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September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Today: I went back down to the Community Center on the south-side of town to do some more yard work. I didn't really do a whole lot, as the real work they wanted to get accomplished consisted of digging and hauling railroad cross-ties that probably weigh a hundred pounds. Not something I would even consider assisting with. I planned/knew in advance I would give the volunteering a couple of hours, and do feel like I was productive. Others present were also volunteers from Publix as part of our community service/'give back' project with United Way.

Using my little clippers to trim some shrubs and vines and digging out some undesirables. The shrubs were azaleas that had been butchered over time, and had lots of dead branches in the center. Plus vines growing up through the foliage, that I knew to be very wary of, after my unexpected encounter with poison ivy the first time we were there bush-whacking. Some of the vines were those mean cranky smilax that have the thorns sharp enough to rip skin open. And big tubers underground, so you can cut them back until the end of time and they will continue to grow. The really productive part of my morning was getting a shovel and prying the huge tubers up out of the ground from under the azaleas. Especially difficult when they have been keeping close company for many years and the roots of the two are entangled. Very gratifying to dig them up and know that they won't be sprouting and making more evil vines to rip and tear anyone's clothing or person again.

Then I went downtown to a luncheon with a group of Master Gardeners. Always amusing and usually educational as well. Heard talk about daylily planting and a gardener who thought she was growing some exotic Chinese squash from seeds a neighbor gave her. They ate some when they were small, and enjoyed the vegetables on salads, tasting kinda' like a cross between a cucumber and melon. But as they matured and were left to mature on the vines, Beverly discovered the story turned into something closely related to 'Jack and Beanstalk': she has unintentionally grown loofa gourds. Which were so prolific she brought enough to share with everyone present.

Amusing anecdote: We are all asked for numbers to confirm identity. Especially on the telephone, when you cannot present your government issued ID/w photo. Lately, dealing with insurance issues, I have been asked a number of times recently for 'last four' or birthdate. And discovered today that I am so accustomed to saying 09-25-and adding my birth year, that I had a really hard time actually writing today's date. I told a friend recently that I had never encountered the expression 'last four', especially barked out by a retired master sargeant. Until I went with my dad to VA appointments, and discovered that is how veterans are filed/found in the government records systems.

we will all...

eventually find ourselves quoting things we've heard since birth. Those things that seem to be unique to our moms, or family expressions/sayings you never hear anywhere else. Always coming out of your mother's or grandmother's mouth - to the point that you will eventually find yourself saying: "according to my sainted grandmother....".

Or in my case, what I have come to refer to as 'choppyisms', those odd little sayings that I have heard all my life, but never from any one else's mouth. Named thusly because my mother's nickname was Choppy. Though that was not her given name, her dad started calling her Choppy when she was a child, and it stuck so well, most people in her adult life assumed it actually was her name. Never knowing that it was anything else, until she showed up at the courthouse on voting day, working as a polling official. She was required to wear a name tag, with her 'legal' name, and then they all wondered why she was wearing a name that wasn't her name!

The one that immediately comes to mind is 'whoppy-jawed'. It seems to refer to something that is not quite right. As a porch on an old house that is coming apart, leaning precariously, dangerously loose. Or a car you see going down the road that has obviously been wrecked, and appears to have had major damage to the body, to the point that it does not seem to drive straight: the frame is bent so that the front and back wheels are not in alignment. There are other expressions that are specific to my mom... and I will mention them when they come to mind.

I can't think of any others I heard from my mom, but I can clearly remember her quoting her mother-in-law, my grandmother. She thoroughly enjoyed commenting, when odd weather would occur, anything extreme, or the least abnormal: "we're living in the last days". That is, of course, true. And has been for hundreds of years.

Other grandmother loved to remind me that "you do the best you can, and the angels in heaven can't do any better". Which I assume is meant to inspire us all to take our efforts up a notch, and aspire to improve our daily efforts.  Another is 'take it and say Thank You' that she would pull out and use on me when she was trying to be generous and I was making my best effort to decline her generosity.

This started when F. called me today, from her work place, to report she had seen someone with a T shirt on that make her laugh. So she had to call me, knowing I would laugh too. I asked her to catch the girl in the laugh-able shirt and take a picture. To print here, after I wrote a blog about how we all eventually start sounding like our mothers...

out with the old...

I have been hoping to sell the old Toyota, but not having much success. It has been parked out on the edge of the street for over a week. Where thousands of vehicles pass by it every day. A number of people have stopped and looked, written down my number and called. But they don't call back. A combination of high mileage and price is certainly off-putting.

A man called this morning who is the first who to ask if I would come down on the price. And of course I would. In talking to the guy who sold me the newer one, I concluded I should set my 'asking' price high.  To provide some 'wiggle room', and be willing to let a buyer offer a lower price to feel like they are shrewd negotiators and clever for getting such a wonderful bargain.  Recently posted it on Craigs' List, which could easily be a mistake, as I know everyone who looks there will desire something for practically nothing. But I also know: the option to refuse the offer is always available.

It has been sitting out on the street corner in front of the house for over a week. At one point parked so close to the street that I had a call one evening asking me to move it. From an anonymous female who said it was blocking the line of sight for traffic at the stop sign, waiting to turn onto Lynch Rd. And suggesting if I would not care to relocate: it would be towed. The more I think about that the more annoyed I get... I guess the way she approached it - her tone/attitude. Pretty pissy.

It got relocated Tuesday afternoon. Into town to park on a busy thoroughfare with lots of drive-by traffic. Hoping that some of the different errand-runners on Veteran's Parkway will notice the little gold Toyo. and be interested. It's in front of a State Farm office, where there are often privately-owned vehicles for sale: boats, trucks, jet-skis, four-wheelers, assorted things on trailers. So maybe this will be the place to find a buyer. I'm ready to re-home it.

a fruitless endeavor...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

... occurred when I drove up to Callaway Gardens on Saturday afternoon. I had volunteered to 'assist' with Monarch butterfly tagging. But due to the fact that not the first Monarch appeared, the tagging did not. The one Day Center employee on duty who was the expert of the day gave me instruction, and turned me loose with a butterfly net. So you can imagine who looked 'not quite right' for several hours, walking around the blooming borders, waving a butterfly catcher.

There were lots of other insects flitting about: bees, and dragonflies and other varities of butterflies, but not one of the endangered Monarchs did I see. Some that looked remarkably similar, when in flight, with orange wings and black veining. But when they rested on a bloom, the closed wings/underside looked like a moth, wearing brown mottled camoflauge.

I had agreed to be there at 1 and stay till 4, but turned in my net about 3:45, saying I had already had all the fun I could stand with my search for something that simply was not there to be found. And decided to walk a bit, on a path I had never been on. Thinking of all those days with young children who loved to ride bikes. We would put three bicycles in the back of the pickup truck and make a trip to Harris County to whizz along the paved, well maintained, clean asphalt biking and walking trails.

The one I chose yesterday, a short distance from the Butterfly Center was not paved, but a gravel surface. Which I would consider somewhat risky. You know how rocks can roll right out from under you, and you simply loose control of your feet. That didn't happen, but walking on that trail made me thankful I had my phone in my pocket. I walked along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail, which loops around a slough, part of the big lake where the Discovery Center/welcome area is located. And saw a log that had a dozen turtles on it, basking in the sun. I tried to take a photo, but was too far away for you to really see all those black shelled turtles stacked up on the log, snoozing in the afternoon sun. Walked on to the Discovery Center, drank some water, and back to my car. Passing lots of families, people out enjoying the day. Kids poking at things, moms pushing strollers, dads urging little people along.

It was a beautiful day. Clear bright blue skies, sunny, pleasant temperature - perfect for a walk in the woods. Making me thankful to be alive.

you missed it...

Saturday, September 20, 2014
... if you did not put on your costume and look/talk like a pirate on Friday. Somehow September 19 has been designated as 'Talk Like A Pirate Day'. So the peak opportunity of the year to go around saying 'Arggghhh', and 'Ahoy Matey,' is over for another twelve months. You might want to put a sticky note on December as a reminder, so you can mark your 2015 calendar accordingly and start planning your outfit.

Because if you do find the gumption to actually dress like a pirate well as practice your salty language, you can go to Krispy Kreme and be rewarded: not with gold dubloons and bounty from the high seas, but a dozen fresh glazed donuts.I know this because a close associate sent me an email outlining the items one must be wearing to 'qualify' as a pirate: including hook, or peg-leg, or parrot on one's shoulder. I thought about it, pondered on it, but decided my lack of interest in all things donut-y outweighed my desire to put on a show for the KK employees.

Which means I did not even mumble anything pirate-like all day. I did sweep and mop, so my kitchen floor is actually clean enough to eat off, but I was able to resist the temptation to put on my eye patch and bandana and hoop earrings and go to the donut store. It would have probably been amusing to sit out in the parking lot and view the assortment of customers- sort of like sitting on the front porch on October 31st see all the kids, dressed and painted, in their costumes.

I went to the church late in the afternoon, to make a delivery and was telling the receptionist that we missed it, and she said one of the staffers did go. He dressed up, took a small child also appropriately attired and a second youngster with feathers in her hair. As it turned out, he picked up the smallest one, the one with feathers bobby-pinned to her hair and clipped onto her clothing, and put her on his shoulders, taught her how to say, in an ear splitting tone: AWWWWkkkk. She was the parrot!

more about Dorothy....

Friday, September 19, 2014

... a funny story to go along with all the amusing tales I am sure were told at the wake/reception following the service this afternoon. I did not stay for the food and drinks, but judging by the friends and family stories I heard at the memorial service, I am sure there was plenty of laughter. Some of which was enhanced/lubricated by the wine and beer Dorothy had requested to go along with the food. Reminding me how it is so often true that the person who would most enjoy that sort of gathering, isn't there. The one person that would be at the very center of the Venn Diagram, where all the elements had something in common - is missing the part/party they would have loved to attend.

I'd seen Dorothy shopping often enough to know she enjoyed an occasional cold beer late in the day. I too am of the opinion that It's Five O'clock Somewhere, and having a toddy from time to time never hurt anyone who would observe moderation in all things. But knowing Dorothy's liking for a cold brew: I smuggled in two cans when she was in hospice back in the spring.

I'd run into her daughter when I was volunteering at the Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale one bright sunny spring day. Who told me that Dorothy had been admitted to hospice for several days to try to get over pneumonia that she was struggling with, to be able to have an IV and constant drug drip. Hoping she could shake the problem and return home. I finished my shift at the plant sale, and stopped by the convenience store just down the street. Bought us two ice cold beers, which were put in brown paper bags. Making me look like a closet drinker, for sure.

Then drove over to the inpatient Hospice to check on Dorothy. Politely asked at the desk which room she was in. Found her and told her I had a present. She was in bed with an IV in her arm, but I thought:' so what?' And popped open both beers. She enjoyed hers, even though it was a Miller Lite and she had been a Yuengling drinker, and I drank mine. Bid her a good day/night and went home.

there are several...

...people in my life who I would consider to be 'friendly' acquaintances. Not sure there is a better description for these individuals, who came into my circle/life as a result of being customers in the workplace. They are mostly only seen when I am on the job, but always a delight to have a few minutes to chat with and catch up on family news, happenings in their lives.

There is one, Lee, who has known my family for many years, met the daughters when they were kids, swimming at the pool, pestering her for more  ketchup to dunk their French fries in. She never fails to ask after husband and daughters. She's been through a lot of health problems in recent years, and I am always pleased to see her. She will be pushing a cart through the produce department: that tells me she is doing pretty well, feeling good enough to walk through the store. Which is quite an undertaking for someone who struggles to breathe or just be mobile, walk around.

There is another, Velma, who has become a friend I enjoy having lunch with. She too came into my life by being a grocery shopper. Her husband died several years ago, and we have since been meeting for lunch on a number of occasions, just to enjoy good eats, talk about families and life. She struggles at times with mobility, has begun using a cane to help her remain stable when she walks. But always a pleasure to talk with on the phone when she calls, and a pleasant lunching companion.

A semi-friend who lives out in Talbot County, and comes in once a week with shopping list for herself and her mom, who is pretty much housebound, but lives close by. I've had lunch with her one time, and always enjoy stopping to check on her and family when I see her in the store. As we age, we begin to have assorted aches and pains. Her husband has had some health problems as well, but she is always smiling, cheerful, witty, charming to converse with, even though there are lots of things that could cause her to have a vastly different outlook.

Then there is Dorothy: in her mid-eighties. I think I have known her for at least ten years. She spent some years, as a senior citizen working at the GAP store in the mall - I think she was in her seventies then. Lively, active, gregarious, full of pep. A fascinating person to talk to. I once drove to Atlanta with her as a passenger to drop her off at the home of friends. I then went to my daughter's and went back to pick Dorothy up to bring her back home after a weekend of visiting. Dorothy told about growing up, and working as a life-guard on the shore of Lake Michigan as a teenager. She has a twin sister, who also did this type work. Dorothy had numerous melanomas removed during the years I knew her. She recently died - cancer that spread all over. And likely started during those years of exposure, before the advent/invention of chemical sunscreens we are so often cautioned to use in plentiful quantities. I am going to her funeral today. Her daughter told me that Dorothy had specifically requested a time of fellowship after the service where wine and beer would be served, so everyone could have a drink and enjoy reminiscing about that cheerful, up-beat, enthusiastic Dorothy

RIP, Dorothy.

the first one...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

...popped open today. Spider/surprise lilies blooming in the yard. I have planted dozens over the years out in the leaf mulch under all those trees, and saw the first one that opened up this morning. It is out there in the middle of a flock of pink plastic flamingos: if that won't make you smile, nothing will.

Bright red, big blooms. Actually looking sort of like a huge red spider, if you squint and practice using your vivid imagination. Also a surprise! when they pop up out of the ground, as the bulbs are reminded in the fall it's time to put on a show. Easily forgotten locations that get covered up with falling leaves, so you have no memory over the summer that amazing little self-contained bulb is getting ready to put on another show. Then you apply a bit of serendipity=surprised by joy, when one day you see them suddenly coming up out in un-remembered, unexpected places one day, and spreading open their blooms almost while you are watching.

how it seems...

....I feel somewhat strange, maybe silly, sort of foolish, being so distraught over the death of a feline. I don't know what the best word would be to describe what's going on here. I am sad. Even more disturbing is the idea that I am confused and maybe embarrassed over the fact of the grief. I'm just sad and morose.

I go to a home-group Bible study on Wed. nights, at the house of a couple I've known for years. They open their door to about a dozen people all together, maybe eight or ten from week to week, who show up on Wednesday evenings for some sort of study, fellowship, good eats, prayer concerns. What our congregation refers to as 'doing life together'. And now that my BFF, P., is part of this group, I guess these people would be the folks to whom I am most closely connected that are not blood relations.

After our good eats, some sort of devotional study and conversation each week, we share prayer concerns. Family members or friends, occasionally people we don't even know, but have heard of their hurts and desire to be lifted up and remembered. People last night had parents who were suffering from incurable illnesses, adult children who had brain surgery and very poor prognosis, family members/children who won't likely become adults that were all in need of prayer support.

I did not even mention the idea that I had a small cat named Lucy who was struggling. It seemed so mundane, so inconsequential, so petty compared to people who were having to deal with the unthinkable/unbelievable thoughts doctors had caused them to face. So I laid down on the tile floor with Lucy last night and wept. Not wanting to seem silly, or foolish. Or appear emotionally  raw and bereft when others, people who I know and love, were dealing with heartaches that must seem insurmountable. But knowing the end was near...

And... I'm still sad.

even sadder...

...is me this morning after finding the cat's body, but not her spirit. I could tell by her breathing she was really struggling last night, and that the end was near. But not fully prepared to face that reality. Though I suspected, and really hoped, that she would be gone when I awoke. I did  not want to take her to the vet - it was always so stressful, when they somehow know bad things will happen. I guess because they only got in the car under duress, not voluntarily, and knew that riding/being confined in that big, fast moving 'thing' meant something unpleasant would follow.

She was heavier than I had expected, since she had gotten so thin, her hip bones were poking out. And you could feel every knob in the spine when you rubbed your hand down her back. I somehow thought when her last breath left, that she would be so light as to be almost like the vanishing cat in the Alice story. But she was remarkably weighty for such a small little cat.

I wrapped her in a piece of a sheet, that she had sat/slept on for months, covering an upholstered piece of furniture. It was covered with black fur. I often wondered when I swept the floor, that she was not bald, as she shed so much it was amazing there was any left on her body. Took her out in the yard and put her in the Cat Cemetery, where she will be close to the other cats she spent so many years with roaming the woods and neighborhood here.

R.I.P. Lucy

really sad....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
..is how I feel when seeing this ancient kitty go downhill. She has gotten noticeably slower in the past week or so, considerably thinner (and has always been a light-weight, so could not afford to loose any of what she has lost). And has pretty much quit eating in the past couple of days.

I think when I asked about her first visit to the veterinary office I discovered she was about fifteen years old, which is, I think, a long time for an outside cat. And until she started having problems that required medical support back in January, she has always lived outdoors. She had one tree that she loved to climb, a red cedar behind the house, where you could find her when you went out and called her name, and she would come down the limbs like a ladder/stair steps.

She is has vastly outlived the other one we adopted from the shelter at the same time, by several years. So you could say she has had a long good life, full of cat happiness? Chasing lizards, birds, chipmunks and leaving 'presents' by the back door.

So as much as I don't want to do this - I guess it is time for one last trip to the vet. The vet said I would know when it is time, and I think this is it. I'm really sad. And even though I do not want her to suffer, or starve - I am not quite ready.

you will think...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
...'so what?', but I happen to believe it is pretty impressive. Not a big deal to most of the rest of the world, people who readily do 'figgers' in their heads, and handily pull out their cell phones to use as calculators. But to someone who is historically 'math impaired', I was amazed and delighted.

When I sat down with my check register and calculator, pencil yesterday afternoon: it balanced on the first try. I was so surprised, I thought I had made a mistake, and that I should do it again to make sure it was really right. But didn't - since the first time it comes out with what the bank thinks is the correct sum - I do the happy dance, and put all my tools away until next month.

happy, happy, joy, joy....

Sunday, September 14, 2014
..is what I am when they we are all together in the same place at the same time. And we were for lunch today, at the restaurant they like to visit when they come to town. So we all had oriental food for at OK Suns. A fond remembrance from their high school years of being allowed to leave the campus on Fridays to go and eat away from cafeteria food.

Then one of the daughters and I went down to the Infantry Museum, adjacent to Ft. Benning. I did not realize she had never been, surprising to me, since I have been a number of times and her dad has been volunteering there for several years. He goes down there generally two afternoons a week, to meet-and-greet; sharing museum info. with young soldiers, old geezers reminiscing about their military years, families on post to attend graduation of their young newly minted soliders.

We enjoyed a tour of the museum, courtesy of her dad, who has been down there a couple of years, usually just on Friday and Saturday afternoons, but occasionally 'on demand'. Like being available on short notice when another volunteer does not show up.  The man has a lot of time on his hands. Or on Mondays, when the museum is not routinely open, unless it's a Federal holiday, when everything is closed, and they are open.
There is a walkway adjacent to the Museum, lined with the flags of the fifty states and territories. Designed to lead visitors around the building, to the parade ground, where newly trained recruits graduating from basic training arrive in formation for the ceremony that marks the beginning of their Infantry careers. There are hundreds of bricks lining the walkway dedicated to family members, custom made to the specifications of particular service men or donors to the building/facility/funding.

I bought a brick when the fundraising for the building was underway, dedicated to the memory of my dad. And had found it only once. Then could not  locate it again. But asked at the info. desk, where there is a book with an alpha. listing, for all the individuals, who have bricks dedicated in their memory/honor. And today we found my dad's brick again.

not really, exactly, precisely 'new'...

Saturday, September 13, 2014
...but new to Me, which is, as my spouse would say, 'Good Enough For Government Work'. I've got a slightly shop-worn, barely driven, neat-as-a-pin, hardly broken-in, remarkably clean Toyota. Close enough in most ways to the one I have been driving since 2009, that it could be a second cousin. Except for being a 2013. With about one-tenth of the miles that the gold one, bought in 2009, has accumulated in five years.

I was hoping, when I decided it was time to start looking, for a 2012 with fairly low mileage, and other most important factoid would be low mileage. Had a couple of people looking out for something I might want. One of whom is a guy I go to church with, but did not actually know (or even know I attend church with him) who has a dealership in Buena Vista, a small community about 45 minutes to the southeast. He found me a used one, that I went to pick up on Thursday afternoon. And immediately drove to Valdosta, leaving the first one there on his 'used' lot, optimistic that someone would desperately want to buy it while I was traveling for twenty-four hours.

We stopped back in Buena Vista and brought the older one back to the house. Where it is parked up on the corner of two very well-travelled streets, with For Sale signs taped to the windows, hoping for a good home I really don't have any idea how many people drive down this street, turning at the intersection to go to the golf course, or housing developments: but at minimum I'd have to say 10,000, including homeowners/residents, contractors/builders, school district employees and golfers. Or maybe double that number.

A guy who was driving along the road stopped me to say he had bought a 2006, and expected to drive his for many more hundreds of miles.  Like 400,000. I plan to get a photo and post it on Craig's List, though  I am well aware people who peruse adv. there are also yard sale attendees - expecting to get something for (nearly) nothing.  But just trying to get the word out that I would like to sell it, and hope there will be someone who needs a starter car for a teenager, or second family car who will enjoy getting excellent mileage, and staying on the go.

Dr. Ben Carson

Friday, September 12, 2014
A friend went with me to Valdosta on Thursday afternoon to hear Ben Carson give a talk at VSU. There will always be people who will disagree with whatever someone else is saying or suggesting. So there were protesters, mostly college age students with too much time on their hands, standing on the corner outside the building, holding posters declaiming Dr. Carson.

We walked by this group of fifteen or so 'objectors' several times, and were not pestered, or even spoken to.  The youths, probably barely old enough to vote, were wrapped up in their own little self-centric lives. Chatting with each other, enjoying media attention: you know the 'squeaky wheel' will most likely be the object of photo op. We went in the building, picked up our tickets and on to the student union for a bite to eat. Then walked around part of the campus, and back to the auditorium to cool off, find our seats, and wait for the event to begin.

If you don't know anything about Dr. Carson, you need to do some googling. He spoke for about forty-five minutes, then a fifteen minute Q and A. Often quoting or referring to the founding fathers, and their thoughts on the Constitution. And just as frequently quoting verses of Scripture. Which is probably why the protesters were so outraged by his appearance on campus. I noticed most of the crowd who paid for tickets to hear him talk were middle aged or older. People who have been productive taxpaying members of society for years. The ones who are paying the tuition for the one who were standing on the sidewalk waving posters at passers-by.

absoluely heart-wrenching...

Thursday, September 11, 2014
... even after all this time. I know there are certain dates in history that will be forever embedded in memory. For older folks, of my parents' era, they will reminisce of where they were when they heard the news about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the generation of my adult daughters, it will be where they were when they heard about the death of the Princess of Wales.

 And for all of us, forever in our thoughts, will be where we were when we heard about the airliners full of innocents crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11. It happened in 2001. Hard to believe it's been fourteen years... but I am sure it seems like the pain is still sharp and raw to those who lost family members in the crashing and resulting destruction, aftermath as the Towers fell.

I read a book recently by a man who is a professional sports writer. Well known in the world of athletes, and a prolific writer, as well as media consultant and commentator. The following is by Rick Riley, and an excerpt from his most recent book. "Tiger, Meet My Sister... and other things I probably shouldn't have said". The book consists of  a compilation of columns and articles, on a wide range of individuals, all of whom are somehow connected to the sports world - from long forgotten baseball players to individuals of Olympic competition levels.

Let's Keep Rolling
September 6, 2011
"The first battle in the renewed war against terrorism wasn't waged in Fallujah or Kandahar or Tikrit. It was held 32,000 feet above Pittsburgh, on September 11, 2001.
And it wasn't soldiers who led the battle.
It was four athletes, pushing a food cart.
United Flight 93 was supposed to go from Newark to San Francisco that Tuesday morning, but 31 year-old Jeremy Glick wasn't supposed to be on it.
He was supposed to go the day before, but a fire at Newark Airport forced him to re-book for the next day, one of the bloodiest in American history.
About forty-five  minutes into the flight, four radical Islamic terrorists stormed the cockpit, sliced the throats of the pilots and took charge. They told the thirty-three passengers and seven crew members they were hijacking the plane and returning to Newark.
Glick, a muscular 1993 national collegiate judo champion, scampered back to the second-to-last row and called his wife, Lyz.
Lyz couldn't hold the line. What she was hearing was sending her body into convulsions. She handed the phone to her dad and walked into a different room."
[....the other three were as physically fit and joined with Glick to attempt to divert the plan of the radicals. Collegiate competitors and serious about the physical and mental training they would constantly subject themselves to to maintain top conditioning...]
"All of them jocks. All of them with the physical and mental training to rise up when all seems lost. This is the best guess of what they did.
'We're going to attack', Glick told Lyz. 'I'm going to put the phone down. I love you. I'll be right back'.
[Todd] Beamer revealed the same plan to the operator, Lisa Jefferson, who was sitting in a call center in Oakbrook Illinois. When it was time, he let the phone dangle so he cold keep the line open in case he made it back alive. She heard Beamer say to the others,' Let's roll'. It's a phrase that would later be stenciled on jet fighters, NASCAR rides and above locker room doors.
Using a food service cart as a battering ram, the attackers raced up the aisle and smashed through the cockpit door. It was almost 10 a.m.
'My dad said first he heard a series of screams', Lyz recalls. Then he heard another set of screams. Then it all sounded like a roller coaster, up an down. And then it just.... ended."
"United Flight 93 dove into a remote field in southwestern Pennsylvania, near Shanksville, killing all aboard. People ten miles away said they felt the ground shake. It's believed the plane was headed for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C."
"And yet, ten years later, the memorial that was promised these forty people hasn't been delivered. The Flight 93 National Memorial is still $10 million short of completion. There is no visitor's center to teach, no Tower of Voices to listen to, and no forty groves of trees to honor.
'I'm 69 years old', says David Beamer (David's dad). 'I'd like to see the thing get done in my lifetime. If you and everybody you know can make one little sacrifice - one hour of your income - we could get this done tomorrow.'
I sent in an hour's pay not just to honor the passengers of Flight 93 but also to thank them. My niece was working in the Capitol that day. This spring, she had her second baby.
The passengers aboard Flight 93 saved hundreds of lives - if not thousands - in thirty five minutes. We've had ten years.
It's a hole we need to fill.
postscript: ...you'll be happy to know the goal was reached. The Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville is now open. It's free."

about that Lantern Parade...

Monday, September 8, 2014

I just had a report from a facebook lurker that my own personal self had turned up on someone's page with a photo as a participant in the Parade along the Beltway on Saturday night. It was such a neat, cool, amazingly harmless form of entertainment for so many folk: all those who walked with lighted objects (everything from a camping headlight on an old geezer to baby strollers with blinking Christmas lights on and tinsel garlands on dowels) and thousands of on-lookers.

I've been a participant in several parades, as a kid/teen, in that small town in south GA where I got my start, and have seen a lot more. Especially when I had kids, and wanted them to be observers when 'Santa Arrives' on a fire truck at the end of a long stream of convertibles full of beauty queens, floats, marching bands, shiny pick-up trucks with people throwing out hard candy.

But I have decided, come to a startling conclusion, after walking a couple of miles in the semi-dark (lots of street lights along the way, as the sun was sinking in the west) with several thousand other Lanternees. I am suddenly, surprisingly convinced that I don't want to see any more parades. If I can't be right there in the middle of it all, as a participant, I'd rather stay at home and miss out...  I don't want to see the parade: I want to BE the parade! (or at least a small but very vital part) So I am wondering how one would go about starting such an amusing event in right here?


Sunday, September 7, 2014
... is really a conservative number for me to be reporting. But that was what I did before breakfast. As distance traveled in a certain amount of time. When I do get in the road, I am actually a pretty conservative person: setting the cruise control for 71 or 72, and tooling along, with most of the other vehicles on the interstate whizzing by me as I listen to my talking books on Cds.

I spent the night in Decatur, having had such amusement when we went to walk the walk at the Lantern Fest, it was too late for me to get back home.  I got up about 6:30, and drove back to Columbus. The 114 is the distance from Eleanor Street to Lynch Rd.  I had time to come home and start unloading my car before I turned around and left for church at 9, and then to work by 11, to work till 6.  But when I got to church I was reminded of a quarterly meeting that I should attend at 5:00, so had to shave an hour off my leaving work tme to get back to church for Leadership gathering.

It's nearly 8:30, and I am just now getting home. Thankful I do not have to go to work tomorrow, but have a long list of things that need to be accomplished, so I'm going to bed ASAP.

good clean fun...

... if I had known it would be so cool, I'd have had it on my bucket list. The Lantern Parade on the Beltway in Atlanta. I had been informed several months ago, so put it on  my calendar to be ready to participate/attend. I knew about it in a word-of-mouth sort of way, but had no personal knowledge.

We went, and had a great time. There were several brass bands, and hundreds and hundreds of people trooping along the Beltway with a great assortment of lighted objects. Bicycles outlined in multi-colored strings of lights. People dressing in crazy costumes covered with strings of Christmas lights. Dozens and dozens of people with lanterns tied onto baby strollers, tree limbs, dowels (and in our case: lighted balloons tied onto ten foot long wooden tomato stakes).

People with lighted hats made of tissue paper with LED lights inside, a person in a portable, wearable tent with a Muppet fortune teller, a huge lighted white horse made from tissue paper on a bamboo frame. Ten foot tall wearable puppets made of parachute cloth, with legs strapped to humans who were dancing along, holding dowels to move the puppet arms. Hundreds and hundreds of people with families, grandparents and children holding paper lanterns standing along the edge of walkway, taking photos of the participants in the parade.

I recently listened to a TED talk about the excessive, overuse, degraded value of the word 'awesome'. And I totally agree, generally trying to completely avoid any usage of that particular word. But going to see/witness/participate in the Lantern Parade really was. I am still smiling, delighted to have been a part of such good clean fun. Though I am pretty sure all those people who were standing along the edge of the walkway were not drinking lemonade out of their solo cups...

*photo credit to Alyssa Lasseter

early morning travels...

Saturday, September 6, 2014
I got up early this morning. Because I get up early. Every morning. Regardless.

I got up early and loaded up my gear.(consisting  mostly of toothbrush and pills I take every day) in the car to drive to Decatur for the day. After a stop by Publix and a friend's house about 6 a.m., to leave brownies I cooked yesterday. A real cooking binge: two pans of brownies to give away, plus a meatloaf and squash casserole for dinner.

I got up early to drive to Decatur to spend the day. More on the reason later...

We've spent hours sitting in the floor sewing a braided rug back together.  It is a huge oval, measuring about twelve by eight feet. It was originally on the floor in my parent's house, and relocated to Decatur several years ago. I assume that over time the threads that hold the strips of braided fiber together just sort of decompose/wear out, as the braid itself seems to be pretty much intact, but there are a gazillion places where the stitching needs replacing. I went to the fabric store yesterday and bought some curved needles, and we got some dental floss this morning, and have been sewing the strips of braid that have come undone back together.

I have decided it is akin to the 'whack-a-mole' game, because the more you think you have accomplished, when you unroll more of the rug - it seems the more there is to do. Problematic places keep popping up elsewhere, just like the moles. The faster you whack 'em, the faster they pop up out of different holes!! Hopefully our estimation of being over half-done is accurate, otherwise it is likely that it is a project that has far more time investment than it is actually worth. Meaning we should have put it out by the street. And could have bought another less labor/effort than we have devoted to repairs. Especially when you get down to the point of figuring what time is worth per hr.

the reason ....

Friday, September 5, 2014
... I was headed to drop off items at church on a Thursday afternoon is due to my Very Important Volunteer work. I am the person who does the shopping for Sunday morning coffee drinkers. A member supplies the coffee, when he buys wholesale through his catering business. But all the accoutrements that are necessary for salving the caffeine addiction of hundreds of fellow attendees come from Sam's Club.

I guess I've been doing it for about a year or so. Have a Club card that serves as a credit card for Sam's and Wallyworld purchases. So I had been to get an assortment of teabags. Those amongst us who are not coffee drinkers apparently get their fix via Bigelow. The first time I bought tea bags, having only purchased for my own personal use - I did not know it was inappropriate to serve them when not individually wrapped. Sanitation issue? So now I know that the only brand that is acceptable for use in public places is something that has 'way much extra packaging: each bag inside the cellophane wrapped, sealed box is also neatly inserted in a little sealed envelope. You know: hermetically sealed, untouched by human hands, completely germ free and sanitized.

I usually find styro. cups, flavored creamers, plastic stirring stix, sweetner, etc., on the list - all things people use to make the potent, black, bitter liquid more palatable: so that brings about the question... What's the point? If you have to do all that stuff to make it drinkable, why drink it?

turtle rescue squad, hard at work...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I was leaving work this afternoon, about 1:30. Headed down Milgen Road to run by church and make a quick delivery. Which is less than two miles away, with one traffic light that might make the trip longer than five minutes. I was getting close to the light, passing an undeveloped area that is densely wooded due to being the edge of a city park. And saw a very large turtle turtling across the street.

Oddly enough, it was working it's way across the two lane road at a point where there is a bridge over a creek. But instead of taking a relaxed swim through the culvert, in the creek water - this amphibian was determinedly crossing the street. A dangerous effort. Until the Turtle Rescue Squad showed up in a  most timely manner.

Whereupon I veered off the street, into the entrance to a business, and put my car in park, along the edge of the street.  A white city-decaled pick up heading in the other direction stopped, and thankfully held up traffic for me to get out in the middle of the street. So I dashed halfway across to grab up the turtle as it was crossing the center line. It was nearly as big as a dinner plate. With a shell covered with green mossy stuff, so I know it lives in the water.

Helped it on across the road, and went down near the creek to put it down. The slope was really steep, with lots of junked, broken up concrete that made me fear it would get stuck in a dead end on the slope and not be able to get to the water. But I found a place on the verge, really weedy, but with access to the water. And put it down, where it immediately stuck it's little yellow-striped head out and proceeded to lumber on down the slope toward the creek.

Jonah 1:9

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One translation is "God will be with you where ever you go". It's the verse I was asked to illustrate for a children's Sunday School class at church. I have not done my little volunteer project in a couple of months - the last one was Paul locked up in jail. Which, if you saw the finished product when reading the blog a couple of months ago, turned out pretty well. You were looking in the window of the Roman prison, between the bars, and saw the little figure of Paul, sitting on the bench reading, being small and lonely.

I got an email over the weekend with the verse, and a request to create some sort of visual aid that would serve to demonstrate and reinforce the verse the children will be  memorizing over this next month. A prime example of how 'if you don't use it, you loose it': my brain was a complete blank and I had no idea for some way to create a poster that would help to make the verse memorable. But the teacher found a little poster on the internet of cartoon cars and trucks - which makes sense. He is with us and can be called upon anywhere at any time.

So after I went to work for four hours today, I took my little bag of scissors, glue, tape and went to church to be creative. There is a lot of paper in big rolls, different colors, suitable for covering bulletin boards that I can use as a background, add figures or details to when using to make some sort of illustration for a particular verse. This one has a landscape with a lake and sail boat, and a road heading up a hill with cars and trucks on it. Mountains and clouds in the background, with an airplane overhead. And the verse underneath for the little people to memorize. Kinda' cheezy, with cartoon'ish vehicles, but something that will be easily understandable and recognizable for children who are instructed to look and practice learning their verse.

just because...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
... you don't read something here every single day about millipedes, does not mean they are not arriving for the early morning head count.  I am still picking them up off the floor at what would normally be an alarming rate. Sadly, I have become so acclimated to this invasion as a part of my morning routine, I just pinch them up and toss in the trash.

It occurs to me that I should be alarmed by the fact that I am not alarmed. Astounding that I have become so inured to their presence, I am no longer squeamish about touching the buggy little creatures.  But still put off by the way my fingers smell when I've deposited a dozen or so either in the toilet or trash. Like other insects that have camouflage or distracting coloration, I guess the awful odor is their way of preventing consumption by predators. If I had not finally become so irritated by their presence that I no longer go for the dustpan and broom, I would not know they are stinky. But stink they do.

So just because you are not reading something daily about the unwarranted invasion, does not by any means indicate they are  not setting up housekeeping in my kitchen. I do occasionally find them elsewhere: recently several deceased ones were curled up like little spirals in the drain basket in the bathtub. And I get reports of them being in the master bath,  mostly dead. But they continue to assume ownership where they are not paying rent or contributing to real estate taxes.


Monday, September 1, 2014
...from Decatur to SC and back. I was invited to go to an author's talk that was part of the Decatur Book Festival, which happens once a year on Labor Day weekend. Lots of authors are invited to come and speak, talk about their craft, promote their work and literature in general. We went to hear Joyce Carol Oates being interviewed, by a professor from Emory who the author of her biography.  She read several passages from recent publications, and talked about her life, work, history.

Pretty interesting. I knew nothing about her - had not read anything she wrote. Which is surprising, as I have heard of her, knew of the name from all my years of being literate.  We googled and got a bio. from Wikipedia, but that was the extent of our knowledge. My feeling is her subject matter seems to be dark. I might request something from the library to determine if her writing will capture my interest, but from the little bit she read, and conversation with the biographer about her topics, I do not think I would enjoy. She has a large body of published work: screenplays, poetry, short stories, in addition to longer works of fiction, based on historical events.  I think I recall that she is still teaching writing or lit., maybe at Harvard?

I got up early on Saturday morning, and hit the road. After spending the night in Decatur, to give me a jump on driving over to SC to visit my pen pal, and cousin who lives near Greenville. It is so amazingly easy to get out on the normally chaotic interstate highway on a Saturday morning. Especially when you get going before anyone else is awake.

A nice visit with my pen pal. We just sit around and chat, talk about family doings, gardening, his activities with American Legion. Lunch. Then I went down to Simpsonville. I won't pay to drive on I-185, which is a the toll road.  I am sure, a shorter, more direct route. But we all have little quirks, ways we pinch and justify - me? I'm not paying tolls for the use of public thoroughfares and bridges. If taxpayer money paid to build it, it seems to me like double taxation to require additional fees by motorists in order to use it? Let's dress up like Indians, climb on board the ships anchored in the harbor, and dump the boxes of freight overboard!

Enjoyed a good visit with the cuzzin. And left there about 6, to head back to Decatur, hoping to get back into town before dark. Makes me sad that dark is starting to come earlier each evening. I used to be able to leave home after 8:30, walk a couple of miles and get home before it got too night to see. But now, it's already too dark by 8:30!  :-(


about HAL... part 2...

...that computer program designed to create the schedules for everyone at work. Arrggghhhh.

My nice, user-friendly, congenial department manager is still agreeable, allowing me to go to early church at 9:00 before I have to be at work at 11:00.  He has usually left work, headed for church, by the time I arrive. I was supposed to work from 11:00 till 7:30 Sunday afternoon. I have not done that in years, been on the job that late in the day: when I started, I knew to expect my schedule would be 10 a to 7 p, two days a week. But yesterday - since the HAL is scheduling me for so little time otherwise, I was determined to tough it out and be there for all the time I was allowed.

And the rest of the week is 'way crazy: going in at 6:00, leaving at 11:00, or 1:15. Some of which I secretly think hardly worth the effort, especially the part when I have to get up at 5:00 in order to be there ready to chop and dice at 6. But being at the weedy, over-grown, barely visible bottom of the  'totem pole' puts me in the position of feeling like I am not authorized to express an opinion. I am convinced if I am vocal about my annoyance of such rotten scheduling: the walls have ears, and my working hours will become so negligible as to be virtually invisible.

So I will make my best effort to keep my mouth shut, stay below the radar, and see how things progress. It's completely out of character for me: keeping my mouth shut. Hopefully I will be able to remind myself: be thankful for what you have. Bite your tongue and count your blessings. Be grateful you are employed and self-supporting. Give thanks that you can pay those bills when they come. Remember that the benefit of being marginally employed is all the free time you enjoy. Have Fun.