Monday, August 31, 2009

The Beaten Path

I never thought highly of routine or people who seemed to be pleased that they had one. The word itself could be defined as "a stifling trap" in my dictionary and was something to be avoided. Now it seems that I have one, and it is OK, even comfortable. Since returning from my relaxing birthday vacation, that is where I fell, into a routine. My two jobs provide the framework of my routine and are keeping me more than busy. My goals are the glue that hold the framework together. It's not so bad.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Deserted Island?

Not having much to say today, I decided to post another vacation picture.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Changing Through the Decades

  • When I was a child, I thought grown ups knew everything. They made all the big decisions, elected presidents, and had all the answers. Or so I thought.
  • As a new bride of nineteen, obviously an adult since I was married, I mistakenly thought I would be granted the wisdom I would need to step into their shoes, but it did not come.
  • Then in my twenties when my babies were calling to me for knowledge and guidance, I was overwhelmed, and tired from the joy and labors of the days. My ways went more with the culture of the times, an anything goes liberalism, rather than common sense.
  • In my thirties as I was beginning to feel like an adult woman, and after wearing out my poor brain with introspection and philosophising, I began to figure out a few things.
  • In my forties as my life changed, I grew from experience, observation, and many insightful moments.
  • By my fifties, after many troubles, toils and snares, I finally got a good head on my shoulders.
  • Now that I am fully grown and settled comfortably in my sixties (some of us are slow), I get it. I am ready to take on the mantle of responsible, mature adult. If anyone cares.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not an impulse buy

There were several produce stands that advertised "Delicious Sweet Bogue Sound Watermelons" while we were vacationing. Naturally I wanted to get one and see for myself, so we stopped to shop on the way out. And yes it - an old fashioned oval one with black seeds - is delicious. There were other items for sale there too, locally grown veggies, homemade jams and baked items, and a stack of dishcloths that someone had crocheted that sparked a connection back to my childhood. I bought the blue and green one on the right side in the middle. I had to. When I was nine or so, I had a small square pot holder loom and lots of those colorful loops. That summer I entertained myself by making potholders, one after another. Fortunately there was a small grocery store up the street that kindly agreed to sell some for me. I was thrilled when I knew that someone had actually paid a quarter for my work of art! Not that I was dying to have a crocheted dishcloth on Monday, but I wondered if the fingers that made these were a little girl's and if she would be as happy as I was long ago when I got paid for a potholder.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thought for the Day

"Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the civilization of which is now fearfully neglected."

George McDonald

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bear Island

After the rain passed today we went to Hammock's Beach State Park to check it out. I figured one of the world's most beautiful beaches would be a good place to spend my birthday. We took a ferry from the visitor's center, and after a ride under a magnificent sky, through the waterway, and around islands of marsh, we were dropped off at pristine Bear Island. After a half mile walk, we saw the ocean, and "camped" for a few hours. Everything - for 360 degrees - was too beautiful to capture in a few little photographs, but I am going to try.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hummingbird Sighting

Yesterday as we were walking around one of the towns, Raymond stopped and said, "Look!" He saw this hummingbird and quickly took out his camera to snap this picture while I was still trying to see what it was that he spotted. I thought it was pretty exciting since it was only the second one I had ever seen.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

We drove to Harker's Island to catch a ferry, a small flat bottomed boat whose captain, blond and bronzed by summers under the sun, sped us over Back Sound to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. The lighthouse was the main attraction for us, but many of the locals were attracted by something else. Today Hurricane Bill had spawned some big waves even on on these Southern Outer Banks, and surfers were waiting for the right time to catch them.

Eating today

Traveling with Raymond means there is a big emphasis on food. Thankfully we didn't have to make a decision about breakfast. This is what we had here at the B & B, peach French toast.But of course after a busy day around water, what would the next meal be? We decided to follow a recommendation and go to Yana's in Swansboro - a fifties style, local place - for hamburgers. It was filled with pictures and memorabilia from that era, including a life-sized, talking Elvis in the women's bathroom. Good dinner, too.

Friday, August 21, 2009


We were walking around and admiring the docked boats when three pirates appeared, passing us on the walkway. That was a surprise! Apparently this area was frequented by the notorious Blackbeard and other pirates in the 1700s and now there is local entertainment that celebrates them in some way. There were other pirates, too, one of them looking just like the Johnny Depp character.

Another night, another dinner

We left Wilmington and drove north toward what is called the Crystal Coast of NC, but it will be tomorrow before we see the sparkling ocean. So far today it has been rivers, the sound, and the intracoastal waterway where our nice guest house/B & B is located. We arrived about two, settled in and then went exploring. We had checked out historical Swansboro on the way up, so we went to Morehead City and Beaufort. All these pretty and quaint towns reminded me so much of the New England coastal towns that I had visited last summer and before, and - gee - I realized I was more familiar with York, Maine and Gloucester, Mass than I was with my own part of the US. We stopped for seafood at an oddly named, landmark restaurant in Morehead City, The Sanitary. The dinner was pretty good, but mostly the place was interesting with walls filled with photos of famous people and locals who had visited since it opened in 1938. We got back "home" before the sun had fully set and I took pix. Here is one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Evening of August 20, 2009

Tonight we went to Brasserie du Soleil with my very special Aunt Margaret and Uncle Marty who have been married almost sixty-six years. (The evening sun was shining brightly through the window in the pic. I should have waited.) It was a French restaurant that actually did remind me of my culinary adventures in France, from the olive and bread appetizers to the water served from a glistening bottle. Margaret and I ordered the same thing, a sauteed flounder plat shown here, and the men both ordered bouillabaisse, which was served in a white tureen and seemed to be a delicious underwater diving adventure. My dinner was good, but next time, and there will be one, I will get one of their beautiful looking salads.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Tonight we are in a Hampton Inn in Wilmington, back from a yummy TexMex type dinner at this good place on Oleander Drive and a ride to Wrightsville to catch the vibe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Home Stretch

Five years ago when I reached my sixtieth birthday I had a heady sense of accomplishment. I realized I had trudged through the challenges of each past day and had made it this far. I had raised my children to adulthood. I had paid every bill that had come my way. I had done my job. It was one of those mountaintop experiences, and I was looking down at my past life experiences on one side and the blank but sunny plateau of the future on the other. All I could say was wow as if it were a complete surprise. I think I had been so busy I didn't know it was coming. I have often thought that when we are born it would be nice if, like a carton of yogurt, we would have an expiration date printed on our feet. Planning would be so much easier! But God chose not to give that bit of info to us. We can assume, project, and hope for our future, but we don't know beyond the moment we are in. However most of us do find ourselves as "seniors" eventually, and I must say, I still find it pretty cool. Being only days away from my sixty-fifth year on Planet Earth gives me an unexplainable feeling of freedom and lightness. I am glad I have made it this far.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What a life!

In the on-line teaser news this morning was an article whose title read "Well Paid Jobs That Won't Be Outsourced." My curiosity piqued, I read on. Up high on the list at number five was my profession specifically, psych nursing. And now that I am on the brink of retiring! It has been good work for me, but I would not recommend it for just anyone, only those who have a heart for it. It is all about observation, communication, acceptance, and flexibility.

We never know what we may be called upon to do. But this weekend it was not another challenging person to deal with but a new puppy that has come to live on the unit where I worked. (Some people believe it is therapeutic to have a dog around.) Daisy is playful and sweet dispositioned, but her bladder, like the rest of her, hasn't matured. So we had to take her out frequently. And we cleaned up after her when-our-backs-were turned destructiveness and punctuated our duties with puppy play. When I got home from work, my dog sniffed me up and down. He knew I had been unfaithful, and I felt like a cheating husband with lipstick on my collar.

Here is a picture of the new pup in one of her restful moments but still keeping one eye on things.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

One more bug

I saw this grasshopper today enjoying a zinnia. Maybe he was finding some nectar deep inside. I like that we can see his little wings in this picture. Since I am headed to work once again and don't have much to say, I decided one more bug blogpost is OK.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Keeping up

Today I must go in to work early to be checked off on CPR. I have never actually used it and hope I never have to, but we hospital workers must be prepared. My poor ADDled brain has trouble with anything that involves 123 step type directions, but I have made it through this for over twenty-five years and hope I will again. I had my PPD this month and am up to date on what is called competencies. But I don't mind. It seems like the closer I get to retirement, the less dread and more pleasure I find in my work.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Convex or concave?

Finally today we got a lovely, soaking, much needed rain. Even after it had stopped for a while this thirsty sunflower still had a drop hanging from a petal. Isn't it amazing how much is visible in one little raindrop! I don't know the science behind it, but the fence and trees can be seen as if in an upside down dome.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Southern Feet

I am a Southern girl, more specifically a Carolina girl, and we have our ways. One of my best co-workers of the past twelve years has been Joan, a Jewish girl from South Philly. In spite of our different backgrounds, I think we get along famously and occasionally kid each other about our culture. Sometimes when I am speaking in a circumstantial style or choosing my words too thoughtfully, she will tell me, “Don’t be so Southern!” Though I gently remind her she is in the South and this is how we do things here, her comments make me think. Last week Joan was telling me about how she loves to get a pedicure. That is more of a general girl thing, neither Yankee nor Southern especially since the proliferation of mani-pedi salons on every street corner, but she was a little surprised that I do my own. I felt this to be a teachable moment. I explained that we Southern women grow up with some unwritten codes, one of them being we take care of our beloved feet. It is passed down from our mothers and our mothers before them. In the dead of our comparatively short winters, we know that on the first warm day our toenails must be prepared to be polished and ready to shine, whether we are barefoot or in a cute pair of sandals. It is a rite of passage each spring, and after that day, we do not like to cover our toes until cold weather forces it. This was of moderate interest to Joan and was met with a "hmmm." I think she is beginning to understand us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A movie review sort of

I dashed out to see Julie and Julia as soon as it hit the big screen and it did not disappoint. Because it is a Nora Ephron work, I related on many levels besides blogging and cooking, and in the dark I knowingly smiled or laughed throughout. There are not enough good words to say about Meryl Streep's acting abilities. She was superb as Julia. And Amy Adams was adorable as Julie. When I looked on line however, I was a bit disappointed to find the real writer a bit more crass than the cute movie portrayal of her. Such is life...

"Back in the day" Mastering the Art of French Cooking seemed overwhelming and too meaty to me and never found its way to my kitchen, but now I see what I have missed. C'est dommage pour moi. One lesson learned from the movie is that Julia Child worked for eight years on this hugely successful book, testing, perfecting, and I think I read it is now in its forty-ninth printing. It supports the saying that "anything worth doing is worth doing well." And whatever is done well does seem to last.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Away

We had a nice visit to the Charleston area this weekend with Trip and Lori.

We had lots of good eating. Trip made these lemon bars for dessert Friday, but they are both great cooks.We went here Saturday wandering and shopping under the morning sun.We drove to the Isle of Palms, crossing the new bridge, to get a look at the beach.Happy together.Lots of magnificent pelicans were flying overhead.
Trip woke us up bright and early Sunday morning for breakfast and the early service at church. After a delicious traditional Sunday dinner and conversation, we headed home.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lord God Made Them All

Usually the birds eat up the sunflower seeds as soon as I plant them, but this year they missed a couple. I was glad to watch this one as it grew tall, developed its bud, and now as it is shyly beginning to show its face. This opening flower, and all things bright and beautiful, reminds me of a word I recently learned, omnificence, the unending ability to create. It's a God thing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I love you well, my little brother

No one is closer to us biologically than a sibling, so that's pretty special. I have always been thankful for my brother, and I wanted my boys to enjoy and appreciate each other, too. When they were little, I had this precious little poem in a frame on their wall,  and I hoped it would be one of many things to foster ongoing, loving relationships among them. I don't know if they remember it, as I do, but it is also a sweet reminder for today.

I love you well my little brother,
And you are fond of me.
Let us be kind to one another
As brothers ought to be.
You shall learn to play with me
And learn to use my toys,
And then I think that we shall be
Two happy little boys.

Happy Birthday, Rob!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The bugs are moving

Since I have been getting so into taking photos of bugs over the past year, I decided to stop putting them on this blog and give them their own. I have tried to be discreet and inoffensive and put only the cute bugs in this blog but even so, maybe some people think all bugs are yucky, ugly or scary. On my new Bugs R Cool blog, where the title forewarns the visitor, I can put all of my bug shots, even the picture of the creepy garden crustacean that Jacob found this summer. And besides, what do they have to do with my oft used phrase "such is life?" So hop on over...if you dare.

More than odd

It is almost one thirty in the morning and I am at work. I don't mind announcing that because my paperwork duties are done and I must stay awake for several more hours. It is quiet here, finally, with my evening patients all tucked in, and I can hear if one of them happens to get up. I consider myself lucky and/or blessed to have a job that allows me to work evening shift, 3 pm to 11 pm. It suits me to a T. Staying over to work a night shift is pushing things a bit, but I can handle it occasionally. I generally prefer to work with patients who have situational problems, but lately I have been on a unit where most of the patients are psychotic. Psychosis is an interesting phenomenon. I suppose the most common type of psychosis is what is commonly referred to as "voices." Maybe the next most prevalent, at least here now, is delusions. I can still quote the definition that I learned in nursing school: "Fixed false beliefs that cannot be changed by reason or logic." Back when I was a home health nurse and visited a delusional patient regularly, one whom I could not cure or even help, I decided that delusions may be developed as a twisted way to serve some useful purpose. Sometimes a demented person may see things that aren't really there. Manics can develop such an exaggerated sense of their own importance that they become totally off the wall. And there is of course paranoia and delirium that may be from something physical gone awry or the improper use of medications. Bizarre thinking results in bizarre behaviors. I can help take care of these folks by helping to meet some of their basic needs and see that they are kept safe, but I can't fix them. There are some good antipsychotic medications now, and if they are effective, they still may not cure but can ease the disturbances in the mind.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Aptly named

I love the billowy cosmos flowers but had never considered where its name could have come from until today. See all the stars in the center? It looks like an explosion of suns in the sky. Wikipedia included this in its definition of the cosmos: "Pythagoras is said to have been the first philosopher to apply the term cosmos to the Universe, perhaps from application to the starry firmament."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tete a tete

These little bugs were socializing vertically on a zinnia stem. To see them more clearly, I rotated the picture making it appear as if they were horizontal.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

If you live long enough can eventually get Medicare. Mine kicks in today. It would be nice to believe that I will never need it, but probability says one of these days, I will. I am grateful it may be there for me, and I know it covers plenty of legitimate medical expenses, but on the flip side, I think Medicare is one of many good ideas gone bad, partly bad at least. No doubt as soon as it was in place, there were dishonorable people figuring out how to take advantage of it. It quickly became a system riddled by fraud and abuse, sad to say. As a nurse I see all kinds of people, and I have noticed that a fairly good percentage want anything and everything they can get for free whether it is a medical test or an extra cookie and then show no appreciation. I am clueing in to the idea that dependency begets dependency, and perhaps dependency on Uncle Sam for providing us "healthcare" as we get older takes away some of our responsibility for caring for ourselves. At work we were collecting school supplies for disadvantaged children. A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to pitch in but this time I gave it more thought. Will it foster dependency and take away initiative? Starting Medicare is good news to me; it's an American milestone and a privilege. I hope to use it with responsibility and gratitude.