Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

accidental coffee stop...

Thursday, October 31, 2013
When we arrived a bit early for meeting in Ball Ground, I thought I remembered passing a curb store several blocks back. So we went up the hill, to get a cup of convenience store cappuccino. I know: it's loaded with sugar, fat, and caffeine through the roof, not even the 'real' thing, coming out of a machine that dispenses powdered mix and hot water. But I like it - harmless enough little habit. I've even gotten to the point: in order to avoid so much of all that bad-for-you-stuff, I usually stop at a QT or truck stop where I can dilute it with about a third of a cup of decaf. coffee (and add a couple of ice cubes to avoid burning my tongue!) before I fill my cup with the addictive part.

So I went in the store. The first thing I noticed was that there were two soda machines, and both Coke and Pepsi were out of order. Not an auspicious beginning! And the hot drink machine had two options: mocha-something and caramel-something. Neither of which would be my first choice. (Which is why I like to stop at the QT or Pilot, where there are often a dozen flavors available from four different machines.) I decided the 'mocha' would be the lesser of the evils, and got my little styro. cup, pressed the button. The result was a very water-y, unpleasant looking liquid. So I told the guy (probably a one man operation) that he needed to come and look at the machine, maybe add some powdered mix. He looked: said it appeared to be OK. But agreed the result was pretty thin looking. Offered me taste - which I did not want as it knew the water was nearly boiling. But I tried it and declined.

He offered me a cup of coffee instead.

I said 'I had my mind set on that tasty cappuccino'.

He said I'd really like the coffee, as it was a superior product.

I said 'Im not much of a coffee drinker, and really wanted a cup of cappuccino.'

He insisted I would love the coffee, saying it was really 'superior'.

I said 'I really don't care for coffee.'

He insisted that 'it's on the house - I won't charge you for it. It's really good, I order it special. It really is superior. It does not have a bitter taste - you'll really like it.'

I said: 'I'm really not a coffee drinker, I try to avoid caffeine, but I'm sure it is very good.'

He got out the bag of roast coffee, to show me that the brand name on the little foil bag said 'Superior', and insisted I would definitely like it. Then he poured me a cup.

Sadly, I failed the 'assertive' test again. I walked out the door with a cup of coffee I did not want, but it was  amusing. I'm pretty sure he felt like he saw the back of a completely satisfied customer, who will return for many more cups of coffee and willingly pay for every one of them.

strolling down the path...

Got up very early on Wednesday to drive to Decatur, trying to get there early enough to avoid the other three million people who would get up to go to work, clogging the highways leading into the City. Had plans to go up to north central GA, near Ball Ground and roam around in Gibbs Gardens.com.P. was to meet us to go on the ramble along garden paths. Due to a bit of miscommunication, people relying on telephones with GPS, arriving on different roads from opposite directions, we originally 'met' in different places. The two of us from the south in actual 'downtown' Ball Ground, and the sister awaiting our arrival in the parking lot of at the entrance of the gardens.

There is one little three block section of 'downtown' in Ball Ground, consisting of several antique/junque stores and three shops filled with rock collections, plus an empty building built in the 1800's as a Masonic Lodge. A plumbing business, a barber shop, and cute-sy little gift shop, a pseudo-french restaurant. Even smaller and less active than Q-town. I got the feeling the rock shops never open, even though the collections have spilled over into neighboring buildings actually taking up several store fronts, all tightly pad-locked, with dusty geodes and arrowheads filling the narrow ledges inside plate-glass windows. Huge open lots, fenced in with stacks and stacks of marble slabs, slices, chunks - apparently all available for sale, except that there is no one there to transact business. Numbers to call posted on doors, but negligible activity.

There must be some locals still trying to help the town survive: at least a dozen scarecrows, made to support a 'competition' were attached to street lights, all with descriptive titles. Sponsored by various individuals, like garden club groups and businesses: ninjas, doctors, plumbers, Floyd and Barney at the barber. We talked to a couple of women sitting on the sidewalk in front of a shop full of 'collectibles - and sure enough: Choppy was right. My mom said that you can go to Atlanta, stand on the street corner (back in the era when there was a huge multi-storied, multi-building Rich's Department Store in the heart of the city), wait thirty minutes and run into someone from Brooks County. One of the two had in-laws who were from Barwick, GA! We talked about driving through south GA when the landscape is covered with fields of cotton, ready for harvesting. And chatted about the Masonic Hall: just across the street, looking like it was a perfect venue for parties, dances, receptions, catered events:  beautiful old building, empty, unused, and apparently unsafe. So old it was built before installing wiring and plumbing was routinely included.

F. and I had been up there, back in the spring, anticipating thousands of daffodils in glorious bloom. A bit too late for 'glorious', by the time we could get out ducks in a row, in late April. (Gibbs Gardens is closed from Nov. through the end of February, opening as the early bulbs start to come up.)  So, when we finally got there, in the late spring, decided to purchase annual passes, to assure a return trip next spring to see the showy bloomers. In order to be confident of full value received from passes, I'd proposed an additional trip to see fall colors - the hills were beautiful, roadsides adrift in flame red of sumacshurbs and maple trees, brilliant oranges of sweet gum, and bright yellow of hickory foliage.

It was well worth the drive up into the north GA. hills, and that does not even factor in a day spent with my favorite people. We peered in the windows of the rock shops, admired all the amusing scarecrows lining the three block downtown of  Ball Ground, had lunch in a local Mexican restaurant (isn't there one in every town?), saw pretty fall leaves, beautiful roses still in bloom, and had a few good laughs. It was a good day!

quite an accomplishment it is...

Monday, October 28, 2013
A day on my calendar with nothing written in the square, except a note to go to the Infantry Museum (usually closed on Mondays) with TP for a reception. He has been volunteering as a greeter mostly, occasionally a guide/person who will direct traffic in the area of the galleries. Each gallery encompasses a different time period in American history, specifically armed conflicts involving the Army/Infantry. I think he is usually the guy who sits near the door and says: 'Welcome', then answering questions, and directing people to where they want to go.

He's been at it so long, he expects to get a little bar to add to his pin that indicates a donation of 1,000 hours devoted in support of the museum. We are supposed to go to a dessert reception (and of course, BYOD - something sweet to eat) this afternoon, when he will be amongst the honorees for investing time and effort.
I've made the 'traditional' birthday treat:, but instead of making the giant chocolate chip cookie in a pizza pan like I usually do, I put the cookie dough in a rectangular pan, baked, and will put the little squares on a plate to take and share. Congrats to the volunteer corps!

sorta scrambled...

When I woke up this morning, I was so disoriented, I could not figure out where I was. After having been on a tour of the state, plus veering off into the one to the north east, it was so confusing to come up out of sleep, strangely, my own bed.  I felt lost. I always wake up in the middle of the night and make a run down the hall, usually getting right back to sleep. I didn't really have time to sort it out, when my bladder said 'go', but when I woke up the second time, I was completely baffled.

You know how it is to go on a trip, be away from home, and wake up in a 'strange' bed? When the usual sources of ambient lighting have mysteriously rearranged while you were sleeping, and the things that usually give off  just enough for you to orient yourself are missing. Those things like clocks with luminous dials, moonshine outside the window, or street lights in the distance, providing just enough glow to light your way in the dark to get to the bathroom at 2:00 a.m. Or the light in the kitchen that is 'always' on, never switched off at night for years, providing just enough direction in the dark to keep you from tripping over furniture.

When I finally figured it out: and knew that I had settled into my own little space, I also realized that I had slept in three different beds in the past four days. Which, I my opinion, justifies the confusion. But that same confusion also gives a small taste of what I expect the constant anxiety in the elderly is like. Not something to really look forward to with gleeful anticipation... considering the DNA swirling around in my person.

road tripping again...

Sunday, October 27, 2013
I left Decatur early Saturday morning to drive up to Greenville. We had planned to go to Clemson back in early September to visit the SC State Botanical Gardens, located on the campus of the University. And had second thoughts, let better judgement prevail when we discovered a 'home' football game on that day. But as a result of postponing, found that we had mostly waited too late to see pretty blooming things. There were some mums, a few asters, big clumps of bright purple salvia and bright red pineapple sage the butterflies were enjoying, but most everything had petered out for the year. We agreed that we should try again in the spring, before it gets hot, when there will be more color.

Homer's daughter, granddaughter and her four kids went along, so it was mostly bedlam every time we made a stop. I'd forgotten how complicated traveling with little people can be: car seats, strollers, diaper bags, sippy cups, snacks, spills, innumerable trips to the bathroom. But it was pretty much an uneventful day, when you consider how easily any of them could have had a meltdown when things did not go to suit.Oh - and Flat Stanley went along. There are some amusing photos of him looking startled as he encounters some fossils in the Geology Museum, where there were lots of sparkly gemstones as well as sabre-toothed tigers and other pre-historic creatures with huge teeth.

A huge stadium, the size you would expect at a university in the south that starts foaming at the mouth awaiting tailgating events and football season. And acres and acres of parking. Homer had called to be sure the gardens would be accessible on a Saturday, and was told that though it was always open, we did not want to come on that weekend when the Clemson Tigers would be playing at home. It was founded in the elate 1800's, has a history of being both a military training school, as well as an Agricultural college. I read something that said the land was donated by the family of John Calhoun, who was a politician/statesman in early South Carolina history, seventh vice president of the US, as well as serving in a number of positions in the state and federal government.

By the time I drove to Greenville, returned to Decatur for dinner at Eddie's with smiling faces, and got on the road back to Columbus, I was pretty much fun'ed out. Having traveled to Valdosta, Decatur, Greenville, back to Decatur and flopping into my own bed on Sat. night, I think I drove well over 900 miles since leaving home on Thursday afternoon. How long do you think I will stay put?

I know what they will say:

I know as soon as they open this, they will be saying: You are SO Weird. And I know the people who will be saying it, after they get done laughing. The photos were taken back in early Sept. when I was in Q-town, digging around in the back yard, rooting out those thorny, aggravating tubers that are the source of the thorny, aggravating vines of smilax. My guess in the seeds get spread by birds, and the tiny little sprouts get covered up by falling leaves and pine straw. So tough and resilient nothing stops them, other than completely digging the tuber up, ideally before it gets the size of the ones you see here. I'd suspect those big ones I cursed and sweated over and finally unearthed, chopping away roots that were keeping them snugly in place must be at least twenty years old. They were put in the trash can for the city truck to come and pick up, to prevent them from getting a toe-hold someplace else and starting over.

I know you can't possibly be as impressed with the results of my digging as I was, since I was the one who took the photo, with gardening gloves to give you an idea of the size of those monsters.  You can tell from the top photo that the vines I cut off were bigger around than the base of my thumb. I had to whack them with my clippers as they send out little tendrils to grab onto bark and branches, twining and climbing up into the camellias and on toward the tops of the pine trees. I've heard that the tubers were used by native Americans as something similar to a potato, put in stews as a starch/thickener. Personally I do not care to give it a taste test... when I finally get them loose from tangled matted tree roots that have them securely entrapped and freed the earth, I want to see them Gone.

it's cotton ginning season in south GA....

Friday, October 25, 2013
 I've long thought fall is my favorite season, as this was busiest for my dad and family in my growing up years.  As the daughter of a man who was a second-generation cotton-gin operator and -buyer, there was constant activity from early August until late November.  My dad spent months in preparation for this time of year, working up in the blistering heat up under the 'fry an egg' hot tin roof of the gin house. Hoping he had done all he needed to do to have smoothly running equipment when the first trailer load of bright white, freshly picked cotton came down the dusty dirt road to the Quitman Gin Company.

Living in a rural area, in a family that was completely dependent on the whims of nature and seasons, my early years were very much oriented around farmers in south GA and north FL producing an abundant crop of cotton.  His/our livelihood depended on. There were times he would operate the gin equipment around the clock seven days a week. Sneaking off for a few hours of sleep in the wee hours on top of bales of cotton stacked in a warehouse. Making an appearance at home just long enough to take a shower, eat a meal, and return to work... for days and days. Hot, sweaty, dirty, exhausting work.

Looking back, to a different time, I realize it was even then, the basic law of supply and demand. He had to be there, ready to work and provide the service, when the men with the product came with their demands/need to have the cotton fibers separated from the seeds, and baled for sale. After the cotton was compressed into  bale, wrapped and secured, ready for market, he would store it in his warehouse.  Then serve as the middleman to get each bale evaluated, the best price offer, and arrange for shipment to markets for mills to transform into thread, yard, string, rope, The Fabric of Our Lives.

I asked him once, in the year or so before his death in 2000: if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? He said he loved the work of being a cotton gin owner. It was such hard, physical work, I was so surprised. I would have expected him to say he enjoyed other things: being the director of the local housing authority, sitting in a cool office, making decisions, solving problems, handling government business. Maybe his years in the Army, serving his country during the War to End All Wars. Or his time as commander of the local National Guard unit. Possibly even his retirement years when he had the time to do whatever he wanted, travel, puttering in his backyard workshop, tend a vegetable garden, sit, relax in the shade drinking a beer, thinking with no schedule, no urgent business.  My mom used to say 'he is happiest when something is broke and needs fixin'. An inveterate fixer of things: the kind of guy who would spend twice as much time into organizing the process, planning the steps in his head as he would actually take to facilitate the actual repair. In another era, he would have qualified to be a Professional Tinkerer.

 But I was wrong. He surprised me with his answer. I had no idea he so enjoyed the hard physical effort required to operate a hugely complicated machine, in a loud, dusty, dirty, hot tin roofed building in the sultry humid August weather. He did it well, knew the equipment inside-out, and could take it apart and repair, make replacement parts from scratch and put it all back together again. Something he obviously was very capable at doing, and took a lot of pride in doing well.

259 miles before breakfast....

I was at my little jobette on Thursday morning, making those tasty salads and delightful fresh-fruit yogurt parfaits so beloved by hungry customers looking for a quick easy lunch. From 8:00 to noon. Being very industrious, trying to get the job finished to leave the store on time.  So I could leave town and underway on another road trip.

I thought I could get my ducks in a row to load up and be ready to go as soon as I left work. But then decided I should dig around and find some more layers, warmer articles before I got too far away. Had to root around to find stuff that was a completely different season from what I had been wearing twenty-four hours before: how sad... If you know you, you needn't ask if I am wearing four shirts and two pairs of socks right now!

Left Columbus about 1:00, spending three hours in the car, traversing south Georgia, enjoying the scenery: trees showing fall colors, wildflowers abloom, wide open fields, looking like freshly fallen snow - acres of cotton, ready for harvest. Most of the fields had been defoliated, plants leafless, ready for the mechanical pickers to sweep through, literally vacuuming the fibers off the stalks. It's obviously cotton ginning time in south Georgia.

Making a bee line for Valdosta, I saw a friend, and family before going to Q-town. Where I arrived in the dark and left before daylight. Fell into bed, to get up and head north towards ATL. Arriving in Decatur around 10:30. Where I found some tasty cinnamon raisin bread to toast for breakfast. Enjoyed  spend several hours with F., lunch, running a few errands before she had to work. I had a plan: going to visit FL the cousin. Had a nice visit, with plenty to talk about.  Since I woke up about 5:30 this morning, to get on the road before daylight, and plan to do that again tomorrow, so it's time for bed!  Stay tuned.....

you'll prob'ly think....

Monday, October 21, 2013
that my preaching about reasons to be thankful can get a bit tedious, and understandably so. But here's another reason to count your blessings, and several that are worth counting off...

I've been volunteering for years and years and years with a local organization that provides support for individuals who have been victims of sexual assault. When you know/remember my early history, that readily explains why my commitment to this non-profit group has held my interest, attention and support for so long. You might have even heard me tell the story how I first got involved, as I constantly read of women being violated on a too-frequent basis in the local newspaper. I kept saying 'someone needs to do something' about this, and then one day I realized I Am Somebody, so I made the call to become a trained volunteer. I am 'on call' for two twelve hour shifts each month, offering a caring countenance, friendly ears, and willingness to respond when the 911 office calls needing someone to go to the ER and be an advocate.

I got a call this morning, when 911 reported a young person at the hospital and they needed someone to go and be with the victim. This person is in the custody of the state, under DFCS supervision, living in a group home. This individual was accompanied by the director of the group home: not mom, not a relative, not anyone who really wanted to be there, but was paid to provide care to minors. Are you thankful for your circumstances yet? It gets sadder...but I cannot put it in print here.

I am thankful for a safe place to live, a home that is a refuge from the problems and worries of the world. A car to drive that gets me anyplace I want to go, as long as I put gas in the tank. And thankful for the resources to be able to put gas in the tank. Thankful, too, that I am not a ward of the state, forced to do what the employees of the state decide is best. And really especially thankful that daughters have become such sweet, smart, caring adults without something like this putting a permanent mark on their lives. Children by the dozens: all wandering, floundering,  often abused and/or molested. Being shunted from home to home, caught up in a hard-hearted, ineffective system, dependent on state budget for the minimal care and comfort provided by people who are primarily interested in a paycheck.

R U ready???

I was at work one day last week, probably walking the length of the stock room in the back of the store, to take a load of empty boxes to the crushing machine, and trash to the dumpster. When I headed back towards my little area in the floral dept., I noticed something odd: at the base of the step ladder (built into the wall, leading up to the opening for the, for contract service guys to climb when there is HVAC problem) there was a pair of shoes, lying on the floor.

Nobody, nothing else clothing wise- just a pair of empty black work shoes. So I went back to the produce dept., where my co-workers were busy and conversing. To report 'the rapture has occurred', and sadly: we were still standing around Publix. All left behind....

the wedding....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It was sweet, and everyone worked really hard to make it a happy time. I think there were lots of people who were also working hard to appear to be happy, as I know all some could think of was the person who was not there, and would have been most delighted with everything about the occasion.  Thankful to not be in charge of anything, I did not get myself at all involved in the decorating of the walled garden area. I know it takes a lot of planning and preparation, and many people putting in the time to make it look effortless. When we were at the venue on Thursday evening, there was Nothing there. But when we went by on Friday morning, banquet tables along with dozens of white folding chairs had been delivered. Family and friends put it all together on Friday, and turned the mostly blank space, just graveled across the open area, into a sweet, welcoming venue.Stringing tiny white lights all over, decorating tables with burlap runners, fresh cut fall flowers in mason jars, cute little votive candle holders of odd pickle jars collage'd with bits of printed paper from old books - both the bride and the groom are lovers of words. She is a librarian at a small college in Boston, and he writes, organizes poetry events.

These two sort of remind me of those clown cars, you used to see at the circus, or in the highly amusing local events, when the wildly entertaining guys would come to town for a convention and have a  parade  as the 'Loyal Order of the Ali-baba Temple of the Shrine' (tip of the hat to Ray Stevens) would put on a show. All four wheels on the little cars would be different sizes, so I imagine that trying to steer would be really difficult, hard to get it to go in a straight line - which explains why the drivers, in full regalia, including fez with long red tassel and rhinestone'd scimitar decoration: drove all over the street!

The happily newly-wed couple are a bit off center, but seem to be delighted with the choice they have made - beaming their delight as the ceremony progressed. I know it takes a lot of planning and preparation, and many people putting in the time to make it look effortless. When we were at the venue on Thursday evening, there was Nothing there. But when we went by on Friday morning, banquet tables along with dozens of white folding chairs had been delivered. Family and friends put it all together on Friday, and turned the mostly blank space, just graveled across the open area, into a sweet, welcoming venue.

It was a beautiful day, perfect fall weather, and joyful occasion. I am glad to have been a small part of such a sweet occasion.

...sad story...

Saturday, October 19, 2013
We have planning for months, my daughter and I, to go to Austin, TX this coming weekend. To attend the wedding of a friend of hers. G. and S. now live in Boston, MA., but met when G. was at U. of TX grad. school. They have been friends since middle school years.

G. did not want a line of 'bridesmaids', per se, but has asked a number of friends to come and be with her, stand up, be participants in this day of joy. A very informal event, with family and friends gathered to be witness to their happiness. I think F. will be reading a poem, probably one of several that have special meaning to the couple.

G. has parents who still live in Columbus. Both were in the Army, and settled near Ft. Benning when her dad retired. Her mom was planning to come out and spend the week, helping with preparations for this happy day in her daughter's life. So the mom flew out on Monday, and suddenly became ill. Was taken to the hospital and died.

There was, understandably, plenty of confusion, and many questions. But as I suspected, when the time came to make a decision about continuing, they decided to go ahead. My thought was that her dad would think' this is what her mom would have wanted'. So it moves forward, though it will be a bittersweet time, with far more tears than such an occasion usually brings.

rehearsal for the wedding...

We got back into Austin and arrived at the location for the wedding, to gather with friends and family of the couple of the rehearsal. The venue is a place owned by a non-profit that supports mission programs in Kenya, so any funds they receive over necessary expenses, go to help indigents in Africa. The little garden spot where we met was formerly the location of a landscaping business, so there are some very interesting, unusual plants still on the property. A converted residential building for office space, and a big shed-type building, of corrugated metal once used as a green house.

When we got there, friends were stringing little white lights every where, to create 'atmosphere' for the wedding the following evening. There will be more decorating on Friday afternoon -

After several run-throughs, the group adjourned to a little rented space a couple of miles away for dinner. Tex-mex catered food, in a small, low-ceiling-ed building that serves as the home of a prison ministry. Hundreds of books lined the walls, but there was plenty of space to set up tables and chairs for us to all sit and eat the tacos and burritos assembled to taste in a buffet-type line. I picked up a flyer about the organization, and find that they send books to the incarcerated in Texas state prisons. I had not really thought about this: but another way that being confined drives a person stir-crazy: nothing to read!

'sploring the Texas Hill Country...

We were expected to be at the rehearsal on Friday evening, but had the day to roam around. We went to a couple of grocery stores, one catering to the Latino population, with some pretty unusual items stocked on the shelves: items to clean one's house, and/or person, that would insure luck in love, or gambling, or bring bad fortune to others. We were actually looking for some fresh flowers for me to make the brides' bouquet, so had to go to another supermarket to find what was wanted. 

Bought some flowers, and 'borrowed' a bucket to put them in, for fresh-keeping. Then we went wandering... I'd read about a fresh water spring out in the country relatively close by, and wanted to go have a look. Driving in the city always takes longer than expected, with various stops at interesting places - like the little shop we veered off to see because the sign said Taco Donuts.

 I was so curious: would they put the Taco stuffing inside the hole? As it turned out: No. Donuts and tacos are two completely different items on the menu, so the sign was a big deceptive. But we did take Stanley in to get a photo of him visiting the Taco-Donut shop. They made donuts in the shape of a Texas Star, and a hand making the 'peace' sign - so you can imagine what happens when you buy that donut, and eat off the pointer finger?

Traveling along the by-ways, when the freeway suddenly disappeared, came to an unexpected end.... on to the scenic highways of south Texas. There have been recent torrential rains, after a very dry summer. The water table is understandably low, but with lots of rain in the past couple of weeks, there are lots of wild-flowers blooming gloriously along the right of way.

We were looking for Hamilton Pool, near Dripping Springs, TX. When we got to the entrance of the park, the gates were locked, due to 'weather': washed out trails, muddy roads, recent exceptionally high water flowing over pavement in places. So we traveled on. And found ourselves at a Park the County maintained, bought as a ranch from a private owner, along the Perdaneles River.  High sandstone bluffs on each side, but really scenic. All the trees, mostly oak and cedar/juniper are low and scrubby, due to lack of water and sandy/rock/infertile soil, but lots of native grasses and desert-type plants. Not what we are accustomed to in the southeast, but beauty full nonetheless.

Flat Stanley enjoyed getting out and walking around a bit.

air travel to the middle of TX...

I drove up to Decatur on Wednesday afternoon, to spend the night. So I could get up really, really early on Thursday morning to get to the ATL for an 8:30 flight, with F. to Austin. She has a friend from her high school days who is getting married this weekend. We had expected there would likely be a problem with getting through excessive lines with TSA, as most people who are not getting paid to show up for work, tend to not show up. And since those' juveniles' we elected to act like responsible adults in Congress are still dragging their inefficient feet, at the far end on the immature adolescent scale, I was prepared (brought two books!) to stand in line for however long it took to get through and down into the 'rabbit hole' to trek to the concourses.

It was not so bad, and we got to our boarding location in time. Not 'ample' time, due to my extra stop at the facilities, so we were the last ones on. Meaning my suitcase went all the way to the back end of the cylinder. Which meant that I had to wait till everyone else de-plane-ed before I could get my belongings out of the overhead bin up in the tail-feathers of the bird. And uneventful flight.

There was a rental car awaiting at ground transportation. You know: everyone not only has a camera in their pocket, but most also have GPS parked in there as well. There has been little problem maneuvering around the city. You might remember that Austin in the capitol of Texas? Not nearly the metropolis that some of the other cities like Ft. Worth-Dallas and Huston, but big enough for the folk who learned how to drive on dirt roads to easily get misplaced.

On Thursday night, we were invited to go with females to a bachelorette party. At a little restaurant that served Argentinian food. Interesting crowd. Music supplied to assorted dining couples and families by a pair playing guitar and accordion. I just love accordion players and the music they make! Not including this person who was twice the age of all the other attendees, there were a dozen friends of the bride there, to laugh, reminisce, celebrate the occasion. A sweet evening to remember.

Flat Stanley's travels...

Monday, October 14, 2013
Stanley went with us on the little field trip to Callaway. If I was knowledgeable enough to be able to put the photos on here - you could see all the fun Stanley had when his was photographed up in Harris County. As he posed in front of the Callaway Gardens sign, at the Sibley Center, and the Chapel (where we remarkably, unintentionally, delightedly timed our visit to enjoy the Sunday afternoon organ concert.) Then browsing himself through the Day Butterfly Center, to see the exotic, tropical imported insects.  But it's more important that the photos get to the guy who sent Stanley to me, and needs the report and photos of adventures to get to the classroom. So... sorry... none for you.

He is in no hurry to get back to north GA, so I am thinking of making him some clothing, and taking him along when I travel later this week. Remember cutting out paperdolls when you were a kid, with the little flanges along the edge of the clothing, that had to fold over to keep the pants and hats in place? I will try to rustle up some construction paper to make some coverings for Stanley: at this point, all he is wearing is eye-glasses. Needs a 'fig leaf' at least!

and a Sunday afternoon in the park, too!

I went to work early on Sunday, so I could get off soon after noon. To have the afternoon to enjoy on such a pretty, pleasant fall day. P and C and I had talked about going up to Harris County to ride around and enjoy the sights at Callaway Gardens. We went to the Sibley Center, walked through the greenhouse, full of tropical plants, with some huge banana trees, laden with bunches of green bananas, plus lots of other interesting, imported plants. Hundreds of mums in bloom (plus that many more in bud that will be glorious in the coming weeks). Lots of amusing topiary in the different football jerseys of various athletic teams across the southeast.

Then on to the Day Butterfly Center, where there are lots of unusual tropical butterflies flitting around in the high humidity, steamy warm atmosphere. Lots of fall blooms around the outside: mums, red salvia, yellow daisies to attract nectar-lovers. Then a stop at the Discovery Center to take a look around: view the (blatant advertisement) film describing the origins and development of the Gardens, and look at some beautiful nature prints, by a photographer who has been all over North America observing wildlife and taking some remarkable shots of the environment and endangered species..

It was a beauty filled day to be alive.

working on a Sunday morning...

I was working at Publix on a Sunday morning, like I usually do - until I get around to asking the guy who makes the schedule why it is that I no longer get to church before work. My co-worker for the day was not the usual person I chat with when I make salads. But another employee who occasionally subs, when needed, though she normally is a cashier.

When I asked her 'what's new?' and 'how's your family?', she told me the neatest sweetest story. She said she has been having a Bible study at her house on Wednesday nights, with family members and neighbors attending. Her daughter decided she wanted to be baptized, so my friend M., got the kids' wading pool out and filled it with water. She told me months ago about buying an inflatable pool for the grandkids, and putting it in the carport, so they would not be in the blistering sun and could splash and play all day. After talking to the woman who was coming over to lead the Bible Study each week, she filled the kids pool, and was planning to have an immersion experience.  Not only did she get baptized, but her daughter, and several others: adult children, and grandchildren. There were eleven in all.

I was so delighted to hear the story, and told her so, thanked her for sharing that with me. It would be the sweetest thing, even more memorable than getting baptized yourself, to have daughters, and grandchildren all decide they wanted it too. Plus it happened at her house, where there are so many happy memories already - and now this!

does not really qualify....

If it's truth, it's not really a 'rant', right? If it is obviously factual, it can't be considered whining? We all know, witness it every day, so all can testify it's actual/factual. Here's the thing: Social media is a terrible misnomer. The one thing it is NOT is social.

You see it all the time, everywhere you go, even places it is illegal. Those folk who are stopped at the traffic light in the next lane over, busily checking their phones, looking at emails that could not wait until the ignition key was turned off. Responding to text messages while idling, waiting for the light to change in fifteen seconds. I just read something in the paper recently about a traffic cop in the Atlanta area who has given out 800 tickets to motorists since the start of the year for texting. He reported that easiest way to catch someone is when they are waiting for the light to change: if you are out in the roadway, texting, it is illegal! Gotcha!

All those folk, who sedt emails and texts to friends to say: meet at _ _ _ _. Then they sit together, separately, oblivious to neighbors at adjacent tables, or right in front of them. Each staring at their iphones, or ipads or laptop screens, never looking at the 'friend' (probably texting the person next to them or across the table - mere inches away!)

And Facebook: surreptitiously sneaking a peek into someones life, without actually making contact. Like standing out in the dark, in the hedges, avoiding the light, looking in the window, before the shade is pulled down to cut off the view. Voyeurs. Not really making contact, heaven forbid communicating, or getting involved by actual exchange of news, information about goings-on in one's life. Just peeking through the screens, the not-quite-drawn curtains,  into the lives of others...

And then there is YouTube: I recently heard someone on the radio describe it as 'the clearing house for all of human stupidity'. That quote by Andy Warhol has come true, probably sooner than he would have predicted. The things people will do and publish for the world's amusement, for that fifteen minutes of fleeting fame....

and after the morning at Callaway Gardens...

Saturday, October 12, 2013
I went to downtown/uptown Columbus to enjoy this beauty-full fall day, sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Country's on Broad Bar-be-que Restaurant. Located in a renovated Greyhound bus station that had been empty/neglected for a number of years. And now, not only a busy place for good eats, you can actually sit in an old bus, that has been incorporated into the restaurant to enjoy your platter-sized, slab of ribs. There under the shed where buses barreled into, delivering passengers for so many years, is parked a retired, vintage Greyhound bus, with tables and seating for you to enjoy your lunch while gazing out the elongated sliding windows to look at the flowing Chattahoochee River.

We had a nice chat, lunch, visit there on the sidewalk, before walking down the street and inspecting the newly opened, beautifully transformed pedestrian bridge crossing from GA to AL. With lots of bench seating, planters filled with green growing things,  plenty of opportunity to sit, or hang over the iron railing and watch the kayaks and rafters going down the rapids. On a gorgeous fall day - bright sunshine, blue sky, pleasant breeze blowing. Perfect weather for college football if you are a fan.

Oh - and on the off chance, you have not been out enjoying creation: here's something you might want to file away to be thankful for. Aren't you glad you don't live in a big yellow school bus? Are you so thankful that your home is not a converted county surplus school bus? And it's not broke down on the road somewhere, with you stranded and no resources to get help to get where ever you were going? Just thought I would toss that out....

"Saturday in the park, I think it was the Fourth of July...

...people laughing, people dancing.... a man selling ice cream, singing Italian songs". Remember that one? I'll bet you even know the tune, now that I have supplied the words! By Chicago. But don't even begin to think my brain could actually recall who sang it forty plus years ago... I looked it up on Google: ain't the Internet amazin'?

I've been to the 'park' again today: another volunteer project at Callaway Gardens. I'd signed on weeks ago to be a worker bee, helping with a basket workshop. Long before I had any inkling that the guys at the produce department would be calling asking 'did I want to work on Saturday?' After I sent an email to the Educ. Dept. at CG, to tell them I would want to be a helper for this, I also put myself in the computer on the calendar at work, 'requesting time away'. To avoid inadvertently/accidentally finding myself scheduled to work today. And: it happened anyway. :(

I got a call yesterday afternoon from the store, wanting me to come in and put out a big load of freight for floral dept. that had come from the warehouse on Friday. Which means they did not want to do it, and would rather ask me to do it on a day I had requested to be off, than put any effort into taking responsibility. So I agreed, and went in at 5 a.m., to do as much as I could before I had to be at the Gardens for the 9 a.m. class. When I wrote that email to the Educ. Dept, I said I'd be there by 8:30, to greet the people who had signed up to attend. And though I was driving a wee bit too fast along highway 27, when the traffic flow and highway permitted, I knew that getting there in ten minutes was beyond the realm of possibility without the starship teleporter.

It was 8:20 before I left work, and shorty after 9:00 before I got there. I felt pretty badly about being late. Which means I did not have the presumptuous courage to take any photos of the basket-weaving class. So you won't see the six people who had signed up to take it here. But they all made some really neat looking baskets. The class info. indicated the hours would be from 9 until 1, and it took them all nearly that long, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I guess they had a touch of OCD, folk who felt compelled to have everything just perfect, in absolute alignment. I'd probably have been done by 11:00. Come on folks, honestly: it's only basket weaving!

I've made baskets before, but  nothing as involved as the ones I observed today. They were designed to hang someplace, with a neatly turned wooden handle, and have mail deposited inside. Using colored strips of some type reed, rather than wood splints as I have seen and used in the past. I was quite impressed, they really turned out well, looking remarkably similar to the one the instructor had brought to show what the finished product would/should look like. Although each one was unique, due to color choices, and individual skills, they really turned out beautifully. I am sure the participants are delighted with the results.

may be a bit too technical....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
...but it's something they won't bother to tell you when you buy the vehicle, but there will come a time when you will need to know. And probably find out from someone who as already taken your tires off your car, and sorta holding them hostage, waiting for you to pull out your checkbook or credit card. Info that is most likely buried someplace in the Owner's Manual no one gets around to reading until it is 'oh, crap' time.

There is a little sensor on you tire, there where the stem is that you would add air.You have it, I have it, all God's chillun, who are driving vehicles manufactured after 2005 or '06 have it, according to the guy at the tire store. Uncle Sam said it into being, so it's got to be true.

This little device has a little battery in it to send a message to the computer that keeps your systems going (you do know they are all run with computer chips, now, right?And when the computer has a glitch you will be sitting along the edge of the road, crying?). When the tire pressure gets low, for any number of reasons: an actual leak, cold weather, road conditions, etc., the sensors in each tire communicate with the computer, to let it know there is a problem.

But... here's the sneaky part: the life of the battery is much shorter than the life of the sensor. And it is designed so that you cannot replace just the battery. You have to buy a new sensor to the tune of $80 plus, plus whatever they'd charge at the tire store to install it. So that little light on the dash that the computer can turn on to warn you about problems with your tire maybe just be telling you that the battery in the sensor is dying.

You can, could, possibly, maybe drive it another ten thousand miles with the light on, but you never know...There might be legitimate problem: like that little boy in the folk tale who cried 'wolf' so often, the townspeople ignored him as the hungry canines ate his flock. Then you will be sitting out there alongside the road, waiting for road service to come and put the donut on, since the guys at the tire store put the (now disabled) tire on with a power wrench, and you cannot get the lug-nuts off by hand. In the dark. In the rain...
Not that I would want to be the one to paint a picture of the Worst Case Scenario....

surprise, surprise, surprise....

Monday, October 7, 2013
(The above is a direct quote from the "Gomer Pyle, USMC" comedy series, with Jim Nabors playing the part of the goofy Marine recruit, forever frustrating  the DI, Sgt. Carter... remember that? Such a dinosaur of half-hour TV, it was probably only filmed in black and white... now that's  really old!)

The girl (... whoops, sorry! Young professional, highly capable, smart career woman....) who is having a birthday on Wednesday was surprised to look up and see her sister and her mom standing in the doorway of her office today at noon. Mostly because I was up there in TN visiting this past weekend, and she assumed I was safely back in middle GA, when,in reality,  I got as far as Decatur where I had plans to spend the night.

Only a small amount of plotting occurred, as we decided weeks ago, to drive up from Atlanta to take her out for birthday lunch. The day of remember-y is on Wednesday, but we thought she might possibly expect something to happen then, following a hilarious event we knew we could not possibly 'top' that occurred last October. If you recall, we drove up from Atlanta, with a large appliance box, wrapped and flattened in the car, to POP! out of with party hats blowing tooters, after we smooshed ourselves in, and she was called into the front room of her workplace. We knew we could not possibly out-do that - but hoped that she would not expect to see us on a Monday, when her birthday is two days later.

She was appropriately confused/stunned/baffled to see me standing in the doorway when the co-worker she was talking to turned to leave - and then her sister poked her head in. I'd called C. several weeks ago to apprise him of the plan, and ask him to meet us at the office and go to lunch. So he, along with her BFF/co-worker, and sister and I went to eat and laugh at the Mexican restaurant down the street.

Did a bit of 'hanging out', browsing through a big plant nursery, with lots of fragrantly blooming pansies, and hundreds of huge pots we all lusted over. Then took her back to work, and we returned to Decatur. I got home as the sun was setting, having survived another stressful drive through Atlanta traffic.

Happy early birthday!

there was this customer....

One day last week, when I was at Publix, in the prep area, making salads, I looked up and saw a man standing in the floral dept., obviously in need of  expert assistance. So I took myself up to talk to him, where he was standing in front of the many buckets of flowers, struggling to make a decision, to ask if I could help him. He was pulling out various wrapped bouquets, in the throes of indecisiveness, replacing them, trying to make up his mind/figure out what  to do.

He said he was in trouble at home, and could definitely use some advice. Which I willingly provided, helping him with choosing flowers that would be attractive in the containers he had picked, and would nicely fill the vases with the bunches of fresh cut fall color. I told him we had enclosure cards, if  he wanted to add a card to the vases, I'd punch a hole in the card, and tie it on the neck of the vase with a length of brightly colored ribbon. When he chose two cards: 'Happy Anniversary', and 'the Dog House Guy', another card with an illustration of a man with head and shoulders sticking out of a cartoon dog house, I knew what kind of trouble he was in.

I tied the cards on the vases, and suggested he take one offering of fresh flowers to the wife at her work place, and take the other one for her to find when she would arrive at home.

Then I also said, Here's my Best Suggestion: Chocolate. Candy is on Aisle 4. What I would Really recommend is Hershey's Kisses.

it's called 'lycoris radiata'...

There are these pretty fall-blooming bulbs that I really like, and have had so many planted over the years, apparently I have indoctrinated daughters to be equally fond of them. The bloom time is fairly short, and the bulbs seem to be programmed so they all open up at the same time. I've been seeing them all my life:  my dad had them blooming in his yard in south GA when I was a kid. If you look them up someplace that sells bulbs (the world at your fingertips on the internet!)  you will see that they exist someplace in yellow, but all I have in my yard are the bright red ones.

I think the first ones I planted in my yard, at least twenty years ago, came out of the Market Bulletin, from farm wives living in little rural communities up in the far corners of north GA., places like: Rising Fawn, Ball Ground, Podiddy Crossroads, Hephizabah. And occasionally returning the favor to those vanishing communities, when I've dug bulbs after they multiply over the years. Making an effort to diligently relocate and spread the 'spider lily gospel. Occasionally advertising bulbs for sale in that same GA. Dept. of Ag. bi-weekly newsletter, and on Craig's list, where I have sold numerous dozens.

Also, when they bought houses in N. GA and TN, I wanted to pass along the progeny of the ones I planted years ago, so the bulbs have travelled with me to end up brightly blooming in Decatur and Chattanooga. I even took some to a family reunion in east GA, and added them to the raffle. This is a remarkably efficient money-maker, where everything is donated (so there is no upfront cost involved) and everyone buys tickets, hoping to be the winner for assorted books, plants, baked goods, jars of jelly/pickles cousins have brought in support of the family fun/fund. I hope my donated spider lily bulbs are now happily blooming all across the state in yards of relatives near and far...

I decided, just today, when I got up early and went strolling along St. Elmo Street in Chattanooga, to take photos of all the clumps of gloriously colorful spider lily blooms on my walk. They make me smile (and think of my dad), so I hope you too will be smiling, when you see them looking so happy.

'homesteading' at Camp Adahi...

It was a beautiful day to be out in the woods, pleasantly cool, while at the same time being pleasantly warm by mid-day in early October. A bright sunny sky, with occasional breezes, and leaves on the trees out along the ridges beginning to show changing colors of fall. I went with three of the staffers of the Girl Scout council of the Southern Appalachians to camp last Saturday for their version of an annual fall festival. The advertising used to lure the scouts, troop leaders, assorted parents and tag-a-longs (siblings) to drive up the mountain to the remote camp location called the day 'Cornhuskers'. It is a perfect location for a summer, sleep-away camp.

We were not actually 'homesteading', but were making the kind of crafts the pioneers would have helped their children assemble, back in the era of creating something useful out of scraps. In that time of   patchwork quilts made from feed sacks, worn out work pants - nothing wasted. There were several stations where the kids could rotate through and make crafts, all related to autumn. Cute little magnets made of pony beads that looked remarkably like Indian corn, place-mat weaving. At the shelter where P. and I were, we were making corn-shuck dolls. Something I have done in the past, with kids, but so long ago, I knew my doll-making skills were very rusty... I know now, it all comes back pretty quickly.

I found that it helps to have a demo. of each step in the process to show them what they are doing, what it is supposed to look like as they go through the assembly. After we both made a 'practice' doll, to refresh our memory, we had several dolls in various stages of completion to show them what they were doing, how it would go together. It was pretty neat that the started with an actual ear of dried corn, someone had just recently broken off the stalk in a neighboring farmer's field. The first step for them would be to pull the shucks off the ear of corn - something I am sure lots of little folk had never done: probably not aware that the little three inch 'ears' that would show up on their plates were not born in the freezer section of the local supermarket.

I think they enjoyed the doll making, as several of the moms/troop leaders were so intrigued when watching the process, they wanted to make one of their own. In 'olden times', they would have been using string or yard to create the various body-part segmentations for head and waist, rather than the easy-to-use rubber bands we had on Saturday. And would probably not had 'Sharpies' to make facial detail.

Bowls of chili with cornbread for lunch, 'field 'o' fun' with games and relay races, hayride in a wagon pulled by a tractor (that I hope to learn how to drive when I get to go back!), just a beauty-filled day to be out in the woods, enjoying sunshine, fresh air, Life.

mildly amusing.... and thoroughly entertaining

Friday, October 4, 2013
I went to a fundraiser dinner last night, down at the Iron Works Convention Center. For those unfamiliar with Columbus, it is a building that was originally a foundry, built before The War of Northern Aggression, on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River. The space sat empty, un-used for a number of years, then bought by the city to  bring back to life in a new form.  About the time we relocated to the area, it was renovated and converted into a very attractive meeting place, to lure large corporate meetings and accompanying $$$ to the area. Two huge exhibition halls, numerous smaller classrooms, plus a more recent expansion that created a huge convention/party/dining space.  It is a beautiful building, lots of exposed wood,original heart pine beams, old brick, decorative iron architectual detailing all over the exterior and interior of the building, plus all the modern conveniences.

There must have been over a thousand people attending the dinner last night, in support of the Sound Choices Pregnancy Counseling Center. They support Life, counseling women who come in ambivalent about reproducing, encouraging them, offering ultrasounds to show the unborn living baby to the mom, and helping the parent-to-be find the resources she will need to be a good mom.  Sponsor this fundraising event every other year, with music, a mediocre meal, and entertainment.

The amusing part: was the guy who was there two years ago, and back last night. Telling the universal story of the aging process. He reported being over fifty, and his doctor recommending an assortment of vitamins and supplements. As he was putting the handful in his mouth, he dropped two on the floor. But found them all, and popped in his mouth. That night when the rest of the household had gone to bed, he started feeling poorly. You know how men are with that... very high maintenance when they are ill - desperate for massive helpings of 'attention'. Very 'needy'. He woke his wife, only to hear: Go to sleep, you will feel better in the morning. He was enjoying suffering so much, he tried to sleep in the recliner, watching awful late night TV. Still feeling terrible. He woke her up again, and got the same response, as she was highly unsympathetic.

He said he got dressed, got in his car and drove himself to the local ER in the wee hours. Totally surprised to find that it was not a-buzz with activity, he went through the usual 'welcoming' routine. After describing intense abdominal pain, they decided to do an ultra-sound. The doctor asked if he had recently had any kind of surgery on his mid-section, as the image indicated the appearance of something that looked like small 'sponges'? And the comment was made that one of the two sponges appeared to have the shape of a dinosaur. So.... you know the rest of the story right?

The wife had taken the kids to the Just a Buck Store earlier in the day, and had given everyone a dollar to spend. So naturally one of the little guys, being boys, was attracted to those little packages of dinosaurs that are squeezed into the clear gelatin capsules.  Those gimmicky things you have to put them in water to dissolve the packaging and 'release' the T Rex.  Guess what he found when he dropped his daily assortment of supplements on the floor? He said the staff in the ER was calling people from all over the hospital to come and take a look. And that the doctor, when he asked what to do about his intense pain, said you will eventually have a dinosaur-sized poop.

It was hilarious. He seemed to enjoy the crowd so much, he suggested that the Sound Choices sponsors start having the event every year, instead of biennially. We were an excellent audience, and hopefully all laughed off that carb. laden meal.


Thursday, October 3, 2013
I'm sure I have written about this at least one time before now, but here I am again, singing the same song, maybe a different verse. I went this afternoon, following five hours of being on my feets, to the Red Cross Blood Donor Center. It was time - a week ago, actually, but it has taken me several days to get myself there... taking extra iron tabs all the while to avoid being rejected.

The hemoglobin count was ok, and the blood takers were ready and willing. I generally offer both arms, and most techs will take the right that they say has a better vein. But, for probably the second or third time every, the tech. who poked me could not get the red stuff to come out of the needle.  So she called a co-worker, who painfully wiggled the large-bore needle a time or two, and said 'you'll have to take that out' to the technician. I always tell them: 'I do not mind at all donating, but expect them to get it right on the first try, as I am unwilling to be a pin-cushion.'

She asked if I wanted to let them try the other (left) arm. Which I did, and had little pain, and good success.I think I have been donating for so long, there is so much scar-tissue on that one vein that is really raised, a good target, that it is actually difficult to get the needle in fully to make a good 'hit'. Which means they end up wiggling it around, in an extremely misery-inducing manner to try to get the flow started. Success at last, in the left arm.

I have been donating for so long: according to my record keeping (and you know how I am with numbers!), this pint is #123. Lemme see here...  eight pints in a gallon right? so divide 123 by 8 = 15.37 gallons! That's a lot of drips! Somewhat distressing to know that the ARC sells the blood to hospitals - but still - I've got plenty and there is always someone in need. And here's another thing to be thankful for, just in case you run out of blessings to count: not being so desperate that we don't have to sell blood or plasma for income...

My reward was a visit to Burger King. As well as just 'doing good'.

a day of butterfly-ing...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I volunteered weeks ago to spend the day at Callaway Gardens last Saturday. They offer some workshops/continuing ed. classes that are always interesting - but apparently not in a general sense. There were only two people in the class I was helping with. I was not much actual 'help' (other than putting the pre-printed name tags on the two women who had paid to take the class), but thoroughly enjoyed being there as a part of the group, absorbing information. You might begin to have a suspicion that I decided to become a volunteer at the Gardens in order to benefit from attending certain events that occur there???

The guy who was teaching, Mike, is the director of the Day Butterfly Center there in the Gardens, so naturally, you'd expect him to be knowledgeable. And he most definitely was. I ended up sitting there with the other two participants, and probably took more notes/learned more than either of them. I'm full up to here with butterfly lore, specifically all you'd ever want to know about Monarchs and their Migration.  I won't bore you with all I know, and would have to get my notes to provide monumental amounts of trivia.

After a morning of discussion, watching a short film, and a power point, plenty of Q & A, we broke for lunch, and reassembled at the Butterfly Center. Mike was to show us how to properly/safely net a butterfly, and 'tag' it, should we happen to see/catch a Monarch. He said he had not seen any this season, but while he was waiting for the three of us to reassemble, he saw one.The 'tag' is a wee, smaller than your pinky nail self-adhesive dot, with wee, smaller numbers to be documented for tracking. The one Mike spotted escaped tagging on Sat., and probably headed on south. He pointed out a couple of masqueraders that look similar to Monarchs, but if you look fast enough, you can see a difference in the patterning on wings to know they are pretenders and not the real thing.

There is only one plant that the caterpillars eat, so that is the 'host' plant.I'm delighted to announce that I bought  (overpriced) milkweed plants last spring. And have been noticing they have been stripped of leaves, so something/somebody/somebug has been enjoying, whether it was a Monarch caterpillar or not, I cannot say. They are chunky, juicy, striped yellow,black and white, (nasty) looking things with stubby black feelers/horns on both ends as camouflage. So you have to patiently observe to know whether it is coming or going by waiting for movement.

The numbers of butterflies migrating from year to year are steadily decreasing, possibly due to loss of habitat. Monarchs fly from Canada, as far north as Hudson Bay, to overwinter in central Mexico, and make the return trip in the spring - longer than any other butterfly travels: Amazing! Mike gave the participants in the workshop/class two pots of a different sort of milkweed to take home. I am going to get mine planted today.

He was really preaching the 'butterfly garden' gospel, saying that the only way to preserve and increase the numbers is to have things growing that attract them. There are many that only eat one type plant, one particular herb or shrub, so without that specific thing to feed them, they will slowly cease to exist. And what would our world be with a big gap in the food chain, without butterflies, and the things that feed on them? Plant dill! Plant fennel! Plant milkweed!

was it Yogi Berra...

Was the famous Yankee baseball Manager the one who said 'I'm having deja-vu all over again'? I think we are having some of that at my house too. I was so relived when I thought of the DNA I had given  my kids, and thankfully diluted with Sanders genes, until I found my mother in law with the same memory problems my mother's family displayed. Makes me sad to think that I might have doomed my daughters to 'loosing it' when they age, with a combo. of 'failing memory' genetics from both parents. (Do I support Alzheimer's reserch? oh, yes!)

He asks every morning: What are you doing today? Where are you going? What time do you have to be there? When do you get off? What have you got going on? What are you plans? I never, never ask... and now I am wondering: Why not? Does it have something to do with being raised in the south? By people who were so conscious of observing the social norms they would not overtly pry into other people's business? Does this mean I am stuck in someone elses' rut?

Anyway....When he asked what I had on my schedule for today, I told him I had signed on to participate in a national cancer study/research project. Did the online registration and completed a lengthy questionnaire some weeks ago, and have to go this morning to the YMCA to give a blood sample, get measured and do some more Q & A stuff. He said: 'I hope you won't get mad with me when I ask you about this'. I said: 'hmmm - that all depends.'  He said, 'Well, you know I have been paying $28 a month for the membership at the Y, and I know you like to swim, and wish you would go'. I said 'Cancel it'. He said, 'Oh, no - I don't want to do that'...

Are you feeling kinda 'deja-vu' yet? Me too.

So I said: 'We've had this conversation before, right here at this table, some weeks ago. I told you to cancel it then. But you said you wanted me to go to the Y. I said I wanted to go to,but don't seem to be getting there. I'd like to get started with yoga for my old bones/joints and swim some too.'

'But regardless of what you decide to do, you don't need to say anything else about it to me. Because that is what I told you when we had this same conversation weeks ago: you are Not Allowed to say it again. Cancel it or don't - just remember that we had this discussion, so we don't have it again'. Arggghhhh....