Saturday, December 29, 2018

To stay or go...that is the question

Yesterday I was giving deep thought to just closing the door here and walking away.  What's supposed to be my refuge and place to be creative seemed to have become a second job...where I whined alot.

I was going to pull the plug.  For the second time actually.

And then I found 4 e-mail notifications that you, my friends, had dropped by to say hello.  One of you, who shall remain nameless because we've known each other for umpteen years, made me remember why I write.  Even if I can't stick to 500 words.   :)

Because I love to write.  For me, it's like breathing.

And I love y'all.  It'd feel weird not to be able to reach out and touch.

So for today, I'll leave the door open.  Maybe in 2019 I'll spend more time amongst friends and less worrying about what people I don't know consider important.

Happy New Year to the good people in my life.

Monday, December 17, 2018

I put myself in Time Out.


Well, partly because Hubby has been been recouping after hip surgery.  He's doing great.  I joke that I have to step on Superman's cape occasionally to slow him down so he doesn't hurt himself.

The rest of my self imposed Time Out was fatigue over conversations that are all anger and no substance.  It got so bad, I wrote this for my seniors' January newsletter.  Ironically, telling it made me feel better.  Hope you have a great week!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I listen to NPR news on my commute, so I know what’s going on in the world.  They remind me of Walter Cronkite, when both sides of a story were told and people were believed capable of making up their own minds.   Today’s news often feels like a carnival sideshow determined to make us squirm, not learn.

            
Some days, the news is just depressing.  Terrorist attacks on good, innocent people just minding their own business.  Feuding politicians...are there any other kind left?   Gun violence, lack of trust in those who actually serve and protect.  Kids who don’t know choices have consequences because they’ve grown up being told they’re special and never have to work to achieve anything...just show up and get a participation ribbon.  Stock market like a yo-yo, morals following the same path. I’m barraged with whose opinion matters more...and evidently it’s never mine.   It’s so bad my husband chooses to concentrate on the weather and impending storms.  He says if I don’t stop watching the news with my heart, I’m not going to get educated, I’m going to get an ulcer.


I try to separate fact from fiction but these days that’s often difficult.  Why is everyone so angry all the time?  Will “good news” stories ever outnumber the bad?  The truth is, we’re not in control of much but our reaction to life.  Sometimes it just feels overwhelming.  After yesterday’s news, a simple refrain suddenly came to mind, “Let their be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”


I try to practice that daily.  Sort of a self imposed following of the “Golden Rule”  24/7.  You know, hold the door for the person behind you or give someone the benefit of the doubt because you don’t walk in their shoes.  Am I always successful?  No.  But there aren’t passengers on my commute when I ponder whether other drivers own turn signals or a real driver’s license.  Being kind, however, is actually quite easy.  Sometimes it’s even contagious.


I started noticing that over the last several months...all because I  simply let someone go ahead of me in line.  It’s almost a reflex action.  If the person behind me has a couple of items and I have a cartful, I always say with a smile, ”Is that all you have?  Come on, go ahead of me.”  At first they hesitate, as if looking for the catch.  I keep smiling, often joking, “I’m in no hurry to go home and do laundry.”  That seems to make me normal,  so they laugh, step up and without fail say thanks when they’re done.   Previously silent people in line start talking to each other,  acknowledging that it really is easy to just be nice to people.   Even strangers.  One lady said when she went back home, up north,  she’d tell folks southern kindness wasn’t a myth. I hope she realizes there are lots of people like that.  Everywhere.


Standing in line recently,  I was tired and ready to block out noise pretending to be holiday jolly.  Two people were in line ahead of me and the gentleman behind only had a birthday card.  Before I could offer him a line upgrade, he smiled and asked, “Can you hold this for a minute?  I need to go to my car and get a pen.”  I silently nodded as he thrust the card in my hand and slipped out the door.  The lady behind me hissed he probably didn’t  have enough money or expected me to pay for it.   Before I could even consider replying, he returned with a grateful smile, thanked me and was amazed I wanted him to go ahead.  During the transaction the cashier remarked how nice I’d been.  I replied, “Hey, it’s so easy to be kind.  World would be a lot nicer if we just did that every day.”  As she yelled, “Amen sister!”, the man agreed, then turned to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Even the grumpy lady behind me was smiling.


Sir, you were most welcome.  For 30 seconds you let me block out the media demographic which would’ve reported which of us was black, who was white, our assorted ages and social economic status.  Truth is, good people are always there.  You just have to open your eyes and see them.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Under Re-Construction

We pause this Blog for a moment as Hubby has just had right hip replacement surgery.  

Oh, he did great.  Surgery Monday morning, released home Tuesday at noon.  "Slight" hiccup in the middle since his spinal wore off before the surgery was done.  Another story for another time.

Let's just say the toughest part of this recovery is convincing him that he's not Superman.  I took him today for his first Rehab session, a mere 2 days after surgery.  It was a pre-lim and the "real" work doesn't start until Friday.  And yet he not only argued that he wanted to drive there (he lost that round, with me compromising to drive his truck, which I don't really like), he won the next one.  His friend David is going to help at the Shop and yep, Hubby's been out there with him since we got home.

Supervisory level, he explained.  No heavy lifting or can-can dancing.  If I get tired, I'll come in the house, he promised.  I think I heard a Superman cape swing into action.

I went out to the Shop to take some paperwork and he's busy behind the counter, helping customers.  Seeing me he said, "Hey David, pass me that tool, would you?" while trying to appear innocent.

Men.  God help us.

So we go again Friday for his first real working session.  He's already told me he'll take himself for the next 5 weeks, beginning Monday.  We'll see.  I told my Boss I might need Monday off and she's already scheduled someone to cover me.

Now if only I don't need to take cover when Hubby hears that.  :)

Y'all have a good week.  (Maybe say a little prayer, think good thoughts or whistle a happy tune if you think of me).

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hey Ma Nature! Enough already!

Yes, we made it through Hurricane Michael's unwelcome visit with just wind and rain.   I picked up a lot of tree branches just now...because Hubby has hip replacement surgery next week and I didn't want the Doc to have to do "extra" repair work.   But the wind suddenly picked up again from dead calm to "breezy" so I decided to stop and allow anything still up in the tree to come to earth without using my head as a cushion.

Thanks to those who checked on us and Sister Savannah.   I'm hoping the rest of the storms will be like Hurricane Leslie, who's been spinning in circles in the Atlantic and trying to head back to Africa.

I'm ready for something different... cooler temperatures.  Hey Ponita, open that door in Canada and let in some fresh air, will ya?  

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today...

As we sat in the waiting room of the Orthopedic surgeon Hubby was due to see, I looked at him and said with a wry smile, "Tell me again why we were in such a big hurry to grow up when we were kids?  Why doesn't anyone ever tell you this part?"

You know, the part where your parts start to kink, wrinkle and fail.  At least now many of them can now be replaced.  I'm sure some day, they'll just take a few cells from your body and grow a new "whatever" you need fixed. 

Hubby nodded with that expression of someone in pain who is trying to remain upbeat.  He has a high pain threshold...but I've known him since he was 17, so I can take one look in his eyes and discover the truth.  Four years ago this surgeon replaced both of his knees, about three months apart.  The surgeon remarked at the time on how dense Hubby's bones were...joking that he went through 2 saw blades for the first surgery, making him buy "diamond tip blades" for the second.

We ran the gauntlet of the world's longest fill-in-the-blank medical questionnaire   (so long that Hubby said, "You know the answers.  Let me know if something stumps you."), to the "let's talk payment plan", being weighed, x-rayed and talking to the P.A., who we knew from the previous surgeries.  (And yes, they allowed me to go back with him, which meant I got to listen to 10 minutes of hunting stories before a plan was made.)

Oddly enough, it was the "payment plan" that proved most...interesting.

I wrote a check for the day's visit and the lady asked me for my driver's license.  When she was noting the number, she looked up with a smile and said, "Hey, I'm one of those!" as she pointed to her name tag, which bore my maiden name.  I asked who she had married, only to discover her name had never changed.  So, good southern gal that I am, the next question is always, "Who's your Daddy?"  When she told me, I instantly recognized the name and smiled. 

"You know who that is?" she asked, rather surprised.

I did.  First I offered my condolences, because he had passed away within the last year.  She was amazed I knew that.  I replied I remembered him in a way only a kid could and I hope she wouldn't be offended.  

When I was growing up, I called him "the Funeral Cousin."

Intrigued, she asked me to explain.  I shared that when I was a kid, it didn't matter which one of our clan died, her Dad always attended the funeral.  I recognized him immediately, but for some reason, could never remember his name.  Every time I would ask Dad, he'd tell me, and I would say, "Oh.  The Funeral Cousin."  Thankfully she wasn't offended and even smiled.  I asked who her Granddaddy was and since I handle our family tree, I knew her Granddaddy and mine were brothers.  When we exchanged names, she remembered my Dad.  We laughed about the small world moment and moved on to the next room.

As I sat in the exam room, waiting for Hubby to get back from x-ray, it made me think how many times I'd sat in a room like this when Dad had cancer.  Waiting for x-rays.  Results.  News sometimes good, but invariably bad.  Yet Dad had the same "I got this!" spirit that Hubby has when dealing with a physical problem.  Then for a moment, I got the oddest lump in my throat.  Somewhere from the back of my brain, where good memories generally dwell, came a sad one.  Today was the day in 1995 that we buried my Dad.

Then just as soon as the tears wanted to fall, something made me smile.  Of all the people who came to Dad's funeral, I only remember speaking to a fraction of them.  The one I remember?

The Funeral Cousin.  He came up to me at graveside, hugged me tight like a father would and told me what a good a man Dad had been.  Thanks Alfred, for always being there. 

Part of me wonders if our Dads were watching this morning, mine shaking his head that I couldn't remember a simple name and hers laughing that he'd had a nickname that still stuck from my childhood.  I wonder what they thought, seeing their girls together this morning, trying their best to help others.  I'm hoping they'd be as proud of us as we were of them.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Eye of the Beholder

My 2 and a half year old niece, Gracie, likes to come by with "Nana" (my Mom) to visit me at work on Wednesday afternoons before I go home.  There are a variety of objects in my office which she has claimed are now hers.  One is a "Sheep on a stick" sent by my Scottish poet friend, JoAnne McKay's twin boys years ago.  Their names are John and Luke.  After telling her where the sheep had come from, I asked what she'd like to name the sheep.  With a grin she declared, "John Luke!"   With thoughts of Capt. Picard running through my head, I congratulated her on the name.  She now comes in, tells me "Hi", then heads straight for the corner, advising she's going to retrieve John Luke. 

So when she's not drawing on the chalk board (my Center was originally a school and  3 of the rooms have old fashion, green chalkboards in them, the width of the front of the class), she finds new things to enjoy.  Both my niece, and her 18 year old off at college brother were both adopted the day after they were born.  But I think maybe I'm rubbing off on them.   "Nana" took one look at my tissue holder and declared it gross.  Gracie took one look at it and....

and started laughing.
That's why I got it...because it makes me laugh through allergy season.


Then there was the pen. 

It's a silly shape and she immediately latched on to it.  After playing with it for an hour, she promptly burst into tears when I told her she had to leave it at the office.  I wanted to get the "guts" out of it before she played with it again.  As she threw her arms around my neck and sobbed uncontrollably, I simply whispered that John Luke needed company until she got back.  She agreed.  

 In a happy moment...

What I love the most about the imagination of a child is that whatever is fresh in their brain, they apply.  I asked what she was going to "name" the pen (since she's named almost everything in my office).  She smiled and said, "Jesus!"  

Nana shared that at daycare, the kids had learned "Jesus Loves Me" that week.  So Miss Gracie decided it was a good name for her new friend.  



I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a pen from a Weight Loss group that meets at my Center.  Considering how many versions and portraits there are of Jesus, her version made me smile.

Thumbs up, kid.  Keep being creative.




Saturday, August 4, 2018

My Guardian Angel has a sense of humor

When I was a kid, adults were respected for staying with a job more than twenty years....well, the ones that weren't doing just enough above lazy to get a paycheck or couldn't be caught doing something illegal.  My grandfather's company not only threw an annual Christmas party where grandkids were invited, he received a gold pin every five years.  At one point, those pins started to have a ruby or diamond in them.  He received enough pins that Grandma had a nice ring made out of them after he died.

Dad wasn't as fortunate, as his company was bought and sold several times.  One acquisition even took away their previous retirement savings!  But at least the Bosses were smart enough to give out Atta-Boys to ensure he'd continue to show up.  Which he did, in spite of cancer and chemo treatments.

I hit a work milestone Friday in my role as Director of my senior citizen children.  The only reason anyone knew was because I made a joke in their monthly newsletter: "The 1st (and only) Director once said I'd never make it to 18 years, like her.  She was right.  I hit 25 years on Aug. 3rd.  And this is your 300th newsletter."

(Actually her REAL statement was that I was too young to understand old people, that I wouldn't last a year and I would be the downfall of the group to the point it would disband.)

Sometimes stubborn can prove a person wrong.  :)

I actually reached the 31 year mark with my employer this year, but the work world is a busy place and no one notices employees who show up....just the ones who frequently call in sick.  Deep down I know this.  I work in an "at will" state, meaning they can fire me if they don't like the color of my outfit...they merely don't need a reason to let me go.  Years ago I helped re-write the Employee Handbook.  It was re-written a couple of times over the last few years and it at this point, it looks more like a document to legally protect my employer from every possible angle under the sun, with employees resembling annoyances, not the help.  Public servants don't get to ask raises and if they had the gall to do so (not me) they're reminded about the "at will"  part.  Comes with the territory. 

And yet on Friday, I felt a huge sense of disappointment as the day came and went without a single mention that I'd given a quarter of a century of my life to one job.

I tried to shake it off.  I'm an adult, right?  After all, I handle the tasks of what was formerly performed by 2 people.  As the Director AND the entire staff, I should be use to it.

But there was a nagging sensation that maybe I'd made a bad choice in staying.  When I first began, only 3 of us in my Dept. had college degrees.  The pay does not reflect that.  (See asking for a raise reference).  The seniors of today can be more like spoiled children than the "greatest generation" folks that I started off with.  As I started up the driveway Friday afternoon on my way home, I felt like a dark cloud was hanging over my head...one as angry and menacing as the real skies above.  Why do I stay?  I'm not lazy and would never resort to anything illegal...I have a huge sense of right and wrong with NO poker face.

So as I prepared to sit for 10 minutes trying to turn left into weekend traffic, heart heavy, something across the road caught my eye.  Something which hadn't been there that morning.  A new billboard.



Okay Guardian Angel. 
 I get it. 
Doing for others, adding to the greater good,
 is better than pouting or tweeting.  
See you Monday morning.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Finding the Mute Button

Lately, social media and the news make me feel like....


Okay, except for the nice "average citizen" in England yesterday 
who told an NPR reporter during a man-on-the-street-interview,
 "We actually love Americans.  We love all of you... but one."

So today, think I'll take a break.  Y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

In Honor of George Washington and his friends

Today makes me want to give a standing ovation to the only U.S. President who was voted in unanimously, gave a 3 minute Inauguration speech, refused both a salary and the title of King, and gave America a good start.  

Nobody's perfect, but at least his heart was in the right place and he made decisions based on facts.  He may be the only President I wish I could've met.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Good bye my friend

In Oct. 2016, I shared how our old pecan tree, affectionately known as "The Old Gal" had barely survived a hurricane.  With the help of neighbors we got her back upright March 31, 2017.  Read about it here.

This spring, half of her sprung to life.  The right side, which had dug into the ground as if tunneling away from the storm, never did completely heal.  About a month later, Hubby noticed something odd.  Sawdust. Coming out of the tree.  Hubby looked chagrined and said something about wood boring beetles.

I nodded.  And felt slightly queasy.  Yet I, she of hope-springs-eternal, believed the rest of the Old Gal would triumph.  I'll admit to talking to her when I take the dog out or just before getting in my car to go to work.  

Sadly, even hope and TLC can't always save a tree.

Last week, the side with cute green leaves slowly turned brown.  And yep, we found sawdust coming out of the "good" side. She's still tall, but she's no longer proud.


As I sat on the steps last night, the dog wandering around watering the lawn, I'll admit a few tears fell.  After all, I'm the one who always told people, "We bought the tree and the house came with it."  The fact that a buzzard likes to roost on the top branch seems like insult to injury.  So yeah, I yelled at him last night to get the hell out of my tree!  The bird stared at me...the dog stared at me...and I yelled at the bird again until he flew off.  He circled round to come back but I stared at him so hard, he changed his mind.

That's when I saw it.

Hubby told me that at the base of the Old Gal is one of her "children" which has sprung up.  We will dig up that kid and nurture her until time to plant next year.  Yes, right in the same spot.  For now, the Old Gal will be my living lightning rod and will remain standing until at least summer is over.

Hubby said he hopes that some day, 300 years from now, someone looks up at a huge pecan tree out front and wonders where she came from.  In fact, he even said we should put everything in a journal so that someday, when we're dead and gone, whoever lives here will know she put up a good fight....and left a piece of herself behind.  That way, she really can live forever.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Remembering Dad

While I was doing Family Tree research on a newspaper website during my vacation, I came across this article I'd written about my Dad.   They printed it the week before Father's Day and I framed a copy, which he kept in his office...and made everyone read.   He's been gone since 1995 but I can STILL hear all those sounds.  Thanks Dad...memories do last longer than socks, ties or underwear.  ;)

If anyone wants to actually read it, let me know and I'll send you the pdf file.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Oh dear, Blog....part 2

Okay, so I thought it was smooth sailing after the alarm was fixed last Monday.  After all, no more false alarms and water was staying in the pipes rather than imitating bubbling, natural springs.  About the worse thing was Alarm Tech #2 telling Hubby that Tech #1 had no business making quotes on an updated system, as that's why they have Salesmen.

My dear Blog, never let your guard down when it comes to mechanical things.

Two days later I was at my desk when my cell phone rang.  I glanced at the screen and it said, "Alarm Company".  Puzzled, I answered and the woman began in that soft, soothing tone, "This is your alarm company.  We've received a silent panic alarm at your residence and we've been unable to reach your husband.  Law enforcement has been notified."

In my head I heard, "WHAT!?!?!"

Instead I said politely,"Thank you.  I'll try to reach him myself."  She thanked me and we hung up.

Inside my head, I told my own silent panic alarm to back down.  It quivered silently. This was a first.   We've never had a silent panic alarm go out.  You see, I'm number 4 on the list of numbers to call.  That means they'd tried the house, Hubby's Shop and his cell phone with no luck.  Now the man is as bad as a teenager when it comes to his cell phone...I'm not sure he ever turns it off.  Taking a deep breath to give internal panic something else to do, I began calling numbers.  

Home.  No answer.  Casually left message, "Hey, what's going on?  Alarm company called me and you have help on the way."  Cell phone....left same voice message.  Hey, maybe he's in the Shop since the Alarm Salesman's suppose to show today to upgrade our system.  Sure it's before opening time, but that's when he'd want a salesman there.  No answer.  Wow, that must be some sales pitch.

Round two.  Call the house.  No answer.  Well, considering what time it is, he's probably in the shower.  But just in case....call Cell phone and Shop.  Nothing.

Ten minutes have passed.  Round three.  Call house.  Nothing.  Leave message in a more urgent tone, "Silent panic alarm went off.  Where are you?"  Cell phone....didn't even bother to leave message.  Shop phone...,"I don't know what's going on, but I'm on my way home!"

This would probably seem like a good plan if I lived in the same town I worked.  There's over 20 miles between home and office.  But something was off.  And being the always prepared girl scout that I am, inside an evil whisper noted, "What if his hip went out and he fell...and used the key fob alarm to summon help?  Obviously he's nowhere near a phone."

So I calmly call our Main office and explain as quickly as possible that I'm concerned something might have happened to Hubby and I would ask my Tai Chi class to leave.  The Office Manager later told me I was so calm that she didn't realize how serious it was until I called back later.  Gave same explanation to class and they hustled out the door, content to finish outside while threatening me if I sped.

Hey, I actually put my car on cruise control so I didn't get a lead foot.  As I silently, then loudly, cursed the truck 4 vehicles ahead of me doing 35 mph on a road with nothing but curves, I tried one more round of calls.  Nothing.  I then called Hubby's pal, who's with the responding department, in hopes he could at least go check until either a Deputy or I arrived.  His phone just rang...and rang...and rang.  I didn't hear a voice mail prompt, so I hung up.  Clear of the idiot driver, I was ready to test hyper speed when the phone rang.

Hubby.

And I answered with a sweet, loving, "Where the hell are you!?  And are you okay?"
By the time he finished explaining, I feared we'd both get arrested for murder.

Turns out Bourbon the Lab, lover of all things wet, had found a mud puddle.  So Hubby left the cell phone in the house to give the dog a bath.  Then another Alarm Tech, (#3) pulled up to upgrade our system.  Salesman never showed but Hubby just figured someone got their wires crossed and assumed we wanted the upgrade as soon as possible.  He put the dog in the house, but didn't grab his phone.  The machine in the house is the only one we've ever had that doesn't BEEP when there's a message.  

Hubby was standing in the yard with Tech #3 when a Sheriff's Deputy pulled up.  Hubby was puzzled, even more so when the Tech checked his watch and said, "10 minutes.  Not a bad response time."

When Hubby questioned that, the mystery was solved.  Tech #3 said, "Oh, I activated the silent panic button to see what the response time for local law enforcement was.  That was pretty good."   

Thankfully Hubby knew the Deputy.  As the officer walked up, Hubby asked the Tech why he hadn't been informed of the test.  The Tech insinuated this was more "real".  It was then Hubby discovered that the Tech hadn't even called the Alarm Company!   Which is when he dashed back into the house to find messages from me that went from everyday jovial to borderline panic.

I think Hubby chewed the kid out...in front of the Deputy.  I went one step further and wrote the phone company.  We've done business with them for 38 years and they're great!  But they contract this type of work out.  You don't know you have idiots working for you if no one mentions it.  I sent a copy to the Sheriff too, with a cover letter thanking him for the quick response time that none of us had known was coming.  He's a new sheriff and things have improved on his watch.  Thought he should know I recognized that.

So Blog, if you don't mind, I'm gonna try and live the rest of the week in as boring a fashion as I can.  Next time we'll have a fun chat.  I promise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Dear Blog

I haven't deserted you.  Really.  I think about you often.  And fondly.  Truth is, sometimes 24 hours isn't long enough to get everything done. Don't give up on me.

You see, I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment.  The alarm went off Saturday morning at 1:30 a.m. with sirens loud enough for my friends to the north and across the pond to hear.  That meant Hubby's shop had been breached.  Note to self: when startled awake at the sound of emergency sirens, plant BOTH feet on the floor as you exit the bed.  One foot landings make the carpet runners next to the bed turn into surf boards.  Your left hip would like to advise that pinching the sciatic nerve does not catch criminals.  The good news was: no break in.  The bad news was the alarm then proceeded to malfunction and scream at 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.. 

Oh, did I mention Hubby walked out the door Saturday morning to discover the water gurgling from the ground wasn't a broken garden hose.  It was neither a hose nor a sudden "natural spring".  It was the pipe from pump house to house.  It created a small lake that made taking our chocolate lab Bourbon outside an impossible mission: he wondered why we kept going out the front door.  He's never met a puddle he doesn't want to embrace.  Stomp in.  Plop down and roll around in.

So that's one call to the Alarm folks, one call to the plumber.   The alarm guy comes that afternoon and fixes everything.  The plumber evidently was secluded in an unknown location.  Not just any plumber...a friend of Hubby's.  I feel nauseous and suddenly there is a sword running from butt, down my left leg and shooting out my ankle.  Next call to Mom: to tell her taking her out to lunch for Mother's Day has been postponed.  My ego officially hits the floor as our household's unofficial "theme song" plays in my head.  It's from an old t.v. show called "Hee Haw" and yep, it was as country cheesy as it sounds..  Evidently both of our Dads liked the stupid show because we both know it.  The song goes, "Doom, despair and agony on me.  Deep dark depression, excessive misery.  If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.  Doom, despair and agony on me."  (Even in my head, this is sung in a depressed, twang so southern Scarlett O'Hara would sound like a Yankee).    I apply ice and hope for the best.

Sunday morning at 1:30 a.m. the alarm awakes us from a dead sleep by chirping like a mocking bird on steroids.  Something has gone awry.  I've talked to the nice lady, Pam, at the alarm response center so many times I feel like I should put her on my Christmas list.  She is amazed that I sound so cool.  Well, I was a Dispatcher once and I know if you talk slow, your voice won't jump five gears to the point you sound like Alvin the Chipmunk.   Plus, I've spent quite a bit of time on ice that day. 

Hubby cooks chicken to take to his Mom's as all three of his siblings are at her house for Mother's Day.  I send my regrets and grab an ice pack.  I knew she'd understand.  Not because I married the only boy in the family or because I can always be counted on. Nope, bad backs run in their family and she's had enough back surgery to feel sympathy for me.  Hubby comes back home later with enough food to feed an army.  Then the plumber calls.

Evidently, third time's the charm.  I get home Monday to hear that the alarm has been properly fixed.  I say properly because it turns out that the nice young man who seems to bathe in cologne, had fixed the wrong parts, therefore confusing the radio signals, which is why things were chirping and complaining.  The plumber showed up.  Natural spring gone.  Bourbon, however, found the new watering hole.  Hubby came around the corner and said the dog looked like he was made of mud.  He got a bath.  Hubby probably got high blood pressure and wet.

So my dear Blog, things have been coming at us hot and heavy.  Thankfully my body comes with a self adjusting mode: I can turn back and forth to make my back snap into it's God given position.  Nerve un-pinched, now just sore.  You know it's pretty bad when you can get on your own nerves.

Don't worry blog.  Think of it as you've been on vacation and now you can tell me all about it.  At least you don't have a theme song or the problems of the every day lowly human.  Be thankful.

NOTE: Oh man, I found the silly thing!  It even sounds depressed.




Saturday, April 28, 2018

I Am...

...slowly returning back to normal after an intestinal bug I wouldn't wish on anyone.  Well, at least not on my friends.  Feel kinda like a limp rag, with little energy and no ambition.  Plus prior to that, I pulled a muscle (yes doing something I knew better than to do, but hey, I work alone) making it uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time.  (Yes Ponita, alternating ice and heat...getting better, just not fast enough).

...a little concerned.  When I called work late Tuesday afternoon to say I'd be out one more day, I was met with the comment that my Supervisor had just wondered where I was, as it wasn't like me to miss an event.  I asked if anyone had played the answering machine, where I called in MONDAY morning before the office opened to say I was ill.  They were shocked.  Seems no one knows where the PLAY button is.  Sigh.  

...a little worried.  Poor Hubby has a kidney stone and I hate that for him.  It's not the first and probably won't be the last.  Mom once said she'd had kidney stones and gave birth 3 times...and she thought the stones hurt worse.  So I grew up believing that the closest a man could get to the pain of childbirth was a kidney stone.  According to Hubby, he must be having twins.

...mostly tired.  Of all the noise and yelling and finger pointing in what use to be called "News" and is now more akin to media hell.  I turned off the t.v. and decided to play a game on the computer.  At least THAT puts me in control for a moment...as long as I don't sit too long.

...still in possession of my sense of humor.  Because before I turned the t.v. off, I heard an award winning (retired) reporter say, "South Korea is like Charlie Brown and N. Korea is like Lucy...with the football."  That made me smile.  Not sure what it says about me, other than I can still find humor in almost anything.

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Thinking Out Loud


     When looking at photos of myself as a kid, for a while I see a spark of curiosity that NOTHING could stop.  I hung upside down from my swing set and posed like a circus acrobat next to our wading pool.  Training wheels didn’t last long on my bike because I learned to ride the bike of the little boy across the street.  Yep, a boy’s bike.  I was outgoing and creative to the point of bossy.  Once, while the neighborhood kids and I were pretending to live in the Old West, I began instructing them on their “roles”, as if I was a Director on the set of “Gunsmoke”.  Yep, including their dialog. Today, that approach to “fun” would mortify Polite Me.
         There are photos of me in Halloween costumes which brought out my inner actress.  Dressed as an angel for a school classroom play, I actually VOLUNTEERED to step forward and sing “Away in a Manager”.  As a solo.
         And then one day, a switch flipped. 
         I went from ready to take on the world to painfully shy.  Blushing seemed to be my new talent.  Hiding in plain sight was my goal.  Finding a corner to observe the world was how my curiosity was fed.  Rather than raise my hand to answer the question, I silently prayed to avoid the spotlight.  Even if I knew the correct answer, I didn’t want all eyes on me.
         For years I wondered what changed.  What happened?  There was no personal tragedy.  No bullying.  No one being condescending.  The change silently occurred before puberty struck, so it wasn’t hormones and growing pains. I had, by choice, backed away. But why? I continued to wonder.  I finally figured it out.
         1968.
         The year I was ten has been described as “The Year That Shattered America”.  And all of it was documented on television. Back then, if your t.v. program suddenly became a static screen with the logo, “Special Bulletin” and a man toned gravely, ”We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin…”, something major had happened.  Something terrible.
         Today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.  When I learned of it, I was at a birthday sleepover.  All the other girls ran off to play a game, but I sat with the hostess’ Dad, watching the sad news unfold.  I felt the oddest emptiness in the pit of my stomach.  Dr. King and I shared a birthday and even as a kid I knew parts of the, “I Have A Dream” speech.  But I was witnessing a nightmare.  The nightly news would fill with the frightening, yet understandable, reply of rage in the streets.
         Months later, I’d go running into the kitchen to tell Mom that someone had shot Bobby Kennedy.  At first she didn’t believe me.  She thought I was confused and had seen something about JFK.  I persisted.  She relented and followed me.  Then she cried.
         T.V. didn’t seem to be my friend any more.  The Vietnam War was a nightly event.  When Uncle Walter Cronkite, the most objective newsman on the air, suddenly called U.S. involvement, “mired in stalemate”, I realized for the first time America didn’t win everything we attempted. Then the Democratic National Convention erupted. I can still see Dan Rather literally caught in the middle while trying to report.
         Today I checked to see what else had happened in 1968.  While I was aware of all of these events, I had no idea they’d all occurred the same year.
         North Korea seized the USS Pueblo: 1 killed, 82 imprisoned.  At year’s end they released the crew, but kept the ship.  (It’s on exhibit in the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang).
         S.C. State University: (aka the “Orangeburg Massacre).  Police opened fire on students protesting segregation in the town’s only Bowling Alley: 3 died, 27 wounded.  The 9 officers were acquitted.  The protest organizer was convicted of inciting a riot and served 7 months in prison.  He was pardoned…25 years later.  As kid living in S.C., this was unnerving.
         Pres. Johnson, having failed in Vietnam and struggling with Civil Rights, decided not to run.  Protests are held on college campuses nationwide while Draft Cards are burned.
         Dr. King is assassinated.
         Bobby Kennedy is assassinated.
         The Democratic National Convention: Members of the National Guard club/use teargas on antiwar demonstrators, as well as innocent bystanders and reporters.  The violence is caught on live t.v..
         Controversy ensues when Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise gloved fists during the medal ceremony to protest violence and poverty among African Americans. They are stripped of their medals.
         Fifty years later, I find it ironic that 2018 could also be described as, ”The Year That Shattered America”.  Politics are more important than people.  The Village that it used to take to raise a child is torn into special interest subgroups…the One Voice of a nation gathering strength is now a cacophony of special interests not aimed to aid the huddle masses yearning to break free.  Common Sense….R.I.P.
         I kinda miss “Special Bulletin” reports.  Those interruptions marked rare moments in history where America might not have shone in the moment, but once in-the-heat-of-the-moment emotion abated, we realize we’re stronger together than separate.  Now if only we'll put that into motion again, rather than view the world as Violence vs. Silence.
         Come on Common Sense…I don’t think I’m quite done with you yet.
 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

She's Got a Ticket to Ride



          As the firstborn kid, I’m the “responsible” one.  Dependable.  Boringly normal.  Not a risk taker.  And yet, as a child I was mesmerized by NASA’s space program.  I like my own backyard and I hate math, so it was a no-brainer that I wasn’t astronaut material.  But I was a great cheerleader, crossing all my fingers and holding my breath during each launch.  Never did counting backwards from 10 seem like such a nerve wracking miracle as when a rocket was on the launch pad.
            My only “geek” moment came about several years ago when NASA issued a commemorative medal for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. I always thought it was interesting that I was 11 that year.  I don’t think I ever looked at the moon the same after that.  The medal contained, “actual flown spacecraft metal” from one of the missions.  I’m sure it wasn’t from Apollo 11 and it was probably a bolt that was shaved down and sprinkled into the mix.  But the point was, it had been in space…to the moon!
            That medal sits on my computer desk, just above my head.  It’s like a silent reminder of all the good, wonderful and amazing things that humans are capable of.   It’s a physical representation of a childhood filled with wonder and awe.  And I thought it would be my only geek space moment.
            Until last week.
            Granted, seeing William Shatner, my childhood Capt. Kirk, speaking in a promo with a NASA logo intrigued me enough to stop and turn up the sound.  (Okay, I admit it: there is too much noise sometimes on the internet so I keep the sound off unless something peaks my interest).  I reached for the sound button.
            NASA is sending the Parker Solar Probe into space to study the sun.  According to their info, the probe, will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.”  The probe, which launches between July 31- Aug. 19th, will provide data on solar activity, aiding in the ability to forecast major space-weather events impacting Earth.  A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that without advanced warning, a huge solar event could cause $2 TRILLION dollars in damage to the U.S. alone and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. could be without power for a year!
          But it wasn’t the gloom and doom aspect of this mission that caught my attention.  It was the words “historic”, ”extraordinary” and “you can be a part of it!”
          Me?  How?
          In one of the coolest free offers ever presented, by merely signing up, my name has been added to a microchip that will be placed on the probe.  From the safety of my home, I will take winged flight toward the sun and not become Icarus.  Better yet, I’ll be part of a space exploration…and no math was involved.
          To get your ticket visit go.nasa.gov/HotTicket.  There’s more info on the mission at http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu