Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hoarders?? No! We Are Keepers of Really Important Stuff

Thanksgiving is over. And yes, I still have some leftovers in the fridge which will be disposed of before the month is out, maybe. Sometimes I like to think of the refrigerator as a science experiment gone awry, but it's my fault, really, since my husband has this problem about throwing stuff away, even refrigerator stuff. It's a guilt thing...throwing out food when folks are starving all over the world. Our mamas drummed it into us just as their mamas drummed it into them. It's what mamas do.

Our daughter kept calling us hoarders at Thanksgiving. Granted, we have accumulated a lot of stuff in the past 42 years, but I don't look at us as hoarders. It's just that we both think that maybe we'll use that old frying pan someday. Of course, all the non stick surface has been scratched and scrapped away, but we could start seedlings in it for spring planting.....well, we could. Okay, Maybe that pan does need to go.

I have a huge black garbage bag full of discarded clothes to go to our charitable thrift store here in town. It's been in my car for a month. Things have been periodically added to it. That gawdawful yellow sweater (and yellow is my favorite color) I put on this morning to wear to work is going to be added to the bag. Why I bought that thing is beyond me. The material is a thin sweater knit. The color is pale and it is about the most unflattering thing I've put on in a long time. It showed way too much flesh through the material, lumpy, not svelte flesh.. I still picture myself (quit dreaming Brooks!) as a slender young woman of 25. That young woman disappeared a long time ago. And that yellow sweater is going to disappear, too.

I have so many pairs of flip flops that I could just about start my own beach footwear store, only these things are ugly, faded, and probably some are 20 years old. I haven't worn many of them in about that many years. And, let's face it, I also have flip flops with no partner. I wonder if there is a reality show for this. And the moldy old Birkenstocks are hideous. Why do I still have these?

I have so many plastic storage containers that I do believe they are being fruitful and multiplying. The burning question is...how come I have so many lids, but not near as many containers to fit them on? If I open a door, they sometimes come tumbling out. What do I do? I quickly shove them back on the shelf and dare them to fall out again. It's a losing battle. Those plastic thingies have brains. And some are pockmarked from being put in the microwave when they shouldn't have. Some are stained reddish pink from spaghetti sauce. I think I can safely say that they should be tossed. Maybe I'll do just that this weekend.

We used to have a collection of socks, single socks, socks without partners much like the flip flops. I mean, I had a whole big bag of those things...black, white, brown, green and blue, yellow, purple, pink...all sizes...cotton, nylon, stretchy wool...with all manner of wear and tear. Why on earth did I have those socks? Did I think that all their partners would miraculously find their way back to the fold? So....one day, just because I was sick of moving that bag of socks everywhere, I boldly took the whole sack out to the garbage can and chucked it in. I know. I know. I could have recycled them, used them as dust rags and such. I did, in fact use a few, but new ones would inexplicably appear. When I walked away from that garbage can, I felt free, yes, free. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Hoarders? No, we aren't hoarders. We are savers of stuff. We are keepers of things we think we'll use. We are...nevermind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank God for Yubawazi...It's Over

Yes, most definitely...thank God for Yubawazi. In truth, I don't know where I got these words. Looking in a search engine did no good. So, I don't know from whence it came, but I've been saying it a while. Maybe my husband said it sometime in the past. According to my daughter, he might have gotten it from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." He comes up with goofy stuff that makes me laugh a lot. This could be the reason we have been together for so long.

Anyway, I write these words because I am more than thankful that the election is over. In fact, I am ecstatic, not because my candidate of choice was victorious...(yes, I voted for President Obama, and I make no apologies. Why would I. No one could fix the mess he inherited in four years. Even Mitt Romney attested to that...),but because I am sick of the almost nefarious actions taken by some of the folks when I disagreed with their political leanings. 

I mean, come ooooonnnn people, if a woman is raped and a pregnancy occurs as a result of the rape, this is God's plan? Really?? Really. I'm still trying to absorb that thought into my idiotic (yes, I have been called an idiot for voting for Obama) brain. This guy, Richard Mourdock from Indiana, was actually running for the senate, and thank goodness he lost!! I can't imagine anyone, especially a woman, voting for this creep. And I don't know where his "god" comes from, but he surely isn't any deity I'd want to worship.

I grew up in a military home. My daddy was a career Air Force officer and WWII veteran. He always taught us (my brother, sister, and me) to show respect to the President of the United States and to the office he held. He said that the president was the Commander and Chief of the military forces and that any president, whether we voted for him or not must always be treated with respect. There was no exception. This rule has been with me all my life, and believe me, on occasion, it has been difficult, but I have always followed my father's advice. He was a most honorable man and would have been appalled by all the goings on and disrespect shown President Obama.

So, it's over. My president is still my president. I will continue to support him. I really hope that the folks who incessantly questioned President Obama's citizenship, birth place, and so much other stuff , will just get on with their lives. I hope they will stop beating their breasts and crying out that the apocalypse  is upon us. Really?? Can I get another REALLY?? This country is just a little blip on this planet. Billions of human souls exist. Did it ever occur to anyone that we might, just might not be that important? I know that's hard to swallow, but think about it.

The people who have such fear and loathing of our president need to get over it. Where did all this come from anyway? People just seemed to follow some fearmongers and others blindly. They believed any negative thing written or said about President Obama from whispers of him being a Muslim (he isn't, but so what if he was) to he enrolled in school as a foreign student (false documents). Again, so what? And that silly Trump guy with that ridiculous hairdo starts calling for a revolution. Really?? Again, REALLY??

I truly believe that President Obama is a good man, a good husband, a good father, and a good president. Fearful people need to get a grip and lighten up. Let the president get on with his job. And I hope the House of Representatives will put aside all this petty discord because so many are Republicans. They are supposed to be for ALL the people. If they spent so much money getting elected to represent the people, they need to start supporting their leader, also. They need to get off their power trip and do what they were elected to do...represent all the people and not just Republicans. Mitt Romney, in his concession speech, actually said this. I think he's right.

Yes. Thank God for Yubawazi, it is over. No more nasty political rhetoric. No more name calling. No more loss of friendships. It's over. The fat lady has sung and the bows have been taken. I feel like tip toeing through the tulips and singing in the sunshine.

Now, let's get on with the really important stuff and focus more on who will win "Dancing with the Stars." Plus, "American Idol" is back in January. That's a good thing. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Monster is Coming and Its Name is Sandy

It has been a blustery day today here in this southeastern region of the United States. Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin along with their friends would certainly attest to this. My sister, who has been visiting here, and I went for a walk out on the farm this afternoon and felt cold as the wind whipped around us.

This wind, almost howling up in the trees is a direct result of a major hurricane churning up the eastern seaboard. "I can taste salt on my lips," my sister announced. And she was right. I could, too. The wind and clouds carried air from the sea although the taste was faint.

This hurricane...Sandy is its name...is scary. It's like nothing anyone in my lifetime has seen. And, strange as it seems, there is something exciting about it. Hurricanes are exciting. Tornadoes don't hold the same excitement . They come out of the clouds, destroy everything in their paths and are gone as quickly as they came.

Hurricanes are different. Some form as innocent batches of clouds, and if the conditions are just right, begin to grow and feed on whatever it is that causes them to start a slow spinning dance. Sandy is a gargantuan storm that started as innocently as any other hurricane. But it is different. It is late in the season. It doesn't necessarily have excessively high winds. It's what is known as a Category I storm, winds only...yes, only 75 mph. But it is huge, over 900 miles across.

The problem with this storm is that it is heading into a highly populated area, a highly congested area. It has been predicted that as many as 50 million people will be affected by this monster storm with a rather sweet innocent name. I've been following it ever since it began forming in the Caribbean over a week ago. At that time, it wasn't promising to turn into what possibly could become the Storm of the Century and beyond.

One of the biggest problems with hurricanes is the storm surge, the ocean waters that move ashore and inland. This surge floods and wreaks havoc as it moves upon the land. The surge from Sandy could flood subways in New York City. It could send water into the Battery. Hurricanes aren't picky at what they destroy. Katrina is an example of that.

Yes, hurricanes are exciting, but it is an uneasy excitement. In reality, I hope the storm, for some inexplicable reason does not turn inland to New Jersey and New York City. I have loved ones up that way. I feel for the people who live in that area, who go to jobs each day, who won't be able to tomorrow because a monster is coming.

We have had so many natural disasters in the past seven years. Doomsday predictors come out of the woodwork when these natural occurrences happen. I don't believe in any of that "End of the world" predictions. These kinds of natural disasters have been going on for millions of years.

It's just that all the areas that will be and are already being affected by this storm were, at one time, not nearly so populated with human life. At one time Manhattan was simply an island with trees and wild life. The Jersey Shore was just that. Atlantic City wasn't there for the boardwalk to be destroyed as it looks to be now. Underground trains were unheard of. Human beings lived simply. They did not live along the shore where the ocean could come in and sweep them away. The did not build high buildings that could topple. They used fire and oil for light.

I hope the people in the path of Sandy heed the warnings. They are dire. I hope they don't try to "ride it out" and have hurricane parties. I think Sandy just might not appreciate it.

Take care everyone. It might be a good idea to say a few prayers. It can't hurt.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Winning the 50 Yard Dash, Little League World Series, and the UGA DAWGS

I really like sports. I mean a lot, but I was never a good athlete. As a kid, I was a little bitty splindly-legged tow-headed girl who was always the last or close to the last kid picked to be on a team. I was too short for basketball and not really strong enough to hit a ball far enough to be good enough. But I could catch a ball with the best of them. People who knew that chose me.

I could run really fast, though. One of my finest moments was in the sixth grade during Field Day when I beat the fastest girl runner in the school for the 50 yard dash. I still smile thinking about it. Track and field was never part of my school participating activities, though.

Swimming was something I was good at also. I could do it despite having a bad knee. Swimming is still something I love to do. But I never was on any swim team. My favorite thing to do is swim mindless laps and write articles in my head.

My dad and I coached my brother's Little League baseball team one summer in between my sophomore and junior year in college. The boys were around 11 or 12. Most were small for their age. In fact, I think my brother was one of the tallest kids, but he was pretty skinny. The boys lost their first 3 games, and folks made fun of them. But my dad was so good with them. He compelled each boy to play his best, not through yelling and belittling them, but by encouragement, respect, and kind words. 

Those boys started winning. The won the rest of their games and went on to win in the city league. That put them in contention for World Series competition. I was so proud of all of them. They played their hearts out, not necessarily to win for themselves, but they wanted to win for my dad. I can remember that every year, every little boy wanted to play on my dad's team. He was a great coach and set a great example. He believed in good sportsmanship and wouldn't tolerate anything less. He also wouldn't tolerate unruly and rude parents and spectators. That summer in 1967 (I believe) is way up there among my fondest memories. I loved those little boys.

Now, I follow the University of Georgia Bulldogs or DAWGS. It was great fun to see them beat Florida today. Florida is usually our nemesis. When Spurrier was the coach, his arrogance just made me want to stomp him which wouldn't have gone over as a good display of sportsmanship on my part at all. It has always pleased me to beat the Florida Gators. Sorry, Gator fans. I will always feel this way. Now, Spurrier is with South Carolina. That team beat us soundly a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to stomp Spurrier again, but he doesn't seem quite as arrogant. He did almost throw his visor, though.

I follow the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons professional teams and I love to watch Payton Manning play. He is such a good quarterback, like Joe Montana only I think Manning is better.

See, I told you I loved sports. I think I'm the biggest jock in the family except for maybe my middle son. He "runs" every sports category on Jeopardy, every time. It's amazing. And to me, he was the greatest soccer player on his high school team. I may be a bit prejudice on that.

Anyway, it's been a good day for sports. I wish the Tennessee Vols had won against South Carolina, but they almost did. It was a good game.

It's been a good day for UGA sports fans. That's for sure. GO DAWGS!!

And I make no apologies.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October, the Mountains, and Spectacular Colors

October is a splendid month and it's almost over. Today, my husband, mom, sister, and I ventured out and up to the mountains of Northeast Georgia with the destination being Amicalola Falls near Dawsonville.  The weather was glorious and the scenery was spectacular. The leaf colors are at their peak and just simply brilliant. You know, some years, the fall colors are just "so so." This year is definitely not one of them.

The falls were lovely. This was a perfect day for my mom. She needed it because her beloved doggie she adopted not too long after her husband of 67 years and my sweet daddy passed away. Roxi is a hefty Heinz 57 with some Rottweiler in her. She is a sweet tempered gentle dog that stole my mom's heart when Roxi licked her hand through her cage. She was slated to die that very day. Roxi became very ill a couple of days ago and had we not taken her to the vet, she probably would have died.

She has been diagnosed with diabetes which has caused some other complications. Mom absolutely loves this dog. She is getting excellent care and we are hopeful Roxi will get better soon. So...Mom needed a day to enjoy the outdoors and forget her concerns for a little while. Mom is this wonderful redheaded Irish (mainly with a little British and German) woman who is nearing 90, but acts and looks much much younger. She walked on the trails pretty as you please on her way to see the base of the falls. She laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed herself. I'm just so thankful the leaves and the weather were so breath-taking.

My sister, who lives in the Northwest, equally enjoyed herself. She's a picture buff and probably owns one of the last workable film cameras. She swears by her camera and believes film is much better than digital. I'm not going to argue with her. I like my little Canon and she likes her big Canon. It's all good as long as the pictures turn out well. We'll share them. She loved the area and all the brilliant colors.

We hoped to find a nice little restaurant in which to dine somewhere around Jasper, Georgia. What has happened to all the little "mom and pop" places or the local eateries in the smaller towns? I guess economics has taken its toll on these places. Most small towns had a downtown cafe or two that the locals frequented, but we could find nothing.

We wound up eating at a Cracker Barrel at home. That was okay. We all like this country comfort food place. You know it has to be good because it always, and I mean a l w a y s is  crowded. I love their "fried apples." The coffee is great and so is the frosted mug lemonade.

Anyway, this was a really wonderful day. I got to spend it with people I love and who love me. What more could I ask?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Tribute to My Father on His 90th

I was a daddy's girl growing up. My daddy was the biggest, strongest, handsomest man who ever lived. He made the best mayonnaise sandwiches in the world on soft white Sunbeam bread. He'd glob it on until it squished out the sides when I bit into it. My mouth sometimes waters when I think about those sandwiches, sandwiches I don't eat anymore.

I remember watching Gillette's Friday Night Fights (I think that was its name) with my dad until I got sleepy and fell asleep with my head on his knee. Sometimes, when I was really small, I would use his legs as a slide. I'd ride on his shoulders and get the best view of everything. When I think back on it, I know I felt like the Queen of the World to borrow from that famous "Titanic" line.

As a teen-ager, I remember my dad leaning on a car window, shirtless because he had been working in the garden, introducing himself to the mother of a boy who was taking me to the 8th grade dance. That time I was mortified. Today, I smile and think how truly guileless my dad was.

When I was 15, I had to have surgery to correct a birth defect that caused my knee cap to go out of place and travel around the back of my leg. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds and didn't show up until I was around 12. The surgery went well, but a staph infection set in. I was very very ill. I almost lost my leg, really my life. One night, I awoke to find my daddy sitting very close to my hospital bed. His head was resting on the bed and he appeared to be asleep. As I put my hand on his hair, I told him that I loved him. He said in his deep East Tennessee drawl, "I love you too, daughter. I love you, too." It was a most precious moment.

My dad had been an Air Force career man, retiring as as Major. He was always so handsome in his uniform. When he retired at the young age of 37, he went on to work for the Post Office for another 20 years. I think he always regretted leaving the military. I learned later that he did it for his children so that they would have a more stable life. That was quite a sacrifice, leaving something that he loved doing. He loved his children more. Secretly, I missed the Air Force as much as him

When I was in college, I'd sometimes ride a bus to Knoxville where we had settled after the Air Force and Dad would meet me at the bus stop. We had a ritual of going to the Krispy Kreme doughnut place and getting a dozen chocolate covered doughnuts warm, coming off the conveyor belt. We'd drive all over Knoxville, talking and munching on that box of doughnuts. Sometimes we'd take a doughnut each home to my mom and brother. They weren't as appreciative as we thought they should have been.

Daddy was an extraordinary guitarist and musician. He could play all kinds of musical instruments, but his favorite was the tenor guitar. He had a specially made Martin that he treated as a work of art. After retiring from the Air Force and moving to Knoxville, he teamed once again with his brother, my Uncle Otha and they became the Emert Brothers. They performed the music of their heritage and youth, mountain music, bluesy and sweet...sad songs of lost love or lively tunes that was foot stomping inspiring. I so loved to listen and watch him and his brother perform and later with his nephew George after Uncle Otha passed away. My dad's last performance was with his grandson, Heath, my oldest son at the Delmar Days Festival in Alabama. I was so proud of my son as he honored his grandfather by playing with him. It was a joy to watch them and listen.

On December 2, 2010 I lost this wonderful man I loved so much. Kidney cancer took him away from all of us who loved him. I remember sitting by his bed on the night before he died telling him it was okay for him to let go, to be at peace. He fought so to live. He suffered so much. He was the dearest man I've ever known, the bravest. My life was made all the better because he was my father.

So here's to Major Stanley George  Emert, Sr. on what would have been his 90th birthday His legacy will live on through his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond. I know he's playing beautiful music among the stars.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ocean Liners, French Bread, and Vienna Sausages

So I fell asleep on the couch again and I'm sitting here feeling guilty that I haven't written anything. I had a great day spending time with my mom and sister who flew in for a visit. Yes, this is the sister who was my partner in crime when we wrecked havoc on our baby brother. We also grabbed bread off the swaying dining room tables on an ocean liner on which we were passengers as a hurricane raged outside. The dishes, glasses, and silverware was sent tumbling to the floor. We couldn't let that marvelous French bread go to waste. Of course, the waiters were shooing us out of the dining hall. With our wonderful treat in hand and butter in our pockets, we made our way back to our cabin. Our poor mom was really seasick.

We sat on the floor eating our bread and butter while the the huge sea vessel listed back and forth. I don't know how I kept from getting seasick like Mom. I have motion sickness to this day, but on that particular voyage, I broke bread with my sister as we sailed toward Morocco and promises of new adventures. I can remember that it was some of the best bread I'd ever eaten.

It ranks right up there with the Vienna sausages, crackers and cheese that my dad and I used to munch as we sat in a fishing boat on different lakes as we fished. Dad had motion sickness like me, so sometimes we both would get sick as the little boat bobbled and rolled on the water. It didn't matter. We didn't come in. We wanted fish and we were patient. Even after we got sick, we'd eat more of those little slimy sausages (what IS that jellied stuff on the outside of those things??) with cheese and crackers. If it got too bad, we'd just eat plain crackers. I must confess that I wouldn't eat a Vienna sausage now if my life depended on it. In fact, at this moment I'm kind of picturing myself on a boat with Daddy and I'm not feeling so good.

Tomorrow, my sister and I will spend more time together. In fact, she'll be here a week, so I've taken a few days off to enjoy her company. It's just too bad our baby brother isn't here with us. We could go camping, blow up an air mattress for him to sleep on...but I'm drawing the line on the softball in the pants. I think he might fight us and win for once.

And he might tell Mom.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yellow jackets, Yellow fairies, and Yellow water

When I was a kid, I liked to run...everywhere. I was a cottony tow-headed skinny little kid with knobby knees that were perpetually skinned up. I was a tom boy mostly, but I never wanted to be a boy. I liked to climb up in trees and run bare-footed. Stepping on honey bees and bumble bees were almost daily occurrences, but none of those stings really bothered me.

I liked snakes and spiders. These creatures have always been fascinating to me, but I had an unnatural fear of wasps and big hornets. I still do for that matter. Although I was basically a well behaved child, I didn't like the words, "don't do that" or "don't go near that". Probably the reason why I had/have a phobia about wasps is because when I was around four my mom told me not to ride my tricycle over and down a small dirt covered hill. I did anyway and ran over a yellow jacket nest in the ground.

Those little critters didn't take kindly to the wheels of that trike digging into their nest. They swarmed out of that hole in the dirt and proceeded to sting the ever loving daylights out of me. Mom heard me screaming and I remember pulling what seemed like a hand full of those bees from behind one knee. I was stung probably 20 or so times, but it could have been worse. And I don't have much of a fear of yellow jackets. It's buzzing big bees that get me.

One time when I was walking home from school with this boy named Billy, I stepped in a little ditch and felt something moving under my foot. It was a snake and this brave boy who had been walking with me jumped on his bike and sped off leaving me standing on the snake. For some reason, (remember, I'm not afraid of snakes,) I started screaming like, well, a little girl and began running across the field toward my home. I lost my shoes, school books, one sock, various pencils, hair clips, and the belt to my dress. I'm not sure how the belt came loose, but thinking back, it's a wonder I had anything on at all by the time my poor mother reached her once again screaming kid. I sometimes think I just liked the dramatics of it all.

Which brings me to the time I was a yellow fairy at my school's May Day celebration. Mom wrapped me in bright yellow crepe paper and fashioned wings with coat hangers covered in yellow tissue paper. I thought I was just the greatest yellow fairy in the second grade. We kids were instructed to dance around the Maypole as we held onto long ropes. Even back then, I loved to perform and I began dancing and leaping and soaring like I was covered in magical pixie dust. I didn't notice that the crepe paper costume began to unravel.

I thought all the clapping and carrying on was celebrating my wonderful performance. The louder the applause, whoops and hollers, the higher my kicks. With each kick, more crepe paper flew away in the wind. I noticed my mom frantically motioning me to come to her. Heck no, I had an audience and they liked me. By the time my mom got to me and began to pull me away from the Maypole, the only  part of my costume left were the tissue paper wings, and they were pretty shredded. So here I was wearing my white cotton underwear, shredded wings, and nothing else. I was oblivious to the fact that I was half naked in the middle of the parking lot of my school. I didn't care. I was convinced I was a hit and was destined to be the next great child star. Well, you know how that went.

One thing I regret as a kid, and I don't mean to be indelicate, is that I never learned how to pee outside. This might not be a big deal to you, but it was to me. I just never could get it. I wound up peeing in one shoe...every time. Do you know how uncomfortable it is walking around with one of your socks and shoes is wet and not from pure water? This would also make my mother mad, and my daddy laugh.

In the final scheme of things, I had a fantastic childhood despite bee stings, lost costumes, and the total lack of ability to keep one shoe and sock dry.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two Girls, a Boy, and a Softball in a Diaper

My mama and daddy were fruitful and multiplied three times before there were no more babies, two girls fairly close together and a boy eight years later.

I was with my mom when she found out she was pregnant with my baby brother. We lived in Morocco at the time while my dad was serving in the Air Force. Mom made me promise not to tell anyone that she was going to have a baby so she could be the first to surprise Daddy.

Here's the thing. I was seven. I had a secret. Mama was the one who said the words about me promising not to tell anyone. So, by the time Daddy got home, I had told everyone in our little apartment building, everyone in the village, and everyone I saw including our maid Aisha. I told everyone in both English and French. He was given lots of smiles, pats on the back, and congratulations before he greeted my mom with a big kiss.

Let me clarify a couple of things. We were anything but wealthy when it pertained to having a maid. The Air Force wanted to help locals in the village, so they hired women to work as domestics to Air Force families. I absolutely loved Aisha. She was Arab, Muslim, and always happy. She spoke French although her main language was Arabic. Being terribly frightened of electricity kind of cramped her style, but she could mop a mean floor and tell the best stories. Her lap was perfect for a little seven year old. She told the stories in French. Understanding her words was not always easy because I think she threw in a few Arabic phrases, but it didn't matter. I loved them anyway.

Most people spoke French because we lived in the French half of Morocco with the other half of the country owned by the Spanish. It's independent now, but since just about everyone spoke French where we lived, we speakers of English picked up French a lot easier than Arabic. So when I got back to the states, I was bilingual, but forgot the French pretty quickly since I didn't use it anymore on a regular basis. I remember more than anything missing Aisha and her wonderful stories.

Because Mom and Dad had this "rh factor" thing in that one had positive blood and the other negative (or something along those lines), we returned to the states earlier than planned. I thought we'd been deported because Mom hit the French Commandant's car, but that's another story. I know my dad would have loved a girl just as much as a boy, but my baby brother was born at the air base in Louisiana, and I will always remember the beaming face of my father as he proudly showed off our newest addition to the family, his son and namesake...someone to carry on the family name.

My sister and I fell in love immediately, but I gotta tell ya, that baby boy was mine. I had a real live doll to play with. It was great. And I never once dropped him on his head. I wasn't jealous or anything.

Being sisters who were really good at coming up with ideas to freak out our mother, we found that doing stuff to our baby brother was a given. One day, after he had just learned how to walk, Reenie and I decided to put a softball in his diaper, you know, so that Mom would think....you get the picture.

She took one look at his "loaded" diaper and proceeded to spread newspaper on the floor before placing Stan in the middle of it. Standing in a door way, my sister and I watched the whole thing trying desperately not to laugh. Mom was making clucking sounds as she apologized for feeding her little boy a little too much. As she unpinned the diaper and carefully started to remove it, the softball came tumbling out even bouncing a bit on the floor.

My mama just never cussed, but I heard her say a word that I had never heard her say before...damnit!" Then she yelled for us. We had already left the house scurrying across the yard to the safety of a street corner.We knew Mom couldn't leave our brother alone, so we were safe for the time being. When we finally came in, we got quite a scolding, but I know I saw the corners of her mouth twitching upward.

My sister and I also let the air out of our brother's air mattress as he slept soundly while we were on a family camping trip. He was about six by then, so that would make us 14 and 16. We should have known better, and did, but, gosh, it was so much fun to mess with our brother. He kind of slid to the bottom of the tent so that his feet were sticking out the tent door. Of course, we started laughing hysterically.

Somehow, my mom heard us from her and Dad's tent (it was the middle of the night), and was convinced her baby boy was being terrorized once again. Stomping over to our tent, she lifted her precious little son in her arms and if looks could kill, my sister and I would have met our maker that split second. I think my brother slept through it all or pretended to so he could avoid public humiliation.

Somehow, my brother survived his sisters. He grew up to become a husband, father, teacher, coach, lawyer, charity creator, local TV personality, and motivator. He is a good man, this brother of mine. He made it despite having two sisters who loved him dearly, but also loved to torment him.

I think it just made him stronger. He's a beautiful successful man, but for some reason he's never much like softball or sleeping in tents.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cavernous stores, Heebie Jeebie Dances, and "Game of Thrones"

I missed writing my blog last night. By the time I got home, it was after 9 pm, and I just didn't have anything in me. The thought of making my fingers work the keys on my trusty red Dell laptop to offer witty words of wisdom made me want to crawl in a hole and get in the smallest possible fetal position.

I had just gotten home from taking my mom to her favorite place to shop...that huge cavernous one stop building that houses anything you could possibly want and then some. This is the place that used to boast that it sold all things American made. Now, shoppers are hard pressed to find anything made in America.

This is the place where children are allowed  to run around as if they are outside on a playground. This is the place where children are allowed to scream like banshees and pitch fits without any form of discipline. Parents seem to forget all parenting skills the minute they walk through the automatic doors. I fully expect kids to start running around in tribal regalia like the kids in "Lord of the Flies."

This is the place where people dress so outlandishly that they don't care if their butt cracks show when they bend over or their boobs hang out all the way to their navels. It makes me want to do a heebie jeebie dance.

This is the place when people get into public arguments, especially couples, and they don't care who's listening. They argue at the meat counter, clothes department, sporting goods, paper products...it doesn't matter, somebody is mad at somebody else. And they don't care if everyone in the store knows it. This is classless folks, classless.

This place is like describing Hell, and if I believed in Hell, it would be a place like this. 

Truth be told, I do shop there for my house hold items which are generally less expensive, but the Dollar Store is less expensive, too, and I think it's less hellish. I haven't been to a Dollar Store super store, though.

My mom likes to shop there, though. I think it brings her fond memories of my dad. He liked the store a lot, and they shopped there often. They were married 67 years before he passed away, so when we go, I picture myself as a character in "Game of Thrones", and gird my loins as if I'm preparing for battle. In truth, Mom still drives and shops on her own sometimes, but she'd rather have company, and I can't blame her for that.

Mom always made sacrifices for me so I will make the supreme sacrifice of accompanying her to that store. It's the least I can do.

Besides, when I finally get to leave it, I feel a sense of accomplishment because I left the store alive although the "tick" in my right eye tends to stay for a good hour or two.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Evil, Karl, and now, Felix

So this guy, Felix Baumgartner, goes up 24 miles in a module held up by a balloon with plans to jump out and basically plummet to earth. He wants to be the first human being to break the sound barrier along with jumping from a height at the threshold of space. My thing is "why?"

Then I remember all the folks who came before him like Evil Knievel and Karl Wallenda.. The former tried to take a motorcycle and jump across the Grand Canyon. I don't know how many of you have seen the Grand Canyon, but jumping over it on a motorcycle is impossible even if it's rocket powered. Well, old Evil found out it was, even though his cycle was equipped with a parachute. I'm not sure he broke any bones that time, but I think some statistics read that he had broken every bone in his body before he passed away some time ago.

Karl Wallenda was part of a family of high wire performers better known as the Flying Wallendas. They did stuff like walking a high wire across Tallulah Gorge in Georgia or walking tight wires between tall buildings and such. Karl Wallenda was the patriarch and he fell to his death at age 73. Wow, still doing high wire acts at 73. That's pretty impressive.

But my question still is, "Why?"

Why do some people feel the need to put their lives in danger. Is it for the thrill, the rush? Is it for their 15 minutes of fame? I can tell you that I don't have that drive, that need for a thrill that could cost me my life. The craziest chance I ever took was diving off a 30 or so foot cliff into a quarry lake when I was in college. I can tell you this. I saw the back of my eyes. I had my eyes open because I was scared sh&@*tless, but was bound and determined to do it. I didn't want anyone to think I lacked courage, and I was trying to impress this guy. I can attest to one thing. When one dives into water from 30 or 40 feet with one's eyes open everything looks orangy red and I swear I saw some veins. And now that I think about it these many years later, not one other person dove off that cliff. Who was the the real dummy here??

So, it's pretty evident that I am not a dare devil. But I think we need folks like Evil, Karl, and Felix. They make the rest of us ordinary people appreciate life a bit more. They make us think, even if we think they're nutty as fruitcakes. And yes, it is a bit thrilling to see it all happen.

I'm happy the guy made it safely to Earth and, yes, he broke the sound barrier, but what will he do as an encore...jump from the space station, travel the speed of light? That's a thought.  


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Young Singer, Newspapers, and Mad Max

The second week of October is almost over, and I've only missed one entry into NaBloWriMo. I almost didn't write anything tonight because my hubby and I went to a benefit that helped raise money for homeless people, and we just got home a bit ago. It's kind of late to write something all creative and witty, but I simply must have something written. It's a commitment I've made.

We watched a young lady perform tonight, Audi Burchett, and she is wonderful. I've known her mama a long time. We worked at a newspaper together some 20+ years ago. Working at that newspaper was the most fun job I ever had. It was my first time to really have any of my writing published. When I started actually getting feedback on my columns and news articles, it truly made me happy even if the feedback wasn't always positive. In fact, some of it was downright ugly.

This meant that people were reading what I wrote and that gave me a sense of satisfaction. I knew in the deep regions of my soul that I would not be able to work at the newspaper for long. I found myself wanting to sit on a river bank in the middle of the night trying to photograph someone dumping illegal stuff in the river, rather than being at home with my family. This is not good when you're the mother of four. Plus, the paper didn't pay very well. I still don't think newspapers pay well. In fact, some say newspapers are on the way out since most news and such is on line now.

I still like to sit in my corner of the couch with the newspaper and leaf through the pages as I read obscure little articles about places in outer Slombovia. It's that I feel that even in the most remote places of the world, something happening there could affect my part of the world. I'm simply appalled at the fact that people don't know the news. They don't bother with finding out what is happening, and I think that's just a bit dangerous. It makes me uneasy.

I swear, sometimes some of the people I encounter remind me of those Mel Gibson "Mad Max" movie characters. Are we moving into that kind of world, a world of ignorant and unbathed folks. Kind of makes me shudder. I keep on thinking I'm going to start seeing slipshod helicopters flown by pilots with bad teeth and unrecognizable accents.

But since I am basically a positive person, I tend to believe that education will win out over ignorance. I believe that the human spirit is strong and that good will prevail over the bad and ugly.


Goodness, I've rambled with this entry. I started out with telling about a wonderful local singer (she sounds like Janice Joplin) to stuff about newspapers before moving onto Mad Max.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I will worship at the altar of the mattress and a restaurant booth. In other words I'll sleep in, then we'll take my mom to breakfast somewhere. The words about the mattress came from a friend of a friend. I thought it was so funny, but then again my sense of humor runs the gamut from bizarre to big time bizarre. And I meant no disrespect to my church going friends. I think I'm getting tired.

Happy middle of October, y'all and if I have any typos or weirdly spelled words and such pay them no mind and keep on reading.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Emory Hospital, Atlanta, A Really Good Day

I had a good day, a really good day. My husband, middle son, sister-in-law, and I all took a trip down to Atlanta to Emory Hospital to see about my husband's "falling out" episode. Our son wanted to drive us. I think he thinks we're getting on up in years. There's been talk of Power of Attorney and such. This is a standing joke, folks. We are not nearly that old...yet.

First off, my husband's appointment was listed as 13:20. Okay...military time. I knew how to read it as did my husband, only it was a typo. His appointment was really at 3:20.

It was a bout 1:00 when we arrived. No matter. We trekked down to the hospital cafeteria and had a long and leisurely lunch. The food is good at the downtown Emory Hospital in Atlanta. I was totally impressed.

But I have been totally impressed with everything Emory Hospital since my husband spent some time there a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, he got a good report, nothing major, some blockages that are already being treated. He was complimented on how well he is taking care of himself...I could take credit, but let's face it, he does most of the cooking. He does all his exercises. He really does take care of himself. And because he does most of the cooking and taking care of himself, I reap the benefits, too. I eat healthy and am back at getting moving more again.

My mama also went to her heart specialist today and he took her off Plavix (some call it rat poison) and put her back on baby aspirin rather than full aspirin. This did her 89 year old heart well. She hated taking Plavix. Her arms were always covered in bruises which were a side effect of that stuff. She was very self-conscious of it. My mom is beautiful and always has been. Her appearance is very important to her, not because she is vain, but because she is a lady and she believes ladies should care about how they look. In truth, I do most of the time, but sometimes a ball cap and sun glasses do the trick. I just don't tell Mom I'm dressed like that in public.

So it was a good day. The drive out of Atlanta during late afternoon rush hour went surprisingly well with very few slow downs. There was not a parking lot on the interstate anywhere.

I'm home now and our son is cooking supper. Yes, it has been a good day, most definitely. Supper's ready. Gotta go.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Open Drawer, Pull Out Paper, Shred

I started doing something today I never thought would happen. Oh, I have been putting it off. I really have months to do it. It can wait. But no, really, it can't.

I began the process of cleaning out my office. This office (well not exactly THIS office. I've had 3) has the accumulation of over 20 years of stuff. I'm an educator and have been most of my professional life. Educators are notorious for saving everything, copying everything, hoarding everything.

For those of you who haven't read a previous blog, I am retiring next summer after many years of working for "the man" whoever the heck he is. For the last 20 years, I've worked in adult education. It has been the single most satisfying job I've ever had. I have witnessed people's lives being turned around once they got their GED and moved on to bigger and better things.

But this isn't what this blog is about. It's about beginning the process of getting rid of stuff that has been a part of my life for 20 years. It's about shredding reports that date back to 1991. It's about shredding workshop material that is so outdated that the paper is crumbling. I have no intention of taking any of this stuff  home, no siree bobcat (as my late great mother-in-law, Evelyn Causby used to say.) I have no place for it at home. None. Nada.

I have no use for statistics from 2003, no use whatsoever. I have folder after folder of this stuff. I have reams of paper printed with all kinds of numbers depicting all kinds of stats like contact hours and level completions from years ago.

I even have hand written...yes HAND WRITTEN reports. These were created before we had computers to input information. It's ridiculous. I really can't justify why I've saved all this. Oh, in my "gotta save this" kind of thinking "because I might need it someday" mind set, I honestly thought some obscure 1992 report to the state would come in handy some day. Really??? Reallllllllllllllllllly???

I used the shredder so much today that it over heated. I haven't gotten rid of even one fourth of all the paper work from years gone by. You know what I found myself doing? Reading the activity reports I created from back in the late mid 90s to early 2000s to see how much had changed. It hadn't that much, other than the reports got longer and more detailed.

I came across names of students from years back who stuck in my brain, like Delmas Towe who used to tell me he was "fine as frog hair split three ways" when I asked him how he was. I picked up on that and use it almost daily.  He was part of the Class of 2000. They were a great group, those folks.

But this blog is not about those wonderful students. It's about me taking the initiative to let go, to realize that I don't need this stuff anymore, and gasp!! I won't ever need it. What I do need is what I did today. I started clearing out my office because in 8 months and so many days, someone else will occupy it. Someone else after 20 years will take my place. If I do this little by little maybe it won't be so daunting. I will not wait until the last minute.

Yep, the process has begun of letting go. But in the final scheme of things, it's not going to be easy. Just like I tell my students, "I never promised you it would be easy."

But it will get done because no matter what, I will not be in the office on July 1, 2013. I will be at home starting my second career, that of a lady of leisure who is a full time writer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Sister, Coloring Books, and "Snake in the Desert"

I wish I could paint. Oh, I don't mean walls and window sills. I mean create a work of art on canvas. I have always wanted to be able to do that, but alas, I wasn't gifted with that talent. My sister was, though. She is a marvelous artist. I have some of her paintings in my home. I have some of her earliest works of art.

When we were kids, she drew marvelous pictures of horses. She loved horses. Still does. One of my favorites was of a horse rearing up with a moon behind him. It was a pencil drawing, I believe. I have pictures she drew when we lived in Morocco. I used to try to draw horses like her. They never looked like horses. They looked like dogs with big noses or long legged pigs. Sometimes their manes or tails looked vaguely horse like, but I could never get it right.

She even colored with crayons better than me. Her coloring book pages looked like beautiful works of art. The trees weren't just one shade of green. They were several shades and blended somehow to look almost real. She even had creations that enabled her to color outside the lines. I loved them. I thought they should be framed.

My sister was and still is a unique individual. She was and still is absolutely brilliant and also beautiful. She is tall and I am short. I always wanted to be tall, so that's why I wore 4 inch heels a lot when I got a bit older. In retrospect, I think I just looked like a short person trying to look tall. Sigh...

She taught me how to spell "electricity" and "hibernation" when I was five years old. I have never forgotten that. I felt like I had accomplished something big. I felt smart...almost as smart as her, but not quite.

My sister never made anything below an A in school. I just told my mom and dad that my grades weren't monotonous like hers. And they weren't. They ran the gamut from A to rock bottom.

I kind of wish there had been schools like the old television show "Fame" when I was a kid. I liked to...perform.  But none of the 13 schools I attended (we were Air Force) throughout my formal school years had kids that simultaneously broke into song and dance routines whenever they chose. Any kid that would do that in any of the schools I attended would surely have been sent to detention.I believe the kids on "Glee" do that now, but none of them are ever sent to detention either. Go figure.

 I remember attending a junior high school when we lived in Salina, Kansas. Art was offered and I took it, hoping that maybe I would learn something about combining water colors and creating something akin to Starry Night by Van Gogh, my favorite painting of all time. It just didn't happen. For my final work of art, I took a big white sheet of paper and painted it a bright yellow. I painted a few green things that were meant to be cacti and as the piece de resistance, I painted a brown squiggly thing in the middle of the paper. I called this masterpiece "Snake in the Desert."

I got a D on it. The teacher wasn't amused. My mother laughed herself silly, and I think she still has it somewhere.

So I followed in my sister's shadow, her brilliant, beautiful shadow. And I'm a better person for it. I learned that she could paint and I couldn't. And that was okay.

My sister's coming for a visit in a few weeks. I only get to see her once a year now. She lives clear across the country.  I think I'll buy us a coloring book and a brand new box of crayons.  We'll see what we can create.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Deputy, Remington Steele, and Illya Kuryakin

"Bones" is by far the grossest show on television, well, at least network television. The first twenty minutes of last night's show was just simply gag worthy. And I loved it. "Bones" is a show I rarely miss. I also like "Grimm", "Once Upon a Time", "Castle", and a few others. I've been watching "Game of Thrones" on Netflix. Lord have mercy. That is all. Great show, but...Lord have mercy.

Right now, I'm watching "NCIS." This is a really great show. The characters play well off each other. But the reason I like it so much is because of David McCallum, aka Ducky. You'd think it would be because of Mark Harmon. He is serious eye candy (that term is kind of icky). Rephrase...because of the seriously handsome Mark Harmon. The truth is, I have had a mad crush on McCallum ever since he was Illya Kuryakin on the old "Man from U.N.C.L.E." series. I thought he was adorable. I still do! It's crazy. The man is 79 years old and still as cute as can be. I don't look at him as old. I look at him as still having sex appeal.

I remember my first real pre-teen crush. I fell madly in love with Peter Brown who played a deputy on the western "Lawman." We lived in Kansas at the time and I couldn't wait for the night "Lawman" came on our old black and white Philco television set. Of course, at that time, everything was in black and white. And if the wind was blowing too hard, the antenna wouldn't pick up ABC. This would devastate my poor little 11 year old psyche. When his character was killed in a war movie called "Darby's Rangers", I thought I'd die. Strangely enough, this guy is still alive and younger than Ducky.

I don't have the same mind blowing, dry mouthed, want to squeal like a silly girl feeling whenever I think about these crushes, but it's funny how the memories of those feelings still linger. I guess the last real crush I had was on Pierce Brosnan from "Remington Steele" days. I thought he was gorgeous, and I was a grown up married mother of four children who had anxiety attacks while waiting for the show every week. I remember thinking he should be the next James Bond. And he did eventually grow into portraying that character. I thought he was the best since Sean Connery. Oh, lordy, I forgot about Sean Connery. He was in a league all his own.

And I just remembered feeling all gushy when I watched Robert Redford, Paul Newman, even Clark Cable. Clark Cable will always be Rhett Butler. I can't imagine anyone else as that character.  

I think this is getting out of hand. I may just have had too many crushes to date. Maybe I have some kind of affliction. At least I realize at my age that I'm not going to grow up and marry one of them. We won't meet by chance and he think I'm the most ravishingly beautiful girl he's ever seen and fall madly and instantly in love with me. Besides, I married a movie star gorgeous man. What do I need with all these other guys?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bubbling Apples, Little Susie Homemaker, and Duct Tape

Tonight, as I sat on the couch in the living room, I started to peel and slice a big bag of apples my son, Hayden collected from his aunt's (my sister-in-law's) apple trees. I had my large green bowl that I inherited from my mother-in-law placed on our rustic coffee table ready to fill with slices of apples. Yes, I was in the living room, not in the kitchen because Jeopardy was on , and I always watch Jeopardy. And you must understand that I haven't peeled and readied this many apples in many a year. The kitchen is not my favorite room in the house.

Oh, I used to put up all manner of vegetables and fruits from the garden and farmers' markets, but it seems that in the past 15 years, I have devoted my time to my job first as the director and instructor of adult education at our local college. Putting up food was not high on my list of "things to do." Most of our children were grown, married, about to get married, in college...well, you get the picture. Being the "Little Red Hen" was not so important anymore.  I was fine with shopping at the local grocery store. But, truth be told, the store bought vegetables were not near as good.

This job, this canning and freezing of food became a job for my retired husband. Really, he's a disabled Vietnam veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but he also worked many years. I prefer to say he is retired from working outside the home. And thank goodness he really likes to plant, hoe, pull weeds, and pick the bounty from an outstanding garden every summer. I get to reap the benefits. To this day, some 42 years later, we still love to fry okra in January and pull out cream style corn when the family sits down together for a special meal. Our grown children still consider cream style corn from the garden pretty close to dessert.

The thing is, my husband and I both grew up with either a father or a mother or both who gardened. I was used to eating fresh veggies and fruits from a garden. So was my husband. This was something we needed and enjoyed from our first year of marriage. But I think I just got tired of it all. And as my husband, soon after we were married, surmised, I'm just not too domesticated.

I have never been accused of being "Little Susie Homemaker", but I did enjoy doing artsy crafty things with my children when they were young. I actually embroidered some Christmas pillows one time using my own patterns. Made a little Christmas money that year, around $100 or so dollars and was so sick of embroidering that I haven't picked it up since. I may though. I just may. I also may knit and crochet again after making 50 blue million footies and ornaments for Christmas presents one year. I think that was 25 years ago. I have also been know to duct tape a fallen hem. Duct tape lasts for about two years even after washing and drying.

No matter. The aroma of apples bubbling on the stove has filled our home with promises of deliciousness. I love applesauce from fresh apples. Plus, I can use these apples to make fried pies on a cold winter's day. Gracious, that sounds awfully domesticated. Am I beginning to revert to actually liking to cook again, or gasp...put up food? My husband does most of the cooking now, and he's darn good at it. I still do Sunday morning breakfasts sometimes. And folks tell me my from scratch biscuits are the best east of the Mississippi River. I don't know who makes them better in the West.

Who knows? I may be crowned "Little Susie Homemaker" someday. Nah. Not gonna happen. I will always think duct tape is my friend.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Falling Out, Granny Panties, and Coffee Grounds

A couple of weeks ago, back on September 22, my husband of 42 years "fell out" on me. In other words, he passed out, I mean flat out, first on me and as I tried to catch him, onto the kitchen floor. There was no warning, nothing. One minute we were talking, the next he was on the floor, his head on the open garbage bag I was getting ready to tie up. It was terribly frightening. I thought he was gone. As I desperately called his name and kind of smacked him on the cheeks (because I'd seen people do this in movies and on TV), I yelled to my youngest son who happened to be home, to call 911.

I was about to begin a rusty form of CPR when he started to come around, but he was very very pale and sweating like crazy. The EMTs arrived and went to work. It was evident that he needed a trip to the hospital and a good checking out. As they were loading him onto the gurney, I noticed coffee grounds in his hair. I'd address that problem later.

At our excellent local hospital, all kinds of tests were done, but nothing was really conclusive. Sooooo, it was off to Emory in Atlanta. I got to ride in the front seat of the ambulance, a first for me in my life. At my age, the "firsts" happenings are getting few and far between. If I wasn't so concerned about the love of my life, I might have enjoyed it more.

At Emory, more tests were performed. As an aside, if you have to go to a hospital with something more serious than your local hospital can handle, and you live within traveling distance of Emory, go there. Everyone, from the cleaning personnel on up were just fantastic people. I didn't detect any negativism anywhere. It was pretty awesome (I know. That word is overused, but it fits.) And the medical care is outstanding.

Our four children, two grandchildren, and a son-in-law rushed to the hospital. Our sweet darling daughter-in-law was sick and felt it best not to come. Our grandson, who is an Asperger kid, declared that it was the worst day of his life and that nano technology needed to be speeded up to help find out medical problems and make them disappear. Oh, he's 10 and also absolutely brilliant. I adore this child. Our granddaughter who is five, wasn't quite sure what to make of her precious granddaddy being in a hospital bed, but she later drew a picture of him wearing yellow hospital socks. It's wonderful.

With no evidence of eminent danger to her daddy's life, my daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren headed back to middle Georgia, but the three sons stayed. They got some gawdawful (I later learned) motel room close to Emory. I opted to stay in the hospital room as close to my husband as I could. By the third day with no shower and wearing the same clothes, I was getting pretty gamey. So here's what I did. Are you ready for it? I asked my adult sons to get me a new shirt, and....wait...some new underwear. Yep, my grown handsome boys left to buy their mama some new clothes including underwear. I held off on jeans. Jeans can be worn for days without getting too bad. If a pair of jeans can stand up by themselves, then it's time to wash them.

The boys came back with a new Georgia Bulldog shirt, boys size large and some underwear that can only be described as the proverbial "granny panties." Three pair, pale blue, navy blue, and flowery blue all cotton with a little spandex. Guys, I love them. They are definitely not sexy, but they are comfortable, and at this stage in my life, comfortable underwear is a necessity.  My boys did right by their mama. 

My husband is home now. He didn't have a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or high blood sugar. He will be going to specialists to try to get to the bottom of it. And, one good thing, we finally got the coffee grounds out of his hair. Remember? He fell in the garbage.

We both have a new respect for each other. I love this guy. He's been with me a long time. I want him to continue to be with me longer.

So we're hoping for no more fainting spells although he doesn't like the term "fainting." He thinks it's too girly, so we say "fell out." Either way, it was scary and I don't want it to happen again.

Even if it means I could get some more comfortable "granny panties."  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Time to Bring Out the Seasonal Candles

I must say that it is brisk outside, so that means it's candle lighting time. When it gets cooler, I like to bring out my seasonal candles. Right now, the little ceramic pumpkin that my husband made while he was a patient at the VA hospital in Augusta some 25 plus years back is all a glow on our dining room table. A set of three autumn colored candles are a blaze on my coffee table and a wrought iron 3 pumpkin candle holder is on the hearth with the faces all shining from back candles. The aroma of pumpkin spice is in the air. It feels all warm and cozy.

I love this time of year. I love it to get cooler, then cold. I want snow. Last year we had a warm winter. In fact, it never did really get cold. The winter before in 2010, we had a white Christmas, the first my husband and I had ever seen here, the first my grown children had ever seen, the first my grandchildren had ever seen and the first I'd seen in over 45 years all together. It was so very lovely and something that was greatly needed since my daddy had passed away that year on December 2. It lifted my heavy heart and made me smile a big old Grinch smile after his heart grows bigger.

Southern snow is usually wet, thick, and heavy. It quietly falls and covers everything in record time.The world becomes hushed. I remember seeing a cardinal sitting in a tree and snapped a picture. Its brilliant red color was a stark contrast to the pure white surroundings of the freshly fallen snow.

The holiday season is fast approaching. In fact, once October rolls around, it's here. Now to settle back, watch a little football, get out my Kindle Fire, and read some between plays. It looks like the Georgia Bulldogs are not doing so well at the moment. That's okay. I feel peaceful and calm. The candles are glowing and all is right with the world.

Friday, October 5, 2012

She Looks Good for Her Age

I went for my yearly vision/eye check up today and the doctor thinks my eyes are just remarkable for someone my age. I know he meant that as a compliment, but being blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses is not so remarkable to me. I had great, no perfect vision until around the age of 47. Then, I needed reading glasses. I'd buy the cheap kind and would lose a pair a week. In the ensuing 10 years, I started buying "close up" and "far away" glasses. Then the inevitable happened. I needed prescription glasses to wear all the time. Bothersome, really bothersome, so about 5 years ago, I started wearing contacts. I'm not going to say I absolutely love them, but it beats having something on my face all the time, and I can see to put on my make-up. I am too chicken to do the laser thing. This is not to say that glasses are awful or unattractive. They are just not one of my favorite accessories.

And here's another thing. I have a problem with someone saying, "Boy, she really looks good for her age." Just what is that supposed to mean? Should someone, say me for instance, look gawdawful and snaggle-toothed? I've stopped telling people my age. Because of genetics, I tend to look younger than my years. I've had absolutely nothing to do with it. My mom and dad had a good combination of genes. I used to tell people my age and was kind of proud when they'd say, "Really??? Wow! I thought you were much younger." Now, people tend to look at a person of my age as someone with one foot in the grave and the other foot wearing a sensible shoe.

I think to myself that Susan Sarandon is older than me and she looks darn good, even sexy. So does Dolly Parton, but she's had some work done. So today I have remarkable eyes for someone my age. Let's face it. I'm beyond the age of getting wolf whistles and rude "hey baby" comments from the opposite sex. The days of my long blond hair, tight little butt, and perky little boobs are long past, but I did sport that kind of look at one time. Now, I'm sucking in my gut to no avail and pulling my bra up as far as it will go without strangling myself. The lines on my face show I have character. Yea, right. Have you ever looked in the mirror and pulled your skin back to see how it used to look? Yeah, me too.

The thing is, I'm not unhappy. I have a really cute husband who loves me a lot. And today, while I was in a store, a young man fixed a package for me and took off over $6 for the final sale. We'd been carrying on a nice little conversation.When he handed me the package, he winked at me. Now, that could have meant he thought I was cute for an old broad or he felt sorry for me and thought he'd give me a thrill.

Either way, I left the store smiling. Maybe I really do look pretty good for my age. I still have my teeth...well, most of them anyway. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Not Enough Hours in the Day

So I was all ready to start my new post yesterday evening when I got home. Here's the thing. I leave work around 6 PM. I go my my mother's condo to see her every day after work (she's 89, still lives on her own and is sharp as a tack.) I get home around 7 or 7:30 PM, try to chill out a bit, eat supper, and settle in until bed time.

Yesterday evening was no exception, but, for some reason, I was really tired. I ate and then told myself that I was just going to rest a bit on the couch before I did my blog. I wanted to have it finished before the presidential debate. Well...resting a bit turned into not waking up until the debate was well underway, 9:50 pm.

I tried to watch it. I really did, but, lawsymercy, it was awful. Mitt Romney seemed pompous and rude, and Mr. Obama seemed unsure of himself. I became bored very early and went off to bed. It seems that I didn't miss much of the debate. It's received pretty negative reviews. In truth, I won't change my mind on who I'm voting for come election day no matter what. Politicians say what people want to hear. That's a plain and simple fact.

For the rest of the month, I'm going to do my best to post a blog every night. I just won't stretch out on the couch to "rest a bit" before I write. Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

July 1, 2013, I Will Be Free

This summer, my husband, oldest son, daughter-in-law, and I took a trip to Ireland. It was a trip of dreams. I have Irish blood, lots of it. My grandfather, a little red-headed Irishman named me, insisting on the old Irish spelling with one "l". When my feet hit the pavement in Dublin and later trekking across pastures to see a standing stone, or climbing a rock covered hillside to gaze on a dolmen, or walking on a shamrock carpet in a seemingly enchanted forest, or sitting in a cozy little pub drinking Jameson and eating Guinness pie, I felt at home. I  felt a kinship to the people and the land. It was a lovely trip that we all plan to go on again in the near future. I just hope that we can bring more family members with us so they can feel the kinship also.

I also made a major decision this past summer that this would be the last year I would work a formal job. By that, I mean that I am going to retire come June of 2013. It is a decision that I haven't taken lightly, but simply know that it is time to be done with working for someone else. I have worked some kind of paying job ever since I was 15 years old. That's 50 years of being paid a paycheck. I've babysat, worked as a camp counselor, worked at an infirmary (not my thing), taught in public school, worked as a dental assistant (another job that was definitely not my thing), was a newspaper reporter and columnist, worked in public school (again); oh, I forgot, I worked in an art gallery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and sold Arkansas diamonds on the street (which were really cut glass fake cheap jewelry---a low point in my life). I've taught pre-school at a Baptist Church and went on to work for the last 20+ years as the director and instructor at an adult education center. In the meantime, I took a second job, one that is near and dear to my heart which I truly love--as a feature writer for "Calhoun Magazine." This job, I hope to keep until I am no more. So come June, I will put down my white board marker, clean out my desk, take down my pictures on my office wall, delete stuff off my office computer (I've already started that) and walk away from a job that has been the most rewarding of jobs. There is something to be said about helping people change their lives in a positive way. And I am marking off the days.

It is time for my life to be less structured. It is time for me not to have to hit the snooze button four or five times on my alarm clock. It's time for me to be able to snuggle in the corner of my couch reading a racy Highlander novel on my Kindle Fire during a cold and rain whipped day. It is time for me to put away my dress shoes, blazers, suits, and ID badge, but maybe not my "Read" pin.

It is time for me to become a full fledged lady of leisure...and a full time writer.

July 1, I will be free.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Good to be Back

It's been a while since I last posted on this blog. I love to write, but I've decided I could be a bad blogger. It's like I feel pressured to write on this blog, yet I do write professionally and have deadlines. That in itself is pressure. I think I'm an enigma. That's a good word. Anyway, I started this blog back last October and enjoyed the heck out of writing on it. I even had followers which was really nice. Then, life got in the way and the last time I blogged was in March...March. That was six months ago.

I am going to try to do better. Right now, I'm pretty written out since I just finished my Part II Trip to Ireland article for "Calhoun Magazine." Tomorrow, I'll write something really profound. Well, maybe not profound, but funny. Well, maybe not funny. We'll just have to see what happens when my fingers hit the keys. Until then...it's good to be back.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Birthdays...Great Happenings, No Matter What The Age

I have reached another milestone in my life...the pivotal age of 65. No, I am not retired, nor do I intend to retire from my present job for at least another couple of years or so, but Medicare surely thinks I am. About a year to six months ago, I started receiving mail about Medicare expounding its greatness along with that all kinds of supplemental insurance info. I mean, I was inundated with it. It was worse than when I started receiving stuff about AARP when I reached 50. My mailbox was full of junk mail from every insurance company known to man. Then, I started getting calls at my office from my OWN insurance company. The guy spoke with an accent ,and believe me when I say, I have nothing against this except he evidently didn't understand ME because he called back two days later asking the same questions. I answered him both times stating that I didn't have any intention of retiring. The second time, I have to admit that I wasn't as nice as the first time. But I also wasn't really rude. I was just a bit more forceful in saying that I'd be sure and let my insurance company know when I was planning to retire. Lawsy!

The thing is, I can't imagine, at this time, not going to work. I really like what I do other than dealing with bureaucrats who have no clue about people, but really like those numbers. I enjoy dealing with adult students. I love it when they succeed even if it takes them longer than expected. I like our new facilities. I have fun at my job. I laugh...a lot. Besides, I've worked at some kind of job even in the summers when I was a kid ever since I was 14. If I had to stay at home, I'd become slovenly and lazy. I know this would happen. It would. I promise.

I also don't know how someone my age is supposed to act, be, or look anymore. At one time, 65 was really really old, like when I was six. Now, 80+ seems pretty old, but not as old as it used to be. I've known people my age and even younger who are heading for a nursing home. Gad!!! I'm still exercising, doing crunches, a bit of running, walking on the treadmill when the mood hits me. I'm not bragging. It's just that being 65 doesn't seem much different than being 45 if you ask me., except I don't have as many responsibilities dealing with my children and their activities.

My dad lived a long life until cancer claimed him at 88 a little over a year ago. My mom is 88 now, and other than missing the love of her life for 67 years, she's hanging in there. She's pretty independent, and although she's battling a case of pneumonia right now, she's doing okay. I know she's sick of doctors. Which brings up the fact that I haven't seen a doctor in a very long time. Maybe I should. Maybe I should do all this wellness stuff being preached right now. Maybe I should take all those tests, but there's something kind of greedy about all this. Magazines, newspapers, television bombard people with all kinds of medical conditions and the dire consequences if this or that isn't done. It's enough to scare a perfectly healthy buffalo...or human. Now, this is not to say that anyone who wants to do all this medical stuff should be kept from doing it. And me choosing not to do all the procedures, may just or will bite me on the butt sometime, but my dad kept himself healthy for years by walking, being active, and laughing a lot. Cancer still got him even after surgery, chemo, radiation. I'm thinking, "What's the point?" But then, I'm treading on dangerous ground here because I believe in taking every measurable way possible to save a life...as long as that life will be worth living once all the medical stuff has been done. I miss my dad a lot, and I'm pretty miffed that more couldn't be done for him. I so wish that he wouldn't have had to suffer so terribly at the end of his life. I wish a lot of things.

So I'll leave this subject alone. It rattles me. I like to be more upbeat since I'm Little Mary Sunshine and all. I love early mornings especially in the spring when the songbirds have returned, things start "greening up" as my Uncle Butler used to say, and the air promises warmer days. Being 65 isn't so bad. I'm not quite as "spry" as I used to be, but I believe that age can be a state of mind. Sometimes I feel in my 20s and other days, I feel closer to 90! In reality, I think that's pretty normal.

The thing is, I celebrate every birthday. It means I'm still here. It means I'm still alive and kicking. When people tell me that they are not having any more birthdays, I figure they're planning to croak over because until they're dead, they will have birthdays. They don't have to celebrate them, but why the heck not!?!

My birth date was March 1, 1947. And what a great date that was for me. My life has been pretty good these last 65 years. I'm looking forward to March 1, 2013 when I turn 66.

Friday, January 27, 2012

After two months, I'm back at it...and have I got news for you!!

So I've been away for a while...two months to be exact. I've eaten my way through the holidays, but not so much that I gained a gob of weight. For that, I am thankful. Oh wait, that's for the month of November also known as the month to daily post what you are thankful for. I didn't do that. I'm thankful for a lot of stuff, but daily musings about being thankful? No that tends to get tiresome and self indulgent. I'm thankful to be alive. That's good enough.

 December came...and went. We decorated late this year. I think the tree was decorated a couple of days before Christmas, but it worked. It was fine. We had a really nice Christmas. Our family waited until daughter, son-in-law, and my most precious grandson and granddaughter arrived on Dec. 26. We opened gifts and listened to squeals of laughter and joy as some gifts produced different responses. I was given a book about traveling in Ireland by my eldest son and his wife. They know how much I love Ireland and my Mom's heritage. I had plans to save and travel there by 2013 or 14. That all changed when my daughter-in-law said, "Look on the first page." I did and looked not once, but probably three or four times because on the first page was a small sheet of paper that announced a plane ticket was purchased for me for a trip to Ireland in June of 2012. Along with the ticket was a ticket for my hubby. Along with the tickets were places to stay, a hotel in Dublin, bed and breakfasts, rental car, etc. Another great thing was that this dear son and daughter-in-law will be traveling with us. All I could say for several moments was, "Are you shitting me?" Not once, but several times. Right there in front of my grandchildren and my mother. It wasn't a grandmotherly or daughterly thing to keep on shouting in a high pitched squeeky probably obnoxious voice, but it was a total "Coleen Brooks" thing to repeat. I was in absolute shock. In all my years, I haven't ever received a gift of this magnitude. And my whole family, my children, husband, in laws knew about it. AND they kept it a secret for several months.

Holy Mother of God!!!! I'm going to Ireland! This is on the top of my "bucket list" since I've been to Crazy Horse in S. Dakota. I am so excited, I just feel giddy sometimes. I've been practicing my Irish folk dancing, but I really just know how to buck dance, a sort of country kind of Irish jig. My husband, bless his little "fear of flying" heart, agreed to this venture anyway. This man whom I wed 41 and a half year ago really does love me. He wouldn't dream of getting on a plane if he didn't love me. He has been trying to develop a taste for Guinness beer. I just can't abide that thick dark alcoholic beverage whether it's the signature beer of Ireland or not. I guess I'll just stick to Irish whiskey. It's not bad!

I've been reading up on the weather there and what to wear. Thank goodness that jeans and layered clothing are the norm there. The weather is unpredictable, but the summer months are the best months to visit the emerald country. Five more months and a few days, and we'll be on our way. We're flying to New York first to spend a day and then on our 42nd wedding anniversary, we'll be on our way to a new adventure.

Sometimes throughout my adult life, I have felt like the female version of George Bailey. As a the child of an Air Force officer, I have traveled to a few exotic places, but in my adult life that ended. Do I have regrets? Absolutely not just like George Bailey found out. I married a wonderful man who gave me four beautiful children who have grown up to be wonderful successful adults. I have a marvelous son-in-law, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who are part of my heart. In the late 90s, we began to take road trips. I've been out West twice. I've seen Crazy Horse, the Great Salt Lake, the Devil's Tower, Monument Valley, the Painted Desert, the Petrified forest. I've put my hands on the most breath-taking trees in the entire world as we walked among the giant Redwoods in the Avenue of Giants park. I've gazed in awe at the Grand Canyon. I love those places. I want to see them again.

But holy sh**t! I'm going to Ireland!