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a little anecdote from driving...

Thursday, February 27, 2014
When I was going up to Greenville, I was a bit worried about the drive-ability of the highways. I'd been listening to the weather predictions on public radio Tuesday afternoon, and quickly realized I did not have enough clothing with me. And when the weather report included the possibility of snow flurries, sleet and possible icy driving conditions in the northern counties of GA, that was very anxiety inducing. I was concerned that I might have a problem when I got up early in the morning to try to get out of town before traffic got too crazy.

So I left Decatur about 6, when it was not really light enough to see, and was well on my way to SC before daylight. About half way across, from Atlanta to the SC line, I noticed what I assumed to be snowflakes hitting my windshield. And got a bit anxious about the idea of driving on slick highway. Looked at the dash, and saw that the temperature out there was about 39 degrees, so decided to just hope that any falling snow would melt and not turn into slush or ice. Several miles down the road, when the snowflakes were still hitting my car, I suddenly realized I was behind a semi that was hauling a full load of sawdust, and the snowflakes were really sawdust blowing out the back of the trailer onto my glass.

It's not often that I admit to laughing at myself - but it was pretty funny when I figured it out, so thought you would be amused by the telling...can't say for sure if maybe I really did hope that the fluffy stuff hitting blowing around and hitting my windshield was or wasn't snow!!

driving in the dark...

I left the suburban area someplace between Greenville and Columbia,  near I-395 as it was getting too dark to see on Wednesday night. Put Decatur into the GPS and hoped my doubts would be restored to good faith, following the directions the disembodied voice gave me to feel my way back to I-85. She did a good job, though I did not intend to get on that toll road where they charged me at both ends: I had to pay to get on, and pay again to get off: is that a racket or what? I wish I had thought to ask for receipts: can't you take this sort of thing, like parking fees, off your taxes?

So here I go, tooling along in the dark, trusting the voice from outer space to direct me back onto the familiar path of I-85, through the Up-country of SC and on across the state line into GA. Once I got back on the interstate, I knew the way, but did not turn the GPS off, though I was just humming along for a hundred miles, well within my comfort zone. I figured she had done such a good job of helping me find my way out of the darkness and back onto the four lane.  I could not be so unkind as to turn her off, which would be like putting her out alongside the highway, after she had showed me such kindness when I was fumbling around in the dark, having completely lost my way.

As I got back into the metro area, she tried to get me to get off at several exits to go cross country, though I had no desire whatsoever to tour Lawrenceville after dark. It was my intention to drive on in and pick up I-285 east, go around to the south side on the perimeter highway. So I just ignored her suggestions, and she would quickly gather her wits and offer alternative plans, that I continued to disregard. I'm on I-285, east side, headed south, planning to get on I-20, going west. But I was so industriously ignoring the voice from the GPS, that I discovered myself headed towards Augusta! going west on I-20, instead of east.... things happen so quickly up there, when you are trying to go the same speed as every one else to keep from getting run over.

I've decided that I know why everyone up there drives at least 80 MPH on the interstate. It's not so much they are fearful of turning into a greasy spot on the twelve lane highway, but they hate being out there in all that high-speed traffic and want to get it over as soon as possible  .Therefore: they drive too fast, just like everyone else out there, who wants to get it over as quickly as possible...

crossing the border...

541 miles over three days. I left Columbus on Tuesday afternoon, following working for six and a half hours, and cooling my heels at the vet's office for over an hour. Drove to Decatur to spend the night, planning to get up early on Wed., and drive to Greenville to visit my pen pal. Which I did. We had a good day, puttering around. I took the ingredients for blueberry muffins, with some of the berries I had picked off he bush in my backyard and put in the freezer. We had still warm muffins, and immediately left the house to go across town for lunch at Chic-fil-A.

H. wanted to the branch library to print an article off the internet. He had several pages a friend  had found about the troop transport he was on when he went from NY to England during the war, and wanted 'the rest of the story'. So we googled up the USS George Washington. Pretty interesting (personally, as my dad was on it too!) to find that it was built as a luxury liner, but pressed into service in both World Wars to transport troops from the US to Europe.

Roamed around a bit, looking for picture postcards with local photos. I'm admitting now I did not get many as I find it very difficult to pay a dollar or more for something that will require another forty cents to mail. I'm all for the rack that has 4 for $1, but that little gift shop that had them marked $1.50 each caused me to laugh out loud, and make a quick exit.  We usually go to the cemetery to visit Mrs. Dot, but it was cold so we didn't get there this time.

I'm sure I have mentioned a cousin who relocated from the Atlanta area to the Greenville SC area last summer? I'd hoped to see her as well, and thanks to my very useful GPS (sorry I said so many unkind things about the likelihood of being led astray) found her too. She had relocated from apt. living into a house, and seems to be semi-settled in. There was a dreadful problem going on as I left there in the dark: a couple of Latino workers, with muddy boots, shovels, a back hoe digging up the front yard, looking for a leaking pipe. Having removed a huge chunk of concrete from the driveway, making me thankful it was not happening at my house. And she is, I am sure, thankful she is a renter instead of a homeowner, so it's not her problem either! But it would be nice to be assured of a hot shower, and flushing capability.

cat's tale,part 8

So.... I took Lucy back to the vet on Tuesday afternoon, and the Dr. picked up the bony little thing, then lied to her and told her how good she looked. She really is much more energetic, active, interested in eating and drinking, so I know she feels better. But weighs about the same as a sack of sugar.  I know people who have felines that weigh twenty pounds or more, so this one, so lean you can feel each knob of her backbone and every single rib is really remarkable.

The vet said they needed to run tests to be sure that the dosage on her meds is good/right, and do an x-ray to check her lungs. I said: 'before you do any of that, I need to ask you to be as financially conservative as possible.'  So she said she would get the office staff to give me an estimate on the cost. When she brought in the paperwork, showing that it would be just over $100, my first thought was: "#% $*'',  I said "I have discovered guilt is a great motivating factor, and I know if I don't do this, I will feel like I am a bad mom." So all that testing happened. Vet had to use a long, scary syringe to pull more fluid off her lungs. I was not a witness to this - they would have been picking me up off the floor.

Vet said that Lucy needs to have the heart drugs twice a day, along with the other two that she gets morning and night, so now all three meds are x 2. I am thinking she will soon be so valuable I will have to get her bronzed, like outgrown baby shoes, if not gold plated. The sad part is at her age, all we are doing is 'making her comfortable'. I know it is very uncommon to have a cat, esp. one who has always lived outdoors in the world of predators and motor vehicles to live to the ripe old age of fifteen. And with all these drugs she seems to be holding her own. Enjoying life in cat fashion: snoozing in the sunshine, sleeping twenty-plus hours a day, expecting someone with opposable thumbs open the 'fridge and pour milk, demanding cans of wet food on a regular basis. A pretty good life if you can get it...

I  have a friend who loves to tell the story of her son: who went out in the back yard, long after a pet cat had deceased and been interred, to dig up his friend, named Oliver Wendell Holmes, just to see what the creature looked like when there was nothing but skeleton left. And kept the skull in his closet for years. (This kid later became an orthopedic surgeon. Now retired, with a second career as a photographer.)  That cat's head might still be tucked away up on the closet shelf today.

more of the cat's tale, part 7: no one told me...

Monday, February 24, 2014
...so how was I to  know? That the secret to persuading the cat into taking her daily drugs is to hide it in the wet food. I'd been struggling with getting pills in that mouth with all the needle-sharp little pin-sized teeth - a daunting prospect at best. With the likelihood of puncture wounds increasing with each unsuccessful attempt. Plus factor in holding something with dozens of sharp, retractable claws useful for both defense and escape. Not a desirable item to have in your hands when attempting to force a small object down her narrow pink gullet.

All you people with cats should have been more willing to pitch in here with advice and information.  You folks with experience in these matters, ought to be more forthcoming with help, allowing me, the inexperienced 'nurse' in this scenario to benefit from your vast experience with playing doctor. I am definitely surprised the vet or techs did not suggest this tactic? Maybe they just assumed I already knew how to bypass the pointy little incisors? Or so accustomed to infected holes in their fingers they wanted to share that experience?

The wee little 1/2 of a heart pill she is to take (be forced to consume - 'take' sounds like all you have to do is say: "hey, you, it's that time again", and she ambles over with her mouth open, which is so far from reality as to be laughable - first you have to catch her) once a day. And now a tiny pink pill that has to be given twice a day. I am delighted to report surprising success with both - and can't say who has been more surprised: me or Lucy. I learned to insert the pills in a wee little dab of wet food, and put it down on a dish on the floor. After she eats it, apparently oblivious to the 'crunch' or just scarfing it up so quickly it slides right on down, then she gets more. I been giving both of these in the form of a cream/gel type substance dispensed from a sort of tube, that is rubbed on the inside of her ear - not particularly easy, but with a much better success rate than saying "open, sezme" with zero response. But now both of these are pills. secreted in that delightful fishy-smelling dab of stuff from the little over-priced can.

Plus: the bit of liquid that is the third med., I've started putting in a wee little puddle (about a tablespoon) of milk, just enough to disguise it, but not so much she will loose interest and not consume it all. I know cats are not designed to consume lactose, but she has trained us to open the fridge, get the jug out and pour - loves it. And this is the most painless way to get her to take the Lasix which is apparently the same Rx that humans are given when they are retaining fluids and need help with preventing strain on their over-worked, ageing hearts. The vet. referred to it by the name I have been hearing for years, that another heart patient here takes (unless it is Sunday morning and he does not want to get up in the middle of church to go pee.)  Our vet tells me she will be taking all three of these always. I hope the new trick and admitted subterfuge will continue to work, as I suspect the pills are a whole lot less expensive than that stuff you rub inside the ear of a cat who does not want stuff stuck in her ears.

puttering around....

Sunday, February 23, 2014
Yesterday afternoon, and again today, when I got home, I've been strolling around in the yard, looking at things that make me smile. How can you look at a clump of brilliantly blooming, bright yellow daffodils and not :-)?  And looking at hyacinths, peeking up from the leaf mulch, getting ready to open up.  Forsythia beginning to show signs of life...

While I was meandering, I notice all these wee little wild onions that try to take over. With tiny little leaves, no bigger than a sewing thread, coming up out there amongst the things I have planted and nurtured, encouraged to grow and bloom. Onions - not so much. So I've been out with my shovel and an empty flower pot, digging them up. I'm pretty sure: a) it is never ending and b) the onions will win.

But I'm planning to put up a good fight. I've dug, bending over, and squatting, or sitting in the bed, teasing them out of the ground. Trying to not break off those tiny little leaves, smaller than chives, attached to bulbs occasionally the size of a pin head, to get the whole thing up - so they won't multiply and spread.  Really hard to pull up, unless you dig up under them to get the dirt loose enough for the wiry little leaves to not break loose from the bulb and cause the bulb to seem to vanish in the hard clay, so they will come back again.  Tedious, but also very gratifying when I get a big pile of them to put in the trash guaranteeing they will not ever need digging up again at my house!

The ones I have gotten up are in that new bed I planted a couple of years ago, along the front edge of the house, where they probably were all along. But they need to understand they are no longer welcome in that location.

it's been quite a while...

...for me as a Publix associate: over sixteen years. I have learned how to be really good at smiling, greeting everyone who comes within ten feet (10 ft x 10 sec. rule), and offering to help every customer I encounter. In all this time, I have had some  really good department managers, and some not so good to work for. Some really hard working guys and some who were slackers from the first day. And now I have a new one. That I really like. He is hard working, old enough to not be feeling like he has to prove anything .I'm convinced part of what makes a good man, and a good manager is not so much 'experience', but that ability to not get worked up over stuff that seems to come with age. So maybe it is experience, but it's the way guys who have a lot of it under their belts react, and seem to have the ability to remain calm, instead of getting all worked up about small stuff.

This newest manager, transferred from another store here in town is:  Always smiling, always speaking to everyone he passes, always interacting with customers and fellow employees... which is a  big change from the guy he replaced.  Remarkably agreeable, easy to get a long with, just a nice guy. I've only been working with him for two weeks and I'm really impressed with his attitude and work ethic. Mostly because I have seen him scrubbing floors and walls - something that has not been done in years  - completely overlooked ignored, neglected by previous managers who just did not want to take the time to maintain sanitation.

I had not been going to church on Sunday mornings for about six months before this new guy came along. The previous dept.  manager, who is the guy who would decide what the work schedule would be, how many hours part-time people would get, when part timers would work, (for reasons unbeknownst to me) had me working early hours on Sunday so I could not attend church. I didn't ask 'why?', since he was so unapproachable. But quietly simmering. Totally annoyed that I had to be a work at 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 - all of which meant I could not go to a 9:00 service. Something I've been doing for years, while agreeably working Sundays.

But I asked this new guy about coming in at 11:00, so I could get to church for the early service, then leave and drive about a mile to get to work. He said "I'm going to church on Sunday morning with my family, so I don't have any problem with you going". Hallelujah.

I've been maybe three times to my church on a Sunday morning, sitting in my spot, since back in the early summer, so it is really a big deal that I was there today. And hope that this will continue, so I can be there on a regular basis in the future, as I firmly believe we all need more Jesus in our lives.

bright sunshine...

Saturday, February 22, 2014
Looks like another pretty day here on Georgia's West Coast. Sparkling sunshine streaming in the windows.(No, I don't feel badly over how dirty the windows are... I choose to devote my feelings of guilt to other less productive projects!)  I was up and out, generally getting dressed before poking my head out the door. Walked up the driveway to pick up the newspaper, and wow! I think there are twice as many daffodils with smiles open this morning as compared to yesterday. Showing what a good drenching rain, and some warm days can produce (after one plants dozens and dozens of bulbs) looking like mid-March instead of cold Feb.

And sitting here at the dining table, looking out at the area where I planted all those many hyacinth bulbs: they are waking up, attentive to their DNA, doing what they were designed to do. So fast you can almost see them growing. Like the nature shows that have the time lapse photography of roses: from bud to bloom in an instant. Or turtle eggs incubating and cracking open in a matter of seconds, with flippy little sea turtles, flapping industriously across the beach, headed towards the moon.

I was driving around town in the past couple of days and saw a Japanese magnolia tree, in full bloom, covered with rose-y pink blossoms - which means as soon as they get gloriously open, we should expect a night of freezing temp. or a powerful windstorm that will do them in.  But there will be many others that have not yet put on their finery, and ready to perform as the days lengthen and sun warms the northern hemisphere.  Sometimes I think it might be nice to live in a place closer to 'middle earth', near the equator where it never gets cold enough for wool sweaters and lots of layers - but we'd miss the joy of Spring!!!!

Mr. Murphy strikes again...

Friday, February 21, 2014
I don't know all the particulars of Murphy's Law, but understand that the general premise is that what ever you plan will roll over the edge of a cliff at an increasing speed, a la Thelma and Louise. Best intentions go awry.  In the sense that we rarely take the reality of gravity into our human planning, somehow expecting that it will not apply in our special set of circumstances... though we know that 'gravity is always in effect'.

I found myself with a day on my calendar that did not have any particular plans. (Which I will assume is a sign that I am supposed to go to the movies this afternoon.) So I started trying to find a substitute teaching job for today. It is a rare day when I do not get a call, both early and late from the computer that fills absences, looking for someone to occupy space in the public school classrooms on short notice. If there was any sort of popularity contest as far as volume of calls on the phone in my pocket - 'sub-finder' would be the runaway winner, easily. I ignore/delete more calls from the MCSD computer than any other source.

But I could not find anything to occupy my time today. Even tried this morning, hoping something might be out there waiting today. I don't think it is possibly possible that everyone of the thousands of teachers in the school system is healthy and in attendance on this cold, rainy day. But it's apparent the ones who are still abed had planned in advance, since I could not find any little holes in any classroom that needed to be filled by me!

more of the cat's tale, part 6

Thursday, February 20, 2014
In case you have been sitting around fretting, wringing your hands with anxiety, unabated concern, I suppose I should provide an update on the high priced cat who is sleeping on the end of the bed. Apparently ruling the roost around here, having us remarkably well trained, for people who do not speak a word of feline language.

Now that she has been getting meds. consistently and in the proper dosage, Lucy the cat has apparently taken a new lease on life. Not precisely acting kittenish, but certainly much more lively and active than she was a couple of weeks ago. I think the nature of the beast is that they generally sleep about twenty out of 24 hours, so she continues to snooze most of the time. But  her appetite is much improved, and she is going out when the weather is decent, sitting in the sunshine, giving the impression that she is enjoying her life. For a while, that was doubtful.

I did not take her back to the vet. like I was supposed to the first of the week. It pains me to spend several hundred dollars to get out the door of the vet's office. And she seemed so much improved: I'd estimate about 400 % over several weeks ago, when I thought we were close to' last rites'. So I thought I could get by; just calling the office, to ask the tech. person to report to the Dr. that she was markedly improved .( Nice try, kiddo.)  The vet said she will be on the meds for-ever, and Lucy needs to come in again next week to (bring your check book, please!) to be sure she is getting the right amounts of drugs.

She is still so thin you feel every notch in the spine when you rub her back, and shoulder blades are very prominent. Still looking like she is only half-dressed, due to the trip to the groomer, where she left most of her long black fur, except for tail, and shoulders/front legs. I am trying to fatten her up with servings of foul/fishy smelling canned food, which she has trained me to provide twice a day. And she is 'way more peppier than a couple of weeks ago...

it is, I think...

...due to the number of happy, smiling things I see blooming out in my yard - surely it must be Spring! The hyacinths are coming up, peeking out of the ground, in white, pink and 'hyacinth' blue, just now starting to open up enough to ascertain the different colors. They were all 'rescues', bulbs that had bloomed out in the Floral Shoppe. I was supposed to be putting in the dumpster after they faded to the point of un-salable.

But I did not. Instead, they somehow ended up in the parking lot in my car.  So I  brought them home, planted in various places around the yard. Mostly up close around the house, in beds where I could enjoy seeing them re-bloom year after year. Last spring was the best ever for showy colors - in a bed just out from the north side of the house, where I can see them when we sit and eat in the dining area. Glorious!

And lots of daffodils of various sizes popping open. I am not an expert and do not know the names for all the varieties, but am delighted to see all them dressed in their spring colors, with petticoats ablaze in bright shades of yellow. Some no bigger than a sewing thimble, some almost as large as a teacup, some with multiple petals inside the flat saucer part, rather than just the usual 'cup',  that I've heard referred to as 'scrambled eggs'.

I  had doubts about bulbs that have been forced to bloom early under artificial lighting in a greenhouse preforming when naturalized. But figured I had nothing to loose except a few minutes of time when I was digging holes and getting them planted. So have been pleasantly surprised to see them come up and put on a show - just now getting started in the past few days with oddly warm weather and bright sunshine encouraging them to wake up and come out of their dark bedding. In spite of what Puxawatney Phil proclaimed.

tasty treat...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I have not made this in years. Think the people who know me best have probably never even tasted it. Something I used to make to take to a covered dish event many years ago. They would be standing in line for seconds, and begging for the recipe, so I guess it's pretty good.

I bought a bag of apples recently to make it, and it never came together. So I am going to do it today to take to the weekly gathering of my Bible study group. We meet at a house up on the north side of town each week for fellowship, eating, and occasionally get around to being productive by talking about a video we'll view to improve our personal ministry and lives in general.

Various folk who regularly appear will bring something snacky, and the host family provides drinks, tea, coffee, sodas, etc. I have taken easy stuff like chips and salsa, or a good pie (written about here) that is suitable for the diabetics amongst us. ( As if they were conscientious ,or even the least bit concerned about what they put in their mouths!)  But this time I will take the apple dish and hope they will all fall off their chairs with delight.

Cheese Apple Casserole

(Found in the Ga. Dept. of Ag., publication: Farmer's Market Bulletin

10 Granny smith apples (or any variety of tart apple) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 stick butter, cut into pieces, softened

Combine apple slices, lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar and water in 9 x13 inch baking pan or casserole.

Combine flour with the  1/2 cup sugar and shredded cheese in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pasty blender, or combine in food processor. Sprinkle topping over apples. Bake 350 for 45 min to 1 hour. Serve warm. A great brunch dish - not to sweet, and goes well with breakfast foods. Yield: 8-10 servings.

gone to Miss... and back...

Monday, February 17, 2014
He lost out when playing with the Big Boys. Though he did make it to the final game of  the eliminations. And was pretty pleased with himself for holding on until the last round. Before losing out and being sent away without the big 'pot' he was so optimistic about winning. I guess that is part of the thrill, and why people go and seem to willing to gamble their hard earned funds. You are always hopeful of being the one who walks out with the Big Money. Honestly, I do not believe there is even a smidgen of skill involved in this - it is all in the way the cards are shuffled and dealt.  It  has nothing to do with any natural or acquired ability of 'card sharking', but if he wants to think that he has some special talent for being the guy who can outsmart the dealer/house, who am I to say otherwise?

But it was not a total loss, as he did not come back with his pockets turned wrong-side out like someone who had been mugged and left in the alley-way. At some point before or after the Tournament part of the weekend he did make a bit of profit, as he shared some of the windfall with me. We had an understanding many years ago, when we would take family trips to south MS. TP would spend the whole time in the casino, hoping to beat the odds (pretty laughable, huh?) And I would tell him: If you loose, it's your money, but if you win, it's mine.

He has apparently forgot that part of the agreement, as now I only get 1/2 of the proceeds. Which is pretty good, I supposed, as he could keep it all and save it for a nest egg for his next 'excusion'.  My half, awaiting me when I got home, was more than enough to cover the cost of gas for the drive to Savannah and back. If I had known he had such a successful venture at the blackjack table, I would have been willing to go ahead and pay $3.31  for gas out there on the interstate in the piney woods of east GA.


...miles from Savannah to Columbus, this afternoon. The price of gas was so dang high, I would not buy enough to get me all the way home, so I had to stop twice to buy more. I'd get low, and pull off to buy $10 and go as far as I thought was safe, then stop in desperation and get another three gallons. Yeah - I know: crazy. But I would think, as is always true (Murphy's Law again) that if I did fill it up, it would be a nickel cheaper a half-mile down the road, right?

I left Columbus on Sunday afternoon, when I got off work at 2:00, driving east.  To spend the night with a friend who lives just south of Savannah, almost in the marshes of Chatham county. She is moving to Phoenix next month, so I have probably seen her for the last time. Though I just wrote her an email to say: stop by when you get started driving west, and I will jump on. I'm thinking when you are going straight across the US, you pretty much have to get across the Chattahoochee River here in Columbus, so if I could get her to slow down, we could have a really amusing road trip.

I went to visit a friend in a nursing facility in Savannah today, and started driving back home about 2:30. Listening to a talking book that was so amusing, I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Thinking about how strange it would look to passers-by to see me laughing uproariously  or possibly looking as if I were in great pain when we were stopped at a light together. At times so hopelessly amused, I'd have tears running down my face. Not a good situation when tooling along at 71 mph on I-16. Especially when I would take my glasses off to wipe my eyes, and then, of course, have profoundly limited vision.

I'd checked the book out from the library a couple of weeks ago, and just got started on reading/listening in the past couple of days. It's by Charles Portis. I kept thinking: 'what do I know about this guy?', and have finally concluded he might be the author of the story the movie the 'Shootist' was based on. I'll have to do some research, but I am pretty sure that is why his name is familiar.

 This book is hilarious. "The Dog of the South", about a man who's wife ran off with her ex-husband to central America. He takes off after her, but not to actually retrieve the wife, but in an effort to get his car back. The runaway wife and her ex left in his car, and he wants the auto back much more than the female. Can't say for sure how things come out - I'm only about half-way in, but  thus far, the adventure has been a hoot.

how unlikely is this..

Sunday, February 16, 2014
... that there would be a pristine, unblemished, completely empty square on my calendar, with absolutely nothing going on today. Especially after such a busy week, filled, as they say 'with opportunities'. But there was no place to go,  nothing of a volunteering nature that caused me to have a reason to get up and dressed - dashing off to some obligation. Along about noon, I realized I still had my pj's and slippers on.

I finally did put on some real clothes, so I could go for a walk this afternoon, it was such a pretty day, I could  not let it get by without enjoying some bright sunshine. But that's really it for me. I did wash a couple of loads of clothes, got it all folded and put away. Got some corresponding done, and thought I would try to get to the post office to put my letters and cards in the box before the last truck leaves for Macon, or Montgomery, or where ever our mail gets trucked off to, before they turn around and bring it back to deliver down the street.  But when it occurred to me that federal offices, banks and schools are closed Monday, some celebrating the Presidents, some enjoying 'winter break', I thought - why bother? The timing doesn't really matter that much.

I went to another movie tonight. Really lame, and sort f embarrassing to admit to: the highly cheesy Tyler Perry movie that came out before Christmas. It was just as awful as I had anticipated - no, make that even worse than expected, due to the surprise inclusion of Larry the Cable Guy in the cast. Madea can be hilarious, but it was mostly done in extremely poor taste, with lots of unnecessary foul language added for no purpose whatsoever. The story like was timely - mixed marriage, and resulting confusion/misunderstandings, but overall pretty lame.

I did get a bag of free popcorn, due to the Americans having won a gold medal. The cinemas were giving everyone a small bag of popcorn  each  day we won a gold at the Olympics, so I received a ticket for a free bag at the concession stand when I went (twice) on Friday that I used on Sat. night. And had a flosser in my pocket to clean all the debris out....


gone to mississippi...

Saturday, February 15, 2014
TP left on Friday morning to go to Biloxi. He had been 'invited' to participate in a tournament, blackjack is, I think, the thing he likes to do when he gets to the casino. And is likely very flattered to be included in the inviting. When in reality it is not really so much an 'invite' as an incite/opportunity for him to bring cash to leave in MS when they smile and tell him 'goodbye, and hurry back, now y'all.' After having turned him upside down and shooken him good to relieve his pockets of every last nickel..

He just called a bit ago to report that he had passed the first part, successfully avoided elimination in the preliminary games, and graduated on to an opportunity to play with the big boys tomorrow. I said: "I guess that means you took your lucky rabbit's foot, and four leaf clover and remembered to put on your lucky underwear."  He sounded alarmed, when he asked if he was supposed to continue to wear the same shorts tomorrow when he gets a chance to go for the big pot. It's pretty unlikely that he will be 'recycling'.

When he was packing up on Thursday night, he had me folding shirts, and had so much stuffed into his little rolling suitcase it would not all fit. I folded five shirts for a man who left on Friday morning and returns on Monday. Which sounds to me like he would have needed three at the max., as he was wearing one when he left, gone two days and needing one to get him back home...Reminds me of doing laundry for little people, who would go through six costume changes a day, leaving everything they peeled off on the floor after wearing for less than a hour...

I don't even think he ever actually was a member of the Boy Scouts, so why he is so diligent about Being Prepared is beyond my understanding. He always takes twice as much as he needs, clothing wise. I see now that my second child came by that fair and square- take everything you can possibly cram in, just in case you find yourself in need of the most unlikely articles/accessories. And leave it in your luggage when you get home, until the next trip, so you will have to search for days to find it when you need....

it only looks unclean...

Friday, February 14, 2014
I have a relative who plans to relocate, and was cleaning out some cupboards, expecting to downsize. Trying to decide what to keep and what to toss/donate to the thrift store. Several pieces of bake ware that I think could possibly be considered 'collector's items', in that it is no longer produced. Nothing even remotely fancy, but things that are very handy for kitchen use. Just the right size to put an extra meal in when you have left overs from a casserole. Perfect to cover, pull out of the fridge and pop into the micro. for a quick, easy meal.

She loaded several of this little single-serving size dishes up in a box, then realized she had no where to put them in her cupboards - and offered them to me. I declined, citing the same problem. But when she said she was going to take the whole box full of dishes to donate to Goodwill, I panicked. Thinking there are no more of the little Corning Ware 'grabits' to be had, and decided I could use, would take a couple of the ones she no longer wanted.

When  got home, I had three dishes, wrapped in newspaper, I had just put in the back of my car, without looking at what she was giving. I brought them in the house, unwrapped, and found something that was pretty unbelievable. Not at all what I would think of giving to some one - especially not in the condition I received it. I would probably be embarrassed to be donating it to the thrift shop looking like it does...even with the assurance of complete anonymity.

This is actually what it looked like after I took it out of the dishwasher. So I know it's 'clean'. But still looks like something I'm not sure I would even want to use to feed the cat, much less spoon my soup from.

I know what happened: but am still completely astounded that she was so willing to give away something in that condition. Not quite the same as returning the dish or pan when someone has brought you a casserole, dish of deviled eggs, or plate of brownies without washing it (and refilling) first, but pretty dang tacky from my point of view. It is obviously the dish she would have used frequently to make iced tea, boiling the water in the micro., adding tea bags to steep until she was ready to pour up. But can you imagine not bothering to clean it before passing it along?

happy Feb. 14...

It did not turn out quite like I expected. I thought I would go on in there, and there would be so much to do, with so many customers trying to keep their little selves out of hot water, and on the good side of their sweethearts, co-workers, boss, spouse, mama, etc., that I would be busy all day.  I'd looked at the amount of time I had worked already, and knew I wash close to the maximum. But honestly thought this was the one time I could get away with overtime/extra hours = extra pay.

After waking up about 4:30, and piddling around until after 6, I went on to work, where I immediately got very busy. We had not had any truck from the warehouse in Atlanta for two days, so there was a lot of fresh flowers to get put out on the sales floor. Which I think I did a pretty good job of doing in a snappy fashion. But by the time the doors were unlocked and all the lights turned on, I'd had three different management people tell me I had to leave by twelve o'clock to not have any overtime.

I thought it best to confess that I had arrived early, and admit that I should probably be leaving sooner than they said. So I actually was out the door by 11:30 - with the whole afternoon ahead of me, with no plans.  I (unseriously) considered calling that person who has a little flower shop over on Moon Rd. to ask if she needed some help in the afternoon. But unseriously, due too the fact that she makes me nuts when she comes in the store and shops our fresh flowers to fill her wire service orders - asking: ' do you have this in the back?' or 'don't you have some of that I can get?' If I want to strangle her in the fifteen minutes she is in the store loading up her shopping cart, buying all our stuff, I can imagine how she might get injured if went in the  workroom where she was supervising.  There is probably a special circle in hades for people who homicide their employers, and I would get a front row seat.

So I went to lunch with a friend, and went to two movies. Nothing remarkable, just stuff I wanted to see and had time to sit in the dark. One, sorta funny, but very dark, with lots of foul language, I would not recommend. Probably wishing I had not invested $5.50 on it. "Osage County".  And the other something that has been out a while, and I thought I had missed. But is still at the $1.99 screens: a really sweet story "The Book Thief", but as you would expect of something set in Germany in the 1930's not a happy tale.

Actually the third movie I've seen this week: Went to the "Monuments Men" on Monday. Loved it. If you love art, or art history, or military history, or Eurpoean art, or just have someone with a military service background in your life - go see it. Highly recommended: *****(five stars)

happy Feb. 13th...

Thursday, February 13, 2014
This only happens once  year. For which I am very thankful. I mostly tolerate my little jobette, go in and do what I know needs to be done, and go home. But for a couple of days each year, I don't really like it at all. It's that time: Valentine's Day.

The first time I ever experienced working in a retail floral shop on Valentine's  was so long ago, I won't admit to details. But I will tell you that I stood in one place for twenty four hours straight, and put dozens of roses in vases. I wish I could remember how much the one of the arrangements cost. Can't say for sure, but I do know it was jacked up to some ridiculous dollar amount for about a week, before rose prices reverted to 'normal'. And remember hearing someone say that they had called in an order for a dozen to some big city and the florist said the cost would be fifty dollars. This is back when minimum wage was less than five dollars an hour - so think about how long I'd have been working to make that amount??  In truth, the cost of a dozen roses today is probably cheaper than it was all those years ago - and today's price includes having to air freight the flowers from South America.

And after staying up all  night doing rose arrangements, we went home, showered, and went back to work. It's been so long, I was likely so young and crazy, it probably all seemed like fun, instead of misery. I guess figuring that if it only happens once a year, we would have plenty of time to get over the exhaustion. 

Not so bad today, but I wish I had been wearing a pedometer to know how far I walked, from the front of the store to the back. Never actually getting anywhere, but must have walked at least five miles  Not even in the top ten of the most fun I ever had, but - I do know that there will be fifty two weeks before it comes around again. So I can start resting on Saturday...

PS Today is my grandmother Rosa's birthday. And the day my dad wanted to get his new red-skinned potato seeds planted in his little garden spot in the backyard. So you could depend on having the leftover parts of the potato to eat on Valentine's day...part of the promise of spring.

medical info...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Before we get started: if you are not female/related to me, you might as well stop reading now, as this will be of little interest and no concern....

With a family history of osteoporosis, I am naturally concerned and interested in doing what ever is practical to keep my bones, and therefore my person, going strong.  One of the grandmothers was very small, a petite woman, barely five feet tall, with tiny feet, and little bird bones. The other was a larger person, but had many broken bones over the years, arms, legs, and several joint replacements, possibly due to arthritis. So crumbly bones are a legacy that I was given, and sadly, will likely pass along to another generation.

I've been taking some prescription meds for a number of years in an effort to avoid or possibly just forestall bone loss, but a recent scan indicated otherwise. The scans can identify a pre-osteo. condition, or indicate the problem is more advanced, and actually shows there is clearly some depletion, bone loss occurring. I've had several done over the years, something that I have been pleasantly surprised to discover my health insurance covering, I assume as a preventive measure. And over those years of scans, have been indicated I am considered 'at risk'. Not a good thing, especially for someone who decided twenty years ago I should start taking better care of myself.  When I realized both of those grandmothers survived into their mid-nineties - that put me 'at risk' for living as long, and I do not want to be that age and struggling with mobility issues, unable to dance in the rain, drink beer on the beach, swim with the dolphins, hang-glide off the mountain edge, hike the AT, gallop bareback across the open pastures, climb to the top of the tree, drive all over north America, stopping to sleep in a hundred campgrounds.

Then a scan a year ago indicates that it is no longer a possibility, or even likelihood, but actually occurring. So, here I sit with my bones crumbling - unsure about how to best mount a defense.

tale of the cat, part 5

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Poor little undernourished, lean and skinny Lucy has continued to be mostly immobile, seeming very lethargic. Even though I have been trying to give her the meds. she is supposed to be ingesting twice a day - which means 'angry cat x 2'. So I decided I should take her back to the vet to gain the benefit of the expert's opinion. Which came to a total of $318. and odd cents. Indicating the vet has a pretty high opinion  of herself.

She still has that fluid that is collecting around her heart, meaning that the muscle can no longer do what it was designed to do. And that causes her to struggle to breath, making her appear that she is panting all the time, looking labored. And me wanting to provide relief. I was thinking when I was driving her to the vet's office that I have not ever had the experience of taking someone to the Dr. who you could not expect to improve with the administering of the recommended medications. You take your kids, when you see that the problem is beyond your amature skills, but they get diagnosed, dosed and fully recovered.

I am having a hard time becoming reconciled to the fact that a feline at this age is not going to 'get better'. That I should do what I (and medications) can to make her comfortable. I continue to feed her things she has trained me to provide. Not necessarily those that are good for a feline digestive tract, but that stuff that she has caused me to use to placate her demands, when she sits on the kitchen floor and talks to the 'fridge.  Sitting there, as if saying 'open sesame', demanding the opposable thumbs provide a saucer of milk, or a dollop of yogurt or cottage cheese. That's what we are here for, right? to fulfill the demands of the cats?

It will hopefully be a bit easier now, that I don't have the challenge of putting a pill in that little pink mouth with all the sharp teeth. The new med. is topical, to be rubbed on the inside of her pointy little ear, avoiding her pointy little incisors. I want this to work, and for her to be more amenable to what I have been instructed (expensively) to do to make her existence easier.

Sunday morning left-over....

Monday, February 10, 2014
I was really happy to be able to get to church on Sunday morning. Just to be in that space with all those other people who made the effort to get up and show up. So being in the company of a few good friends and hundreds of total strangers,  believers all, was a real treat, and the praise music is always appropriately chosen to put us in the right frame of mind for the topic of the message each week. And always great, like being the warm up band for God.

Plus I think I might have heard the Best Ever sermon. He has been preaching since the first of the year in a general sense on the abundance we have in our lives, and how we should be willing to pass on the gifts that are ours due to the abounding generosity of God. A really unusual backdrop in the sanctuary space, up on the stage, behind the musicians: hundreds and hundreds of weathered boards that were salvaged from old wooden pallets. Put together to cover the back of the space in a neat, tidy, orderly manner, but very rustic. Giving the effect of something really old, and historic... even though the building is only about three years old, and fashioned in a very commercial/industrial-type style.

I may not have this quote spot-on, as I was writing in a hurry, and some of my scribblings are not particularly legible. (I should be able to read writing that looks like tangled vines...) It's from C.S. Lewis: "The best of life on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven, the worst of life on earth is a glimpse of Hell.  For Christians, this present life is the closest they will come to Hell, for unbelievers, it is the closest they will come to Heaven."

plugging away....

Sunday, February 9, 2014
I have been working at my little jobette for over sixteen years, most of which has only been as a part-timer. Starting with not wanting to take more time away from family, when daughters were still in school - wow! Has it been that long? And now, even though more income would be really nice - not wanting to be committed to punching the clock any more than I do. I feel confident if I were willing to work in another area of the business, I could get more hours, but none of that interests me enough to devote my time in pursuit of the extra income.

Much of my 'career' at this little two-day a week endeavor has required me to work on Sundays. Not my choice for sure. But a choice my co-worker made years ago: he wanted to be off work on Sundays to spend the time with his mom. As is true with any job, I understood that in order to be employed, it was necessary to be available when I was needed: so I made myself content with Sunday work.

But for some reason, since early summer of last year I have been scheduled for work at 8:00 or 9:00 or 10:00, making it impossible for me to go to a nine o'clock church service. I did not question the department manager's reason, assuming there was one. And guess part of it was to have me there earlier to do prep work, have the area of fresh, custom made salads and yogurt-fruit parfaits looking full and ready for self-serve customers.

I recently, after the first of the year, decided to gather up my gumption and have a discussion with the department manager about my desire to go to church. He doesn't attend and apparently does not care if anyone else would like to go. He's been very hard to talk to, always making me feel like I was being a pest/nuisance when I would approach him about anything. Which would, understandably make me try to keep my distance. But I did talk to him, and he seemed agreeable. So I went to church a couple of weeks ago, for the first time since last June.

It was actually pretty funny. Lots of people who usually see me sitting in my usual spot on Sundays stopped by and greeted me as if I were a stranger, welcoming me to' come back and visit again real soon, now ya' hear?' It was good to be back in the right place on Sunday morning.

And now he's gone. Moving to NC to work in the new stores they are opening in a new district. And according to my store manager, the new boss who came in for his first day on Saturday, is 'a good Christian man', so I am looking forward to regular church attendance in the future. Still, I am sure working on Sunday mornings, but doing it with someone who is, I hope a bit more agreeable and flexible. I already like Jimmy a whole lot better. Think he is more experienced in the position, a better manager and hopefully more compassionate and caring.

another obituary...

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Too many funerals, too many good men gone.

I went to the funeral today of Candler Lasseter (and found that his middle name was Percy!). He died two weeks ago, on the day after the anniversary of my mom's death. She died on January 22, and Candler died on the 23rd. He'd had some health issues in recent months, and had been struggling with problems. Plus he was nearly ninety-four. So it was not unexpected.  But that does not make it any easier for those close to him to think of how life will be with him gone, feeling a hole in their hearts in the space he occupied for so many years.

He and wife Joyce had been married for sixty five years - that's something worth mentioning. Often when I was with them, usually sharing a meal together with extended family, one or the other would comment on how long they had been together. That's pretty amazing. Makes me think about all those Paul Harvey newscasts when he would talk about duos that had been 'couples' for an unbelievable number of years. How they could stay together, without committing homicide is baffling. I can't imagine being able to tolerate little personality quirks and idiosyncrasies for fifty plus years. I'd definitely be in the lockup.

And I know that no couple lives continually in a bed of roses, there are times of stress and distress. Days of anxiety, doubt and possibly silence. But they obviously had a very good life, many happy times, and enjoyed the company of that person they said 'I do' to many years ago. It was a sweet day, with fond remembrances by family and friends. People who knew and loved him and will miss the honorable, true southern 'gentleman' he was. 

cat's tale, part 4

Friday, February 7, 2014
The poor cat has had such a hard time. Traumatized by going to the vet, when just being put in the car is more stress than she wanted in her low-key, normally localized, never-leaving-home life. Being prodded and poked, have personal parts inspected repeatedly.

Forced to take meds she doesn't want, for reasons she cannot understand (since I don't speak cat, and she doesn't comprehend English). Having terrible matted up places all over her fur that make her miserable when the hair gets tangled and constantly pulling on her skin. Plus looking totally neglected and possibly mistreated (not at all true, but really pitiful in appearance: almost moth-eaten.) I called the expert who works at the pet supply store, to ask what to do. She said to find a groomer  who would probably want to shave all the tangled up stuff off.

So I got out the yellow pages and called this morning. Talked to someone who said I could bring her in (more trauma in the car), but to wait until afternoon, when most of the bark-y dogs were gone. I called back around lunch time, and was told to bring her at 1;30. I'd asked if I could stay with her, so she would at least have someone familiar close by. The groomer had me hold her while she started shaving all the hair off her back, then started on her back legs and belly. She's pretty funny looking now, but I have not said that out loud.

I've actually spent most of the day with her. She is sleeping on the end of the bed now. Which is a marked improvement from a couple of weeks ago, when she would not even invest the effort to get up on the bed from the floor. I hope we are mostly through with cold weather, as I know as lean as she has gotten she is probably cold all the time, and with practically no fur, will have to stay inside until it is warm enough to be outdoors.

Though it will take sometime for her to adjust to the feeling that she is walking around in her underwear, hopefully she will get accustomed to feeling lots of cool breezes and soon not notice that she is so 'air-conditioned'. She had to be really uncomfortable with all that tangled up fur, like someone pulling on your head hair unceasingly, so thought she looks sort of scalped, I am hoping I did the right thing.


I had a friend who had a descriptive phrase that was the opposite of 'indian summer', meant to describe a 'false spring.  This time of year when winter is dragging along, and we are all anxious for a change. Which would be the much awaited season of renewing. I am wondering if we might be looking at an early spring: you are ready for the end of winter, right?

I know what the report was from the groundhog, Phil up there in Pennsylvania - but this is what you might consider an 'alternate ending' to the story from Feb. 2. Just because they dress up pin fancy clothes, does not mean they get to have the last word, or their pronouncements are the absolute infallible truth. Pick the one you like the best....

I was looking around in my yard, on this warm sunny afternoon, to see if I might spy anything that would indicate a reason to hope for a change right here in early February. And see a daffodil or two smiling out at the world, in bright happy yellow. And a couple of hyacinths that are trying to bloom: one white, and another hyacinth blue. Plus buds trying to turn into blooms on the rambling forsythia plants that have quadrupled in size over the years. 

Some of that ever expanding forsythia I have relocated around the yard, some I have given away, some I have sold on Craigs List, some I have dug up and thrown away.  Meaning it is an amazingly hardy and remarkably prolific plant. Always a welcome sight when everything is bare and drab in the final throes of winter. It's not yet showing any of the bright yellow blooms that appear as an unlikely, poorly timed swarm of tiny, sunshine-y butterflies, but a few more days like this of warm sunny days, and those happy yellow blooms will be making me smile.

cat''s tale, part 3

If you have ever tried to medicate a pet, you have a vague idea of what it is like to try to put drugs in a cat. If you have ever tried to put drugs into a cat, you found yourself the recipient of a number of puncture wounds. They are highly unreceptive to ingesting drugs of any variety.

This one needs to be given three different meds. daily. One little half of a minuscule pill once a day, and drops, plus some stuff you rub inside her ear twice a day. I'd much rather be trying to get meds into a little person who could kick, cry and flail around on the floor than a underweight cat with sharp claws and tiny little biting teeth. I've had fair success with the liquid drops, minimal success with the rubbing the stuff in her eat (you'd be amazed as how she can 'close' that ear up!), and practically no luck at all with the pill. Which is apparently the most important of the three. So much so that the vet said I could bring her and her wee little half-pill by and let them force it into her every day.

The vets' office has ordered me some stuff will go in her ear - which is sort of counter productive, as I have had poor success rate with getting what I already have attempted to distribute in there already. So, good luck with doing more of that: as in 'when you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you got.'

She has felt so badly for several weeks, she has not been cleaning her fur, so the lack of grooming becomes more apparent every day. I know she is struggling with those big old clumped up chunks of fur, they surely hurt when they pull on her skin - like someone grabbing you by the head-hair all day long. But she wont' let me get them out. I keep trying and she keeps evading...

traveling with a friend, for a change...

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Usually, when I get on the road, I have a couple of books on CD to keep me company, entertaining me while I am driving for hours at the time. Plus there is always the public radio option though it seems to often be on a 'loop', with the same news/programs playing over each hour. I don't really mind driving those distances that I go from week to week, with books to keep me interested with well-crafted characters and plots. But the most recent trip was with someone in the passenger seat- a real person to converse with.

A friend from my Valdosta State days and I had talked about a trip to visit a former instructor from the Art Department there, who is retired but still living in the area. The friend, PS, really knew this art teacher much better than I did, but I was probably the instigator. As I pestered her over a couple of years with 'when are we going?'  It finally came to fruition this week. 

PS came down from Marietta, where she has been living for several years. Arriving about noon on Wednesday, and we left for Q-town. Where we met her daughter and two grandsons for dinner last night. Spent the night in the big, cold, lonesome house there at 1209. And drove on over to Valdosta this morning. Roamed around a little to see how town has changed and comment on: 'where did that building come from?', and 'when did that building disappear?' PS and family lived there for nearly two decades, so she was even more aware than I of how the landscape has altered over time.

PS had called the instructor, to ask if we could come visit, maybe go to lunch, and was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a show at the local public space displaying some of her most recent work. So we went to her house, and she took us downtown to the Turner Center, walked and talked us through her painting, inspired by recent trips to Norway, Italy, France. (yeah - I know, must be nice....) Then we went to lunch, and had a nice visit.

We drove around and through the campus of the college/university and were amazed at how much it has changed. Lots of big new buildings, that the board of regents somehow managed to squeeze in a space that looked full decades ago when we were students there. If you wonder where you tax dollars are going, (other than providing room, board, health care for the incarcerated) visit any nearby public college campus. You will be astounded at the building programs that are underway - bricks and mortar, stucco and Spanish tile roofs at it's finest.

100's of little weightless souls...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
This sounds like it will be something of great import: breaking news, or 'true confessions', but it's only a report of the result of a service call by the Pesty John bug spraying service. We had a real ant problem, a mysterious invasion that had no apparent source. I would find them on the kitchen counter, always in the same general area each morning. Which caused me to assume they were in the walls. After asking TP to call for service too many times, he finally did, when I showed him a little line of industrious workers traveling across the front of a cupboard.

Pesty John came and sprayed all around the house. I warned him if that substance was greasy, and left mess on the floor, I expected him to clean up after himself. He suggested I should be ready to live with the ant problem instead. So he sprayed, and it helped. But they came back. And he was invited to make a return appearance. He put out somed sort of 'bait' a gel like substance in all the places he thought ants might be traveling. That seems to have solved the problem. He suggested the invasion was due to cracks in the foundation (not the cracks you see when the Pesty John guy bends over!)

Problem has been resolved. Leaving hundreds of corpses. I just swept the floor for the first time since the plague finally abated. And found lots of places I did not even see them to start off with, where they had apparently gone to get away from fate, and could not entirely escape. I think part of the problem was due to the cold weather. Even though I don't believe I can think like an ant, I would certainly be seeking shelter and a warm nest to get out of the serious cold we have had in recent weeks. So I cannot fault them for their motivations, and industrious nature. But still do not want them in the house, building an ant kingdom within the walls, planning to cohabit.

ice/snow 'storm' story

When I went to work on Sunday, I saw a photo posted by the time clock that was both interesting and, I think, pretty amazing. I 'm not sure where it was taken, but assume some place in metro Atlanta area. Not necessarily something that is 'peculiar' or limited to the sort you would only find in the southern quarter of the United States. But it is something that I believe you are much more likely to find in the Land of Consideration and Common Courtesy (traits that I believe are sadly becoming non-existent and so rare as to be considered 'collectors items').

The photo was a copy that came in an email, and had a caption printed above it that said something really unusual in Corporate America. The wording started with 'God Bless Publix', and went on to explain that this particular store pictured had stayed open all night to provide shelter for people who were stranded. Customers, passers-by and staff alike - anyone who could not get to their intended destination due to icy roads and snarled traffic. And below the wording was a photo of people sleeping in the aisles. Slumped over, or curled up, or just slowly sliding onto the hard terrazzo floor. But thankful for a warm dry place to rest until they could do differently.

As much as I tend to gripe about problematic work situation on a personal level, I know it is a good place to work: I would not still be there otherwise. And on a corporate level, even though the Spirit of Publix has changed dramatically since I have been an associate, the reputation was built on going the extra mile, providing superior customer service. Which is what happened last Tuesday night, when hundreds of people found themselves sleeping on the floor of a grocery store.. and thankful for that choice.

I'm sure you could find this photo, and many others demonstrating extreme measures people took lsast week under great stress and duress. But I think seeing a business willing to keep the lights on and doors open all night to come to the aid of those in need is pretty remarkable. A bit of human kindness you just don't see every day...

on the road again...

You are wondering, I am  sure, how working  a few mere hours each week supports the my driving habit? How it is possible that putting in confoundingly sparse time I am employed can support my gasoline addiction? That is an excellent question - and one that baffles me as well. I must be well subsidized?

I am traveling today with a friend who lives in Marietta. We are going down Memory Lane, to Valdosta. I decline to confess how many years it has been when we were students together at Valdosta State, but will say that it was a' college' at the time, before being promoted by the Regents to University status.  So, it has been a while, in another lifetime. She was a mother of teenagers when she was a student, with family obligations, so it's a wonder she had time to get to  classes, much less complete assignments. But it happened, and she did - with grace and capability, as any multi-tasking mom will understand.p

We plan to drive to south GA this afternoon, and will meet her daughter for dinner tonight. The daughter lives in a nearby town. We will spend the night in Q. and go over to V. on Thurs. to poke around, look at old haunts, and revisit the past.

We took painting classes together: she was a remarkably proficient water colorist, and I was probably at low C level. She had to patience to take on really complicated, time-consuming subject matter, and do beautiful paintings requiring much attention to detail. She claims to not paint any more- which likely means she can't get started, not motivated to get the tools together to undertake something she would then feel either a) obligated to devote time to or b) guilty that she did not. That is my problem too, so I know that scenario entirely too well.

She has been in contact with one of the instructors we had as art students, and made plans to see her when we are in south GA.  Will go to the public gallery space there in downtown to visit an exhibit of this former professor's work, and have lunch together. Should be a really pleasant day.

314 + 314....

Monday, February 3, 2014
I drove to the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, and back to Georgia's west coast today.

I'd told the auntie a couple of weeks ago, when she thought she had a buyer for her little condo on St. Simon's Island that I would go with her to get odds and ends she did not collect up when we were there recently. And, looking at my calendar, realized today would be the 'most likely to succeed.' She would call me and say she had a report from the sales agent that there was a buyer, then call me back to say there wasn't - then call me back to say it's found a buyer. I said: I am still planning to go with you on the third, so we need to go.

Remarkably, there really was a buyer, who put down a deposit. And she signed the papers today. So there won't be any more of these crazy trips dashing to the coast to gather up more misc. for dragging half-way across the state, only to donate to thrift stores when there is no where to store. I pretty much had all I could put in the back of my car, and still see out the rear-view mirror, when the agent came in and started with: 'You don't want to leave this, do you?', and 'Don't you want to take that with you?' So the auntie started trying o give stuff to the agent! Because she knew I would say no, and it's so very hard to let things go....

cat's tale, part 2...

Saturday, February 1, 2014
She was not precisely a stray when she came to live here, but she was an orfling, adopted from the Humane Society. During the month of October, so she had to have  a responsible adult present for the proceedings. We discovered, upon making our choice that apparently people will want to take black cats out and mistreat them in unknowable ways for perverse amusement around Halloween. But not at this house.

She came as a kitten, doing all the hilarious things they do, easily entertaining herself and onlookers. That was about fifteen years ago, so naturally she is slowing down. Though she has recently been spotted up on the shelf, napping in one of the boxes. You walk out there in the carport, and a head pops up out of the box, hoping it is someone willing coming to open a packet of fishy, smelly, gooey, delicious wet food. They have been climbing the ladder for years, to sleep in the boxes up on the shelf along the wall, at least head high, and safe for cats, protected from predators, who are hopefully too stupid to scale the step ladder.

She has always been pretty mild-mannered and good natured. When there were three cats here, she was number two in the pecking order. But now that number one is gone, she accidentally finds herself the queen. Not often assertive, but willing to stand her ground for a bowl of that foul smelling fishy stuff. Or the little splash of milk she has trained us to pour into the lid of a peanut butter jar when she comes barreling in the house at the first opportunity. You crack open the back door and a black flash comes whizzing through, taking up her position by the 'fridge, waiting for the well-trained humans to use their opposable thumbs to get out the milk jug.

Yeah - I know, you're right. Adult cats should not be drinking milk. It's not good for them, hard to digest. But she has us very well trained. What can I say? When you have very little in the way of demands, and it takes something so simple to make you happy - why not? Like that one cup of 'not coffee' I have every morning. Not really coffee because it is de-caf, and not really coffee because it is instant, and definitely not real coffee because it is at least half almond milk, with a big splash of flavored creamer. What some refer to as coffee-flavored milk. Over-alll, a pretty harmless habit, don't you think?

She spent most of the day at the vet yesterday. Under duress I am sure, as the only reason for getting in the car is when something really bad happens: you go some place strange, loud, with lots of foreign smells, and get poked, prodded, and pierced. I was concerned about the fact that she is not grooming, has lots of matted up places in her long hair, obviously loosing weight, struggling to breathe. The vet said she has heart failure, not uncommon as a side effect of thyroid problem. Which was the diagnosis when she went months ago.

There are things they can do to help, to make her comfortable, to ease he physical symptoms.  They kept her all day, in some sort of oxygen treatment, to try to help with breathing difficulty, and poked her several times with a syringe to withdraw fluids - I guess around her heart? to relive symptoms.

I went to get her at five o'clock. The vet said she wanted to keep her overnight, but I knew Lucy really wanted to come home. Don't you know: whatever the problem is, you will always, always, always feel better, when you get home into your own little nest? So I brought her home, with three different medications she is supposed to get, two of them twice a day. You know how much cats don't like to take medicine? Yes. You are absolutely right, and Lucy is no exception. But I know she feels better - more active, eating and drinking better, demanding her dish of milk, starting to clean herself.

going to a GS meeting...

When I reminded T.P. I would be travelling today, going to a GS meeting, he inquired about the schedule. I said I was riding with someone else, and my job was to be in the right place at the right time to meet the driver. He is forever asking about when I am leaving, and when I will return. I think primarily to have some assurance that someone will show up to prepare the food. So he can have confidence there will be someone around to call him to the table. He's the guy who perpetually says: 'call me anything you want, but don't call me late for dinner.'

I told him that I did not know what the schedule for the meeting is, that it is about ninety minutes away, at a Scout Camp in the center of the state. Which is also pretty centrally located for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Council. The council here in Columbus once was limited to a dozen surrounding counties.  After realignment a couple of years ago, and a name change, it now spans the state from 'coast to coast' (meaning Savannah to the Chattahoochee River - alternately known as Georgia"'s West Coast). The meeting place is near Macon, at a camp that has in recent years built a very attractive conference center, so it's more than screened in cabins, filled with cobwebs, and a rustic, open-air dining hall.

I told him, when he was questioning, that not only did I not know the  agenda, I was not driving, so had no control over when we would be leaving after the conclusion of business. He said"Oh, so not only do you not get to drive the train, you don't even get to blow the whistle?!!" (This being written, just as I hear a train whistle blowing at the cross a mile away, where the tracks parallel Macon Rd.)

So let me get my shoes on and go to the store to meet my ride in the parking lot...