighted to know that she is doing so well in her career, and life, putting down roots and getting established, making her way in the world, and in the community of her choosing.

But what really strikes me as remarkable is that she is a She.

I think about the fact that forty years ago, women did not routinely own property, make major purchases like homes (or even minor ones like appliances without consulting the man who would be doing the paying) or have the opportunity to be out in the community holding  responsible positions of authority.
And eighty years ago, women were second class, not fully 'citizens', ornaments in men's lives, decorative additions that were sometimes respected, often inconveient, frequently thought of as brainless and inconsequential, regularly considered incapable of making informed decisions.
And a hundred years ago, women did not have the right to vote at the polls, not capable of making intelligent choices about politics and leaders within the community and nation

And two hundred years ago WE were the 'property'.

You can gripe all you want about the US, politics, the American system, Democracy, One Nation Under God: but you also better be counting your blessings, and thankful for all the people who gave you the right to gripe.

counting our collective blessings...

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~William Arthur Ward

I've been thinking about this all day, and need to say it. We have absolutely no idea how much we have to be thankful for, and no concept of what people have done to provide us with the benefits and freedoms we so casually accept and think we have some sort of entitlement, that these choices we so routinely make are our  'due' .

Only due to living in America. Somebody, or thousands of somebodies, at great cost and over many years put effort into making our choices routine, easily accepted, casually received, commonly taken for granted.

 I have no qualms about flag waving, and would readily agree to blood test that showed mine is red.white and blue. I am so thankful that I am who I am, and live where I live. Thankful for all the people who made it possible.

another thing to be thankful for...

Monday, September 19, 2011
I just read a note that I got in the mail today from a family friend who is having a very difficult time right now. She has a history of problematic emotions. Her familly are such good, loving, caring people, and I am sure they have always been, and continue to be compassionate and supportive as she struggles with finding herself and her place in the world. I think it would be a painful thing to think that you are just not able to walk out the door and face the busy-ness of the world each day, giving you even more doubts and feelings of being out of sync with everyone who seems so capable and confident.

I know it is a heart wrenching experience for her family, wanting so badly for her to feel strong and healthy, desiring, as I know she must, that she have the skills to live independently and be able to function out there with everyone on the streets.

My spirit aches for her and her family as I know they have all been attempting to find solutions to this for years, searching for answers, travelling farther and farther afield to find that person who assist in bringing about wholeness and health. It is so sad that all the resources they have approached over the years have not been that Answer, as they continually deal with half-way solutions that only seem to reveal different problems.

But this also makes me count my blessings: grateful for health, and healthy family.

Even though I know we all have some little skeltons in rattling around in our closets, or tucked away in the attic, and every last one of us has some little odd personality quirks that other people look at and say: "hmmm, how strange...."

What were you doing on 9-11-01?

Sunday, September 11, 2011
I was at work at Publix. And like the rest of the nation, spent the next several days mesmerized by television. But have not been watching TV at all today, partially because I don't care to be mesmerized/not willing to devote my time to TV, and partially because I have been working at Publix.

If you have been watching all the anniversary events, I am sure you are really morose, as all that memorailzing would make anyone sad. Or maybe just give you an opportunity to be ferociously angry all over again.

But I will definitely Not Forget.

Do you know about the Skillet Festival?

Thursday, September 8, 2011
Quitman GA is having a Skillet Festival. If you want to know more, you have to look it up on the internet.

I am going. Hope to see you there.

The sponsors hope to see hundreds of people there, bringing pockets full of cash to spend in beautiful downtown Quitman, Brooks County, GA.

I have started doing some papier mache, after a Very Long Time of not doing it. And discover/am reminded why I always did my crafting on the back porch. It is so messy, with glue and paint, that instructions should come with a disclaimer: always do this someplace you can hose down afterwards. I have decided that it is strictly an outdoor activity: like watermelon eating, (or robbing the beehives of their honey) so you can just drag the garden hose in and clean up when you are done. Have you ever thought of how nice it would be to have a waterproof house, with drains in the center of every room,  when it is time to clean up?

I am making frames to take to the Skillet Fest., where I will be a vendor. I am a little anxious about this, but think it should be entertaining, even if I don't make a profit. I will also take the papier mache to the crafts fair we are having a church here in mid-October. You might get papier mache frames for Christmas....

riding in the golf carts

First of all, I need to apologize to my Golfcart-riding-buddies. Sorry you did not get to go along.

There was a week of unusual events planned for Columbus that was in support of the visually impaired. A local eating establishment has been sponsoring the Midnight Express, a 5K run, for many years, with all the funds going toward providing assistance for the blind. There have been a number of sight-impaired runners over the years - in the past connected to sighted runners by a short piece of cord, or possibly shoe-string. This year I saw a number, toward the end/slower crowd (where the Older People were!) who were using white canes, accompanied by other walkers. Since it is done at midnight, (always on the last Saturday in August) those without vision are not as much at a disadvantage as they would otherwise be.

The highest number I saw pinned on the shirt of a runner was 2487, so I guess there were over 2500 entrys in the event. At $20 a pop for registration, if all the funds go toward charity (wonder if they have set up a non-profit?) that is a great gift to the community. And I think they have been doing the Run for over thirty years, with it growing steadily.

I've been walking it for years, with daughters, who probably thought it was a big thrill to be out and about in the forbidden wee-hours. And the past couple of years with a friend who often gets roped into things. The sad truth is that the three mile walk takes right at an hour. But I always finish. Even though I have not been doing my usual two or three miles daily in this awful heat, it was still right at sixty minutes from start to finish.
Which is consistent with what I was doing years ago, so I am pleased to a) finish with the energy left to get back home and into bed, and b) maintain about the same time/pace as 15 or more years ago.

The sponsor, local BBQ eatery, planned other events during the week: a 'blind softball game'( using a ball that beeps - and having the team of sighted players wear blindfolds), and a golf tournament that is for the poorly or non-sighted. I was a volunteer scorekeeper for one day of the two day event with golfers.  Some were men who were born without sight, others had experienced playing golf in younger years before loosing sight, and others with very poor vision/partially sighted. They were from all over the world: Australia, Europe, Hawaii, various US states and travel as part of a worldwide organization that sponsors these tournaments, similar to the PGA, but for visiually handicapped. Every golfer has a 'coach' that can travel with him, and coach him through the game, giving guidance, advice, searching for lost balls. About fifty golfers, playing over a two day event, plus a practice day earlier in the week.