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sound bites...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
...from a horror movie. This is what I think I must sound like if you don't know it is my disabled self, stumping along down the hall. Makes me think of those awful movies where you see the frighten innocents cowering, wide-eyed with fear, tears streaming down their dirt smeared faces as they huddle in the basement, in hopes of being invisible. While overhead you can see light seeping through the cracks in the flooring. And the enhanced sound track of someone walking around in the kitchen: thump, drag, thump, drag, thump,...looking for his next victim!!

I've been to the foot doctor for the third time. So they now have three sets of x-rays of my right foot, with the broken bone on that connects my little toe to the ankle parts. The plastic and Velcro boot I have been wearing for over a month is tedious, but definitely helps. The bone that the dr. said has a 'stress fracture' does not hurt at all when I am encased in the awkward get-up and thumping around sounding like a peg-leg pirate bumping across the deck.

The doctor, who is (seriously: I might have taught him in first grade Sunday School) young enough to be my child, said I don't need to come back unless I think I do. So I guess I am through letting them bill the insurance company for more x-rays every two weeks. I am to wear this bump-thump for a couple of weeks, then 'taper off', wearing it when I will be on my feets  for an extended period of time during the day.

the rains have come...

...and we are thankful. I hope those places up in TN and elsewhere that are dealing with wildfires, threatening homes, businesses and entire communities are getting some relief as well. It has been raining here for the better part of two days, causing the last of the colorful, deciduous fall leaves to come down - but the blessing of drenching rains is so needed.

I've been dragging garden hoses, wrestling with nozzles and periodically soaking myself by accident. I am delighted to know there is a reprieve from the watering necessary to keep landscaping alive.  We needed rain literally months ago, but will be thankful for what has fallen in the past forty-eight hours. As well as thankful to know we are not in the agriculture business, being totally dependent on the whims of the weather for a livelihood.

I received this interesting little contraption several months ago, and more recently had it installed. It is designed to hang from the guttering along the edge of the roof, for water to run into as it is headed towards the earth. Called 'Lily Cup Rain Chain', a series of small metal cups connected with loops of metal to form a chain from the opening in the gutter down to the ground.  There has been no rainfall here in nearly three months, so no way to see how my rain chain actually works - other than one of the people who installed it standing on the ladder with the hose to run water into the gutter, with onlookers laughing uproariously.

It has finally been tested. When the rain is coming down so hard it appears to be a 'frog-strangler', the water pours straight down out of the gutter where the down spout was removed. But after that first gushing downpour, the rain chain works, looks neat, and is quite amusing. I need to get a basin to go at the bottom of the series of cups, to collect water, and perform double duty as a bird bath/watering spot for local wildlife.

the story from the DA's office...

... might qualify as one of the amusing tales from Paul Harvey's memorable: 'The rest of the Story' series. You may remember the home invasion we had a couple of years ago: it's been a while, two years I think. We got a random call from the prosecuting attorney, who wanted to report that the man who kicked in the front door was being sentenced for a number of similar break ins.

You will be as surprised as I was to hear that the culprit was actually in jail at the time the crime occurred. None of this makes much sense to me, either, but this is what we learned from the District Attorney's office. The crime was done, along with a series of other similar events, while the man was on his lunch break as a 'trusty', living on the taxpayer's dole as an inmate, but being released during the day to some sort of work detail. I cannot provide details, but think he might have actually been assigned to work at the public golf course right across the street from out house.

What we lost: a couple of small caliber handguns, some jewelry, and an accumulation of pocket change from a basket on the dresser when pockets are emptied each night. One piece of jewelry was returned, unique and readily identified, but all else vanished.  We replaced the front door, and door frame. The lesson learned, if you recall: your door frame is put together with staples. It is pre-fab., made in China out of cheap wood, and poorly assembled. It does not matter how many lock/deadbolts you put on the door. The door might hold (our metal door was only dented by the kicks), but the wooden frame will give way.

The culprit was already in jail, so he confessed. He was sentenced to many more years, but who is to say he will not eventually become a trusted inmate in the future. One who is not observed during a lunch break when the supervising individual takes a break as well. I am thankful the evil-doer did not know that my little handgun was in the reusable grocery sack, and the diamond rings were in a box in the bathroom. I guess now that the cat's out of the bag, I should move them, huh?

book review: "Fast into the Night"...

...with a subtitle of ' A woman, her dogs, and their journey on the Iditarod Trail', by Debbie Clarke Moderow, copyright 2016. You've already figured out what the fascinating book is about, but might be surprised to know that it was such a good read, I would take it to work, and read during my lunch break, instead of eating. (The fact that I might have nibbled quite a bit on juicy, ripe, sweet pineapple chunks most of the morning might have a part in the lack of lunch.)

She grew up in the New England states, Conn. or Vermont I think, and went to Alaska on a lark to meet some friends for out door adventures. She was living in Wyoming at the time, but when she went to a party and met her man, Alaska became her home and lifestyle. She had two children, with the family enjoying out door life. Her devotion to dogs began when someone gave her a 'retired' sled dog, that soon became part of the family.

The first time she attempted the Iditarod, it was an unseasonably warm winter, and the thousand mile trail was altered due to some rivers not freezing enough to be traversed by sled. At one point, at least half way into the trip, the dogs balked. Sat down and refused to travel on towards Nome. The team was willing to turn around and return to the previous check point, but would not complete the challenge. It was understandably humiliating, for her to not be able to control or make demands of the team she had worked for many months and miles to train.

Her son, young and adventurous in his twenties, decided to make an attempt, and with many of the same dogs as part of his team. He succeed in completing the Iditarod, all the way to the finish line in Nome. Debbie took some shorter trips, other challenges, over time, reassessing the makeup of her group of dogs.Her awareness of the individual personalities, and quirks of each of her team was fascinating. It obviously takes a tremendous amount of time devoted to interacting with these animals to be so fully aware of their likes/dislikes and individual abilities.  She talked to some experienced breeders, trainers, and mushers hoping to find the right combination of dogs to make a second attempt. No spoilers here....

Some of the descriptions of the landscape are so well written, reporting on the brilliance of the starlight on a cloudless night, with temperatures at twenty below freezing, the air so clean and clear it hurts to breathe. The team of dogs determinedly trotting along across mile after mile of snow and ice, with only her headlamp to reflect on trail markers as a guide. She tells of seeing the colorful display of the Northern Lights, with constantly changing shades, so glorious in their shades of the rainbow, colors that adjectives cannot adequately describe. Traveling along rivers, frozen solid, hearing the ice creaking and groaning. And running all night in the complete silence of the north, with moon light so bright the dogs cast shadows as they run in unison, huffing clouds of steaming breath.

I've read a couple of other books about dog sledding, living with huskies, traveling in the land of ice and snow. By people who loved that life of being outdoors in minus-degree temperatures, in the mountains of the north or west. And would love to go to Alaska, or someplace where the stars are as brillant as a spilled bottle of sparkling glitter. Where the Milky Way is visible in all its splendor, with no light pollution to interfere.

today is the 29th...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
... of November, my mom's birthday. I've been thinking of her all day. And even after all these years, since she died in 2009, wishing things had been different. Not that I could, either now or then, do anything to make her a different person. Or there is any possibility of changing the past, but just wishing that the relationship had been warmer, and we had been better friends.

I think watching the decline of her last sibling, as she struggles with the family curse, makes me wish that my mom and I had been closer in those years when we could have enjoyed time together. I guess I never really felt like I was an adult around her. And as we all tend to do with parents: wishing, hoping, angling for approval.  I'm pretty sure the best thing I ever did from her perspective is give her granddaughters. We sent her cards and love notes for years reminding her that she was the best grandmother in the universe.

I put a memorial notice in the newspaper every year around her birthday, and again in January when she died. The weekly paper in that small town where she lived her entire life comes out on Wednesday, so I don't have a copy of the memorial to show you just yet.  I send a photo, and try to find a sweet poem, remembrance, Bible verse,  thought-y passage to include, so people who knew her (fewer and fewer as the  years go by) will think of her on her birthday. And  say: "My goodness, has it been 'x' years already?.

Then remember what an amazing person she was. If she choose you to 'gift' with her friendship - you were very fortunate. She could be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Hilariously entertaining, thoroughly amusing, a woman with a real zest for life. I think/hope I got some of that....

So there: that's my memorial to Choppy.

draggin' the garden hose...

Monday, November 28, 2016
...for weeks and weeks, moving sprinklers, connecting and disconnecting nozzle to spray stuff in pots. Hooking up various soaker hoses that have been laid out in beds to keep things alive during this awful drought. Tired of trying to keep things alive, but thankful my livelihood does not depend on the weather. As well as grateful that us here at this house do not depend on growing our own food to keep ourselves fed.

I vowed I would never plant tomato plants again, but then Spring occurred. The weather got warm, sunny and I got itchy when accidentally veering off through the garden shop at Wally world. Even though I could remind myself of how disappointing results were in the past, and frustrating the process of planting for nought. But hope that next spring I will remember my plan to plant zinnias in that spot where tomatoes have been a failure for more years than I care to confess.

It does, of course, make me think about my mom quoting her mother-in-law the lifelong Presbyterian. Anytime something unusual enough to be of note in the media and worthy of comment, would likely be discussed after she said: "We are living in the last days". That was decades ago, and here we are: still at it, doing stupid stuff that damages the environment in ways that cannot be reversed.

too old for this...

Sunday, November 27, 2016
... being employed full time. It happened by accident in the past few days when co-workers were not on the scene, some by choice, some not so much. Resulting in putting in too many unwanted hours of being employed. It is understandably nice to be the beneficiary of a well fed paycheck occasionally. A good night's sleep works wonders. And pay lagging a week behind means I have usually pulled back from the edge of exhaustion by the time the funds appear in my account. So mostly unlikely to remember how weary my poor tired feets were at the end of an excessively long day.

Today has been a day that reinforced my desire to not be employed full time. There is not enough of me to put in a forty hour week and still feel like a human when I get  myself disentangled from work. The store was closed for the holiday, so everyone had the same day off. But when we opened again on Friday, the area where I work was undermanned by two people. (Three if you count the one who was sent home/suspended for three days, but his work ethic is so marginal, it's debatable if he should be counted either absent or present.) It's been rough, trying to get caught up. Everybody doing the work of at least one and a half, struggling to get it all done, feeling like we are bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon.

Finally began to get the feeling we were making some headway today. And no longer swimming against the current. Thankful that when I get to 39 1/2 hours I will be done doing all I can do.

when I had lunch...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
...with a friend I call occasionally to say: where do you want to meet? While we were eating, she said:

This elderly couple were sitting out on the back porch in the swing he had installed for her many years ago. Just sitting, enjoying the sun setting at the end of the day, listening to the sounds of the world settling down for the night. She said to him: 'Do you remember when you used to put your arm around me while we would sit here in the swing in the evening?" So he scooted over enough to put his arm around her shoulders.

They sat in the swing for a bit more, enjoying the peace at the end of a busy day. And she said to him: "Do you remember when you used to hold my hand when we would sit out here on the porch and swing together?" So he reached over and took her hand. They kept swinging in the growing dusk of the night fall.

Then she said: "Do you remember when you used to hold me close, and nibble on  my ear?" And he said, "Yes I do, but I will have to go in the house and get my teeth".

All those people in the restaurant were probably wondering what we had been drinking, there in the middle of the day, sitting over in the corner, laughing uproariously.

about the p.o. box...

Monday, November 21, 2016

...there must be a back story, and since I don't actually know, there is no reason not to make something up, right? When my dad got home from the Big War, he got married, to a home town girl. Who I am pretty sure did not want to leave the safe familiar environs of family and friends, so they settled down in that small south GA town. Living in various and sundry rented spaces, producing two children. We will assume when they produced one of each gender, they decided to quit.

He went into business with his dad, who was operating a cotton gin, and working as a Texaco distributor selling petroleum products: oil, gasoline and heating oil. When his dad died, he continued to run the businesses in partner ship with his mother. Who was probably a silent partner, enjoyed the income, without providing the labor.

I am guessing my granddad first began use of that PO #229 when he started his business, and will also assume my dad 'inherited' and therefore continued to use the box after the death of his dad. It was our family address for many years. When my dad became executive director of the local Public Housing, he continued to use that box/address for the Authority. After a successful second career in that position, he retired. Agreeing to let the Housing Authority continue use of the PO Box.

Which caused him to finally have a need for mail delivery at his house. In all those years of living in that house he built, there had been no residential delivery. No box, no mail slot, no need for the mailman to bring correspondence to the house. My dad took the front door down off the hinges, proceeded cut a hole in the solid wood door, and installed brass hardware he had purchased, to have a mail slot for home delivery.

But two-two-nine lingers on. Long after he relegated the box at the post office to the Housing Authority, all of south GA uses 229 for an area code. As the population grew in the state, and need for more telephone numbers increased, the southern half of GA had their area code changed. For many years it was 706, but now everyone who applies for a phone number now gets one that starts with 229.

about the post office...

...in that small south GA town where I spent the first seventeen years. Someone recently sent me a notecard that has a photo of the federal post office building.Tidily situated on the corner of main street, at the end of a three block business district.  The kind of card that would have been easily available and popular with tourists fifty years ago. You've seen them: with realistic black and white  photos taken of interesting vistas, then hand tinted, before color photography existed.

I know the card  mounted on the front of the note paper is a reproduction, but it looks like the real thing, with the colors in the bricks, grass and background/sky added for authenticity. The sender of the card could not have known what an unexpected trip I would go on down memory lane as a result of seeing that image. Thinking of a long-gone era.

My dad had a post office box for business mail when I was a child. Our family did not have a box mounted by the front door as did most homes in that era. There was no mail delivered to our house - everything went to P.O. Box 229 in the red brick building. Like most things that happen in the life of a child, you tend to assume what ever is going on in your life happens everywhere: 'normal' for the entire world. When it is raining at your house, it is raining everywhere, right? I never thought it through, but know all the other homes I visited had a little metal mailbox mounted by the door, with a hinged flap at the top for the mailman to deposit incoming correspondence. Completely un-secured, without a thought someone would rifle through your personal business: back in the day.

He would make his daily stop to pick up incoming mail, and if my brother or I were with him, he would let us open the box. A key was needed for the little three inch square door, to access the mail in the box. As we got older, he would often sit in the truck, hand over his key and let us go in the building un-escorted.  Odd as something that insignificant sounds - it must have been, to a small child a measure of maturity, being 'grown up'.

I can picture me bouncing up the steps, on a Sunday morning, after church, in my layers of petticoats, lace-trimmed ankle socks and black patent Mary Janes, blonde curls bouncing - acting so important, with his keys jingling in my hand. Before the era of people hanging their key rings from belt loop on a carabiner, his were in a small leather wallet kept in a back pocket, that folded/zipped, with a row of little metal devices that hooked into the wallet for security. He would often take one key out, but occasionally hand over the whole leather bi-fold wallet. Give it to me or my brother (arguing in the back seat about who got to do it last time) for a child to go in the building to retrieve his mail.


Friday, November 18, 2016
...enough to fill up the entire back seat of my car. Two red ice chests, that could have been full of any number of interesting things. All sorts of contraband, or illicit materials.  Driving back to middle GA from TN today. Even though I had no desire to get pulled over by the blue lights for an all out search of my vehicle - I was still somewhat crestfallen to arrive home without being questioned. No one stopped to inquire, poke around in the back seat, or asked me to 'please step away from the vehicle'.

I could have been hauling moonshine, or puppies. Not a single inquiry, or even flagged down. I guess I just look too mild-mannered, innocent, a most unlikely suspect. Two big plastic ice chests occupying the back seat, and no one was even remotely curious. I could have been an ax murderer, hauling body parts for disposal. But, No. Not me. All those officials with the blue lights looking for miscreants never thought I could be one of those... guess I just don't fit the profile? Bustling along in my little nondescript dirty toyota, head down, driving four miles over the speed limit.

back in 'ye olden times'...

...when I was an ignorant (as opposed to stupid: ignorant meaning poorly informed or untutored) teenager, if I remember correctly every female was required to take a class in Home Economics. I had a very strict, highly capable, really good teacher. I found myself so enamoured of all things domestic things that I took the next class the following year and the next one too: eventually being nominated and receiving: (do not laugh!) Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award. A little pin, that I still have, along with a long gone certificate. All this in preface to report one of the things I still remember from that class. The teacher would say, when providing instruction for a project she knew fourteen year old would find fear- and trepidation-inducing: 'for a new experience'... try this x, or y or z.

So 'for a new experience' yesterday, while I was in Chattanooga visiting with P., I went along when she was going to a visit a neighbor, sewing machine in tow. For them to figure out how to make a veil to wear when she gets married in a couple of weeks. One of the joys of googling, the friend found one she really liked, plain, simple, high-priced that she thought could easily be duplicated with $17 worth of materials, vs. $279 for the designer original.

The bride-to-be had purchased yards of a very light weight (ie: flimsy) tulle and a metal comb to attach to her hair, plus some gold thread as that was what was in the 279 dollar version, edging the finger tip length veil. P. finally figured out how to apply the gold thread to edge the elongated oval we cut from the swath of tulle, after several practice attempts. No one wanted to guess at how to attach it to the comb, so I said 'give me the needle and thread' to stitch it onto the comb, which would gather the end there on the back of her head, allowing it to drape down the back of her gorgeous dress.

They plan to be married on a float in a parade in downtown Chattanooga. That should be memorable.

it's such a treat...

Thursday, November 17, 2016
...to have a day when you get to do only things you want, without the encumbrance of being employed, or a 'to do' list of necessities. I had one of those days on Wednesday. Having put in enough hours that work was not an option (in only four days of being on the job), it was a pleasant day of being able to do things enjoyable.

Sweet, smart, charming friends who are fellow gardening/planting lovers decided to have a little 'hail and farewell' party to bemoan the end of the growing season in middle Georgia. The one who has a tiny little yard that always looks like an oasis was the hostess.  Enclosed by a brick wall on two sides, and immaculately tidy, making one think of "The Secret Garden", after it was lovingly restored. The other friend, who loves to cook, hostess, share her kitchen skills (formerly a catering business owner) did the yummy eats.

 On a beauty-filled fall day, with every little leaf  perfectly groomed, and minuscule lawn perfectly barber'ed. Coffee or delicious chai tea, and a tasty assortment of finger foods that were so very tempting, I struggled to resist. What was that line, from I think, one of the 'Star Wars' movies? "Resistance is futile..."

Then I met another friend for lunch at a little restaurant I had never patronized before. She said she could not go anyplace they prepared 'commercial' chicken. I put on my seldom worn' 'politeness hat' and did not inquire for details, but presume it is not inappropriate to ask where the fowl originate? It was run by a Thai family, an enjoyable meal and pleasant visit. Amazingly good chicken broth soup, and plate of stir fried rice and veggies. I was tempted to ask for a box for the generous serving I could not consume, but wearing that same 'hat', left half my lunch there on the plate.

Then I got in my car and drove to Tennessee .Motoring up through the north Georgia hills on highway 27, enjoying beautiful sunshine, and color-filled landscape, much fall foliage still visible in distance. To spend the night and day with one of  my favorite people. Arriving in the near dark, sat in her driveway to await her return from work. Not knowing the spouse was already in the house, busily tending a sink full of dirty dishes. I know he wants us to comment, report how delighted we are that he is so domesticated, willing to 'help out'. But really? Guys - you are perfectly capable of doing that stuff. NO one says thank you to me when I do the dishes, or laundry, or kitchen floor.

the one time it didn't work...

Monday, November 14, 2016
...when I was using my phone for an alarm clock to wake me up for getting to work on time. I occasionally will forget that in addition to putting the wake up time in, I also need to change the 'pm' to 'am'. Why it always reverts to pm as a default I cannot say, but it has got me into trouble more than once. Most recently over the weekend....

I had set the alarm on Sat. to wake me on Sunday, so I could get up and be at work at six a.m. My brain is still somewhat scrambled from the time change. I've been waking up at odd  hours thinking it is time to get up and go to work, then look at the digital clock across the room and see: 1:43, or 3:07. Turn over and hope to go back to sleep. Which I did in the wee hours on Sunday, waking about 3'something-or-other and turning over. The next time I woke up it was: holy cow! 5:48.  I jumped up and put on my clothes, dashed out the door without brushing my teeth and roared out the driveway.

It's still unbelievable that I was punching my employee number into the clock at 5:59. I have discovered if I manage to hit all the traffic lights from here to there green I can actually make it to work in about five minutes. But to go from sound asleep to on the job in eleven minutes is astounding. I am still amazed. I never, ever get to work late - might not get anywhere else on time, but I am on time for work. Still - from the bed to the time clock in eleven  minutes? Wow!

You can be certain I will be checking to be sure the clock knows I mean to have the alarm go off in the AM in the future.

book review: "Lost on a Mountain in Maine"...

...written in the first person by a nine year old boy, Donn Fendler. Cannot recall where I read a reference to the book, that caused me to get it from the library to read, but it was certainly interesting. It was actually printed fifty years ago. I assume he had a ghost-writer or some one in the publishing business help with the narrative. I'm thinking maybe I heard a reference to the book on public radio, and something about how it has been half a century since the lost-ness actually happened, and that maybe the book has been reissued with a new fore ward written by the author.

When I found it at the library, it was actually a set of two Cd's, so I read it while driving to SC last week. The story, on the 'talking book' is read by a young boy, making it seem like something that just recently occurred, and all the more believable. As Donn tells of his experience floundering in the wilderness for nine days, his choice expletive is 'Christmas!' for times of greatest frustration, fear, doubt.

He was out on Mt. Katahadin with his dad and others, among them being a teenager who was well experienced as a wilderness guide. Donn grew up in Maine, and had spent much time in the woods with his dad, but simply got off the path and continued going. It was a foggy day, and they were up so  high they were in the clouds at the mountain top. Over the days, he found berries to eat, drank from a stream. Took off his dungarees when they got soaked to try to dry them out, and eventually lost his pants.Took off his shoes when they got soaked, his feet had blisters, and eventually lost both shoes.

 He knew to follow water flowing downhill, found several vacated cabins, hoping for food, but only found empty tin cans. On the ninth day of floundering in the forest, trying to stay close to the creek, he came to a lake where there was a family in a cabin. They knew he was the 'lost boy', and immediately called with notification of his reappearance.

computer geek...

Sunday, November 13, 2016
...in the work place. He told a story about being banned from an online game he plays, not allowed to participate for a week when someone discovered he had hacked the system. He claimed he had not cheated, but did it just to prove he could. I figured he would be my' go-to' guy for computer problems. And he is.

A couple of questions he has been able to solve as a result of me telling him what the problem is, and he would say: when that happens to me, I just x-y-z. So I wrote it down, took my note home, and applied some  of the recommended 'xyz' that to the best of my limited understanding was miraculous. Going to show how very little I actually understand.

I thought there must be someway to get on the internet (in a place where One Actually Has Internet) without having to plug in to the wall. So I asked, when I plugged in yesterday, sneaking around at work. He apparently got it going. While muttering about how much he hates Windows 8, but poking around, punching buttons and bypassing things. Allowing to get me to the point that I don't have to plug in just to soothe my blog urge.

He commented that without internet they are pretty useless. I had not thought about this: but with no wi-fi or connecting, what's the point? Nothing, I suppose.

still hoping to connect....

...eventually from the house. But it appears that will not happen in the near future. The 'take charge' guy seems to have been attacked by a serious inertia bug.  Apparently when he gets settled and (sadly) complacent in the big comfy recliner, it is not likely he will hear the cries of desperation from the other end of the house by the person who suffers from disconnect. Guess the hearing aids need fresh batteries?

I went to visit a friend on Friday morning, and pirated internet for five hours. She lives in a big multi-level retirement center, and is likely the youngest person in the building. I asked if I could come by and plug in, she assured me is would be acceptable. In a big meeting room the facility uses for games, parties, special events, with tables and chairs set up for residents to gather.

I was so itchy to tell stories, gripe about home situation, check e-mail, spill the beans for all the universe, I got there about 7:30, partially due to a frazzled brain from dropping Daylight Savings Time - which is still affecting my internal clock. Checking and responding to messages, telling the funny chicken story, and chatting with passersby.

Some teenagers came in, expecting to play board games with the seniors. I thought that was sort of strange until I remembered that schools were closed, plus it was veteran's day. Now I assume they were planning to talk, ask questions of the elders, especially the ones who had been in the military.

And a woman who apparently comes on a regular basis to market her cosmetics. She was dressed to the nines, as you would expect someone who makes a living by promoting attractiveness. Along with a perfectly assembled face, and a table full of pots and potions she could persuade you would preserve your skin for a hundred years.

It got sort of chaotic there in the meeting room, but I was so itchy, determined to get my fill of stolen internet I spent the whole morning. It was after noon before I left, realizing I never ate breakfast. I did get caught up... but the thing is: it never lasts. Sort of like a tasty bite of chocolate, when you thought  only one piece would be enough to satisfy.

chicken story, part 3....

Friday, November 11, 2016
...the rescued hens went to a house with little kids who were so stunned, excited, profoundly delighted to see the frightened, confused fowl, the little people immediately named one of the birds 'Heaven'. Along with three traumatized chickens, the rescuer took a large dog crate for them to stay in at night, go to roost and have a safe haven. And a bag of feed from the farm store. So the photos you are seeing that just got posted on part 1 and 2, are of the backyard where the chickens found a safe haven from the frat. house.

In a home with one nearly-teenager and two other small boys that were completely fascinated by the sudden appearance of chickens. Equally amazed that one of the birds produced an fresh egg, for them to argue over at breakfast. Sadly, the house is also home to a (mostly harmless) German Shepherd, who is an excellent watch dog. Keeping the yard safe from invasive critters like possums and raccoons.

The dog has already had an encounter with the hens, causing one to demise. Hopefully there will be some way for the remaining two fowl to be safe. And people to teach the large, loud, but generally friendly canine how to co-exist with bird-brains. The dog understandably thinks his job is to protect his people, keep all the other animals away from his family. And the chickens are certainly not very bright, but I do hope they will learn to get along before more feathered friends depart this world.

Chicken story, part 2...

...allows them to mostly have a happy ending. The first one she found belonged to a guy who thought it would make a good pet. He had already given it a name: Hennifer. First step towards domestication? She asked if he would sell the chicken. He said he wanted to keep it, even though he was offered cash. Her response: "You have to build a coop for it, which will be expensive. They sh*t everywhere. You can keep the chicken or you can take my money and buy some beer." He immediately turned over the chicken. Which she put in her carton, where I presume it felt safe enough to go to sleep.

But there were more birds out there in need of rescue. She found two more, on the property of a frat. house, where there were several guys industriously hammering together a pen for the two fowl they had. She came along with another box and a carton of ice-cream sandwiches and offered to swap. They surrendered the chickens, which she put in her box, closed the lid and departed. Securing a total of three.

A parent of one of the frat. boys apparently took two of the chickens home before they became orphans. Hopefully, to a place with other farm animals, and plenty of space for fowl to enjoy scratching and pecking. Now all five of the ladies are accounted for, in a place where they will be appreciated for the habits of laying hens, safe from juvenile frat. boys, vehicles, and predators.

funny chicken story...

...that I cannot take credit for, but have enjoyed retelling and talking about for several days. Starting with a phone call received early in the week, from the girl who feeds two hundred college students five days a week in the sorority on the campus of GA Tech. She got a report from some of these students that one of the fraternity groups had some live chickens. Which caused the antennae to perk up, her to put on her 'investigate this' hat, and start asking questions about the fowl.

I think the girls who spilled the beans reported the birds were used for decorations when the (juvenile) frat. boys were planning a party with a 'hoe-down' theme. One of the profoundly immature guys who was on the immature committee thought it would be great fun to have some actual live chickens to include in the festivities. The source, who attended the event, said that poor birds were huddled over in a corner of the party space, terrified by the noise, activity, drunk party guys.

If you know anything at all about chickens, you will are aware they want to go to bed when it gets dark. They need someplace safe to roost, be peaceful, sleep when the sun goes down. So having teenage college students thinking they would be amusing or entertaining when the noise was ramped up and the liquor started flowing was profoundly poor judgment - but not so surprising considering the party planners. Mostly guys who would have been born with collective silver spoons, living a wealthy lifestyle in a frat. house, due to the beneficence of dads with platinum credit cards.

The chicken lover got a carton and went out to locate the birds, due to feeling they were in great need of rescue, before the guys got bored with chicken and turned them loose in traffic. So what happened, you may ask?

happy day commemorating all those who served...

...which causes me to think about my dad today. He was not the kind of guy who would be receptive to anyone making a' big deal' over him. So if he had been approached by someone who wanted to decorate with bunting, he would have declined. If asked to ride in the parade and wave, he probably would have demurred. Or been requested to go to schools and make a talk about his service, I don't think he would have felt like what he did was 'special' in a way anyone would want to hear about.

He never talked to me about his service. I did not know from him about his time in the Army, first as a lieutenant when commissioned upon graduation from UGA, and later during the war in Europe, when he was promoted to Captain during WW II. Post-war, he joined the National Guard, in the small south Georgia where he lived, taking a reduction in rank, eventually being promoted to the commander of the local Guard unit. He served for years in the Reserves, going to training and making himself available for emergency deployment as needed with FEMA. Eventually gaining the rank of Lt. Col. before retirement, and some excellent benefits.

Just thinking about my dad...

still trying to connect...

...with friends, family, spammers, the universe. But still no internet at my house. Arggghhh. I was so desperate I went to the church to borrow wi-fi twice one day this week. After chasing my tail for much too long, trying to figure out how, why, where to get on line. The lesson I should be learning from this is to take a deeeeeep breath, calm down, remember: It Is All Small Stuff. Sadly the operative word here is 'should', so I'm still aggravated, frustrated, irritated and highly annoyed.

He attempted to employ the new device, with what may be marginal success. Meaning the electronics he enjoys are not impaired in the least. Even though he was bamboozled by the instructions, and failed to successfully install the new modem, he is apparently content with all the nine hundred and ninety nine channels he continues to access on the wide-screen that glares and blares into the night.While I still do not have the convenience of readily accessing what I am so accustomed to on my little laptop.

In an effort to be in touch, I went to the church twice on Tuesday. Good thing I did grab some of that stuff that is floating out in the ionosphere: I had offered to do a patient transport for the American Cancer Society. Where I found a response from the drive coordinators saying I needed to get a man to treatment at 11:00. It was about ten a.m. when I finally got access to emails, to discover I should already be on the way to his  house 'way down on the south side of town. It all worked out, but I spent the whole day running around town, and got home to: no internet.

I will periodically be available to help an individual get to a doctor office visit, or a treatment appointment at the local cancer center. Depending on random work days and  hours. The notices are sent out to a number of drivers, most of whom I assume are retired or self employed with schedules much more flexible than what I live with. I want to believe most patients in need of travel assistance get the rides they need. I feel like I am not much help, due to not knowing more than seven or eight days in advance when I will be at work. But it is a way to be helpful to those in need. And I do like to be useful.

I enjoy doing it, and enjoy feeling that I am able to do some small thing to help a person who is struggling with what can appear to be insurmountable. Feeling like all the complications of health issues have become a huge millstone weighing them down on a daily basis. Worrying about physical problems, and then worrying about how to get to a medical appointment on top of bodily aches and pains. There are not many days that go by that I am not reminded to be thankful for reliable transportation and the resources to put gas in it every week.

trying to connect...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
...with the world. I had the last session of tutoring with pre-K students today. Took my little computer with me, hoping they would let me connect there in the media center of the elementary school. But, as I had expected, without a employee number to log in, using that service that my tax dollars pay for was not an option.

The staff there at the school suggested I go to the public library, just down the street. Or MacDonalds fast food store. Nothing worked. They made me leave the library saying it was only open for voting. And I could not get hooked up at Mickey-D's.

I was pretty desperate to get emails, as I had offered to deliver a patient to the cancer treatment center, and did not know if I actually needed to provide the ride. I knew his appt. was on Tuesday, but had no way to check, know for sure if he was depending on me or not. Worried I was supposed to be at his house to help him get to treatment, and not knowing if or when.

I finally thought: Go To The Church. Which is where I am now. For the second time today. Borrowing the internet. Getting all this wordiness out of my system. Hopefully the end is in sight, and the Mediacom guy who is supposed to come to the house on Wednesday will show up and solve our problem. Probably something so simple, we will say: arrgggghhh.

He did need a ride, and I did get him there in time. But the appt. took at least an hour longer than I had expected, so I have pretty much devoted my day to other people, between driving the man, and going to do the weekly shopping for the church at Sam's Club.  Plus I went to vote - which is a sad, sordid tale for another day...Is it took late for the South to attempt Independence again?

the man who...

...lives at my house has tore up the Internet. I am not at all tech. proficient, and willingly, readily admit to having no skills with any sort of electronics what-so-ever. When he thought he would man-handle the 'lost phone' episode, I knew it would result in me getting a cell phone that was far and away above my pay grade. I was so happy to find mine again, and eliminate the stress of one that would ring and I would not know what to do to answer...

Amusingly enough, he warned me several weeks ago that our cable service was sending him a package he had not ordered, did not want, would not accept. So I was prepared to tell the delivery person,whether USPS or UPS to 'return to Sender'. But it came one afternoon when he was home, and the very large carton was left by the door for anyone to discover, When I came in from work and told him his box had arrived, he said it was actually wanted as it was a new 'router'. Whatever that means.

He has spent the better part of a week trying to install this gizmo. I did not care if it messed up his computer, but thoroughly annoyed to discover I am the one who cannot connect. He claims I could use his electronics if I wanted, but I don't. Mostly due to being that 'math impaired' person who cannot remember any of the secret passwords that are necessary for access.

I have been desperate to communicate with the world, check messages and share my feelings of my words being held captive. I feel like the blog has been held hostage. A critical need to type and be wordy with no way to express myself.

He has been mumbling and muttering to himself, going from room to room gnashing his teeth for several days. Got so desperate he even called customer service, but as you might expect, ended up with someone he could  not understand. A rep. who was ESOL, and that, combined with his hearing impairment, caused him to be even more frustrated and aggravated. Knowing how he has felt bamboozled by this electronic device has caused me to try to keep my mouth shut. But typing is a different matter entirely....


Saturday, November 5, 2016

...by my favorite bad influence. I told her some time ago that she could lead me astray quicker than anyone else in my life, which she apparently took as a challenge. Nothing really major, but plenty of minor things: like chocolate, iced coffee that seems to be mostly cream and chocolate milk. Various and sundry meals that start with heavy cream.

There was a bag of candy corn. Forced upon me when I left Decatur to drive back to Columbus this afternoon. I looked at it several times on the ride, (apparently not smart enough to put it out of reach), but refused to open it and spend that ninety minutes digging into something that was surely nothing but sugar. Held out until I got to town, but then my will power seemed to evaporate.

As I opened the bag - just to do some quality control - I thought to myself: 'this stuff probably has some form of sugar listed as the first three ingredients'. When I got home and looked at the packaging: literally sugar, sugar and sugar. The printed info. on the front of the bag wants to make you think there is some nutrition in there by announcing it is Made With Real Honey. Hooey.

The list of ingredients, where the FDA requires they be noted in order of quantity of each item starts with sugar. The next is corn syrup, and the third listed in order of amount that is in the product is confectioner's glaze (shellac). Salt, Dextrose (another form of sugar), gelatin, sesame oil, flavor, then honey (meaning about two drops) and various colorings. So yeah: sugar sugar and sugar, about the same as eating a big pile of candy cotton - which is actually on my list of things I hope I never put in my mouth again. Why am I eating this stuff? I need to go put it in the trash can riiiight now! As soon as I eat a few  more....

two projects...

... that were in need of attention when I had the day off on Thursday. One was accomplished, the other not so much. You know how you feel as if you just looked the other way, and when you turn your head back around: clutter everywhere? It mysteriously accumulates when you fail to give your undivided attention. All the helpful hints want us to sort the mail when we walk in the door, and deliberately assign specific resting places for everything: car keys, hats, utility bags, tools. Good idea. Poorly implemented.

The space in my kitchen, designed as a desk, was piled up with clutter. I'd go to work, come home dragging my tail feathers, and add more to the assortment. Or leave the flotsam in my car, that often seems to serve the same purpose as a turtle's shell: portable housing. I'd been to the library book sale recently, purchasing a pile of used children's books for fifty cents each - with plans to wrap and mail to little people in my life. That was a big part of the mess - along with considerable set-aside mail, newspapers in need of reading, receipts, misc. and etc.

It looks quite tidy now: I moved all the clutter from my car into the house, sorted, trashed, filed. And then: moved some of it back into my car. The books are in padded envelopes, where I put them on Thursday afternoon to take to the post office. They did not get there. Still in my car. They are well traveled: been to Decatur, and South Carolina, and back to Decatur. Before finally, actually getting to the USPS today for delivery to VA and MT.

then going northeast to SC...

...which happened early on Friday morning. I know it is crazy, but have been doing it for so long, this odd behavior, it no longer seems bizarre. Getting up really early to leave home. When I had small children, and plans to travel, I would put them in the car before daybreak and drive for hours while they slept, hoping to arrive at our destination before they got fully awake and started the 'are we there yet?' song.

Friday was the trip to SC, with me thinking I could get out of town before everyone else, all six million commuters, got up and clogging the streets. It actually worked fairly well, when you factor in my desire to go in the opposite direction of those other folk who were heading into work when my little Toyota was leaving for the border. It's about a two hour drive, but I can turn it into a four hour excursion.

Upon my arrival at his house, he was MIA. With a note on the door saying he was at the doctor's office. I must have had a premonition, as I had my library book with me, so sat on the porch and waited. He had to get an x-ray done of his chest, after a diagnosis of possible pneumonia, so we went to radiology, (me with my book to sit and wait), then to lunch. Went to K-Mart to get his Rx filled and went back to the house to visit a bit.

Mr. Homer kept apologizing for all the unexpected things he had to do. I said I just came to see  him, and we would do whatever needed his attention together.  We had togetherness, talked about families and scrupulously avoided discussing politics. I left there at 3, headed back to ATL.

traveling north...

...from western most GA to the City on Thursday. As a result of finding myself with a couple of days off from work and time on my hands: no reason not to stay in  motion. I called my pen pal who lives up in Greenville, early in the week, to ask about coming up to visit on Friday. He agreed. Which allowed me to start planning my weekend: driving all over the state.

I continue to do this (mostly pointless) tutoring job on Thursday afternoons, going out to a huge church in a very rural area, that has an after school/daycare program. My 'student' is a second grade girl, who already knows it all, so it provides me with an excellent opportunity to practice my patience. Last week she claimed to have no homework, so we read books instead. This week we did some math problems, likely more challenging to my non-math brain than her. I never can remember those little sideways 'v' things: which means more than and which means less than?  Then practicing spelling words for Friday's test.

I was packed, and loaded, ready to head out for Decatur when we finished at 5:00. Off on an excursion along country roads, traveling amongst the falling leaves of deciduous trees, aiming towards the interstate. Traffic had thinned before I got to ATL, and into town to spend the night in Decatur.

it only hurts when...

Thursday, November 3, 2016
... I try to get someplace besides where I am.

My foot was giving me some vague problems when I was at work on Wednesday. Bothering me enough that I thought to call for an appointment to see the foot doc. when I got home and could look at the calendar. For us to agree upon a date when they made me an offer about when to come in.

Lo and behold: that scheduler asked if I wanted to come in on Thursday morning at 8:45 a.m. I was completely unprepared to get there that soon. Hemming and hawing for a few minutes and fudging around, I finally said yes. Thoroughly not expecting to be offered the opportunity to present m weary feets within less than twenty four hours of making the call.

After agreeing that 'yes' I could get my person there bright and early on Thurs., I went out to do some watering of all the things that are panting and perishing in my yard during this months long drought. As I was walking out the door, and across the carport, I heard a small 'pop' that seemed to come from the general vicinity of my right extremity. The next step was extremely painful. Causing me to say out loud: 'I think I just broke my dang foot'.

I hopped and hobbled around for the rest of the day. Putting ice on it for a couple of hours last night, and trying to sleep with it propped up on a couple of pillows overnight. Which means I did not sleep very well. Getting up early to shower, and make myself presentable for that early a.m. appt.

Needless to say, I sat there in the cubicle for the better part of an hour. They took three x-rays of my foot. When the dr. came in, he said: "You have a stress fracture of the metatarsal". We talked a while and tried to suss out what had caused it, why it might have occurred. Who knows? Not me!

I have a boot with a bunch of velcro fasteners I am to wear to stabilize and support. The boot will help with keeping those tendons or ligaments, supporting things from flexing so much, to give the bone time to heal. I will get very tired of telling my story to everyone who sees me and asks: 'what happened to your foot?', but will try not to bite anyone's head off, but instead will refer them to the story on the blog.

about that amusing hat...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
... that I would rent out if you can think of an appropriate place to wear it? It gets tiresome after a while, though not particularly weighty. Just awkward, going in and out of doors, plus not like some of the little feather-weight things your grandma wore when she went out with a tiny little veil that was no more than a  bit of fluff on top of her head.

It's really not all that heavy, considering size. But for someone who is unaccustomed to having such a large object sitting upon one's head, it takes some getting used to. Also takes some adjustment for any one you may encounter who would not be expecting such a remarkable display of noticeable headgear.

It is available for rent. Comes with a small light on the interior that glows attractively in the dark, to make the butterflies look even more festive. I would be really interested to know that there is another person on the planet who can think of some event where it might be appropriate to appear in such eye-catching garb.

clownin' around...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
... in all  my festive attire. The store has a 'trick or treat' night on Halloween. For several years, it has fallen to me to be the person to run the game/give-away in the produce area. If you are gotta' do something silly, you might as well go all out...

I discovered after wearing that little red plastic nose on the elastic for about an hour, my real nose got really sweaty, so discontinued use before the event was over. And eventually got tired of wearing the hat that hits the door every time I go in and out, and nearly tips me over when I stoop to get the bean bags for the next contestant to play. So the head gear wore pretty thin before the evening came to an end.