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other than...

Sunday, June 25, 2017
... the always entertaining excellent company of the companion who was persuaded to accompany me on the one-day road trip to the east yesterday, the most best part of the day was meeting a cousin for lunch. Our trip to east GA included lunch with J., who lives just over the river into SC. She is such a dear sweet person, after I spend time with her, I find myself wondering why I do not make the effort more often. I had to think a bit to make the familial connection, but conclude she is a second cousin. Her mom and my mom would have been first cousins, as their mothers were sisters, so I think that means we are seconds.

She is such a delightful person, sensible, down to earth,with a wonderful sense of the absurdities of life, I would gladly take her for a sister. I do not remember meeting her as a child, but surely there was some point when we would have been together. Most likely when our grandmothers, the sisters separated by geography, would have made the effort to see each other. I do recall going with my grandma to visit in the small town in east GA where her sister had settled after marriage to a local man. Tiny little town, that is probably in danger of completely drying up, as people have died, moved away, relocated for work/schooling.

It fell to my cousin to empty and sell her grandmother's house, as she gradually realized her mother would not be able to part with the grandparents' home. Where there was so much family history in each corner and closet, stuffed with memories and old correspondence, furniture and knick-knacks with stories attached. It has taken years to sort through everything, but she was finally able to empty the old frame house of furniture and put it on the market. With the hope of finding someone who desired to be so far from fast food, big box stores and amenities found in the busyness of city living.

I know how hard that process of letting go can be. Even after years, the memories draw you back. And you find yourself going to the cemetery, wanting to renew that extinct connection. Reaching through time into the past, trying to keep those people alive in memory. We cannot resurrect the saints, those beloved forebears who have gone on ahead - but I am so thankful for the feeling of connection with family members who are present and dear to my heart .

it was really wet...

... over there in east GA, when we went to the family gathering. My dad's people, folks I did not know, had never met before I started going to these events about fifteen years ago. Sadly the crowd is getting smaller each year. Possibly due to a variety of causes: old age creeping up on the ones who really want to stay connected, willing to make the effort to travel and meet on an annual basis. Lots of other family plans during the summer months. Job necessities. Lack of interest with the younger generations.

The ones I saw yesterday are likely the 'hard core' group, people I have seen in attendance over the years who will continue participating as long as there is an announced time and place to show up. A few younger people and several grade school age kids, but mostly gray hairs. I know it is hard to get kids to go someplace where they do not know anyone, and will find nothing for amusement while adults chat for hours.

We meet on a Saturday in June, at a pretty overlook in a state park on the banks of the lake formed by the Savannah River. On Clarks' Hill Lake where the waters backed up into the woodlands making sloughs and a huge recreational lake when wooded lands were flooded. The state claimed some of the area near Washington, GA and built a park with camping, beach, boat ramps, picnicking for public use. We were in a big enclosed shelter where we have met a number of times over the years. Sadly this year the AC was on the fritz, so it was 'way much warm combined with miserably humid due to torrential rains. I'm certainly hoping the family fund will get a partial refund for the lack of cooling while we were in attendance.

One of the things dependably on the agenda is for people to bring items to donate to a raffle. Tickets are 25 cents each, or maybe 5 for $1. Most of what was there this time was plants, things people had growing in their yards to share. I took some Marguerite daisies I had pulled up and potted. And left before the raffle got underway, so my offering was most definitely a donation. I was much more popular the several years I took crafts, some papier mache frames I made and painted, wrote calligraphy verses on. All I had to offer this time was fourth generation daisy plants, so I hope they got a good home?They were abandoned when we took our leave earlier than planned.

It was my plan when I persuaded my cohort to ride along with me, to stay for the business meeting, and leave when they began to eat. Plans go awry. I expected the meeting to start about 5, and meal to commence around 6'ish. But they decided to eat when the bar-b-cue was ready: soon after 5, when no one had made the least effort to get the business part of the event underway.

That caused us to excuse ourselves before the 'meat'-y part. I did not want to eat smoked boston butt, and did not want to explain to everyone who asked why I was not participating. So we tried to sneak out, with only marginal success. Several people followed us out the door to say: "Are you leaving?" Whereupon I had to explain: yes, we were. Not planning to stay for the meal that started early, so we would be heading back to Decatur sooner rather than later.

another quote...

Saturday, June 24, 2017
... recently noted while driving. On my way to the north side of town to do the weekly run to Sam's Club for church needs. Something I do once a week (occasionally twice as needed), to get supplies for congregation and Administrative use. I went down a street I do not usually travel, being prone to short-cuts without traffic lights. Passed a small neighborhood church with a sign that said:

"Accept the bread of life or you will be toast."

food for thought...

...found on a sign I saw while driving around town yesterday. A quote that will require some time to consider and digest, to fully appreciate, understand and realize how well it applies to life. You have to store it away and ponder for a while before it really sinks in.

"Some you win, some you learn."  

Meaning, I think that we do not actually benefit from those times in life when we feel the most success. We do not gain any long lasting lessons from believing we have possibly gotten the upper hand, or the score in some game indicates that one team was superior in strength, ability, or strategy to the opponent. There may be instant euphoria when the final buzzer rings, or the opposing individual admits defeat. You leap into the air and fist pump: "Yeessss!" Sadly, the adrenaline rush is soon gone. Mundane daily-ness draws us back into our plodding routine.

Those times and events are not where character is formed, even as you give the appearance of gracious looser, smile and shake the proffered hand of the highest scorer, practicing good sportsmanship while gritting your teeth. The misery of character building lies in loss, failure and a muddy face. Falling down on your front, in the slime and gunky swamp water, soaked from head to foot, in the muck when it is dark and rainy, but getting up and plodding on.

I am often thankful for the people in my life, now gone, who made me who I am. Appreciating those family members who raised me and were the models of what it means to be conscientious.  Upstanding, honest, do-gooders in the very best sense of 'do-gooder'. Those who took the daily challenge to Do The Right Thing, even when no one is watching  my definition of character.)

Moral, with high standards and willing to stand up for those who had no voice. Hard working, scrupulously honest and expecting the same from everyone else: family, friends, co-workers, complete strangers. I still think of and miss them, remember with great admiration.

driving south...

Friday, June 23, 2017
... to Valdosta yesterday - one of those crazy trips when I drive down there and back home in one day. Actually completed in less time than usual, as I did not leave until around 6 am, when it was fully daylight, and returned before dark. Making me feel sort of 'jet-lagged' for a day or two after, and struggling to focus when I have to be at work, alert and coherent. Thankful I do not have to be on the job again until next Monday.

I had been asking and asking and asking, trying to find someone who would move furniture. Needed an outfit like I see around town all the time, the "Two Men and A Truck" guys who will go anywhere and move anything for a price. I don't know what the going rate is, or what they require, but it gives the appearance of being a lucrative business as long as your back holds up. I was reluctant to call the nationally advertised guys like Mayflower or United. And knew if I talked with enough people down there, someone would supply a number that would provide the guys to help me out.

Finally found the guy last week, but had a hard time getting him pinned down. He claimed to be having a frustrating problem with his cell phone, and had gotten it replaced several times. I never actually met the guy, so I unsure what was going on. If he was half as aggravated as I was with being unable to connect, I know he had steam coming out of his ears when he walked in the Verizon store.

He said he would meet me at the house at 10 am to load up and deliver bedroom furniture. Then called about 9:30 to say his guys were waiting. I met them and they made short work of wrapping up antiques and disassembling the bed, loading it up to transport. I had been by Publix to grab some boxes for trinkets, table top misc., and pictures, so grabbed that stuff. They were probably in and out in half an hour!

I wanted to run by Walgreens for Rx history so met them at the 'home'. They were nearly finished by the time I got there - although the auntie had totally freaked out. I guess I would too if three large black men came walking in unexpectedly, bearing pieces of furniture. Staffers had walked her outside to get her away from the chaos. When I went outside at the request of the staff, she saw me and said: "What are you doing here?" I never even got a chance to answer, as they hustled her in the door, down the hall to the dining room. I did not see her again. Probably for the best as I am sure she would have been really hostile. Gnashing her teeth and swearing. with evil thoughts aimed at the niece she blames for all her misfortune.

I had a conversation with the director who reports she believes that her short term memory is zero. Completely unable to retain anything anyone says. Which makes me wonder if she had been on some meds. (which she could not take/self-administer due to forgetfulness) that delay effects/symptoms she might not be this far along with the progression of dementia. We will never know.

At any rate, the bedroom furniture that she has lived with for many years was all moved into her room at the home, pretty much intact, completely furnished with everything she's been accustomed to over the years. Hopefully, having familiar items in her view every day, along with the framed family photos she had grouped, collage fashion, on her walls at home, will provide some degree of famili,y. Who knows?

not a math genius...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
... and actually never did get the multiplication tables firmly embedded in my brain. I tell anyone who will listen that I am hopelessly math impaired, and am years past feeling badly about my lack of skills. Console myself often with the fact that we are all differently abeled, and know there are  many things I do well. Math is just not one of them.

I've taken a very big bite here with providing support for the auntie, maybe a giga-bit.  With what the court will expect of me as the conservator. Who is the designated financial person that goes along with a guardian to provide care for someone who cannot maintain/manage independently. I'm having no problem with the guardian part, know I can manage the welfare/care of the auntie. But the financial stuff is seriously intimidating.

My BFF said she would help me figure it out. So, yes, please, thank-you-ver'-much.  We spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking at the paperwork the court requires. Even though my brain was not in any shape to even remotely consider numbers after being at work from 6a-12p. I am really anxious about getting the stuff to the court in a timely manner. The financial stuff is really in-depth, which is good since when probate appoints someone to manage anothers' resources it is a pretty weighty matter. As well as acknowledging that appointing a guardian effectively takes away a whole bunch of rights that we consider as a given here in America.

So, I'm struggling with it. I struggle with the reconciling of my check register with the bank statement every month. Pretty sure that minding someone else's business will be considerably more complicated that minding my own. Maybe times a gazillion with my chronic math disability plus the parameters set forth by the probate court of Georgia. Thankful for the help offered and accepted by my friend who seems to be unfazed by reading the legalese and deciphering the forms.

when they were little...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
... one of the things I used to tell my kids, the ones who are now capable, interesting, fully functioning happy adults: "A sense of humor will get you through a lot of grief and heartache." Trying to make them understand that bad stuff happens to all of us, and having the ability to take that occasional trial and troublesome times with fortitude will make life easier. Hoping to instill the resources to bounce back from rough spots, by being willing to look at those problems as temporary and know that better things lie in the future. Not in a 'Pollyanna' sort of way, but having the willingness to accept those things we cannot change and know it is not permanent: persist and move forward.

I recently read a quote, that I failed to save. Meaning I cannot give it to you as it was written. But it goes something like: 'A sense of humor and common sense are pretty much the same thing, just moving at different speeds. The sense of humor is really just common sense dancing.' I have never been much of a dancer, since about the third grade, when my mom made me take tap classes.

No one else I knew was doing it. There was a recital, with black patent leather shoes, and black satin ribbons holding them on. I am sure there was a pink leotard and black sequins in the scenario at some point, as well as a blue net tu-tu. Probably something floppy on an elastic band around my head. Not a happy memory.

At any rate: when I think of that quote, poorly quoted, it gives me a picture in my head of someone joyfully dancing in a sunfilled meadow, with birds trilling and dust motes gleaming in the air. Lots of colorful wild flowers blooming profusely, and a sense of abandon and delight filling the scene. Sort of my definition of serendipity: surprised by joy.

a reason to like...

Monday, June 19, 2017
...the man who currently occupies the Oval Office. Surprisingly I have found a reason to have good thoughts about what is going on with the political scene. Probably does not outweigh the awful, horrible, no good, very bad stuff that is going on every minute someone lets him hold a cell phone. But the news is actually not 100% scary.

Mike Pence. I don't know much about him, but he might be the saving grace. As far as I am concerned, possibly the only redeeming feature of the building, other than law enforcement personnel. And, I suppose, the people who have been working there for years, through one administration after another.

Pence was speaking at a commencement, which means everyone knew it would be a 'reach for the stars' sort of occasion. What he said was so.... wow. Thought-y. Memorable, though I doubt anyone was paying the very least amount of attention.

"Servant leadership, not selfish ambition must be the animating  force of the career that lies before you." Something that comes from his evangelical beliefs, but according to the article in the Time magazine from June 5, 2017, also appropriate to describe his job. Surprisingly, he is apparently the only person the president cannot fire. Even so, you can envision necessity for constantly being on guard.

He went on to say in his commencement speech to the graduates that they should not "fear criticism. Have the humility to listen to it. Learn from it. And  most importantly, push through it. Persistence is the key."

it would not happen...

... if I did not have very strong feelings about reading and the value of literacy. There would be no blog for your amusement, no tales I tell on myself, no bringing trivial matters in my mundane life to your attention. No blathering on about things we cannot control, but tend to vent about in frustration.

I actually know people who can claim they have read an entire set of encyclopedias from A to Z: all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips. And people who will read the dictionary for amusement. Even more so, here in the age of google and wikipedia where every question you could dream of asking is at your fingertips. Not mine due to the fact that my phone is not 'smart', but so available there is no reason you cannot get information for anything you want to know.

I was reading the June 5 issue of Time magazine. Yes, I know, a little late for it to be considered a report on current events. Same thing happens with the daily newspaper. They will occasionally pile up for two or three days and I will finally sit down and plow through a lap full of old news. Eventually get caught up on whatever the publisher chooses as important enough to devote manpower and ink to sharing.

The Time magazine had an article penned by Bill Gates, who needs no introduction. He was writing about: not technology! Reading, and the things he likes, sharing some suggestions for literature he and his wife have been enjoying, offering ideas for material to take along on your vacation. Some fiction, some not, but all things I will put on my list to request from the library.

The one little paragraph that you need to read, if you don't see anything else:
Q:" Do you think reading has been essential to your success, and is it to others?"
A: "Absolutely. You don't really stop getting old until you stop learning. Every book teaches me something new or helps me to see things differently. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to read. Reading fuels a sense of curiosity a bout the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do not with my foundation."

If Gates is the definition of success, the model for making something of yourself in the world, it appears that literacy is a major factor in what he has been able to accomplish. I read something recently about young people and learning the basics. "By age ten, children should be reading to learn instead of learning to read."  Which brings us back to basic literacy skills: how important it is to expose kids to letters, words, printed matter. How absolutely necessary it is to instill a curiosity about the world around them, and help them develop the skills they need to find answers, to know how and where to look to get the information they need: by reading!

dog sitting...

Saturday, June 17, 2017
...has not happened lately around here. But it will be ongoing until next Saturday. A friend is out of town and brought her TWO canines over for us to mind until her return. I sadly confess to having accidently volunteered to take care of her 'family' when she told me about going on an excursion with her brother and sister. She left town on Friday to fly to Boston and meet up with them, get on a big boat and travel to hmmm.... some exotic locale. I forget where  - an island with lots of sun and high prices.

I've kept one of her dogs several times in the past, the fuzzy one. While she would travel with the other to visit friends on the Florida coast where bringing in two dogs made one too many. I am hoping this will be similar to having small children underfoot - two will not much more trouble to care for than just one? There are pretty sedentary, always willing to trot back in the house and take a nap after being invited to go out to take care of business. And invariably expect a treat when they come back inside.

The one I had come for a sleepover on several occasions is a rescue. She will stand on her back legs and turn in a circle when you ask her, before the treat. Which shows someone took the time to teach her before she ended up in a shelter. I guess when you take on other people's rejects, there are always lots of things you will never know, wonder about?

These two are pretty low maintenance, easy care. Just take them out in the yard now and then, put out water, and feed them in the afternoon. I hope we don't have any problems before the owner returns from her vacation with siblings, but had her leave the vet's name just in case.

it has been weeks...

Friday, June 16, 2017
...since I have volunteered to be the driver for taking patients to their appointments at the cancer treatment center. Seems like there have been lots of conflicts, mostly on my end. A full calendar causing me to be unable to help people that were in need of transportation. Today I picked up an older woman who had an appointment at the John B. Amos Cancer Center here. She was to be there at 2:00. I had not been in the area of town where she lives, unfamiliar with street and building names,  so called yesterday to get more info. about where to pick her up.

It was after one o'clock before I could get away from work, so just went on into the neighborhood where she lives. Found her address, and sat in the car, reading my book until she came out of her apartment. We got there in plenty of time, and I told her I would just wait in the lobby with my book while she was getting her treatment, a dose of chemotherapy, I assume. Not nearly nosy or ill-bred/impolite enough to be inquiring what her problem was and how the recommended solution would be given. She was done in about thirty minutes, came out and I took her back home. Uneventful...

Except for the part that makes me Very Thankful for health. As well as reliable transportation, and good health insurance that would hopefully take care of me when my when body parts start going bad. As we were all designed to do as part of the aging process. And thankful for home, a place to go where there are not hundreds of other people in close proximity. In a quiet peaceful setting with grass, trees, open space, solitude as needed, no people underfoot that you would hear bumping and thumping on the other side of a sheet rock wall. Plenty of space to get away from people who are noisy sleepers, and no living in cramped quarters in a small efficiency-type space.

But especially health. Something we tend to take for granted until some occurrence that causes us to realize it is not a 'given'. When we have occasion to be aware that other people have chronic problems and struggle with getting the medical care they need. Then perpetually scramble to pay for what the providers bill them for. Really thankful for basic necessities: shelter, safety, clean potable/plentious water - and health insurance.

an anonymous person...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
...with whom I recently had conversation said something that was so amusing, I had to stop and write it down. Hoping I would find an opportunity to use it. Though I don't remember who said it, or the circumstances surrounding the event, it was hilarious. She turned around and spoke to someone who was providing unsolicited advice and said: "You need to take your wallet out of your pocket and put your 'two cents' right back where it came from." I was so entertained, I made her say it again so I could get it down on paper before it got away.

Reminding me of talking to one of the participants at the basket workshop last Saturday when I was a volunteer up at Callaway Gardens. I said something that she wanted to write down so she could ponder. A 'southernism' I have heard and said many times over the years, but she thought it so odd, I had to explain it to her. Referring to someone who 'would not hit a lick at a snake'. (I think I was talking about me and not doing crafty stuff, having learned how I start projects and don't follow through, so at least I have the discipline to not even start things that will lay around incomplete.) Her name was very middle eastern, something like Sudartha, and from appearance she looked Indian or Pakistani, so not 'local' in the sense of generations of southern upbringing and influence.

I explained how it was used in reference to lazy, people who were so indifferent they would not make the effort to pick up a stick to kill a snake when it was about to bite. She was very conversational, and had a good sense of humor, so it would be interesting to hear her when she found occasion to use that bit of southern-speak she picked up on Saturday. Her family will look at her like: 'what????'

the map didn't help...

...when there were no highway signs posted on secondary roads. And when I got to a town, with lots of intersections, street signs, retail business declarations, advertising, gas prices at curbs stores, lots of confusing numbers everywhere. The funny part (after the U turn in the CVS parking lot) is where I made a guess, like a coin toss and said:'That one.'

Got a couple of miles down the highway, out of commercial district and into residential area, to where there were street name signs, and little else. Thinking there would be a highway number posted to reassure me I was headed in the right direction. Spotting what I hoped was sign with some  directional information, only to see it was the speed limit. 35 mph. Okey, dokey, keep going and hope for the best.

Another sign just ahead, white upright rectangle, that might let me know I am on the right track. Speed limit, 45 mph. Numbers, yes, but not the info. I needed. Keep at it, surely there will be a highway number posted at the next intersection, right? Yay! Oh, crap. Speed limit: 55 mph. I never did see a sign designed to let travelers know what highway they are on. But when I got to the next burg along the way, and the "Welcome to.." sign agreed with what was on my road map, I finally knew I was headed in the right way.

Allowing me a big sigh of relief, knowing I would not be back-tracking for miles. And giving me a good laugh - at all the numbers I had seen on all the signs - none of which provided the information I wanted at the time. Another interesting number that I noted was the price of gas at a convenience store, $1.93. I did stop there. Inserted my card and started pumping only to, after the fact, notice the small print on the big sign: cash. So I only bought two gallons at $2.05, and bustled  myself on down the road to where I remembered it was $1.95. Where I filled up and thumbed my nose. Safely home.

student's desk...

...for sale on Craig's List, as well as here.
I won't tell how it came to my house. Will admit there might have been some degree of subterfuge but unwilling to provide details. Which of course, makes you all the more curious, right? I was really surprised to find it would fit in the back of car, which tells you it will be fairly easy to transport when you come to get it. Cheap at any price, right?

But it has been sitting in the carport for a couple of years, while being advertised for anyone who might peruse that option. It's nothing great, as it is made of particle board and covered with the wood-grain contact paper. So basically made of sawdust and glue. But a great little study desk to go in a corner of a student's bedroom, to encourage good study habits and help some young person get organized.

I try to remember to update and renew the posting once a month, so the photos don't disappear when the listing 'expires' on Craigs' but occasionally don't get that done in a timely manner. So the pictures fell off, and tech support was needed to get more pix. taken to add to the listing. Not much interest generated when the description does not show what is being offered, so it still sits in the carport.

map reading...

...when I was traveling yesterday. I might/might not have lost my way, though I am so adept at making efficient U-turns within a remarkably narrow radius in the little Toyota, you would barely notice my change of direction. I might pull in a curb store parking lot and run in for a drink, make it look like that was part of the plan. Or stop at the corner Rite-Aid to use the facilities, and give the appearance of needing to shop for x-y-z. Have you think that was a planned stop on my route. Ha!

I have always had a fascination with maps, and enjoy looking at them even when I have no plans, there is no destination to search out. After a recent stop at the GA welcome center to acquire the most recent edition of the Official state road map I made an interesting discovery. No, nothing has been added, we have not annexed the Florida panhandle with beautiful white beaches and crystal clear Gulf waters. Nice thought, though.

When I opened up the multi-folded paper picture of all the towns, roads and scenic wonders to be found in the state, I discovered nothing at all outside the borders. That is quite unusual. Most state maps will let the map run all the way to the edge of the paper. So you see the state you are in, but also neighbors as well. You can see the highways and towns that will be in adjacent states when you continue to drive past the state line, often only noticed by signs posted to notify you are in a different jurisdiction.

Now would be a good time to insert how amazing that fact is: You do not need travel papers to cross over, there is no armed guard demanding to know why and where you might be going? Living in America: it's all good! Yay for the Constitution. No Other Where in the world can you travel when you take a notion without checking your pockets at hundred times to be sure  you have your permit/papers in order.

As I unfolded the map to see where to turn after I crossed out of GA, there was nothing there?!?! I knew I would need a map for another state, but have never opened on to see a complete lack of information about any thing in bordering states. Almost like the cartographers of old, when the Age of Exploration was in full swing. European monarchs were funding ocean travel to parts unknown, supplying fleets of tall ships, captains destined to bring deadly diseases to the natives and return as 'conquering heroes'. When the map makers with pen in hand, wrote 'there be dragons here' on the edge of the parchment. In fine calligraphy script got to the edge of the known world, and had no idea what happens next...

Even though I had a pretty good idea the highway did not drop off into an abyss when I would cross over into another state, it was disconcerting to see on the map. When you know where you want to go, but not sure how to get there, it can certainly take longer than expected to arrive. This might be a uncharted area of Murphy's Law to pursue...

it appears that...

Saturday, June 10, 2017
... all my volunteering obligations for the month might be filled, and we are not even half-way to the end. I spent all day yesterday with the Girl Scouts, and about six hours today helping with a basket workshop at Callaway Gardens. My volunteer time at Callaway is very sporadic: when I notice some event in the monthly newsletter that catch my eye/fancy I will immediately offer myself to be put down on the list, as a worker bee.

Proceed to make a note on my calendar about availablity in order to ask for the time off from work. And often forget the specifics of what I have agreed to do. Meaning I will be contacting the volunteer coordinator to ask what my job is on a given date. Which is not such a bad, hopeless thing any more - especially after the last time I made the drive only to find the event had been cancelled due to lack of interest. Pretty sad that the volunteer made an appearance and no one had signed up to participate - but I was not notified, huh?

The workshop today was basket making. It was really interesting. Made me want to sit down and get crafty. But I was able to control myself instead of snatching a basket out of someone's hands and taking over. The basket had a base that was about 12x6, and sides about 8 inches high. Little loop handles of bamboo on either end. It was called a 'sock basket' but I could think of all kinds of things to use it for. One participant said she planned keep hers out on the kitchen counter to use for her husband's instant oatmeal packets.

In reading the class description, I found that volunteers can take the class at a discount. Yay for me. The basket instructor comes from Florida about once a month to teach a class, different type, size basket each time. I wish I had been in the class last month when they made a market basket: just the right size for taking a chess pie to a pot luck dinner. Maybe I will make sign up when that particular one comes around again next year. Yep, I need more stuff in my life...

a really nifty craft idea...

Friday, June 9, 2017
... that is super affordable. Something clever plus easy: an unbeatable combination. I suspect it came off the internet, probably adapted for this particular use, but could be altered as needed and applied to any number of different occasions.The only expense in this is a colored T-shirt. And if you wanted to really be a cheapskate when doing it with a large number of kids, you could include the request for a shirt in the registration form, so mom would know up-front they needed to root around and find one to send.

It needs to be a bright, or dark color, because the design is made by spraying diluted bleach on that will resist, not absorb into parts of the cloth that are masked off. Sort of reminding me of doing those crayon things in elementary school where you have kids color on paper with wax crayons. Then they brush on a diluted wash to absorb into the parts of the paper that do not have any design. Basically the same type thing, but using fabric instead of a sheet of paper.

You have the kids make a design on a piece of freezer paper. One side is shiny, the other 'flat', with no shine. The shiny side goes down on the T-shirt, and is ironed in place. Surprisingly, the paper will stick onto the fabric. You cannot handle too much, or fold, but keep it flat, and insert a sheet of paper inside the body of the shirt, between front and back. Spray lightly with a misting bottle with diluted bleach, about 40/60 water. Cheap bleach, store brand needs a higher concentration than name brand like Clorox. Put it out in sun, lying flat, for the sunlight to speed up the process. When it is dry, peel the paper off. Presto!

Kids today had been given a design to go by, which was sort of a stencil, with head of horse, with a girl's profile in the mane. They added names and the year, or names of horses they were riding and caring for all week.  I noticed that light colored T-shirts did not produce the desired contrast. Darker ones, or bright colors will be more effective. Really simple, and pretty neat looking.

girl scouting...

...today up in Harris County. I am going on the scout van with about a dozen girls to a riding facility about thirty minutes north. There is a horse farm that is primarily used as a therapy program to assist handicapped people in developing basic skills. The person from the local scout office, D., who is responsible for out door events, persuaded the Good Shepherd Riding Academy to take a group girls for a week.

They are learning basic equine care as well as doing some trail riding under close supervision. Originally the plan was for two weeks, but the response by girls was so sparse, she convinced the few who wanted to attend the second week to combine, so there is only one week of horse camp. Fortunately, I am not actually responsible for anything, and hope my primary job will be 'herding', keeping everyone on track as they go through the day.

When I volunteered months ago, I signed up for Monday, but as you know, life gets complicated. I had two swap my day with someone who was more available, when I found I would need to be in Valdosta a couple of days. It all worked out. I am not jumping-up-and-down excited about being out in the heat and bugs all day, but will go and do my part. I am sure the girls have had a good week, and learned much about the care and feeding of very large animals that will step on your toe without apology.

It should be interesting. I have packed my lunch, filled my water bottle, coated arms, legs, neck, face with sunscreen and stuff to keep bugs from biting. As ready as I can get!

if you are...

Thursday, June 8, 2017
... like me, you will never run out of things to be thankful for. When I was driving (nearly 500 miles in two days - no wonder my brain is frazzled and sleep is disrupted - it feels like jet lag!), I find myself doing a lot of pondering. While listening to talking books or the radio if I should leave for a road trip not sufficiently prepared to check out Cd's of recorded literature.

Traveling anywhere in the US will probably give an opportunity to see various forms of homes. Always making me thankful for a stick built house, as opposed to 'manufactured'. A building that is relatively stable (barring tornadoes), and relatively safe, (barring people kicking in the door.) Warm in the winter and cool air blowing in the hot humid summer. Electricity for lights, water to wash my person, dishes, clothing as well as drink on a  moments notice.

Think of all the people and places in the world where this is not readily available. People gathering firewood to cook meals. Walking miles to get water that is not potable. Living in shelters made of sticks, or canvas, or tarps in refugee camps. Struggling to find the resources to feed hungry children. Let's be a little less inclined to take all the bounty of living in the Land of Opportunity for granted, shall we?

I am so grateful I do not live in a mobile home park, or some broken down, old, moldy, floor-sagging, second hand trailer. Here in the land of green grass, bright sunshine, birds happily singing in the trees, I am very thankful. Typing away on my little blog, with all the convenient electricity I need to hit: publish!

in an effort to...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
demonstrate my willingness to tell tales on myself, I submit the following:

I have for years been that person who surreptitiously takes the dirty dish towels from the church kitchen home to wash and return. I will get them washed, occasionally bleached as well, and fold to take back to church when I have reason to go by. They often look like they have been used to clean the inside of the coffee pots and/or mop coffee spills up off the floor. Usually find a couple of really nasty ones that have a hand full of wet grounds wadded up in the soggy, stained towel. So in addition to washing, drying and returning, I will have to sweep the floor in my laundry room.

I washed the towels on Sunday afternoon before I left on Monday for a couple of days in south Georgia. I normally take the time to fold them when they come out of the dryer, but was pushed for time on Sunday. Doing many other things at the same time, getting organized to leave home early Monday, so I did not do the folding, but just tossed them in the plastic basket. When I got back home on Mon. evening, put them in my car to take back to the church kitchen when I did the weekly shopping for church staff at Sam's Club.

About three dozen terry cloth wipes along with several dish cloths. Got them out of my car this afternoon, to take into the kitchen at church, and wanted to fold before I put them back in the basket for 'clean'. When I got to the bottom of the pile of clean towels, there I found one pair of clean pink cotton underpants. I am very thankful I decided I should deliberately fold instead of just tossing the clean but wrinkled towels back into the basket to be reused. I certainly would not have claimed the 'item' at a later date...

while driving in south GA...

... early on Monday morning, I passed through miles of rural farm land. Saw acress and acres of beautiful corn growing in the fields: dark green stalks and leaves, and ears that has tassled out, almost ready to be harvested. It was a pretty sight, especially after seeing so much in recent years that died in the fields without ever maturing, due to lack of water. We have had more rains this spring than in recent years, plus I see more and  more irrigation, as farmers realize they have to take the matter into their own hands.

On farther to the east, near the interstate, as it was getting lighter, I passed though an area where there are usually truck crops planted. Farmers producing vegetables to harvest and sell to brokers who will ship the product to markets. I often seen cabbage growing, and fields with rows of black plastic all the way to the distant horizon line, with tomato plants staked for picking. When I was cruising along in the early morning, I noticed a field with a couple dozen of workers, bent over picking some item to put in big five gallon buckets. It was not actually light enough to see what was growing there. But knowing they would go from field to field, and crop to crop day after day. Making me very thankful that is not my work and life.

I have days when I get off work all I want to do is sit down. Like today, when I went in at 6 a.m., and left at 4 p.m. Even with a break - that makes for a long tiring day. All day long, I thought about those workers, likely poorly educated, and making very poor pay - thankful for this employment I occasionally gripe about. Not working in all sorts of weather, not out in the south GA gnats and mosquitos, not stomping through a muddy field. Not getting up before daylight to do that same demanding physical labor over and over and over.

need to share, part 3...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
...the list of things I need/want/hope to get accomplished today. In about three hours, meaning basically impossible, but like most everything in life, it is a work in progress. Don't we all make lists that are unending, in a effort to feel like we have been productive? And get to the point that you have actually scratched so many extra notes/reminders, it is unintelligible, or needs to be transferred to get a fresh start on a clean sheet?

I do not expect to get it all done before starting north on my drive back to west GA, but am already making progress. Which came to a complete halt with the library opened and I could get in to plug in to the public wifi and relieve some anxiety by sharing my stress with the universe. I do love making lists, to be able to mark things off and feel it has been a fruitful day.

Cancel newspaper subscription
Cancel cable service
Change telephone service
Change mailing address with USPS
Check to see if she even filed taxes for 2016
Check about dead car battery
Check about unworkable dead bolt on front door
Check about driver's license/photo ID
Check for health insurance cards
Check with financial advisor/investments

And a gazillion other details, like empty the refrigerator of perishables ... on and on and on...

need to share, part 2...

Monday, June 5, 2017
...wherein the cousin went along as part of the support team to get her into this temporary evaluation program. Located about thirty minutes north of Valdosta, in a small town, with an under-used wing of a community hospital that is designed expressly for assisting seniors. They accept elders and will do chemical evaluation, offer advice, and provide support for family members who are struggling to deal with aging relatives. It would have not happened today without the cousin being willing to go along: I would never have put her in the car with me and made the trip without his company.

She was not a happy camper when we left her there. But hopefully this will be the answer to a variety of problems. The usual stay is ten days to two weeks. Not expressly expecting a miracle, but hoping that she will be more tractable, agreeable, cooperative and accepting of people in her life who truly desire to help.

She admitted to being scared when we were going through the admitting process, and realized we would be leaving her there. Understandably fearful and frightened. I would, with the sense I have within my person, be anxious at the prospect of being left with strangers in a foreign place, so her feelings are completely within reason. I do hope she will settle down and be more amenable and malleable than what has occurred in the past week.

What I wonder about is how long she can resist, and if there are pharmaceuticals out there that can temper her obstinacy. Something that would allow her to be civil without side effects. Marvels of modern medicine, please.

need to share...

... the latest developments with the auntie. She does not seem to be very accepting of her situation. Most caregivers who work in residential facilities will tell you 'it takes time'. In all likelihood your family member is admitted under duress, usually not willingly accepting the changes in their circumstances that cause them to relocate. This particular situation is no different in that respect.

She has been unhappy with her life at home for some time, desperately calling anyone she had a number for, seeking help. Asking people to come and find her, as she was not at home, was lost, or had been  moved and she did not know where she was: all from the home phone. I got calls saying she was someplace in middle Georgia and needed someone to come and get her. My brother said he got calls reporting she had been  moved into a new house that looked very much like the old one (right down to the same identical street address!), but could not tell him where she was. My cousin said she thought she was vacationing in Tallahassee and would be returning home the next day.

Miserable when left at home alone, fearful and frightened, scared to be by herself. But completely unwilling to consider options when someone would suggest she might be more content if she would go to assisted living. The plan came together, with little effort on my part, and she was relocated last Wednesday. I thought giving her time to 'adjust' would allow her to become more familiar and content with the environment, where there is always some one around. A friendly staffer to comfort and console, provide support and conversation. That has not come to pass, as she continued to be agitated, frustrated, angry, vocal, resentful, abusive to the staff.  Sadly unable to be reconciled to a change in her situation that she could not control.

The director suggested we send her to another temporary location that would evaluate her, hopefully moderate her agitation, anxiety and possibly stabilize her mental decline. That sounds like an excellent idea, that she would never agree to. But not that she is not the decider, she does not have to actually give permission. In fact, she does not have a choice. The bad news is that we have to get her there, as there is no other transportation.

about the auntie...

Saturday, June 3, 2017
.. and her relocation. She is not adapting well. Barking and growling at all the staff when they make efforts to accommodate, try to reason with her. Using words we did not know she had in her vocabulary. It has been up and down since she arrived against her will on Wednesday.

A cousin is there, having flown into Jacksonville and rented a car. He was planning to stay the weekend, but soon found that she can try your very last shred of patience. Concluding that pacing yourself, and taking her obstreperous self in small doses is much more manageable. Making it easier to practice forbearance, not want to respond in kind.  At last report, as he has been inveigled to spend time with her, providing a distraction., he said she thinks they are in Tallahassee, FL, overnight, with plans to return home tomorrow.

I was hoping she might be more flexible, willing to accept her circumstances. She has been calling incessantly,  phoning to tell friends and family she is lost and alone and needs help. Which makes her family believe if she was someplace where there were people around all day and night, she would be more content. It was a good idea, and I continue to be hopeful that she will eventually settle into her new environment.

another travel report...

... about visiting my brother and wife in eastern VA. We went to a Greek Festival in Richmond on Friday mostly just to see what we were missing. A variety of vendors providing a wide assortment of traditional Greek foods. It was not so much a 'festival' as an opportunity to stand in line and wait to get gyros. I decided it was not worth the line, so went to another booth that was selling desserts. Mama didn't raise no fool.

As you might imagine at a fund-raiser event everything was overpriced: bottle of water was $2. The little clear plastic clamshell container that held five different sweets was $10. By the time I had tasted all five, not even eating any in entirety, I was bummed out on too much sugar. and did not care at all about getting any real food. Plus there was that long line...

There was a large stage set up for entertainment. As we passed by, a group dressed in traditional garb was dancing, accompanied by live musicians, and a man singing, apparently in Greek. A number of vendors set up in the gym of the church with individuals selling jewelry, soaps and lotions, clothing, Pampered Chef kitchen ware, screen printed T's, leggings and tops, replacement windows.

My brother had a gyro, saying he had been to get lunch in years past when he and a group would come from their workplace. Likely standing in line for most of their lunch hour. The organizers did have a number of big canopies with tables and chairs set up for people to eat and visit. And barricades blocking off streets, where one group was cooking, making carryout for 'drive thru' customers. It was interesting. I don't need to go back.

They got me back to the airport and I caught my flight. Uneventful return to ATL, and driving home. Where I had to get up and be at work at 6 am today. I've had a nap, so starting to feel human again.


Friday, June 2, 2017
... to visit my only sibling. He lives in Virginia, sort of in a suburb of Richmond. I tell people they are between the new capitol and the old one, situated on the east side of Richmond which is a short drive through farmland and wooded by-ways from the early colonial capitol of Willamsburg. I enjoy seeing the brother and his wife, as well as having opportunity to witness their amusing, constantly-in-motion grandchildren. It is possible that I am even more fond of my amusing sister-in-law than my sib.

It was my intention to come up in the spring, when things were blooming, and bursting with color. Having been in the past when tulips were glorious and forsythia was at it's brilliant yellow best, I know spring is a joy to see. But somehow did not make plans in time to get here back in March or early April. Even though they have had abundant rains and there are a thousand shades of green, the temp and humidity are proof it is already summer.

We went downtown to go on a trolley tour of the historic parts of the city, and were swamped with facts, information and trivia from the past two-hundred years. The tour guide on the trolley was a fount of knowledge. When he said he was a retired professor, I just assumed 'history' guy, but his expertise in academia was business and finance. Very informative.

We had lunch downtown at a local pizza stop (the dough is a secret recipe), and went to retrieve the peeps from daycare.Which as you might imagine, with two small people under the age of five was mostly chaos.  We first went to a small neighborhood playground to wear them out. Causing all three adults to be exhausted due to trying to keep up with two pre-schoolers.

Then onto a shopping area to meet their parents for a meal, with the hope of entertaining the kids until parents arrived. Marginally successful due to a loaf of perfectly good bread we had to feed some monstrous carp in a large retaining pond. Those hundreds of greedy fish with gaping mouths as were a little intimidating. Thankfully they were fish, and could not get out of the water to chase us down, and beat us up like a gang of thieves.

The dad finally showed up to rescue us, and take them home. I hope the peeps slept as well as I did last night - wiped out from too much fun. I've often heard the old saw about how it God gives children to young people as they are the only ones with the stamina and energy to keep up with their busyness. Too True!

book review: "Lucky Us"...

Thursday, June 1, 2017
...written by Amy Bloom. Copyright 2014. I recently read and reported on another book she published, enjoyed her style so much, I put in a request for this one. It was sweet, funny, filled with characters so lively and believable I did not want it to end.

Plenty of struggles with daily life, all manner of family dysfunction as we all have if we are willing to confess and laugh at ourselves. People who don't always like their circumstances or the situations they find themselves in but seem to be able to make the best of the crappy hand life has dealt them. Eva and her older sister Iris leave a bad situation at home, in the mid-west, aiming for Hollywood, where Iris has dreams of success and fame.

Their dad shows up unexpectedly, literally on the doorstep. An unlikely group makes a cross country drive to NYC, laughing, singing, reciting, reading aloud for 3,000 miles. Twists and turns, characters they encounter, make it a very entertaining experience, as the reader travels along while they muddle through life.

This was the only other book available from the library of several this author as published. But such a good story, well written, and laughable, I will request others through the loan program. Amy Bloom teaches creative writing, has won several awards for her work, so hopefully there will be more equally amusing tales in the future.

update on the auntie...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
... is nearly as surprising to me as it will be to anyone who reads this.Wow. The auntie has been relocated, very much against her will. The petition to probate court for guardian was approved. And we proceed. When we were in court two weeks ago, and the judge asked what the plan would be in the petition was granted, the first thing suggested was to get her someplace she could receive needed nutrition, regular meals, proper medications and be around other people.

I don't think she was eating right, to maintain health (as evidenced by continual weight loss and chronic UTI), anyone who talked with her could tell she was struggling mentally (which will hopefully improve with someone around to supervise and dispense Rx). She was constantly calling people at all hours of the day and night complaining of being alone, fearful, anxious, not knowing where she was (all the while dialing these middle of the night pleas from her home phone.)

She was taken to a facility in south GA where she will get all those things. When she arrived, she was very angry, ferociously swearing and threatening everyone within spitting distance.  Determined that she would throttle the responsible parties at first opportunity. Then decided she really liked one person on the staff who tried to assist her, and settled down to some cake and ice cream.

The people with experience in this type situation say when you finally get that recalcitrant individual relocated you need to make yourself scarce. Keep your distance, stay away for a week. Give that obstreperous dementia-consumed person time to adjust, settle in. Then bring ice cream when you are finally brave enough to go for a visit.

a day for remembrance...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
...and honor those who served our country: celebrating Memorial Day with family. We went to the Infantry Museum for a dedication of a granite paver to honor The Man Who Lives Here. It involved some subterfuge and sneaking around. I think he was suitably surprised by seeing family members he did not expect.

He told me months ago, maybe last year, about a friend and fellow volunteer whose family had a small paver made with military info. on it, installed along the edge of a wide walkway through the Avenue of Flags at the Museum. That family came together to be present for the dedication and lunch in the restaurant for some family bonding time. The friend, RW, asked The Man Who Lives Here to join his family for lunch. A happy event with extended family gathered around.

I thought: 'What a sweet idea... I should do that.' Got the paperwork to complete the order for the small brick-sized paver, but could not decide what the inscription should be. So, though I wanted it to all be a big surprise, I had to ask him about the wording. Limited space and too much to say. He decided and we sent the form off. You get a little replica, paper-weight sized granite block when you place your order, but I requested four more, for all the daughters to have one.

He did not know all the daughters were coming to be present at the dedication, and stay for lunch. I know he was surprised, and I think delighted to see them all in one place at the same time: everyone showed up. It was a blistering hot day, sitting in the morning sun for the thankfully short ceremony. Invocation, introduction of various dignitaries, brief speech given, prayer, taps and all done.

We went inside the refreshingly cool museum. Up stairs to lunch in the restaurant. Where one of the daughters got a call and had to leave. She is a midwife and expected to not even attend, but at least got through the dedication and photo taking before dashing off for baby delivery.

After lunch we went to view the newly installed and dedicated paver. More photos and everyone left to go their separate ways. All driving for hours to get here, and more of the same to get back home. Thanks for coming.

weekend visitors...

Monday, May 29, 2017
...who came in on Friday, when I was not even here. Not a very auspicious beginning for being a good host to guests. In truth, I had not planned on being on the road, dealing with the auntie in Valdosta when we started making plans for them to come. The simplest explanation is one that is universally true: Life is complicated. In the sense that Murphy's Law will always take precedence.

But arrive they did, before I could get back to town from a day that was a 'stay and see Georgia' tour. Starting with driving from Atlanta almost to Florida and then back to Georgia's West Coast  here on the Chattahoochee River. I will usually be prepared with recorded books to keep my mind occupied, accompany me on my travels. But I was searching the dial, looking for public radio stations this time.

I knew they were coming, and had been adding items to a honey-do list for chores that I would like to accomplish. Some I will eventually get around to doing, but also several I did not have the skills or knowledge to manage on  my own. Much of the benefit/joy of list making is found in being able to mark through things as the project is completed. I am pleased to report a number of things were done.The productivity went on late in the day yesterday.

The two have been busy little bees. Getting things started and finished that were not actually on the list, so: Yay!  In order to be even more efficient and productive, you just add the extras and immediately strike through that addition. As with most homeowner projects, sadly the list is never-ending. But it looks much better this morning than before the diligent pair arrived. Thanks to the two industrious house guests and one nosey dog.

probate court: part 3...

Sunday, May 28, 2017
... you might also be wondering, just precisely why: was she in the ER at the medical center? The story I heard was that she had called 911. Which is in itself remarkable, due to the fact that it is what we had been trying to get her to do if she had a problem. The number anyone can dial would be most likely to get a response.

EMS did answer and did respond. She was apparently dressed and ready to go for a ride at 6:54 am when she was taken to the emergency room. My assumption is that the EMTs got to her house and checked her over, found her relatively stable (physically) and did not know what to do with her, so they transported her to the hospital. Whereupon the staff  did the research, found her history and discovered the next of kin, explaining why I got the call. While I was most fortuitously already en route.

Why she called 911? According to what I was told when I arrived  to retrieve her, she was 'lonely'.

probate court: part 2..

Saturday, May 27, 2017
... the person who was willing to drive from Atlanta to Valdosta to get paperwork from the attorney's office to the bank nearly had an uneventful trip. Until I was about thirty minutes north of my destination, when I got a call from Valdosta. A nurse in the ER at the hospital reporting my aunt was there and they were not sure what to do with her. Unbelievably, I was only a half hour away.

After taking care of banking business, I went to retrieve the auntie. She was not very communicative, so I knew she did not want me to be there, or anywhere near her person. We went to get some lunch that did not suit her.

Then a visit to her doctor's office. She needed lab work done, as I was fairly sure there was some medical problem. Yep. We picked up the first dose of a ten day Rx, and I took her home. Home was not my first choice. But could not get her into a facility without proving a non-reactive TB test. What a mess.

She totally flew off the handle with me in the exam. room, when the PA asked which pharmacy to use, and I answered for her. I was accused of minding her business, telling her what to do, and being 'bossy', which according to her I have been doing since I was four years old. Now is a good time to remember that she has dementia, and cannot remember anything: especially something she said two minutes ago. So I forgive her for that. And might find it amusing.

I will have to do some soul-searching and ponder on this. The trait that popped out of her mouth is one that I have never ever considered for myself. I can tell some things I know about me, but this is not even remotely me. Completely unwilling to confront, rarely standing up for myself, taking the easy way out, always agreeable, reluctant to be the one spoiling for a fight. I cannot imagine how, why, where this came from.

probate court...

...just to keep those who have been sitting on the edge informed. The family drama continues apace. There are surely those who wonder why I did this to myself. Along with 'what were you thinking?' But the simple truth is someone needed to do it, and I found myself in the position of being Somebody.

The auntie has no short term memory, and there is no point in attempting to remind her of things. Like a conversation we just had five minutes ago, or something we did together when I was nine years old. Nothing 'sticks', like those movies you have seen where the lead character cannot recall events from the previous day and gets important facts tatoo'ed as a reminder. Which is ok, unless you are declining into dementia and will eventually forget how to read.

It took the better part of a week for the process of getting a bond approved and returned to the court. While I thought we were waiting for the court to issue and deliver the document, in reality the Judge was waiting for the bonding process to be completed. Then, and only then, can the order be issued. So it was Friday, just yesterday, before the paperwork was available.

I had prepared to drive to Valdosta to get the paperwork from the attorney, and take it to the bank to secure the auntie's finances. Fearful that she would do something that the bank staff could not prevent, even though they could clearly see there was a problem.  The manager was most willing to help me with transferring authority to keep funds safe.

Even though I was not mentally prepared to devote my day to tending to her business, I am practicing the art of adaptability. Which  means, I suppose, flexible enough to be willing to allow her needs to take precedence. I am pretty sure anyone who travels this path has absolutely no idea what they are getting into when they take the first step. I just knew someone needed to step up and take responsiblity, and here I am: Somebody

a new one for your consumption...

... an expression that you will enjoy when you find many occasions to use. Found in the course of the trip we made to Seattle and Portland. We spent most nights with a friend I had met when we were both with child, and those children are now in their mid-thirties. As well as most of our days when she was an excellent and accommodating tour guide. Chauffeuring us local points of interest, places of historic note, and geographical wonders as well as 'off the beaten path' odd-ball places we still enjoy laughing about.

Because we have birthing classes and actually delivering in common there will always be a connection. So we can start a conversation in one decade and pick up the thread in another. A sweet though distant friend. Daughters born about the same time, who were forced together as infants do not have that bond we do though I wish they felt like Twins Separated at Birth.

We went to see her daughter briefly, and had a short visit with bustling household. One of the granddaughters related a story about a classmate who seemed unable to focus, stay on task with assignments. Referring to the student as 'la-de-da-ing around', which seems to be succinct and self-explanatory.

I have enjoyed finding occasions to use that term, and have applied it to a variety of circumstances. There are people in my life who seem to have perfected it as an art, spending excessive amounts of time doing what my mom would refer to as 'lolly-gagging' and I would call malingering. But the term of la-de-da-ing makes it sound much more enjoyable. Feel free to adapt and apply as you find opportunity.

speaking southern...

...was my thought after I heard someone refer to wishing for an 'English to Southern' dictionary.  Having lived in the South all my life, I think people from other places are the ones who have poor diction and unusual accents. After a lifetime of Georgia living, so accustomed to the vagaries and oddities of the way people from the southern states talk, it sounds like 'normal' to me.

The word in question was 'wirehouse'. When someone had spoken of needing to retrieve an item that had been placed in storage. This person was completely baffled about the word. Unable to figure out why anyone would: a) construct a facility of wire and b) bother to store anything of value in such a building.

Later discovering the word he failed to understand was actually the drawn-out southern version of warehouse. Which of course, makes much more sense than thinking that a person with even the least amount of common sense would choose to create a construction of wire.  And then expect anything of value to be safely stored within.

it is usually a quote...

Thursday, May 25, 2017
... that makes me think about something that would have come out of my mom's mouth, but this one brought back memories of my dad. I don't know what caused this to come to mind, but I have the clearest memory of my dad, when I was as kid. I would ask him where he was going, though it was obviously none of my business. His response: 'I am going to see a man about a dog.' Which is apparently an euphemism for 'you don't need to know'. Of course, I was much too young to be included in conversations between adults, but as I child, I did not know that.

So naturally, I thought 'we're getting a puppy?' Assuming that he was really truly actually going some place where there was a man who had puppies he was giving away, and he might bring one home for my brother and I to have. Oh, wow!

When in reality: NOYB. I am pretty sure I have never heard that come out of anyone else's mouth, so that makes it exclusive to my dad. I assume it is a pretty common phrase that would have been heard occasionally in the era in which my dad grew up. But it was not only news to me, it was something that a child was totally unprepared to hear, in the sense that it was taken entirely too literally. Making little people much too hopeful and anticipatory, expecting results that will never come to pass.

went to work...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
... this morning at 7 a.m., and thought that it almost felt like a mini-vacation, after having to set my alarm for four to be at work by 5 o'clock the day before. But ended up being there until 5:30, and still did not get it all done. I am sure it will be right there tomorrow, with no one having taken up the slack to get done all that needs to be accomplished.

I have noticed that the bird nest I reported on weeks ago is still inhabited. So have to wonder what happened to the eggs and family she tried to hatch and raise that would have matured by now. Upon closer inspection, the nest appears to have been renovated, enlarged with added moss, spider webs and other scavenged materials. So nosy me: I had to get the ladder and take a peek.

I am so curious to know what happened. There are more eggs. Four. I am pretty sure the first clutch had five, so I know this is not the same batch that would have never hatched. Even though that is possible, as the newly enlarged nest is higher enough that there might possibly be the unhatched ones hidden below. But I prefer to think that first laying was successful, the babies have fledged and literally left the nest. I might remember that the ones I peered over the edge to observe weeks ago were light blue, and these looked almost white, actually probably an 'eggshell' color. Ha.

She flew away when she saw me headed towards the front door with my step ladder. And made disapproving noises the whole time I was standing on tip-toe peeking in. Saying: tch, tch, tch, tch, which we can assume means in bird-speak you should mind your own business.

there used to be...

Monday, May 22, 2017
...someone who lived here that would store clean clothes in a pile in the laundry basket. When she needed something to wear, she would spritz the severely wrinkled item with a water mister bottle and toss it in the dryer to de-wrinkle-ify. I guess she still does that, can't say for sure. But I do know the clothes that come out of the dryer at her house go in a big pile on a bed, awaiting folding and putting away. She saves that chore for me, as I tell her I think 'folding is good therapy'. Ostensibly she has never been in need of any therapy!

I was thinking of her today, when I was sorting baskets of dirty stuff to start a load of wash. The Man Who Lives Here does not do laundry. Not washing or folding to put away. I will occasionally leave a tidy pile of clean items to go in his dresser that he can deposit while sitting on the edge of the bed. The baskets are in the floor of the closet, where clothing is tossed when taken off in the evening.

For some reason I could not find a ugly green shirt to put on this morning as I was preparing to go to work. And looked in the dirty laundry basket, where there were two of my work shirts. For the first time ever I my life I took a dirty shirt out of the basket and put it on. It really wasn't dirty, just smelled like the stuff I cut up all day at work: watermelon, canteloupe, honeydew melon, pineapple.

I cannot in all my life recall ever doing that. See how good I am getting at telling on myself? It is funny and a little strange, right?

after working all day...

... putting in eight hours on my poor tired feets, I went on a farm tour yesterday. A friend who is all about organics, compassion for animals that are human food, and being mindful of the environment asked me to go along. A family farm in south Alabama that is  mostly pecan orchard. They sell free range eggs, granola, and homemade yogurt at the street market in Uptown on Saturday mornings.

The friend, C., discovered the family offers a walking tour twice a year, and she wanted to go. This is the same person who told me about the eagle workshop at White Oak Farm in south GA back in January. Which was very educational, provided the attendees with an abundance of information to share. So, even though I had very tired bones and feets, I planned to go on Sunday. It was equally interesting and informative.

The farm is primarily planted in trees that produce nuts - a number of different varieties. More than I ever wanted to know about the complicated life of a nut bearing tree. They also have chickens and cows. The cows graze beneath the trees, provide natural fertilizer and also provide milk and beef that they sell. The chickens come along behind the beeves or dairy cows, scratch and break up the droppings, and will lay eggs any place they happen to be when the urge occurs: trees, briars, seat of the farm truck when the door is left open, laundry basket, porch chairs.

They also have bees, lots of bees. But do not sell much honey as most is used in the making of their granola. We were not offered a sample, but my friend said it should be a controlled substance. I assume all the other people on the tour, eighteen or so, had purchased goods from the family at the Saturday market. Which would make them knowldgeable about their home-grown, farm-fresh products, which lured them on to the humid, hot, gnat-y farm. To walk through the shady pastures of fifty year old pecan trees, carefully avoiding cow-patties and bee hives on a Sunday afternoon.

It was all most educational. Even though I grew up in a fairly rural area, hearing about farm life makes it obvious I am a city kid. I am definitely a wuss and not at all ready for the existence of those that provide the things we consume. I am all the more appreciative of people who love the land they live on and choose to farm, use their resources wisely and be good stewards of the earth.

here's what happened...

Sunday, May 21, 2017
... when people gave me pecans and I thought I should not 'look a gift horse in the mouth'. I tried to get them cracked to use in baking or just eating. Adding to homemade version of party mix (without pretzels) is always a tasty treat. Toasted with some butter and salt is better than candy.

My friend in SC gave me some nuts from his tree, a year and a half ago. Not this past fall, but the one before that. He blamed the neighborhood squirrels for poor showing/ He was convinced the little tree climbers had gotten most of them and left little for him to find when they fall on the ground. I might have received what amounted to enough to half fill a gallon jar.

Then someone else gave me a few more: just enough to fill a quart zipper bag. Together, the nuts might have weighed four pounds, maybe less. When I took them to the nut-cracking place back in the fall, the guys at the hardware store said they would have to charge me eight dollars. That is the minimum charge for five pounds of nuts. It was not worth five bucks to me. I said Thank You and left with my pecans still in the bag.

Sent them to another store where they would not crack them because they were so small. The report is their machine was not set up to crack small pecans. What?  The bag of nuts has been sitting in my carport for months, or  riding around in my car. Waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.

One morning recently, when lying in bed, waiting for the alarm to go off, I decided I would just give them to the local wildlife. Be Gone With You! But did not want to do anything that would encourage squirrels to hang around more than they do. Or make them think the food supply around here is so steady and generous they should invite the relatives to come for a visit, maybe move into the neighborhood.

When I went to do a  volunteer job yesterday morning, I took my nuts, and dumped the whole bag out under a tree. I hope the squirrels up in Harris County have found them and are enjoying the buffet. I was ready for the nuts to be out of my life. And thought dumping them some place that far from home was an excellent idea.

about that 'board appointment' ...

Saturday, May 20, 2017
... as a public figure. I am well on my way to becoming a politician! Not. But the whole idea of me being on a semi-NGO board that makes decisions affecting the public and quality of life in our community is so unlikely. Being that person who much prefers to be stirring the pots on the stove, working the serving line, or sweeping the floor rather than be in the limelight.

An explanation of how this came to be reminds me of a story I have greatly enjoyed telling over the years. Heard from, or maybe just about, a former Presbyterian and fellow church goer. He was reportedly hanging around in the parking lot after a committee meeting. The group was discussing some issues that had been brought up during their 'official' gathering in the building, but several continued the conversation as they left to go to their vehicles.

Standing there, facing one another, thinking out-loud, pondering and considering the questions and concerns raised before they adjourned. Someone said something along the lines of' we need a 'volunteer', possibly wondering who they might find to do some research or legwork and report back to the group at their next scheduled meet. This friend said he looked up, during the give and take conversation, only to discover everyone else had taken a big step back - leaving him as the unintended 'volunteer'.

He claimed to not have actually offered to do the work, but when he realized what had just occurred he understood he was 'it'. The guy who would take on the extra responsibility to investigate and be prepared to make the report. Inadvertently, unintentionally becoming what I recently heard referred to as 'volun-told'.

you might find amusing...

...  my unlikely appointment as a board member of a local non-profit organization. The Keep Columbus Beautiful foundation has been operational for many years, under the auspices of the city government. My assumption is that board members must be approved by the city, as I had to fill out a brief questionnaire. Between volunteering myself all over town, and this laborious process with the courts, I have been thoroughly vetted. Background checked, inspected, historically investigated, back molars approved, dust-bunnies counted.

It started with an email on the local list serve about the current representative from our end of the county being replaced as he has completed his term. I said: 'hmmm... I could do that.' So I volunteered. Found out who to contact, and gave her a call. The director of KCB is someone I have known for years, since she was employed by GSUSA, so I can already call her by her first name. She seemed to think I would be ok, nominating myself.  Apparently no one else was jumping up and down for the position. I'm it!

I had to complete a form online, providing basic info about residence, how to contact me. We will see if I pass the muster and actually become participant in good standing. Probably no more complicated in depth than being able to fog a mirror. A body with a discernible heart beat and interest in betterment of our community. I think I can manage those qualifications pretty well.

might be wondering....

... what happens next? Now that we've been to probate and a decision has occurred. You will be as surprised as we were to discover: nothing. We are not precisely in a holding pattern or stuck in a stalemate. But also unable to move forward. We cannot yet exercise politeness and good manners, kindly ask the auntie to possibly consider the idea that she would voluntarily be willing to relocate to assisted living. Suggest that she agreeably accept the knowledge she is unable to live independently, caring for her basic needs.

The cousin has broached the subject many times, plainly stating the auntie would be less confused, lonely, feeling displaced or lost. All those things she struggles with now, when she balks about the idea of someplace she could get decent meals, could be resolved. She currently refuses to consider relocating in order to be around other people and socialize, while incessantly calling (from her home phone) friends and family to say she is alone and does not know where she is. Plus if she were to move, there would be staff to manage meds. which she cannot handle when she is alone, at home by herself.

We are awaiting documents from the court. The person who is appointed/deemed trustworthy to handle the financial affairs of another/incapacitated individual must be bonded. I wrote another whopping big check on Wednesday for my bond. Handed it over to the attorney standing in the parking lot of the judicial building in Valdosta. He was to take it to get the bond issued, return to probate with proof. Until the bond is accepted by the court, nothing happens. And the bond cannot be issued until the court has granted conservator ship. Sounds like 'the chicken or the egg' story to me.

If things went as planned, that has occurred. The court will then proceed (at the speed of that aircraft carrier making a U-turn) to issue documents. A letter that would be proof of the judge's decision to grant family members access to the auntie's financial resources. Necessary to better understand her situation and make a decision about her future.

 In all likelihood she will be moving. Under much duress, as you know how un-fond she is of the person who will then proceed to apply persuasion about a change. Her 'Not Favorite' will be kindly politely requesting her to 'please dear' get in the car and let's take a ride.

cubing canteloupe...

Friday, May 19, 2017
... for hours at work today. Along with fresh pineapple and honeydew. Ingredients for the BOGO fruit salad that is in demand. I would say 'hugely gigantic' but that term seems to be in use by other people with limited vocabulary. Wishing now for the foresight to count all the melons I peeled and seeded and cubed over several hours of steadily slicing and dicing. I guess I cut up about fifty melons and maybe nearly that many pineapples. To leave in plastic bins for someone else to assemble fruit salads.

I had thirty nine and three fourths hours by 11:30 this morning, so I had to leave. Or I would still be there putting stuff in bowls, weighing, pricing, labeling. Smelling like a watermelon.

when the opposing attorney...

...was asked what it is about me that the cantankerous auntie finds so objectionable, he reported she 'did not want to talk about it.' All he would say is that in conversation with her, he discovered I am 'not her favorite'.  Understatement of the year.  This took place in the courtroom when the judge had taken a short break and left. Thankfully she was not privy to this conversation.

This from the attorney we met for the first time on Wednesday who was appointed by the court to meet with the auntie. His job was to make sure she was aware of the petition for guardianship and knew what it means. He reported that she was so unable to carry on a conversation he felt it would not be beneficial for her to even appear in court. I do not relish the task he had of being the one who would attempt to explain to her the judge's decision.

I suspect we have lost the chance to unearth the reason she is so angry at me, and opposed to anything I might suggest. It would be most enlightening to know what little seed has been planted and nurtured in her brain to be so certain I am the source of all her misfortune. I have not the slightest inkling of where this animosity came from, as I feel I have spent  more time with her, devoted more of myself to her than any living relative. Only to be taken aback by her anger, and surprised by statements she has made to relatives and friends about her resentment that I continue to exist.

She has blamed me for everything from to stealing her car keys to stealing her car. Taking her driving permit from her purse to telling the state department of motor vehicles they should tell her I said she is not allowed to drive her car. She holds me responsible for everything that has gone awry in her life.

I wish I had some insight into what incident could be the origin of this fixation. I am so curious as to why and how she leapt to the unlikely conclusion  that innocent me should be cast in the role of Bad Guy. But as she continues to slip away loosing more and more of her mental capacity, that will likely never be answered.

I expect there well be major opposition when the time comes for her to relocate, make a change from the familiar environment and routine of her daily habits. Hopefully we will figure out some way for the transition to be relatively peaceful to keep the agitation and confusion at a minimum. The idea of doing the 'good cop-bad cop' game has occurred, as she seems to have much more affection and appreciation for my cousin - though I am not certain the feeling is mutual! A little of the auntie goes a long way.

the one day drive to...

...Valdosta and back was about what I had thought. The meeting with judge and attorneys in Probate Court pretty much as I expected: a 'non-event'. I was markedly unconcerned about the whole thing, surprising even myself by the lack of anxiety when thinking about possible outcomes. And it turned out just about as anticipated. With the thoroughly documented history of her decline by the doctor who has been seeing the auntie for a number of years, I felt like it was a sure thing that the judge would determine there was a need for some 'adult supervision'.

I continued to harbor a remote hope, right up until the last minute, when the very capable Judge came back into the courtroom after a brief recess.  Thinking that someone else may volunteer, suddenly step up and offer to be the person who would serve as the guardian and conservator for the failing auntie. I was more than willing to be graceful (and grateful) for anyone who would suddenly pop out of a closet and say: 'I'll do it.'

Judge Powell left us to our own devices, and stepped out to do some sort of research, or maybe just hit 'print' on her computer. There sat the four of us: two attorneys and two witnesses, chatting as breezily as if we were sitting in the shade drinking lemonade. When Judge Powell returned she read the form she had completed, and gave us all a copy. Designating the (now anxious) me as the person who would be responsible for the care and maintenance of the auntie.

apparently a herd of monkeys ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
... came through the area today while I was at work.  Back story: Someone one who is crazy about me, gave me a nifty little tomato plant for a gift. The fruit is heart shaped. We actually had a shipment of these little plants come in from the warehouse to my workplace, and apparently sold them all. They were pretty, nice sized plants, loaded with fruit.

Late yesterday afternoon,  I transplanted it into a five gallon bucket, with good dirt, lots of osmocote to feed it all summer, and watered well. There were a number of little tomatoes on the plant, beginning to change color, thinking about getting ripe. Making my mouth water, as I did all the nurturing things to make it happy, encouraging it to ramp up production.  Probably half a dozen of the little thumb sized fruits were turning yellow, giving me the idea that I would soon be making salad.

When I went out this afternoon to water, all those nearly ready tomatoes were lying on the ground around the bucket. Some half eaten, some just tossed aside. Some stepped on and smooshed. Could it have been deer? Was it squirrels? Would chipmunks do that? Where could the monkeys have come from?

I was so annoyed. There are still lots of wee little tomatoes out there on the plant, that will hopefully grow, turn red, be tasty when harvested. But what sort of animal would have pulled them off and not eaten, just thrown down and stomped? Reminding me of those tomato plants I devotedly nurtured last summer that the big fat nasty green worms ate. Causing me to not get even one tomato to enjoy. And also making me swear I would never plant tomatoes again. Liar, liar, pants on fire.....

I just googled up 'what is a herd of  monkeys called?; and find it is a 'troop.'

they come and they go...

Monday, May 15, 2017
... while some of us stick around for years and years: managers in the workplace. Store managers and departmental guys are periodically shifted from store to store, for reasons us lowly workers are not privy to. When the higher-ups take a notion to stir the pot, the guys who tell me what to do, supervise department ordering, staffing, budgets: suddenly, spontaneously disappear and a new one pops up, generally unannounced. Catching the lowliest of employees (me!) completely by surprise.

They will shift store managers around, as well as send department supervisors from one store to another within the same geographic area. Or send someone who is jockeying for a promotion to some place at a great distance as a test, make them prove how badly they want to climb the ladder, show how determined they are to move up. Since I have been in my little niche for nearly two decades, it is apparent I will not be climbing any ladder of success, and have a marked lack of ambition.

But what I believe I am good at: being good. Doing what I do well, and over time, proving that I am willing and flexible to work pretty much any time I am needed. There are lean times of Biblical proportion: working four hours a week back in January, feeling really short-changed and put-upon with a minuscule paycheck. And times of feeling inundated: the week leading up to Valentine's Day where the maximum of forty hours is a certainty.

Or the upcoming week, as usually happens on a federal holiday: some kind of crazy 'what were they thinking' sale to bring customers in like swarming locusts. Buying stuff to cook on the grill, things for picnic-ing, and fresh cut fruit like it was survival food. The fruit will be something we cannot keep ahead of, so everyone available will be cutting melons, pineapple, berries trying to meet demand.

It all evens out. Plus I try to condition myself to remember:' if I am not on the time clock, I am on vacation.' The 'up' side of all this, while occasionally feeling like a second class citizen is that I can request to be off, ask for time away, and there is not much they can say. It is not 'vacation' or 'paid leave', so there is no remuneration, but I can usually negotiate a compromise, come to agreement and get my way, when I start making plans. I would never ever remotely think of telling them that they are pretty well trained, to let me do what I want. Work when I want, off when I don't want to be there because I am: wanting to leave town without any flak, for fun!

feels like summer...

...when I get out in the yard mid-afternoon. I have some things I need to get planted, and since it rained over the weekend, now is a good time to try to take things out of pots and put in the ground.
I lucked up on some sort of mysterious perennial salvia from gardening friends, that reportedly blooms yellow, and will put on new flowers all summer long. Meaning it will make the pollinators happy, along with the butterfly bush and red salvia already in bloom.

Someone gave me a fall blooming clematis that is so fragrant it is almost cloyingly sweet. It likes to climb, so it will have to go someplace it can twine along a fence or inch up into a tree. And I accidentally bought some of those little 'fake' petunias, the things that have a trumpet shaped bloom, but much smaller than the traditional ones. They are called 'calibrochia' and are very similar in habit to petunias - blooming all summer, though they get sort of leggy, stringy-looking and need a trim to get them tidy. There are several sitting in pots on the concrete driveway that need to be relocated, into larger pots, or hanging baskets, just needing some motivation for it to occur.

I might have possibly veered off into the Kmart parking lot today, wondering if there was anything interesting in the garden shop. And drove veeerrrrryyy sloooowly across the front of the store, but did not park and go in, so was able to prevent myself from being lured into buying more stuff that would need a home. There was actually pretty good variety of plants on pallets, lot of green growing things near the front door, hoping to go home with someone desperate to make a Mother's Day gift purchase, perhaps?

not unexpected...

Saturday, May 13, 2017
... due to the retails sales event called 'Mother's Day.' I knew I would be working more than the usual fifteen to twenty hours of work/pay I have had in recent weeks. The inexplicable scheduling causes the work week to start on Saturday instead of a Sunday or Monday. Meaning today is the first day of this new week. I have been told to plan on working forty hours between now and next Friday. Makes my brain and feets tired already, and I have not even begun the uphill slog.

Lots of plants: lilies, hydrangeas, azaleas, roses all in pots. Lots of dozens of roses at a really good price. Lots of mixed bouquets that I am constantly trying to tell people will stay pretty, last much longer than the roses they feel compelled to buy for wives, mothers, significant others. The thing I dislike the most are the hydrangeas that have to be watered at least once a day, or the huge oversized blooms start to wilt, making the plants unsaleable. I go around several times each day and spritz them with water, on the gigantic mop-head blooms and leaves,  to try to keep them fresh looking just long enough to get through the check-out line and out the door. If they start to look deflated as soon as they get into the parking lot, that's not my problem!

I've been in retail floral for many years, and knew what it would be like. But like the feeling of seeing a tidal wave (cannot spell tsunami- maybe spellcheck will do it for me?) coming in the days leading up to Feb. 14 when Valentine's Day is so exhausting, always thankful when it is over: knowing I survived. Have a little break and take a deep breath, then begin to anticipate the next big 'occasion'.

book review: "Away"...

... written by Amy Bloom. I own this book, so will happily give it away. I'm thinking I bought it for nearly nothing, maybe at a 'fiction sale' by the Friends of Libraries when I was planning to travel and wanted something I could read and abandon when I got to the end. The Friends obviously get a lot of donations from people who want to recycle, cleaning out clutter, and willing to support the programming the library has ongoing. We all know how 'stuff' can take over, so I imagine even the storage space the people who run the little non-profit book store can be overwhelmed by well meaning patrons. If you want to read my book, you cannot return it to me.

I enjoyed it so much, "Away" traveled with me for several days. I carried it around, to be available to read a few pages in odd moments of down time, when I would be waiting and have a little space to get through a paragraph or two. About the hardships of a young woman who came from eastern Europe as an immigrant in the previous century, not speaking a word of English. Lillian witnessed the brutal scene of her entire family being killed before she left for the US. She got off the boat with: contact information for a relative who lived in New York City, a satchel of clothing, and a lot of hope. Found a job sewing, working for a pittance, started taking language classes, and eventually became independent.

In a bizarre twist, she became a mistress of a man who was an actor, involved in theatrical productions, and then found herself involved with this actor's father as well. A relative from eastern Europe appears and reports the young daughter she thought was dead had been seen, when she was taken by neighbors who were traveling to Russia. Desperate for her only child, Lillian decides to make her way across north America, hoping to get to Alaska, and find a boat to Siberia. The story of her travels across the US are no less grueling than you would imagine the trip from Europe to New York in steerage with other foreign nationals would be.

I kept reading, thinking "it has to get better", determined I should go with her, hoping to ease her struggles, desiring for her to encounter people with compassion who would want to help her along. The story is full of heartache, but written in a way that makes her many hardships seem realistically believable. Randomly chosen to read, but riveting enough to keep me coming back, wanting her to be reunited with her family, have peaceful resolution to her struggles.