Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reflective Pupil

My eye. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

My first nursing job was on the sixth floor of a large downtown hospital. I really liked my co-workers and had a great learning experience, but there was something missing - being able to go outside. We could look out of the small locked windows and tell if it was raining, or see the skyline, but I needed to feel freer than that. Now one of my job requirements is a one story building, and for the past decade have worked in such a place. Not only do I know freedom is only a key and a few steps away, but the well landscaped outside comes in to us via wall to wall windows. One lovely day this week, while in a meeting in a room with a view, I sat peacefully as I watched white clouds move across the blue sky, a rose bush in bloom, and a mockingbird flying behind a tall foundation plant. I knew she must be tending to a nest back there just like the cardinal we have been watching in another bush. (First the eggs were discovered, then they hatched, and now the little birds have flown up to the lowest branch in the maple tree where dad is watching over them.) We can open the doors to the courtyard so the patients can get a therapeutic dose of sunshine and fresh air. We can sit on a bench under one of the graceful shade trees, and talk and relax. Besides the ability to walk outside if we need to, I think we all feel better when we connect with nature.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Really Big Talent Show

In about thirty minutes I will settle into an hour of television. American Idol will be on, and with a critical eye and ear, I will be tuned in. No doubt I will dance along to the beat of the fast songs, measure my opinions against the judges comments, and piddle during the long commercials. I love a talent show and apparently the rest of the world does, too. AI has been the top rated show for a while, and Britain's Talent has been overly spotlighted in the trendy cyber news. Maybe we have to relate to something to really enjoy it, to put ourselves in that place. When I was growing up, way back before technology ruled our culture, we girls would often entertain ourselves by putting on talent shows. And I loved the real talent shows in school, when we would practice hard and then sing our solos or group numbers. I was not blessed with a good singing voice, but I did love music and, though self conscious, tried to warble or screech the best I could. In my forties I worked with a girl who sang with a rock group and was also taking voice lessons. During our lunches together, she tried to pass along to me what she had learned. I took my lessons seriously, and every afternoon when I got home, practiced my singing for one disciplined hour. Who knew when I would be asked to perform! I did find that it is possible to develop a small amount of talent, but also that it goes quickly when not used. So the question is...Am I the only one who sees myself on that stage singing my heart out?

Monday, April 27, 2009

War of the Irises

During winter the ground, covered by its blanket of leaves, appears to sleep. But underneath where we cannot see, life goes on. After the winds sweep away the cold and the sun warms the earth, new growth appears. Our trees and shrubs show their new fresh green colors and perennials pop through and say "Remember me?" But since we really don't know what might be happening beneath the ground, there is the potential for surprise. This year I have seen the proliferation of some unusual colored bearded iris that last year produced only a single bloom. About six years ago, a neighbor gave me a clump of them. Not knowing about growing iris, I had bedded them in a corner of the yard where they were obviously unhappy and barely stayed alive, never blooming. Two years ago when I bought and planted my first iris bulbs, traditional purple ones, I moved the languishing brownish irises to the same bed. Over the past winter they gained in strength and in numbers and dominated over the underground purple brigade. Here is one of the surprise winners of the battle.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What a nice thing to say. I think.

The older I get the fewer compliments I get. But today I was pleased to receive one, at least that is the way I chose to look at it. Chipotle Grill opened here about a month ago and I think it is great. The lime cilantro rice as a base for the rest of whatever else you like is yummy. So anyway I had chosen what I wanted to take out (vegetarian bowl) and was getting ready to pay. The guy at the register asked if I would like a bag for it. "No thank you." Then he said back to me, "I didn't think so. I took you for a save the trees person." Was I that transparent or scruffy or was it the organic, "green" tee shirt I was wearing? "I am! How could you tell?" I asked as I think I am the only one who can peg people with such accuracy. "You just gave off that vibe." Was I impressed. And flattered.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Elvis lives on

I learned a little more about the King of Rock and Roll today thanks to satellite radio. All Elvis all the time. How good is that! I learned that when Elvis was a toddler he would run down the church aisle and try to join the choir, and that after he was famous, he would keep on singing after performances, mostly gospel songs. That man loved to sing! And what an amazing voice and range he had. We heard an hour of gospel songs in honor of his mother's birthday and brief interviews with people who knew him. We heard songs from the young Elvis and the fat Elvis. We heard him sing soulfully in his low register and rock out in his high, but we never heard Surrender, my favorite Elvis song. This girl was smitten with him way beyond his swiveling hips, smoky eyes and that dark haired curl. It was his voice that was magic. I wasn't quite a teenager when Hound Dog came out. After listening to it at least three times today I can see why it was such a huge hit. The energy grabs us from the first vocal sound. I listened to him singing so much that I wondered...was there anything he didn't sing? I think he would have gotten good reviews from the Idol judges. "You took that and made it your own dawg." The King lives!

Happy Birthday, Connie!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Revisited

The first Earth Day. I remember it well. My baby was two months old and I hadn't been out much. But on this day, I had help. I had been reading about Earth Day and wanted to do my small part. Our house was in a new subdivision that had been cleared of trees so I knew what my mission was. I left my little boys with Essie and headed to the nearest garden center. I didn't know much about trees beyond my leaf collection in tenth grade biology but decided on a sycamore. Its name was familiar to me from the Zacchaeus song I had sung in Sunday School, and besides, being the cheapest tree in the lot, it was the only one I could afford. I found Essie in the nursery when I got back home, the sides of her soft ample body overfilling the small rocker. She was holding Peter close and looking at him tenderly. She kept him in her arms while I went to the back yard, dug an adequate hole in the hard red clay, and proudly placed my sapling. We lived in that house only another year, but I thought about my sycamore every Earth Day, wondering if it was growing tall and strong like my sons. A couple of years ago I rode by my old house. The neighborhood was now an established one with many large leafy trees, and I could see my sycamore behind the house, towering over the split level where I brought my third baby home. I felt I had done a grand thing in 1970. (Two grand things really.) We plant for the future - don't we - for generations to come, and hope someone will reap the benefits. I hope that it cooled the house in summer and provided protection for the inhabitants, that happy children spread blankets and picnicked under those sycamore branches, and that is was home to many a baby robin. I guess that is what Earth Day is all about.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I am baking cookies and must wait before putting another batch in the oven. I dare not get too far away lest I forget and am forced to toss burned cookies in the trash. Oh yes...I have learned my lesson. At Christmas time, I over bought baking ingredients and still had chips and nuts lurking in the cabinet begging to be used. I got in the mood tonight. These cookies have the basic chocolate chip dough with Heath chips, walnuts, butterscotch and vanilla chips, and of course chocolate chips added. Since there are only two of us at home and we do not need to pig out on that many cookies, I will take some to work when I go in tomorrow morning. If they look good I will take a picture.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How it is

At work we sometimes listen to the radio-type website Pandora. This evening one of my patients asked if I could find some songs by Casting Crowns. They happen to be a favorite of mine, too, and I was happy to use Pandora to play some of their inspirational music for her. Matter of fact the first song that popped up was the one whose lyrics I often think of when I need to keep myself and my life in perspective. It is all about the greatness of God yet how well he knows us and how much he loves us. I love its words: "I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still you hear me when I'm calling. Lord you catch me when I'm falling. And you told me who I am. I am yours." Life is short. Seek shelter and comfort in God.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Jockey Lot

Raymond and Trip left long before the sun came up to peddle their wares at the famous Anderson Jockey Lot. As they were laying their junk by flashlights on the rented cement table, they made their first sale. By noon when they started packing up, they had gotten rid of two-thirds of the stuff. Pretty good. I got there a little later in the morning to look around. It was a beautiful day to be outside among the meandering throng.

This market has all sorts of things for sale. We of course had unwanted, no longer needed household items and so did a few other fly-by-night tables, but many sellers are there week after week selling puppies, socks, local produce, tools, fried pork rinds. Anything really. I had to admire their entrepreneurial attempts. As I have gotten pretty good at slipping my little camera in and out of my pocket to take quick pix, here is a sampling of what is offered there.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's all been good

The boys slaved away at home today while I was out working. They cleaned out the garage taking one load to the dump and going through everything else with a fine toothed comb. They found some missing things, rearranged, even cleaned, but most importantly, they have loaded Trip's truck with stuff to take to the flea market tomorrow. I am a total believer in recycling if at all possible, and this is one way. Another happy occasion of the day was that dinner was prepared when I came home. Trip had been telling me that he can cook some really good chicken and dumplings. I had bought a nice chicken at Whole Foods yesterday and it was all his. The finished product was delicious. Seasoned perfectly and with small tasty dumplings. Yummy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Number One Son Reports for Duty

It is nice to have my big boy here tonight. I begged him to come, I needed him, and here he is. He has already done a few repairs around the house and helped me with window washing. Yea! I made some red beans and rice with Andouille sausage for supper. It was edible but not blogable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First Bug of 09

I was trying to get a good close up of an azalea, which is pretty hard because there isn't much variation or shading of the color making it look like a shock of cerise. But in one of the blooms, I noticed deep within the pistil and stamen a needle sized thing and figured it just might be an insect. Last summer I learned from the guy who works in the camera shop to get directly beside the bug whose picture you are trying to take. No angles. So here is my first bug of the season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back at the Keyboard

I love to do my blogging. Usually. During most days I think of lots of stuff I can put on it - funny stories, a little homespun philosophy, a new photograph, or a comment on a newsworthy event, but lately...nothing. Maybe I have been in what I call the "survival mode," doing what I have had to do without any additional hoopla. Sometimes life is just like that, and it's not a bad thing. It just is. A grueling trip, some flu-like symptoms, allergies from the advent of this beautiful season, and an excessive amount of work can sap the life out of the ablest of women. The segments of my 24 hour day that I can call my own? They have not been. It will not always be this way. That lovely next birthday stands as a beacon as much as a graduation does. In August I feel I should don cap and gown and march across the life's stage for my "You made it!" diploma. The days march on. Such is life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

That explains it

I have always wondered why the gene or talent for making money bypassed my family and me (as deserving as we are) yet took root and grew in others. It has been one of life's great mysteries until I read an article that explained it. It was one of those aha moments. Or at least a ha! moment as though the laugh was on me! It's the math, Dummy. I may have a vestigial remnant of an aptitude for math but never seriously thought about developing it further than being able to quickly discern the price per item on a grocery store shelf. But certainly it makes sense. It is all about abstractly comprehending how numbers work for us, whether or not there are dollar signs in front of them. Darn that right brain family curse!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blog? What blog?

I thought it may be flu but now am looking at the possibility it is sinusitis. I have had it before, this mushroom cloud in my head and the mental fuzz that it brings. Maybe it will run its course. Or maybe...when I have waited long enough, I will give in and seek a prescription for some Amoxicillin. On my return from Texas last week, I was hit with chills, fever, aches and anergia. (Nursing lingo for really really tired.) So anergic in fact that I had no desire to get up and feed myself. Of course that has its good points. After five days home, I decided I was strong enough to head back to my job. Though my work isn't exactly assembly line stuff, I have been at it long enough to be able to perform with half a brain and my right arm tied behind my back. Now I am just fine below my eyebrows. If you have ever had sinusitis, you will know what I am talking about.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Surprised by Spring

I had planned to take it easy the day after returning but how was I to know that I would be forced to. It has felt like the flu and I am hoping it will run a short course. Well enough to be up and out a bit today finally, I can see my little corner of the world awakening. The pretty red tulips are in bloom, the grass is green and even lush in some parts, and the backyard azalea is in full bloom. I am freshening my blog with its foliage.