Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from our house to yours...

Tim does not like cats. He said so himself. The feeling is not mutual. Tim is reading 'Lone Survivor'. I was on the couch reading 'Hyperbole and a Half'. There is a blog.
Because my book caused me to laugh until the tears flowed, the cat chose to sit with Tim, because he wasn't wiggling around as much.



Discovery is an exciting thing. After dealing with a stubborn cough, the physician's assistant thought that perhaps I had allergies. She suggested Zyrtec. She was right. I am allergic. To Zyrtec. Hives and a swollen mouth and lips.

Needless to say, we're staying in tonight. All joking aside, we almost certainly would have anyway, but now we have an excuse.

William and Brianna are here so I will be bringing in the 2014 with three of the people that I love best in the world. I've made my resolution as well.

Ahem: I will stop taking zyrtec.

Funniest facebook exchange ever:

Party A: "They can take their curley Q mercury filled lightbulbs and stick them where the sun don't shine."

Reply came quickly. "That's normally where lightbulbs go: where the sun doesn't shine."

I about fell out of my chair.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best Christmas Gift Ever

William was feeling kind of under the weather yesterday, and took a little break from his normal cheerfulness. He played quietly with the cat while I wrapped, and but mostly he was quiet. When it came time to tuck him into his polar bear jammies, he pitched quite a fit. He did not want to go to bed.

I've started a new book, and so I said, "Would you like to watch TV on Grandma's bed while she reads her book?" He wailed, "Sleep in Gramma's beeeeeddddddddd."

So I retrieved my book as he headed for our room with "Little Cat" as he calls Paddington Paw-cat. I plugged in Mr. Bean. I love Mr. Bean, and I am the only person in my family who does. I had a hankering to see "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean." I was not prepared for what happened next.

The first belly laugh happened when Mr. Bean fell from the sky onto the street, picked himself up and dashed off. By the time that we got to the part where Mr. Bean was acting out a little play with the nativity, William was laughing repeatedly. As Mr. Bean directed the Salvation Army street musicians, William rolled over from his pillow and announced "Mr. Bean FUNNY."

Finally.

I've been waiting a long time for a person with a sense of humor like mine.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Funniest thing? When I was downloading this video, as soon as he heard the intro music, William began to shout, "Mister Bean, Mister Bean!"

Monday, December 16, 2013

To Market, to Market.

Grandpa had an idea Saturday night. We went out in the cold for pizza, stopped to buy William mittens, and headed off to Bethlehem Marketplace.

William was quite happy with the pizza. He loved his new mittens. But when the Roman Centurian came out to demand which family we were from, well, William was not amused. We followed the centurian through twists and turns of the darkened church hallways, lit only by tiny battery operated tealights and fairy lights to signify the stars on a dark night. "Mind your step," the guard demanded, stamping his feet loudly so that we would not surprise any lions on the way. William was not pleased, and truth be told, I was starting to worry that perhaps this was not a child-friendly presentation.

We finally reached the market place, where spices hung heavy in the air, and we were offered smells of cardamom and frankincense, and the like. Homemade flat breads were offered to sample as a beggar crawled at our feet. Weavers wove and seasoned meat was offered. A merchant questioned my husband on the strange headgear that he wore. "What is Bimbadeen?" he asked, and we explained that it was a landowner in a faraway country called Australia who owned many cattle, and the merchant asked curiously, "How many days would it take to get there by donkey?" It made us laugh.

By then, William had relaxed too. He loves to sample things. He had some bread and a grape, and some dried fruits. He saw a well in the center of the market place and we explained this is where the water was drawn. He clambored up the side and looked down, and when he saw that previous guests had thrown money in, he wanted money too. He spent some happy time throwing coins. He loves to throw stuff too.

We were ushered to a nearby inn to refresh ourselves, and witnessed a Roman official and the innkeeper arguing about being taxed yet again. "You were robbed by dishonest Hebrews," the Roman official snarled. After an argument, the innkeeper paid up, and a little girl in the crowd was asked to count the coins to make sure there were five. William was very interested in the fake fire that glowed brightly, and a fish 'roasted'. He squatted there admiring the fish and eating a small piece of chocolate, chatting with the innkeepers wife, ignoring the debate altogether.

We went out of the inn, and found two shepherds complaining about the boredom of their work. 'If only, if ONLY something interesting would happen...' William was listening to their conversation intently, and just about jumped out of his hide when the angelic host began to sing "Hallelujah!!!" above our heads.

Still, he was game to follow the shepherds, and we were back outside on our way. We saw Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus with along with three sheep: Athos, Aramis, and Porthos.

The next morning, I dropped him home after church. Brianna called. "Did your church have its Christmas pageant?" and I said, "No. I don't think we have enough kids for one." Brianna said, "How strange. ever since he got home, William's been going on and on about finding baby Jesus in a manger with the sheep." I suppose it's safe to say that William enjoyed himself at the Bethlehem market place.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cuteness overload.



It is hard to photograph a kitten. This one is pretty active. He is a foundling. A friend's daughter discovered him and a brother abandoned by a street cat mother. She raised them before their eyes even opened. As is often the case with tenderhearted people, Stacey ended up with two more cats than she actually wanted.


My own feral cat, Nash had decided that it was the life of a streetcat for him, (and to be fair, he may actually be someone else's cat.) We see him and his brother out and about, but they will not come to us. So I waited until winter hit, to make sure that Nash would not change his mind.

When he did not come home, I made the decision to adopt one of the kittens. Paddington Paw-cat. Paddy Paws for short.


Isn't he adorable?



Speaking of adorable...



William decorates for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Pageant

We had a sweet little Christmas pageant tonight, and I enjoyed helping out during the process. You get a chance to really mingle with the families. Kids were dressed to the nines, and the parents were videotaping and taking pictures.

After the pageant was done, the kids left the stage and raced across the gymnasium to find their parents, who swept them up and assured them that they were the best tree, best bird, best bunny, best star, etc. that EVER was.

One tall man swept his daughter up and held her close and whispered his praises into her ear as she hugged his neck tightly. Suddenly, I saw his face twist, as if he were in pain. The hand that wasn't holding his daughter went to his eyes, and I saw that he was crying.

I don't know his story. I know that the girl's mother was not sitting with him, so I drew the obvious conclusion from it. I also whispered a little prayer from my own heart that, no matter what, the little girl would always know that she had two parents who loved her dearly.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Bank

Yesterday, we went Christmas shopping. We bought a piece of art for one of the kids, and then wandered into one of Cara's favorite bookstores to look at what they have. Mixed in with books old and new, they have some antique things.

I saw a bank that evoked a memory so vivid that it took my breath away. The little globe read "Save a coin, save the world" around the base. My father had come home from work on my fifth birthday and handed an identical one to me with a few coins inside. I'd never had a bank before, and was tickled pink with the idea of having my own money.

I had sat on the floor of our house, taking coins out of the bank, depositing them again, and once again dumping them on the floor to begin again. I remembered hearing my father say, "You know, she really seems to like it." I didn't understand what he meant. I had looked at my little bank, and I wondered why he would say such a thing. Why on earth wouldn't I like it?

51 years later, my eyes misted, and I understood. That bank had been a free gift from our bank. My father must have stopped on the way home from work to pick it up. There had been no money for anything else.

My little metal bank had a dent in the middle of Europe, a small one. I picked this bank up, and saw a small place where the paint had peeled away.
I did like that bank, very much, and I don't know where it went, but I stood in the middle of that store, studying that little globe covered with names of countries that no longer exist, thinking of my parents now also both gone from this world. When Tim came over, I said, "You know, here's a Christmas idea for me..."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today

You know, there's a little boy I come across regularly at work. His mother is out of the picture. He is raised by his father alone. He's often dirty and unkempt. He often is oppositional and defiant. I love all the kids, and although he is a special challenge, I see plainly that the little fellow has had a hard life. I try to spend time with him, one on one, whenever I have the chance to do so, but it is hard, because there are a lot of kids, and there are a lot of them that need that one on one time. It's also important to balance that gentleness with a firm discipline, because he can be rough and mean to other kids, and, God love him, he's big for his age.

Today, he walked past the door and looked in. I was busy with other kids, and on the floor as I usually am, but I waved to him and greeted him cheerfully. Suddenly, the side door opened, and before I could even react, he was rushing to me. He crashed into me and gave me a big hug, nearly knocking me over because I was kneeling on the floor. I hugged him back, tightly, and thanked him for that hug, rocking him side to side as I patted his back.

He pulled away and smiled, and then rushed back out the door just as quickly as he had come in.

I stared after him with no small surprise. Yes, we talk, but he is often frustrated with me, because I am cautioning him not to be so violent in his play. Yes, we do crafts together after school, but he is often immature and upset that I won't simply do the activity for him.

Still...there is something in the boy that begs to be noticed, hungers for attention, and, in the end, longs for a hug.

I bowed my head for a minute and said a prayer for all little children who have rough lives, and I thanked God that I was there when one of them wanted a hug.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Little Boys and High Energy

One of the houses has a swing set. The weather has been nice, unseasonably warm. In fact tomorrow, we are due thunderstorms. Quite a change from the snow we began the week with. In any case, I gave up on getting anything accomplished with William around. He was filled with energy, so we went outside, and ended up at the other house, where Tim was working on the roof.

William had a grand time. He put up quite a fuss until he was allowed to climb the ladder and watch Grampa work. He's fearless, and scaled that ladder to roof level. I was behind him, of course, holding on. Once he was at the top of the ladder, he threw quite a tantrum because he was not permitted off the ladder and onto the roof proper.

I hauled a kicking screaming boy back down the ladder, and it was not fun.

I distracted him by taking him for a walk to the creek. He had his monkey boots on and was permitted to wade and throw stones, which is his favorite thing in the world. He threw quite a tantrum when he was not permitted to wade out into water past his knees, his boots reaching only midcalf.

We climbed rocks for a while, and he loved that. He lost his footing at one point and slid feet first down the bank of the creek towards the water. Afraid that he'd get cold water in his boots, I picked him up, which set him off once again. He enjoyed the sliding and meant to do it again.

Weary of his outraged bellowing, I told Tim that we were going to head home. I figured that our little beasty boy was ready for a nap.

He howled lustily while being buckled in his car seat, begging to climb the ladder to see his grandpa. Tim laughed from the roof and reminded me to pick up his truck which he'd left over by the swing set.

Driving home, William fussed in the back seat. Much to my surprise, that fussing turned to full blown frantic screaming, so desperate that I had to pull off the road. He had dirty hands, and he'd been rubbing his teary eyes, so my thoughts were that he'd gotten dirt in his eyes. I asked him if his eyes hurt and he wailed "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! There's a caterpillar on my truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" And he screamed again for good measure. I took his truck and looked. A tiny piece of hemlock clung to the side of it. I told him it wasn't a caterpillar, and he insisted once again it was.

Once home, he threw a couple more fits, refusing to lie down unless I let him wear his dinosaur pajamas which he'd spied fresh from the dryer. Usually he takes his nap in his clothes, but not today. I gave in, popped him in his dinosaur pajamas. Without one more complaint, he put himself to bed and was instantly asleep.

They are so stinking cute when they are asleep, but it also made me shiver a little. I knew he was simply recharging his batteries.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Unfrozen

I've been caught up in an embarrassing situation that has been going on for 6 or 7 weeks now. I don't know. Haven't blogged about it, because, well...it is embarrassing and humiliating.

Last night, at a meeting with trusted friends, we were all talking, and quite spontaneously, I told them about my situation. They looked at me with great kindness, and quickly assured me that they had seen it coming. They felt the situation said a great deal about my own strength of charactor. They understood, related similar incidents, buoyed me up, assured me that it was part of a greater plan.

These are intelligent people, people like me who walk to a different beat. We are storytellers and writers. As we talked, it seemed as if my words unfroze, and it felt good, a relief actually. I said, "The worst part is that I simply feel like I don't fit..." and a former seminarian looked at me, his smile big in his white whiskers, and he said, "You fit with us."

And I realized that I did.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gifts

My cold is easing back finally, good news. We've still got snow here, and it's cold. This morning, I couldn't get the car doors open. Nice things have been happening lately. I've had a nice conversation with a family who enjoyed a couple columns that I'd done about his grandfather, a remarkable man who died just short of his 100th birthday. He was a man who understood honor, and true love, and gratitude. He was a widower of 12 years who still missed his wife so badly that he got tears in his eyes when he spoke of her. The family wants me to have a copy of four years of WWII correspondence between their grandparents. What a remarkable gift! Speaking of remarkable gifts, I'm about to head to bed to read. I have two letters from friends. Thanks, Kelly! Thanks, Mary! What a treat!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I've been up to...

Children are charming little bacteria incubators. It was a glowing moment to take a look around earlier in the week and realize that I 'only' had two noses dripping green. (ack!)Predictably, I caught the cold going around.

I was standing in line at the Walmart to pick up my prescription. The elderly lady in front of me was sweet, and talkative, and normally, I can carry on a perfectly good conversation with a stump, but today I was tired from my third sleep deprived day due to middle of the night hacking. I responded to her chatter with faint smiles and quiet answers.

When she got up to the counter, she picked up her prescription, and proceeded to carry on a lengthy conversation with the clerk. It went on for some time. It went on long enough that I simply couldn't stand anymore. I sat down on a bench and waited.

While I waited for her to finish, I lectured myself. 'She's probably lonely' and 'it is not killing you to be patient'. But I was sick and I was exhausted, and I wanted to go home. I could see that the clerk was casting looks my way, and I tried to smile as if it did not matter.

When she finished, I stood up and went to the counter. The clerk nervously apologized. I said, "Please don't. She was probably lonely, and it cost didn't cost either one of us anything to be patient with her." I got my drugs and headed out. The woman was getting into a car which had driven over to pick her up. The car had scraped up against one of those concrete pilings outside the Walmart door. Neither the driver or the elderly woman seemed to notice. I walked to my car and when I pulled out, I found myself behind the self same vehicle. It drove very slowly, swerving back and forth over the center line.

There's no point to this story, none at all except that today, as bad as I felt, I was better off than some. I found myself counting my blessings. I will put myself to bed early tonight. I am glad that tomorrow is Friday. I'm also going to pray that the two elderly people have someone keeping a close eye on them.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A tale of two kitties.

Wellup.

Nash has decamped. We see him about, but shows no interest in coming back home where food and warmth await. I guess that his wild nature has taken over. Surprisingly, his brother, Crosby, is still hanging about. Tim sees him during the day, and feeds him on the porch. Yesterday, he actually stuck his head in the door and looked around curiously, but would not come in.

Tim left a note on the table, advising me to get more catfood, which I did. I put some in the bowl now sitting on our porch, hoping to see Crosby last night but I didn't.

Interesting factoids:

There is a light covering of snow here today.

Did you know that there's a Jodi Arias supporter group? They believe that she is innocent. Still. The girl confessed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Taking a Secret to her Grave

A woman died, an acquaintance. She was deep in the clutches of dementia when I saw her last, but the thing that she retained was her sense of style and her youthful appearance. She was beautiful, and cultivated, but she did not know me when I spoke to her, and I could tell that my greeting had frightened her, although she tried to make her greeting as warm as mine had been.

The thing is, I have known this woman from my teenage years, on and off. I mean I moved from this place for 20+ years, and came back, and there she was, as unchanged as if she had a mirror hidden away in her attic, her hair dark and carefully arranged. She was a careful dresser, and had impeccable manners, but she did not age.

Turns out that she took great pride in this. When she was hospitalized for serious illness and my mother had gone to visit her, my mother had seen her age posted. The woman was mortified, and swore her to secrecy, made her promise several times that she would not tell anyone. When this was related to me, I took it for a joke, really, and did not think much about it, even though my mother seemed certain that she wasn't joking at all, that she wanted no one to know her age.

Until now. She is gone, and there was no obituary in the paper, just a funeral notice.

The thing is, she was a prominent figure in many arenas. She had a fascinating life, really, coming here during the second world war as a military bride. She was beautiful and smart, and a faith filled woman. Inspiring. But she has passed from this life, taking her secret with her.

I just find it strange, really, and a bit sad.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monkey, pumpkin and footed jammies.

We had such a wonderful weekend.
William was here, and he loved the pumpkin that Mary and Danny gave him. One of Danny's hobbies is growing giant pumpkins. This is one of his rejects. William was glad to get it. He hugged it every single day that he was here, and Saturday night got quite emotional about it, wanting us to turn on the porch light so that he could see it.

It was a busy weekend, with a lot of laughter. We had to shop for new footy jammies for him. He has outgrown the ones he had at Grandma's from last year. I tried to get him to choose, but he got quite upset, actually had a bit of a tantrum, being sure, no doubt that I was going to immediately pop him in them and make him take a nap. We began to put a photo album together. He flipped through it several times talking animatedly to himself, "I go on the boat. Dis da paddlewheel, it go round and round, and grandpa and willnan look at the waaaader, and dis grandpa chainsaw and Willnan's chainsaw, and dis Willnan's big punkin..." I showed him how to play 'annie annie over' at the brick house, kicking the ball up on the roof, and having it bounce back down for him to catch. He played with his Thomas the tank projector in the dark as Tim and I watched a movie. There was swinging and running and singing. When I stripped the bed to wash the sheets, there was one little monkey jumping on my bed for quite some time.

When we took him home last night, freshly bathed and in his warm footy jammies, he went running into the house clutching the card he had scribbled on for his parents. Inside were two pictures of his pumpkin. "I make you a pitcher" he announced handing the card to his daddy, and heading inside without nary a backward look. Grandma and grandpa went home to their big empty house, and for the first time that day, I finally got a chance to put the bed back together. There was a fruit snack stuck to the coverlet, and I found myself smiling. I sure do love having a little monkey jumping on my bed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

His Mysterious Ways.

There are times in life when you just know for a fact that someone far bigger than you is running the show. Life has been an amazing lately.

I went to a candlelight vigil for the boy who committed suicide after being bullied for months. 15 years old. It just broke my heart, truly. I know how my own girl struggled in school, and this boy's death made me cry. So I went to the candlelight vigil, not sure why, but I just felt it was important to be there.

When it was over, I blew my candle out and turned to walk back home. Surprisingly, standing behind me was a familiar face. Mr. M. was a favorite of mine when I was doing the mosquito work. I enjoyed his company, and I enjoyed his dog Misty. It was a shock to discover that his wife, Marie, is actually a relative of mine. 5 years later or so, when my sister and I were piecing together our family history for our children, Marie was an enormous help to us both.

"Oh my gosh, hey, how are the two of you doing?" and we fell to talking right away as if we'd seen each other day before yesterday instead of the year before. And we blabbed on. I heard Mr. M tell Marie that he needed to sit a minute, and he hobbled over to a stone to sit. And looking closely, I could tell that my old friend had declined since I'd last seen him.

Marie said, "...you know, we're going to wind up moving into the senior citizen place, and that's going to be awful. I've never lived in an apartment building before, but Jim's having such a hard time, and we've got to do something. He can't lift his leg over the side of the bathtub so well, and I hear him thump against the back of the tub wall, and I know in my heart we're going to have to sit down and make a decision here. But we've always lived out in the country."

I said, slowly, getting the first prickles of awareness that God was at work, "You know, what you need is one of those bathtubs with a door..." and Jim immediately said, "Ain't them nice? But I'll bet they are expensive. I would sure love to have me one of them, though."

My prickles got a little more pronounced. I knew that I should wait and talk to Tim, but it burst out of me. "We bought a house with one of these. That house is out in the country. It's a three bedroom ranch house. It's all on one floor."

Very cautiously, Jim rumbled, "Oh? Whereabouts?" and I explained. He said, "I don't want to live too far out. I worry about Marie driving in the winter." I said, "It's no more than three miles past the Country Fair," and I saw his face grow hopeful. "That would work."

That night, I was waiting when Tim got home from work. "I found who needs to be the Pleasant Township house," I announced. And he listened. We made a commitment to the person who sold us our last house. It was a commitment to pay it forward. It's hard to explain, and I can't really, the deal being a private arrangement, but we owe it to our friend to pay our good fortune forward. So I messaged Marie, and told her that we wanted the two of them to come look at our house.

I met with them tonight after I got off work, and we walked through the house, talking. They'd need the fusebox changed to breakers or their renter's insurance would refuse to cover them. Jim loved the knotty pine paneling and the cedar closet in one bedroom. I explained what our intentions were in the kitchen, and they were enthusiastic. Jim requested a gas stove, since he likes to cook. Marie told us not to bother replacing the dishwasher, that she was not a dishwasher-type. They loved the fireplace. There was a place for Jim to have a workshop. Marie picked out her office. They looked at the remodeled bathroom and they were pleased, and Jim opened and shut the door on the bathtub. The liked the ceramic tiles. They loved the big laundry room, and the two big storage rooms off to the side.

Jim went outside to walk around, and Marie confided that they had come the previous night and walked around it. She said that Jim had fallen well and truly in love with the house, but cautioned her not to get her hopes up. He was quite certain that they could not afford it. "It sure is beautiful, Mama, but I don't know..."

Marie said, "I told him, I've got a strong idea that God's at work here, and if He is, well, He'll make it possible. I'm not worried."

It made me happy, to watch Jim walking around the property looking like he already lived there. When we all convened one more time at our vehicles, Jim and Marie expressed concern for Tim. Their current landlord did not require a lease. They just needed to provide a 30 day notice to him. They did not want Tim to feel like he had to work like gangbusters to get this house put together in addition to his full time job. I said, "Well, Tim was worried about that too. He's not going to be able to get you in before winter hits," and Jim immediately said, "We moved in February the last time, in the middle of a blizzard and we are not doing that again." They were content to wait till spring.

When I got home, the phone was ringing, and it was Tim. I told him how it went. "That's fine," he said, "just perfect!" and I could tell that he was as happy as I was.

Still boggles my mind that a chance encounter would have has become a perfect solution for everyone, but I guess it shouldn't. When God's at work, it works for everyone involved.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

People are stupid.

This was the great weekend of T2SDA. Truckers were going to stand for our constitution. Thousands of trucks were to head to Washington DC and shut the place down. How this stands for our constitution I have no idea. Doesn't make any more sense to me than the government impasse playing out right now. Amazing to me how many people are excited about these truckers. What will a bunch of renegades showing up to force a shut down actually accomplish? Nothing. We know they are a bunch of lying dogs, posting fake pictures of truck convoys to 'prove' their impact. The protests are a bust. But fake pictures are still being posted on facebook of the purported truckers. I've been shaking my head at the stupidity of people. Sorry to sound so crass about it, but there is no other word for them. A number of them wonder on line "why there is nothing about this on the news?" as others answer, "It's a government plot" or "the media is controlled by the government" or "facebook keeps deleting our posts! LOL. They're controlled by the government too." A friend posted pictures of barricades being taken down by protesters and dumped at the White House gates. The barricades were surrounding national monuments which are closed by the government shutdown. His posting decried "the vindictive Obama administration". The monuments are closed down becasue of the shutdown. Obama is not sitting in the oval office saying, "Well, I'll show THEM!" and closing things down. It's so stupid, and it is getting stupider. What we've got is a small group of truckers who will lie to make themselves look like big shots, who are driving to DC to illegally shut down the government and kick the president out of office. Anyone who honestly believes that they will bring positive change is plainly and simply put, a fool. Sounds harsh, doesn't it? I'll probably be ashamed later, but right now, I'm kind of fed up with all of this stuff. The people that will scream the loudest about the dishonesty of the government are the same folks who don't hesitate to forward a lie on line if it supports their version of the truth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Found!

While I was at work on Tuesday, Tim found the mysterious bottle in the wall of the 1848 house. I have not seen it. He felt the honor of reading it first should go to the previous owner. He had to break the bottle to avoid damaging the paper. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the moment.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just a Sunday in October


A grove of locust trees along the river.


A small boy celebrates autumn.



The same small boy leads his grandpa to look at the train in the shop window.
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Deceived...


So I've got this new camera that I'm bound and determined to learn. It doesn't have a written instruction manual. It is on a disk. If I had a printer, I could probably print it out, but....I digress. It was so stinking humid today that Tim and I took William and we went for a walk. He wanted me to take a picture of our lazy river, with the leaves just starting to change in the background.


Noticing the swan, I decided to try to get a nice picture of it. After all, I've got a nice camera now, and all of that.


(S)he was bathing.


Swans bathe in a vigorous sort of a way, turns out.






All of you out there that make this look so easy?
I have been deceived.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Today

Today I had to drive out to Bradford. It is just starting to turn into fall here. I wanted to take a picture of the bear crossing sign they have at the edge of town, but it was pouring rain, and so I didn't get the picture. Coming back the rain tapered off. I stopped to take pictures. You can see the leaves are just starting to change.



It was a pleasant day for a drive. While taking these pictures, I got a bug in my shirt, a big black hornet-y looking thing. I discovered it while I was driving, but did not wreck the car.





I then drove up to pick up my clock



which once again sets on the mantel chiming sweetly to itself in the library.



I can see that I have a great deal to learn about lighting with this camera.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Little Town

William took a walk with his grandmother and her new camera. These pictures were just practice. I've never given a lot of thought to things like composition and that. I'm just a snap-happy picture taking fool. But on this walk, I was playing with the zoom feature.

This picture is kind of the epicenter of our business district. See that building to the left, behind the fountain. It is called the Flatiron building. It comes to a point.

This next picture shows the building bit closer. When I was a child, my dentist was in this building. So was our bank, and huge old fashioned thing with marble floors and cages made of brass and dark wood. There were also very ornate elevators with shiny brass doors. These were the first elevators that I'd ever ridden on. I was probably about 9.

This is the detail around the window.

This is the weather vane at the very top of the 5th story.

William loves the fountain.

Here's something else that William loves. When you push this button, there is a train that chugs through an elaborate landscape inside the building.
William is quite a fan of trains and this activity please him. I think that it is a pretty awesome gift to the community children.

Tonight I am going to a community service for the young boy that committed suicide after being bullied. It has to be killing the family, but they seem to be committed to using the young man's death to bring a change to our community.

A neighborhood kid shrugged his shoulders at the news and said, "That kid was messed up."

I ran into a man I know, a retired teacher, at an estate sale. (We bought an old door and a inch thick wormy chestnut board.) He said, "What is it that made us so much tougher than kids today?" He doesn't want to hear it, but the fact of the matter is that kids are much, much more aggressive and outspoken today than they were in our day. We can sit and debate the issue all day long, but the fact is kids are behaving in ways that would get them a harrassment charge were they adults.

I don't know. We have a nice town. We do. But we also have some issues that we need to look closely at. I suppose that makes us no different than any other small town.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sickening

We live in a quiet corner of the world, a place where not much happens. Imagine waking up to this in the morning paper.

I look at this kid's face, and it hurts my heart. Actually makes me sick to my stomach. I had a daughter who was 'different', and I know full well how mean kids can be. My experience with the principal was just as bad, as he seemed to think it was up to her to handle it.

The community rallies:

http://www.timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/566958/Rise-Against-Bullying.html

A friend, a Boy Scout leader, a former teacher, a man who's heavily invested in our youth offered up the suggestion that bullied kids should carry metal mirrors around. When they are being bullied, he suggests holding up the mirror to the bully's face as a way to combat the bullying.

The sweetness of his suggestion brought tears to my eyes. I typed my comment. "Mark, you are a gentle and kind soul in a world that is often not gentle or kind. I wish that the answer to bullying was as simple as self reflection. Unfortunately, bullies are not a self reflective breed.

I clicked off and I cried as I went about my day. The world is ugly, and it is up to us, all of us, each and every one of us, to be good. To do good. It is the only way to win this.

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Hobby

I went out today and bought myself a camera. It is nothing fancy. I figure that as I pick up skills, I might be inclined to upgrade, but I thought that it made sense to start with a modest camera for a beginner.

This is the first picture that I took with it. Well. I lied. I took a dandy picture of the ceiling first. Then I captured William. It would have probably been a nicer picture if I'd have washed the catsup off his face.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shiny things


Yesterday, Grandpa left in his truck to go to one of the new houses. He was meeting a bulldozer there.

Now William does not miss an opportunity to 'hep' his grandpa, and when he heard that truck start up and back down the driveway, he was inconsolable, standing at the door clutching his Dresser-Rand bag of his little power tools in one hand, and his bright yellow chainsaw in the other, sobbing "GRANDPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"



William and I drove over later, but when you are working around heavy equipment and doing heavy dangerous work, well, you need an extra set of eyes and hands when there's a small interested boy about.

The bulldozer pushed a pile of rubble up, and Tim dashed out to grab a intricate root system that was tangling things up. It ended up snapping back and smacking him quite hard across the cheek. When he came home, I could see the swelling.

My church is earlier than his church, so I'm up earlier on Sunday morning. I was talking to him as he was still in bed. I looked at him and thought, 'Huh. That shadow makes it look like he has quite the shiner.'

When he got around to getting up, I saw that it wasn't a shadow at all. He has quite a black eye.

He's already saying I gave it to him.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How's it hanging?

After two years, it has finally happened. It took a while, but all 26 windows have curtains.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Balance

Today's news was awful.

The weather has been gray and cold. Our second frost warning of the fall has been issued.

Cold weather makes my pain issues worse, and that wears on my frame of mind too.

Work is rewarding. Work is frustrating. Work is.

Every day, I come home from work, to an empty house, and that doesn't really help my blahs either.

After work, I had some errands to run, and I did them, in a dreary sort of way. I had to drop something off at Buddy and Brianna's house. I stood on the sidewalk talking to them as William clung to his parents' legs and whined, hiding his face against their legs. I figured that he was tired, that he'd missed a nap, and didn't press him.

Our talking finished, I headed for the truck. I heard a wail and turned and William stood away from his parents, looking after me. He handed his father his sippy cup, and his mother the toy chainsaw that he'd used to 'hep' his grandfather cut a tree down just two days before. He came running down the sidewalk as fast as his little legs could carry him, his head thrown back, his arms wide. I dropped to my knees and flung out my own arms, and scooped him up and smothered him in kisses. "I give you many, many kisses, William!" and he laughed. I set him back down and said, "I love you," and the answer came back as it always does, "I love you too, Memaw!" and then he was running back to his mother and father who waited with his chainsaw and his sippy cup, just as fast as his little legs could carry him, his arms wide, his head thrown back.

You know, that one little moment balanced out a lot of crap.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This and that.

We had a bit of a cold spell. On a whim, I responded by putting together a large pot of cream of cauliflower soup, because when it is chilly, soup hits the spot. The temperature has shot back up to the 80s and 90s, and it huuuuuuuuuuuuuuumid...

Lesson learned: one frost does not an autumn make.

Oh, and that cream of cauliflower soup does not hit the spot when it is hot and humid.

Those two things are what I learned about soup.

Wanna know what I learned about clocks? There's no such thing as an antique $27. clock. The price of that clock went up to $239. rather quickly. The first time that I brought it in from the shop, it worked until I wound it. The second time that I brought it home from the shop, it worked for two weeks. Until I noticed that at 6, it would chime 4 times. I adjusted the chime about every other day...and then it stopped. Just stopped once again.

I also learned that despite their annoyances, you fall in love with the ticking. And the chiming. I learned that even husbands can fall in love with them. The worst thing? Once you have spent that much money on them, you become pretty obsessed with the idea that this clock !WILL! work properly. It is not costing us extra money, but it's quite a haul to take it to the shop. The time the man has cautioned me that he will be keeping it for a few weeks just to try to figure out what is going on w/ it.

I also learned that my love of clocks is nothing compared to his...he lives in an old Victorian house with more clocks than you can imagine.

Most of which are for sale.

Which means that I should be nowhere near this place ever, let alone the third time. So far I have been good.

During that cold snap, I was in the library reading. Nash is a very lovely cat, beautiful to look at, very affectionate. He came in, purring and leapt up to coil himself on my lap. I realized that a dream had come true.

I pick up small gifts for Christmas all year around, but this weekend, I bought my first large Christmas gift. My goal is not to be a last minute shopper this year. This is actually not a new goal.

The new house? Tim is very excited. It was built in 1848, and has an original stone lined well in the basement. Joan told us that it had been in the previous owner's family for years, and that he put a bottle in one of the walls with the house's history. He actually owned two houses, and our relatives own the house next door. Tim has been studying the place and decided to rip out the walls and replace the knob and tube wiring...and, just coincidently, find that bottle. He really wants that bottle something awful. Because the conclusion that he has come to is that our little house actually began life as the barn for the house next door. He has unearthed some beautiful, and massive, handhewn beams that he does not want to cover again.

Listening to my husband talk, it came to me that he is an artist really. He sees things in old houses and has the skills to bring the house to that. He does good work. I need to get a job with benefits again. He needs to be free to pursue what he loves, and what he does best.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Kimono

Today, we were working at the new house. There are always peculiar things that are left behind when a person leaves, things that you would not expect. Today I found a silk kimono. A lovely thing, violet with flowers and birds.

It shocked me, because a long time back, when I was a young woman, stationed in Korea, I had bought a silk kimono for myself, an extravagance, but I'd never had anything silk in my life, and I loved that kimono. It was the most beautiful thing that I'd ever owned, and whenever I slipped into it, I felt...I don't know...not pretty, maybe, but it felt luxurious, as if I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt romantic. It was the sort of thing that people dream dreams in.

That kimono was lost in the chaos of my life, in the ending of a marriage, in the packing up of children, and moving across country. I never had any time to really think on it. Since I was that young woman in Korea, my life has changed, taken turns that I could have never expected, turns that if I'd have known they were coming, I couldn't have stood the knowledge.

But still, I am on the other side of much of it. I have mothered my children, I have made difficult choices, I have failed at some things, succeeded in others. I have a good husband. I can take pride in my children. I am recognized in my little community, and I have friends who love me. As far as material things...I couldn't have dreamed of what I have now. I have a job that satisfies my need to do good. Spiritually, I feel as if I'm headed where I need to be headed. My life is full.

Tonight, the laundry is done, folded, put away. I touched that kimono and feeling a bit foolish, I put it on. It IS beautiful, something that I'd have never thought to buy myself, but I put it on and the glistening material disguises that fact that I am lopsided. It disguises the curves that were not there in my 20s. I looked in the mirror and saw, for the first time in a long time, not what I am, but what I was. When I put that kimono on, it felt as if, for a moment, I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt luxurious. Romantic, even. A 56 year old woman stood in front of the mirror, dreaming dreams.

Boats

Last weekend, we had little William. We took him for a boat ride. This boat is called the Chautauqua Belle.
Ever his grandpa's grandbaby, he was very interested in the paddle wheel and the motor. He asked to see them again and again.
Very serious looking, isn't he?
Steamboats are very serious business Grandma! Did you hear the man say that this is one of four steampowered paddlewheels left in the country?
The nearly two hour trip took us up past Chautauqua Institution, where we saw Garrison Keillor just a few weeks back.
The belltower. If you are well heeled, you can arrange for a young woman to play music on it, like perhaps Happy Birthday, or Christmas carols. The music floats across the lake.
This is one of the mansions on the lake. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a little boy. His father was a wealthy business man who flew home on a seaplane at the end of a work week. The little boy came rushing out to meet his father, fell off the dock and was drowned.
This is the Anthenaeum Hotel on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institute.
Before the trip was done, a storm moved in. The view went from this...
...to this in the matter of minutes. We went from being one of many boats on the water to being one of the only boats on the water as we chugged our way back to the home dock. The lightning was spectacular. The thunder cracked in a very satisfactory way. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost, (the minnow would be lost!)

It was a great trip, even though we ended up soaked to the skin, and a week later, William is still imitating the whistle.

***********

Sorry for the lack of posts. Very busy here. (good things)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Small stories.

Do you ever wonder about the little stories you glimpse but do not know the whole of?

Every morning, I see a solidly built young man plodding along side the highway in a florescent vest, like the highway crews wear. Clues to this story: Same time every day. I also generally see him walking home. Rain or shine. He walks on the opposite side of a divided highway, so that even if you wished to be kind and give him a lift, you would be unable to.

I've guess that he is walking to work. He is timely, which indicates that he is reliable. The only thing down that way is fast food restaurants and big box stores. They don't generally offer set schedules, which he apparently has, which is intriging. He also likely is not earning big bucks.

There are parts of the story I don't know. Does he not have a car because he can't afford it? Can't drive because he got a DUI? Too many tickets? Because he's an environmentalist? Who knows?

The one thing I do know is that steady sort of reliability is becoming more and more difficult to find in people. I miss it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inner Voice

I've been really dragging lately, so I tend to get things done in spurts of energy. This weekend was no exception. I charged through the house putting things to right, getting laundry done, folded and even put away. I even rearranged the bedroom.

During the dust-up, my debit card AND my library card came up gone. The first day, I wasn't too excited, because I remembed distinctly having them in my back pocket. I'd gone downtown twice, pulling William in his little wagon, so instead of taking my purse, I put my library card and my debit card in the back pocket of my jeans. I had bent my last debit card by sitting on it, so later, when I got home, I remembered distinctly putzing in the kitchen, realizing that the cards were in my back pocket. I had no recollection of what I had done with the cards, but I do remember thinking, "Cripes. You stick those there, you'll NEVER find them." And that's the last that I thought of those cards until I needed gas in my car.

I have been looking for those cards for two days now, and frankly, I was getting a little frantic about the debit card. I can misplace stuff, but seldom is anything well and truly lost. Until that debit card...

Last night, getting ready for bed, on a whim, I ducked down and looked under the bed. I found my library card right away. I looked further, and there was my debit card. I was so stinking happy that I almost cried. Not because it was a relief to find them, (which it was) My relief was mostly this: When I thought, "Cripes. You stick those there, you'll NEVER find them," I had actually heeded that little voice, walked out of the kitchen headed down the hall, went into my bedroom and put them on the bedside table, where I apparently knocked them off with my pillow in the night, or reaching for the alarm, or some such thing. This validation of my mind was reassuring.

Other breaking news: an old velvet sofa left at the curb had a brass tag that identified it as being handmade from a high end furniture store in Jamestown that burnt to the ground in 1965. The sofa itself had to be from the 1910-1920s. The suspension in this was lovely. Still a firm sofa after 100 years. Reupholstered, it would have been simply gorgeous. I wanted it something awful, although my inner voice was pointing out that realistically, I wouldn't have the money to get this done right for some time, what with the purchase of the most recent house. I am proud to say that I heeded that inner voice as well and left it there.

My inner voice is now telling me that if I don't get going, I'm going to be late for work. I think that I will listen once again.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making a Memory

Today, I walked to church. It was such a pretty morning, and it was nice to hear the whirring of the cicadas. My church is early, and as I passed by the playground that William loves so dearly, I saw a man with a little girl on a bike in the empty parking lot. He hunched over talking to her earnestly, and she was on her bike, with her little helmet, gazing up at him, hanging on to his every instruction.

Appropos to nothing, I thought, 'she'll never forget this day.' I remember my own father holding on to the back of my little red bike as I mastered the two wheeler. Even after 50 years, I remember. Learning to ride a two wheeler is one of those childhood milestones, no less memorable than our first day of school, or Christmas, or the loss of our first beloved childhood pet. You just remember these things.

I stopped. I couldn't help myself. I wanted to see what happened next. And then they pushed off, and the little girl began to pedal shakily, and off she went, for some distance, slowly, uncertainly. She braked, and then quickly put her feet down. She looked back immediately, and the man stood behind her, perhaps 20 feet, cheering and clapping. From where I stood, off to the side, perhaps 100 feet away from the scene, I began to clap too, and I called out "Good job!" I heard the man say, "How about that?" and they waved. I waved back and continued on my way to church.

It was kind of cool to think that this was a day that she will remember always...and that now, as a total stranger, I am a part of that memory too.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

William had a very busy day today, what with 'hepping memaw' and then watching the heavy equipment in the street in front of the house. We went to the library to pick up "The Bear's Toothache", giving William a wagon ride. He came home and managed to smack himself in the lip with his great grandfather's guitar, but there was not a lot of time to howl. We were headed back out to his little wagon to go back downtown for a street carnival for kids. There was sidewalk chalk, and two bounce houses, and a marching band, and princesses, and huge helium balloons (William got orange). There was a clown and face painting and story tellers (of which I was one). He was nodding in his little wagon on the way home, but got a second wind when we hit the house.

What do you do with little boys who are so exhausted that they can barely function, but they will not fall asleep? Easy. You tuck a scarf into his shorts so that it trails behind him. You name him "William the kitty cat" and you play this on the computer:



By the time that his mother got here, he had danced himself into a near kitty cat coma. I'll betcha bucks that child was asleep before his parents turned off Water Street.

Grandpa

I worked about 20 hours of overtime this week. Needless to say, this got me a bit behind on all things domestic, although I did manage to get my column in on time. I don't believe I ever missed a deadline before, and the thought that I might was some powerful motivation.

This morning, I hit the ground running. I was anxious to get the house caught up. William was here, but he was still sleeping, so I took advantage of the couple hours before he got up, and I'm telling you, I was flying. Even rearranged the furniture in our bedroom.

William got up, and he began to 'hep memaw', and things got a bit more difficult. But I soldiered on, despite Williams's 'hep'.

Tim had been at his garage working on a car. Coming home, he realized there was heavy equipment working in the street in front of the house. I had heard it, but I was working, and William was 'hepping' and, well....

So, Tim charged in the house and he was all kinds of ways upset that William was not dressed yet. He chided me for not taking him outside. "Where's his shorts?" and "Where's his socks?" and he was pretty impatient. I said, "Gees, Tim..." and Tim said, "There's a big truck outside and a digger...we need to hurry up so he can see them.

Tim was always the one who said, "We work first, and once the work is done, we can play." I watched the two of them run out the door talking about trucks and digging, and fixing the road. Funny how a little child can change everything.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old man

I picked up some hospital coverage over the weekend. The client has been a long time favorite of mine.

As he slept, I wrote quietly next to him. A man in the hall was very agitated. He was certain that his leg was gone. He was being quite brave about it, but he would not believe that his leg was there. He was held tight in the clutches of dementia. He talked about luggage, and the girl in a glass box. He talked about needing new wheels for the chair he was in. He wanted tools to fix it himself. He was sure that he could, if only someone gave him tools. He had something clutched tight in his hands. The nurse was concerned that it was an insurance card, and that he might lose it, or something, so she asked to see it.

This man might have forgotten many things. He might be broken and old and not right in his mind. But he remembered that he was a soldier. He remembered that he fought in the war. The nurses admired the old military id card, remarked how handsome he was as a young man. He remembered that too...what it was like to be young, and strong and able to do anything. He remembered what it was like to turn women's heads.

Eventually, one by one, the nurses returned to their duties, and that old man was left clutching his ID with a far away look on his face.

It wasn't long, and once again, he was looking for tools so that he could fix his wheelchair.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Obituary

Courage shines in very dark places. A couple days ago, I read the obituary of a very young man. It began with "------- ------- passed away after a lifelong battle with alcoholism."

I stopped at those words. It was easy to see the pain behind that little sentence. So many times, obituaries are 'prettied up'. All that makes the paper are the notes about how wonderful they are. The obituaries makes them sound perfect. It took a lot of courage to begin an obituary with that stark and honest line.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

School days.

Tonight, I sat with other story tellers to do a presentation on the "Winds of War" about the war of 1812, and how it affected our little corner of the world. This was presented at the Wilder Museum. You can click on the words 'Wilder Museum' to see a link. For whatever reason, I can't write a blog post from anything but HTML, which doesn't let me highlight the color.

But, I digress.

After I did my piece, I sat down and was able to relax a bit, look around. I went to elementary school in that little building before it was turned into a museum. So did my father. I was actually sitting where I once played Four Square with a big red rubber ball. If I looked over to the right I could see where the maypole used to be, and the gazebo where we all sat and played "Button, Button".

It was a strange feeling to be an old woman in the place where I was a young child. We were talking about history, about days gone by. Just as surely as the 1800s are gone, well, so are the 1960s, where children played on playground equipment that would not be permitted today. That playground is gone, for safety purposes no doubt, but it felt like if I listened hard enough, I would still be able to hear the rhythmic scree---screeeeeeeeeeee of the big old swings. For a minute, I had a vision of small feet in brown buckle shoes silhouetted against the sky as I leaned back, pumping that swing higher and higher, my pink dress fluttering in the wind.

We all knew it, even back then: recess would not last forever.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Face Palm

Earlier in the week, Tim and I had an argument. He wanted to go look at a house. I was pretty hot about it. We rarely raise our voices to one another, really and truly, but this time I did. I was coming down with a cold, and I was tired, and it just seems like Tim sort of just pushes until he gets his way. He was calling from work, and he raised his voice right back, impatiently. I ended up just hanging up the phone on him. I've really just had enough of being talked at until I give in.

This morning, he said that he had not canceled the appointment with the woman, because he didn't want to hurt her feelings. He did say, "We're not buying it."

Today, I bought a house.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Love

Today, walking home from the library, I saw a young man walking with a young woman. She was a plain woman, but stylishly dressed, as if she had a professional job. He was wearing dickies work pants and a gray tee-shirt with black greasy smudges on it. His hair was dark and curly.

I watched them walking together, talking together. They did not touch, or hold hands, but they never stopped talking.

There's a large rental house, and when they got to it, they turned up the sidewalk. He stopped at the steps, and she continued on. He looked after her until she went inside, shutting the door behind her. He turned, and fell gracelessly to the steps, apparently waiting for her to come back out. I smiled at the big goofy grin on his bearded face. He looked at me, startled. He had been so caught up in their little world, he never even realized that I was walking behind them.

Sometimes when you've been married for a long time, it is a refreshing gift to be reminded of your own first days together ~ that gentle awkwardness of two people who are just beginning to learn that they are compatible, a nostalgic glimpse of what it was like before you became so comfortable with each other, before you knew each other so well that words become unneccessary.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kids

I walked into a grocery store the other day. An SUV sat in the handicap parking right outside the door, the music turned up so loud the whole vehicle seemed to be throbbing. A bearded man sat in the front seat listening to (incongruously) techno-music.

In the back seat, two children screamed, "Turn it down, Dad!" over and over. The bearded man in the front seat sat stone faced, making no reply as if they were not even in the car.

It breaks my heart, to see children matter so little to their parents.

I picked up bread, and Tim's Pepsi, and I wondered, "Is this child abuse? Should I call someone?" When I went back outside, the vehicle was gone.

I put the groceries away in my car, feeling bad in my heart, and comforting myself with visions of little William scrambling out of his wagon, running full tilt for the teeter totters at the playground, calling "High inna sky, high inna sky!"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Eyes to see

I've seen her when I go walking, or when I drive past her house. She is a young girl, heavyset. When I see her, it is as if she's walked out the door, and plopped to the ground, and she sits there in a jumble smoking her cigarette.

The expression on her face...I don't know. It bothers me. It's so bleak. She doesn't look up. She doesn't seem interested in anything going on around her. She just sits there, plopped.

The first time that I saw her, I thought perhaps it was drugs. The fact that she comes outside to smoke doesn't jibe with that notion. Druggies don't care about the 'no smoking in the house' clause in a lease.

Day after day, the scene tugs at my heart, this feeling that I'm supposed to do something. I don't know what it is. I know that I've spent years trying to help people, and accomplished nothing at all. You can't change anyone else's life.

I saw the scene again, and once again, it bothered me. She was alone, almost prostrate on the sidewalk, not looking right or left. I stared. She did not notice.

When William and I got home, I put a wooden bench in his wagon, and we set out once again. This time, William helped me pull the wagon. The girl was not outside, nor did I want to her to be. I lifted the bench from the wagon, took William's hand, and crossed the street quickly. We set it against the wall of the entrance to her house, under her mailbox, and then we quietly left, crossing the street very quickly. I popped William into his wagon, and we set off for home.

I think of all the faces of all that people that I have tried to help. Some of them, I love so desperately words cannot say. In the end, I could not help. But the fact is that I am a kind person. I am a blessed person. I saw a person sitting on the sidewalk outside an apartment that I know for a fact is a one room efficiency hole in the wall. And I have a bench. That one thing, I can fix. And so I do.

The next day I noticed that the bench was carefully pulled out and set at a neat angle.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tomato Butt

Tonight, Tim and I are going to see Garrison Keillor. I am really excited. It's a sold out show, but here's my favorite skit of all time.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gender confused.

You know, it's been a pretty difficult week for me.

I brought Nash into the house thinking he was a boy. He has pretty long hair, but I thought...well...I was sure...

And then my friend stopped in, flipped my cat upside down and announced that he was a she.

That leant a little more urgency to get her into the vet.

Cara came home this weekend and Nash/Nashley (thanks for that Karen Bringol) slept curled up with her. Cara came in for breakfast and said, "Um. Is there any reason you are thinking this cat might NOT be pregnant?"

To which I replied...well...just you never mind what I replied.

I began to tell my friends that they would be receiving darling little kittens for Christmas. To which they replied "Friend? What is this 'friend' stuff that you speak of." You know those friends that stick by you no matter what? I need to get me some of them.

Today, Nash had that vet appointment. Nash is a neutered male cat. I am so relieved I cannot tell you. My friends? You can come out of hiding now. I have no kittens for you.

However, Nash does have an identical brother. Or maybe it's a sister. You cannot trust my judgement on these things.

Late edit: "Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." --Garrison Keillor Guess who Tim and I are going to see tomorrow?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Looking back

It's been a time of introspection for me. I have been cobbling things together to try to keep this job, but what I am starting to discover is that my experience seems to be that, in a field where kindness is, or at least should be, a requirement, it is unfortunately not.

I have a crack at a full time job, one that would permit me to keep my part time COTA hours. A quiet message from an old acquaintance has told me to avoid the job, that it is a not a nice place to work.

In the darkness last night, it has come to me, plainly and simply: I cannot bear to work one more place where kindness is needed but, unfortunately, seems to be in short supply. Perhaps I am an idealist. Maybe just stupid. I don't know for sure, but what I can be absolutely certain of is that I simply cannot bear to go through this again. It would break my heart.

I've decided to apply for a factory job. I know that I am a hard worker. It's time to return to what I know best.

Late edit: This is just a simple statement of fact. I've had some very big blessings in my life lately. Am I disappointed? Of course, but it is what it is. I know my own limitations.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Help...

So you know how sometimes you just see something, and well...you just know that you have to have it. No reason really, except for that it is really old.

Really old.

You totally 'get' this, right?

Please.

I beg you.

Just tell me yes, that you totally understand this.

I know, I know.

It was set along the curb, and I couldn't leave it.

I tried.

Quit laughing! I honestly had quite a conversation with myself about this. I said to myself, "What in the heck would you even do with something like this?" and I answered, "But this is really old." And then I said, "The Changeling scared the mess out of you." And I answered myself, "Quit being stupid. Do you see George C. Scott lurking anywhere?" and I didn't. As hard as I tried, the next thing I knew, I was wrestling it into the back of my car.
******
It's really Tim's fault. If he hadn't left bungee cords in the trunk, I couldn't have brought it home.