Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

possibly an update...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
...on the auntie in south GA. No actual news about the auntie, but here's what I did today: went to the county probate office  down town in the Government Center. Talked to the person/law clerk who does nothing but handle guardianship and conservator cases for the probate judge. Asked a lot of questions and got a sheaf of papers. As you might expect: 'way too much information. I went in asking about the process for establishing guardianship for someone who thinks she does not need any one interfering in her life.

I have not seen or heard from the auntie since before she was discharged against medical advice from the rehab. facility in Berrien County. Although there was a call on my phone a couple of weeks ago. She left a message, asking what she was supposed to do about getting keys for her car. She claimed the people at the dealership said they had instructions from me that she was not allowed to get duplicate keys made to drive.

In a way - that is true. But has nothing to do with me. I have had no conversation with Toyota about having keys made - even though her driving privilege has been revoked by the state department of motor vehicles. I've heard from people in the know that there have been  multiple duplicates made, so apparently she cannot find them. Which is a good thing, as she would be a danger to herself and everyone else out there if she were to attempt to drive.

I honestly do not know what is going on down there. But feel that someone should be taking steps to help manage her care. I believe that something will happen in the near future when she will need assistance, whether she wants it or not. And feel like her family needs to be prepared to step up with the ability to make decisions. No one else seems to be prepared to jump into the fray, so I appear to be 'it'.

lookin' like a dork...

Sunday, January 29, 2017
...and feeling my family would disown me when they see my current state of goofiness. I do not have or want a purse, causing me to hope to keep all the basic necessities in my pockets, with varying levels of success. Depending on factors like how far afield I might wander, weather, mode of travel, co-conspirators.

But there is so much stuff in my pockets I devote excessive amounts of time digging around in there, trying to get my hand on what I want. There is a folding pocket knife, and a small tin of lip gloss. (Be careful about that knife: wary of TSA scanners, courthouse bailiffs, metal detectors upon entry into public buildings.) And a ring with lots of stuff on it. A goodly number of those little plastic tabs with bar codes used to scan for preferred customer benefits: discounts, rewards, etc. And actual keys (some to who knows what?) Plus the black fob that opens and starts the Toyota - you won't get anywhere without that.

I thought I could put the clunky key ring on a carabiner and attach it to my belt loop, freeing up pocket space, while still having everything handy. Then I decided: it looks too doofus. One step below plastic pocket protectors. Or like the guys who have a chain attached to their wallet on one end and pants on the other, wearing leather jackets. And multiple home-made tats across their knuckles.

But today, at work, I saw several people, who otherwise give the impression of being relatively normal, with their keys on a belt loop. It is not often that I give a second thought to appearances, but I did not want my family to think this would be the deciding factor. Have them say that seeing me wearing my key ring would be grounds for putting me away.

I've decided I don't care. Goofy it is. If you think I need to be tucked away, secured,  someplace safe, please be sure they keep me clean and fed.

"we're not lost...

Friday, January 27, 2017
...we just don't know where we are." A quote often heard by my progeny in their younger years. When I would veer away from the familiar into the unknown. Perhaps taking a short-cut, as opposed the better know route when we were traveling. Or deliberately going some place we had never been, causing anxiety as to how we would find our way back home by bedtime.

I remember once traveling across north Florida on the way to the beach in the Gulf Coast. And two little people in the backseat fretfully questioning me when I stopped to peruse the large multi-fold state-issued road map. Obviously in the pre-GPS/electronic guidance era, when you would periodically have to consult the actual paper map in an effort to determine the best route for arriving at the desired destination. Whereupon I made the now oft-quoted statement: "we're not lost, we just don't know where we are". Which is synonymous with the more modern equivalent: 'I got this'.

All a preface to saying my credit card purchase was just recently denied. Apparently because the card service provider did not know I am me. This same very awkward thing has happened to me in the past. When I would generously and thoughtfully want to be the one to pick up the tab when dining with friends or family. Handing my card to the waitstaff and have it returned, with the info. that the charge has been declined. Embarrassing.

Making me look irresponsible, like a person who does not pay debts, and has an ongoing problem with financial woes. Mortifying to have other people witness the declining and have the idea of me as incapable of sound financial management - I am never overdrawn or short on funds. I readily confess to being severely, tragically mathematically handicapped, but have been solvent since my dad stopped paying my way in the world.

We will have to assume the credit service staff simply is not aware of my meandering, random travels. Causing me to give them a call, and pass the test of remembering the secret word, agreeing to recent charges and persuading them that I am me. The card is not stolen, mis-used, or confiscated by ill-bred pirates. 'I'm not lost, they just do not know where I are.'

huge planters...

...gigantic pots that a close associate gave me after I had randomly admired them in a big box store. Really too big to move once you get it filled with dirt and planted. So I have been undecided as to what I would put in them, after making a decision about where they would be located. Because after they get filled, loaded with a lot of dirt and growing things, they will be permanently in that spot.

Even though they are made of some type of foam, like that extruded stuff you see must have come liquefied out of a huge tube or pipe, and suddenly exposed to air, solidifies. The pots are really light weight, but still, when filled too heavy to relocate. I'm thinking of putting the holly shrubs in them, if the plants survive the winter. Still waiting to see if they will begin to show signs of life as the seasons change and weather warms.

Thinking that I could fill the pots half way with some sort of inert filler that would not absorb water or have the weight of dirt - which can be pretty heavy when you go to pick up a forty pound sack of potting soil. So I thought: styrofoam! I could raid the bin in front of the store for egg cartons, and fill the pots with recycled egg cartons. Or those oddly shaped mostly rectangular pieces that electronics often come packed in to hold them securely and prevent damage while in transit.

While I was pondering all this, I noticed that there Office Max was having a sale on packing supplies. Bubble wrap, strapping tape and.... styrofoam peanuts! The bags come in two sizes. The big size is huge, and costs about $ 35. The smaller size would be just about what I would need to fill my planter. Except for the fact that they are not at all synthetic or plastic. Even though they look just like what we all think those little squiggles of extruded plastic foam should. The ones on sale at Office Max are made of: cornstarch.

You know what happens when you mix water and cornstarch, right? It liquefies.Only good for thickening your gravy or soup. Not a good choice to put in the pot under the potting soil for planting my Mormon holly bushes. (You remember the story about the deciduous hollies? One male and three females. You have to provide a male bush for the females to make pretty red berries that are so showy in the winter when the leaves drop off.

I am still looking for a large quantity of inert items I can use to fill the bottom half of the pot. I might randomly peer into the recycling bins as I go to work, or pick up someone' trash on the street after than purchase of a flat screen TV. Maybe find another good sized pot to put in the planters up-side-down that will reduce the amount of dirt needed. Pondering a solution before the dormant Mormon family starts to put on new growth...

literacy tutoring...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
...started again today. A run of eight weeks, meeting with a pair of four'ish year olds to help them acquire some pre-reading skills to be better prepared for Kindergarten. Amazing to think that pre-schoolers need to know so much to be ready before they ever get into the first classroom. They have to know letters, colors, numbers, follow directions, behavior/civilized into compliance for organized education.

You have to know x,y, and z to be ready for Kindergarten, where you need to learn more to be ready for what is expected of you when you get into the first grade. A continuum of learning, that adds on to skills you should have before you walk in the classroom, or you are at a disadvantage from the moment you enter. One of the little people I met for the first time today didn't know any of those basic things. No letters, no colors, sadly could not spell the first name. I'm not saying not able to write it, or identify the letters, just simply could not spell it.

Now would be a good time to take a deep breath and say 'Thank You for Being Literate'. Who ever those people were who prodded, and pleaded, poked and begged, pushed and shoved, dragged you along in those early years. Grandmothers, teachers, neighbors, family members, friends, aunties - all doing there part to make you the reader you are today.

The book we read: "Have You Seen My Duckling?" Lots of fun, interesting, colorful illustrations, with ducks to count on every page, animals to identify, a hidden duck to discover. And only those five title words printed repeatedly on each page.

I've been doing this for several years, going to a different school, on a particular day of the week, for eight times. Reading the same books to the little people each session,along with four other volunteers who read that same book on a different day of the week. Guiding and helping them write their names or numbers. Talking about colors, shapes, animals, identifying things in each of the series of books. Trying to nudge these little ones along to get them up to speed, where they need to be to take the next step into the world of reading.

If you are gonna succeed, you gotta be able to read.

trying to figure it out...

...by watching YouTube. Which is what my brother said his adult boys do when they need info., instead of calling their dad for advice. My bafflement is trying to decipher how the 'enviroscape' goes together. I've actually viewed a couple, one that is strictly assembly instructions and another when a guy is doing a demo. at a street fair type event.

This 3-D plastic gizmo is about three feet square. Comes in a hard plastic case, as there are many small parts that could get lost, or heisted by sticky-fingered youngsters envious of livestock, little buildings similar to Monopoly. Plus a variety of substances to use for explaining the water cycle, demonstrate how easily we can inadvertently contribute to the pollution of our drinking water: colored sugar (like you would use to decorate cookies), sprinkles, oatmeal, shredded paper (obviously trash), cocoa powder that turns into sludge when you add water. All of which go down the streams, into the river, and lake when you spray the various substances with a water spritzer. Turning colors, or into gooey stuff, being nasty like pollution actually is.

The little quickie demonstration I got at the County Agent's office was with the staffer who manages the 4-H and other youth programs. She showed me all the parts, and a speedy run through of how to use it. I will have to do some more 'research' (you-tubing), to try to get a handle on it. Then open the case and assemble all the little parts to practice my spiel. 

When the county agent asked for a volunteer a couple of weeks ago, we all sat on our hands. So she sent out an email, seeking help. None of us were experienced, or have any training to use the materials. I thought to myself: 'how difficult can that be?' Literally saying "I think I am still smarter than a fifth grader", though it has been years since I spent any time around one to know if they can out fox me as I age. I responded to the email with 'if you will show me, I am sure I can do that.' So I will.

book review: "The Nightingale"...

Monday, January 23, 2017
...by Kristin Hannah. She has written others. There was a list of a dozen or more titles printed in this one, before the title page. Published in 2015 by St. Martin's Press (imprint of McMillan).

I do not recall why I requested it from the library, but there was some reason for me to think I wanted to read it. Might have read a review, or less likely, a reference to the story in something else I was reading. It is about the occupation in France during the Second World War. Very well researched with much added detail to make it plain the author has done her homework.

The story is about two sisters, whose mother died when they were young. Their dad was emotionally distant, likely as a result of his experience in WW I, plus suddenly a single parent. The young girls were sent to a boarding school, and always held at arm's length by their father. One daughter Viviane, married at an early age, and had a child, moved into the family home in a small village. The other, Isabelle, was younger, a runaway, misfit in all the schools her father placed her in. The father moved to Paris, and left the daughters in the rural home.

When Nazis invaded and conquered the French, eventually occupying Paris, Isabelle began working with the partisans, underground resistance. Her sister, after her husband went off to war, found her home requisitioned by a German officer. As the occupation wore on, everything became scarce. Food, clothing, supplies, every day items were all used and consumed by the Germans. Isabelle met a man, who volunteered for the resistance forces, and she got more involved in efforts to circumvent the Nazis.

It was a really heart-wrenching tale.Interestingly told in flashbacks by the older sister, Viviane. Who had the Nazi officer living in her house, causing the villagers to feel she was a conspirator.  As I said, well researched, providing details and descriptive information about the deprivations of the war. Many disturbing facts about the horrifying treatment of the Germans as they deported Jews as well as innocent children, French citizens to the camps.

No spoilers here - but an unexpected ending that will bring you to tears.

about eagles...

Sunday, January 22, 2017
...a wealth of info. from the field trip a week ago when I went to southwest Georgia to actually see them. Fortunately the man who was retired from the DNR had a spotting scope with a long lens and set it up for us to see one roosting in a tree. Reportedly a male, that appeared to be inches away. Huge, impressive, intimidating, resplendent with white feathered head.

This man, we will call 'Jim', now works for Southern Companies/Georgia Power, is a life long student of eagles. He was employed with the state for years, and now seems to be doing pretty much the same thing as a power company employee. I am guessing serving as an advocate for the birds, directing the huge multi-state corporation in ways to help protect and preserve.  He said when he started out in his position with Department of Natural Resources, there were reportedly ten nesting pairs of eagles. And though diligent study, following up on reports, has observed  250 documented nests in the state, as opposed to only 2 or 3 in 1978. Most nests are along the coast and major rivers, where the birds would support progeny primarily through fishing.

He had a number of photos taken over the years, doing periodic census of eagles and their young. Reporting that some nests used would easily weigh a ton with yearly improvements the birds would make before sitting on fertilized eggs to hatch. You might wonder: how do they know about weight? He said when the trees die, and eventually blow down they have collected nests to evaluate. The birds always start building in living trees, usually pines, but over time the nest enlarges to actually become a burden for the tree, plus pines are notorious as being easy to tip in strong wind. Shallow rooted, with upper branches reportedly acting like sails on tall ships, catching the wind and eventually falling.

Want more info.? This very knowledgeable man said that the area where we were last Saturday had more eagles 'hanging out' than any where in the southeastern US. They were nationally listed as 'endangered' in 1967. Decline in population was due to predators, nest robbing/stealing eggs, environmental factors like DDT, people shooting them for sport. Improvement in numbers due to ban on DDT, Clean Air Act, Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" raising awareness, protection of habitat. About one-hundred eagles were released in Georgia from other states over a number of years, either captive births or taken as young from nests elsewhere, dramatically increasing number of nesting pairs and reproduction.

One of the most interesting bits of trivia from the talk: turtle shells are often found as refuse in nests. Apparently the parents will catch turtles and take them back to the  fledglings, give them the amphibians to pry them apart. Possibly a toy for a young eagle? Another interesting fact: the federal government will reimburse ranchers in the western states for livestock killed by predators. Our tour guide said White Oak Farms is having difficulties in their efforts to get compensated for all the livestock destroyed as 'easy pickings' by local raptors.

just gettng home...

...and starting the washer after spending two nights and all day on Saturday with Girl Scouts.  They were older girls, still interested enough in scouting to devote their weekend to going to the camp in middle Georgia (literally in the middle of the state a few miles west of Macon). About half and half middle schoolers and high school girls for a total of thirty. With plenty of moms who were troop leaders to provide transportation and supervision: not needed - they were all good kids!

The theme of the weekend event was 'Reality Check'.  Everything was planned around what the girls would need to know as they move from parental guidance to independence, transitioning to high school and beyond. Out into the world of higher education or employment/self-sufficiency. Speakers  talked with the group about how banks work, opening checking and savings accounts, dreaded reconciling statements with check register, credit vs debit cards. The process of searching out and applying for college funding. Basic car care like checking fluids and changing a tire. Simple tools and how to use them: screwdrivers, hammers, saws, levels. A really neat workshop where the girls were given scenarios for families and talked about income, expenses, dependents, what it is like to live in the real world. The value and necessity for diversity and tolerance in our lives.

Staff from local council offices planned the program, arranged speakers, provided resources. As well as the meals we had while we were there. They did an amazing job with all the logistical parts of the program. Plus the addition of some really scary weather predicted as heading our way. The conference center was designed with a space that would withstand a storm. It rained most of the weekend, with possible high winds/tornadoes likely, so the leaders prepared adults for a worst case scenario of rousting girls at night to get them into a safe place if needed. Tornadoes all over Georgia this weekend, but nothing where we were out there in the woods.

Though saturated with torrential rains, it was a good, interesting weekend. I hope to attend more events for older girls, to get to know some of them. Which would provide an opportunity where I might encourage  them to propose, plan and succeed with setting Gold Award goals.

not something expected...

... or even dreamed about years ago in south Georgia. But you need to know about that really interesting 'field trip' I went on last Saturday. A newly found friend, someone who has recently retired, told me about something that piqued my interest. She has been a volunteer at a family owned farm in southwest Georgia, fairly near the Chattahoochee River.  Lots of information available on the family and their livestock operations on a website about White Oak Farms, in Bluffton, GA. Located close to the border/dividing line between Georgia (along the western edge) and Alabama (on the eastern edge) along the lower half of each state.

The workshop we attended was conceived as a result of a number of eagles being observed in the area, enjoying the free buffet when they are culling the free range poultry. Removing the slowest or least healthy members of flocks of ducks, geese, guinea hens, turkeys or chickens. I was so excited to go to the farm last week after hearing about this event that would provide an opportunity to see and hear about eagles.

The river is an important piece of information: historically fish is a primary food source. A vital part of their livelihood, so they traditionally nest near a replenishing water source. There on White Oak property are procreating pairs nesting nearby, along the river, as well as a number of eagles that migrate and will nest in other places when they mate in the spring.

Seeing eagles, making themselves at home on southwest Georgia, nearly in my backyard. Man, oh man! How cool is that! A natural national treasure that was 'on the brink', once considered 'endangered': now prolifically returned in remarkable numbers.

maybe next year...

Friday, January 20, 2017
...will be the time when this great idea will come to fruition on a local basis: I just read on a garden website that Jan. 28 is National Seed Sharing Day. I assume it is on some universal calendar for the last Saturday in January. Which would be a great time to get some seeds, allowing you to start them in a cold frame or green house. To be ready to go in your garden or landscaping when the weather is conducive for outdoor transplants. What a fun idea! Especially for anyone who finds good therapy in gardening, pulling weeds, digging holes, rearranging landscaping, or just enjoying the great glorious sun-shine-y outdoors. That would be me, finding all of the above gratifying.

I am not volunteering to be that individual who will do the organizing to promote/plan and pull off such an event, but already thinking of ideas to contribute to make it more amusing and successful. Actually not original with me, but still: having a 'food truck' come and help celebrate, even if they do not have any seeds to share. The one I read about in the article about national events, being someplace far away from middle GA, was called the 'Cluckwagon', offering chicken sandwiches. Having a table set up with cups, potting soil, fast-germinating seeds like beans for kids to plant something for a taking home. People who would provide advice about soil and offer bags to collect samples and send in for testing home gardens.

I am hopeful to use my lobbying skills in promoting the idea of a day of sharing the beginnings of new life. Enough to inspire someone in my circle of gardening friends who will join with me in deliberately coming together with other like-minded diggers to devote a day in the drab, dreary January to proliferating. As well as just coming together to do that other thing on my list of resolutions for this newly begun year: laugh over lunch.

if you take a big step...

...backwards, lean to the left, squint with your right eye closed, hold you tongue just right and hop on your right foot while raising your left hand over your head, you will see, just barely, that taking another substitute teaching job today has put me almost nearly past the 1/3 mark towards a goal of ten days for the semester. You must do all the previous gyrations simultaneously for the desired effect. Today's actual count is three, but when you are dividing by ten, it is close enough to one-third for me ( the congenitally math-impaired) to claim as fact.

It was a pretty good day.  Due to the fact that I was not actually responsible for anything. This particular job I accidentally signed on for (when I did not intend to press 'accept') was a para-professional in a Kindergarten classroom.

The teacher was present, and well prepared for that little conclave of chaos. She obviously has years of experience, and is accustomed to dealing with the quirks, capabilities and tricks demonstrated by a diverse group of five-year-olds. Maybe twenty or so - some very smart, cooperative, well-behaved. A number of them were youngsters who are obviously well tutored at home by parents who really understand and appreciate the value of education and literacy. Others students who appeared to have some degree of disability or undiagnosed difficulties with learning. The usual mix, presenting a variety of challenges for even the most capable classroom manager.

Being the para-pro meant I was responsible for supervising their lunch time and a short period of running steam off when we got back to the room. Sadly, much to my chagrin, we sort of maybe locked ourselves out of the room when we went out to buzz around in the yard. A mom came to check a kid out early for a dental appointment and saved me from having to disrupt a neighboring class to get us back in the building.  We practiced writing letters, some sight words, numbers, simple addition/combining problems and talked about animal families.I would say it was a remarkably uneventful day.

while driving across town...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
...this afternoon returning home from a day in a first grade classroom. I was in traffic at a stop light, behind a vehicle with an interesting license plate: 3NVYNO1. I had to read it several times to finally 'get it' but find it very thought-provoking. It is much more readily understood with a couple of hyphens added, but you are smart enough to figure it out on your own, right?

It was a pretty good day with the six year olds. Fortunately, the regular teacher came in, and provided some instruction, plenty of work for us to accomplish, as well as names of several teachers in adjacent rooms, to call on if needed. There was one little guy who did not have such a great day, and ended up spending the afternoon with a different teacher. I saw her at one point, and she reported he said he was 'bored', which she felt was a good thing - for him to want to return to the classroom as opposed to being isolated from the general population. Otherwise, thankfully un-eventful.

And only eight more days to go to reach ten required to remain in good standing with the school district. I already have another one on my calendar for tomorrow.  Meaning I am nearly one-third of the way towards ten if I survive again on the morrow.  Hope it will be as relatively stress free as today.

addendum to the headlight story...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

 ...that occurred back in the fall. Sad. And funny. In the way things can be tragi-comic, when you want to be sympathetic, while trying not to laugh. Never a good idea to find amusement in another person's misery, though you are allowed to be thankful it is not happening to you.

Review of part I: You may not remember - so here is the CliffsNotes version: The Man Who Lives Here had a head light go out, and went to the GMC dealership to get it replaced. Mistake #1. Another went out two weeks later, so he went back again. Mistake #2.

I told him after the first tale of woe: "You should have gone to AutoZone. They will sell you the bulb to go in the headlight and install it right there in the parking lot. For no extra charge." But did he listen? Did he heed my wise advice? Did he go back to the dealer the second time? Did he pay them $167 twice to get two headlight bulbs replaced? No. No. Yes. Yes.

Part II: I knew all that because I had to get a light replaced. I was in SC visiting my pen-pal, he took me to AutoZone where I bought a bulb for less than $30. And the clerk said he would put it in for me. But I was not driving my vehicle, so we had to go back to the house and get my car for the guy to install my new bulb. The one thing you need to be careful about is: Do Not Touch The Bulb. Oil from your fingertips will cause it to burn out quickly.

Part III: I had a head light bulb burn out last week, so I went to AutoZone on Saturday to get a replacement bulb. For $14.99.  But by the time I got there, the other one needed to be changed too. So I actually purchased two bulbs that day, and had them both replaced 'right there in the parking lot'. For no extra charge. I did have to buy the $2 kit with the nitrile gloves for the guy to install. But got a 10% 'good customer' discount. Even though I have never been in that store before.

After I got two new bulbs installed, I asked the guy to look in the book to tell me how much replacements for a GMC would cost. After consulting his guide, he reported that it would use the very same ones I just paid $14.99 for. I have decided it would not be helpful to tell him this story.
As much as I do not like to drive his hulking ginormous Acadia, I would have taken it to AutoZone if he had let me. Would not have refused if he had offered to pay me $167 for a new bulb. Or two.  Installed right there in the parking lot. For No Extra Charge.

book review: "The Glass Castle"...

Monday, January 16, 2017
...by Jeannette Walls. The cover announces she is a New York Times Bestselling author, having also published "Half Broke Horses". I am pretty sure I randomly picked up the "Horses" book at the library, to read myself to sleep every night. Sorry - not reviewed here.

"The Glass Castle" refers to plans the author's dad drew up to build a fanciful home for his family, of wife and four children. After reading the book over a couple of weeks, my first thought is of  how astounding and amazing that Walls survived such dysfunction to escape as a teenager and grow into a gifted young adult news reporter and writer. Her dad was an engineer and inventor, always scheming, making plans for financial success that never came to fruition. He was also an alcoholic, using money they needed for rent, utilities, food, to feed his desire for drink. Her mother was a artist, part of the family, but did not function as a caregiver, assertive or forceful enough to stand up to her husband.

The stories she tells of how her mother and siblings struggled when the children were young are literally unbelievable. They were not seriously abused, physically. But the trauma they went through due to poverty is so heart-wrenching it is difficult to accept as anything that would really occur in a place where there are so many social service programs that would provide assistance. Just the little things she reports in her story: a brother who slept on the top bunk in a room where the roof leaked so badly he had to sleep under a tarp. Until her mom won an inflatable boat in a contest, and the brother began sleeping under the overturned boat to stay dry at night.

Digging a big hole with her brother (that they thought might be for the foundation of a newer, sturdier, well-built home) and eventually filling it with their household garbage when they could not pay for trash pick-up. Wearing all your clothes to bed to stay warm, in a un-insulated home with no heat in a sad, shabby, falling down house in the mountains of West Virginia. Walking down the street with a bucket to pick up mined coal that as fallen off trucks to feed a fireplace. The dad breaking into the kids communal piggy bank and stealing all their escape funds, and using the money to go on a bender. When the front steps rotted away, and porch began to collapse, leaving and entering the house through a window - every day. Digging through the trash cans in the bathroom in high school to find food thrown away by other students to eat for lunch.

The siblings eventually were able to get out of that depressing, disturbing discouraging environment, and one by one moved from West Virginia to New York. And then their parents relocated, but chose to live on the streets. Walls is an excellent story-teller, in this book written as a memoir. Difficult to believe that they survived such a sad, hard-scrabble youth and, once away from the parents, and were able to succeed to become capable productive adults.

what IS that...

... you will ask when you see the photo? Now baffled into wonderment as to why it is a topic that is blog-worthy when you read on. The answer to the question is remarkably simple, but after more information you will still be stalled in the wondering stage of asking: why?

Start with the premise that old people do not sleep well. We will all eventually get to the point where we wake at two o'clock and wonder 'is it time to get up?' Or take sleep inducing drugs on a regular basis in self defense. I take drugs. Over the counter stuff I found at wallyworld that seems to work pretty well. Going to bed early due to exhaustion from a long day at work, or just being miserably cold is to my detriment. But if either of those things occur: cold or tired, I fall in too early even though I know better.

I don't want to take the generic form of benadyrl as I do not care for the side effects. After reading lots of labels, I found something similar, and actually even cheaper than the store brand of benadryl. I cannot buy in quantity, so the package has only has 32. In order to not have to go every month for more, when I get there I will buy three or four packages: only $4 each, enough to last a while, as I take it every night.

It used to come in boxed, with two foil blister packs, but now the box has a small plastic child-proof bottle. And in the bottle with 32 little blue pills rattling around in the bottom, is a two inch long piece of cotton. I combined all four into one bottle, and had four pieces of cotton I was going to put in the trash. And thought: I could put it out on a bush in the backyard for bird-nesting material. You are seeing shreds of cotton I draped across twigs for the song birds. All those feathered friends who have found my bird feeder. Hope they will notice the shreds of cotton batting and use to build their little nests and raise a crop of birdies to make more songs.

can of soup...

Friday, January 13, 2017
...opened this evening to go into a recipe I found and wanted to try. Made me think of my mom and her interest in anything Free. Even though I cannot recall the last time I opened and used any variety of Campbells's soup, looking at the label reminded me of a story I would now like to tell on my mom.

Prefaced by the fact that she was a child of the Depression era, and raised by people who were remarkably frugal, saving leftovers for soup pot, odd bits of string for tying together, rusty screws and bolts because you might need one just that size, bent nails to straighten out and re-use. As well as clothing to hand-me-down, then recycle again as quilt pieces. Thrifty to the bone.

When I was maybe not yet in my teens, she heard about a deal where you could send in ten labels from cans of Campbell's soup and get a free coffee mug. The mug was printed with the colors, in the same design as the paper labels on the cans, so it looked like you were drinking your morning coffee out of a soup can with a handle on it. Nothing fancy, but free.

Choppy went to all the neighbors and asked them to save labels from cans when they used the soup. But that did not produce enough labels to suit her. So she made my dad go with her to the city dump to root through trash and find more soup cans. I do not know how many mugs she ended up with, but there were Campbell's soup mugs around our house for years and years.

And likely still some of those 'free' mugs in the attic today. Probably a collectible now, but even after all this time, I doubt they have any real value. Other than a holder for a cup of hot tea or coffee, since they must have given away a gazillion. I had to laugh when I opened that can of soup and thought of her.  When she got a plan in her head, you better get out of the way....

decided, un-decided, re-decided...

Thursday, January 12, 2017
... about making New Year's resolutions. My first thought was: don't do it. My second was maybe. The third was: be sure you can accomplish it! Make certain it is 'do-able'.I can vaguely recall the time I first heard about them. As a youngster when my mom sat my brother and I down telling us we should write some down. I had no idea what she was talking about. I assume she explained, and we responded in an appropriate manner. And that we did not hear the sound of a belt whipping through the belt loops of my dad's trousers as result of failure...

I realize now that those things we make note of are no more than pipe dreams, things we would wish to change in our lives. Operative word in the preceding sentence is 'wish', meaning it may never come to fruition. Projects we propose to undertake when we have more time or motivation, along the lines of 'get organized' or 'loose ten pounds'. Does seeing them written on a piece of paper make them more valid, or the writer more likely to follow through?

I had several things I made notes about (unofficial, I suppose, since it is written n a scrap of paper, with torn edges. To make it easier to ignore? Or toss?) early last year. Stuck up on the edge of a shelf in the kitchen - a very obvious place where I would frequently see it and be reminded of 'to do' list.

It's still right there. I am (marginally) better organized, due to having sorted through a pile of papers getting tax prep. done. It appears I am much better at eliminating clutter in Other People's lives than my own. Having no problem what-so-ever donating to the thrift shop if it is not my stuff we are talking about parting with. Like golf clubs and shoes that have not been used in nearly twenty years.

But the New Improved Resolution is to be deliberate about having lunch with friends in the coming months. My plan is to meet various people I know and enjoy at least once a week, and share a meal together. But eating is not the best part. These will all be people that make me laugh. Maybe folks with a positive joyful outlook that can always see the bright side of every situation. Or friends with a off-beat sense of humor, possibly a bit towards The Dark Side, but amusing in their oddball take on life. Perhaps someone I have not seen in a while, and would like to meet for eats and chat.  What a friend from church calls 'doing life together'.  If you are ready to be put on my calendar for a lunch date ,prepared with funny stories, tales of amusement, Youtube videos, give a call!

substitute teaching...

.... in a kindergarten classroom, down on the south side of town, where most of the population is black and Latino. Thankfully, when I arrived,  there was a para-pro, who sorta knew some of the kids.  He had already gotten them started on some busy-work, copying sentences from a picture book. Obviously has quite a bit of experience, as he would readily nip 'horseplay' or any sort of unacceptable behavior in the bud. Applying ample discipline and supervision when needed.

It is always obvious as soon as you walk in the door who the ones are that have a history of disruptive behavior: they will be sitting at a desk pulled up in very close proximity to the teacher. Or at a table by themselves to avoid distracting other students. Or possibly in a sort of isolation situation, facing the wall to keep them from annoying classmates. There were a couple of those, but other than appearing to be 'spring loaded', not badly behaved.

It was a struggle to keep them busy (antidote to misbehavior) early in the day, being unable to find any emergency lesson plans, or copied pages of instructional materials, something to teach with. I am fairly certain the regular classroom teachers are very much dependent on media, turning on the electronics/laptop and feeding prepared stuff onto the whiteboard installed on the wall. Taking up so much whiteboard space, you really can't teach the old-fashioned way, writing with dry-erase markers.
Mr. Para-pro slipped next door, and brought in a teacher who provided enough materials to get us through the day, some copied pages, some materials from workbooks to review numbers, counting.

Near the end of the day, several students were pulled from the classroom, and taken away. I later found they were in an ESOL program. I am sure they were greatly relieved to hear someone speaking their language if only for a short time. I have little experience with attempting to communicate in a different tongue, but imagine how frustrating it must be to see fellow students having such ease, being so successful, while you struggle to understand what you have been instructed to do.

We made it through. Mr. P. had been around enough to know the 'send them  home' drill, with some going to day-care, some on the big yellow bus, some walking with older siblings, and a few that would be car-riders. All out the door by 2:30. I walked to my car thinking: only nine more of these!

The best part of the day for students was probably lunch: cheeseburgers. The best part of the day for me was repeatedly helping a little boy do his work. He was obviously Hispanic, and other students at his table said he does not talk. He never, at any point, spontaneously started an assignment. Just sat and watched. Almost leading one to believe he could not hear.

After the other table-mates told me several times he does not do anything, I started working with him. Putting the pencil in his hand, writing his name on the top of the paper, and talking through the work.  He was holding the pencil, with my hand doing the writing. We did several pages from a workbook of reviewing numbers, counting groups of items printed on the paper, then writing the answers.  I would point to the objects one by one: birds, balloons, pinwheels printed on the page, counting to 7 or 8 or 10. Then write the number/answer. By the end of the page with the ten groups of birds, not only did he write the number by himself he said the word!  It may have all been for naught, but I was so pleased with him, and my efforts. Feeling like he had made some small progress, I felt as if I had won a blue ribbon for the day. I know Johnathan deserved one for having the courage to inch out of his shell.

gift from a co-worker...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
...received before Christmas. M. is very sweet, has a cooperative spirit, is a joy to work with, and some one I like very much. I did not expect a gift from her, and was surprised to receive a big wrapped box. I knew it was a 'throw', as the big box was very light, and kinda squishy. I did not open it until Christmas Day, when we got home from family fun and lunch in Decatur.

You know how I go to the library and check out cheezy, crummy or weird DVD's to view movies at home. It is the only 'tv' I watch, as I do not care to devote my time to mastering skills necessary to operate all the remotes needed to get it started. Every week or so, I will go back to the library and peruse the holdings, make selections, and bring home an assortment. Seven is all they allow at one time, but it usually takes two weeks to see them all due to: going to bed too early, meetings at night, someone being a tv hog when there is a ball game on, etc.

When I opened the box with that wonderfully warm, snugly, fuzzy throw, we had a movie to watch. I sat down on the couch, covered up and got settled. I was asleep within minutes. The next few times I got myself all situated, with feet propped up and blanket tucked in, the same thing happened. I told M. about how that warm cozy throw seemed to be saturated in some mysterious chemical that was sleep-inducing.

It even works in the daytime. I recently went in earlier than early (usually at 6, but at 5 one morning) and was worn out by the time I got home in the early afternoon, on my feets for many hours. And laid down on the couch to rest my weary bones. Covered up with that friendly fuzzy throw, in the bright daylight, and was asleep in minutes. It is all very mysterious. Now I am wondering if it has been soaked in chamomile tea, that is supposed to help produce restful rest? Or imbued with melatonin that has sleep inducing qualities? Every time I sit down, get comfortable and securely wrapped, tidily tucked in, it happens. I am so relaxed, the blanket so snuggly, I am making zzzz's.

bird feeding...

Monday, January 9, 2017
...with the new purchase from wallyworld when I went shopping today. It was 'way more expensive than I expected, and I did not get what I was really looking for, but really wanted one. Of course, when you have a feeder, you also have to purchase seeds to go in it.

I received a feeder Christmas a year ago, along with seeds to put in it.  Already had a metal hook to mount it on, and enjoyed watching the little feathered fowl flitting around when I would remember to put the seeds out. It was such good entertainment, I decided I should have another one so used my gift card from Santa,  and gave it to me for a Christmas present. I've already put it out, after spilling copious amounts of seed on the driveway while filling. Do not think they have found it yet, but hope they will soon - and enjoy the beneficence of eating at the buffet.

I remember sitting here typing back in the summer, watching birds play in water. They immediately discovered fresh water after I had filled a basin  for small critters. It was so amusing seeing birds having glorious fun splashing and splattering. I will get another shallow container to put out for more water, someplace close to the new feeder, and welcome feathered friends to my yard.

this is what happens...

...when you volunteer to do a good deed. It is invariably true that you receive a bigger blessing than you give. Thinking you might help someone who is less fortunate, or in some sort of bind, be it a financial, emotional, life-style issue, you will see so many reasons to be thankful for the mundane, pedestrian blessings of life. Walking out the door, believing you are the one being useful, only to find that it was really an opportunity to receive rather than give.

I've been doing this volunteer thing for a couple of years, occasionally helping patients who need transportation get to their appointments for treatment at the local cancer center. Starting off: most definitely thankful for good health, as I meet people in various stages of their struggle and the ongoing fight against an invasive non-discriminatory disease. Those patients I drive for are people who do not readily have transportation at their convenience. Which gives cause to be thankful for what I drive, and the ability to buy gas, tires, oil changes as needed.

The woman I picked up on Friday afternoon is someone I have driven to treatment appointments a couple of times in recent weeks. Always very polite,appreciative and saying thank you. On Friday she asked if I would mind taking her downtown before we went to the cancer center. She wanted to go to a church food bank, hoping she could get enough groceries to tide her over until she receives monthly food stamps. I assume she is either on social security or disability, but not providing enough income to live on.

I heard her say she had four other people in her household, so I hope some of them are helping with expenses - they looked grown and capable the day I got a glimpse through the open door. I went in the building with her, when I got cold sitting in my car. And waited about half an hour until her number came up and she got four big bags of staple items.  Went on to the treatment appointment and then took her home.

I had to tell that story when I found someone who would listen, and say: doesn't that give you so many reasons to be thankful? Especially if you are a person who can routinely buy things at the grocery store, pull out the credit card to pay, and do not ever have to stop and think: 'can I afford this?' Or have to decide at the checkout line what to put back when over the limit like people on limited income or food stamps must regularly do.

'back door' weather alert...

Sunday, January 8, 2017
... being announced too late to be of any value. The story started Saturday morning. I had been up for a while, dressed and puttering around, drinking something warm, while sitting here typing. The Man Who Lives Here came down the hall, fully dressed, ready to start his day and sat down across the table from me. He was putting on layers to go out and get in his vehicle, so I asked him about his hat. A little red, knitted toboggan he could pull down over his ears, but he seems to not do that. (I know he would be even harder to talk to if he did, as it would be even more difficult for him to hear if his ears were covered.)

He reported that his hat was in the car, and  he would put it on when  he went outside. Then he said: 'do you know  how cold it is out there?' It was likely about 8:00 a.m., so had warmed up considerably from the overnight low. I did not care, or want to know. But he so obviously wanted to tell, so I asked. He gleefully reported that the current outdoor temperature was 27 degrees. This from the Man Who Loves to Fret About the Weather. I said: 'wow'.

He went on about his business, headed out to get underway. I walked out to the car, as he was starting and said: 'It doesn't work if you don't put it on your head'. He said: 'Oh'. And proceeded to root around amongst the front seat clutter and find his little red knit cap to apply to his head. Then I said: 'The only thing you are allowed to say about the weather in the future is 'Man! I sure am glad I don't live in Pennsylvania!' Nothing else, not a word."

He was still in bed this morning when I left to go to work, so I do not have a report on what the temperature was like today.  He is sitting here now, in front of the tv, with a new knit cap on. I found at JCP when I went yesterday looking for some gloves to replace the ones I bought him before that mysteriously vanished. This cap is the epitome of warm: lined with fleece. I suspect anyone else wearing it would eventually break out in a sweat, rip it off, and throw across the room. But he might find it so useful he will wear it to bed.

There was ice on places where water runs in the parking lot at church when I went about 9:30. I am sure it has warmed up enough with bright sunshine to melt any lingering slick patches. But it is plenty cold out there, even with it being a clear, beautiful sunny day.

a guy from church...

Friday, January 6, 2017
... is a friend who has been struggling with employment for some time. A really nice guy, who has seen some rough places in recent years, has one of the best 'hard luck' stories, if there is any way you can apply the word 'excellent' to a long convoluted tale of woe. I met him when we were volunteering as behind the scenes workers at a Christian retreat center up in Harris County. Organizers like to call the people who make the events successful 'servants' rather than worker bees, as we 'serve' doing lots of undesirable/unpleasant tasks while being invisible.

I had been on the retreat the previous year, and had the 'fever', desire of wanting to be a part of such a unique, gratifying experience. J. and I were bumbling around helping out in the kitchen: a pretty big undertaking, completely run by free labor, who do all the work to prepare and serve three meals a day to fifty or sixty people over a three day weekend.  Assigned to the kitchen, which is probably where everyone starts, until they find their niche. As we worked, talked, interacted, got to know the old-timers/more experienced helpers, we found our church membership as a commonality.

J. hit some really bumpy places in his personal life, at odds with family members, and was sadly outnumbered. Resulting in J. being locked up on a peace warrant for months.  I wrote him cards and notes with words of encouragement, Sunday comics, accompanied by 3 x5 cards with Bible verses to ponder, or amusing quotes to provide a laugh. He eventually got out, after spending weeks incarcerated, when the judge decided it was all too frivolous and superficial to waste the courts' time pursuing. With no job, no home, no means of support, lots of debt. A bad place to be in, in a society that judges by appearance, possessions, income.

We have remained casual friends, seeing each other occasionally at on Sunday mornings. He has struggled with employment, currently without work. Will be going back to a job he found after he was released, but is menial. He has a great attitude, willing to work, But just cannot seem to find the place he is supposed to be.

I called him recently to ask about meeting for lunch. We sat in BK and talked for nearly two hours today. Before I left, I told him my only new years' resolution is to have lunch every week with someone who makes me laugh  - and today was his Lucky Day. I don't know if his history creates problems, or maybe age is something that employers are surreptitiously considering.  I do know he is a good guy, who might have made some poor decisions, but hope that the past is not going to continue to haunt him in the future.

it was not unexpected...

...but still aggravating. I have been putting in lots of hours at work since before Thanksgiving, as much (or possibly more) as my weary feets could tolerate. Due to co-workers trying to use up the last bits of vacation time, out sick, out in left field, wandering in the wilderness, dealing with family members health issues.Resulting in unintentionally providing me with the opportunity to work more than usual, and get a much nicer paycheck. Which I should have been socking away for hard times, as they are a 'comin'....

It is true, and appears to have come to a screeching halt: this coming week, starting on Saturday, I am on the schedule for five hours. For the entire week. I sorta' knew it would happen, as this same thing occurred last January. The 'labor budget' has been drastically whacked store-wide, and trickled down to effect me, sitting here in the dark at the bottom of the totem pole. I work at the convenience of the manager, often on a whim. Meaning, generally trying to be flexible/available to be able to show up as needed so I might work more.

Otherwise providing me with days on end to putter around the house, lunch with friends. Opportunity to move forward on those resolutions I recycled from last January.  I see no point in having to invent up new ones, when the ones from 2016 are still unused and perfectly valid.

I was telling someone today that having a lot of free time in the next few weeks will hopefully inspire me to search out some substitute teaching work. Even though right now, I am at such a great distance from the idea of spending a day or ten in a classroom with sneezing, drippy coughing, whiny kids I cannot imagine doing it.Plus it takes weeks and weeks before the pay arrives - so long that I usually forgotten what it is for!  Not sure why I signed on to do the work, but will give it a try and see  how it goes

diggin' into the new year...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

...making holes and planting things that are much happier in the ground than they would be hanging around awaiting attention. I am so pleased they are planted, in the ground before the rains started. We've had more rain in the past several days. over the New Year weekend, than in preceding months. A long desperate dry spell, resulting in lowered water table, lots of landscaping plants dying. Things that are normally drought resistant appearing like they will not survive. Forest fires everywhere, and loss of personal property as well as many acres of undeveloped or protected lands.

I received some narcissus bulbs, and have 'forced' them to bloom indoors in the past, but decided I would enjoy them more and longer if they were outside. They are not difficult to make bloom inside, in just a saucer with some rocks to stabilize and enough water to encourage the roots to grow. But only marginally successful outdoors if they are forced to bloom without being actually planted the first time. I'm hoping they will start sending up shoots, then bloom where I can see them, planted right near the window where I look out onto the world while typing.

Also received some deciduous holly plants that I am really excited about. They will make colorful berries but loose their leaves in the late fall, to have nothing but showy red fruit in the winter. I planted them in pots and dug a hole in the yard, to put the pots in and cover with mulch. You might not know that a male and female plant are required for berry making. So I have one male plant who will have three wives if they all survive - a family of Mormon hollies?

Then I planted some iris plants that have been sadly neglected for months. In a place that has very poor soil, hard red clay, so I added some of my home-made dirt to give them a good start. A gardening friend gave them in the late summer, when she decided it was time to dig and divide a dense clump. They are up near the street where I planted some other iris last year. The older ones will be purple, and the newest are yellow. There are some spring bulbs dug into the clay bank there also, and a bunch of Easter lily plants rescued from certain death.  Looking forward to spring!

needing a cypher......

... someone who can help me understand the meaning of a dream I had overnight. I rarely remember any dreams, so the ones I do recall upon awaking seem to be meaningful. I've read that everyone of us dream at night, when we tune down busyness of the day. That the subconscious takes an active role in our heads during those times we are not trying to process information, and leaving brain cells free to wander at will.

I had a dream about my obstreperous auntie. She asked  me for help. Which in it self is quite unusual, as she called the police about me again. This is the second call I have had from the police department, asking me what is going on with her, and telling me I need to keep my distance. She reportedly continues to worry that about me coming in her house - to the point that she got the locks re-keyed on her doors, again. Sadly, within twenty-four hours, she had locked herself in the house. Calling the locksmith to come and rescue her.

The dream was about her needing me to assist with delivering some cards/notices she had written. I got the list of addresses and started writing them on the cards, to get them ready to take to different people. But when I looked at the ones she had written: they were, as I should have known, illegible. You could not read her handwriting, as has been the case for some time. It literally looked like scribbles. Some had names and streets, the first two lines of an address, but no town or state, so you had no idea where the recipient lived, even if you could decipher their names and street of residence.

And naturally, she got angry when I pointed out that I could not read her handwriting. She had asked for my help, I found I could not do what she asked. And she got furious with me for pointing out that no one could decipher what she had put on the cards. I'm wondering what all this means? She currently so mad at me she does not communicate - but the last correspondence I received, most recent notes she mailed to me - I did not even open. It would so try my last shred of patience to try to figure out what she was attempting to write, it was healthier/better to not even make the effort.

I will ponder on this today, and hope for clarity. Wondering if she really does need help, and the dream was some sort of communication that I should respond to?

watching old, crummy movies...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
...along with a few good ones I have been checking out and bringing home from the library. The one we viewed last night was probably the worst (though there were some that were so bad, we did not actually watch more than ten or so minutes before hitting the reject button.) I don't watch tv for several reasons, one being it is so dang complicated to operate it requires three remotes. Not something I want to devote my limited supply of patience to mastering. Plus The Man Who Lives Here is so short on that particular trait, we would likely come to blows, then I would be tossing the telly out the door.

The one we viewed last night was "11.22.63" starring James Franco, who was poorly cast, and Chris Cooper who did an excellent job of playing a grizzled curmudgeon. It might be worth watching as a prime example of something remarkably awful. The plot revolved around time travel.  If you are old enough, that date stands out in your memory as the day JKF was assassinated in Dallas. Franco's goal was, as you might expect. to change history. The most bizarre part was how the movie ended, but didn't - several times. The credits would roll, then the story line would pick up again. I finally went to bed, giving up on it ever coming to a real conclusion.

I can check out a maximum of seven from the library,and usually do. Finding some that I have already seen, and some that might/not be worth looking at. But when there is no cost involved and you can get them for seven days, often worth a trip. I've found some older ones I liked so much I know I would watch again, and some taht were so bad we ejected after ten minutes. The price is still good, as long as I can remember to recheck or get them back before fines kick in.

another thing from my mom...

Monday, January 2, 2017
...who was pretty adamant about what you should consume on New Year's Day for guaranteed prosperity. It's a southern thing. After working from 6 am until 430 pm on Sunday, Jan. 1, I came home and cooked black-eyed peas and rice. Consumed enough to provide sufficient gas for me to get to work by 5 am today.

The true, actual, proper southern tradition is black-eye peas and greens. I'm thinking that the cooked greens were meant to represent folding money, and the peas an indicator of coins. Eat plenty and your pockets will always be full. I cannot verify, but fear of the opposite consequences has me always eating peas on New Year's Day.

I have never been a fan of greens. The one and only time I was able to choke a serving down is when someone suggested it would be ok to liberally apply ketchup. Which I did, but even with a good dousing, not enough to inspire me to ask for more. Or ever want to volunteer to eat again.

But the peas were plentiful here last night. I even made a huge sacrifice by getting a hunk of ham to put in the pot with the fresh peas.The Man Who Lives Here, and likes to eat had a plate full as well. Accompanied with an apology for the fact that there was no 'Yankee fare' on the table. The perfect  meal for a man born in PA would have included pork roast and mashed potatoes. Did not happen here.

At some point yesterday, I walked by a man who looked a little lost or confounded, and asked if he needed help. He said he was waiting for an employee to check in the stock room for some frozen peas. I told him he could get fresh in the produce department. Then quickly told the story of being a young, inexpreienced cook who did not know you don't have to cook the whole pound bag of dried peas. Never thinking you could only cook a few, or half the bag, and save the rest. In the following days I also discovered how the peas turn to mush when you reheat and reheat and reheat. (I also did  not know you don't have to eat them all. Was not raised in a house where you threw food in the trash, so it never occurred to me you could put them in the trash when you get tired of eating them - which is what I did last night!

buying tires...

...not me. I am happy to Not spend my hard earned funds on replacing the tires on my little Toyota. The Man Who Lives Here reports he needs to buy new tires for his vehicle, and does not want to spend in the neighborhood of $1200 for a set of four. I am thinking: Holy Cow! Doesn't that seem like a whopping lot for tires?

It has been a couple of years since I bought four, and it seems like I spent around eighty bucks for four back then. Which is a whopping lot, especially after adding on the balancing and a synthetic oil change. But I cannot imagine being willing to pay three hundred dollars for a tire, and multiplying by four!

When I was at my friendly neighborhood tire store in December, due to needing another oil change, I read a poster about tire purchases. Making me discover the whole world doe  not feel the necessity (or pressure from the tire salesman) to put four new tires on a vehicle at one time. You actually can only buy two. This never occurred to me before I read the sign, describing why you would put the new ones with better treads on the back, to insure good traction in bad weather. I was surprised to think that there are people out there who would not feel called upon to get a complete set. Wow.

I am also surprised  that there are people in the world who will not shop around for the best price. The Man Who Lives Here is a prime example. He has been using the same business for over thirty years to get oil changed, routine maintenance and purchase new tires for family vehicles. He feels like they do a good job, are trustworthy and are available when he needs them. All true - which is how you build a reputation. Does not mean you have the best price. It takes so little effort, especially when comparison shopping on the internet to check around. I am baffled as to why The Man Who Lives Here will not make the effort to look around, ask questions, get the best price when the necessity arises.

my mama said...

...though it sounds like a quote from "Forest Gump" the Tom Hanks movie, Hollywood is not the source. This is most definitely something I often heard as a kid. Though I have recently written about several amusing southern sayings that seemed to be specific to my mom, this is not one of those colloquialisms.

She likely heard this from a friend or farming person and after testing it for herself, believed it to be true. A homemade/countryfied method for weather prognostication: She believed you could keep notes about the weather conditions for the last six days of December, and the first six of the following January to determine what the new year would bring. Any attempts I have made to test the validity met with complete failure. Primarily due to not thinking about this theory until maybe a day or two before the end of the year, when it would be too late to make notes counting back six days to start at Dec. 26.  And if you have waited until half way into that twelve day window, the opportunity to determine the veracity of the idea has passed you by.

You might think to yourself  'that is not going to work' and say 'there is no way making notes about conditions for twelve days running will provide an accurate prediction'. But here's the thing - it is different every where. You might be keeping a running calendar by sticking your head out the window on a given day to know what to anticipate month by month. And then find yourself disappointed and surprised that your note taking was from naught. Possibly - but you need to realize that a humongous variety of weather conditions occur at various places on our planet. All at the same time, but with any number of different situations around the globe in various latitudes and climates.

Yes. You are right. That is crazy talk. And Yes, my mom was right, too!