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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.

traveling...

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.