Friday, September 30, 2011

My assigned letter is written and the envelope attached. I will turn it in. It will also have a small note paper clipped to the front of it that says, "You do not have my permission to mail this." I will leave it at that.

I will see what happens. If I am called into the office, I will explain, as briefly as possible, why it is a violation of my civil rights. I will explain, briefly, that I consider it to have the smackings of a conflict of interest for the college. I will offer to discuss it with higher ups. But I will not negotiate this one. If it affects my grade adversely, I will protest. I did the assignment. I did not let them mail the letter. If I want it mailed, I will do so myself, at the urging of my own conscience, which is, in my opinion, the only reason that people should be politically active.

I have a number of reasons that I am taking this stand. Mostly though, I am doing it because of this: (a snippet from a column) "Cara is in Korea, at Daegu University. She was gathered up, along with all the other students and bused to an ‘event’. It turns out that this was a government/university backed propaganda event. Korea and Japan have disputed the ownership of Dokdo Island, which the Japanese refer to as Takeshima Island. The college president got up to speak, citing a long list of ‘proof’ of Korean ownership. Then a Korean student dressed in a kimono which had been cut immodestly short, and tottered around the stage as students laughed. Japan was being portrayed as a prostitute. Some students gave speeches that they had been paid for. Patriotic tee-shirts were offered to all students. “Dokdo is Korea Land!” The students were whipped into a frenzy of patriotism and that chant rang throughout the stadium, again and again. Cara sat in the midst of the international students watching all of this, and was horrified. The culture of Japan was mocked repeatedly during the 5 ½ hour event and at one point, it was suggested that Japan’s tsunami and earthquakes were divine retribution. “Dokdo is Korea Land!” Students with their Dokdo tee-shirts went through the crowd stirring up the chant once more.

The foreign students sat stunned at this display. Some of the Japanese students cried. Muhammed started it. He began to chant: “Dokdo is Pakastani land!” Defiantly, Cara joined with him. “Dokdo is America land!” The other foreign students joined in to support the Japanese students. Dokdo became Africa land, and India land. Dokdo became everyone’s land.

Their behavior was not missed. The president of Daegu University stood behind them listening.

But Cara wasn’t finished. The incident was discussed on facebook. The university wished to speak to the angry American students. Cara refused to go. Another student who did go said that the university explained: “People who make this very bad. They away now but probably be punished when they come back.” He asked why the president had no power to control the behavior of his own staff. The college official sadly shook his head at the bad behavior of everyone else. Jim was not impressed.

I listened as Cara vented her outrage on the phone. I was proud of her courage and told her so. She was glad that she lived in a country where something like that could not happen, where a person was free to believe how they wanted to believe. I agreed with her out loud, but privately I found myself wondering if this is even true anymore." (end of snippet)

My daughter does live in a country where something like this cannot happen. This is America.

LATE EDIT: Oooh. Today went so very not well at all. I'm a little shocked at just how badly it went, and I'm discouraged.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taking a Stand

Sometimes, we are called to do things for our class that I don't agree with. Nobody asks my opinion, and so I attempt to do what is required despite my own feelings. One of the things that sticks in my craw is that we have been called to go to our professional website and take legislative action on two controversies, as well as write a letter to one of our elected officials advocating for our profession. We must bring the letter in to be graded, along with an addressed envelope so that when they are finished with it, it can be sent off to the elected official.

Now, I have some pretty strong political feelings, and one of them is that my politics are my own business. The idea of being graded on my opinion (in effect) rankled me. Lets be real here. If I sent in a letter that adopted a stance they felt was not helpful to the profession of Occupational Therapy, I would not get a good grade. To be sure, they are not merely checking the letter for spelling errors and to insure that I knew how to write a business letter.

Having us compose the letter was bad enough, but sending the letter off, whether I want it sent off or not, irks me. But a grade is a grade. I dutifully went off to the website and I took action on two things via e-mail. I wrote my letter, which was easier that I expected, once I discovered that I did feel strongly about arbitrary caps to medicare outpatient treatment, and Lord knows, that is something that would affect the profession, but still, being forced to get politically involved because your teacher has assigned it...oi...it still rankles me to no end.

So tell me: Is this one of those mountain out of a molehill things?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I don't know...

It's been one of those days.

You know what is really beginning to frighten me? We are taking these exams that are supposed to prepare us for the state certification exam. I am consistently awful at these, ranging in the 60-70 percent range. It is a multiple choice set up where you have to find 'the most right' answer. Today, an answer that I was sure I'd figured out was not the most right answer. The more time that I spend on the test, the worse I do. The teacher tells me that I'm over thinking. I listen to her reasoning, and honest to pete, I don't see where I'm making any more assumptions about the exam than she is. It's just that we're looking in two different directions. I'm earnestly trying to follow her reasoning, because I want to do well, but I'm not getting it. I walked out of there today and all I could think was: "What if, what if, I get all the way through this course and flunk the certification?" I know that it is stupid to look that far ahead. Especially since I manage to scare the puckey-doo out of myself every single time that I do this.

Oh, me of little faith.
I am ashamed.

Coffee

Some folks can leap from their bed and greet the day with a smile. Me? I sort of climb out of bed and stagger down the stairs. Coffee is important to me, and my first stop is always to start the coffee pot. (Yes. The first stop...) That first sip of coffee starts the process. I can feel tiny fingers of alertness uncurling inside of me. By the time that I finish my customary two cups, I am generally ready to amble off to get ready for the day.

This morning was no different. Now I am awake.

Things looked much brighter before I woke up. Stinking coffee.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today.

Oooh. I've been studying hard, and it's making me a little crazy. I always feel like there is just. so. much. more. I. need. to. know. *whimper* I went to bed later than I should have last night, got up at 3 for freight day at the store, ended up working until 3 PM which made me cross and tired. The freight team has always done freight and left. Today we were assigned cleaning one side of the store. Deep cleaning. Thorough cleaning. No one was happy about that. It's not a lot of fun to be dirty and smelly and socially unacceptable, and still interacting with customers.

I am afraid that I got kind of snotty about it. A 10 hour day is bad enough. A 10 hour day busting ass is horrid. I hadn't brought lunch because we never work that late, and when we do, the store generally sends out for pizza. I drove home. I had a call that I had to make. I grabbed a sandwich and vented my spleen to Tim, and then headed back out the door and went back to work. I apologized to Ryan, the freight team leader . I can be ornery when provoked, and the whole thing was not his idea, to be sure.

In any case, I came home hungry and tired, and put in several hours of studying, and still feel dumb. I was saved by little snippets of entertainment over at BB's comment section, a words of wisdom from Kelly and a invitation to go to Pumpkin Town with my nephews and sister in law. Thanks everyone. You saved the day.

But parts of it still sucked.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Muscles

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

I am sick of muscles, yes I am.
I do not like them, Sam I am.
I do not like them here or there,
I do not like them, I do not care.
I do not like them all extended,
I do not like them when they're bended.
I do not like manual muscle testing.
I can't stop thinking, even when I'm resting.
I'm tired of measuring, tired of angles.
My nerves are really getting jangled.
I do not like them, nope, nope, nope.
I am feeling like a hopeless dope.

*sigh*

So ends another day of studying.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Magic!

I was headed out of Walmart yesterday. As I headed towards the sliding glass doors, an elderly man was headed in. He flashed a huge smile and with great flair, he raised his hands and flung them wide. The doors slid open, just as they usually do when a person approaches them, and with the grin of a satisfied magician, he dropped his hands and stepped through the door.

I burst out laughing and said, "Man, that's quite a magic trick there, by gosh!" and he said, with mock modesty, "Yes. I know a lot of tricks like this."

I love that the world has characters like that. I made up my mind that I'm going to be one.




Gossips

I can't abide a gossip. Gossip is never harmless, even if the person repeating it thinks that it is. It's embarrassing to be gossiped about. I remember once, after my hair fell out during chemo, a local beauty salon offered free wig cuts as a service to cancer patients. I was uncertain about the wig, and how to wear it, and so I took advantage of that offer. The beautician was very nice, don't get me wrong, but as she was cutting my wig, the comb caught, tore the wig from my head. I sat there, exposed, as the other patrons of the salon stared at my bald head. It was mortifying. The beautician snatched my wig, and slapped it back on my head. I knew that she didn't mean to, and I knew that she felt badly, so I accepted her apology immediately, and tried to reassure her.

Much to my surprise, when I walked into church the following Sunday, an elderly lady who loves to talk, walked up to me and, laughingly told me that she'd heard about the incident, talked how badly the beautician felt. My fellow congregant seemed to have no idea that the incident was embarrassing, and spoke of it openly and for everyone to hear, and moreover, when she did not get a response from me, went on about the story at length. I was upset at the beautician, and made up my mind to never go back there again. I was also upset that the person repeating the story would do it so blatantly, and in church at that. I took a deep breath. I have heard this woman gossip before, and about others, and thought it was not nice, but at that point, being the person with the interesting life, being the subject of gossip, I made up my mind that I would never gossip. It's petty, it's hurtful, and it is also discussed quite plainly in the Bible. We are not to do it.

The church gossip met me on the steps this morning. She told me that she'd worked with my mother, that they'd shared a lot, how sorry she was, etc. She waited eagerly for me to speak. I thanked her for her condolences. This was not at all what she wanted to hear. She began to nose a little. You know, she's probably a nice enough woman. I don't imagine that she thinks she's at all malicious. I just can't abide that.

Yesterday at the funeral, a cousin came over, one that I haven't seen in years, truly. She said, "You know. I just want you to know that I haven't heard anything negative about you." I was completely aware that she'd spent a long time in the kitchen one day listening to an angry family member complain. I was there in the bedroom with my mother, and I'm not deaf. Ooooookaaaaaaay, I thought, and I waited, looking at her. She gave me a hug and said, "What I do hear, I let go in one ear and out the other. I think you're a lovely lady." And I smiled but said nothing. She suggested that I call her sometime. "We could talk," she said. I thanked her, and said nothing.

At the grave site, another cousin began to make snide comments about members of my family to me. I know that she wanted to discuss my opinion on this family of mine. I smiled and made noncommital remarks, but said nothing. She assured me that my family was not unique, that she had issues in her own family. I made no comment. She wanted to stay in touch she said.

I'd made a vow. That vow was that my silence would be my sacrifice, that I would put my trust in God, that I would not respond or defend myself as the accusations flew and as the stories were told. It is so easy to feed into that sort of situation. If I had talked to either of my cousins, provided them with the little tidbits they were so anxious for, I would have been rewarded. They would have responded with the inside scoop on what family members were saying about me. The thing is, it doesn't matter. I don't want to know. The people that love me will not believe the stories. The people that don't love me don't matter. So I've kept my own counsel, and I have tried my best to stay out of the accusing and blaming and tales. God knows what I am. He also knows what I've done, and haven't done.

People amaze me. But I have to say, I am proud of myself. I behaved like a class act, and God was not ashamed.

Looking Forward

Today, after the funeral, after the graveside service, after meeting with the kids for dessert to celebrate (belatedly) Brianna's 30th birthday, we came home. Dylan headed for Allentown in his Jeep, and Cara headed back to Clarion in her little Cavalier. The house was empty once again.

We went to the new house with a load of things. There is a large walk in closet that I had plans for. I have always had a 'gift closet'. When I see things that I think people would like, or when I see things on sale, I buy them, (when I can) and I put them away. You save a lot of time and money at holiday times. I stood there daydreaming in that closet (it even has a window~), trying to imagine what Christmas would be like this year. It made me feel better on this sad day.

A local building supply place was having a 'yard sale,' and Tim had his eye on a door, so we headed off with some measurements. We couldn't actually make any purchases there. The store was closed. So we headed off to another building supply place to buy some wood putty. They had some discontinued ceramic tile on sale, marked down from $6. each (yikes) to 79 cents each, so we bought the rest of them. We thought the carved design would make a beautiful backsplash for the kitchen sink and the 22 tiles would be enough to take care of that job. We also found a dozen painted tiles that matched the kitchen curtains, and I've an idea to put them together to make a couple trivets to use on the table for hot things. When they are not being used, they would look attractive displayed on the wall by the window. They were only 33 cents each, so they were an exciting find as well.

We want to have large area rugs for the hardwood floors, and we stopped by to look at some. I found one, a sculpted white area rug that would look very nice with the wicker furniture at the base of the third floor stairway, and at $19. for a six by nine, we figured that we could afford to make that purchase as well.

It was a dreamy sort of evening, finding treasures for the house and daydreaming about the holidays to come, about the special times I want to spend with my family.

Today, I crumbled a handful of dirt into my mother's grave. I looked at us all gathered. It is an ending. Afterwards, I wanted nothing more than to gather my little family around me and tell them that I loved them. I wanted to envision special days yet to come in a house that we are carefully designing to house these celebrations.

After all the looking back, I needed this quiet looking forward more than I can say.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today I rejoiced

Kind of an astounding day today, and I am not sure what to make of it. There's been a lot going on, a lot of things that you all don't know of, lots of things that I've been pondering in my own heart. Today, many things were set to rest in that heart of mine, and I don't know how to explain that right now, not without sounding like a complete lunatic. It is enough to say that driving today, my heart was set to rest, and I feel as if I can step out in confidence to deal with the events of the next few days, and I thank God for that one.

My kids will be home tomorrow night for their grandmother's funeral on Saturday. Dylan gets in at four, no word yet from Cara. Brianna and Buddy are moving into their own place this weekend, so that is a good thing, although it makes things a bit more hectic.

I'm looking forward to having my kids home. It gives us a chance to celebrate Brianna's 30th birthday, which was actually September 18th, but we thought it would be more special to celebrate it when everyone was home. Marking the end of a life, celebrating a life unfolding. It's all kind of jarring in a way, but it's also the way of life, I guess. My mother's 9th great grandchild was born the day after her death. 'Life's a dance you learn as you go.' We're dancing along with things as best we can.

I suppose that the big news is that I drove to Erie for the results of my PET scan. No cancer. They also said it is about this time when they begin to cautiously use the word 'cure'. They did comment that I need to seek followup because I have, of all things, an aortic aneurism. It shocked me to hear that, because my mother had one for years. Since hers never grew or changed, I guess that I was pretty calm about that news. It was more like 'Huh. Now that's ironic.' I'm not worried about that in the least. I am very glad for the cancer free diagnosis.

I walked out of there in shock, I imagine. I called Tim to let him know, because I knew he was anxious to know, and I called my sister and left the news on her answering machine. I began the drive home not feeling much of anything at all. But as the miles clicked by, as I drove past fields ablaze with colors, purple asters, golden rod, white wreath asters, the impact of that news finally began to hit me. I'd worried about wasting money on my schooling...I can stop worrying about that. All those dreams that I was afraid to dream, well, heck, the world's wide open to me now. I can dream what I want. I can plan a trip to Australia if I want to, because I've got wine glasses to deliver! Sounds stupid, doesn't it, that I stopped dreaming for a time, but I did. Just like autumn was bursting into full color all around me, I felt like my life was bursting into full color all inside me.

I stopped on the way home, and I leapt from my car to tell Mary the news, and we stood there, hugging each other. We've been friends forever, since we were children, and just the thought that we will be there for each other in our golden years made me gladder than I can say.

Today, I rejoice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Done

My mother's funeral is Saturday, at noon. Her ashes will be buried with my father's ashes. Then it will be done.

This evening, I wrote my column for her, and I submitted it.

Now I sit in my quiet dark house. I should be doing homework, but instead, I am listening to the distant thunder and thinking on things even more distant than that. The rain is coming, and it seems only right that it should.

Less Stress

Not much to report here. I've got three projects and a test this week, so I've been very busy. I've got one project ready to be handed in, another project will be done today, and the third project (and a test) on Friday.

I was working in a group on manual muscle testing. We have a practical the first week of October, and these practicals are big deals. Now, I'd just made the astounding discovery that I still had one week between now and the practical. That was stunning to me, and mentally, I did a little happy dance, because I've been studying like crazy for this exam, because I thought that it was next week.

Anyways, later that day, Vanessa asked a worried question about the practical, and I responded in a pretty laid back way. Something to the effect of, "Every single class has gone through these practicals and survived to graduate. We're not stupider than any class before us. It'll be fine."

She looked at me, surprised. "What happened to you?" she asked. I looked back at her. "What?" Vanessa has no 'filter'. Have you met people like that? She once said to another class mate, "You know, you're kind of smart," to which the classmate smiled hugely and started to say "Hey, thanks..." before it turned into "Hey...wait a minute..."

So, I said, "What," and I waited a little nervously, because Lord knows what the girl was about to pop out with. She looked at me and said, "You're so calm. Last year, you always had your panties in a bunch about something." All four of us fell across the table laughing.

It's true I suppose. Last year, I had classes every single day, and two of the classes were truly labor intensive classes, and I had to work, and juggle home stuff, and it was awful because I never felt like I had enough time to do my homework, and I was always just feeling sick about something. This year, I attend school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That's it. The days in between, I can work on school stuff. I am a lot more relaxed. It feels nice actually.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday

Yesterday morning at work, we pulled a half ton of wood pellets inside. People sometimes just want a bag or two, so we keep some of them up front, along side the woodstoves, but we have tons of pellets stored outside, wrapped in plastic. Anyhow, I cut away the plastic from the pallet of pellets (say that ten times fast why doncha?) and we began tossing bags of pellets. Much to my dismay, between the bags was a preying mantis that had been damaged. That made me feel badly. We set him off to the side. We finished the job, and were surprised to find a toad had hidden away between those bags as well, and was hopping around the aisle.

I laughed, and I picked him up and carried him outside. I felt so bad about the mantis that I carried the toad to the end of the parking lot and set him down by the tall grass. I just would have felt terrible to set him down in front of the store and find him smooshed flat on the pavement later. (Natch, he showed his gratitude by peeing on my hand twice.)

I came back into the store, and continued to clean up the debris from our pallet of pellets. I was gratified to see that preying mantis sitting up as a preying mantis does, looking restored. He was carried out the back door and put in the tall grass there.

Life is made memorable by the small moments, the tiny details. At least it seems that way to me.

Conversations, both good and astounding.

It was a busy night last night. Tim started talking to the new neighbor over the fence, and he was quite a genial guy, full of information about the history of our house, and the people who lived there before. By the time that I dragged those stone urns to the garden shed and returned, Tim was over in their yard calling me. They pulled the fence back and I stepped over.

The man worked for a time for the Historical Society, and his mother and wife and I talked in the rapidly fading evening light. They now run a small 'playhouse', where bands and small stage productions book performances, so that was interesting. They had a little fire going. Tim took him over to our house and showed him where there was a ready supply of small firewood they could help themselves to.

It was nice to chat in the cool evening, and we made plans to do it all again, as soon as we get moved in. When we told them we were hoping to be moved in by the end of October, they were pleased.

It will be nice having neighbors, neighborly neighbors, the sort of neighbors that become part of your life.

On an entirely different note, a woman who'd often come to sit with my mother walked up to Tim in the store yesterday and began to talk. Much to his shock, she wanted to know if the will had been read. She was curious. She knew there was an insurance policy, she began. Tim said, "I don't know anything about that," and told me about it later, a bit amazed. I was more than a bit amazed. I was gobsmacked.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another Lucky Day

Okay. We're finishing the floors and the second floor is done. Tim has done a beautiful job. They just glow. He'd gone to a local home improvement store, and found an oil based semigloss finish that looked to be the same as we'd begun with, except that this was on clearance, marked down from its normal $40 a gallon to $30. Tim bought a gallon to see if it worked as well as the higher priced stuff we'd bought. Lo. It did. He called me and told me to go buy three more gallons. I did. He went back today, and he bought the remaining 3 gallons. We marvelled over that. It seems like when we need something, we find it on clearance or on sale. It's kind of neat how it happens, and we're always grateful when this happens, because it really seems to happen a lot.

Today, I was working at the store. We've had some stone urns out front that I have coveted for such a very long time. These are heavy suckers, that I can barely carry, probably 18" high, ornate. They'd been reduced from $60 to $35, and then down to $20. I did so want them, but I didn't feel like I could justify spending that kind of money. Things are tight around here after paying for my semester of schooling out of my own pocket. When I went out to bring carts in, a man and a woman were eyeing the stone birdbath. I watched a little enviously, wondering what it would feel like to just spend $20 without thinking about it. Imagine my shock to hear the manager ringing them up on the next register, and saying, "I don't know how we missed this; these are now $9.99." I said, "What?!!! Are you kidding me?!!!!!!!!" I whipped my debit card out of my pocket, and said, "I am so not joking. I want two of those urns." I got two of those massive urns for $19.98, plus tax. Yes. I know. I spent $20 without thinking. I spent the rest of the day feeling guilty about it. Tim was not mad. He was tickled pink. They're really gorgeous.

He stopped by the store to say, "Hey, they've got a sconce on clearance at Lowe's. I think it would match. I don't know." So after work, we charged over there. I didn't like the sconce he'd looked at, and really, we kind of needed two, but I found two gorgeous sconces that did match, and were marked down from $68, to $34. Furthermore, the matching scone was only $17 because it was a display piece. Still reeling from that, we saw a beauty of chandelier for the foyer marked down from $153 to $49. This was exciting stuff, people!

We hauled our finds to the house, and met our neighbors who were as pleased to meet us as we to meet them, and we blabbed for a time. By the time we closed up the house and headed for home, it was so late that we just stopped to grab a bite. We both ordered, paid for our food, only to discover that they did not have any more potatoes (I'd ordered a broccoli cheese potato). So guess who got her sandwich for free?

Seriously. This was the luckiest day ever!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The polished and finished floors are beautiful. Just gorgeous.

And we ordered the counter top for the kitchen.

And the carpet cleaners are coming on Thursday.

We will begin moving things in, room by room. I cannot believe this is happening. I'm all kinds of way excited. We hope to be moved in by the end of October. How this will happen between school and everything else? I think it will take a miracle, but then I think that this whole episode has been one miracle after another. I remember to be grateful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Working on that self esteem...

It's been a jumbled up week. I'm trying to catch up from the things that I missed Monday, when I was not in class. We cover so much, and so quickly, that it's easy to get behind. Today, I was supposed to submit my personal and professional goals. My teachers had given me a list of strengths as well as areas that I need to work on. My strengths were listed first: "Compassionate, hard working, reflective, dedicated, driven, very self aware (some times to a fault though), great with patients!" My weaknesses were also laid out: I'm not good at conflict resolution, much preferring to back out of the conflict. (I suppose that is from years of conflict with NO resolution.) Another weakness was my ability to work with difficult people. (I back away from them to avoid the conflicts that I don't know how to resolve, I suppose.) It was also suggested that I begin to work on my self esteem issues.

I was headed to the library, deep in thought. It is one thing to know your faults, another thing altogether to figure out how to fix these things. I walked past an Asian woman and smiled in a distracted sort of way. Suddenly, she called my name. I turned, confused. "You are Debby ______?" she asked. She remembered me from a tour while I was at the Conservation District. She worked with Tim for a short while at a factory. She introduced herself to me, and then said the most amazing thing. In her heavily accented English, she said, "I am here to learn to write better English. I love your articles. I want to learn to write like you do."

Heck.

That meeting was darned good for my self esteem.

Late Edit: You know what else is good for my self esteem? Just sitting down with my books. I worked on muscles for several hours tonight, memorizing and making notes, downloading diagrams. I don't feel nearly as hopeless as I did for most of the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tonight I Won

There is a fellow who comes into the store sometimes. I do not like him. He always says, in a sotto voice, that he is friends w/ the manager, and says that they have a deal. Now there are some customers who do get a deal, but they are the ones who buy feed by the pallet, or something like that. This fellow does not come in frequently. I believe that he runs the scam all over town. When he gets a lower price on the dog food at our store, he flashes that receipt all over town to get other stores to match the price. Then after a few months, when other stores refuse to match the price on the months old receipt, he comes back to us, and tells the cashier that he is a friend of the manager's, and starts the cycle all over.

The first couple times that he came in, I gave him the special deal that he claimed he got, although I did not think that he should have gotten it. The manager wasn't there to ask. It always made me feel dishonest because it is not our policy. It made me nervous, but then I never remembered to ask the manager about it, because this fellow is such an infrequent customer. The last time, though, the assistant manager was in, so I talked him and he told me that I should ask the boss how he wanted it handled, and so I did. The manager was shocked, knew nothing about this, did not know the guy, told me not to honor the price.

Anyways, I haven't seen that customer for some time, but lo, tonight he came up to the register. He said, in a very business-like voice, "I'm sure you remember me. Your boss and I have a deal." I looked at him, and explained our policy very clearly. He looked at me. He was surprised. He said, "Your boss told me..." and I said, "I'm sorry but that is incorrect, and this directive is from my boss." We stared at each other, and I have to say as I stood there sticking to my guns, it felt good to do so. He finally said, "Well, then I'm only buying one bag of dog food." I said, pleasantly, that I'd be glad to put the other bag back.

That Cat

That cat was around a couple days ago *hangs head* No, Bill. I did not have a camera on me, but she sashayed up to Tim and wound around his legs a couple times and then came over to me to be held and petted. I set her gently back on the ground, and she walked into the open door of the house. I followed her. She sat waiting for me patiently at the top of the stairs. I climbed to the second floor and she went straight to the door of the third floor and began to try to nose it open. I opened it for her and she shot directly up the carpeted stairs and turned left. I went away, thinking to myself that she'd been in the house before. She knows the place. I wondered about her story, if she'd been abandoned by the previous owners. I went back outside and visited with Dave and Anna and Tim.

When it came time to close up and leave, lo, I could not find the cat. Anna helped me look. No sign of it, not anywhere. Tim laughed from outside. That cat had climbed out the window, on to the roof of the second floor porch, and then went to the side and leaped up on the third story roof, and was sauntering around having a cat's eye view of the world. She came when she was called, climbed back in the window, and came down stairs to sprawl lazily at Dave's feet for some more petting.

She really does act like she belongs, the furred royalty of that fine house.

In the midst of everything that has been going on, Tim's Uncle Chuck died suddenly, just a scant three weeks after his wife Ruby died. The funeral was yesterday. Tim's parents met him at the new house, and they rode together to the funeral, which was a 1 1/2 hour drive. Before they left, the cat checked up on things. When Tim's father saw the cat, he was quite taken with it. (It is a pretty creature.) He wanted to take it home.

It was Tim that told him no, that he couldn't have it. He told me about it that evening. "My father sure liked your cat," Tim said.

My cat. I like the sounds of that...

P.S. The cat's name is Booker C. I've long had a vision of sprawling on the couch in the library with a book in my hand, a purring cat on my lap, the gas log in the fireplace making a nice warmth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Place

Did you ever get to a place where you just feel as if no explanations are necessary? Where you can sit quietly amidst the swirling complaints and negatives, and it simply doesn't matter. You feel no need to speak up, to explain yourself, to correct the narrative as it is recounted by others?

I'm there.

The people that love you will give you the benefit of the doubt. The ones that don't, won't. In the end, the people that love you are the people that matter.

I sit here in the quiet of my own house, and I savor that quiet. I have no desire to let chaos in, and so the door stays shut from it. I am grateful for this place. Mostly, I am grateful for the quiet knocks, for the people that say in a whisper, "Are you okay? Do you want to want to talk?" and I do, so I let them in, and we speak quietly and calmly, and without accusations and pointing fingers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

She's Gone.

On the morning of September 11th, my mother passed away.

It's sad.

Anna had sent me an e-mail saying, "mom is about the same, maybe tireder..." so it was a shock to walk in to her room and find her gurgling and unresponsive. That night, when Tim and I got up to leave the room, there was a whir from her dresser.

She had a music box, something that my father had bought her for Christmas many years ago, when I was still in high school. He'd given it to me, along with some other things to wrap. I remember being tickled that he would have bought something so sentimental for her.

I heard that whir, and I turned to it, and that music box played just the first line: '...let me call you sweetheart...' and then it just stopped. Just like that. My mom died a few hours later. Coincidence? Maybe. I don't know. I'm not a great believer in stuff like that. I do know that it was a comfort to hear what she could not say, and I am glad for it.

I grieve. I grieve for the loss of my mother, and I grieve for what was and what is no more. There's that. There's relief too. It was a stressful time. She did not seem to suffer, and I am glad for that. I can't feel more than that right now. I'll ponder it in my mind and pray on it. I'll talk with the people that know me best. The sharp discomfort of grief will give way to something softer and more comforting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Maybe I sniffed too much glue?

I spent this morning on my knees, working on the kitchen floor. Tim had ripped up horrible linoleum, and discovered that beneath the linoleum was a layer of felt that had been glued to the hardwood floor. I'd been trying to scrape it up, but the felt just separated into layers, and I was removing a layer only to find another layer of felt beneath that, and then beneath that yet more felt. The kitchen is good sized, and it began to seem that this was the never ending job.

We tried a heat gun suggested by the folks at the wallpaper store, but that did not work. In desperation, we poured water on the floor. Lots of it. Ironic, since when we've been trying to dry out the house since we moved in. The burst radiators had introduced a whole lot of humidity into the house, and we've had dehumidifiers running since we took possession of it.
In any case, Tim poured the hot water on the floor, soaking the felt, and I crawled around on my hands and knees scraping. That worked well, and within a couple hours, we could see that the floor in the kitchen was salvageable. (We were afraid we might have to put down more linoleum or perhaps a laminate.)

I crawled around on the floor scraping and daydreaming about what the world was like the last time that wood floor had seen the light of day. I wondered about the people that lived in it then.

I spend a lot of time daydreaming about what was, but I know that time does not run backward. Those people lived in their time, and they are here no longer. I am living in my time, and the day will come when I am here no longer. Somebody I do not know prepared meals for her family. She is gone now, and although I am surrounded by what was familiar to her, it tells me nothing about her. When I am gone, there will be someone else who follows me into that kitchen, and she will prepare meals in the place that is familiar to me, but tells her nothing about me, and who I am.

I think about that. When we are young, we have big dreams of making a mark in this world, but the truth is, most of us won't. Most of us will live out our lives in our quiet corner of the world, and when we are done living out that life, there will be nothing left to remind the world of who we are (were?)

I scrape the floor and ponder these things.

I am glad that I am so mindful of my place in this world, my place in this time. I'm also glad that my mind allows me to roam freely between what was, and what is, and what comes next. I'm glad that it doesn't bother me to be an insignificant person in my corner of the world, observing the wonders of it all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

testing, testing...

Sometimes, you love songs for the lyrics, too.

Some of my favorite lyrics.













Thanks for the tip, BB.

Sing, Sing a Song...

Kelly did a post over at her blog about favorite five feel good songs. To my way of thinking, a feel good song is one of those songs that you cannot hear on the radio without singing along.

I grew up in the sixties and early seventies, so my 'feel good' music is from that time frame. Understand also that you can't get too hung up on the lyrics of it. It's the beat man.

I tried to download the videos, but could not, but click on, peoples, click on...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=iMD5J96Qv4g&feature=fvwp

Okay. 'Fess up. Could you watch this without your lips moving?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPTiBGlz2eU

Go to town every Saturday, church every sunday, awwwwww Nutbush! Nutbush City limits.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqZ95a249p0

Old black water, keep on rolling, Mississippi moon won't you keep on shining on me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np0solnL1XY

If I died tomorrow, would you still remember me? I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot chaaaaaaaaaaaange....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2omuoO_hIbQ&feature=related

Is this a real life, or is it fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality...

These songs bring back memories of other places and other people and other times. And they always make me sing.

But putting together this post I also came up with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQDaUjI1y3Q&feature=related She packed up her bags and she took off down the road, she left me here stranded with the bills she owed, she took my address and my name, ain't it a doggone shame, sunspot baby: I'm going to catch up with you some time. And what about 'they do respect her but, they sure love to watch her strut' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qbeIwn5jR8&feature=related. Today's music ain't got the same soul, I like that old time rock and roll http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4lglk29Tp0&feature=related

Yeah, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet put out a lot of stuff that is very singable even if you're in your fifties, driving a Buick down the road. I admit it, I just can't stop at five. There's a lot of good music out there.

I've still got to turn the music off. I've got homework to do. Some things never change.

What are your 'can't help but sing along' songs?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TMI?

Why IS it, that when you are having a really productive day, one of those days when you get an amazing amount of school work done, when you have a good meal put together for your poor husband who rarely gets good meals these days, when you have the moment to encourage a friend on the phone, AND wash dishes, as well as get a column put together and sent out...WHY is this ALWAYS going to wind up to be the day when you are getting ready for work only to discover that you have no clean underwear?

Or is it just me?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

faux pas

Well. You know how sometimes you blurt stuff and then later (and only later) realize that it could be misconstrued. I did that. 'Round here, I call them 'fox paws'. I did a fox paw today.

I'm at the grocery store picking up a few items. Dylan is coming home to see his grandmother, and it's almost his birthday so we'll celebrate his birthday while he's here. We haven't had a chance to do that for probably four years now, so it is a big deal in my own heart. I made Boston Cream Pie (his favorite) and the steaks are marinating, with a nice tossed salad to go with it. But then, Dave had roma tomatoes from his garden at church, and I thought that a nice bruschetta would go well with everything, but of course, then I had to stop to pick up black olives and bread to go with, so that meant a stop at the grocery store on the way home from church.

A woman smiled at me in a friendly way, and I smiled back. I noticed that she was watching me closely. Being self conscious, I begin to wonder about proverbial spinach on my teeth. Or worse yet, did I know her, and not recognize her? Gosh that happens to me all the time. I wondered and I worried.

Walking out of the store with my few items, talking with Tim, I saw the woman again. She said, "I'm sorry. I love your articles. I feel like I know you."

Relieved, I blurted, "Well, in a way you do, I guess, but gosh, next time, just let me know, otherwise it's just weird."

We all laughed, and we got in our respective vehicles and left.

I just called a reader weird. Good Lord. That's not what I meant at all.

*sigh*

Dear reader: if you are reading this, I did not mean it the way it sounded. Please comment and let me know that you were not offended. I should stick to writing. At least I can backspace and correct my mistakes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Well, Bill...

Well, Bill, we saw that cat. We worked at the house today. I painted the kitchen. (Tim changed his mind on the color. And then he changed his mind on the finish, and finally, he changed his mind on the color one last time). I painted the kitchen for the final time. Tim was in the back yard moving a shed with his truck. The noise attracted a neighbor boy, a quiet thin boy, smart, a worker. He pitched right in. We offered him work any time that he wanted it, and he was very excited at that opportunity. He looked around and found himself a project right away. Seems like an awfully good kid.

So we were closing the house up, giving Justin his last minute instructions. Tim pulled down the garage door, and much to my horror, I saw a long furry tail emerge from the top of the garage door. I thought for sure the thing was pinched in there, badly injured, even dead, but then two rear legs popped down scrabbling wildly. Tim was staring questioningly at me as I stared beyond him at the garage. Wordlessly, I pointed. He turned, and laughed out loud. Carefully, he raised the garage door, and the cat leapt down, inside the garage. "Here, kitty, kitty!" I called, and he shot out of the garage, past me, and down the driveway like his tail was on fire.

Now that was quite an astonishing photo opportunity there, but unfortunately, well, I was so afraid we'd killed a cat that pictures were the last thing on my mind.

Sorry, Bill.

Maybe next time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I was driving to the Erie Cancer Center yesterday. The route took me past a house that I have been passing since I was a girl. This house is big, looks like a mansion you'd see somewhere in England, with a big horseshoe driveway. I always used to dream about what the inside of that house looked like. I imagined walking in to a huge foyer. I imagined fireplaces and a library, and...well...just say that I could dream on a pretty grand scale even as a kid.

As I passed the house, I remembered all my daydreaming about it, how I used to try to imagine myself in a house that grand. Suddenly, it occurred to me. I have a house that grand. It is not a big stone house, but it is a grand house, and it is being lovingly brought back to it's former glory. It struck me once more, how very very lucky I am.

It sounds like bragging a bit doesn't it? I don't mean it to. I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure that I'm not just daydreaming still.

In a Rut

Ruts have a bad rep. When you hear people talking about being in a rut, it's always seen as a bad thing. When life is difficult, I find that I appreciate my ruts. I am comforted by the knowledge that, in my rut, I know where I am headed, I know what to do, I know the people that plod at my side, I know what to expect.

Real life, life outside the rut is not always like that. Sometimes you have no idea what will come next. You don't know what to do. You're surrounded by people you don't understand (and, sometimes, are not so sure you want to understand). You have no clue what to expect.

Viva la rut, I say.

*plods off contentedly*