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traveling, visiting the pen-pal...

Saturday, June 30, 2012
On Thursday, I went to visit a friend up in SC. He is 89 years old. Served with my dad in the Army. They met when they were in training before being shipped to France during the Big War. And spent months together in the mud and cold of Europe as the war was winding down.

I discovered him when he called my parents house, looking for my dad, about ten years ago. Before the WWII Memorial on the Mall in DC was finished, he was attempting to locate the Captain to ask if he would accompany a group of local SC vets to the dedication ceremony. My mom answered the phone, and I only heard her side of the conversation, but thought it was something I should interrupt. So I started a conversation with him that has been on-going for many years. His wife died back in the fall, and he lives alone in little house that was part of a mill village in Greenville.

I had been going to visit several times a year, since we first met on the telephone. As he gets older, I try to go often, lately it has been once a month - having learned the lesson that you need to go when you can, before it's too late.  I feel more and more like he is a connection o my dad, to say nothing of a sweet amusing friend. I suggested we go across town to the cemetery to visit his wife, and then read an article in the local paper about the portable, 1/10th size, 'moving' Vietnam Memorial being on display at the civic center. So after we went to visit Ms. Dot in the hot afternoon sun, we went to see The Wall. He knew many of the vets there, working as volunteers greeting visitors, helping people find names. He has been much involved in the local American Legion organization for many years: and was recently honored as their Volunteer of the Year. Loves to socialize with fellow vets, attend meetings, conventions, meet new people - one of those folks you cannot help but envy/admire who seems to never meet a stranger.

That was a long day, driving to Decatur, to Greenville, and back to Decatur. But I am sure I will be going again as soon as possible.

traveling, unearthing the past

I've been on the road quite a bit over the past week: if I was getting my card punched, it would include two other states for the past few days.

Went to a family gathering last weekend, over in east GA. I find it so interesting and amusing to realize that both my parents were birthed up in the Augusta area, fairly close to the SC line, and ended up in the small town near the FL line where their parents settled and the two met, married and raised a family. So there are lots of cemeteries to visit up/over in the north east GA area - forebears on both sides.

We had a good time, even though, due to geography, I am not particularly connected to any of the cousins we saw last weekend. I was delighted that a daughter would take the time off from her work/life and devote the weekend to a road trip with me. Even though she did not know Anyone there, and I barely knew several from having been in the past couple of years, I enjoyed the events: raffling off assorted crafts, plants, jars of jam. Eating too much. A dessert bake-off, with dubious winners. (Why would anyone ask a bunch of men to be discerning judges when food is involved - especially desserts! They will eat Anything!) Short business meeting.

And what's a road trip without stopping at a roadside stand for a drippy wet bag of fresh, warm, salty boiled peanuts to hold in your lap, toss shells out the open window?

On Sunday there was a church service (which we conveniently missed due to being lead astray by GPS. (let that be a warning to you: don't toss your printed road maps!) And a gathering up on the hill above the lake, out in the woods. Old family cemetery located on a rise above where the old home place was near the river, now flooded by Army Corps of Engineers dam retaining Clarks' Hill resevior.  Sandwiches and strolling though the gravesites, pondering life. Enjoying the peace of the secluded site, feeling connections to the generations now gone, missing those now missing,

Thanks, daughter. It was a good, sweet weekend. I know you did it just for me (since you had no idea who any of those people were), and I am blessed by the time spent together.

probably shot myself in the foot with this...

While making plans to go to Mexico: Next Week! I was pondering what to do about the bit'o'cash I will need to take. I think most everything is covered, except a few meals. And there probably will not be much opportunity to do any shopping of the 'tourist' nature. Which suits me perfectly, as I truly do not want any more 'stuff' in my life. But I know there will be a need for some funds for eating and occasional incidentals: I am usually the one who gets away from home and finds I have nothing to apply to my toothbrush at bedtime. 

Which reminds me: don't brush with tap water. Don't accidently open your mouth in the shower. Take tape to put over mouth when you might get wet to keep from ingesting microbes that cause great, long-lasting distress. yikes. o-my-gosh.

So I was pondering what to do for spending money: thinking about how you  need to have some 'resources' when you go off to Summer Camp out in the woods: When it's your turn to go to the little shop/store/canteen,  usually stocked with plastic junk from the Oriental Trading Post catalog. Treasured items, imported by the boatload from factories in China: feathered 'indian' headresses, arrowheads extruded from a mold, bracelets from Taiwan to be lost in the pool, coin purses that fall apart before you get back home, etc.

And wondering about the best way to transport funds. I know the 'card people charge a fee for useage out of the country. Don't know what the exchange rate is like south of the border. Always fearful of taking a pocketful of cash. 

So I guess I will go to the bank and buy some traveler's checks.

I got irritated with several months ago, when I got a letter from my banker: Wells Fargo. Formerly known as Wachovia, formerly known as several other financial institutions in the same location. When they decided they would start charging a monthly fee for accounts I balked. Closed the account: right across the street from the Publix where I have worked for nearly 15 years, in the same building - but with four different names- where I have been banking for nearly 30 years. The bank would get absorbed/sold to another outfit, and change names, issue me new checks, but mostly with the same faces/tellers as it changed hands. 

All the financial institutions dug themselves into a deep hole, and expect the customers/taxpayers to dig them out - so have begun to change exorbitant fees for all their services. But not  me: I decided to shoot myself in the foot and close the account at the bank that is so accessible/convenient. And  only do business with the  one that (doesn't charge a fee for checking): is as far away from my house as they could be and still be in Columbus....

Which means I will make a trip across town, about 12 miles away, every time there is a need to do banking business. But I won't be paying Wells Fargo to have an account with them at a nearly-by, conveniently located branch.

the butterflies will surely be happy...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Not a big deal to anyone else but me: or maybe someone who loves to watch green things grow...

I went off down the street about a month ago and dug up a plant that is actually called Butterfly Weed, and is, I think, the of the Monarch's favorite things to eat when they bloom. But since they are so desirable and tasty, they rarely get a chance to go to seed and make babies. I had been observing, watching these plants for several years, wishing I could get it to grow at my house. Even went down in the ditch and marked them with brightly colored tape to find in the winter and transplant when they had no leaves to be able to find/recognize. And just never did dig them up, as I know they do not like to be moved.

But I finally did go with my shovel (wish I'd had someone along to be embarrassed by my behavior!) and dug up one, on a rainy afternoon when I knew it would easily dig, and readily transplant. I tried to keep it watered, but was fearful I had not gotten up enough dirt in the bucket to have success when it was relocated. It's been so dry, it has taken a lot of hose dragging to keep things alive, especially that stuff that has been moved in recent months. I've been as faithful with the hose dragging as one who keeps on the go can be - and was sad to watch the much desired Butterfly Weed steadily turn yellow, brown, loose leaves. Not meaning to be malicious, but thinking that I should not have moved it, it was not happy being transplanted, and sorta ashamed of wanting to have it growing at my house, when it was obviously so happy growing in the ditch out there with all the wildness.

So I kept watering and hoping: it's got green shoots coming up from the dead stems!! I am so happy! And surprised that in spite of my greediness, it has survived, and seems to be thriving, putting on new growth and adapting to the relocation remarkably well.  M'm so pleased.

enhancing my bank account...

I might be getting too old to be gainfully employed. It's hard on a body to have to do it on a regular basis - and the regular part has been occurring for the past three days. Or it might be that I am 'out of practice'?

For a couple of months, it seems like most of the work I have been scheduled for has been  on Sunday afternoons. I told the department manager that four or five hours of work was hardly worth taking my pajamas off for, and was wondering if it would be o.k. for me to come in my p.j.'s? It seems like he was not particularly amused... I asked what sort of schedule he wanted me to work when I knew my co-worker would be away for the past three days, and wondered out loud if he was planning to give me eight hours for the whole week, and divide it by three. He laughed, but not the kind of laughter that indicates he really thought it was much funny.

I have discovered I don't have much tolerance for being on my feets all day long. It's probably not as exhausting when in constant motion, as opposed to standing in one place for an extended period time: that  would probably come under the heading of punishment - like making kids stand in the corner, with their noses firmly planted on a dot on the wall.

If it were not for the friendships with cohorts, and that wee little supplemental insurance policy, I'm not sure I would continue the employment. I recently discovered that it's not really such a great place to work anymore. The corporate attitude has changed incrementally over recent years.. I am sure that from an administrative standpoint the changes to the company are motivated by a need to better control waste, become more efficient, become better stewards: basically improve the bottom line. But some of the petty-ness that is being passed along to employees borders on the ridiculous. If you want to know more, you have to ask.... but I will say:  it is going to be more difficult for associates to smile and create the atmosphere that invites hundreds and hundreds of customers to want to come back and shop day after day.

a sad local story

A co-worker and I have been discussing a tragedy that recently occurred here, where a young person was killed due to an auto accident. The teen-aged girl was thrown from the vehicle and died. The young man who was driving was sixteen years old, and has been charged with vehicular homicide as well as a number of other things, including underage drinking. I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache the parents of the young girl are learning to live with. And how angry they must be to discover that the boy was recently stopped - just a couple of weeks ago - for underage drinking. It's hard to know whether the alcohol or lack of wearing seat belts played a bigger part - and now probably a moot point.

It makes me sad for all the people involved:  a precious, beautiful life has ended, another life that has been impulsively ruined, and those families with tragic burdens for the rest of their lives. Time will dull this, but it will never, ever go away.

It also makes me thankful for my family: Parents and grandparents who were not consumers of alcohol. Thankful for having survived my own fool-hardy, impulsive youth. Thankful for grown, independent daughters who never got into situations of this type. As I think of bits of conversation we have had over recent months, and their thoughts on alcohol consumption, it is apparent to me they are well past problems with abuse. One thinks the 'empty calories' with no nutritional value not worth the drink, and rarely consumes. The other (even though they brew their own beer in the kitchen) says it is too expensive to become a habit. Whatever the rationalizations: this tells me that the desire is just not there...

The first time either of them consumed alcoholic beverages was when they were still in high school. We drove all night to get to Key West. After sleeping off the exhaustion of twelve hours of being in a car, we went to the Jimmy Buffet restaurant and ordered strawberry margaritas. I'm sure we ate, probably burgers, but nothing memorable.  I don't remember it being all that great, but how could we go all the way to Margaritaville ant not have one?

Travel posters and magazines with photos of white sands and clear water, palm trees and umbrellas, tropical environs make the 'idea' tempting.  Even though the islands do look like a small slice of paradise, when you think of how exposed they are to the elements, there is no temptation to relocate. The siren call of the south seas is not audible here...

I am so thankful for adult children who have not succumbed to the lure of alcohol. It really is a poor way to spend money, to say nothing of the heartache it causes.... And nothing good ever comes of consumption.

a few days of pay... jingle,jingle

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Funny that I don't seem to have the desire? motivation? focus? to get any place on time, but I am never late for work. Except for a couple of weeks ago, when I did not know I was supposed to be there... Even though I know that I am the one, and only, who is responsible for checking the weekly schedule to know when I should be standing  there in front of the time clock, ready to punch my employee code to start at just the right minute. No one else should be telling me when - that schedule is posted for all to see, and be aware of what is expected.

But I choose to only take 1/2 of the responsibility for that 'whoops' recently. There is a desk calendar where everyone knows to write 'unavailable' dates on, times or days when they have reasons to be Not Available.Like doctor's appointments, when they need to come in early, or work the closing shift hours. Or taking vacation days, or just wanting days off back-to-back to take a little time off, get away from daily grind. And I know I had written on that calendar that I was going out of town for the weekend, and would not be available to work the few paltry hours that I've been getting lately on Sunday afternoons.

So I did. I went out of town, and had a great time. But was coming back to Columbus earlier on Sunday that usual, and off-handedly called the store to see if I might come in for a few hours to get daily incoming freight prepped and out for sale. Only to find that I was supposed to be on the clock at the time I was calling from two hours away. I did go, late - which I find irksome, to say nothing of company policy.To say nothing of repercussions that occur when the semi-annual job evaluations come around again and the time clock reports I was hours and hours late arriving for assigned work.

All that to say: it nearly happened again today. I was loaded up, ready to hit the road, planning to leave town this morning. In retrospect thankful I did not do the usual when I get on the road before daylight to get half the driving done before the sun comes up. With a most unlikely thought, I decided to stop by and check to see what the schedule would be for next week - and discovered I am supposed to be there Today. Not at all expected. But I made a quick U-turn, in a sudden wave of better judgement, and decided I would put on my green shirt and make an appearance - at 9 a.m., just like the computer has been programmed for.

I'd asked the department manger, who makes the decisions about scheduling, what I should expect while my co-worker is away for a few days, and he distinctly did not say Saturday. And did say Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, so I was prepared for that. But since it is nice to have a little jingle in my pocket, think it wise to show the discretion that will postpone travels, to put in a great big whopping four hours of work today. When we talked about upcoming schedule, I mentioned (in what I hope was a friendly, amused manner) that I thought being scheduled for four hours of work was hardly worth taking my pajamas off, so wondered if it would be o.k. to come in wearing p.j.s?

getting ready -ier

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The poking part of getting ready to go to Mexico is over. I went yesterday morning for my fourth trip to the Pharmacy to get the final poke with a needle that completes the immunizations for traveling into medium-level risky environments. I say 'medium' because the pharmacist who probably thoroughly enjoyed making me wince, get light-headed and pay nearly $800 for the pleasure of the needle-stick told me of someone who came in recently and got seventeen different vaccines. No, thanks.The guy who looked like a pincushion was going to the mid-east as a contractor for the DOD and was required to get protected from Everything. I am sure the pay is adequate compensation, but they would be picking me up off the floor after all that...

I'm covered for tetnus, hepatitis A and B, and typhoid. There was some debate about malaria, but I will just have to trust my immune system, and apply bug stuff every day.

I have also started collecting T-shirts. If all three of my best readers feel inspired to clean out their collection of shirts, and would like to send some for me to leave with the vacation Bible School attendees in Mexico, I plan to fill a duffle bag with extras to take along and not bring back. You would have to admit the idea of 'free clothes' is very attractive, and would lure in a ready-made crowd for teaching at Bible School. I am trying to think of some clever, portable, simple craft-type item I can take that will amuse kids. Leaning towards a bag of Publix balloons, if I can wangle them from the store manager, and some pipe cleaners. What kid doesn't love a balloon? And what good cheap entertainment is a couple of pipe-cleaners?

not: working in the yard...

Best laid plans oft go awry. Oh, yeah.

Thought to get up early this morning, and put on a heavy coat of bug spray to safely spend the day out in the yard. But had a call last night from a friend who needed some attention. She reported car problems and would have to call a tow truck to get her vehicle to the service department to have the starter replaced. She sounded pleased when she remembered she invested in an extended warranty that would (hopefully) cover the expense of both parts and labor. As I know she stays in a financial bind, it would be both  fortutious and a major blessing if all the costs were covered, she could get it in and out of service today, and be back on the go tomorrow. I would have probably balked at the price of that 'warranty' when the smarmy salesman was putting his pitch on - but if it gives her mobility without having any additional costs for this mishap, it was likely a good investment. Pretty sure she bought the vehicle used, so there was a good possibility of those parts that were designed to eventually fall into dysfunction would need replacing.

She also has to be at a doctor's office mid-morning, and was stressed about getting her car into service, and still figuring out how she would get to the appointment on time. So she called and asked if I would be her chauffeur for the day. That sounds like a better way to spend my time than digging,planting rocks - though there is nothing in the way of cheap therapy that works better than digging holes. And the thing about hard physical effort, getting out there sweating and swearing at roots and hidden brick-bats - it feels soooo good when you quit, come in, sit down, drink lemonade and cool off.

Another blessing: having friends who don't mind calling, willing to ask for help, and having the time and resources, where-with-all to respond when someone needs propping up.. maybe the best part of the blessing is having the ability to bless someone else?

so: how's the little asteriod belt coming along?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Settling in quite nicely, thank you very much.

After the generous, soaking, refreshing rains of the weekend, I have finally started 'planting rocks' out in the bed where I plan to use them as a fence/border between lawn and perrenial bed.  Had to wait for rain (or water the dirt) to get the clay soft enough to dig. Got started today with the trench that the rocks will stand up in, jammed together, on edge to form a barrier so the grass will not invade the bloomers. It was interesting as they started fitting together like ill-shaped puzzle pieces that:

There are more rocks than I thought, so there are already some extras, now that they are practicing good posture and properly positioned. Which is odd, since when we took them off the back of the truck, piece by piece, one or two at the time, and laid them out end to end, along a line, in the row like they would go when they edged along the beds - it looked like not enough????


There is a lot of extra dirt.It seems like if you dig a hole, and put a large rock in it, that the rock would weight the dirt down enough that you could put what came out back in and it would come out even? Does it really have something to do with the phase of the moon, like the Farmer's Almanac would have us think? It is surprising that there is so much that did not fit, when thinking of all those times I watched my dad dig holes and put something in it, a bush or potted plant, and pack the dirt back in around the shrub, then after watering, have the soil sink down, compacting so that more was needed to bring it back up to ground level..

The little asteriod belt is coming along quite nicely... it looks like about 1/4 of the line of rocks is doing what they were instructed to do. Hopefully, while the earth is still damp and dig-able, the rest will follow along in the next couple of days, in proper formation, following the lead of the one who went before in an orderly manner.

things we take for granted...

I have a little blank book, about the size of an index card, that I have been making notes in, off-and-on for months, probably a couple of years. It has things that I suddenly, at some time in the course of a day, discover myself thankful for. Mostly things that we just accept, not considering that we have done nothing to warrant many of the average, every-day, run-of-the-mill blessings. There will be days when I am consistently making notes, recording little non-events that suddenly pop into my mind and I realize I need to be more conscious about counting them as Big Things, Blessings that are worthy of notice and note.

Then I will set the little book aside, or loose it on my desk, or have it slip down in the crack in my car and not make notes for several days before I realize something has occurred that is notable. Which will make me scrabble around, dig under papers, root through stacks of flotsam and jetsam, stand on my head and paw around under the car seats: until I find my little book so I can make a note. Needing to ink in a visible reminder of something generally non-descript that I will realize is such a huge reason to be thankful.

Mostly sunshine, blue skies, puffy white clouds - or sometimes a day of much needed rain.

Or friends who are such neat people that I am continually amazed they fell into my life.

Or family members who mean so much, and I find myself overwhelmed that they are so willing to devote a day, spend time with me.

Or Sunday mornings sitting in 'my place' (as one with a long history of backsliding) on the back row at CCC, listening to the praise songs, knowing that the voices raised in worship bring on the all encompassing presence of the Holy Spirit.

Or having someone I care about call to say: 'I need a little help', and having the freedom to be able to respond with 'of course, what can I do?' and 'when do I need to be there?'

And especially people who have served in the military, protecting and defending for well over two hundred years, willing to step up and defend the Constitution. Insuring we continue to enjoy  all those freedoms it guarantees, with hardly a thought of what they risk and sacrifice. Allowing me to keep a secret little book of blessings without fear that someone might make nefarious use of my musings. Just generally providing me with the comfort of what is really a privileged way of life: that we all rarely,if ever, think to say Thank You for. Yea! for the Republic. Stars and Stripes Forever. Sappy old flag waving fool: that's me.

Well, I guess the little secret book is not a secret any more. Which is really ok: if you want, you can look - I am pretty sure you will find yourself listed in there.

I occasionally look back, thumb through the pages and find that nearly all the entries, from when I started back in 2010 are for such mudane, simple things: I can't imagine that anyone else would be even remotely interested in looking. But since my blessings are packed down, and overflowing, adding up daily, too numerous to count, I am running out of space, and will soon need another...

planting for the pollinators...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I am sad to say that I feel really guilty about buying the bloomers I  planted today. I went out late this afternoon and put in the bright red penta I brought back from FL a couple of weeks ago, and some colorful nicotinia the hummingbirds have already discovered that I just bought today.  I know it is going to be a challenge to keep them watered so they will survive the summer: we are dry, dry, dry here. Almost no rain from all that drenching weather that came in from recent tropical storm in the Atlantic.But that is not the reason I am so distressed about the beautifully blooming flowers that I am hopeful will be gloriously attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other insects in the coming months.

I just told myself that it is so disturbing that there are children all over the world going hungry and I am spending money on things that we can't eat. Those sad little faces in the magazine ads with have the huge eyes and distended bellies make me wonder 'what was I thinking' when I implusively spend money on things that will do nothing more than bloom all summer and provide nectar for the insect worlds needs, when I could be putting the funds to use to make a difference in some hungry childs' life. Maybe I should be sending seeds, and supporting the people who go to third world countries and dig wells for watering the crops?

funning in the TN sun.

Went to spend the weekend in Chatt-y-nooga. It doesn't take much to amuse some people.

P. had to make an appearance with the Scouts on Sat. My goal for the weekend was to spend time together, so I had no problem with doing whatever she was obligated to get done. This year is the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts, so there have been lots of activities planned to help celebrate this in a multitude of ways throughout GSUSA, and probably world-wide as well. People in Chatty had planned an event that involved walking across a pedestrian bridge that spanned the Tennessee River - pretty neat idea, since something that scouts do periodically is to 'bridge' into the next level of scouting: Daisies to Brownies, Brownies to Juniors, etc as they age grow, progress in schooling and scouting skills.

We gathered with the hundreds of scouts and troop leaders, family members, hangers-on, moms, dads, siblings at the baseball stadium for a short presentation before heading across the bridge. Probably about a  mile walk through downtown and across the river, to a park on the north side. There were lots of activities planned for the girls: face-painting, crafts, music and dancing, a water park, plenty of grass and shade trees for picnics. It was a beautiful, clear, remarkably pleasant, sunny day to be out in the world.

The scouts were given the opportunity to spend the night in the baseball stadium after the ball game was over - they could bring camping tents and sleeping bags and set up in the outfield. Staff members from the local scout office were to be available through out the night, just to be on hand in case of any unexpected problems. Our 'shift' was from 10:30 to 1:30. (This from the person who is usually in bed well before 10:30!) Apparently the camp out  was uneventful. And probably a roaring success according to the multitude of ten- year-olds who were racing around the impromptu campground before the stadium lights were turned off about midnight. I am pretty sure the many accompanying parents felt differently after several/too few hours of less-than-restful sleeping on the grass of the outfield.

I know I slept like a stone when I finally got to bed at 2:00 - and did not wake up at 4:30 as usual!

the day the asteroid belt came to my back yard

I'd been having this craving for rocks, but having a really hard time with being willing to actually plunk my cash down for something as crazy as rocks. I would go some place and talk to the owner of the rock store (most any place that sells dirt and mulch by the square yard or truck load) and act pitiful and talk them down to get a better price for a pallet of flat stones. They are stacked in rounds made of fencing wire, sort of 'bins' on pallets and sold by the ton. I'm very well informed. You would not believe how much people expect to get paid for a truck load of stones, that come in a surprising variety of shapes and sizes. Something as absurd as $450 for a two ton stack.

 Plus in order to avoid having to pay for having the rocks delivered, you have to know someone with a pickup truck. To borrow, so you can go to the 'durty wurks' or landscaping place and get them to load the pallet on the back of the truck with the front-end loader. Then you discover that the pallet is too wide to fit on the bed of the truck. Now might be a good time to practice your salty 'sailor language'.

I was looking for something like you see in stacked rock walls, or used for flagstones on walkways that have  lush low growing ground covers in between the oddly placed chunks of flat stones.But every time I would get right down to the point of making the commitment to paying good money for rocks, it would be in the same classification as paying hard earned cash for dirt. And why would anyone be willing to pay for dirt? I'm sure I don't know - and amazed at the number of people who can hardly wait to spend their money for those big bags of mulch (in hideous colors) we get in by the pallet load and park out on the sidewalk in front of the store every spring.  They come with trucks and load up bags and bags of the stuff: crazie people.
The guy at the store on Memorial Drive in south Atlanta seemed to have a pretty good price for his half pallet of rocks, and that looked like a huge pile - more than I could ever figure out what to do with. So the crazie person who knew how interested I was in becoming the owner of flat rocks to use for edging around a flower bed showed up on a Monday in her little red pickup truck with a big pile of rocks in the back. We unloaded the rocks and put them in a neat little row along the edge of the bed, but I will have to wait for a good soaking rain before I can get a trench dug to put them upright. My goal is to have them stand on edge, so they will keep the grass from growing into the beds. When they start standing at attention, I will shovel some mulch behind them to help keep them in place, and also help to keep the moisture in the things that I have planted (all deliciously blooming pollinator attractors) in the beds behind the stone edging.

It was so amusing: All I could think of was the time my parents brought me a load of manure for my birthday.  Certain people are still entertained by the time their grandparents showed up one afternoon when they got home from school. They must have been about ten and twelve years old, and delighted to have been entrusted with a surprise they were able to keep quiet about. I was not in on the 'secret plan' that they kept to themselves remarkably well. So I was completely taken aback by the appearance of the grands: sitting on the back porch awaiting our arrival. To say nothing of how speechless I was when I discovered the birthday present was a pick up truck load of #%&*.

Also amusing that I was so indecisive about buying rocks that someone else had to do it for me. I am very pleased with my rocks. There were enough after lining out the edging around the beds on the north side, to start a little stacked rock wall across the front where there will be a bed of hostas (already starting to bloom so I need to get planted asap) and beautifully varigated solomon's seal that loves shady places.

How that pile of rocks we unloaded piece by piece came to be known as The Asteriod Belt, I do not know. But we continue to call it that, even though it is strategetically and tidly placed end to end across a wide swath of grass along the edge of the flower beds.

traveling: and glad gas prices have gone down!

I've been traveling so much, I don't know how to behave at home.

Last week: I drove to Savannah on Wednesday. Came back on Thursday. And went to TN on Friday.

There is a family friend from south GA who has moved to the Savannah area, due to aging, and health issues: She got backed into a corner with physical problems, and her family moved her a couple of years ago, very much against her preference. As usually happens with getting older, all those problems have snowballed. She has been in hospital, rehab., and therapy programs trying to get/regain mobility due to falls and damage resulting from broken hips. She was back in her apartment in assisted living for less than a week, when she fell and broke the second hip, and starting over - but with much less energy and motivation to get back on her feet.

I wanted to go see her last year, but due to the recurring problems, the trip had been postponed since the fall. I finally worked out a plan with her son to go last week, and drove over to see her in the nursing facility where she was moved from hospital. She is not a happy camper, and struggles with getting around. It is unlikely that she will ever regain enough mobility to return the the retirement center where she was ensconced.
But I am glad I went and had the afternoon to spend with her.

Then I went to see a friend who has moved to the area from Virginia. We were Presbyterians together years ago, when her husband was stationed at Ft. Benning. Had a good visit and was amazed to see all the very impressive quilts she has created over the years. Probably not inspired to do anything that creative on my own - but really amazed at some of the things she has done.

I realized years ago how easy it is to get interested and invested with time and resources in some new endeavor, then have the novelty wear off, or just get distracted.  And have a semi-finished project linger around for years without the enthusiasm to complete it. I usually have the self-control to not even venture down that path... but will admit that I have a box of odds and ends of fabric that I have held on to for the better part of twenty years. Me: thinking I would find a quilt pattern and piece them together to make a patchwork top. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as the case may be, my little odds and ends are tucked away on a shelf where I rarely notice or think of the project awaiting my attention. But now that I have seen what can be done - possibly inspired.

Yard workin'....

Monday, June 4, 2012
All this working in the yard: it never ends. Kinda like when you decide you need to start being healthier, and resolve to alter well-entrenched patterns. All those things you decide you need to be more conscientious and diligent about: you have to be on the defensive for the rest of your life, you never get to let your guard down. This is what the experts mean when they talk about Lifestyle Changes.  Which is great in theory, the only problem being: you already know how good that apple labeled 'sin' tastes. And how your taste buds do the 'happy dance' when you eat hot, greasy salty french fries dipped in cold sweet ketchup. And how your brain is already addicted to chocolate.

I'm the one who says hole digging is great therapy - and it still is, but lots more satisfying if you have something to put in it. I recently bought what I hope is the last purchase I will make to add stuff to the flower beds in have been inventing and renovating for months. (Please note that 'hope' is the operative word - I am getting better at telling myself they will not survive the blasting heat of summer - but also know how I get 'plant lust' and take home things I didn't plan on having and now to figure out where they will most likely survive).

I haven't planted those little red penta plants and came home last night to find them panting from the heat. Everything is thirsty... we didn't get anything  from the tropical storm out in the Atlantic recently, and I need to start dragging the hose in earnest. Plus maybe hang some clothes out on the line, possibly have a car wash to bring on the rains.