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the 499 mile round trip...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
hmmm.... I probably just made that up. And actually have no idea how far it was, but do know that I drove from Columbus to Decatur (about two hours) and from Decatur to Chattanooga (about two hours) on Friday. And did it while standing on my head, looking over my shoulder, and in reverse the whole way when I started back home on Sunday afternoon.... probably made that up too...

Had a nice visit with P. (and a wee bit of C.on Saturday - before he had to be at work and accidentally found himself getting unwanted, undesired, unexpected, un-everything overtime by being the guy who got volunteered to work another shift before he could come home long enough to sleep and start over)... And lunch with the mostly amusing in-law people at an 'authentic' pizza joint downtown.

Saw a remarkably cheesy/bloody/bad movie, but know that won't discourage anyone else from paying good money to observe gore and mayhem on the big screen. Don't spend your money on finding out what happened to 'Hansel and Gretel' after they escaped from the witch who lived in the house made out of sweets. Hearing that 'heads will roll' should be ample description for you to avoid devoting your time to this one.

I usually try to hook up with the cousins when I am in the area for any length of time: and found them playing 'Nine Tile Scrabble with No Rules'. Which could either be highly amusing or thoroughly annoying depending on your attitude. After all were declared winners, we went for a walk. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, to a place that was most unusual and unexpected in the city of Decatur. In town, surrounded by residential areas, the city has created a little park with paved walkways and boardwalks where the city water works used to be. The paved paths actually connect two city parks, and travel through some densely wooded areas, along a watershed/stream bed. There is a lot of really neat graffiti on some walls of still standing settling ponds and towers, mostly looking like it was actually a contract job, but some has been painted over by mischief makers since it was originally painted. A creek flows through the area, and it is adjacent to railroad tracks that are still used. There were lots of people around, pushing strollers, walking dogs, families with kids tempting fate stepping on stones across the running water. 

Got back home on Monday afternoon, just in time to wonder what we would have for supper??? It was nearly nothing, so when I went to work on Tuesday, I came in the door much better prepared: made vegetarian spaghetti sauce with onion, bell pepper and grated zucchini over pasta. Then added some meat for people who think it's not spaghetti without an animal being involved.

tech. discussion for the technically simpleminded...

Thursday, January 24, 2013
There has been on-going conversation here for several weeks about technology. Kinda funny, as I readily admit to being about 98% ignorant of anything to do with tech.equipment or skills. Old, not particularly funny joke, about being dragged kicking and screaming into the Information Age... like the cartoons of stone-age people where one is trudging along with a club over one shoulder, and the recently clubbed individual being pulled along by a hank of hair. That would be me, having been thoroughly beaten down by those who are more adept and knowledgeable.

The discussion is about wireless signals. I don't understand how: if he gets wi-fi on his phone, and I know he does, as it follows him around everywhere like a friendly puppy, why I can't have it on my desk top computer. He says the cell phones are actually radios sending and receiving signals to radio towers or into space (makes one think about the photos of people from the 1950's wearing aluminum foil helmets to keep the government from inserting unwanted stuff into their brains?)

Does he just  not want to share? More likely, I don't have the ability to fully grasp the intricacies of the situation, to fully understand why this computer can't have wireless too. He says the desk top computer too old - I say he is too old.

a 250 mile diameter circle...

Although my high school geometry grades were atrocious, to the point that I think I barely squeeked by, I remember that circles have diameters as a distance across and a radius as half of that. It probably stretches the truth to say: a circle with a diameter of 250 is what you get when you drive to the farthest reaches of Georgia and back again. It was a 500 mile road trip, going from Columbus south to Thomasville and Valdosta, and on to St. Mary's, within rock throwing distance of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida state line. Not really a perfectly shaped O, but still since I did get there and back again, think I deserve credit for making the oddly-shaped, looping trip last weekend. Plus that's the sum total of what I retain from geometry class.

I do remember something about 'pi' and 3-point something or other, for using a string to measure around the circle, multiply by whatever and poof! the answer appears in the little viewing space, when you shake and flip over the Magic 8 Ball! If all this supposition is wrong, please forgive my mathematical ineptness. Mark it up to literary discretion/license?

I had a good (ie: uneventful) trip roadwise. It was an opportunity to perfect my U-turn skills, as there were a number of times when I would think: this isn't right, and decide to go back and start over as things would begin to look more and more unlike what my printed instructions indicated. Driving across south GA is always good, though possibly not particuarly scenic, as all those pine trees, palmetto fronds and swampy right-of-ways can start looking identical after a hundred miles.

There were times, sitting in the backseat of the family Ford Fairlane station wagon, or road-hog Buick LeSabre that the distance between Valdosta and the marshes of Glynn County seemed to be twelve hours apart. And maybe they were, when driven by a parent who was continually swatting towards the disagreeableness of back-seat siblings, and stopping every hour for a potty-break. Plus knowing the narrow two lane highway had a speed limit of 55 m.p.h., and local cops hiding behind every billboard inches away from a reduced speed sign to catch innocent, unknowing passers-by.

This past weekend, I had plans to go to Kingsland to visit a friend from high-school days. The only person from the foggy past I have kept in touch with since graduating, though mostly with birthday cards and Christmas news-letters. We had a good visit, and enjoyed a bit of sightseeing in St. Marys. Like most towns that have been invaded by military installations, there are long stretches of commercial establishments, one fast food place after another, interspersed with discount stores, used car lots, tire sales rooms and rental storage units. In my lifetime, the Navy base that is probably the mainstay of the economy did not exist, but the government payroll is most likely what keeps the community going and growing.

I had not been to St. Mary's in fifteen years, the last time being as the way point for a day trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore. The jumping off place where the ferry docks, has changed, but I am pretty sure that the Island remains as undeveloped and natural as ever. A beauty-full place to go and spend the day or the weekend (if you want to take everything you will need to wear, eat,  drink, sleep in with you.)

I left home on Thursday morning and got back on Saturday - not so exhausting that I felt jet-lagged. It was a good trip... including the stop in Lakeland to visit another friend I don't see often enough, where we sat on her back porch and drank a warm cup of lemon-ginger tea, enjoying the last ray of the afternoon sun, setting through the piney woods.

And I am leaving again on Friday! Heading north... so that's another story....


Monday, January 14, 2013
Completely out of character, it is. Me up, wide-eyed at nearly 10:00 p.m.Not even remotely sleepy...

Every time I do this crazy thing, I tell myself: Never Again. And then for some crazy reason, I find myself doing it again. I drove to south Georgia and back yesterday. Especially nutty after having worked a half day at my little jobette. It is a three  hour drive - no way around it. It takes three hours to get there, and double that to get back. I think this trip qualifies me for the 'prize' as far as doing it in the least amount of time. Left Columbus about noon, and was back home by 8:00 p.m.

My logic is that it was not my 'choice', but something that came upon me requiring my attention without delay. I went to the funeral of a friend from high school: she had been having health problems for some time, but think that the sudden demise was not expected by her family. I'd lost her for years, and just reconnected a couple of years ago - so I was surprised as well. Having lost touch, I do not know much about the intervening years, but from what I understand she had a rich, full good life with lots of interesting experiences as an airline stewardess, raising and racing horses, working as a loan officer in a bank, being a mom to three children, and having been blessed with grandchildren she was crazy about. And writing books: she was a published author! Don't think you can ask for much more than that, along with the certainty of knowing where you will go after the last breath has been exhaled.

I did not know until I read the obituary that she was only three weeks older than I am - which makes one feel a cold breath, and little prickly hairs standing up on the back of the neck. I've thought on and off for years that I should be composing my own obit. to be sure they get it like I want: leave out the stuff that is nobody's business and put in the things that would make people say: 'Really?' and 'Hmmmm...' when they read it, with an occasional 'Oh, I remember her!' I'm not sure I am quite 'olde' enough yet to feel like I have lived down all the stuff I did as a wandering, wayward youth, and know I am not old enough to have done all the stuff I want to do... Where did I put that bucket list, anyway?

If you want to have any control of what they say about you that one last time, I suggest starting right away. And while you are at it, you might as well make some decisions about what you want going on when they say the Last Goodby. 'American Pie, 'Amazing Grace' will do it for me. After the minister spoke, the family had a song played, that I suspect was Sara's choice. Really hearing the words of the song invariably brings pause, and likely brings the whole crowd to their knees: 'I  Can Only Imagine' never fails bring to make you think....

I've say I wanted to be cremated, and made any number of decisions about what to do with the leftovers - but after going to the Last Goodby on Sunday afternoon, I think the beach on Key West is a great way to end. They said she loved to travel, so it is so fitting that her daughters will accompany her on one last trip!

too early for bed just yet...

I am ready for bed, but know it is too early. If I go now, and should immediately fall asleep, that would mean it's time to get up and start doing things at about 3 a.m., which would cause me to do this again tomorrow night.

I woke up about 5:00, and got up at 6:00 because I had to be at work at 7:00. I usually am on the schedule to work four or five hours on Sunday - coming in as soon as I get out of church, around 10:30 and leaving at four or five or when ever I get the job accomplished. Some days it is all in the floral department, some days it is nothing but prep.work in the produce department. Today it was a bit of both, with me struggling to get it done in the four hours I was allotted on the clock.

I haven't quite figured out how the department manager did it - but it appears that I am working more days and fewer hours. In recent weeks, it has been  consistently three days a week, and totaled up to be 19-20 hours. This week the days are more, and the hours are less: which obviously means I am getting dressed to go clock in and work four or maybe five hours on a day. Which makes it pretty difficult to plan to do anything else, when that big chunk of time is taken out of the middle.

But then, on the other hand, as we all know, if one does not put in the employment effort, one does not get paid. And, sad to say, we don't live in a barter-based society, so it takes more and more cash to survive.

feeling excessively mortal...

Saturday, January 12, 2013
There was a book one of my daughters was required to read in highschool, that was not only unmemorable, but so tiresome I don't think she was able to force herself to finish it... so there's no telling what the outcome was on the report she was expected to turn in.. I doubt the line about 'everyone lived happily ever after' was either adequate or appropriate for a book with a theme of an African safari - since the whole purpose of going after big game with bigger guns is death. I think hunting with high-powered weapons or even a bow and arrow so un-sportsman like, I find I am always rooting for the deer, turkey, buffalo, antelope, elk, African wildlife, whatever does not stand a chance against modern weapons of war.

But in that book was a most memorable line. Which I immediately copied down and have repeated often over the years, suggesting -or more likely demanding - that this is what I want carved on my tombstone. (Even when they remind me that I told them I wanted to be cremated - therefore leaving no place for anything permanent to be written - so I suggested a bench someplace people could sit and ponder...)

So this is it:  'If you are not doing things for fun anymore, you might as well be dead.' 

Which says to me that you need to deliberately plan your life so you are doing things that bring you joy. Not necessairily determined to scratch something off your bucket list on a weekly basis, but making conscious effort on a regular basis to do those things that had you saying 'I wish I could...' or 'If I had the time I'd...' Don't wait until everything is in perfect alignment: that will never happen and you will look back on a life lived much to cautiously, having been the one who so carefully stayed on the well-marked roads, and missed out on all lots of opportunities for joy.

If you came across something like this on a big marble marker in a cemetery, would you be amused? Or confounded? Or think: Crazy Person buried here?

visiting in decatur...

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Got up excessively early last Friday morning: actually awakening about 4 a.m., watching the clock, waiting for the alarm to go off at 4:30. Getting stuff organized to get on the road and drive into Atlanta, hoping to beat the millions of people who live there and have to be on the opposite side of town for work five days a week.

I'd accidently eaten some chocolate before getting in bed, so it was midnight before my eyes were persuaded to stay shut - which made for a pretty short night. When I arrived, as the sun was just beginning to light up the sky, I could not think of any reason to not take a little nap or two. So snuggled back down in the bed, fully dressed and had a snooze.

We got up and walked the wild-crazy-hyper canines and did the usual Friday errands: running across town (it sounds like a five minute jaunt - which is far from actualilty) to load up the Juke with most of a weeks' worth of food to feed the nightly crowds at Eddie's Attic. I had much time on my hands, so I took another walk, wandering around busy downtown Decatur. The place was swarming with teenagers as soon as the high school, about a block from busy commercial area let out for the weekend. And they all looked so young! And of course, trying to give the appearance of being older, mature, and oh-so-cool. I understand the city has public safety people who do nothing but keep an eye on them as the mill around the boutiques, stores and coffee shops in the afternoons.

I was in the city to visit with family of a cousin. The family was in the states for holidays, and will return to China where they have lived for several years. Including a little 18 month old kid, who probably knows more Chinese than the adults! If you had forgotten, like I had due to no recent exposure to little people: it is amazing how busy they are - just constantly on the move, looking at stuff, inspecting their surroundings, absorbing information, learning about the world. And very amusing.

personal improvement project, part 2

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Another thing: I decided to be kinder to myself emotionally.

I started seeing a therapist. Partially because I have insurance coverage (one of the biggest reasons we do a lot of things to help ourselves, from going to the dentist twice a year, to getting moles removes, and having sore feets looked at), and also because it's time. All the dang skeletons have been dancing, bumping, thumping, jangling around in the closet long enough. It's time to turn on the light, help them find the doorknob and get all that musty, dusty, nasty stuff out in the open.

I had my third appointment today. Not particularly insighful, but know that all that stuff I have been piling trash up on to try to hide for years will take some time to root through and begin the process of resolution. Kinda reminds me of the photos you see of third world countries, where the photographer from National Geographic is looking down from a great height - and there is a garbage dump, with literally thousands of tons of trash heaped up, and little children picking through the hopeless mess, looking for something of some value: to eat, wear, sell. Hopefully getting to the bottom of the muck will occur, with a sense of personal gratification/peace in my heart.

So... I finally got around to telling my signficant other that I had started this process. We were sitting in a restaurant of his choosing. Someplace I would Never Choose,as the only food on the menu is stuff I don't eat - plus it's almost excllusively  fried: 2 strikes. I'm sure he was wondering what I had been up to all afternoon, as I only worked half a day. So I told him that I have been going to see a therapist, and just had my third appointment today. And his response: "I wish P. was here, to help me eat an order of fried crab claws."

Pretty much self-explanatory, huh?

personal improvement project, part 1

New year's resolutions? Not here. I remember when my mom Insisted that we would come up with some written plans for self-improvement on several occasions in my growing up years. Honestly: none of them were memorable, and I cannot say that they stuck around long enough to even gather dust. But I do have a very clear memory of her feeling a great necessity for all the family to write and share things they were planning to do or cease in the next twelve months.

I am going to do things to try to get/be healthier - but that's something on-going. I have been consciously, in varying degrees of success/motivation, been working on for nearly twenty years. Ever since I realized that both of my grandmothers lived to be in their mid-nineties. It suddenly occurred to me one day that I should start taking better care of my body, as I considered the likelihood of living in it for another fifty plus years. Hopefully some of my ideas/plans have been effective.

Knowing there was a family history of osteoporosis, I have been doing things that I thought would be helpful as preventive measures - some more successful than others. Even though it was probably not specifically diagnosed back in another century, I recall the tiny grandmother getting tinier over the years, and the other one with a long history of broken limbs, and joint replacements: which to me signifies descendents at risk. Recently had a bone scan done: yep. Now to figure out the best/most effective path to take to try to preserve/possibly rebuild lost bone. Dang. I thought I was doing all the right things.

so...how was your holiday, part 2...

Qualifier: Unless you think you have a pretty sturdy constitution, you need to stop reading, and wait for the next trivial post.

Hope you enjoyed time during celebrating New Years' with people you really like. Not just whom-ever might have invited you to the party, or the people that made the most noise, or had the best finger-food, or the most alcohol that needed consuming before we ran out of 2012 - but folks who have meaning in your life, people you want to stay connected with, and would like to spend more time with in the coming twelve months.

I can't say that I did any of the above, good or bad.But readily confess that here, at my house, it was pretty ugly.

I must have eaten something I should not have. Hard to believe I would say that, since I have 'proclaimed' and boasted for years that I am the person who can eat things that have been sitting in the fridge so long it would probably kill, or at least make deathly ill, anyone else in my household. Proved myself to be a big liar on December 31. I'm pretty sure I know where I went wrong, and most certainly will not do that again.

It was not a pretty sight, or fun when I was in the bathroom, lying on the hard cold floor. Thoughit lasted only long enough to remove the offender from the premises. Reminding me of the comedian Bill Engvall,who, when asking what he should eat before taking off in a jet with Blue Angels high-flying precision aerobatics team, was told to consume Peanut Butter, since it tastes the same coming back up as it does going down.

But it's over, and I survived. And the ill effects were apparently not all that long lasting: by noon on Jan. 1, I found myself in the deli. at Publix hoping they had some black-eyed peas on the hot bar, as I did not want to have to go home and cook them myself. Knowing better than to tempt fate, I was fortunate to find enough in my take out box, to provide all the 'insurance' as well as the usual by-product from eating lentils to believe that 'good luck' , if not necessarily great wealth that theoretically accompanies eating greens on New Year's Day, is on the way in the coming year.