Friday, December 28, 2012

post Christmas

Finally I have my computer back and working. The hubby got a new router and all is well in techie land. As a result of the "malfunction," I missed blogging my thoughts and observations on Christmas Season 2012, but there will be another opportunity in twelve short months. It is just as well since Christmas is such a hectic time. As usual, I enjoyed the music, putting up the tree and reminiscing as I place each ornament on its branch, and especially time - always too short - with my beloved family. Now on to the future. Each moment we head into the future, but it is especially apparent as one year ends and a new one looms before us. I quote someone who penned these words, Yesterday is but a memory, tomorrow an uncharted course...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Look who I ran into today.

Santa must have left his coat and hat at the NP today while he was out doing some last minute shopping in South Carolina.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

Once again, I am happy to be contributing my little alto voice to a big, upcoming Christmas choir program. When we started practicing back in early October, all the songs were new to me but one. But I have attended choir practice almost every Sunday since, have taken the score home a time or two, and have became familiar with the once strange and challenging music. Now I really like it. All of the singers needed to be encouraged to use proper pronunciation, to listen to our same part neighbor as well as the rest of the choir, to perfect the timing, and sometimes we had to stretch our breaths and voices. This morning we had our dress rehearsal for tomorrow night's concert. We went over each piece with the magnificent orchestral accompaniment, and we made beautiful music together. What I thought of was how thrilled I was to be a part of it, and how each person there has worked to bring about the lovely and almost perfect sounds of Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why?

Twenty-seven years ago when I was a new psych nurse, we didn't see the violence that we see today. People were still manic, schizophrenic, anxious and so forth, but we didn't see such aggression and hatred being acted out. I think the patients had more of a moral compass in spite of their mental problems. What a sad and horrible event today with the murder of a bunch of little school kids by a deranged young man. What was going on in his head. I don't know, but there have been two changes in our culture in the past twenty-seven years that I believe negatively affect young people. One is the proliferation of drug use. The other is gaming. Many of those "games" are all about murder and mayhem and kids get hooked on the thrill. I imagine many who play begin to see the games as acceptable behavior, and reality rather than fantasy. These influence thought, and without a moral compass, the thoughts are put into rage filled actions. What an unbelievably devastating day for many parents in that small town in Connecticut.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Did my ancestors ever make this?

There is a small German restaurant on Woodruff Road that has become a favorite, especially since I spent a week in Bavaria loving the sausages and the rest of the cuisine. Interestingly it is mostly frequented by Germans. Yesterday I stopped by for a delicious Reuben sandwich and in addition, I bought some bread from their tiny bakery. The guy I got this from said it is King's bread. It seems to be a pumpernickel with seeds and nuts. It is a dense, truly German tasting bread that can probably be eaten for breakfast with jam, with sliced meats for lunch, or along with wienerschnitzel at supper.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Now it's jewelry.

Last year when I was in the market of the Old City of Jerusalem, I bought this pretty replica of an antique coin for about a dollar. The obverse has a elegant, cameo-like profile, and the reverse has some letters and symbols. Maybe it is Greek, but I don't know. Last week I had a hole drilled through a spot near the edge and got a silver thingamajig so I could hang it on a necklace chain. I like it.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Peer Pressure

Last week I refused on principle to engage in Black Friday or Cyber Saturday, but today I succumbed to peer pressure and no doubt threw away six dollars on two lottery tickets. Until I got wind of it yesterday, I had no idea that this was the biggest week of all with a more than 500 million dollar windfall. I had bought a lottery ticket only once before and felt like a criminal. I didn't want to repeat that experience! But today at work it was talked about, and as I was leaving I heard, "Don't forget to buy your lottery ticket before nine!" So on the way home and right after hearing a radio ad for getting help for your gambling problem, I stopped by the gas station and told the patient attendant with the gold tooth, "I want whatever everybody else is getting." Now I have the tickets on my refrigerator, and like everybody else, I am mentally spending my millions. At least it is a fun thought.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

With Gratitude

When I go to work, I have to park in the parking garage, usually not finding a space until I get to the far corner of the fourth floor. Though I try to be grateful that I have a job and good legs to carry me the long walk to my office, I really do not like that parking garage or the far corner of the fourth floor.

As I came in to the hospital one day recently, I drove as usual up the slight ramp into the side entrance of the garage first floor. Starting from the outer lane, I circled through each row of parked cars, my eyes darting from side to side as I looked at every spot, hoping to be lucky enough to find one on that floor. I started to silently beg...please please let me find a parking space here. I so didn't want to carry my stuff from the far corner of the fourth floor. As I rounded onto the last (and closest to the hospital) lane, I saw one. Yippee. But was there a Mini Cooper or VW bug hiding there to taunt me? Nope. Great! It was all mine. But as I started to pull in an ugly thought kicked in, I am sorry to say. Waaah...I don't want to be all the way at the end of the best row in the entire parking lot. I want to be in the best spot of the best row.

I caught myself and had to laugh. I am such a human! Here I was, getting my wish met, but it just wasn't good enough. I was thinking like a little kid not happy with anything. I hope I learned a little lesson from that!

Tomorrow is not just a day to recognize thankfulness for our country and forefathers, family and friends, turkey and dressing and a full tummy, but all the little things that we take for granted each day, like finding an almost perfect parking spot once in a while.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

assimilating

This morning was a piece of cake. After the first day of driving the kids to school, and after going the wrong way on a one way drive, I have gotten the hang of it. I knew how long it took for the two lights to change, trusted the quick arm motions of the awesome crossing guard, and waved to the young neighbor who was putting up the flag. And to top it all off, my sweet grandchildren got to their drop off spots five minutes before the bell was to ring. How quickly we humans can adapt in a just a few days.

Now I am having my mug of coffee with cream. Since I couldn't figure out how to use their coffee pot and definitely needed my morning potion, I had to adapt to that also. I found a strainer, placed a double layer of paper towels in it, brought water to a boil in a saucepan, placed the strainer over the mug, and slowly poured the water into it being careful not to get grounds in the finished product. This was actually an old trick that I remembered. Now I have a few hours all to myself.

Jacob said I was having a vacation, but I said...oh no. I am coming here to work. Maybe I am adapting to the idea it can be a vacation after all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hump Day

Wednesday is the traditional hump day of the week, and it happens to coincide with my mid point with the grandkids. Such good children. Right now John is cooperatively doing his written homework, and Ashley is involved in looking up her favorite entertainers, Taylor Swift and One Direction, on the computer. Today the time went by quicker while they were in school as I kept myself busy by dragging out laundry chores. I realize I could be shopping, but the trip to the grocery store reminded me of the high sales tax here, highest in the entire nation. The thought of it sticks in my craw making shopping something I can wait to do after I get home. Grandmommy duty calls. I must look at homework.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peace and Quiet

John asked me what I like to do when things are quiet, when I have time for myself as I was going to have this week while they are in school. hmmm...When do I ever...? My overactive brain does not offer that option. But yesterday, with the kids gone, and not knowing how to turn on the television in this large and quiet house, and with no obligatory activities, I adapted. Though I did bring some books from home, I decided to follow Ashley's advice and read a book she liked and wanted me to read, Soul Surfer. I took it to the screened in porch, turned the big rocker to face the autumn splendor of the wooded backyard, and started to read and rock. Pretty soon nature distracted me. In the breeze, yellow leaves from a silver maple were being blown off their branches, and were gracefully swirling to the ground. At that rate, how long would it take for the tree to be stripped bare, I wondered. A tall oak was hanging on tighter to its orange leaves. A botanical difference, I surmised. Then as if relaxation music was beginning to play, I heard the gentle sounds of a few raindrops. They soon got bolder, forcing me inside, and continued throughout the day. I didn't mind. This morning over coffee and another eclair, I finished Ashley's sweet book. Now I am beginning to look forward to the remaining three quiet mornings.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Day

Early this morning I left for Tennessee where I will stay for a week with my grandchildren while mom and dad are far away celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary. It has been dreamed of and then planned forever, and I hope they will have a fantastic time. My first duty was getting Ashley to Nutcracker practice at the dance studio downtown. It ran over the scheduled time and gave me a chance to see the sights along the cute and eclectic Main Street of Morristown. I have disengaged from my camera somehow - maybe the photo bug ran its course - so I have no interesting pictures to show. After a stop at Food City, we came home. John went out to play with his friends and we girls hung out. Jacob came home from work at suppertime, and brought with him three boxes of frozen chocolate eclairs (144) and one box of maybe a hundred patties of frozen pizza dough. (You ask how he got it? Longish but normal story.) Now that was exciting, but what were we to do with it? After filling the freezer the best we could and giving some to a neighbor, we still had an unopened box of eclairs and most of the dough pucks. I said to the kids, "Let's see if we can go find some needy people and make their evening." We rode up and down Andrew Johnson Hwy in the dark and back into town, but there were no such folks. Ashley suggested we drive to New York City, but I wasn't up for that. Maybe it will be cool enough tonight in the garage to keep the eclairs chilled and we can take them to church tomorrow, but I have visions of the pizza dough expanding exponentially as it thaws.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tomorrow the election. I do not know who will be declared the winner after the votes are counted and neither do the polls. Today it looks like a toss up. Whether my choice Mitt wins, or the narcissist without a valid social security number wins, I do not put my faith in any man but in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Psalms 20:7

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween. Not so scary.

A couple of my nurse co-workers, appropriately costumed for the day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Most Special Friend

Yesterday we said goodbye to our sweet little Tillman. It seems like a merciful thing that we can put our beloved dogs to sleep when they reach a certain time in their lives. The vet agreed with our decision and said he wondered how Tillman managed to live so long. I don't wonder. Not only was it the love and care he received, but as in humans, his happy, strong spirit kept him going. I found that I admired him and the way he faced his changing and often difficult circumstances with joy and courage. Rest in peace my little buddy. Here he is in the spring of 2004, hanging out with Nicholas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Nursing Thing

Today I went to the ER to see a patient who was going to come to our psych unit. After my interview with her, I went behind the counter to talk with the patient's nurse. After quickly addressing the situation at hand, she and I then launched into other topics. Time is of the essence in a random nurse to nurse conversation, because we never know when a bell will ring or a demand must be met, so the conversation speedily moved along. One thing she talked about was her time as a travel nurse in North Dakota, the way the hospital did some procedures but mostly about the hard working people and their huge ranches. She said that there really is more oil in ND than in all of Kuwait. I found it interesting, and as I walked back toward my building, I realized how much richer my own life has been because of my contact with other nurses, the sharing of personal stories, and the sharing of knowledge. Whatever is said and shared, it s a cool part of the culture of nursing. Kind of like a band of sisters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If it's Tuesday, it must be chicken

If it's Tuesday and I'm not working, I often go to Fresh Market to get in on the good deal on chicken breasts. Then of course I have to figure out something to do with it. For supper today, I decided on chicken cacciatore, a dish I hadn't fixed before. I looked up recipes, but they were all different, so I did my own thing. With pasta to go along with it, it was delicious.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Special Chairs

These beautiful Adirondack chairs that Trip handcrafted for us several years ago got a new coat of paint today. This time I decided on using canned spray paint, smelly and bad for the environment, but much easier that painting in and around all those slats. Tomorrow they'll get another light coat before they go back on the deck for some comfy sitting.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where is his resume?

America is abuzz about the upcoming presidential election kind of invoking the excitement before the annual Clemson vs. University of South Carolina football game. But this election is far more than a football game.

I believe the entire Obama story to be the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public, and much of the media has been complicit in it. Yet over the past four years, various other sources have exposed him and have answered questions as to who this guy really is. I believe the research done on Dreams from My Real Father to be the best, the most accurate, the most true. It is available in book and video form, and excerpts and interviews are found on line. Read, watch and learn.

BO said he wanted to fundamentally change America, and he touted redistribution of wealth, a Communist belief. A couple of generations have passed and many have forgotten or never knew, but back in the fifties  (I remember them as well as a child can) Communism was the mortal enemy of the good American way of life. Our foe Kruschev, the Russian communist leader, hated capitalism, our success and our freedom, and he angrily threatened, "We will bury you!" It intended to destroy us from within. Though the furor of the label Communist has died down over the past few decades, the ideology of it proliferated and quietly infiltrated. Now we hear the "Red diaper baby" in the Oval Office plead, "Just let me finish the job." Four years of destruction and he and his comrades are only half finished?

Are there that many people who still don't understand? Are there that many people in America who want to give their freedom away? Would this man's connections even allow him to be janitor in a federal building?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Little Gem

A bit of wisdom I took away from today's sermon:
Some things are so deeply rooted they can come out only with prayer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Really Liking Twitter

When Twitter was in its toddlerhood, I created an account. I didn't use it then as I really didn't know how, but slowly I have come to appreciate it as a great place to get little bits of info that you can read more about with a couple more clicks. Now I "follow" many organizations or individuals of my choosing, ones whose ideas I find interesting or inspiring. The list includes Scientific American, Forbes, and Chuck Swindoll, but with the big election coming up, I want to know more about what the Republican thinkers are saying. Last night during the debate,  it was great to have my iPhone in hand and watch what Ari Fleischer, Dana Perino, the official party tweeter, and others had to say. It was as if I were sitting in a room of like minded friends, hashing out what was just spoken. It isn't just me. I heard that all of the opinions being tweeted last night created the busiest Twitter night ever. It has become almost too frustrating to watch televised news because of all the commercials, teasers, lead-ins, biases, and so forth, and Twitter cuts through all that. It's so clever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Broccoli Cornbread

A favorite recipe from a few years ago.

Mix together:
- 4 well beaten eggs
- one teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces of cottage cheese (and whatever other cheese you like)
- one small onion finely chopped
- one stick of melted butter
- one package frozen chopped broccoli that has been barely cooked, or as much as you like of chopped lightly steamed broccoli 

Stir in:
- one package of Jiffy corn muffin mix

Pour into a greased pan approximately 9 x 9 and bake at 350 til done.

Here is a pic of the last piece from the one I baked Saturday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Are we all like stars?

I recently learned that there have been about 107 billion people on Planet Earth so far, and that includes you and me. Being only one individual among that huge number may make us feel small or insignificant, but each of us is one in the approximate count. Still...the stars in the universe, one of which is our very own sun, the center of our solar system, the perfect sphere we are dependent upon for survival, are far more numerous than all of the humans ever lived. What if we are like stars? If each of us were a star, we may give off light and energy and to those around us. We may be as important to someone as our star has been to each of us earthly inhabitants. It is something to think about.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mushrooms

Different types of mushrooms have popped up off and on during the summer, little green-topped single ones, tiny feathery ones on wiry stems, but I have never seen such a prolific stand as this variety that "mushroomed" in my backyard after the two big rains this week. I suppose there is something in my soil to make them grow, maybe a certain pH, still decaying tree stumps, or something the dog has left. Whatever. They are short lived, pretty, and an interesting life form.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Disappearing Styes

Forty plus years ago when I was expecting Trip, I developed a sty on my eyelid. My wonderful obstetrician suggested an old time remedy, rubbing a gold ring on it. It worked. Ever since when I have felt a little bump popping up, I would do the same, and they all went away, nipped in the bud. And if I were with someone who said they were developing a sty, like with a co-worker this week, I would hand them my wedding ring and tell them how to use it. Curious if other people knew about this trick, I decided to look it up and found they do. Try it next time. It can save you a doctor visit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

what we need

Last week I was speaking with a potential patient, a mid-thirtyish woman who was having a hard time articulating what her problem was. I had to ask several questions before she came up with the key. "I am afraid of not being loved," she finally identified. It was so helpful for her to see this truth about herself that she didn't even stay for admission. She said, "I have to go home and work on my marriage." Today was a similar situation with a twenty-something woman. When she was able to say the main thing she wanted was to be loved, she choked up and started to cry. The honest words she spoke gave relief. That is the answer to the question of what women want. I don't know about men, but I tend to think they don't desire to be loved as much as they want to be admired.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Facial

Today I spent my birthday money - thank you Trip and Lori - and got a facial. Last year about this time I had a thirty minute one, and the pleasure from it was much too brief. Because of a coupon for a new place, today I got a full hour. It was spent lying supine on a warm narrow bed in a dark room while a young girl fresh from aesthetic school applied and removed many layers of liquids, gels and creams. I don't need to know what they were, but my face now feels as soft as a baby's bottom.

As requested I arrived early for the appointment so I would have time to fill out a form about my overall health, which is thankfully boring. Next I was asked how I care for my skin. My answer was a winner as I told her I have never gone to bed with an unwashed face, and that I am perfectly satisfied with my long lasting five dollar jar of St. Ives moisturizer. Then she asked what my concerns were and I simply answered, "That you know what you're doing?" The relaxing music started, and after the initial cleansing and steaming, she covered my eyes so I wouldn't be so bothered by the bright exam light she was shining on my skin. Then she began to pinch. Tweezers. She said she was "Just hitting the high spots." I thanked her for taking care of the scourge of the sixty-something woman. She said she couldn't get them all, that it would take too long and run over our time. All in all it was great, especially to have someone else take care of me for a full hour.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Bleeding Heart Conservative

At work one of my duties is to answer the phone when it rings. On the other end may be a co-worker with a question, but most often I hear desperate voices wondering what can be done for themselves or a loved one. Today it seemed as there were just too many sad stories and not enough ways to give help. Usually there is a psychiatric story in the news - a crazed shooter, a suicide, criminals and victims. To hear a commentary after such a newsworthy event you would think that there is help for the asking, but that isn't so. Only the lucky ones get to spend some time in a psych hospital, and then there is no guarantee they will improve though most do. There are not enough beds for all the people who need one, not enough helpers. Every hospital or mental health center has criteria/standards that a potential patient/client must meet, and many fall between the cracks. People may have to wait months before even getting in to see a psychiatrist for meds or to talk with a therapist/licensed listener. That is just the way it is, especially for the poor who are the most afflicted. The least I can do is to listen kindly, validate their concerns, and offer a small word of encouragement.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Change for the Better

This week I have enjoyed watching the Republican Convention on C-SPAN, no commercials or interruptions. For the past hour or so I have been listening to words of admiration and respect for Mitt Romney by those who know him well, whether in business or church. Earlier Orrin Hatch addressed a question about their shared religion. He said if anyone ever had a Mormon family in the neighborhood, their character would be evident. Matter of fact, a Mormon family lived next to me for a few years, and they were great. I remember one time when I heard the roar of a lawn mower in our back yard. I knew it was not the hubby. When I looked, I saw the man and his son out there doing a good deed. I was so impressed.

It seems that most of the speakers during the past couple of nights have been first generation Americans, a population I always thought was the most patriotic. They are people who were taught to appreciate what our country offered including the opportunities to go and grow and become. Americans like me, whose ancestry goes back many generations, can tend to take it all for granted. At least I have tried to be a good citizen and not abuse the privileges of my citizenship.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stay Far Far Away

BiLo occasionally has buy one get one of these delicious salt and pepper cashews, and I promise never again to cave to the bargain. They are one of those foods I eat too much of like Publix Mint Moose Tracks ice cream and my hospital cafeteria's fried zucchini. Next time they are on sale, I must remember to walk by quickly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don't fool US twice...

In less than three months, we will vote once again for the highest office in the land. I admit that when I was younger and busier with my children and other things, I didn't try to find out much about the candidates. I would hear a little bit of info, maybe prefer the sound of one name over another or the way they looked, and that would be the basis for my vote. Pretty pitiful, but I think voters in the last election may have done the same as I did when I had a lot going on and was naive about politics. Four years ago, with access to all kinds of info, I decided to find out about the people who were running, especially Obama. Who was he anyway? I knew something wasn't right with him. He didn't seem to have the smarts or the passion for the job. His words were glib and simple. Much of the media however seemed to heap him with positive attributes that I did not see. Thinking he may not be what he wanted to portray, I first googled "Obama is a puppet." Wow. There was much out there the general public did not know. The info kept coming - if you looked for it. No valid social security, still no legitimate birth certificate for America to see, Communist connections from birth, no college records, one lie or cover up after another. Best sellers have exposed him as a fraud, and a movie that was out this weekend was supposed to have shown his true colors. I hope folks who still might be supporting him will open their eyes and minds to the truth. I think we have treated him with kid gloves long enough.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Change Came

The guys who remodeled my kitchen two years ago have been at my house this week doing the same to the old upstairs bathroom. By this time next week, it is going to look really pretty. They are from Michigan but have been South for a while. Yesterday we stood by their truck and talked for a few minutes before they left for the day. One said to me that he could get rear ended from someone disagreeing with the bumper sticker on his truck. I hadn't seen it so peered down to look. "Obama. The reason stupid people shouldn't vote." I had never discussed politics with them but felt some relief that these nice fellas have not been deceived by the antics of the current prez and his comrades. They remarked that neither one has medical insurance but they do not want Obamacare. Though I am Republican, I have voted for a Democrat on many occasions if I felt it was a better choice. Now I feel sorry for the old Democratic Party, a once worthy opponent. It has been hijacked by a repulsive idealogy that is nowhere near American. I think there must be sensible but loyal Democrats out there wondering what happened and which way to turn. More on this later...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ID: Long Tailed Skipper

Over the past couple of years, I have planted things in a corner of my yard that I hoped would attract bees and butterflies. My plan worked. This morning several types of bees were amicably enjoying the bounty and some cute skippers were flitting about on the black knight butterfly bush. I think this is some kind of skipper, but so far I haven't identified it. I think it is remarkable how different a butterfly looks when its wings are spread.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Vision, My Wisdom

Many years ago when I became a nurse, I also became an irregular church attender. But when I do go, I always get strengthened by something in the service, often a song. This morning we sang Be Thou My Vision, a favorite that I first heard at my high school commencement ceremony when I was seventeen. I love the minor chords and the deliberate tempo, but mainly the words of love toward God. I thought how pleased I feel about the Republican ticket this election year, but that our hope does not lie in men however wise or powerful they may be, but in the High King of Heaven. Church is a good place to get our priorities in line.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lesson from the Wok

Chinese cooking taught me a lot about life. I think back to that time when it was a new thing for me. I learned to patiently wash and chop and slice and get all the fresh ingredients ready for a few quick minutes in a hot oiled wok. The work was all in the preparation. Today I benefitted from those Chinese cooking lessons. This morning I woke up with the idea to paint the sunroom. Since I had no other big plans, I went to Lowe's to get my paint and other supplies. (Strangely, the color I chose was unintentionally identical to the paint Jessica and I put on a decade or more ago. I must like a pale creamy yellow.) The hubby helped. Together we sanded and cleaned the walls where needed, placed tape on the moulding and door frame, and spread an old shower curtain on the floor where the paint can would sit, and got our other supplies ready. From there it was almost a cinch. I trimmed, and we rolled the rest in no time to get a prettier room. It all worked like stir frying!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Two pretty photos from my back yard this afternoon. I was thrilled to see this huge swallowtail butterfly on my lantana. And the sunflower? I fought the birds and I won. Two seeds survived to flower.




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Spectator

I love the Olympics. I could sit lazily on my couch and watch those fine athletes perform for hours. Back in 1996 when the Games came to Atlanta, the hubby and I went down for one day. We took our chances and scored some tickets for handball, which was exciting in spite of it not being at all what I thought was handball. We walked and walked and took MARTA all over trying to catch the Olympics vibe as much as time would allow. I peered in the fence to glimpse some track and field events, bought some pins, and it was a fine day. It's great to see the American perform, but it is just as interesting to see athletes from around the globe.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quotations

Today I have been leafing through books around the house as I prepare to donate some to the huge book sale in August, the one I usually help with. The one I hold in my lap now is a big, heavy book of quotations. I am not generally smitten with quotations, but some that are close to the truth seem to endure. Some are absurd and as absurdly funny, may notoriously endure. "Poets . . .though liars by profession, always endeavor to give an air of truth to their fictions," writes David Hume.

A sampling of others: That humorous Frenchman of the seventeenth century, Moliere, has these quotations, "It's an odd job, making decent people laugh," and "It's good food and not fine words that keeps me alive." Augustine Birrell a nineteenth century essayist, penned "...that great dust heap called history." This well-worn one is by screenwriter Billy Wilder, "Hindsight is always twenty twenty." Francois Rabelais: "Nature abhors a vacuum." Thomas Shadwell: "Every man loves what he is good at." Leo Tolstoy: "There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone about him."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catching Up

It has been three weeks since I last posted to my blog. I have no excuses except that I am not as interested in adding my experiences or opinions to the gazillions floating around cyberspace nor do I get as big a thrill out of seeing my words or pictures on a monitor. Yet keeping up the blog is still a fun hobby, so I don't plan to stop though it may look that way. Back when I began, I wanted to call this "Such is Life," an oft uttered phrase, but I saw that had been taken. So I found those six letters that put in a certain order became the powerful word "wisdom" and enhanced the title. Finding wisdom in the commanalities of life could perhaps be a focus, and here we are.

A lot has happened in the past few weeks. More news about joblessness and the economy, rain and draught, the nutty Jackson family. The presidential campaign is heating up, and my hope is that BO, or whoever he is, will be seen by more and more voters as the fraud he is. And there was another terrible shooting by a deranged young man. Since people are my business, I would like to offer a comment about that. I "assume" that over the past few years, he slipped into a deepening fantasy world that gave way to deep delusions. (A delusion is a fixed false belief that cannot be changed by reason or logic and is under the umbrella of psychosis.) But I do not know for sure. I have spoken with hundreds, maybe thousands of delusional people. They can appear fairly normal but the more they talk, the more they release their bizarre thoughts. For me there is always an aha moment when the conversation turns from what could be plausible to what is definitely implausible and farfetched. Some delusions are harmless; some are dangerous. I believe they provide a feeling of being special for the unfortunate people who have them.

Weather has made news as uusual, this month for its high temperatures. I hate to be a wimp, but thank goodness for wonderful air conditioning. I am certainly old enough to remember life without it. Of course American society was different then, and we simply adapted and enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Peaches

South Carolina is a prolific peach producing state, and I don't ever want to miss a season without some fresh ones. Today I went to a nearby orchard and did the next best thing to picking them from a tree, picking them from a bin. I found the ten nicest from among the imperfect bruised freestones. When I came home, I made a cobbler, a rich, sweet Southern summer tradition. It was delicious, but as I peeked through the oven window watching it bubble and brown, I asked myself why we take a perfectly wonderful fruit and add butter, sugar, and other ingredients and then reduce its nutrition by baking. I will bake more peach cobblers, but it is pretty hard to improve on Mother Nature.

Friday, July 6, 2012

In the Weekly News

Interesting stuff in the news the past week. First, the health care bill. I haven’t read it, have you? Even if I had, I am sure I would not understand most of it. There would be many questions like, “What does this mean?” Perhaps behind the length is the intent to obfuscate the issues. But I believe the overall aim/result is to increase government control over American citizens and to provide more lucre to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies who have way too much control anyway. I think that it is another policy/tax/program to cause the land of the free to cease to exist and to turn the home of the brave into a bunch of dependent whiners.
And second,the long awaited discovery, or validation, of the Higgs boson particle. A couple of years ago, Jacob introduced and explained the Hadron Collider to me, otherwise I would have no idea what any of the research was about. This is a huge and exciting find to us mortals, especially the physicists, as evidenced by the many tweets from Scientific American magazine. Outcomes in scientific research over the past century have certainly increased our knowledge of the universe, from the tiniest to the biggest, but I am reminded of a verse from the Bible, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (I Corinthians 3:19) It helps to keep all learning in perspective.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drawing

Watercolor has been a struggle. I just couldn't get it. But over the past couple of months, I have developed a love for drawing, which really is the basis for all art. Van Gogh, I learned in the biography I read, also loved to draw, and when I looked at the dimensions of the actual drawings, some were quite small, especially for all the fuss over him. The book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain says that anyone can draw. So armed with those two little bits of info, I now boldly draw, big or little, and using different kinds of beautiful warm pencils. I have always loved pencils. I am showing this little pic of my Tillman as he lies on the floor. I challenged myself to work quickly, not to erase though I did a tiny bit, and to trust myself to draw what I saw. I hope that by the time I take another watercolor class, that all this drawing practice will have helped me see.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, USA

I am sitting in my South Carolina home hearing what sounds like "bombs bursting in air" all around the neighborhood. It is alive with fireworks and celebrations. All I have to offer is this sparkly, heart shaped display from Disney to say, I heart America.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Maintenance

Sometimes I wonder just what percentage of a day is spent on maintaining the status quo. Our bodies must be continually cared for, relationships must be nourished, bills must be paid, grass must be cut, groceries must be bought, bathrooms must be cleaned, and we must sleep for a third of our day to be able to function well enough to maintain our status quo. My mother used to say it was important “to keep up,” and I consider that good advice. I am glad there are days such as today, for me, that can be used as such. When I don’t keep up, at least to some extent, I feel out of sync, burdened. When I have completed my duties, I feel lighter and freer for a while or until the next day when another round of maintenance is due.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It has to do with birds.

A friend recommended a book she had read that held a lot of significance for her, and she thought I would like it, too. I do. Written by a woman, it deals with women's relationships, especially those with our women relatives, and our deeper struggles. As I read, what I am impressed with the most is how she - and I appreciate it in other writers as well - take the risk of putting their most true selves out there publicly for anyone to react to. My own reactions make me think...yeah that's how I feel, too. The well chosen words that bare their souls are validating. And their souls are ours as well. Their uncomfortable and unwanted feelings are mine as well. We are all connected. I admire a writer's willingness to share, and we readers are the beneficiaries.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What does 107 feel like?

I may never know. That was the high forecast for today, but I think it reached only 102. It hasn't been too bad, but then I have been inside most of the day in good ol' air conditioning. Maybe tomorrow...About 8:30 this morning, I took my pocket camera out for a pic of one of my pretty nasturtiums, a memory in case it didn't survive the day. It did.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Taste of Disney

We are staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort in Disney World. It is divided into seven groups of buildings that from a distance look like this picture I took from the main pool this morning. The rooms are small, but the amenities are nice especially for the kids. This morning they enjoyed the cute pool, which has a pirate theme, several alcoves and cool slides, but the sky was a gray and it led to a rainy afternoon.

Planning to stay late, we left for the Magic Kingdom mid afternoon, right before the downpour started. On arrival, our first stop was to buy some plastic rain coverings, and we really needed them the next few hours. There were other wet and crazy folks of all ages like us, and the park was packed, long lines at every attraction. We got to see many, missed a few, but we were all troopers and made it through the wonderful fireworks at the end.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Walking with My Father

I was once a little girl who walked along holding onto my daddy's big hand. There was no reason to think any thoughts but happy ones. There were no worries, only faith that wherever he was leading me, it would all be good because I knew he loved me. My earthly daddy has been gone for many years now, but he left me in the care of a loving Heavenly Father whose hand I now hold. I have learned to trust Him as a little girl who trusts her daddy. He does not fail to care for me or to safely guide me through life. What comfort.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A home away

Am attempting a post from my iPhone. Teeth brushed and comfy in bed, I am safely inside this cheap and cozy Jameson Inn in Wilmington. Rain is still heavy and I got drenched just walking in to the front desk. Another guest who was checking in said, "You look like you travel a lot." I said, "I try."

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Matter of Discipline

Reflecting during his time in the psych hospital in St. Remy, Vincent wrote to his brother Theo, “Where I must follow rules, I feel at peace.” Though he was an incredible artistic genius, Van Gogh really struggled with relationships, emotions, finances, and the overall handling of his own life. In the confines of a safe place where he was being cared for, where expectations were clear and limits were set, he flourished. That is true of our psych patients today. At work we often discuss how people whose lives are utter chaos "on the outside" do better in the structured environment we provide. As in the case of psych patients, some people need others to define the structure or rules; others not so much. But whether internal or external, we all need to have some discipline imposed on us. I find that when I make a “to do” list, i.e. set up some goals for the day, which are sort of like my own little daily rules, it helps the day go better. Vincent was filled with insight.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nothing finer...

"It's a great day in South Carolina" you may hear if you call a state government office. Our enthusiastic, young governor has encouraged state employees to answer all phones with this upbeat greeting. It has met with some flak as there are many who think it is not appropriate for all services, but today I agree with the governor. It sure feels like a great day in my part of the state. Gas is always cheaper here and today is below three dollars. Yea! That is something to cheer about. And I went to the building where lots of government stuff goes on to place my absentee vote for next week's local election and to inquire about a possible decrease in tax on my home that I heard about three years ago. Lucky me...I will the decrease, and I will be receiving a refund for overpaying in 2011. Yea! My pay stub came today, the first tomato has been picked from the garden, and I have made grandmommy plans for the next two weeks. A great day indeed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Toy or Tool

It has been three days since I even bothered to turn on my computer. Why do I need it now that I am in a relationship with my iPhone! As each day goes by, I grow more attached to it. I didn't feel this way when I had the cool, new Blackberry Storm that did many of the same things. It was not a "crackberry" for me, and I easily gave it up. Not so for this little apple device, with its fun apps and clever ways of doing a zillion things, and I wonder how I managed without it so long.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Particular Biography

My trip to the library this week netted me two hardbacks from the new books on the round table near the entrance. The John Ramsey bio was a quick and excellent read that brought tears to my eyes several times. Now I am dipping my toes in the exhaustive Van Gogh biography that came out in 2011. Since my trip to Provence, to Arles whose sunflowers he painted in their various forms, to the St. Paul Asylum in St. Remy where he healed, and especially to Cathedrale d’Images where I saw each little brushstroke of his paintings projected on cavernous, white limestone walls,  I feel like I know my friend Vincent personally, and I declare him not crazy. I do not know how I will perceive this book as it opens up to me, but so far it is unlike the Freud bio I read in winter whose biographer seemed to admire the subject immensely. Instead I am already perceiving negativity, facts but lacking understanding. I hope not only the history will be accurately told, but also that Vincent's beauty will shine as his life unfolds on the pages. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tis the season

for blueberries. Thanks to Connie's cousin for the blueberry coffee cake recipe. Sure is good!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Encounter with a Centenarian

As I was in the Fresh Market looking in the display of mangoes and trying to decide on the champagne or a red variety, I heard a voice say, as if she were reading my mind, “I’ve always preferred the yellow ones.” That began a conversation with a small delightful woman who soon told me she is one hundred years old and will be 101 if she lives until her birthday in July. I was stunned. Her voice was clear, her words were quick, and the skin on her face was so smooth she didn’t seem a day over eighty. I gave her a once over to look for other signs of proof of her stated age and saw them only in her porcelain hands. She said she had lived in Mexico where she learned to love mangoes, was an artist who specialized in pastels, and "I just kept living." With Ruth, as she introduced herself, was a pleasant capable caregiver, one of many who are always with her. Old people are so cool, that is if they are coherent and have interesting stories to tell. Sometimes they can simply be inspirational as this lady was to me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Not judgin' Just sayin'

Last week I took my car to the car wash place I have used for years. When the young guy with the earphones started slowly vacuuming the inside, I thought something was different. Then after my VW ran through the cycle and was taken for its noticeably lackadaisical rubdown, I asked the attendant, "Where are all the Mexicans?" She said they were gone, vamoosed, outta there. "We have to use e-verify now. I really miss them," she let me know. Shaking her head, she also said they now must tell their customers not to leave anything of value in their cars.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Downtown Happening

This evening there was a cute parade of the Scots. Several bagpipe bands and marching clans proudly carrying banners displaying their family name, Scottish dogs and Robert Burns reciting his poetry from the back of a convertible, military folks and Lords and Ladies from across the pond. It was great fun. The Scotsman with the painted face is wearing a Great Kilt. I hope none of these guys mind being in my blog.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It doesn't have to be raining...

for a rainy day activity. At five this afternoon I was one of a group of women employees who attended in a craft class at the hospital. We cut out metal and put the pieces together to make doodads to dangle from a necklace. They were all different. It was fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

@ home

We have been home almost twenty-four hours now and the cats are warming up to us, getting over their bad moods from being abandoned for a week. From Nora’s steady gaze, I could tell my slightly spoiled cat was wondering where the heck I had been. She isn’t used to fending for herself like outdoorsy Sandy who feasts on chipmunks and tall grasses and has little need of a full bowl of cat chow. I was glad to see them both. I was also glad to see the yard doing well probably due to at least one good rain over the past week. The day lilies were filled with yellow tops, the nasturtium seeds sprouted, my six tomato plants are inches taller and healthy, and the four figs on my young bush weren't eaten by birds. Life is good.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Soon to be a memory.

The hubby and I drove to Destin and stopped near this bridge at Harborwalk Village and had a delicious lunch at Crab Island Cantina. I had the Grouper Taquitos, pictured here.Yum! Then we walked the dock and looked at the array of boats, the people, and the herons of course. It was from here that the boys went deep sea fishing on Wednesday.

Later Paige and I drove to WaterColor, which I learned is not a beach or town but a resort, and did some shopping. Then on this day of perfect weather, I went to the beautiful Emerald Coast beach for the last time and watched the waves break and the children play. The colors are so beautiful here, not only in nature but in the buildings, the vehicles, and even the clothes people wear. Is it the light, I wondered. Whatever, everything is complementary. I hope to come back someday.

Blue Herons

I couldn't decide which one I liked better.
We drove about twenty-five miles along 30A and 98 to beautiful Destin. After a great lunch - pix to follow - we walked to the dock where the many boats were. One young fisherman was cleaning his catch and throwing an occasional bite to a waiting blue heron, and others flew and perched on signs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beautiful Water

video

It's seaweed.

Interesting Artist

This morning I visited the nearby studio of a wonderful artist, Gaffrey, whose gallery I had been to yesterday. The richly colored acrylic paint is applied thickly and dimensionally, and the finished product is gorgeous. The top photo is of one of his big pieces that is on an easel out in the sun. The other is looking into the room where he actually creates.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Such a cute place to stay

Sort of Early Morning

The sun comes up really early around here invading all the slats in the blinds of the bedroom windows. This morning I didn't put my eye mask on but chose instead to walk to the water to see what it looked like at 0745 CDT. There were a few other people with the same thought. A couple of men were on their decks drinking coffee or watching the way the changing light was playing off the peaceful blues and greens; one man was painting at an easel from the top of the steps that lead down to the ocean. I noticed that his picture was a larger version of the ones we did yesterday, beautiful no matter how it's interpreted. Out on the sea the eye can usually spot someone who appears to be standing on the skin of the water rowing. I learned it is a yolo board they are on.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

aday

A few weeks ago my cousin told me about a photo thing, some worldwide groups collecting pics of what was going on in people's lives on May 15 this year, and I signed up for it. I knew we were going to be here and figured I would take a nice photo of the kids at the beach. I didn't. So tonight when we went again to Seaside, my new favorite place, I got them eating at a cute restaurant, Pizza by the Sea. The entry was dated and timed by the digital camera.

Monday, May 14, 2012

As the Sun Sets

Jacob and friend waiting for a bite.

A Cool Place on 30 A

After a morning of hanging out at the pool and the beach, all eight of us drove about three miles over to adorable Seaside Beach, one of the many cute places along 30A. We easily found parking places in the Central Square, and the sidewalks, shops and restaurants were not crowded. A couple of locals we talked with said we are here at a good time, that during Spring Break and summertime, the place is packed. The area was filled with art! I loved it. Afterward we drove a few more miles down the road to tiny Alys Beach, known for its architecture, all white, and one enormous dwelling.



Ashley and I got chocolate dipped key lime pies on a stick. Yum!