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getting it done...

Friday, March 29, 2013
I accidentally found myself with the responsibility of putting together fresh flower bouquets for a wedding on Saturday. An acquaintance from church had asked several months ago if I would help with decorations for her daughter who was planning to get married on the Saturday before Easter. I said 'of course' ...and did not write it down in the appropriate square on my calendar/life-keeping device. Whoops.

She sent me photos a couple of weeks ago, of what the bride would like to have. Something that is normally readily available, but, (Murphy's Law) there is none anyplace in a radius of twenty miles when I need these particular lilies to make the bridesmaids bouquets. I sure hope she will be satisfied with Plan B.

In talking with the department manager at Publix, I understood that I would not be on the schedule to work on the Saturday before Easter. So I was: oh, no problem... I'll have plenty of time to get it done on Friday night and all day on Saturday. Then I went to work earlier this week and: Whoops! I'm on the work schedule for both Friday and Saturday...

There I was last night, at 9:00, making a run to another store (I think that was the seventh trip to Publix looking for lilies - plus two stops at Winn Dixie), trying to get enough lilies to finish the four bridesmaid's  bouquets. I will have to get the other two, the ones with roses, done today... Why I am sitting here typing instead of arranging, cutting stems, hand-tying ribbons, I can't say... I need to get this mess finished and cleaned up, put in the auxiliary fridge to deliver tomorrow afternoon.

Now that I've asked to have my work hours rearranged so I can get there at 7:00 in the morning, and leave at 2:00 - I don' t think I will have a problem with getting the flowers in the hands of the wedding party in plenty of time. Once again: I am certain that the bride will have absolutely no memory whatsoever of anything on her wedding day, without people showing her photos or telling stories later. And by then: it won't matter. And hopefully everything that went awry will be something they can laugh about for the next fifty years....

it won't happen again...

The title is an oblique reference to something secreted in the blog on Dec. 28 of last year. You'd have to be closely acquainted with the situation here to fully understand, but the gist of it is that on of the greatest benefits to traveling alone is you get to go and come, stop and start on your own personal agenda - not at the whim of someone who didn't really want to go anywhere, and left home and the comforts of recliner and remote control under duress.

We (us two at my house) had a discussion earlier this week about going to Decatur next Sunday. The plan is to get up and attend an early church service, then come home to load up sundry food items/casseroles/desserts and head north. There will be a group there, of people I rarely see but enjoy spending time with, and I am looking forward to having the afternoon to visit and talk, enjoy seeing kids, bouncing babies, eating too much. So the person who likes to be in control, have opinions/instructions obeyed without question -  has been thoroughly cautioned of the risk involved in thinking it is acceptable to 'eat and run'.  Because it is Not Acceptable. And I won't be doing it.

I told him I didn't mind getting a ride to the airport and taking the shuttle that runs between Hartsfield and Columbus twenty times a day. Or I didn't mind taking myself, which means we will drive to Decatur in separate vehicles, though we will be going to the same place at the same time. He just needs to understand that I won't be the riding with the person who thinks it is o.k. to get up from the table and say 'good-by'. My intention is to spend the afternoon, so if he wants to go lay down and take a post-prandial nap, that is perfectly acceptable.

I finally got around to being able to tell him: how thorougly annoyed I was on Christmas  Day in Chattanooga,  when he finished eating and stood up, ready to go home. Someone asked if he was leaving, and he said he needed to start towards Columbus as the weather was going to be bad, if he could get his wife to come along. The man had been warned about that - but I failed to remind him I couldn't agree with that behavior as we walked in the door.

And was so stunned when he made the announcement - I'm still mortified to admit that I got up, said 'thank you, ' and walked out shortly after. I was so completely irritated and taken aback at this turn of events, I think it was several days before I could carry on a conversation with him. I know it was a long, dark, cold trip home without any conversation whatsoever.

He's been warned. You may see me out alongside the interstate highway with my thumb out - but That Won't Be Me leaving Decatur right after lunch.

it must be time....

Thursday, March 28, 2013
I saw something on the mass mailing list for the panhandle area Neighborhood Watch. And decided it is time for me to get the hummingbird juice ready to put the feeders out. Someone posted a photo of his 'first' sighting of the spring - caught in motion, looking for something sweet to poke his little thin beak into.

So I got out the jar I put the sugar water in, made the concoction in the proper proportions and have two feeders out with bird juice - ready to for them to come and tweet their way around my yard. Really not much blooming around here - some yellow carolina jasmine, and the tiny little white and blue blooms of mazaus ground cover. But I'm ready for the hummers to come back and find my feeders - full and waiting.

surprising, unexpected news...

I have been accused of lots of different things in my long interesting life. I have had people point a finger at me and say: "You are  _ _ _ _", or "I saw you _ _ _ _." But -in all these years - I don't think I have ever heard anyone suggest that I might, even remotely, be Normal.

I got a call from the doctor's office in Montgomery yesterday, to tell me that I should just continue to take the Rx I have been on for a couple of months. What the nurse said was that the lab work came back within 'normal' range, so the dosage is correct. There is no need to adjust, tinker with what's going on in my body, fine tune the medications to raise or lower the amount I have been taking each morning.I asked 'does that mean I am normal ?' and the nurse said yes. I laughed heartily, and she did too. I told her I was delighted  to think that  after all these years to be considered Normal. I think she might have come close to falling off her chair with amusement. She is a Very Large person, so I was kinda wishing I could see that.

I told the nurse when I was there on Monday, that though I have been taking this medication for many years, I had only recently discovered that I should be taking it differently: first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, with lots of water. Something no one, not doctor or pharmacist, had bothered to tell me over this long time of feeling that it was vital to my health to take the pills daily. And  just  now discovering on the most recently filled Rx bottle that I should not be taking it when I take calcium or iron (both of which I take every day to maintain healthly blood and bones)... so apparently I have been counter-acting the desired effect by years, wasting the price of the Rx, by taking it when it would not be adequately absorbed and used in my body chemistry.

This is something I have been taking for nearly thirty years, when a doctor told me it was needed. And though I cannot recall the dosage over time, I know it has been pretty close to what I am taking now. So - it's possible/likely that I've been Normal for years and didn't even know how close I've been. Sad: does that equal 'average'?  How dull. No fun. I demand a do-over....

the schedule gets squeezed

I asked my department manager two weeks ago to give me some sort of idea as to what I could expect with working the week before Easter. And he was the epitome of vagueness. He did tell me that I should plan on working the two days after the holiday. But the only thing he would tell me about the week prior to, is that I would not be working on Saturday.

So when I went in on Tuesday, I discovered me! on the schedule for Friday and Saturday before Easter. Which will make for a two nice paychecks with some extra hours on both: but I had not planned to be on the clock for the rest of this week. And had plans to do some bouquets for a little wedding I accidentally agreed to put together and deliver Saturday afternoon for the ceremony at 5 p.m. out in the country, under a gazebo surrounded by brightly blooming azaleas and dogwoods.

I spent the day chasing around, running all over town, going to five different Publix stores and two Winn Dixie floral departments looking for the flowers the bride wants in her bouquets. And hope I have enough to make the bouquets for the bride and five attendants. Plus boutonnieres and corsages for mothers. I'll have to get it all done today, since the rest of my week will be devoted to clocking in and getting paid - probably doing prep. work in the produce department.

And squeeze in the rest of the cooking I was planning. Goodies to take to Decatur on Sunday, for family and friends lunch in the backyard, to the accompaniment of a rooster celebrating Easter while annoying the neighbors. And announcing the fact that no one has slipped out in the dark and rung his sorry little neck. There will always be a carrot cake, and an offering from the hen-house in the form of deviled eggs.

I have a bucket full of lilies and red roses, ready to be put to use. Today will be the day I am really thankful to have an auxiliary refrigerator to store the fresh flowers in until they are needed on Saturday afternoon.

going to Alabama (w/o banjo...)

Monday, March 25, 2013
I have an  appointment in Montgomery this afternoon. I don't mind the drive, and really enjoy the thought that I can actually arrive there at the same time I leave here:  Red-neck Version of Time Travel, due to having to cross the Chattahoochee and go into the central time zone. So if my appointment is for 1:00, I can leave home at 1:00, drive for an hour and still get there at 1:00. Pretty cool.

Kinda like the joke about the blue collar working guys having lunch and deciding on the most amazing inventions of the past one hundred years; one saying that he was convinced the best ever is his Thermos because it can keep 'hot things hot' and 'cold things cold'. His buddies are thinking: 'so what?' and he responded with 'how do it know?' And basically that's my thought about lots of things that keep our society going in the pell-mell world we live in: any thing that is not a hand-operated tool like a hammer or screw-driver - refrigerators, automobiles, washing machines, cell phones, computers, technology? how do it know?

Anyway: the doctor is the one who is tinkering with my thyroid medications. And changes it every single time I go for an office visit. Strangely unwilling to allow me to have the lab work done in advance, so she would have the results there, on hand, to talk to me about how well the Rx is/isn't leveling stuff out. Even though I have asked to have it done here, as I know the best results from blood work come when the samples are taken early in the morning after overnight fasting. So apparently the numbers are all over the map, and she either adjusts the dosage up or down every few months when I return for another evaluation.

I have been taking this particular Rx for approximately thirty years, with maybe small variations in the generic formula. So was really surprised to find a little sticker on the last bottle I picked up at the pharmacy that indicates I should not take iron or calcium supplements at the same time I take the little yellow pill. I am amazed  and astounded to think I have been taking this particular drug for so many years, and the druggist is just now telling me that taking it along with other supplements is not good. And have to wonder how long they've known about the risk/interactions without making any effort to let the consumer in on the secret?  We are just the customer/consumer: always the last to know about tainted meat, contaminated consumables, poisoned waterholes while crawling through the desert on our hands and knees, dying of thirst...

I need to get organized (meaning out of my pj's and into attire suitable for public appearance) and ready to travel. Usually have talking books to keep myself amused while I am driving, so I get a bit educated for no extra charge (unless I let the books get overdue at the library!), and entertained on the road. Think how smart I would be if I were actually reading something that educational, instead of trivial fiction!

happy b'day, mr. homer...

Sunday, March 24, 2013
I went to Decatur on Friday, and spent the night, to go to SC on Saturday - and not do all the driving on one day. It would be about eight hours of driving if I tried to go to Greenville and get back home without stopping to rest/sleep someplace, and I have pretty much learned that isn't possible any more. Been there, done that (as in driving to Tybee Island, Valdosta and back to Lynch Road before flopping into bed), and know it's not sensible, practic-able or something anyone with 1/2 a brain would attempt. Which implies that your average teenager would just jump in the car and take a tour without a second thought.

Anyway: I wanted to go to Greenville due to having received an invitation to my pen pal's birthday party. His actual birthday was on the 21st, but his family planned the party, to be in his home church fellowship hall, for Saturday, when more people would be able to attend. When I met the preacher, I told him that I fully expected to get the prize for 'the person who traveled the greatest distance'.

The family had set up a couple of tables with memoribilia on it: family photos, all his ribbons and pins from serving in theArmy, several photo/scrapbooks he has complied over the years with personal history. I was standing there looking at pictures, and reading some cute and sweet letters he has saved from schools where he has been invited to talk about his service in WW II. And turned around, to discover the room had completely filled up, with over one hundred people there, all milling around, greeting one another, hugging, shaking hands, passing around babies. They were eating birthday cake, drinking punch, enjoying reconnecting with one another, sharing stores and laughs.

And suddenly thought about the book I read  a year or so ago about Paul Revere, Revolutionary hero. It seems that we all remember Paul Revere, silver-smith and midnight rider. He lived in Boston when the Birtish Army was sent to put down a small insurrection, but accidently caused a revolution instead. The reason we know and admire Mr. Revere two-hundred-plus years later is that he was the guy who was the contact point for all the other people in the community who were part of the surreptitious militia, men and boys, husbands and wives, who willing to take up arms to defend their homes and families from the Red-coated troops. He was the 'hub' of the many small groups, making contact with lots of other people who were the 'spokes' and put the word out in the community to let the citizenry know what was going on, and what they needed to do to protect themselves. Kinda like the place where the 'Venn' diagram in your elementary school math class intersects.

I looked up and saw Mr. Homer, standing there, smiling all over, looking so pleased and delighted to see all his friends, family, fellow church members, fellow American Legion members, neighbors - and realized that 90 % of the people there were directly connected to him. And the other 10 % who were there as spouses, were in some way connected to the people who got the invitations to the party. So he was essentially the center of his own personal 'Venn' diagram - the place where all those other people overlapped - the person they all came to see, greet, smile for, laugh with, share memories, funny stories, reminisce. Everyone of them got up off the couch, and in the car, drove to his little Dunean Baptist Church and walked in the door to say: they were happy that he was having another birthday.

Me, too!

about compulsive writing (formerly known as 'journaling') and weirdos...

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Most of what you read here is history. It recently occurred to me to realize that these little tidbits, some amusing, some not so much, some entertaining, some self-revealing, a few embarrassing but reported none-the-less (which is surprising to see in print, as there was a time when I would never, never share things of a humiliating nature): are part of my legacy. Along with those half a dozen journals I wrote to maintain mental health nearly ten years ago, when I found myself unintentionlly living part time in two different places - always, always feeling like I should be someplace else.

Having recently shared the blog address with someone who had never read it before, I heard about another individual falling off the chair after reading of the 'Lizard Incident'. (The reptile eventually came to an untimely end - if you haven't read the update - probably due to stress...) It is now apparent that these words and musings will continue to circle in the atmosphere for eternity. According to an article in a recent Time magazine about what happens to things you launch into cyberspace, it seems that most of the information now floating in the atmosphere is available to anyone who makes the effort to retrieve it. There are no controls or laws in place to protect the material for the family or friends of the former owner/author/producer.

So even though most of what you have read here is pretty cheezy and lame, I don't think there is anything so mortifying as to be worth trying to protect. Remember  me telling you that when you put stuff up on Facebook you have no control over where it goes, and who sees it. You heard me say I am convinced that the majority of people who delve into that site are voyeurs. They are people who want to know about you, your life without being willing to reveal or invest anything, no reciprocation - which is pretty much in the same category as folks who stand in the shrubbery and peer into windows after dark. So though you think the info. is casually shared amongst your dear friends - it's out there, for all the world to see - anything you hang out on the clothesline is fair game for every passing eyeball to observe.

If you want to read those hundreds and hundreds of pages  in the composition books I filled with my thoughts and misery when I was 'in the pit', in desperate need of therapy, they are on the top shelf in the closet. I have not looked at them in years, But I know there are shards of my heart between the pages and need to keep them safe.

it may not qualify....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I am not sure how to describe today: if I was not actually working in MY yard, does it still qualify as yard work? I have  not done anything in my yard (other than walk around with the hand clippers when the 'Lizard Incident' occured) in months. But I went this morning and spent about two hours pulling up ivy with some fellow Master Gardeners on a very steep hillside at the Columbus Museum.

The person (also a MG) who persuaded me to want to apply manual labor to some 'other' yard, is the chairman of the annual Garden Tour sponsored as a big fundraiser by a local non-profit. The garden, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted (who also did the original design for Central Park in NYC, along with lots of other impressive landscapes nation-wide), will be on the Garden Tour in May. So that chairperson is working with the Museum, as part of their anniversary celebration, to help get their garden area ship-shape. Since the original building ther was a family home, the gardens were once part of a private residence. Many years overgrown, and neglected, with lots of trash and sundry botanical surprises to be found amongst the plantings.

I have gotten so judiciously careful of protecting my back in recent months, I won't even do yard work at my house, lave been trying to find a teenager who wants to earn some cash, and it pays pretty good. It's both surprising and possibly crazy that I spent the time this morning snatching up ivy and and doing physical stuff, like weed/unwanted volunteer plant pulling on public property. I had the thought that I should have asked them when it would be my turn: a couple of hours of all that free labor coming to  my house to work would really get some of my little projects accomplished in record time. As my mom use to say: Many hands make light work.

the rest of the story: holy cow...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
That story from last week when I discovered a reptile in my pants: it died. I just noticed it deceased on the floor, over in the corner last night. It made it over there to the south-facing windows where I put the few little house plants I bring in when it gets cold - but it didn't actually 'make it'. Sad, but there's nothing here in my house that a small reptile would enjoy eating anyway - now that my person is not available to chomp on.

When I felt that mysterious movement in my clothing, it was not unlike having your phone on vibrate when you go to the movies or church and turn the sound off - it does not make any noise, but the odd, unexpected though slight movement that occurs can be very disconcerting. Almost like a localized muscle twitch... but with the small reptile - it kept twitching, even though it was no where near my pocket where the phone would be located - and was more than strange - extremely weird.

And more than extremely weird: completely unnerving when I got to feeling around in there, and there was more than just me - and it was alive.... but sad to say, not for long.

another interesting day of sub. teaching...

I accidently found myself with a little job on Monday, working as a para-professional (formerly known as 'teacher's aide') in a school out on the north side of town. Due to not having much on my calendar for that day, and completely loosing all sense of time and place from jet-lag-gy like symptoms of insufficient sleep: I took a Day Labor offer when the phone rang on Sunday night. Knowing that going to an elementary school up in the high-end part of town would not be a hair-pulling experience, I decided: might as well make a few bucks as stay at home and putter around in my p.j.'s all day.

The interesting part is a couple of little five year olds who were obviously Latino. From their appearance of beautiful shiny straight black hair, smooth olive-toned skin and the obvious Hispanic last names, I knew they were products of families from central America. When it came time for each child to get a box of books they are reading individually, the teacher gave me a list of of five students to spend time with. I was to listen to each child read one book - you know: the kind of books that have eight pages and maybe ten words per page, mostly repetitive like 'Goodnight Moon'. This precious, beautiful little girl did not know the sight words most of them can identify. And had no skills for sounding the words out, could not take the words apart, and make a guess, or use the 'picture clue', looking at the illustrations to get an idea as to what the printed matter would be.

When I mentioned it to the teacher, who obviously does not have time to work with individual students, she said that the child (and I guess a brother, who has the same last name) does not hear English at home. So there is no reinforcement of what she is exposed to in the classroom. Something I never considered: if you don't hear it, to know and understand it/learn it as a common means of communication - there is no way you will have the ability to use it. I guess speaking the 'language' of mathematics or 'language' of computers is the same: I don't understand it as an adult, because it was not put there when I was a malleable child, absorbing information like a sponge. Same could be said of any language that is not primary, though I know some individuals have the ability/gift to easily absorb or learn many other languages, both actual languages and other means of communication like the technical terms of technology or science.

So - in that vein: my blessing of the day was Thankfulness for English. All those teachers over the years who forced me to learn to speak proper English. Who devoted their days to teaching conjugation, who were determined to see that their little subjects in the world of junior high would get subjects and verbs to match up. Insistent that sentences be complete and coherent, starting with a capital letter and ending with proper punctuation. Demanding that paragraphs be properly constructed and intelligible.

Thankful, as usual, to be living in the USA, with the blessings of the Constitution still (mostly) in force and enforced.

what I learned from a weekend of Emmaus-ing...

Sunday, March 17, 2013
I am sad and chagrined to admit that it is not possible for me to function indefinitely on five hours of sleep per night. This from the person who deliberately choose to not spend the entire weekend in Harris County. The decision was  made when the volunteering was done months ago, as I thought I would rather spend thirty minutes driving twice a day, and sleep in my own little nest each night.

I knew that sleeping in a big open room with a dozen  other females would not be beneficial to my mental health. There was no doubt in my mind when I signed up for this little tour of duty that commuting was the only way to go. The people here on Lynch Road sleep in separate beds, in separate rooms, with two closed doors.There was no way to expect a restful night, in a room filled with other individuals who would be making a wide variety of noises in their sleep, to say nothing of bathroom doors banging closed, and toilet stall doors thumping shut all night long. And the reports I got from co-workers/fellow volunteers reinforced  my feelings/thoughts of what a distressing night could be in the worst case scenario.

So I've been getting home at midnight for three nights, and getting up when the alarm would go off at 5:30, to be back on the job by 6:30, lighting the candles, setting the mood (sounds like more 'fun' that it really was - there was no romantic mood-setting involved), preparing for pilgrims to move along in their journey. Add to that one late  night, and one early morning, trip to Wallyworld for supplies, and whole experience pretty much dissolves into a blur.

It is always a good experience, to be there, serving the needs of the pilgrims on the walk - realizing how many people devote their weekends, donate their time to make the event run so smoothly. I was thinking, which is risky. Wondering how many hours there are between Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., and Sunday afternoon at 5:00, when most everyone has cleared out and headed home. You need to multiply that number by the number of volunteers who are there, doing necessary jobs behind the scenes to provide such a wonderful experience for the dozens of people who are on the Walk. Then you multiply that number by four, as the Valley group provides the Walk four times each year - spring and fall, one weekend for men, followed by another for women. Times 22, as the weekend that just ended was Walk #22, times two, as both men and women get the same # for their experience printed on their badges. So: who's done the math?

That's a lot of man-hours, donated to the Community. By members who lovingly provide the Emmaus experience. For hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims who are willing to separate themselves from family and friends for three days to grow in ways they never could have imagined. In talking to a minister/friend over the weekend, I am convinced we of the community continue to return on those set aside weekends to insure the ongoing success of these events in a 'pay it forward' sort of way. To silently, invisibly minister to those who will in return go out into the world with hearts on fire. And hopefully return in years to come, to be 'us': the hands and feet, who will provide the same sweet,  life-changing experience for generations to come.

it's 11:54 on Friday night...

Friday, March 15, 2013
I just got home from my second day of Emmaus. It was, I think, even longer than the long day I put in on Thursday, but not sure how. I guess the fact that there was so much 'down time' with nothing to do but wait for the next little spate of busy-ness made it seem more tedious.

I had set the alarm for 5:30 this morning, so I could get a shower before heading back to Harris County. Good Luck with that. Maybe I will get a shower and be nice and fresh for another day of Emmaus-ing on Saturday. But not unless I quit this silly blogging and go to bed before midnight - which is now three minutes away.

it's 11:59 on Thursday night...

I just got home from a busy day. Not like me to be conscious so late. But here I am writing, instead of sleeping.

I invited myself to go to my little part-time jobette at 7 a.m,. this morning to work for six hours. Making the fresh-fruit yougurt parfaits and salads to replace all the ones that would either sell or get tossed in the morning before the store opens because they are out-of-date. I told them I was available to work, but had to come in early, to be able to leave soon after noon so I could get up to Harris County for the volunteer job I committed to for the weekend.

This is the weekend of the Emmaus walk, and I will be working 'behind the scenes', serving on the Worship team Friday and Saturday, and a bit on Sunday (before I have to go to work in the afternoon). That means some long days of getting up very early to drive up there at first light, and getting home way after dark. But the other option of staying in a big room with at least a dozen other people who will be tossing and turning, snorting and sneezing, snoring and coughing, if not wide awake and bumping and thumping around, letting bathroom stall doors slam all night long. and rattling around in the dark. Since I know I would not get any rest, and would not be alert all day without at least a partial night's rest, I would rather make the drive eight times (two trips x four days) than consider the completely unlikely possibility of staying over.

It is always a gratifying experience, to be an unseen worker, part of the team/group who discover the experience of serving so meaningful that they sign up and show up year after year to make Emmaus Walks a success. Opening the door to bring more devoted members into the Emmaus community who will carry on the work, and be the people who will volunteer into the jobs that they will eventually train others for, and continue to recruit more friends, family, into the fellowship.

I was telling my co-worker today who is serving as a volunteer for the first time - how it never fails to amaze me that it takes so many people to make these events run smoothly. There are probably forty or fifty people who give up their weekends, time with family to be the worker bees/individuals on different teams, in a number of different areas/capacities that make these occasions such a memorable time for those 'pilgrims' in attendance. Most of whom will be completely oblivious as to the effort all those volunteers put into making this time away from the world such a profound experience.

holy cow!

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Actually, what I meant was holy shit - I just found a lizard in my pants.

After you get done falling off the chair from laughing, I will tell you what I know...

I had to work today, made salads  most of the time. And only had an hour to get all the floral freight put out - which was not enough time, so I stayed over an extra hour - just to get it all done. Lately, when I have not gotten the floral stuff taken care of, I think my boss is pretty annoyed that I don't do it, and leave it to be put out the next day - so the choice is either run out of time and not get finished, or stay over and do it. So I was there an extra hour today.

All the while wanting to go home, as it turned out to be pretty, sunny, warm - a nice day to be puttering out in the yard. Which I did, with my clippers, trimming up some stuff in the 'new' bed I planted last spring/summer across the front of the house. It started getting late - crazy time change confusing me about when it is 'really' time to come in, quit for the day - and I came in to throw something together for us to eat. We sat down, and I kept feeling this weirdness in my pants - thinking I must have a bug or something - and reached down in there and found: holy shit, it's a lizard. Who was probably even more surprised than I was to find himself coming out of my pants in the house. Which would have made him Very Surprised, as I was pretty amazed and astounded to discover a reptile in my britches.

I did not look to see if he 'runned oft' when I dropped him on the floor - at this point - he's on his own, and cannot expect another free ride from me!

blooming like crazy...

Saturday, March 9, 2013
There are these little bulb plants that are blooming all over the place here... and looking so spring-y!

We planted them over twenty five years ago, not long after moving into the house. They are out in the leaf mulch, under trees where I forget about them. And then suddenly - usually so early in the year I am caught by surprise, since the woods are so bare and drab, with no color anywhere: there they are - blooming like crazy. Little tiny bell shaped flowers, gently blowing in the breeze. About the size of the tip of your pinky finger, with a scalloped edge that makes them look like they have been trimmed with pinking shears. Looking very similar to Lily of the Valley, with a tiny little green dot at the point of each scallop. I've been calling them snowdrops all these years, but I am sure there is some latin name.

They came in a big trash bag full of bulbs my aunt gave me when she had a flower bed dug up to replant. She was renovating her mother's house, and doing some yard work, deciding that the flower beds needed renovating as well. So every spring, when the little snowdrops are practically the only thing blooming, promising warmer weather, I have to think about my grandmother, and the beloved aunt who gave me the bulbs.

The other thing that is showing off in my yard right now: hyacinth bulbs - dozens of them. And what is so amazing is that they were all on the way to the gallows when they took at detour and came to my house instead. I've rescued lots of plants in pots that were bloomed out and headed for the dumpster, but none have been gratifyingly successful as the hyacinth bulbs. Lots of dark purple ones (probably the name of that shade of blue is called 'hyacinth'), as well as white ones, and some pale pink, and a darker pink that is more of a dusty rose color. When they indoors, in a confined space, the aroma of a hyacinth plant in bloom can be overwhelming - kinda like too much gardenia odor - so sweet smelling it can make you queasy. But the ones I have planted out in beds around the house have recovered from being 'forced' in Canadian greenhouses and have been extraordinary this year.

When we sit down at the dining table to eat in the late afternoon and I  look out the window and see the bell-shaped blooms of the snowdrops, and the colorful spikes of hyacinths I can't help but smile. Even though the weather is windy, miserably cold and far to chilly to be out enjoying the world - seeing those determined, brightly blooming flowers, and knowing they bring the promise of warm days and sunny spring weather: I'm sitting here, right now, with a great big smile.

about that trip to Ball Ground...

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Ever been to Ball Ground? Me neither... We didn't go. It was just not a good day - really cold and really windy - so much of both that we decided it was just going to be No Fun at all if we tried to go and troop out through the woods to see all the bulbs. Honestly, it was so cold - if the flowering bulbs had thought of it - they probably would have retreated back underground just to get out of the wind. We'll try again in early April - and hope that there are still some daffodils to see when we get there in a  month's time.

We did amuse ourselves by going downtown to the High Museum to the 'Diego and Frida', that I had not particularly felt the need to see - but found very interesting. As I have studied art history over the years, it has been intriguing to realize how all the things that are going on in any particular point in time somehow affect and interact with all the other events of that period. Politics, society, financial world, art: all impacting the world and the way we see the pas.. On a personal level with individuals like Frida Kahlo and the art she produced that reflected her personal history and emotional state. And in a bigger sense of world influences that are demonstrated by the wall sized murals painted by Diego Rivera in Mexico and the US. One of the murals he was commissioned to do by the Rockefellers was so offensive when the family saw it, the painting was destroyed rather than allowed to remain up in a public place to be viewed by people who would see the family in an unfavorable light. Much influenced by communism and the teachings of Lenin, he used his art to promote feelings and opinions about Mexican politics and government.

We really wished we had remembered to get out the eye-liner and color in a uni-brow on our foreheads before we went to the museum - but the workers there probably would not have been amused.

Just hanging out most of the day, though we went over to Emory U. to hear some students read their poetry, along with a guy F. really wanted to hear. Buddy Wakefield is giving a poetry reading at Eddie's tonight, and was invited to come to Emory to share some of his work with students there. He is apparently successful enough to support himself with his writings and published work,  and currently doing a tour,(including Decatur) for several weeks. It was pretty interesting - especially after sitting through several performances of some really  if-fy stuff some of the students had written and read.

This made me know I did not need to drive home on Wed. night, so I got up at 6:00 am to get back to town just in time to go to work for four hours. I've been making salads.

ever been to Ball Ground? me neither - yet...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Now that I have new tires to take me interesting places, I am going! Even though the geographic location is not really part of the reason to go, I love the idea of all those oddly named towns I've heard of tucked away in Georgia, and looking forward to getting to see a place with a name like Ball Ground. This particular town,  up in north GA, is where there are hundreds and hundreds of bulbs planted: hopefully they will all be in glorious bloom on Wednesday.

I wanted to go last year about this time, but seem to recall that they were not open to the public. Well - now they are: not only open, but wanting people to come so badly they are advertising: supporting broadcasting on Georgia Public Radio is an easy way to get yourself promoted to the public. As well as charging over-priced admission: $20 a person to get in the gate.. At GibbsGarden.org, the venue is available as a place to rent for weddings, parties, special occasions. My guess is that it is designed and carefully groomed to have something blooming from early spring into the fall - with enough eye appeal to lure folks into wanting to pay big bucks  for use as site for memorable gatherings that would involve hired photographers to attend and commemorate their high-priced events. If I can figure out how to use the camera, I will take photos for you to enjoy.

I am, by way of planned detour, also going through Kathleen, GA, which is just below Warner Robins. Amongst other things, it is the location of a coffeehouse run as a ministry of the Presbyterian Church: a pretty unusual choice for church outreach program - especially when you consider history of ultra conservative protestant group. I know the manger, and thought it would be neat to go by and see her, an interesting diversion on my travels - she used to be a babysitter for our family.

And travelling through Macon, where I hope to visit a cousin I really like and seldom see. Then on to Decatur to locate my traveling companion who will go along on Wednesday to see the Gibbs Daffodil-
Land. And: there's a place over near Birmingham,in Hoover Alabama where some hydrangea lover (at aldridgegardens.com) has established a test-garden with hundreds of different varieties of plants that is open to the public. So when the weather gets a bit warmer, and the season of gloriously blooming hydrangeas occurs, we will be making a little trip to the west to investigate that. I'm pretty sure that Mr. Aldridge loves his plants and wants to share/show off so much, he does not charge a fee for admirers to come in and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

I have been to "Plum Nelly", 'way up in the northwest corner, but not to" Dewy Rose", which is probably like Midland - not much more than a post office, since the demise of coal and water stops on the railways. And there are plenty more interestingly, oddly named towns across the state that are in want of visiting before the USPS eliminates them, by closing branches of mail delivery system they think don't warrant staffing. So: Places to Go, Things to Do!

slicing strawberries...

Sunday, March 3, 2013
I had to work at Publix on Saturday. It was unlikely - not something I usually do, unless the Saturday is the day before a big holiday. There was a time when I'd be on the schedule, especially in the spring to assist with getting lots of prom orders completed. But have not done that in a couple of years: not sure if there is less demand/fewer people getting all frou-frou'ed up and needing flowers to complete the evening, or managers just constantly looking at the bottom line, pinching pennies, in the form of keeping labor costs down.

But I was on the schedule to work a whopping big four hours. Got myself together and showed up, to find that I was doing a demo.to invite passersby to taste Fresh Florida Strawberries. Cutting the berries in half, putting them in little plastic single-serve cups and offering customers the opportunity to delight their taste buds with juicy sweet ripe strawberries. I'm glad I was not working on commission, as I don't think the taste-test sold that many more boxes of berries, even though they are being advertised in the media, at a good price.

I thought it was going to happen again today as I usually work Sunday afternoons, but spent most of my day making yogurt parfaits instead. They look like they would be really tasty, especially with the fresh fruit and granola sprinkled over. I think we sell a lot to people who run in for lunch - but at $3 each, I think they are so overpriced, I haven't ever purchased/eaten any.

I had a long conversation with the store manager on Thursday, for those of you who read the letter I spent weeks composing. I don't expect anything will come of it: which is not all bad, as I hope I will continue to be employed. But I was so disturbed by receiving a completely unwarranted employee job evaluation back in the fall that I was compelled to write a response to be included in my personnel file. Which I gave to the boss on Thursday, he read, we talked about, and I assume he filed away.


Friday, March 1, 2013
I've been twice to the school where the Literacy Alliance is doing the tutoring program I am volunteering with. Last week, on Wednesday was my first day, and went back again this week. Thus far, it has been much more satisfying and rewarding than my experience remembered from two years ago.

One of the little people I am working with is named Jakieme (that I cannot pronounce properly, even though it appears to be far less complicated than many of the made up names their mamas  invent with numerous accent marks, apostrophes and/or hyphens.) The other is named Nicole, which is surprisingly pronounced just like we would expect. They are doing pretty well with the reading. The Alliance (probably partially funded by the MCSD and private grant money) provides a different paperback book each week, that they are supposed to read every day, and then do a different craft/coloring paper that serves to reinforce the story. Possibly part of the reason I am thinking this is going to be much better than the most unsatisfactory experience I endured a couple of years ago with kids that really had more problems than any group of volunteers could resolve in 30 min. x 5 days a week. I'm thinking that part of the reason it has been a much more satisfactory reading experience is that by the time I get there on Wed., the  little people have already had two days of reading the book together with other volunteers, so there is some prior knowledge, unlike my going in on Mondays when I was doing the program a couple of years ago at another school.

While I was there this week,the time and date just handily, happily, coincidentally coincided with a program the music teacher had planned to show her support of Black History month. (Amusingly, she is not African-American, equally amusingly, there was one little semi-lost Caucasian girl in the forty-plus member chorus that was singing American Negro Spirituals, doing step dancing, quoting MLK's 'I Have A Dream' speech, reading from Langston Hughes, and singing blatantly militant songs.).

It was surprisingly: really interesting.

I only happened to go to the gym, where all the kids were sitting on the floor, and teachers plus a few parents were in folding chairs, to return my two little people to their class. And after reading the printed 'program', decided to stay a few minutes - which turned into an  hour, as I stayed for the entire program.

Which was unexpectedly inspiring. Mostly to see kids with so much enthusiasm and promise, as fifth or sixth grade kids sang, danced, read, quoted from memory, performed for their classmates, teachers and fellow students. Then the principle took over and tried to impress upon the group, of four and five year olds, up through the ten and twelve year olds - who have no concept of making their way in the world - the importance, necessity of  a good 'education = success' in life. I might have been the only one in the crowd who could fully appreciate the true value of his words. There were some young adult boys-to-men in the crowd, a half dozen or so, who apparently are a group of guys from AU who are serving some how as mentors, maybe doing sports or other activities with some of the guys. And mamas, some of who, sitting on the floor, looked as if they could have had babies as young teens. But mostly women, as teachers, parents, guardians who are trying their best to raise a generation to maturity and help them develop the literacy and social skills they will need to succeed.

con't. to amuse myself...

I have had so much fun amusing myself with many trips all over the map - I had to buy tires this week. Highly annoying, and not at all something that was in the budget. But a necessity to keep me in the state of continual 'amusement..'.

I went to get my oil changed this past Monday, as the 'maint req' light  blinking in the dash had been warning of dire consequences for a week. I've gotten so accustomed that it was really not all that worrisome, but still annoying. Like you used to hear about people putting a piece of electrical repair/duct tape over the blinking numbers on the VCR player when they could not figure out how to properly set or turn it off - not the most efficient 'fix' but it did solve the problem of that interminable distraction of the blinking numbers on the clock.

And when it was time to pay for the oil change (note to self: price has gone up since the last time - might want to check around....) I was informed that the tires on the dependable little Toyo. were getting thin. I think the term the tire guys used was 'slick', which is scary when you think about how much rain we have had lately, and how slippery the roads are, without factoring in 'slick' as in sliding across the lanes of wet asphalt pavement, completely out of control,  in the loony-bird traffic of Atlanta.

So I said: 'That was not something I was prepared to pay for today - so what can we work out?' I was a bit surprised when they did not offer to 'work out' anything - even though we have been doing business with this particular enterprise for thirty years. I was told they did not actually have the tires I need in stock, but I could come back the next day and they would install them, have me road ready for just over $500. I quietly, under my breath, mumbled a four letter word that is a euphemism for Holy Cow. And that I would come back later in the week.

In the meanwhile... I talked to someone who suggested another tire store, so I went there on Wednesday, just to compare prices, not knowing jack about what sort/size of tires I needed. The little guy at Fred's Tires quoted me a price nearly $100 less, probably not the same brand as the ones the other store had. So I went back to store #1 and said I would like to be riding on tires they sold me, and did they want to match that price. This guy then quoted me a price just over $400, so I said I would come back in the afternoon and let them install the new tires. When I came back, the price had mysteriously gone up ten dollars... not nearly enough to whine about as compared to four or five hundred - but the guy who quoted the price looked me straight in the eye and lied to both me and his boss/store owner, saying he had told me a different number.. I explained what I had been told. And let them put on the tires. Then I said: I will pay whatever you want to charge me for these new tires, but I will  not be back to do more business with you.

I paid the $418 I was quoted earlier in the day. But I am through doing business with people who are not truthful.I don't think that my family has done enough business with this family-owned enterprise over the years to have an impact on their success, but I certainly will not be writing them any more checks.

Don't mess with Texas  Or south Georgia girls either..