Monday, October 28, 2013

A little portable Royal typewriter to a little red Dell Laptop. Both have served this writer well.

Hello and salutations!! My computer has been sick. I mean really sick. It would lock down. That little blue circle thingie would whirl around for hours if I let it, and it wouldn't let me do anything. I was not happy. I was frustrated and out of sorts. In truth, I felt kind of helpless. My little portable manual Royal typewriter with the zip up carry case that was a part of it, never did anything remotely like my computer did.

Long gone now to someone and probably decaying in some landfill now, it served me well in college. I typed all my term papers, essays, poems, and short stories on it throughout my college career. Mama and Daddy gave it to me..this used apparatus...knowing that I would need it...and I surely did. I didn't care if it was used. I didn't care if the "o" key stuck every so often. It was a great little typewriter. I remember one cold evening I started an "all nighter" typing a term paper that I should have completed well before the due date. I had the typewriter on a window seal over the heater because it was so cold in the dorm room, the white out stuff was freezing. I got that paper finished, though, and turned in on time.

The funny thing is, I'm not really sure what happened to my little Royal. I know I must have brought it with me when I moved to the little Northwest Georgia town after I graduated from college to begin my teaching career. From there, I simply don't remember. Knowing me, I probably gave it away when I realized I didn't need it anymore.

The first time I used a computer was in 1988 when I became a newspaper columnist and reporter. It was a Mac. I have a Dell and haven't used a Mac since that time. Back then, no one really taught me how to use it. We had a young managing editor who would explain something using "computer speak" and not wanting to seem totally ignorant of this new technology, I nodded my head and proceeded to teach myself about the computer. The only problem with that is that no one told me that I needed to save everything every 5 sentences or so just in case the power went out even for a second.

I had just completed my fifth article when the power did a little bump for maybe two or three seconds. In that short time, all five of my articles disappeared. Gone. Went. Out. I was so mad...not just angry...mad. I was mad because no one told me about the importance of saving anything. I didn't even know about saving. I was mad at myself because I didn't know about saving or I didn't even know to ask about saving anything. Anyway, this is when I learned that the "f" word had its place in my vocabulary. Yes, I said it...out loud...I shocked people. They started calling me Murphy Brown for the television character. But, holy *&^%$%^. I lost five stories and had to start over again.

That was over 25 years ago and most times, computers don't let things disappear like they used to. I love my computer. As a writer, I need it. And, although that little Royal typewriter served me well at the time, I enjoy the convenience of the technology surrounding a computer. And, lord have mercy, I can fly on this thing without having to use any whiteout or erase paper, just the "backspace" key.

So I'm so glad my little red laptop Dell Inspiron seems to be chugging along quite well again. I guess it did need that new battery after all. Who knew??

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Daddy: A Remarkable Man and Musician with the Emert Brothers, Bird's Creek Boys, and Last, but not Least...The Pine Chapel String Band

I miss my daddy every day. Yes, I'm a 66 year old woman who continues to refer to my father as "my daddy." He was the first man I ever loved. He made fantastic mayonnaise sandwiches and pan fried potatoes. He did not know how to fix my baby fine cottony hair back when I was a little girl, so when Mom was in the hospital and he was the one who dressed my sister, brother, and me for Easter Sunday, he twirled my wispy hair around his finger and bobbie pinned the little ball on top of my head. I remember that as if it was yesterday.

I remember as a little girl that he had the biggest hands and I could warm my little hand in his palm. If both my hands were cold, he would nestle them between his palms. Funny how certain memories stay with a person forever. I can remember falling asleep with my head on his knee while we watched Gillette's Friday Night at the Fights on our black and white Philco television set.

When I think of my daddy, I think of music. He was an accomplished musician and could play any musical instrument, but his instrument of choice was the guitar. From the time I was a little bitty girl, my favorite times were sitting listening to him play that old timey music I loved so much. I love it to this day. When he retired from the Air Force and moved his family to Knoxville, Tennessee, he and his brother, Otha, teamed up to become the Emert Brothers. Uncle Otha was an equally accomplished musician and they had entertained their fellow soldiers back during WWII as they fought for their country in Europe.

The Emert Brothers grew in popularity regionally and became a fixture at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. They performed there for 16 years until the death of Uncle Otha. They performed at Wolftrap Festival near Washington D.C. where Daddy jammed with the likes of Doc Watson, and at the Florida State Fair in Tampa and at the World's Fair back in 1982 in Knoxville. They were good...really good.

After Uncle Otha passed away, Daddy had trouble finding a suitable partner. He was very particular and by then he had almost exclusively become a tenor guitarist. He played with his cousin Ralph and a few others, but it wasn't until George Emert, his nephew by way of his brother Victor came into the picture that Daddy found that spark again. George and his wonderful wife, Billie lived out West in Washington State. So in 2004, my mom and daddy sold their condo and moved out to be closer to George so Daddy could play his music. They formed the band, The Bird's Creek Boys, and before too long, they were playing to sold out venues. Everyone loved their music.

But The Bird's Creek Boys became no more when my mom and Daddy moved to my little North Georgia town to be closer to me and to my Daddy's beloved Smoky Mountains. I had a feeling back in 2008 when they got off the plane that Daddy wasn't well, but I didn't say much. I'm involved in little theater and had the great privilege to direct my mom and Daddy in the very popular play, "Smoke on the Mountain." Daddy was the lead guitarist and was so at home with the music. My mom played a rebellious church lady who just about stole the show.

Daddy was diagnosed with kidney cancer and although he had surgery and was cancer free for a time, it came back with a vengeance. I knew he was ill. He did find a new family partner in my oldest son, Heath. They called themselves The Pine Chapel String Band, and Heath has the distinction of performing with his grandfather in Daddy's final public performance at the Delmor Days Festival in Alabama. I cherish that memory and keep it close to my heart.

The thing is, I didn't realize how far reaching and influential my daddy's music is, especially the many years he and his brother were the Emert Brothers. Not too long ago, a gentleman called me from Illinois. It seems he had been trying to track down someone who had heard of the Emert Brothers to see if he could buy some new copies of their cassette tapes. He found me, and Daddy had kept several copies of the cassettes, so I sent him double copies of each with a CD of the songs The Bird's Creek Boys had recorded. I advised the gentleman to have the tapes converted to cds.

Today, I received a letter from this fan of my Daddy and his music and I want to share it with you.

All's well that ends well. Immediately after I received these at the end of the driveway, I popped the cd into my car on the way to town with my wife. The second song was "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." I looked over and my wife is trying to be brave, but was losing the battle not to cry. That is good music that can get an emotional reaction like that.

Hearing these is like seeing an old friend you never thought you would see again. Thank you again. What remarkable boys these Emert Brothers must have been.

Best regards

This made me tear up. Yes, I miss my daddy every day. The music that he loved to play and perform is timeless. Yes, he was a remarkable man and I loved him so much. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stiletto Heels, Professional Clothes, Panty Hose--Not The Attire for This Woman Anymore

Shoes...I've loved them...heels so high, I almost teetered off of them. This happened all the time when I wore platforms back in the 70s. At 5'2", the only time I felt the least bit statuesque was when I had on my 4 inches stilettos, and yes, I wore them in my classroom on many occasions.

Boots...I loved them...knee highs, "Go Go" boots back in the day--pure white with a mini skirt, little ankle ones with fringe that my mother-in-law bought me, leather boots, suede boots, high heeled boots. I wore them all.

Clothes...gobs of clothes. Designer jeans, hot pants, capris, shorts (really short), skirts...short (really short), long midis (truth be told, I felt frumpy in those), guazy shirts of all shapes and sizes, tee shirts with all kinds of sayings, tie dyes, paisley stuff, psychedelic colors and fabrics, jumpers, blouses, and later snappy business suits, and other more dignified wear...gobs of clothes. I loved lots of different things. My closet was always bulging.

You notice that I wrote all the above verbs in the past tense because this is all a moot point now.

I don't wear high heels anymore. Why? Because the darn things hurt my feet. Truth be told, they always did after wearing them a while. But I loved them anyway. I didn't care if they hurt my feet. My little pink pair of 4 inch heels were cute and sexy and I felt really good in them. I wouldn't wear those things now if someone paid me. And it wasn't so long ago that I did wear them and thought I'd always wear them.

The thing is, I have found that I have gotten more practical as I've gotten older. I want to be comfortable just about all the time. For many years in my educational career, I wore dressy professional clothes. I liked suits. I wore panty hose. God help me, I did. And I hated those things. They were/are uncomfortable and sometimes they were too short for my body and the top would roll down under my stomach. Control top, my eye. Now that sounds really unflattering, and it is, but I've had four children and no tummy tucks, so....Anyway, I have not worn panty hose is several years. When I did have to look more professional, I discovered "thigh highs" and low and behold, I only had one hose of one pair scoot down my leg and kiss my ankle. Thank goodness, I had on pants and the top of those suckers only showed a little bit at the top of my shoes. Why the heck did I have on thigh highs with pants anyway?

I'm not sure if I will ever wear thigh highs again, but these are the only hose I will wear.  I don't like those ankle hose thingies. They cut off my circulation. And I don't like my feet to go numb as I'm walking. That's just not practical or comfortable.

I like to wear jeans and tee shirts. It's the truth. I dressed up for so many years, it's just fabulous pulling on a pair of really comfortable jeans and some soft tee shirt. I don't even care if they're pressed. Yes, I ironed my clothes, too. If I was going to dress as a professional, I knew a true professional's attire is not wrinkled. I'm not a professional educator anymore. I am a professional writer and no one cares one iota what I'm wearing as I'm writing. In fact, right now, I'm wearing my Rider jeans and my pink and green tee shirt I got in Ireland with the words "Blarney Castle. I Kissed the Blarney Stone." My shoes are low heeled black boots my sister-in-law gave me. They are majorly comfortable.

In the final scheme of things, will I ever wear high heels again? Well, I do have these red satin heels that I love and can't bear to part with. They are surprisingly comfortable for three inch heels. And, yes, they are sexy shoes. And it's nice to feel like I look sexy every once in a while even at my age.

So, I'll keep the satin heels, but the dressy blouses are going along with a couple of suits and some other gawdawfully uncomfortable heels. These things are not going on my feet ever again. But, I'll  keep the Spanx, least for a while longer.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Don't Do Sick Well, So I'm Better

What a lovely day it has been. I didn't write on this blog yesterday. I was sick as a dog. I was coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose every minute. It was awful. I'm not sick very often, but when I do get sick, I REALLY get sick. I caught one of the myriads of viruses going around right now because of weather changes and such. Viruses seem to thrive on hot to cold...cold to hot...these suckers love it.

The thing is, antibiotics don't work on viruses although when people go to their doctor for feeling awful, they want some medication.  They don't want their doctor to say, "This is a virus. It's going to have to run its course." They want an antibiotic. And many doctors will comply with the request. I knew I had a virus. I don't go to the doctor very often, maybe every four or five years for being sick. It's like my mom's doctor told her, and let me back peddle here a minute. My mom's doctor is younger than my daughter. It's kind of disconcerting, but she knows her stuff. I like her. She'll tell my mom that Mom knows her body better than she does. I believe that.

I don't run to the doctor every time I sneeze or feel bad. That's just plain silly to me. And no matter how many commercials advertise products from pharmaceuticals, I won't get dry mouth, dry eye, restless leg syndrome, or any other such conditions that seem to have sprung up in the last few years. It my mouth is dry, I drink something. If my eyes are dry, I put some Visine in them, and if my legs are restless, I'll just let them be. Who are they hurting?

Here's the whole problem with taking medicines, especially antibiotics for something that the medicines will not cure or even touch. You body may need a good antibiotic sometime. If you take too many antibiotics, your body won't be able to fight the problem and another antibiotic may not be strong enough. I think about these super germs, and I think they come from the misuse of antibiotics.

I do a lot of reading and the magazines are full of advertisements with promises to cure all kinds of medical conditions, but I'm not buying all that. I've just about quit reading all that stuff because it's just so negative. I mean, is everyone going to get sick and die of so horrific disease IF....and I do mean a big IF you eat mashed potatoes and gravy, real butter, chocolate cupcakes, meat more than once a week? Are all people's arteries clogged beyond repair unless they take this or that? I've never in my life seen so many medications for so many things. I mean people come into their doctors' offices with Walmart plastic bags full of medicine bottles.

Someone told me that his very elderly grandmother got tired of taking all the pills she was supposed to take. She went to her doctor for her sixth month check-up and flat out told him she wasn't taking anymore of it. She's well in her 90s. That was a couple of years ago. She's still alive and kicking. Makes you wonder.

I think that a lot of medical problems are propagated through propaganda and subtle threats sprinkled with fear factors. I had an uncle who put a pat of butter on every bite of corn from his corn on the cob. He lived to be almost 90. He was a farmer and was up on his tractor well into his 80s. He lived a good long life and never once worried about good and bad cholesterol, high sugar, whatever. I firmly believe that worrying all the time can make you sicker than eating butter.

That being said, I believe people need to know themselves. I know people get sick and need medical attention. Hey, I rode to the hospital in an ambulance when I thought I was having a stroke. It turned out to be vertigo, but I was scared and I needed someone in the medical field to tell me I was fine.

I do believe in being aware of your body and any changes, but I'm going to realize this on my own. I mean, have you heard the commercials about the medication for some of these conditions? They may cause a certain form of cancer. They may cause bleeding, dry skin, sudden death. Yeah, I really want to take that stuff.

So I feel better. I feel better all by myself. I never even thought about going to a doctor. I was sick with a cold virus. I'm getting better and I didn't take one antibiotic. I did take some Tylenol and I was a bit leery of taking it. It's not too good for the liver.

Maybe I'll just go back to what my grandmother used to give for coughs and colds...honey, lemon juice, and moonshine. You'll sleep like a baby.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Bones"...The Ickness Factor is...Well, Icky

So I'm sitting here on my big ol' couch eating a 100 calorie Brown Cow with another 100 calorie Brown Cow waiting to be devoured next. We had a great rehearsal for "Arsenic and Old Lace" and now I'm kicking back starting to watch "Bones." Now I love this show. The cast plays well off each other and there is definite chemistry between Bones and Booth. The thing is, sometimes the bodies that are found are just really really graphically sickening. Gishy, grisly partial skeletons with some skin still attached, oozing whatever half decaying bodies ooze is not a pretty sight. This is a show that isn't for the squeamish. I'm generally not too squeamish, but sometimes the ickness factor kicks in and I have to look away.

Now I know this skeletal thing is not a real person. I know some great creator of special effects and dead humans in various stages of decay has made this latest "person" as convincing as possible. Tonight, it was pretty convincing. I didn't enjoy my Brown Cows near as much as I would have had I been viewing "International House Hunters" on HGTV. But they were eaten just the same.

The good thing "Bones" does is give a certain amount of dignity to even the most horrifically looking remains of a "human being." The characters never let the viewers forget that the sometimes "almost piece of meat" looking creation was a life with people who cared about him/her. I know. I know. None of this is real, but it makes it seem that way no matter how awful it looks.

This is why I watch "Bones." Let me rephrase that. This is why I watch most of "Bones" while sometimes I'm covering my eyes and trying really hard not to gag. I keep on telling myself, "This is not real. This is not real." But I still can't look. Because it looks real and that's what makes it

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This is the Life: An Unfinished House, the "Hartwell Syndrome", a Room Bed, and Boredom

I've been busy today, busy doing what I want to do. I've mowed some and cleaned up around the yard and the building site. We had all the old insulation pulled out from the old part of our house. For those who aren't quite sure what I mean, when my husband and I married, we moved out to the country and had a little tenant house remodeled. We added a porch and a bathroom/laundry room, and it was the cutest little place. It seemed that everyone congregated at our little house in the country. In the summer, we went tubing down the river which is close to our place, and then everyone would come and gather. We'd sit on the porch, laughing and carrying on. It was fun.

When our children started arriving, a lot of that stopped. Our priorities went another direction, and those friends who didn't have children started to drift away. That happens. As it was, our little four room house, yes, four room, kitchen, and 2 small bedrooms, plus the added on bathroom became just a tad too small. So my husband went about building another house onto our house when our fourth child was about to be born. Yes, fourth child. Yes, we lived in a four room house with three children. Hey, people do it all the time in China and Indonesia and other places. As it is, the house is kind of eclectic and well, has never really been totally over 30 years. But that's another story.

Our children grew up perfectly fine successful people, all college graduates, all extremely creative and talented...and they never lived in a fancy all color coordinated house with really great matching furniture. One son had what he called a "room bed." and that's pretty much what it was. We still speaks fondly of that "room bed." I'm writing a book about their growing up years and having a crazy Vietnam veteran as their daddy. It's title is "I Married a Crazy Vietnam Veteran". He's a loveable crazy Vietnam veteran, though.

With the children all grown and moved away and me retired (my husband retired years ago, but that's another story), I noticed that the house was beginning to show age...lots of age, like some old abandoned houses only it wasn't anywhere near abandoned. Then there was my mama. Daddy had died two years before and she insisted on staying in her condo. That was okay for a while, but she has been alone a lot. I knew she was lonely, but she wouldn't admit it. She's a little stubborn  red-headed 90 year old Irish woman. Soon, I started making overtures of her possibly moving in with us. At first, she wouldn't even discuss it. You have to know that nursing homes and assisted living places are not where my mama is going to live...not while I have a breath in my body.

When her doctor suggested that she didn't need to live alone anymore, Mom said she'd move out with us if she could build a little apartment onto our place. That was fine with us. Then the wheels started turning in my head. We needed to fix our place up. We could do it, but with someone else doing it for us. My husband is 70 now. He's not going to be doing any hammering or building any more. Besides, he has the "Hartwell Syndrome." That's a family affliction that causes members of the family (generally male member) to start projects with the good intentions of finishing them, but somehow something gets in the way and these project never get totally finished. I think it's boredom. The idea was great, but finishing it was not so much. I didn't want to be living in an unfinished new house project.

So it's moving along. We're still living in the living room, but we're getting used to it...sort of. Someone told me that most people having such a major renovation move out and live in a motel or whatever. Well, we're not some people. I like home, even if it is a bit cluttered now with dressers, boxes, and such in the living room. My washer and dryer are still in place. We have clean clothes. Both our bathrooms are fine. In fact two of our sons totally renovated the downstairs one before any of this other renovation took place. I was fearful that the "Hartwell Syndrome" might kick in and it did a bit, but it is now totally finished and beautiful.

I just thought of something. I hope the "Hartwell Syndrome" isn't catching. Our builder is really good. I'd hate for him to get bored.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yes, I Bleed Red and Black and Yell "Go DAWGS". It's Fall and the SEC is Alive and Well.

I'm exhausted...I mean really mentally and physically exhausted. Did I do a lot of physical stuff today? No, not really. My hubby and I fed some goats and I gathered one egg from my sister-in-law's hen house. Oh, and I fed a sweet kitty cat. I walked my big white dog, Carlee a few times today and brought my mom out to our house so she can see progress being made on her soon to be new abode. I read a little of a Kindle Fire download, but I can assure you it was nothing intellectually taxing, nor was anything physically exhausting.

At 3:30 this afternoon, I began watching a football game. It was my Georgia Bulldogs against the Tennessee Volunteers. I was in SEC heaven with total confidence that Georgia would win big time. Here's the thing. No one should ever get over confident, especially when it comes to SEC football games. Everyone seems to be rivals, but Tennessee is really a rival. They haven't done very well the last few years. Their team is full of freshmen. But Tennessee came to play. Georgia did, too, but one of their great offense players, Marshall I believe, got hurt. Georgia already has several (three I think) of their best players out with injuries now.

They have a great quarterback with Aaron Murray, but when his regular players aren't in the game, it can throw off even the best of the best. And did I mention that Tennessee came to play...and win? I love to watch Georgia play. I have ever since this young phenomenal football player name Hershel Walker, a Georgia Bulldog, became the king of the game back beginning in 1980. This is when my loyalty to the Tennessee Volunteers began to wane. You see, I moved from Tennessee to Georgia. I loved (still do) the Tennessee Vols, but I came to realize that I was a true resident of Georgia. I had lived in the state at that time over 10 years. I had a home here with my husband and three children. The fourth wouldn't make an appearance until 1983. My feet were firmly planted in the Georgia red clay. So, I became a Georgia Bulldog fan.

In the 90s, three of our four children attended the University of Georgia and graduated from that great college. Our 4th chose Georgia State. That's okay. They didn't have a football team when he attended. They do now and lost today to Alabama 45 - 3. Why is Alabama, the National Champion playing a newly formed team like Georgia State? Oh well, that's another story.

The game today was a back and forth scoring duel. It went into overtime. Tennessee thought they had a winning touchdown, but I knew it wasn't. The young player didn't have control of the ball. Georgia took over, moved it down the field and won with a field goal. I couldn't watch the last minute, but I did anyway. This is why I'm exhausted and need a shot of tequila.

For those of you who aren't sports fans, especially college football fans, you can not possibly understand how exhausting watching your team, which has had a winning season so far, almost be beaten by a much less talented team. Tennessee played with a lot of heart today. They took advantage of Georgia's lack of key players. But quarterback, Aaron Murray pulled it off. He rose to the occasion and did what he had to do. This is why I bleed red and black in the fall. This is why my Saturdays are planned around the Georgia Bulldog football games.

This is why I have the irresistible urge to yell GO DAWGS!!!!!! a lot on any given fall Saturday here in the South.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wheaties, Fawlty Towers, and a Goat Kind of Thing.

So I had Wheaties with sliced bananas, skim organic milk, and a sprinkling of sugar for supper. Yes, real live white processed sugar. And it was good. So there. We are made to feel so guilty about just about everything we eat, that I honestly felt like a teenager being rebellious as I sprinkled that spoonful of sugar on my cereal. I wasn't even taking any kind of medicine so Mary Poppins didn't need to sing that spoonful of sugar song. I just wanted my cereal sweeter. It was good and so worth it.

It's a funny thing. Ever since I retired in June, I have lost weight. I haven't consciously tried to lose weight. It has just happened. When I worked, I always meant to bring a healthy lunch...well, at least only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a piece of fruit. I did it sometimes, but most times I wound up going somewhere to buy lunch...and yes, it was usually some kind of fast food. I tried to justify it by whatever means I could, but, let's face it. Eating a lot of fast food is not conducive to maintaining a healthy weight. So I recommend retirement. I eat a healthy breakfast and sometimes I just forget to eat lunch. We've been in the throws of renovation, so cooking is just so tiresome. I may make some chipped beef on toast for supper tomorrow night. I know. I have to cook it, but my husband and I love it. It's something that harkens us back to our childhood when our mamas fixed it. I think it came from WWII or the depression or something. Anyway, it's good. Wait...that's usually my Sunday night supper. We may just have Cherrios tomorrow night...with fresh blueberries.

Right now, we are watching "Fawlty Towers" on Netflix. This is a British comedy with John Cleese that was made in the 80s or 90s. It was on PBS and my husband and I used to watch it religiously. It is still an absolute hoot. I love British comedies anyway and this tops them all. This episode is about the whole staff  trying to hide a dead body. So funny. They put this poor guy in a basket and someone asked what the guy is doing in the basket. Basil, played by John Cleese says in this dry British tone, "Well, not much." I love that kind of humor.

Anyway, it's been that kind of day. A "not much" kind of day. I sometimes like days like this. In fact, I need these kinds of days. Tomorrow, my husband and I will feed my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's goats while they're out of town. That will make it a more eventful morning and evening, I bet. One is an ill-tempered billy goat. The rest are really quite precious animals. The thing is, goats smell bad. I think someone told me that male goats urinate on their beards to attract the opposite sex. Do you think that's how the Duck Dynasty guys got such attractive wives? Probably not. I think that act is just a goat kind of thing.

Good night all.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Could Have Been a Contender...I Could Have Been Somebody...

I'm in a play. I like, I mean I really like being in plays. It's Arsenic and Old Lace and I play one of the murderous sisters. I'm Martha and I mix up the poison. We put lonely old men out of their misery and our nephew Teddy, who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt, buries them in the basement...only he thinks he's burying yellow fever victims from the Panama Canal. It's a zany kind of dark comedy produced back in the 40s. It's funny, really funny...and I love being in comedies.

I've been in plays since I was a kid. I majored in Drama/English in college, but put a lot of emphasis on the drama part. I learned how to be a better actress by my drama professor, John Lee Weldon. I still use some of his methods to this day. At one time, I wanted to be a professional actress. Yep, I really did. I wanted to be a star on Broadway or be in a sitcom or be in one of those detective shows way back in the early 60s. Connie Stevens from "77 Sunset Strip" was my idol back then. She replaced Annette Funicello when I had dreams of becoming a Mouseketeer.

I didn't become a famous actress. I didn't have the drive or determination to reach for the stars. In truth, I kind of wanted everything to fall in my lap. My professor told me I was talented and that meant the world to me. But there are thousands of talented people who have been willing to live in walk ups with no hot water, eat mac and cheese every day, sleep with the director/producer/lead actor...wait tables...But I wasn't willing to do any of those things in order to become a star.

So I became a teacher in a small town in the South. I fell in love with the town and a dark headed dark eyed really cute guy and stayed when I really planned to stay only a year. I became a mother of four beautiful children, now grown. It's been 44 years since I drove into town. Forty-four years since I started my career as an educator. The thing is, I think a really good teacher has to have stage presence because, let's face it, teachers have a captive audience. If they're really good at what they do, the audience doesn't feel captive.

In the process of teaching, I did find another creative process. I became a writer, first at a newspaper when I left teaching for a bit, then as a columnist at another local paper, then as a feature writer at a magazine. I even won an award back in 2006 from the Georgia Press Association's better newspaper competition. I got 1st place in the state for a column that was about my family reunion and a special aunt who attended. Being thrilled was an understatement. I don't win awards or get accolades all that much nor do I really go after them.  So being rewarded for something I wrote was just so wonderful. It's nice to be recognized for a talent especially when it's not expected. My editor nominated me. People called me to congratulate me. I thought it was about something I had taught, but it seems my name was on the front page of the paper I wrote for. I had no idea.

I'm retired now from my teaching career, but not from my writing career. I actually tell people I'm a writer now because I am. Recently, a writer friend's book was picked up by a publisher. It's a collection of true stories that people wrote telling about why they kept something they call a keepsake. One of my stories is in the book. I'm thrilled for her and, let's face it, I'm thrilled for me.

No, I haven't made it to Broadway. I haven't even written the great American novel, but there still may be time for both. Let's face it. I chose to be a teacher. I did it all on my own. I didn't have to compromise my values or my integrity. And, in truth, there's something pretty satisfying about that.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Been An Emergency Room Kind of Day

I gotta tell ya. It is absolutely no fun spending hours at an emergency room. But in the final scheme of things, I'm thankful we have such places. My husband was sick early this morning and he didn't get any better as the morning went on. We even cancelled a "well" doctor's appointment because he was too sick to go. I knew that it could be serious when he told me he thought he ought to go to the emergency room. Ever since he had a heart attack back in 1994 and other medical happening throughout the years, I do not take lightly my husband of 43 years request to head to the hospital.

He was most uncomfortable. He was in pain. He was nauseated. He felt weak. It was scary. So there I was...all by myself worried sick about the love of my life. I didn't want to bother the children They don't live in their hometown anymore. They have lives of their own. They have families, jobs, responsibilities that don't include their parents. And I wished they were all close by at that very minute of the day. I wished they could be in that room with me. Then, I felt cowardly. I felt selfish. I felt alone. So I put on my big girl panties and...texted one of our sons who lives in Atlanta. Our youngest, who lives in Chattanooga was sick himself, so I didn't want to worry him. He has an important job interview tomorrow.

Our daughter lives in middle Georgia and has a husband and children. Our oldest son lives in northern Alabama and has a wife and a job that takes much of his time. I didn't want to worry them. Our middle son has helped us a lot lately as we build on an addition for my mother to move into and we completely renovate our home. He has a job that is important also and it comes with a lot of responsibilities. I hated to bother him, but I thought I should let our children know about their dad via him since he was the closest. So I texted him. I told him not to come. I told him I would be in touch the minute I knew something. I felt relief when he appeared outside his dad's emergency room door.

The thing is, all our children would have come...every one. Although my husband and I aren't old old, we are older. When one of us is ill with something unknown, it becomes scary. This is when I miss my children the most, but let me emphasize that I don't expect them to drop everything if one of us is ill. That's just silly.

Everything turned out okay when it was all said and done. No heart attack. No appendicitis. No stroke or anything so dire. It seems a gawdawful virus is running rampant throughout our area. More than likely this was the culprit along with my sweet man not taking his meds properly that caused his illness. He takes quite a bit of medication and because of an arthritic hip procedure yesterday involving a needle and numbing medication, he forgot to take his meds. That's not a good thing.

Be that as it may, he ate some chicken noodle soup, jello, and drank some Gatorade and is feeling lots better. This means that I'm feeling lots better, too. That's the way it is when two people have been together as long as we have. I could ring his neck sometimes, but in truth, I'd much rather hug it.

And this makes my second blog for NaBloWriMo Blogger Month, and I still can't get it to come up on facebook. I am so technically challenged.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Will Love This Renovation If It Doesn't Kill Me First

It's "NaBloWriMo" month again and I will participate in doing my darndest to write a blog every day of October. For the past month or so, we have been in the throws of renovation...major renovation on our home. My 90 year old mom has been living on her own since her husband (my daddy) of 67 years passed away on December 2, 2010. She was determined no to "impose" on any of her children although I really wanted her to come and live with us shortly after Daddy died and a nursing home or assisted living place is out of the question. This was not going to happen. She dug her little Irish heels in and flatly refused to budge out of her condo. But as time moved forward, she had problems with her eyesight in one eye, so this prevented her from driving anymore. She realized although it was unspoken that she had become frailer and less likely to eat right. Her doctor suggested that she not live alone anymore. The decision was made to add a small apartment onto our home. My husband and I decided that the time had come to spiff up our home. It had been neglected for a number of years while we helped our four children get through college. When I recently retired, it dawned on me that if we didn't do some major upgrades, our home may just fall apart around us. We needed new sheetrock, a larger master bedroom, new windows, and most of all, we needed a new roof...I mean...we REALLY needed a new roof. I have always wanted a barn red tin roof. After 43 years of marriage, and yes to the same man, I now have my red roof. Yay for me!!! I am also getting a larger bedroom. The downstairs bathroom has already been renovated by our two oldest sons. It looks great with modern tile and a lovely shower. I'm not a bath person. The thought of sitting in tepid dirty water does not appeal to me or my husband, so we nixed a bathtub. My daughter even made the statement a couple of months ago when the bathroom was finally completed that our house needed to be modernized to match the bathroom.

So here we are, well into renovation. And I will be sooooooooo glad when this project is completed. At the moment, our bed is set up in the middle of the livingroom. The contents of our bedroom and closet and the contents of the bedroom and closet which will be my mother's are all in our living room, dining room and...well places. It is stacked in boxes half way to the ceiling. I have no idea where one of my deck shoes is. Finding one shoe just doesn't work. Some of my clothes are in boxes. Jeans and teeshirts are my wardrobe of choice. I retired on June 30 of this year. So far, it is great to be retired because as God is my witness, I could never get ready for work in this disarray.

Don't get me wrong. Our builder is doing great. He is already designing my new kitchen. He is almost certain everything will be completed by Thanksgiving. I really really hope he is right.

Periodically, I''ll keep you all posted on the progress. And it is progressing. Mom's windows and her front door to her area are in. That's a good thing. Sheetrock is finished in the two bedrooms. That's a good thing. Now, if I will just stop tracking sanded sheetrock mud throughout the small walkable area of my living room, I will be a happy person.

Happy blogging to those who participate in NaBloWriMo. It's fun and will get your creative writing juices going!!