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cat's tale....

Friday, January 31, 2014
I know I have written before about elderly cats who let us live here, have us quite well trained for dispensing wet food on command. The operative word at this point is 'elderly'. You know how 'they say' one dog year is equal to seven human years, so a dog who has been a beloved family member for five years, is really getting up there, according to 'they' who somehow determine the stress that is part of leading a 'dog's life'.

But I don't think I have ever heard anything about a comparison of cat vs. human years, so cannot say how old these two felines Really are. One has been around since 1997, and the other 1999. According to the vet they see once a year for immunizations, that is pretty old, and somewhat remarkable for cats whose lives have been out-of-doors in the 'danger zone' -  near busy streets, exposed to other pets, as well as varmints that carry/transmit diseases.

I took Lucy (the younger of the two) to the vet two weeks ago, concerned about her over health. Not grooming, which is especially noticeable on her, with long, shaggy coat. Lots of matted up places in her fur, that she won't let me snip out. Having a hard time breathing.  Sneezing a lot, with one eye being really wet/runny. Just sort of 'out of sorts', doing things that are not characteristic.

Fifty five dollars later, she was diagnosed with some sort of icky parasites, and I was to dose her daily with some yellow sticky stuff. That worked about as well as expected: cats are highly reluctant to consume things that someone else thinks is a good idea. But the whole time I was forcing her to 'take your medicine', she was unusually lethargic. Was it the drugs?

I called the end of last week, to talk to a vet (three in that practice), who did not call back. The owner finally called me on Monday, right before the weather from the North Pole arrived, so Lucy did not get seen until today. Sad news, but not unexpected... considering her long happy life. Heart failure.

I did not want to leave her there this morning, as I know she was completely freaked out. Assuming cats can freak. They never, never get in the car, unless it's on a ride to the gallows/vet's office, Which only happens once a year. And it probably takes a year for their pulse rate to return to normal. After such a traumatic experience, of being in that loud, chaotic place, plus getting poked with a needle several times.  I knew she would not like being there, amongst all the barking, yapping, whining, stomping, door clanging, bumping, thumping noises. Especially since she has been inside, here - in a warm, peaceful, quiet house most of the past two weeks, due to infirmities and the weather (plus my on-going guilt).

I'm supposed to leave her till this afternoon, while they give her oxygen, and try to get more of the fluid that is giving her such a problem out. I guess in her lungs? around her heart? as I have heard humans who have congestive heart failure speak of.  When P. called to ask how my visit to the vet was, I told him, and he said 'I guess there's not much they can do about that'. To which I replied: 'when the doctor said you had it, we didn't give up on you!'

after all that...

Thursday, January 30, 2014
After all that miserable weather: rain, then snow, then ice, then roads that were reportedly " slippery as owl #@%&", today was an amazingly beautiful day. For which I am profoundly thankful. After being at home, inside for about two days, I was close to 'stir crazy'.

I have a bone to pick with the weather prognosticators.  I'm not looking at TV, but have seen enough on AOL to know that metro Atlanta has been getting a bad rap for not being prepared for whiteout conditions.  What the smarty-pants weather guys did not report, provide adequate warning about: the fact that it would start with rain - so the roads would be wet before the snow began. Meaning, when it got cold enough to snow, the hard surfaces would already be slick from rain that would start to freeze as the temp. dropped, thereby making the 'slick as' situation that created the havoc on the highways. To be resolved only today, when the sun warmed everything up enough for the ice to melt on the roads.

And now for today:Clear, bright and sunny. Not the warmest ever, but enough to mostly melt all the lingering snow, and heat up the roadways to make them safe for travel. It will freeze again tonight, so all those people who were skidding along the streets sideways on their way to work today, will be riding the slip'n'slide again tomorrow. If it were not so dang cold, it would be what P. describes as a 'hot mess'!

Hard to imagine that after all that cold, misery, and people stuck in traffic for hours and hours - the temp. will be up in the sixties in the next few days.  I was so happy to get out of the house, I took myself down the street for a walk. Generally try to put in a couple of miles every day, but with being house-bound on Wed., I've gotten a bit behind. So hope that tomorrow will be as sunny and pleasant as today, and I can start to get caught up. Hope the weather has moderated and more tolerable where-ever you are as well.

what about the little birdies?

Looking out the windows often, where there was ice and snow all day on Wednesday, I was observing what was happening, or more accurately: not happening. We do not live in a warm house. Though the windows are double paned, and there is insulation in the attic, it's generally chilly. With a man who is always cold, due to medications, the thermostat is set at 71 for daytime, though most days there is no one here. (Burgling thieves: please disregard!)

Being housebound all day, there was lots of opportunity to glance out at the world from the relative comfort of seventy'ish degrees. And I noticed lots of little puffy, fluffed up birds hopping around on the driveway, obviously cold, and apparently hungry. My parents were conscientious feeders of birds, enjoying the flapping and pecking activity as the feathered ones would visit several seed stations around their house. I have not been so kind - but have been thoughtful: thinking that inviting feathered friends to come for breakfast would actually mean providing fresh lunch for the cats.

But as I watched an assortment of small birds flitting around, pecking at minuscule bits on the concrete, I thought: you need to put something out for them to eat. Late yesterday afternoon, I was plundering around in the pantry, deciding what might be suitable for bird food. Found a number of things I will put out and hope they will return to enjoy tasty morsels. Things like stove-top stuffing (two boxes), corn tortilla/taco shells (two boxes), popcorn I left in the micro. too long (one bag).

When I got up to check on the cats, I opened the carport door and see that all the snow on the concrete apron has melted, and toss out the bag of popcorn.  I saw cardinals, what I think was a Baltimore oriole, lots of house wrens/sparrows yesterday: all fluffed up like balls of fuzzy yarn. When the word gets out, I hope they will come back to find the buffet open.

Both cats are in the house, being lazy, but the neighbors' cats may come by, looking for someone to bully here. The big chunky striped one from next door thinks we are always good for a free meal, with smaller, mild mannered felines to intimidate. I'd like to think the neighbor will be keeping her aggressive pet indoors, so I will not look out the front window to see a mass of feathers floating around as a predator has been plowing through the hungry birds.

I often think that I would like to put out bird feeders to attract colorful feathered friends, but as long as there are cats around, I know it would be a mistake - an invitation to the felines to enjoy a fresh kill. Years ago, when our cats were more active and energetic, I would often step out the door,, to find 'parts' or whole smaller animals lying on the carport floor: chipmunks, birds (or just a pile of feathers), lizards, skinks, an occasional squirrel .Thoughtful little gifts. All caught by industrious cats, who had plenty to eat in the bowl: just doing what cats were designed to do?

truly... part 2

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I would like to withdraw the title of a recent blog, the one that started with 'dang it's cold', as I apparently had no real idea of what cooolllldddd is really like when I wrote a week ago! Because dang, it really is!  When I got up this morning, the temp. on the computer screen, at around 6 a.m. said it was 22 degrees, but that was probably what it was thinking when I put it to bed last night. Because it soon indicated numbers in the teens.

Traffic out on the street, across the vast frozen wasteland of our front yard has been moving at a remarkably slow pace. Most people on this long straight mile-and-a-half road zip along at fifty or sixty miles an hour, though the posted signs have about half of that. It appears the few vehicles I have seen creeping along out there are actually, unusually going at the proper speed for a street with a school zone a half mile away (though schools are closed today). When P. observed an SUV inching along, he commented that the traffic seems to be moving slowly. I said, "Get out your phone and look at the temp."  He said: 27. I said, "Does that explain it?"

When at work yesterday, a customer inquired:  would the store be closed due to bad weather? I said that I did not think cold weather would be legitimate enough for not opening. And if it gets so bad the power is out, the company has a number of big generators permanently mounted, stored on flat bed trailers, to deploy as needed. After severe weather experience in FL and along the Gulf coast, they apparently decided to be better prepared for electrical outages. So when the predictors indicate a problem anywhere in the southeastern states where we have stores, the portable generators can be hooked up to trucks that are normally delivering freight/products to stores, and deliver the energy to keep the frozen goods frozen, lights lit, ovensbaking, and cash registers cheerfully chiming away.

truly winter here...

I guess I went to bed too early last night, as I have been awake for-ever, and it's just now 6:00 a.m. I have not looked out to see the world, but it was covered with a couple of inches of snow when I gave up on the day around 8:30 p.m. I thought I could go to the warmest place in the house and read awhile, but soon found myself dropping the magazine as my eye lids got heavy. The posted weather info. indicates 22 degrees and sleet - which tells me I'm not going anywhere today. Especially on that trip I had planned for the middle of the week, involving Decatur and SC.

When I decided to back off on traveling north, I thought of calling the auntie. To suggest we could make that last run to the coast she needs to take before selling her place in the Golden Isles. Feeling like the weather and driving conditions to the south would not be as limiting/risky as weather problems farther north. But now that I'm seeing what  is going on out there, 'home' gets more appealing all the time.  The best choice seems to be to stay put. Pretty difficult for someone who keeps a toothbrush at the ready (actually - in my car, as you never know when you might have dirty teeth!), and a bag always semi-packed, ready at a moments' notice.

It looked to me like, when I was up in the wee hours, and peering out the window - some of the snowfall had melted. Things were not completely covered in fluff as they had been when it was falling, before it got completely dark. Meaning more water that has solidified on the roadway and much more slickness, people driving sideways ,into medians, rights-of-way and other vehicles as well as trees, sign posts and various stationary objects.  This is probably a good day to have zero travel plans.

A slight correction on the temp. I thought it was 22, but now it's 16 degrees outside. I guess the cats will be wanting to come inside to spend their day napping on the furniture instead of the cold concrete floor of the carport! One or both have been inside  most nights for the past week or so - due to weather.  Apparently one never got instructed on the purpose of the litter box, as I have to clean up puddles on the floor if she's been in overnight. Arggghhh.

what we're eating on a icy winter evening...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When I was leaving work, I strolled myself over to the meat counter, and got several pkg. of ground beef. Thinking to go home and make a nice warm friendly pot of chili for supper. That I would put it in the crock pot when I got home, let it simmer for several hours, and we would have a bowl of chili and warm, toasty muffings.

That never happened. I got home, and sat down. Read several days accumulation of newspapers. Did a bit of blogging, and pretty soon it was almost 6 o'clock. Nobody had given eating a thought... so the crock pot was not an option. Here is the part that starts to sound like 'True Confessions'.

Having long been accused of a person who would go to great lengths to sneak in a bit of good nutrition, I am up to my usual underhanded ways. In an effort to live up to my reputation: naturally, the chili has a carrot in it. Hardly noticeable to the average consumer, since it was shredded and cooked before being inserted in the bubbling pot.  Then, for the chili to have the consistency of something that had been 'asimmering for hours, I put in some V-8 juice (you know - 'drink your vegetables'), which made it too soupy. As I expected, because I planned to add potato flakes to make it magically thicken up, without all the hours and hours of cooking.

Whip up a box of jiffy corn muffing mix, add a few diced cooked onions and a little whole kernel corn, put in toaster oven for fifteen minutes. And voila!

I was thinking...

When Mr. I-Love-to-Fret-About-the-Weather reported that the prediction was for snow and icy driving conditions, I was thinking of what a novelty snow is here. It might have happened once when I was growing up in south GA, just too far south to get cold enough. And thinking of what an uncommon occurrence it is here. Maybe once every six or eight years. 

I was recently looking at photos of years past, when daughters, probably in their early teens, had put effort into creating a snowman in the front yard.  It is such a rarity here in middle GA, much excitement is easily generated over the prospect of enough to smoosh together to make a few snowballs. So when there is enough to roll some into balls and build a snow man (though the volume of the 'man' was at least fifty percent leaves, twigs and pinestraw) it's a pretty big deal. 

And thinking of enough to stick on the ground, I remember when we were soooo excited about the white stuff, when they were very small, I took them out wearing plastic bags over there feet. I put on double socks, and plastic shopping bags, then put their little canvas sneakers on. I knew the shoes would soon be soaked through, and did not want their feet to be cold and wet, so thought bags would keep them dry...Fortunately it was before we had neighbors, so there was no one else out and around to laugh at the crazy mama with her little birdies playing in the snow.

At some point - maybe the next time, years later, when we had enough to accumulate and cover the ground, we wanted to slide down the steep hill in the front yard. With no proper cold weather gear, we decided the most method was on the lid of the garbage can. With little opportunity to actually go sledding, and nothing more sled-like to use for whizzing down the slippery slope - why would a trash can lid not be adequate for swooshing down the hill amidst the tree limbs and briars?  You know to expect to get dumped out at the bottom any way, and there is really no controlling the speed or direction - so why not just go ahead and be daresome? It was cold, and wet, and great fun. As in: "we'll have some good fun that is funny".

the weatherman said...

...we should expect snow today. When I left home to go to work, it was remarkably warm - not the kind of cold you would think could contain frosty little flakes. But it has got progressively colder through out the day. To the point that there were icicles on my car when I left the store mid-afternoon. It was considerably colder, and wet, but only a sort of light, misting rain. I still had my doubts about the accuracy of the forecast, until I got to my car - discovering there were little inch long icicles hanging from my outside mirrors.  Then when I started up the car, and thought I should turn on the wipers to clear off the windshield, it wasn't water, and the wipers had little dangling icicles too!

I was expecting to go to Decatur tomorrow, then thought: I should go on today, before the roads get icy, as I am sure they will be in the morning before daylight. But have now decided to Not Go at all. Sad, because I was looking forward to spending the day on E. street. Hoping that the roads to the north would not be as dangerous, and I could make the planned trip to SC on Thurs to visit my pen pal. But I will have to postpone all that - I'm not getting out in that stuff: slick roads, slippery driving, slushy mess. Warm and dry here, though as it continues to rain lightly out there, there are icicles hanging off the edge of the roof, and I am sure all the tree branches as well.

a bit redundant...

Monday, January 27, 2014
This will be a bit redundant, since I started it yesterday, before the one you just read. But in the same vein in which it was written, hopefully you will take as observation, rather than complaint, or worse; whining. I have very little tolerance for adults who do that, so if it seems to be inching toward that 'W' end of the scale, please let me know, and I will delete immediately. In kids - maybe  just a little, as I know they have not learned the social behaviors adults shouldobserve/have absorbed: whining is unacceptable. (Should I apply for the Miss Manners position when she retires?)

Every time someone here mumbles about the bill from the cable company, I offer to call them and have it discontinued - I don't want it. I don't watch TV, so I would certainly not miss having it, and would especially not be sad to not be paying a cable bill every month, for something I DO NOT use. I've also been suggesting when he does call the cable company (which would never happen as TV is both mesmerizing and addictive) that he discontinue the telephone service. The reason that has not happened is the price is discounted for the 'bundle' - which still does not make much sense - to pay for something you don't use- doesn't matter how much they discount - if you don't use/need it,why pay at all?

Amazingly, the call was recently made and apparently was remarkably painless - no home phone.

I had also been lobbying to get wireless service for computer. Now that I have a new one, nifty little laptop, I hope we can eliminate the computer line. Which will leave us with only the TV cable service on the monthly bill.  Even though he won't get that 'bargain' bundle price, I'm thinking it should be a whole lot less than paying for three different services. One should be less expensive, right?

I will need some tech support to get some of the things I have savaed over the years out of the CPU memory, and put on something more portable than a thirty pound brain. Then we can eliminate the cost of monthly billing for an additional computer line. Next you can help me fiture out some way to get rid of the cable bill. There ought to be some way to do that wirelessly as well. I know we could never get rid of the television - if he had his way, there would be one in every room in the house. If I had mine - it would be sitting out on the street waiting for the trash truck. And there is some benefit to being mesmerized - not sure what, but I know there must be some purpose/point to all that stuff that is beamed into a gazillion homes around the clock- influencing every facet of our lives.

8588 is history...

Moved from Valdosta to Columbus in 1981, into an apartment complex. With the intention of looking for a house, that would be more permanent, looked settled and established. I generally have the feeling that apartment dwellers might not be 'permanent' residents, people who are putting down roots in a community, though I know there are numerous reasons people do not invest or live in free-standing houses. Expecting to be in one place for a long time is a good reason to buy a house and begin the process of building up equity, as opposed to rent payments, which seem to be closer to pouring your cash down a rat-hole.

When the apartment was rented,, there were the requisite deposits to various utilities for necessary services to be available: water, electricity, telephones. The phone number that was assigned was 8588.  Found a house in the fall, and moved in over Thanksgiving weekend. I've lived here, in this town, and in this house longer than any place in my life. Pretty unusual, I think. I told daughters, along about the time they left the nest that they were probably they only people they knew who had lived in the same house their entire lives... most others relocating for one reason or another, like financial problems, family dissolution, employment relocation..

Here we sit, though I have lobbied on and off for several years to downsize.  When we had work done to the interior about four years ago, it was my intention to relocate. Hoping to move closer into town, with easier access to services, plus less house and yard to maintain. That did not go at all as I had planned. So it looks like we are pretty much here for the long term.

 I've been suggesting for months (years actually!) that we should discontinue the land line telephone. The telemarketers and political candidates are the only ones who use it. I don't like the idea of having them in the house when no on else is here to supervise their behavior. (See previous blog back in early November related to being burgled!) After years of conversation, on-going discussion and periodic bouts of complete exasperation, he finally contacted the cable provider and had the phone service discontinued.

Just letting you know that the telephone number you have in your address book/brain, stored on your phone is not in service. I've been giving out a cell number for years as the primary contact number, and try to always have it on my person. If you want to talk to me, that is the only way now. Unless you are running for office, or recruiting donors to support your exceptionally worthy cause: go ahead and call the number listed in the book, and leave a message on the home phone.

mystery solved...

Friday, January 24, 2014
When I was rooting through the mess that the burgling crew left behind, cleaning off the top of the dresser I also got into a jewelry box they had stirred up, looking for valuables. I hope they are not reading my blog, .because I found something they missed. I guess this little item has been in there for a while, and would have been easily overlooked.

It is a very small gold wedding band. Tucked into a little white leatherette folding case, about an inch square.  Secured inside, on a tiny white satin cushion with a little white satin ribbon. Barely big enough to slide down on my pinkie finger. It's really neat looking, with a kind of beaded edging. And the interesting part is there is something etched inside the band. I tried to figure out what the etching was, looking like it was letters and numbers - that I thought would give me a hint of where it came from. But the band is so tiny, the engraving is minute, and my eyes just would not decipher. I thought there is a magnifying glass in this house someplace. Progress on the cleaning project came to a screeching halt while I got distracted with searching for a magnifier. No luck. No amount of squinting or adjusting the light helped with trying to figure out what had been engraved inside that tiny little ring.

So I called my friend, PC, who can fix Anything. And asked her to bring her magnifying glass (certainly a person who is as multi-talented and handy as PC would have one of those in her tool kit!) to help with the mystery. She took one look, adjusted her glasses, and said: RF to RS 6-12-12 to 6-12-52.

That's my granddaddy, Randall Fluker and grandmother Rosa Simmons Fluker. The dates are, I assume, the day they got married, and a fortieth anniversary. What a sweet, thoughtful guy. That plainly explains how my dad, Thomas Randall Fluker, Jr. turned out to be such a sweet, thoughtful guy.

How I got the ring? I don't know. But I am delighted to have it, and have the mystery solved. Thanks, PC!

dang.it's coooollldddd...

I've been at home all day. Indoors, wearing lots of clothing. Oddly, the only time I have been outside was early this morning. When I was wearing pajamas and robe and slippers to take the trash out to the street: completely under dressed for below 32 degree weather, and then came in and put on layers to protect my cold bones after I got back in the house.

I'm thinking of going for a walk: it's so pretty and sunny out there, but I know that the bright sunshine can be very deceiving, so will add  a few more layers before I head out. Strange that I would have a day on my calendar with nothing to do...how completely out of character!

I have been stirring through some of the stuff on top of the dresser the burgling guys tossed around. Looking at an assortment of jewelry and junk. I don't think that dresser had been dusted in a couple of years, so it was pretty impressive when I dug down to the surface. I have several different piles of stuff: close relatives should get prepared for surprises! Plus a bag of broken/damaged stuff I will take to my favorite jeweler to see if any has value for salvage - that would be a bonus. Along with the bag I have filled that will go to the thrift shop for recycling. I have on several bracelets I unearthed in the tangle, that I had forgot about, and will enjoy wearing until the people at my workplace give me grief about my decorations. It's been an interesting afternoon...

I did go for the walk - and invited a neighbor's dog to go along. She really enjoyed herself. And is probably already lying in the sun, taking a nap to get over all that unaccustomed exercise... which sounds like a pretty good idea, as I think we walked about three miles.

college football... hoo-rah....

Thursday, January 23, 2014
I have been clipping articles from our newspaper, saving info.from the sports section for weeks, sending to fans of Auburn and Alabama college football. I am not to be confused with anyone resembling a 'fan', of any sport, though I will hesitate as I pass through the room if there is figure skating going on. (Amazing! Think of the years of cold, solitary practice they invest!)  But I do have people in my life that might occasionally get a bit obsessive about their chosen teams, located in a the state, adjacent, to the west of Georgia.

So I have been, in a very casual, haphazard manner, randomly observing and snipping articles about the two competitors and mailing to the people in my life who can get a little crazy during football season. And thinking to myself: I will be glad when this is over, and I can quit paying attention to the sports section, stop saving articles.  I've discovered it's not just the 'weight' of an envelope that makes extra postage necessary, often times it is the bulk - when I fold up a pile of clippings and make the envelope so fat, the post office wants extra to deliver, even though it's undernourished/underweight.

But here I sit, with typing away, with my keyboard on a one inch high stack of newspaper. Waiting for me to go through with my scissors, and eviscerate. Gather up all the articles about players from University of Alabama, or Auburn - moving on to the pros, being disciplined for infractions, class attendance, health issues... I thought things would quiet down after the bowl games? But no - there is always something going on. And as you know: Inquring Minds Want to Know!

just a bowl of cereal...

Most mornings, I have a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. An occasional variation would be oatmeal, that I will eat either cold or hot- depending on weather, time allowance, availability, etc. But more often than not, it's going to be a little bowl of whole grain cheerios and almond milk (which I have started on as it has 'way more calcium than that which comes from squeezing the lower parts of a bovine, though I am not all knowledgeable as to how one would go about milking an almond tree?)
And generally try to keep bananas in the house to slice a half of a banana over the crunch.

Every time I slice a banana, I think about my dad. I have possibly told this story before, but with hundreds of blogs written, it's hard to know what direction my train of thought took over the recent years I have been posting. This must have happened at least twenty years ago - and still brings a clear picture in my mind.

I was in Destin, with both daughters, and parents. I think they were there when we arrived, having come from south GA several days earlier, with a bit of overlap. Allowing time to spend with the best grandmother on the planet I'm sure. You know how kids can go to bed at a decent hour, and still sleep till mid-morning? That must have been going on, because there were just three adults eating a cold cereal breakfast. There was only one banana available to cover all three bowls. My dad sliced that single, relatively small piece of fruit so thin, it was a gracious plenty for all three of us to enjoy our breakfast.  Vaguely reminiscent of 'the loaves and fishes' story, but no leftovers.

So every time I stand in my kitchen and slice a banana over my little bowl of whole wheat cheerios, I am picturing in my mind - my dad, expertly slicing to provide enough for three people to enjoy.  Which, as you can imagine, makes my bowl of cheerios, all these years later, much much better tasting.

a stop by the post office...

Since postage is going up for first class letters on the 26, you will not be surprised to find that there is some 'stamp stockpiling' going on here. The last time the USPS did this, there was  some offhand conversation about making the investment to buy up a load of stamps and save some cash. But I said: "its' only a penny" so that conversation came to a screeching halt'.

Now that first class is increasing a whopping two cents, I decided it would be a good idea to try to buy some since the price to get mail delivered will go from 47 cents to 49. You have to wonder why they didn't just go ahead and say: "This is a hold-up... hand over the fifty cents", as they pulled their bandannas up over their faces. Which is what would have happened if anyone had asked my opinion, as I am going to write the letters/cards and be willing to pay someone else to get the correspondence delivered no matter how much it costs to stick a stamp on it.

I had some things to mail when I left to drive to Americus yesterday, thinking I would stop in some wee little burg like Buena Vista.  Or some other rural town, where you just make a loop around the courthouse square and immediately identify the USPS building by the flag briskly flapping in the breeze.  A couple of envelopes that I thought might need an extra stamp for the second ounce, or it would just come back to me to start over.

I was running late, as usual, and did not have time to stop driving south. But when I left Americus to head back toward home, I did get to the post office in Buena Vista about four minutes till five. Barely squeaking in prior to closing time.  I got all my stuff mailed, (including a small, unusual package: heads up, P.I.). And tried to throw myself on the mercy of the clerk. I was hoping for some sympathy, but, though she was very pleasant, ie: excellent customer service training, she was not willing to 'bargain'.

Telling this pitiful tale about wanting to buy up 'forever' stamps before the price increase. And thinking the postcard stamps I bought recently would be 'forever', though I failed to ascertain that fact and the clerk I purchased the 33 cent stamps from failed to ask. I just assumed that a week before the increase that the roll of 100 I was buying would naturally be 'forever'. Which was not the case.

So I had to buy an additional one cent stamp to go along with the roll of one hundred 33 cent stamps I'd bought: meaning I now have five pages of one cent stamps to add to the 33's to mail the postcards.  I'm so swamped with more stamps that most folk could ever get used up, I feel like I could open a postal sub-station out on the street. So, as soon as it warms up about fifty degrees, I plan go out and stand by my mailbox (painted like that same American flag that flaps above post offices nation wide) and put my little green visor on: Open for business.

traveling - an unusually short road trip...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I have plans to go to Americus today. Yes, I know - why would I only drive for an hour when I could go clear across the state or freezing Florida on the coldest day of the year? The answer is that the man I want to visit is living in Americus. He is one of four veterans I accompanied several years ago when the Honor Flights were taking WWII vets from Columbus to DC for a day trip to see the WWII Memorial and tour several other notable sites in Washington.

 Ed. is from Albany, and recently relocated, with his wife to the Methodist retirement center in Americus. I'm not sure when I last saw him, but know it has been over a year. We sort of reconnected when I sent a donation last fall to the local veterans group to purchase flags for flying on Victory Drive over memorial/holiday weekends. In the envelope with my check to pay for flags, I requested the donations be designated for specific individuals, and that the flags that would be purchased would actually have the names of the veterans written on them. I don't know if that particular request was honored, but the note of response indicated the flags would be bought for four people who served in WWII as indicated.

I copied the response I received from the Chattahoochee Valley Veterans Association, and sent to the three vets whose names I had listed. (The fourth one being my dad, who would be delighted to think that a flag would merrily flap along Victory Drive with his name on it!) And mailed the notes to the three. Ed. wrote me a note of thanks, and reported they had relocated from Albany to Americus. So I am going to have lunch with them today.

When we talked last night, he said his friend, Lee, the other vet. who was on that flight to DC with us, might be there as well. I know from notes received from Lee's wife, that he is struggling with memory problems, a sad diagnosis that is becoming more common as we live longer. He is apparently in good physical health, so Ed. has contacted them to see if they might come and have lunch with us. So, hopefully we will have a happy little reunion.

obituary...

A cousin who lives on the other side of the state sent an obituary notice of another cousin we have in common. Good man, he was, that cousin who recently deceased. A delightful, charming man who had a great wit, a ready smile, and a welcoming handshake- ....ummm, make that a big, hearty hug, for anyone he encountered. The kind of guy you hear people talk about as 'having never met a stranger. When I read the obituary, with a memorial service being held on Saturday, I notice there will be a time for folks to offer amusing anecdotes and reminisce about his life and times.

The obit. states that he was born in Atlanta, grew up in Washington, GA and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in commercial drawing. He was a well know, well established, well-liked resident of Macon, in central Georgia for many years. Operated an advertising agency, and involved in lots of community activities and advocacies in the town he called home.

I don't know if I would be willing to embarrass myself by getting up to tell the story, but I know he enjoyed reminding me about it - so I guess I might as well confess it here. I was 18 or 19 years old. Going to school at a two year college in central GA, about an hour's drive southeast of Macon, where Ed. and his family lived. I had never met him until my dad came to the school and picked me up one day, and drove to Macon, where we met Ed. and had lunch together. My new-found cousin invited me to come up and visit, spend weekends with him and his family any time. Which I did on several occasions The small junior college campus was often deserted on the weekends when everyone went home, leaving only foreign students who had no where else to be, hanging around in quiet, nearly empty dorms.

At the time I first got to know he, he was married to Pat, with three daughters, the oldest being maybe middle or early high school aged. I ended up sleeping in the upstairs bed of which ever of the three girls was not using her bed, being away from home with friends having a sleepover. I thoroughly enjoyed weekends with my new-found cousin and his family: they seemed so normal (whatever 'normal' is), and readily welcomed me with open arms into family meals and activities.

So there was this one weekend when I got a ride with friends from the college campus to Ed's home, only to find no one was there. So, here I am, stranded. Left on the front steps of an empty house, in a strange town, with the usual empty pockets of a college student. What to do?  Poked around and found a window with a loose screen, that was not locked. Pried open the screen, opened the window, climbed in the house. Probably could have been carted off to have my photo taken holding a number, charged with B&E. But: there was no one there to report the home invasion!  Long before the era of burglar alarms and security systems in private residences, so I just sort of fell into the house, andout of  closed the window behind me.

I think I remember that once I made myself at home, I called around and found a friend who would come and get me, find me a place to stay for the weekend. I probably did not put things back like they were before I scooted myself across that side table, knocking things off as I pulled myself inside, so I surely left abundant evidence of my crime.  I do not recall the particulars of how I eventually confessed to my short-lived career, but I know he got a lot of mileage retelling the story.

Long after the fact, in recent visits, he enjoyed reminding me about my ill-starred career as a burglar. And got a big laugh each time he told the tale on me... he did love to laugh.

a driving tour of north ATL 'burbs...

Monday, January 20, 2014
Before we left the city this morning, we were roaming around the northern edge of Atlanta, actually in what is probably a Marietta zip-code. You know how they all run together, and the names of streets can change without you realizing you've relocated? We did some of that too.

Looking at all those outrageously huge houses, on the teeny little lots that are so out of proportion to the real estate as to be laughable. And laugh we did for several reasons. Among them being the absurdly ostentatious size and style of those houses... just unbelievable. Enormous Spanish-istyle home, with red tile roof, four car garage, that would be so attractive in a different setting - like on the Mediterranean? But in suburban Atlanta? With the huge house and multi-vehicle garage wings fanned out on each side of the home, and the property enclosed by a stucco-wall fence that encompassed an area about ten feet outside the foot print of the building.

And another we agreed was the ugliest house we had ever seen. The part of the house that was facing the street, actually looked like the side/end, with no front door/entry way. So the front would have been overlooking the roof of the neighbors, with only a driveway separating the two. A wide open flat space between the house and the curb, with nothing but grass, not the first shred of landscaping - I guess that the 'pretty-fication' part was not for the average passers-by to view? Or maybe all the decorative plantings were on the inside, kept out of the line of vision of pedestrians and commoners?

We are looking at houses that obviously run into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars - and ugly as sin. Saying to ourselves, as we look at how the 'other half' lives: what were they thinking???  How could anyone afford that sort of lifestyle... and if you actually had the resources to be able to afford it: why would you?

Thinking of how much the mortgage payment would be. How much you would have to make to afford the house payments. How much you would have to work to make that kind of money. How much you would be paying someone to take care of such a huge house. How seldom you would actually be in residence to enjoy the estate you worked so many hours to support.  How expensive it would be to pay someone to come and clean, how crazy a life like that would make a person...

happy (not yet) birthday...

In addition to a visit with the world traveler, seeing the cousin who has been halfway around the planet and back again  there was another reason to go to the city. I also went up to Decatur yesterday, so I could spend today with the daughter who is having a birthday: tomorrow. It has been in the works for a while, since we looked at the calendar and realized we both had to work on the 21st. She had to decide: name your amusement, and we will go, spend the day together doing the 'whatever' of your choosing.

We went to Cartersville to the Tellus science museum.  It sits right there adjacent to the interstate when you drive from Atlanta to Chattanooga, so I see it every month when I make a run to TN to visit. And each time I pass by, think to myself: hmmm - we should go there. So that was my proposal, just a suggestion, that was taken, along with asking the TN people to meet for an afternoon of roaming the museum and a meal together. In the wandering about, through the part of the facility that houses a huge collection of gemstones, minerals, rocks, meteorites, history of mining, we discovered that 'tellus' is a word historically applied to mean 'mother earth', or maybe it was 'earth mother'? from mythology... I don't recall the details. 

A wealth of information about geology, as well as planet history, with a lot of dinosaur replicas, explanations of reptile and mammalian evolution - overall an informative day. The sort of trip, exposing brains to the kind of things that would mostly go over the heads of your average school field trip participant, who would primarily be interested in being out of the classroom for the day, with no desire to experience anything even remotely educational.

It was a pretty, remarkably warm, pleasant day, between the last polar vortex and the next one that is bearing down on us as we sit and placidly wait for our toes to freeze.  Clear and bright, a joy to be out in the world. And I enjoyed spending it with both of my favorite people. Happy Birthday tomorrow!

about 'I saw the moon' thing...

I think this 'thing' got started many years ago, when the oldest daughter F. was working one summer at Girl Scout Camp up in Harris County, about forty-five minutes north of home. If you know me at all, you know what a great/compulsive correspondent I can be, a blessing and/or curse. Depending on how you enjoy reading chatty, innocuous, stream-of-consciousness daily trivia... you must, or you would not be reading this now?

When F. was spending weeks working at hot, buggy, scout camp, I often wrote her notes and cards - as I know what it is to be far from home and lonesome. And what a delight to find your name called when the mail is delivered. So I sent lots of little missives, an occasional purchased greeting card. You know: the ones that you Always turn over to see how highly you are valued by the sender, by seeing how much they paid for the card? Plus lots of mundane, dull happenings that occurred on the home front.

One of the greeting cards, I remember so clearly, I have a snapshot in my brain.  A hand-drawn illustration of a little girl, dressed in old-fashioned clothing, on a window seat, in a quaint looking bedroom. Sitting there in the gloom, peering out at the night.  And a big bright full moon shining down on the landscape, lighting a path across the floor of the interior of her room. I don't recall the specific wording that accompanied the card, but it was something like... 'that big bright moon you see up high, in the sky, is shining down on you and me.'  So now, every time I look up, any time of day, and see the moon, be it a sliver of a crescent, turned up like a bowl. Or a half moon, looking like an illustration for a Mother Goose rhyme.  Or a broadly grinning bright white full round circle. I give my girl a call, and say "I saw the moon". Which is code for: Thinking of you.

only abut ninety minutes...

Compared to my usual travels, driving to Decatur after working for six hours is practically not worth mentioning.  But I do mention, since the goal was to have dinner with my cousin who lives nearby, and I do not see as often as I would like. She'd been doing some traveling over the year-end holidays, and I knew she had photos to document the time she'd spent with her family while she was away.

The cousin, F., has a son who is a journalist, currently living in India. He has been, over the recent years, in Russia, and China on work assignments. Which has given her reason/opportunity to go to some really interesting places. The young man is based out of Washington, D.C., so periodically returns to the states, for business/meetings, but is generally assigned to report news from the foreign locations where he resides. With him living in such relatively exotic locales, this has given F. reason to make some wonderful trips to foreign lands to visit him and his family. The addition of a second grandson (named after both the baby's granddads) in the fall has made visits to her son even more appealing.

When I met her for dinner last night, she had a few printed photos, and hundreds on her computer she brought along for 'show and tell'. Many of the family, a cute little two-and-a-half year old, the wee baby, all swaddled up, grinning out of many layers with bright blue eyes, and a pair of smiling, happy parents - all enjoying exploring the wonders of Delhi, both old and new. Quite a few of the pictures she had on her computer were of places they had been while she was there: temples, gardens, parks with beautiful old buildings that had gorgeous stone work, and could have been built well over a thousand years ago. Intricate inlaid stone, and delicate looking designs on tiles that were so painstakingly created centuries ago, still in perfect condition, looking newly wrought.

I thoroughly enjoyed the slide show, time visiting with F., and a most excellent shared meal, thanks to the chef daughter. From the conversation, and photos, she obviously enjoyed her travels, and time with family, on the far side of the globe. Interesting to think that both of those grandsons can have dual citizenship - one born in China, and the other India. How the world has changed!

spring produces eternal hope...

Saturday, January 18, 2014
I have been out digging today - if that is a 'sure sign' of spring, I'm a couple of weeks ahead of the ground hog! Do I get a prize? Like the 'early bird getting the worm'? I'll have to pass on the worm, thank-you-very-much. It turned into such a pretty day, I couldn't help myself.  I get kind of 'itchy' on the warm days, when the sun is so bright, cheery, warm it causes me to want to get out the shovel and dig, whether I have anything to plant or not.

When I was running a couple of errands this morning, listening to amusing programs on public radio. At some point, between the usual hilarity of Saturday mornings programming, the weather man predicted possible overnight snow flurries for north GA. I had to wonder where that idea came from, as it was a cloudless, bright clear sunny day. But also know if they are having miserable weather in TX, we should expect them to be exporting it our way in a couple of days.

I had a mum plant I wanted to get put in the ground, and found some iris that had been begging to be planted for weeks, since someone gave them to me back in the fall. So I got my shovel out and dug several holes to get things planted, in that area full of bulbs and perennials in front of the house.

And there are all these little aggravating wild onion plants that come up in the spring - I am continually trying to eliminate. I go out with my shovel and dig under, to loosen the dirt, and pull up the bulb/roots instead of just having the top pull away, and the plant growing back. It is an endless task, so I wonder if somehow those tiny little onion plants are related to kudzu, or the English ivy I have been trying to kill for years. For today, I know I am on the winning team with the onion elimination competition, but they are so annoying, the balance could change at any time. Weed killer does not work, so it's an on-going process, as there are always a couple of little bulbs that I don't get dug up - and I think they are secretly chortling over my lack of success, while planning to mount a counter-insurrection campaign overnight.

hope springs eternal...

When I was out late yesterday afternoon, headed down the street, getting my daily walking done, I meandered through the yard. And delighted to see some barely discernable signs of spring, after some seriously cold weather that brought everything I've planted to it's knees in recent weeks. Some bulb-type plants that have been in the ground for several years, and previously survived cold wind with no noticeable effects now lie limp by my front door. Nothing with any color at all out there: I learned many years ago that it was a waste of time and funds to plant pansies. With a hungry deer population roaming freely, thinking: 'oh, look! salad bar!'

But I noticed the first little little points of peeking-out leaves of hyacinth bulbs beginning to show a bit of green. So hope those colorful, fragrant blooms are not far behind. And the buds on the huge, rambling, floppy forsythia bush trying to grow, possibly getting a miniscule bit bigger with each sunny day, wanting to burst into bright yellow blooms. We've been getting in lots of bulb plants at work: tulips, daffodils, hyacinths - that, suprisingly- are often shipped from Canada!??! I can't imagine what it must take to keep greenhouses warm and bright enough to force bulb plants to want to bloom up in the ice and snow...

Most of the walking since the first of the year has either been in the mall, or me dressed in enough layers to look like the Michelin tire man. I am so ready for warmer weather.

PS: typed on the old computer, as I don't know how to highlight to italicize on the new one! But it has been very educational trying to figure things out the new, portable one!

at least it wasn't raining...

Friday, January 17, 2014
My cousin, who lives in Decatur, told me a story one time about having a flat tire, out in the interstate highway someplace in the metro area. Not only was it on the right-of-way where people were speeding past at eighty-plus miles an hour, but it was raining. And in the dark. So she has developed the ability to be philosophical about minor crises as they pop up in daily life, like playing 'whack-a-mole'. Which pretty much goes along with my feeling of 'all you can do is all you can do'.

When I headed south on Thursday afternoon, tooling along on that crazy one-day trip to Valdosta I had a flat tire. In a little town just north of Albany, a fairly rural area, with lots of fallow fields that will soon be full of cotton, peanuts and soybean seeds when the planting season starts. There is a big peanut processing plant on the north side of town, where you can often smell the nuts being roasted as you drive along, as they are processing to make peanut butter. It used to be owned by the Cinderella company, but has been gobbled up by some big corporation in recent years.

I think considerable amount of nuts and products must travel by box car, as there is a multi-track line crossing the 280-520 highway there, between lots of big warehouses and storage facilities. As I was crossing over the tracks on Thursday, something flew up under my car, off the road, and went: wham!  I thought: just some road debris, a stick, or a rock, or a piece of tire tread. But by the time I had traveled a block, slowing for an upcoming traffic light - I knew I had a problem.

I pulled over, to get off the street, got out to look: and discovered it was only flat on one side!  I walked into the nearest office, and asked the person at the desk where I should call to find someone to fix my tire. She apparently misunderstood when I stated my dilemma - thinking I was expecting the rail company to come to the rescue. I told her I just needed a tire repair place. So she took me out the back door, and said go over there, down the street, around the corner. Which I did, and found Easy Pay Tire Co.

Mr. Easy Pay said that his service guy was out on a call, and could not help me. So I said: Call someone. He called a tow-truck guy, who came and replaced my flat with the wee spare, that was thinking about becoming flat as well. I got around to the tire store, and Mr. Easy Pay said his guy was not back, but he had some others who could look at my tire. We all looked, and it looked bad. A big hole. So  he sold me a new tire,, his guys put it on, and I was on my way in less than an hour.

This sounds/appears to be a tale of woe. But in reality: it makes me realize that I have a whole lot of things in this scenario to be thankful for. Starting off with 'it wasn't raining', or dark, or on the interstate with people whizzing past going ninety miles an hour. I didn't get stuck out in the middle of nowhere with lug nuts that had been put on with an air-wrench. The guy driving the tow truck, though he probably enjoyed showing me his butt-crack, was polite, relatively fast, and fairly clean.
And only charged me $25, that I got reimbursed through the road service part of my auto insurance. I had the cash to pay him - that's pretty unusual in our culture of plastic cards.

The service guys who did the dirty work in the back of the Easy Pay Tire Co. were also very polite, fast., And thorough enough to offer to check the air pressure on the other tires, as well as add some to my donut-sized spare. Mr. Easy Pay assured me he had given me the 'good ole' boy' discount when I went to pay. Having a credit card I could put ninety bucks worth of new tire on is something to be thankful for, as well as the knowledge that I will pay the card in full when the next bill comes.

So though it was totally unexpected, the relatively minor crisis was nothing more than minor. For this I am thankful, as I am well aware of how dramatically, terribly different things could have turned out if I had hit debris while driving at full speed, going 65mph out in the country, and had a truly seriously disastrous disaster.

you've heard it before....

Thursday, January 16, 2014
...and sadly, will probably encounter my 'threat' on other occasions in the future. What I said was that I would not make the drive to south GA (Q-town or Valdosta)  in one day. What I must have meant, when I obviously mis-spoke was that I did not Want to make that six hour drive again before going to bed for a nice long refreshing sleep between the going and the coming back.

But it has happened. Today. Still not as bad as that day I drove to Tybee, Q. and back to Columbus  between the getting up and the going to bed... but I'm also considerably older now than then. Though  not necessarily any wiser about perusing hare-brained activities.

There is probably some slot this fits in located between completely insane and appropriately responsible/intelligent, but likely more toward the 'completely' end of the scale. Especailly since I did not get started on the drive until after noon. One of those times when I spent more time on the road than actually being there.

So now that I safely at home, and ready for bed,, I can say that I am glad I went and thankful it is over.  Along with being thankful for numerous things that fell into place to allowed me to return to the comfort of a warm house, flannel pjs, wool sox/warm feet, a credit card to swipe at the pump and buy all the gas I can burn. Amazing taken-for-granted freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution: travel when you want, where you want, safety on the roads.

a day with five year olds

I thought, when I went to bed on Tuesday night, that I was going Uptown on Wednesday to a sub. teaching job, as a para-pro. But when I got up and started getting dressed pretty early yesterday, I got a call canceling the job. That has never happened to me before. It was all a recorded message, generated by the computer that fills the absences for the school system. So I have no idea what happened. I assume the person I was to replace had a change in circumstances.

I had planned to leave the house early, allowing for problematic  traffic. It's awful just trying to get out of my driveway with buses and carpools going to two neighborhood schools, plus the usual hundreds of commuters heading into work. I didn't really have time to ponder what I would do with myself  all day, after the call cancelling the job that didn't happen; Because before I could get my shoes tied, my phone started ringing again, with other job offers.

The computer that makes the calls in search of warm bodies to fill positions is programmed to ask 'why?' you choose to not accept a job. But the choices are predetermined, so it's like voice-mail, where you have to punch a number after you listen to the choices. I usually press'2', which means 'not preferred'. As I was deciding, over the several seconds the options are listed, I thought things like:' it's fifteen miles away, through tons of traffic, and in a bad neighborhood' or 'they will all have drippy noses they will wipe on my sleeves and pant legs' or 'I'm just not willing to devote my day to a room full of undisciplined five-year-olds'. So I turned down four or five different calls for para-pros.

The people who Really want to work are seriously perusing, actively searching the system for the teacher-replacement positions that pay better than being an aide/para-pro. I rarely get those, unless someone from a school, where I have left my info. calls and requests me. And I don't often find subbing to be such a rewarding experience that I will make the effort to go into the office at the end of the day and leave contact information.

After declining half-a-dozen jobs, for who-knows-why, I accepted one. At Georgetown school, a small neighborhood school, down on the southside of town, I have not been to in years.  I was most pleasantly surprised that it was a remarkably well-ordered day. The teacher obviously has many years of experience, and had her students well trained to know and follow her instructions and classroom rules.

And I think she was surprised at the end of the day, shortly before she was having her group to pack up papers in their book bags. When I told her about how many offers I had declined early that morning, and what a gratifying, pleasant experience I had in her classroom. I complimented her on her discipline, and told her it was quickly apparent to me that she had lots of experiencce and did a wonderful job of classroom management.

trying to do better....

Monday, January 13, 2014
...along with everyone else on the planet who made a promise to theirself, or vow instead of a sure-to-fail resolution. I had sort of let my daily walking efforts slide in recent weeks, and have not been diligent about getting some exercise on a regular basis. Legitimizing lazy, excusing myself from the effort on days when I would be working, on my feet for hours on end. While knowing that for my joints, heart, overall health I need to be more diligent.

So I have been to the mall several times in the past couple of weeks, when the weather has been cold or wet, to do my walking in a more conducive environment. But - oddly enough, have had to relocate on a couple of occasions. Surprised by finding that the mall would be closing early... something I did not expect, never thought would happen. I guess I must have been there on New Year's Eve? or New Year's Day? When business was slim-to-none, and people were simply not in the shopping mood? I'd go in from the JCP end, walk the loop around Penney's and then find the sliding doors that open into the mall space closed... strange...

When I asked an employee and found that JCP was staying open later than the mall, I was perplexed, and plan for walking a couple of miles went awry. But, clever me: I went to walk at Wallyworld! Making a loop around the outer perimeter, inside the store. Walking from the front entrance, past the bakery deli area, all the way along the refrigerated cases, back to dairy - across the back of the store, through baby goods, electronics, camping, goods, tires and batteries, up the far side, through the left-over seasonal markdowns, into pet supplies, and on to HBA and pharmacy. Make a U-turn in the cold-flu meds, and start in reverse.

Yes- crazy, but where else could I go and walk for a couple of miles, to and fro, and burn those irresponsible calories? Safe, well-lighted, warm, dry, relatively clean, smooth and flat... the only problem is how easy it is to get distracted with consumerism.

Even though I have done it three times, in three different stores, over the past couple of weeks, I have only been lured into buying something one time. It was actually a pretty interesting little item, that would be very handy for someone who often wears a ball-type cap: a little flashlight with a very bright beam, you can clip onto the bill of your hat, and aim at whatever you are tinkering with under the hood of your car, or out in the dark at your campsite, or even those things that might go bump in the dark under the bed...

shuffling papers...

...as I sit here, at my dining table, in the process of 'processing'.  Organizing for the beginning of tax return submission.  I have already invested hours this morning shuffling papers, adding (literally- with a calculator) - a fruitless occupation for the chronically, acutely math impaired. It is so pitiful I feel like I could add the same column of numbers six time and come up with seven answers. I go through this same thing every month when I devote too many hours in an effort to reconcile my check register with the bank's opinion of my funds. Probably primarily because my dad was such a stickler, and so adept at making the numbers come out even. Not a trait that is passed along in DNA, as I have struggled all my life with things numerical.  There is a snapshot in my head of my dad sitting with me at the dining table in the house where I grew up, with him hoping to make the multiplication facts stick in my brain, and my gray-matter not being wired for such trivial things.

This stuff is so aggravating and frustrating to me, I won't even try to add the numbers on several pages of lined filler paper more than once. Twice would entail me going over the same plowed ground more times to (finally!) reach the same sum a second time. Which would then allow me to say: that's it!

I've kept a list for the past few years of miles traveled for volunteer stuff, as I find myself becoming roped into more and more non-profit endeavors, giving my time to various projects.  And on the advice of a friend, who is profoundly thrifty, as well as a volunteer with the AARP tax prep. group, started keeping a running tally of time/miles given in community support to things like the Master Gardening program, local Botanical Garden, Girl Scouts, work as an usher at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in Uptown Columbus (a 24  mile round trip!), church activities.  As well as making notes for frequent trips to medical offices, labs, drugs stores for Rx fills and over-the-counter meds. I am already astounded at how many miles I drove just going to the doctors we seem to visit on a much too frequent basis, to say nothing of the hundreds of dollars spent on medications, both prescription and OTC.

I know it was not original with my dad, but I heard it often, coming from him, as he attempted to make the best of declining health. In the last few years of his life as he struggled, he would often quote this in relation to his problems, as he was not  a guy to whine/complain.  I think of it as a 'Sonnyism': "Old age ain't for sissies."

A little post script- most of the meds I personally take every day are what I consider preventative. Vitamins and supplements, things I've been using, self-prescribing for years. In an ongoing effort to be and stay healthy. With my goal: stave off some of the effects of the natural, God-designed process where body parts won't allow us to stay in eternal denial :)

248...

Sunday, January 12, 2014
I woke up about 5:30, knowing I would be making an early morning drive. I had to go to work today, and had to drive 248 miles to get there. Yea, I know -sounds like a long commute to me too! The sort of thing that would make you say: 'you either  need to move or find a more convenient job, as you seem to be spending all your income on transportation'. I couldn't agree more. If jobs were not so scarce, I would probably be putting out some feelers. But under the circumstances, not sure that I even want more of the aggravation that is associated with employment.

I went to bed in Chattanooga, around 9:00 on Saturday - early, I know - but that would ensure I would also wake up early. And knowing that I would have to drive such a distance in order to get to work, expected to jump into my clothes and get on the road. There was remarkably little traffic on the interstate going south towards Atlanta, and surprisingly sparse traffic in the metro area. I guess that would be the reward for getting up before the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to make the trip?

a ten minute comedy of errors....

Saturday, January 11, 2014
...occurred this morning when I wanted to go to the post office to mail a card. I have a close associate who does a most remarkable work of advertising an upcoming birthday. It occurs on Jan. 21, and she begins promoting this event the minute we get Christmas squared away. So there is the better part of a month's time when she is continually reminding friends, family, complete strangers that there will be someone celebrating a birthday in the near future.

For the past several years I have tried to ensure lots of birthday greetings, I am buying, addressing, stamping cards in quantity to get another in the postal system about six days a week. It has amused me in recent days to travel across the state, stop in little burgs and request the clerk hand-cancel a card in places like Hoboken and Withlacoochee. And deposit in the slot, leaving it to eventually make it's way to southeast Atlanta.

I was going to get to the branch post office here in St Elmo suburb of Chattanooga before the office closed at noon to mail another card after asking the clerk to put a local cancellation mark on the envelope. But guess I already sent off that assortment of cards I stockpiled with stickers and stamps to take when I was tearing across the state all week.  Because I looked in my car and could not find one to mail today.

They had some errands to run, and were going to the branch library, just down the street from the postoffice. I said I would walk over to the postoffice to get a postal card, so I could write a note, have the clerk hand cancel and put it in the mail. I walked from the library parking lot, down the street in front of the fire station to the postoffice, and asked the clerk to sell me a card, so I could write it on the spot, and get it cancelled to send with greetings to the girl who is anticipating her birthday. That particular branch was OUT of postcards. How can that be? Does this begin to explain why the USPS is in such dire straits? Maybe.....

She did offer to sell me a stamp suitable for mailing a postcard, and I knew I had just unearthed one in the back seat of my car. So I bought one dinky little 33 cent stamp, and had to go back to the library to get my card. And hope that I could get it written and return to the counter before the sole clerk would close for the day.

I walked back to the library parking lot, and called to get them to come out with the key, to unlock the car, so I could get a postcard out of the car, walk back to the postoffice, write my note and send it on it's way. He came out with the wrong ring, key a clicker to unlock the door of the car we were Not in. All this time, the clock is ticking, I am thinking the postal clerk is going to lock the door before I can get back and write my card, and it won't get that cancellation to prove it was mailed in TN. We finally get the door open, I get my card and dash back across the lot at the fire station to get back to the PO and write my message. Hoping that if she did decide to close up, I would be on the inside when she locked the door, and she would have to take my card.

It all worked out....

about the most recent 'stay and see Georgia' excursion...

My auntie, who lives in Valdosta, has been asking me for months to go with her to the coast. When I went down for a visit shortly before Christmas, I told her I would bring my new calendar along, and we could decide on a couple of days when I could get in the road with her to travel.  We decided, and we have traveled.

I drove to Valdosta on Tuesday afternoon, following work, arriving after dark. Spent the night in at her house, and got up Wed. to drive to St. Simons' Island, east of Brunswick. She has a small condo. that she has owned for a number of years, and has decided to sell. Her original 'plan' for putting it on the market was to offer it 'as is', fully furnished. Not really realizing how much personal stuff she would have to sort through, move/trash/relocate before it would be marketable. I know she has made a number of trips to-and-fro from her home in Valdosta, getting things out of the condo, even though she does not really have anyplace to put more furniture, dishes, knick-knacks. (She called me on  Friday, and admitted that the boxes she had so carefully wrapped and packed to bring back were all in the back of her car, going to Goodwill, as she has no space to put in her house.)

She did some sorting, packing, cupboard cleaning on Wed. afternoon, and a bit more on Thursday, cleaning out the fridge (amazing what can accumulate! through neglect, unwillingness to toss), and we loaded up to return to Valdosta on Thursday afternoon. I was not overly helpful: but did do some cleaning, and picked up heavy stuff, sewing machine, boxes to put in the car for return to Valdosta.
Got it all unloaded, and started back north, to get to Columbus shortly after dark.... which pretty much consumes the 543 miles.

We had numerous conversations while traveling about all the interesting things that appear on the dash of my little Toyo. Discussing mileage, fuel efficiency, what all those different measurements mean. I confessed that though I have been driving it since late summer of 2009, I have yet to set the 'buttons' on the radio for preferred listening. I just mostly stay on the left end of the 'dial', running through the public radio stations as I run around the state, dropping and picking them up as travel.

My spouse has mentioned several times that I should be considering trading. My standard response is that I don't make enough money to afford a car payment:  I can't even support all the groceries I buy from week to week when I am leaving work at the grocery store)  But if he wants to buy me one, I would happily get accustomed to all the bells and whistles in a newer Prius.

country girl/citified...


It recently occurred to me that this person who rarely thinks of herself as an adult/grown-up has lived here in middle Georgia longer than anyplace else. So though I will tell people I am the 'country girl' who grew up running loose in the woods of south Georgia, and learned how to drive on dirt roads, it appears that I have accidently become 'citified' without realizing it occurred.

When I moved to middle Georgia in 1981, it was a fearful process. I told people for the longest time that I had wondered if folks I encountered 'up here' in the north would sound funny, talk with an unfamiliar accent? When I reality I would be the one that they would be laughing at, coming away from my insulated little rural environment, with my syrupy southern drawl. I am occasionally surprised to realize that I have been in one place for so long: longer than the total of my growing up years in a small community in the deep south. 

I know it's not all bad: my dad taught my daughters to drive along those same dirt roads where  he taught me. In between the ditches, looking out over miles of cotton and corn. Some sandy, some slick hard red clay, some so 'wash-board' like after a rain, you'd think your teeth were coming loose if you drove too fast - more effective than any asphalt speed bump! You won't see big yellow road-graders trundling down streets in the city, going to smooth out the washed out places after a heavy rain, miles away from the nearest 'hard road'. Or have schools called off because the roads were completely washed out when remnants of a hurricane blew through, with bridges left high and dry, approaches swept into the Gulf of Mexico, so buses cannot get into remote areas to pick up students.

My dad, the cotton ginner, even taught me how to drive a fork lift. He used it to move 500 pound bales of cotton around in his warehouses, and amazingly, he apparently thought that was something I needed to know.  I might as well go ahead and confess, that after I drove it down the ramp, and got marooned in the soft sand at the bottom, that was the end of my fork-lift driving career. I can't even begin to guess how much those things must weigh, to counterbalance a five-hundred plus bale of cotton. I do know he must have been highly annoyed at my foolishness, plus having to extract his equipment that was stuck. But I[m still here, telling the story, so he obviously did not strangle me.

543...

First you get a little history lesson:

Many, possibly all, of the first European settlements were established in coastal areas, as the invading Anglos, came by boat, wading through the surf. Where they landed, dressed in their finery or lheavy armor, with all their communicable diseases, to claim the land for King, and Church. At these locations, in places there were often already permanent native American villages. As Europeans came into the Americas, they built trading posts at points where there was access to fresh water, along the coast, then gradually traveled inland/upstream along the rivers to the interior. Where they established more colonies at river intersections to barter goods with the natives, providing manufactured items in exchange for prepared skins and furs the natives had to offer. Here on the 'falls' line, the river is no longer navigable for commercial vessels/trade. This is where the landscape changes from flat to sufficiently rocky/hilly that the first water falls occur over impassable shoals, making the river no longer navigable for large vessels

Some years ago, the convention and visitors' bureau folks, people who are charged with smiling at strangers who come in asking nutty questions, and get paid to answer them - came up with the idea of promoting Columbus, GA as "Georgia's West Coast". This town on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, is situated on the Fall Line: meaning we are located on a non-existent/not actually visible 'line' across the state. This imaginary line stretches from up in the Carolinas/Augusta on the Savannah River, to Columbus, and on across the southern states, probably along about Montgomery in Alabama. Columbus started in the mid 1800's as a trading post with the Creek and Cherokee Indians. And grew, with families moving in, settling, beginning agriculture and growing crops and families, tradesmen establishing businesses.

So... between Tuesday and Thursday, I drove from Columbus, to Valdosta,, to St. Simon's Island, east of Brunswick on the Georgia coast and back again. Does that make me 'bi-coastal'?  And the 543 is the approximate distance for that round-about trip.

bulletin board queen is back in business...

Monday, January 6, 2014
A friend from church roped me into doing a project for her. Something she has been doing for several months, and suggested more than once that I might want to help with. I have to admit that I was not really interested, and likely just forgot to show up to help her when it would come time, once a month, to do the work. She's been putting up something similar to a bulletin board, decorating a wall in one of the classrooms in the education wing .Other than the possibility that the friend, S., has been volunteering to help in the SS class occasionally, I don't know how she got herself involved.

As for me, I think I just backed into it. S. gave my contact info. to the teacher, who emailed with her topic, and a suggested theme for the decorating . I went this afternoon to see what I could find in the way of materials to put something together .Took along my tape and glue, found some scissors and actually got it finished.  I'd hoped to get done, as today is the Only day this week I would have the time to devote to snipping and gluing.

The teacher is using a verse about respect, and wanted a scene with a big sun as the focus. So I found some blue and green paper and made a sort of simplified landscape, and a big yellow sun, with orange rays, printed 'radiating respect' in the yellow circle. Added some little trees in the foreground, and hope they will figure it out? ,

When I started substitute teaching, it was at least twenty years ago , back when it was fun, instead misery-inducing. One of the jobs I would get called for on a regular basis was to replace the librarian at the elementary school down at the end of the street. She would call when she knew she would be out for a day of training. And give me a theme for a bulletin board, turn me loose with colored paper, scissors and glue. I had great fun: making something out of nothing. One of the most amusing ones I recall is a winter scene, with lots of penguins, all reading books, toddling across the wall of the library. There were lots of covers from books she would order for the students, that I could use to make it look like the various animals I'd assemble look like they were actually holding books with their paws, wings, flippers or tails, and immersed in learning about a wide variety of topics.

Something I have not done, or even thought about in years - but both entertaining and beneficial. I hope that SS teacher will approve, it will be something she can use as a teaching tool to assist with her lessons. I already have a plan for next month, now that I know she will be focusing on John 3:16.

feline whooops...

We (meaning me) left a cat in the house overnight. I am sure she did not want to go out, and would have never volunteered  to spend the night out there on the shelf in that cold carport. Even though they do have nice warm fur coats, and boxes with cushy little pillows in them, just the right size-shape for cat-napping. Up on a high safe shelf in the carport, with a ladder to climb for access to their sleeping quarters. Lucy is elderly, pretty thin, meaning little body fat, and obviously likes to take a nap on any nice cozy, padded, soft, warm surface: couch, bed, futon, chair, folded blanket.

I don't want pets. Dogs or cats. Things that need care and maintenance. Feeding and cleaning-up after. Especially don't want four footed things that live in the house, as you never know what happens when you are not at home and they are left without 'adult supervision'. 

But we (meaning me, of course) went to bed and left Lucy snoozing on the futon, which is dark brown, in a dark room, making her practically invisible. I guess she did the thing all of us do - knew it was time for a bathroom break. She woke up about 5:15, came out into the hallway, right in front of the other two bedroom doors, and started a conversation. So I jumped out of bed, to pick her up, and stop her from talking. But P. had already opened the door, turned the light on, and alarm system off.  So, even though I knew she did not want to go out there in the freezing weather, I opened up the door to the carport and out she went.

Pretty unusual, as she does not often go outside of her own volition. She will never know how thankful I am that she did  not choose to do her business in the bedroom, on the carpet. I've thought recently about how much I will need everyone to remind me that I do not want another cat in my life, when the two that are here decease. I'm not certain how well they are 'trained', whether it is mine or the bully ones that come around for the' buffet' at feeding time, that are doing all their business in the carport. But if you know how pungent, offensive the aroma of cat by-products are, you will agree that having  a space - be it carport, laundry room - any area where they have been box trained - where cats - singular or multiple - habituate - can be overwhelming. Some use the box, some don't, so it is always smelling of cat business.

So, please, when you read obituaries here for Lucy and October, take the time to remind me that I Really don't want another cat in my life. I know how amusing, entertaining kittens can be - but in the same way that the hilarious antics of puppies will eventually end when they become full grown dogs - I know kittens turn into cats. And though the ones here are 'outdoor', they can live to be ancient. I think we got these  in 1999 - who'd have ever thought cats exposed to all the risks and predators of outdoor life would have lived such long enduring lives? Certainly not me!

working my way into/through 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Today is my first day of work for 2014. The fact of this new year being five days old, and me not having to be in attendance, might give the impression of an extended winter vacation, whiling away the days in the sunny tropics, sitting under a palm tree, snoozing in a sand chair with something cool and fruity close at hand. In your dreams.... and mine too!

I have on four shirts, sitting here at the dining table, two pair of pants, wool socks,  ready to head out the door to my little jobette. I am always cold when I am in that store even when I don't spend lots of time in the big walk-in produce cooler, fetching stuff out. So I could probably wear long sleeves when I am going to work all year long. There are people there who spend so much of their time sorting through merchandise/inventory they keep coats at work year round to wear when they are working newly arrived merchandise from warehouse truck into freezers..

Lately - for the past several months, I have only been working two days a week, and not full days at that. For some time, up until back in the fall, I'd been working15-20 hours, enough to keep me busy and solvent. But with the time crunch/pinching back on labor hours, I've gotten to the point that I have lots of other stuff that fills up my days and squares on the calendar. Then, when I looked at the work I was scheduled for this week: and found eight whopping big hours total, I was stunned.

As soon as I got over being speechless, I went to talk to the department manager. Saying not only was it impossible for me to do everything I was expected to do in four hours a day, I could not manage  financially with that.  He seemed remarkably un-sympathetic. I know he has guidelines, limitations on the labor hours for the department. But expecting me to be content with eight hours a week is ....

I've thought for a long time that Publix uses this ploy to reduce their workforce. Possibly deliberately: to motivate workers to quit. So management is not 'laying off' employees, but reducing hours to make the job laughable. They can just cut back a person's hours to diminish labor costs/push people into a untenable situation, where an individual is so under utilized they quit, rather than dangle by a very thin thread/insufficient hours at a job that is not providing enough to live on.

So how am I doing? Should I be reading the handwriting on the wall? Is there something going on here that I am not aware of? Job security?

'thoughts' from yoga with training wheels...

Saturday, January 4, 2014
The questions the group was instructed to ponder were  not something I expected. But I did not know what to expect - so anything that occurred would be surprising for me. I guess  maybe I had been instructed to come prepared to put some thought into the day, and possibly bring a journal/paper to make notes worth remembering. But - honestly, I had been under the false assumption that part of the definition of 'yoga' was to clear/cleanse one's mind, and to be in a state of not thinking at all, to just let it wander, float around, without a conscious thought about anything. Sort of like a jellyfish, just floating along in whatever direction the current is traveling - but even  more harmless, being without the ability to inflict pain on the unsuspecting swimmer.

So the question was posed for us to consider, come up with answers for our own benefit, and make notes for posterity in our journals... I'm already feeling like I've flunked out - did not bring a journal. But dashed out to the car and found a pen, and a wee notebook I keep in my glove box for the random jottings: titles of books I hear mentioned on public radio and want to read, websites that sound worth investigating, noting the lowest prices on gas if I will  be returning by the same route, etc.

All the others are pondering, madly scratching away in their nifty little hard back books with blank pages, or wire-bound composition books with lined pages. And I'm thinking.... thinking... thinking... So... what do you want more of? Not stuff, not posessions, not clothing or shoes or hats or purses or warm, thick, toasty wool socks (though that is a nice thought when the weather gets down in the 20's).  I'm supposed to come up with three things to list, in no particular order.

1.) inner peace = which for me would mean being healthy/healthier mentally, emotionally, physically
2). joy = meaning, for me, more time invested in building/developing relationships, really talking, having conversations that are not trivial (though trivia can be a good thing!), but words and  having meaning and substance, with people I care about, and want to spend time with. The operative word here being 'time', our most  undervalued commodity.
3). laughter ="'If you are not doing things for fun anymore, you might as well be dead". (Ernest Hemmingway) In my on-going belief that I am easily amused, it does not take a whole lot to enterain me. I have an older friend, recently relocated to TX, who enjoys sharing a good joke, which must mean she also likes to have a reason to laugh.

This might qualify as 'resolutions', but I have not done that in years. But now that I have typed my thoughts out - I see them as goals, things to aim for, look for ways to bring more of this into my life.

i am going to tell a little story, some of you have heard before, but something that is worth writing down, and sharing for history/remembrance...

When I went into the waiting room, meeting TP there for a Dr. appointment on Thursday afternoon, I saw someone I had met at Publix. She is an older woman, in her mid-eighties at least, so not surprisingly, having some health problems. Both her daughters were there, sitting with her to meet with the doctor for her appointment. That always makes me feel good - to seethe younger generation of  family members interested, concerned, involved in health care of aging parents/relatives. I actually s her, and one of the daughters in the same building on Monday, when I was wandering, semi-lost, confused, trying to get to my appointment on time in a new building with inadequate signage.

One of the daughters commented on my earrings: two in each ear. And I said I generally wear two, and had had two holes in each ear lobe for years. For so long, that when I first got holes put in my ears, it was so uncommon for people to have ears pierced, that I had to go to the local veterinarian to get it done. He used the tool they use to punched holes for tagging livestock. I just had to find someone who would loan me  the little gold studs with sharp posts that would punch through my ears  not something you could find/buy in stores (and many years before 'let's just google it up').

So I went to the local vet, and he seemed willing enough to punch the holes in, cautioned me about keeping the ear lobes clean/sanitized, and sent me on my way. Several years later, I though I wanted another set of holes, to be able to wear two pairs of earrings. So I found the 'loaner' studs with the sharp points (pretty uncomfortable to sleep in) and went back to the vet. He did not seem all that happy with my request, but agreed to do it again.. When he was finished with both ears, he waved his pointer finger in front of my face, and said: I don't want to see you back in here again. He was big, and spoke with much authority, and I was very intimidated. So I don't think I ever went into his office again. He is still around town,  the last time I saw him, he was teaching Sunday School at the UMC, long since retired from practicing.

The really interesting part: since he was only licensed to practice on animals, he could not charge me anything to punch holes in  my ears. Which is probably part of the reason he lost patience with me the second time I went in his office to ask him to pierce my ears for the second set of holes.

yoga with training wheels

I don't know anything much about it, but I DO know that I need to start doing it. And various other things to protect/maintain/encourage good physical and mental health. My experience in this area is limited to one day, over a year ago, in much warmer weather. My friend J. was going to north FL to teach a yoga class in an old house at a herb farm. A friend of hers has been running this organic herb resource since her husband deceased, and trying to hold it together on her own. The yoga group was meeting in this ramshackle, former residence (so old it did not have indoor plumbing - and I heard today they had done some fundraising events there to accumulate the resources to have a bathroom/toilet/sink installed in a closet!) once a  month, to: ponder, sit, lay, squat, fold themselves up on the floor.  I was mostly just  along for the ride having no personal knowledge of what was going on or history of the 'moves'. Listening, observing and attempting to match the stretches and positions of the several other women in attendance.

That all occurred before I discovered my joints starting to get stiff, especially hips and knees. I've even been to doctor several times last year, too  get some help with identifying cause, figure out a plan of action. That story will not be told here.

I went to south Georgia yesterday afternoon, to visit the auntie, and spend the night. Planning to get up this morning and drive over to Lakeland to join others in a new year's yoga session. Lakeland is about 25 miles to the east of Valdosta, and J. lives just south of town, very close to the Withlacochee River. I think the property she is on actually runs down to the river bank back in the woods. She and her husband have bui8lt a a barn like enclosed building where she lives, that we were in for the day. There were probably 15 or so other women there, with J. apparently being the center of the Venn diagram.

Another instructor shard the duties of directing the group, where we spent three hours finding ourselves. This instructor pointed out that the first day of this new year was very unusual because it also was the first day of a full moon. And: the date for today is unique: 1-4-14. We started off with a bit of journaling to establish some goals, and help to focus our thoughts. Lots of mental exercises to designed to encourage peaceful state of mind, mediating on serenity, reminding ourselves of personal worth, and that we are fully capable adults. And then some actual on the floor yoga positions/stretching/practice.

It was all very interesting. I feel like I was probably the only 'newbie' to this, and the others had much more experience/time in classes and organized situations. I've been thinking I needed to get started doing something to help with flexibility, mobility that would involved keeping joints working smoothly. I know there are classes all over town, and think I will gather up my gumption to start going to the Y. I hope I can scootch in the on the back row, and be unnoticed until I get a bit better at doing the positions, learning how to not make a scene by falling over and disrupt the entire room.

happy new year's day...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Black eyed peas, rice, stewed tomatoes with fresh green onions, cornbread.

I've been puttering around all  morning, and thus far have only thought about what to eat, rather than actually doing any preparation. Someone at work asked what I was planning, and I admitted to having recently noticed a bag of frozen peas when I was rooting around in the freezer: meaning that package has been in there since December of 2012, waiting for me to cook. I'm going to give it a shot. I  am the person who claims to be able to eat things out of the fridge that would put other people in a) the bathroom, or b)the bed, or even c) the hospital. So I have no reason to think that peas so well preserved to be possibly mummified would be harmful - more likely they will taste like the freezer - completely dehydrated and flavorless. I expect a half pound of diced bacon would cure that!

A wonderful homemade recipe for homemade cornbread muffins I will make, and some super healthy brown rice I will cook in chicken stock. The cornbread is the one that was the second place winner in the cookoff years ago - I'm pretty sure I have already shared that invented recipe. But if you want it - just let me know. It has whole kernel corn, green onions and diced pimento - all of which, when combined are the colorful part of 'Confetti Cornbread'.

You may have noticed there is no meat anywhere in the first line describing the menu. You are right.

happy new year

I just came in from a late night gospel singing/service at a little UMC in town. We've been going to hear the sing for several years on the night of Dec. 31. Organized by a friend who is a retired Methodist minister, but seems to stay a whole lot busier than most of the preachers I know who are full-time employed. Sadly, we have not, to the best of my memory, ever actually stayed till midnight. But I was there until the stroke of twelve tonight/this morning - well past the time when I usually turn into a pumpkin - as my average bedtime is around ten p.m.

If I'd had a bit more stamina, I would still be there, eating biscuits with all the other bleary-eyed congregants. Part of the deal is if you can hold your head up in the sanctuary from when they start at 9, until the singing of Amazing Grace at the stroke of 12, you get to go down to the fellowship hall for a big plow-hand breakfast. I'd been thinking about a nice, hot buttered biscuit all afternoon, but know it was getting dangerously close to my bed time before I even left the house to go into town for the singing.

And thinking about what I would want to be doing on New Year's Day: when I remember my mom always warning you should be careful about what you choose to do, as you would likely be doing that same task all year long. I don't know if she meant don't start something you can't finish in one day, or don't get stuck with doing something you find onerous. But I'm pretty sure she never did anything she found tedious or distasteful. Never any laundry: washing, or hanging out, or ironing. Or housework like vacuuming, or mopping, or scrubbing. Or (back during the era of wearing home-made clothing) any cutting out or sewing. So maybe it was just a cautionary tale? To say if you get started on something you can't complete before bed time, there is a possibility you will find yourself either running behind or chasing your tail all year long?

Thus far all I have come up with is the possibility of having a movie marathon: remembering one day several years ago, when I paid to get into something at the multi-plex and went from one to another. Seeing three different movies. And probably feeling like I had been in there a week by the time I left. Do you every walk out of the theater so immersed in the story line you feel like you've been time traveling, or visiting another planet? I occasionally have gotten so wrapped up in the plot, reality is not always close at hand, and landing back in the theater, and walking into the parking lot, returning to real life with a resounding thud, is sort of distressing - when fantasy has been so fascinating.