Monday, May 31, 2010

Auntie Got Her Wish

She's been wanting to go see her Mama and my Dad in heaven for a month now: last night she got her wish. My wish for her is finally peace and a release from pain that's plagued her since her stroke almost 10 years ago.

Thanks for all your kind words; it really does help. I'll probably be absent here for a week or so but I take your love and hugs with me. You're good people and I'm glad to have you in my life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tough 2 days

I haven't forgotten you good folks. It's just that for the last 2 days, Auntie has been working on leaving the planet. Her time has come to leave us.

We've received that "it won't be much longer now" phone call and are doing what people do; waiting and thanking those who have worked so hard to ensure she's not in pain.

Thanks for the good thoughts I know you're sending my way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation Update

I'd like to say I've just been sitting back, being lazy. Or on a mountain top, centering my soul. Perhaps on a secluded island, with no electronic devices.

Nope. The closest I've gotten to an island is watching the series finale of "LOST".

So far we've had Auntie's car fixed and Hubby's truck once again has air conditioning. I went to the local Genealogy Archives, which was part of my vacationing plan as they are not open on Saturdays. They have the one book I needed to check so I could continue my family tree research this week. Yes, I actually find that relaxing.

When I drove up, notebook at the ready, my anticipation drained away as my eyes came in contact with a sign, "Closed for Renovations." I went next door to the Library, found a couple of useful books (but not the one I needed), then inquired as to when the Archives might be open. They didn't have a clue, but gave me the phone number. As I sat in my car, parked behind the Archives, I called the number, hoping to get a recording telling me when people were allowed inside again.

Imagine my surprise when a real, live person answered.

Unfortunately, the Archives is in a historic building and you can't just throw up some sheet rock, paint and call it renovated. They'll be closed to the public for months, although they did offer to help me, in a limited way. Why all I had to do was send them an e-mail with my question and when they weren't busy, they'd do their best to look it up. If the book hadn't been packed for storage during the renovation.

Does anyone else find it ironic that I drove 15 miles to look at books...only to sit outside and be told on the phone I needed to send them an e-mail?

Reboot. And try your vacation again.

Problem is, although I've taken a vacation from my desk, I still have a house that follows me around, begging for attention. I'm pretending to be deaf but occasionally I hear it. I have, however, instructed the Laundry not to speak to me until Saturday. If then.

So I gave the house a little attention until the flowers outside clamored for their turn. This morning I made strawberry jam and canned it... to remind me in winter that vacation was a good thing. And then I decided to sit down and e-mail the Archives about that book which is dodging me.

Which is when I saw my camera. Oh, how easily side tracked are the vacationing.

I downloaded the photos: some which I'd actually taken to share here...and steven will figure out which ones. And then there was "Bou's Story" which suddenly came to life. Since he's been giving me the evil eye since we left him at home this morning to run to the post office, bank and hardware store, guess he'll get top billing. Here we go.

It all began with the last Archery Tournament, where I'd taken numerous pictures. I sat on the grass outside Hubby's Archery Shop to review them while Walter the Guard Mockingbird yelled at me to get off his lawn. As you can see, he ignored my advice to not sit on the practice targets, so I ignored his.

Along came Smokey and Bou, to see what I was doing.
They appear to think it's cool I like to sit on the ground...just like them.

This is Bou, our youngest kid.
(Oh, you laugh but HE's the one who believes he's a person).
Although in people year's he's close to his mid 40s,
his chronological age of 6 is closer to describing his personality.
And he's a mischievous 6 year old at that.
As you can see, the first thing he did was try to look
at me through the lens.

Smokey, on the other hand
knows what nice days with a cool breeze are for.

Bou kept trying to look at me through the lens
so I finally turned the camera around to show him
what I was looking at.
I know, but he's like that.
It's the doggy equivalent of a kid's "Why?"
It's easier to go, "See? Nothing here."

He leaned in closer...his big body threatening to bowl me over.
I jokingly said, "If you want to use the camera, just ask."

Yep, I let him "use" it.
Putting the view finder up to his eye in the direction he was looking,
I snapped a shot.
No, that's not the grass growing greener over the septic tank.
It's where the picnic table, to the right,
had been sitting during our mini-drought.

Of course one shot wasn't enough.
Bou insisted on a second shot.
That's our pump house...
remember we live in the Country
and our water comes out of a well.
I did this same camera experiment
with my nephew when he was six.
Amazingly, he and Bou take similar photos.

My "on purpose" shots came courtesy
of my kitchen violets
who seemed to know I was on vacation
as they all bloomed at once.
This box holds a white & purple bloomer on the left
and a pink & purple speckled lovely on the right.

Close up of Miss Speckled

The other one has tripled in size since I re-potted it
and so I need to divide it again
to move it over to the empty side of the flower box.

A close up....for steven

So now, if you don't mind, I'm going to try and go find the
LAZY portion of my vacation.

Bou has promised to show me how to just sit....
and breathe.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where 140 characters paints a picture...or photo. Tell Susan if you play.

And she's landed safely, with little ones beaming. (No Thom, not that kind of beaming...Scotty wasn't involved, although I'd bet she wished he had been). Give her a while to catch her breath and she'll be commenting again in no time!

This week's photo:

"Oh how the mighty have fallen",
cried the monk second in command,
looking at his prone comrade.

You pushed him!" they chanted.

And one more, for Charlie

"What happened?" whispered a shaken monk.

"Sister Margaret."
"Said God told her to neuter Father
and she couldn’t abort the mission."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday 55....Plus

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words ". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then visit as many of these folks as you can. I know, I know, it's been a couple of weeks. You'll see why.

They sat in the waiting room.

A handsome black gentleman walked by, nodding good morning.

“Hope he’s not a doctor,” the old woman mumbled.

I sighed at our generational difference in attitudes.

And then it was our turn.

“I’m Dr. O,” the man offered.

The old woman stared.

“Interesting accent,” I smiled at him.


So there you have it. Both a Friday 55 and Part 3 of “Adventures with Auntie”.

Yes, it’s all true….the handsome gentleman turned out to be her doctor. Sadly, the stroke has altered Auntie’s perception to the point she often says things that perhaps in the past she would've kept to herself. To be polite. She would never purposely hurt anyone. Yet I still find myself shocked when such an ugly, old south attitude raises it’s head. But she’s 80 and that’s the way things were in her generation. To this day she STILL believes men know more than women. Sigh.

Guess that gave Doc half a chance.

So to the update: Her ride was on time. Doc was 15 minutes late. Auntie could still earn an Academy award for her continuing performance of “I was depressed, but now I’m not.” I was asked to stay, which presents a conundrum: the idea is to allow her private access to freely share her feelings with a stranger. My staying seems like an intrusion. Considering that she merely stared at Doc for the first 5 minutes, I guess it was good he at least had me to talk to.

Turned out between Doc’s accent and the word mangling left from her stroke, I became the equivalent of an U.N. translator. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Erring on the side of caution, so I wouldn’t earn my own medication, I smiled and interjected myself only when necessary. Like when Doc heard the answer to his question, “Why were you feeling depressed?” as “I’m tired of resisting.” I saw a puzzled look in his eye and before he could voice interest in exactly what she was resisting, I kinda butt in. I’d heard her answer and it was important.

Because for once, she was telling the truth.

“You know,” I said, turning towards her, a fellow sinus sufferer, “my ears are all blocked up today with this pollen. Would you please say that again?”

She nodded understandingly. She’s perhaps the only person on the planet who uses as much tissue as I do. Trees probably cower at the mere mention of our names.

In a very strong, clear voice she repeated, “I’m tired of existing.”

The light dawned in Doc’s eyes and he scribbled a new note.

Who wouldn’t be? I thought to myself, offering her a smile. She took my reaction to mean she’d done well and grinned as if she’d received an A+ on her report card.

I suddenly seemed to have something in my eye. Now where’s that darn box of tissues when you need them?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Physician....heal that Bishop!

Now let me preface this with two things: I believe in God. That belief includes the opinion that He gave us a brain....which we're expected to utilize for good. Secondly, I respect that every religion has their own "code" to follow and there are times we must "agree to disagree" so that Wars don't break out. But I still believe common sense should be a part of those philosophies.

One last bit of information before I offer the rest of the story.....the one which made steam come out of my ears today. I was born into a Baptist family and I married a Catholic. We married at a time when I didn't have to promise to raise my children in the Catholic church...or else. Although we visited each others' church when dating, we no longer belong to a church. Oh, both of us still believe in God and probably have more conversations with Him now than we did on Sundays. I just don't think an hour a week makes me a better person or that stained glass windows are mandatory for prayer. How I live every day should illustrate my beliefs.

The other thing you should know is that I think a woman has a right to choose whether she's a mother. No, I'm not Pro-Choice nor Anti-Abortion. I'm on this interesting fence called, "Use your head... and no, abortion is not a form of birth control." You see, although I love kids, we weren't able to have any. But that's okay. There are plenty of kids out there who need love and encouragement. And you don't have to be their mother to do that.

Today I learned of a nun who could use some encouraging words herself. After what I heard coming home today on NPR radio, I believe He might personally be coming down to smite a few Catholic Bishops and their lot.

Just when you thought the hierarchy in the Catholic church couldn't go lower than pedophile priest cover ups, meet poor Sister Margaret McBride, victim of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. What did Sister Margaret do which was so bad the Bishop declared her "automatically excommunicated"?

She choose to allow an abortion to save a woman's life.

Sister Margaret, administrator of a Catholic hospital, had to make a tough decision. If the Nun went "by the Catholic book" she was expected to allow a 27 year old mother of 5, in the 11th week of her pregnancy, to die along with the unborn baby. The woman, who was in "right heart failure", was too ill to move to an operating room, much less another hospital. The doctors advised if the woman continued the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "100%".

So what did Sister Margaret do? Depends on who you ask. If you ask me, I'd say she made a personally tough decision which allowed a mother to live and care for her other 5 children. If you ask Rev. John Ehrich, medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix he'd tell you, "She consented in the murder of an unborn child. There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can't do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means."

Really? Then Lord, I thank you for allowing me to be born into a Baptist family who passed along their common sense genes to me.

I actually yelled "Are you SERIOUS!?" at my radio. Pedophile priests, which seem to be a problem in epic proportion worldwide, are merely shuffled about and often sheltered from prosecution. The Catholic church says they can't marry, but evidently they can't be neutered either. Yet a nun who saves the life of another woman is...evil?

So riddle me this: in a religion where birth control is virtually outlawed, why are women, who carry the gift of giving life, treated lower than pedophiles who steal innocence?

Oh, that's right. Bishops are men. They can't give birth. Makes perfect sense to put them in charge of punishing someone who opted to save one life out of two.

So Sister Margaret, bless you for having a heart AND a backbone! I have a feeling God is smiling down on you....and crafting some lightning bolts for the men in the funny hats.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where 140 characters paints a picture...or photo. Tell Susan if you play.

Last night I dreamed she showed up on my doorstep to tell me I'd used 145 characters. Hmm. Hey Susan, where are you?

This week's illustration.

Here's 10 bushels of what?!
I've been in this kitchen for months.
I don't even know what's outside our front door.
More produce!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mental health...what's that?!

As predicted…there’s a story.

A story about a mental health appointment where the “patient” never showed.

Leaving the niece, (me) considered using it for herself.

I was on time. Early in fact. The medical transport people were to pick Auntie up at the nursing home 30 minutes prior to her appointment, then meet me at the doctor’s office where I’d hand over a check for transport. They use to just bill me. I guess the economy has voided that practice. Truth is, if I was in better shape, and she was a ton lighter, I’d just push here there. I clocked it this morning; it’s about 4 tenths of a mile from home to the doctor’s office. Charge for round trip: $52

The appointment time came. And went. No Auntie. I called the nursing home. Flustered, they finally admitted that because there was no check waiting at the nursing home when medical transport arrived…they left.

And no one called me.

Why? Because no one on duty knew I was going to the appointment.

No, it wasn’t a life-or-death appointment. (Well, not at THAT point). My initial reaction, however, was shouldn’t the nursing home staff have notified family that a resident with a scheduled doctor’s appointment had been virtually abandoned?

Kindhearted and understanding evaporated as steam came out of my ears. The not-happy-to-take-off-work-just-to-push-the-wheelchair-down-the-hall-because-the-medical-staff-won’t part pf me sighed through gritted teeth into the phone, “YOUR nurse made this arrangement.”

Guess who forgot to note it on the chart? My guess is Nurse Forgetful won’t like coming to work today.

So I sat, subconsciously counting large vehicles passing by that might be medical transport. The Armored Truck at the bank across the street was the most efficient. Perhaps I’ll give them a call next time. Sitting next to the t.v. I was able to listen to the same medical video loop from two weeks ago. Did you know the answer to what horrible ingredient cigarette smoke gives off is... nickel? Or that beet root juice is great for lowering cholesterol? I do. Because I sat there long enough for that video to play 3 times. I had to keep myself from mumbling the answers aloud. Like I needed my own appointment. At least the waiting room wasn’t a combat zone this time. And the music by the one handed guitar player on the video was soothing.

I’d have to check my cell phone for confirmation, but I'm guessing my calls to the nursing home for updates were about every 20 minutes. Each call brought a new revelation…like something out of a Three Stooges episode. (I’m sure YouTube can clue you in on who they are.). When the nursing home receptionist began automatically sending my call to the right person at the mere sound of my voice, I figured it was time to add her to my Christmas card list.

And now, for your amusement, we bring you: the Nurse’s end of the conversation.

#1 "I called and explained the situation to medical transport. They’re coming right back to get her. Only be a few minutes."

#2 "Yes, they assured me they're on the way. Really? It’s been 20 minutes already? Well, I just saw them walking up the hall and into her room. Just a few more minutes."

#3 (20 minute later, I walk up to the Nurses’ Station at the nursing home)
"Hi hope! Yes, I am Nurse L.. It's so nice to finally meet you in person. What do you mean, 'Where’s my aunt?'”

(Cue frantic phone call to medical transport).
"Uh-huh. I see. No, they rescheduled her appointment. You’ll have to bring her back here."

(Addressing me after hanging up)
"I don’t understand. They claim to be at the doctor’s office. Right now. Said they had to pull over ‘several times’ on the way there because your aunt was listing over in her wheelchair. But exactly how many times can you pull over and do that in a quarter mile?"

#4 "Yes, I’ll keep the check and give it to them when they arrive. You’re probably right about them charging her for the ride. And you'll probably pass them in the hall. I’m sooo sorry. I agree, we should kick Nurse Forgetful in the butt."

But I don’t pass them in the hall. Or on the road. Nor were they parked at the doctor’s office. Wearily, I head back to work after 2½ hours of phone calls and apologies; me to the doctor’s staff, the nursing home staff to me.

The irony? I had to take “Sick Leave” to attend her appointment.

As I reached for the door at work, my cell phone rang. “Hi, Nurse L. here! They just brought her back. Turns out they went to the wrong office. Good news, no charge! Plus we can keep this check and use it next week. Thank you for being sooo understanding.”

It’s enough to make you mental. And that’s not healthy.

I’m wondering if there’s a group rate available should I drag the nursing home staff AND medical transport inside for the next appointment?

To tell you the truth, I kinda missed the Hysterical Giggling Man. At least he lightened the mood.

Oh well, there’s always next week. Same time, same place.

So stay tuned for Part 3 of “Adventures with Auntie: Who’s giggling now?”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sorry, no 55 this week

I just don't have it in me this week; too many chores, many work related.

Besides, on Friday it's back to Funny Land with the Auntie for an appointment with the REAL head shrinking doctor rather than Surly Intake Woman.

On the "bright" side, if that appointment goes like last time, at least you'll get a good story out of it. Stay tuned for the next installment of "hope and the Hysterical Giggler"


"Run boys, he's about to erupt again!"

Hey, if I don't engage my sense of humor, they'll be fitting me for one of those jackets with the arms that tie in the back. :)

Good weekend all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where 140 characters paints a picture...or photo. Tell Susan if you play. But remember, she's probably tuckered out from packing. So let her read in peace.

This week's photo

Quick, here comes Pelosi!

I understand that if you keep your head down
and walk at a brisk pace,
you are rendered invisible to Congress.

I Could Use Some Help

Yes, I've been working on Family Tree stuff again. I have a whole batch of photos that no one can identify...if they're old enough to know, they're gone. Except for one and he was the baby, so he probably doesn't have any more clues than I do.

With that said, I could use some help with identifying the type of outfit this gentleman is wearing. Appears to be 1800s: not a Civil War uniform from the looks of it. However, we've thrown around every idea from Train Conductor, Military or Cop to Mailman. (Can't imagine them dressing THAT fancy!) I've tried photo enhancement, a magnifying glass in the sunlight...still coming up empty. Although on the second pass, we agreed he has some sort of "stripe" on the lower left sleeve.

Haven't been able to make out his name either: written on the top in pencil, the only letter I'm sure of is the last one "H.". So I put myself in your capable hands and ask you to see if you can at least help me identify the clothing...which might lead me to the era and the WHO of it all. Thanks y'all!

And is it just me,
or does he look a little bit like actor Tom Berenger?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunday Stealing or.....

...THOM made me do it! (Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Yes, I know Sunday is Mother's Day here. My Mom is at the beach and Hubby's Mom is coming over tomorrow so we can cook for her. DaBoys (chocolate labs Smokey & Bou) have promised not to nag me about feeding them, scratching their bellies, playing ball, letting them out, letting them in or feeding them again between naps as my gift. Oh, and I'm allowed to play on the computer without Bou knocking my hand off the keyboard as he then deftly slides it back so he can put his head in my lap.

Sunday Stealing originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Bottom line is we get to steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere....but only interesting and intelligent memes. Rules include crediting the blog that we stole it from and we will “fess up” to the blog owner where we stole the meme. (I've already alerted Thom). Sometimes the original is edited to make it more relevant to global players, to challenge players, select the best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive. Today's meme was um...borrowed from a blogger named Nige Lowrey at the blog Nige’s Page a’ Rage. He admits to nicking one of Rol’s memes, but didn't leave a link. So, here we go!

Sunday Stealing – The Speed Dating Meme

1. What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Oh The Places You'll Go

2. If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be? Ponderosa (And no, I never did like Little Joe...although Adam was cute)

3. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? 24 hours; working during Hurricane Hugo

4. What’s your favorite Barry Manilow song? Copacabana....I know, the shame.

5. Who’s your favorite Muppet? Beaker

6. What’s the habit you’re proudest of breaking? Chewing my nails as a kid.

7. What’s your favorite website? Why yours of course...(whoever you are, as you read my blog)

8. What’s your favorite school supply? Paper

9. Who’s your favorite TV attorney? Craig T. Nelson played one a long time ago; can't remember the name of the series.

10. What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles? To work.

11. What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found at a garage sale or junk shop? A chair; which turned out to be more of an antique than I realized.

12. Where were you on September 11, 2001? At home, with the flu.

13. What’s your favorite tree? Pecan

14. What’s the most interesting biography you’ve read? The Last Lecture

15. What do you order when you eat Chinese food? Sweet & Sour Chicken

16. What’s the best costume you’ve ever worn? Not big on costumes.

17. What’s your least favorite word? No

18. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be? Carolina. (South, of course)

19. Who’s your favorite bear? Dancing Bear. (Okay all you youngsters, go look it up. Start with Captain Kangaroo....and don't laugh at my childhood!)

20. Describe something that’s happened to you for which you have no explanation. People tell me things. I mean strangers, telling me personal stuff. I guess it's because I sit still...and listen without interrupting.

21. If you could travel anywhere in Africa, where would it be? Wherever those weird looking trees in National Geo specials grow.

22. What did you have for lunch yesterday? Baked chicken and mashed potatoes. Why?

23. Where do you go for advice? Hubby

24. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus? Dictionary

25. Have you ever been snorkeling? Scuba diving? No

Okay, you're next.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday 55.....finally!

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words ". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then visit as many 55ers as you can. I know, I know, it's been a couple of weeks. I need an "I Survived" t-shirt.

"I know you're tired," she smiled sympathetically
as he watched her wearily.
"Long week."

He nodded all knowingly.
Although he appeared solemn,
there was a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"If there was an Employee of the Month
for Guardian Angels,"
she added, "you'd ALWAYS win.
Guess you'd be thankful if I'd just sit still."

Well of course I have a Guardian Angel. Nope, not the haloed, soft focus, floating feathery being of the "Now, be good!" variety. Mine is a big guy (yes, GUY!) built like Conan the Barbarian with the temperament of Mother Teresa, an ability to deftly wield a sword like Zorro yet gentle enough to clamp his hand over my mouth when necessary. My guess is he's used his hands a lot this week. Oh, and he has a very healthy sense of humor...because no one can be THAT patient. I mentally envision the Archangel Michael calmly stepping between me and whatever I need to be saved from. It's tough when I need to be saved from myself.

He was really busy this week. If you doubt that, read this. Thanks Big Guy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For Thom

It's Wednesday. We're half way through the week. I'm on my way to a Staff Meeting. (Insert yawn here).

Checking e-mail prior to the meeting, I found an e-mail from a family member not known for the funniest forwards....but this one just screamed to be added to Thom's collection of Funnies. Probably won't be everyone's cup of tea but it's a sentiment we can all relate to.


Free to good home.

Excellent guard dog.

Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore as there are
no more Drug Pushers, Thieves, Murderers or Molesters
left in the neighborhood for him to eat.

Most of them knew Jethro
only by his Oriental street name:
Ho Le Schitt

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where 140 characters paints a picture...or photo. Tell Susan if you play. But remember, she's packing, so don't expect a reply right now. Um, anyone SEEN Susan lately? Susan...get out of that box this instant! That is not an economical mode of transportation.

This week's picture

Dude, what are you wearing on your legs?

I'm not the one with a RIBBON around my waist.

Well what's with the one in your hair?