Saturday, May 30, 2015

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth

I had volunteered to take pictures and videotape a fashion show in Warner Robins. A professional group has volunteered for free publicity. I was welcome to still come. I would be offended, but I only volunteered if the organizer could not get anyone.

 As a retired teacher, I have watched enough children shows to last awhile. So this blog post is not about an exciting Asian fashion show in central Georgia featuring K-Pop fashions.

During my college days, Hotel California by the Eagles was popular. I read it was the 49th most popular song of all times. My association with the song is hamburgers with oatmeal and onions mixed in.

The spring the song came out, I was on a diet as usual. I felt fat at 125 pounds. Anyway, I had made these super thin hamburger patties that I would cook and eat. Then pack away pizza, chips, etc with my friends some nights. Feast or famine was my mantra.

Actually that spring was difficult. I had broken up with a boyfriend. I had a possible replacement who was not a good choice. But luckily for me, he was a "lout". Looking back, I would have been in deep do do if he had reciprocated. It's funny, I never took some of the nice guys I met seriously.

The fish who got away, I had a church boyfriend in high school. It was too much too soon. I just wasn't interested in getting married like many of my friends. He is a big opinionated tea partier now. I don't know if I would have evolved as a moderate independent if I had married him.

But living with my mother who gets upset that Boehner keeps picking on Obama. I would have kept my mouth shut and probably canceled out my husbands vote each election.

Warm smell of colitas is actually marijuana, and I always thought that was a desert flower. I never thought the song made sense. According to the Eagles, the song was about greed and the excesses in California. With that in mind, it makes sense. "They stab it with their steely knives, they just can't kill the beast."

I got a love/hate relationship with poetry and song lyrics.  So many are so obtuse for me. Others are incredible. What songs bring back memories for you?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You live and learn if all goes well

I have not been writing anything of any substance for awhile. My excuse is that my days are so erratic. Hard to plan and schedule is my big excuse. I have congratulated myself on getting something done in the house each day.

My big problem is concentration. I have to have an undisturbed stretch of time to write.

What I learned this past week breaks my heart. I have a sister with schizophrenia. A beautiful young woman whose brain went haywire in the late stage of development of her late teens. The irony is that she was so smart.

It could have been the car accident where she received a brain injury, it could have been my mother being exposed to measles and getting a measle's vaccine (she did get a light case of measles), it could have been inherited, it could be have been a random strike of nature, it could have been trooping fairies marching to our house one night.

The result is a tragedy. Luckily medication ameliorates most of her symptoms. One of the reasons I take care of her is what follows.

We left a restaurant last Saturday. I asked the family if they had any particular place they wanted to go. She says, "she does not care, but she needed to go to the restroom". We head home.

I have been considering purchasing a home that is going for auction. Of course auctions often go crazy and people pay more than an item is worth. I start to turn off to look again. I set a high price in my head and stick with it at auctions. There is always another deal.

My sister yells at me. She has to go to the bathroom. I say, she needs to speak to me more politely. Well, a dang outrageous yelling comes from her. It is horrible. It lasts awhile. When we arrive home, she storms out of the car. The dogs who rode with us are confused. One wants to sit in my lap to be consoled.

I get a sick headache and take a nap. Or at least that is my excuse. My mother is constantly wanting this, that or the other, and I need some space.

The next morning she wants me to watch her take her medicine. I send her to take it with my mother and tell her I am mad at her. She comes back and tells me with a grin that mom has told her to apologize. I told her the only apology that was acceptable was if she was sincerely apologizing.

One aspect of mental malfunction is the need for power. She is eating it up that she has upset me. I had actually started this a few days before when I complained that I had been stuck in the car with the dogs. My mother loves this marathon shopping trip to hell and back on Wednesdays. I try to go in and help my mother. She has tried her hardest to add a third store. I am so sick of coupons. We waste a lot of money on coupon purchases and excessive storing of items.

During the summer, people look for dogs in cars. We have had people and one time a cop waiting to get on our rumps about dogs in the car while the car is idling, and the air conditioner is on high. With some Dudley Doorights looking to be a hero by breaking the glass to rescue a dog, I like one of us to spend some time in the car.

My sister comes out on a scooter after my mother without making any purchase. I am so frustrated in that I have taken some medication and I needed more water. I complained and this kicked my sister's brain into being defensive. Any negative comment brings out the fight in her. It gets so damn hard being Mary Poppins.

The gist is, my sister is still ornery. But I can see she is worried. Will I put her in a group home? She loves her dogs. She is the big reason they travel in the car with us. Until I got the little squeaks, she was so hard to live with. Now, I can talk her out of the doldrums by discussing the antics of the dogs.

And this is where I feel like a jerk and have learned. My sister just doesn't have that resilience to recognize I have a problem at times or that she should speak to me with respect. She goes straight to in your face nastiness. She does not have the ability to know this is not normal that someone retires early, has no social life, and waits on people.

Why do I do it?

For my mom, I want her last years to be good and long.

For my brother, he is my buddy.

For my sister, they would dope her up to control her and would not treat her well. She has her good days which are good.

I looked at a group home where she could live. For $800 a month, she would sleep on a twin bed in a room shared with three other women. There are about 16 other people all male in the facility. It is a good facility. The problem is I would not want to live there. I can't stand for her to live there.

So I know why the caregiver dies. What I also know are little intricacies of my sister's illness. I have had quiet conversations with my mom of childhood secrets and end of life concerns. My developmentally delayed brother is my friend.

And somehow all of this woke up a creative part of me and I write. I just got to get some schedule going.

A to Z helped me get a focus and brought new life to my blog. Sunday, I will blog about an Asian fashion show that I am videotaping. Hopefully, next Friday, I will post the results of the auction and the future of my blog. Actually, I will start a pattern of blog posts to build my blog around.

Oh, I usually go to antique, animal and junk auctions and buy nothing. This auction is different in that I like the house and plants and we will move into the house. I'll sell the place where I live now. I have difficult neighbors and it is good to reduce what is negative and what you cannot change.

Meanwhile, I have lived another day and learned a little more.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I could be crazy

An item on Facebook newsfeed made me think about a student who told me one time I had to be crazy because he did not like the assignment I had given. I told him, "I could be, so behave". He wanted a rip-roaring reaction and got nothing. He looked around and started working like the rest of the class

One Saturday several months ago, I had a good time commenting on a post by Robert Reich. I was well blasted by a few and supported by others. I started an awesome thread and was the center of attention by moderating, talking back, liking, ignoring. At the end of the day, I had gotten little done. But I did have a long copy of all the comments.

I know Facebook will soon be dead for me. I can feel the urge to cancel. It is not the newsfeed or flotsam that floats around. It is the fact that it is replacing quality reading. Yes, I am learning new things but when did any of us need to know so much opinion. Who cares about facts, the world is presently run on feelings and outright indignation.

There are some nuggets I did learn. One was why native Americans cannot stand hearing people say they have Indian ancestry. I theorize it is sheer frustration from the ever unrelenting forces of assimilation and broken promises. If I had some power, I would honor the treaties between the United States and Native American Nations.

I also know native American's like being called Indians. So to the woman from New Jersey who years ago told me I was a racist Southerner for using the word Indian, I roll my eyes for you once again.

And to the native American on facebook who called me a wannabe and I should focus on not being a racist and saying something nice to a native American kid. Too late, I am the McDonald's of school teachers. I have served millions of lessons to thousands of children. I have had many high and mighty lectures from children and an occasional parent. Get in line, please.

Besides I'm not a racist or a wannabe. But I do know many people like me have native American ancestry, and no I don't have sudden moments I become one with my Indian self no more than I do with my German, Irish or Scottish self. Frankly, if I wanted to emulate a culture. I choose American. Not because it is the best. It is the one I know how to be. Plus, being a bossy older female is more appreciated although not always liked.

My favorite student was the summer school male who figured out after about two weeks that that line in the sand I drew was still there and they may as well respect it. After the power struggle, you got an incredibly bright mind.

My favorite lesson I delivered was to a teacher. She had managed to squeeze 12 programs of 30 minutes in the StarLab for me to do in one day. Since one requirement was she come in and monitor the students for everyone. She wanted to cancel so bad after lesson 8. Never play with a retired teacher. We love the game too much. Plus, I come from good pioneer stock. I had the large planetarium packed up and ready to go before she returned from taking the last class back to their rooms to go home.

I had a lesson delivered to me in that man's reply on a native American page which I am still processing. It began with a posting making fun of a group of Georgian's in North Georgia having a pow wow.

If you are familiar with North Georgia, you know everyone is white. I worked with a teacher whose dad was very bigoted. They were invited to a reunion with his grandmother's sisters family. Everyone at the reunion was black. Dad stopped the race talk. A lot of black people disappeared into the white population of Appalachia.

Another group of people disappeared into the white population and they were native Americans. Disease killed large amounts of native people. This began with the Spanish explorers. When the English came, they were more of a threat because they wanted land. not trade.

The highland clearance of Scots introduced the Scot traders with the Indians. They intermarried with the native Americans. My dad would tell the story that the Scots were wild people tamed by the Indians. Historically, that is true.

The Scots also minded their own business about religious differences. My mother was from Northeast Alabama and my dad was from South Georgia. Neither believed in proselytizing. My uncle did not like that we went to a missionary baptist church.  Those old beliefs were passed down.

I made a clumsy attempt in trying to tell the group that those men probably were Native American and white. I knew better than try to convince people who did not want to hear a different opinion. I also let my feelings run amok. No one likes to be rejected, and I identified with those men. Plus I rather a bunch of hillbillies being Indians over White Supremacists.

The moderator of the group had an issue with one of my facts. Now whether it is a fact is what I don't know anymore. Facts aren't always true no matter how many times you have heard it repeated.

This is the fact, The English wanted the people they used to colonize North America to intermarry with the Native Americans. They were most successful in the Southeast. My question is, have you ever heard this and what source would back it up? I have heard it several times and I think one of those times were on the PBS show "How the West was Lost".

So this is my last tether to FaceBook. I would like to give an answer to this man.

Indians suffer oppression today. Being white, I have not had to face the discrimination many Indians have. My Indian ancestry is a badge of honor. If I were full blood, I don't know if I could take the negative stereotypes or the idealistic images of media.

What I learned is to try to walk in someone's shoes better. Yes, I have had some pain in the rump and funny moments about my Indian ancestry but that is another blog post.

Other than that, follow me on Google plus and I will follow you back. As far as learning something new, I have a feeling I will learn more which I hate. However, I would hate losing my marbles more.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The jugfest closes down

My favorite is always animals made from welded pieces of metal. I love that he used a old horn for the back end of this flamingo. The artist is Richard Woods of Hawkinsville. His business card advertises himself as doing portable welding, lawn services and as a bass player. Quite a versatile gentleman, he and his wife were very friendly and pleasant to talk to talk to.  Use the contact form on this page if you would like to contact the artist. I will send you the info.

You can't have a festival without music.

Or lawn mower races.

Saturday was a good busy. We stopped at a yardsale, ate breakfast at the Huddle House, stopped at one or two more yard sales. I saw a terrific house on sale at a terrific price. It was hard to resist. I love my house and lot but have difficult neighbors.

Putting up a 1000 foot privacy fence makes better sense. It is cheaper and easier than moving. One of my favorite jokes is a friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move bodies. It is just miserable to move. What I do plan to do is to continue unloading all the stuff we have. Of course, I bought more books. I'll never read all the books I own.

I had remarkable resistance at the jugfest. I did succumb to buying one pot. I would have bought another jugface; but, the seller had packed up before I came. I am pretty sure it was Shelby West. I got to the festival about 3:45 and the sellers were to close at 4PM, so it was a quick shop. Many had not started packing when I left at about 5:30.

I came across one man who clearly has a great start with a hobby of creating outsider art. He uses a chainsaw to create sculptures which were mostly mushrooms, pumpkins, and bears. What stood out was an owl and eagle he had left.

The only piece of pottery I bought was from the man below, Allen Gee.

Allen Gee, a potter from Greenville GA
Use the contact form on this page if you would like to contact the artist. I will send you the info.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Had a great birthday.

Today is my birthday. My developmentally delayed older brother remembered my birthday and asked me how old I was. I told him 59. He was surprised I was so old. He is 40.

It was a good birthday. Yesterday, I drove to Emory in Atlanta to take a comedy class. I learned the obvious which is sobering. How did I not know this? I've got to make a correction next week. I described what I was writing and realised when I left that I did not clarify that I wasn't a published or paid writer at this time.

Daisy running
That admission can be part of a comedy idea. When I taught school, you would have a high school student who would be resting on the laurels of what they planned to achieve one day. I always felt some sadness with these boasts in knowing how life can throw twists and turns. Add to that the student who spoke this way had a tendency to huge expectations but deliver less than was needed.

Anyway, that would make a good comic character.

One lady in the class offered to allow me to stay at her home to avoid the 2 1/2 hour ride back. Riding in the ratty truck I used to get there, I snickered at how her neighbors in her wealthy neighborhood would react to the limbs scattered in the truck bed.

I swear I will never drive it on the interstate in Atlanta. Riding the curves at 65 miles per hour at night with cars passing and swerving in front, it felt like an unwieldy spaceship. The interstate ride took about 30 harrowing minutes.

Anyway, two comedy sketches popped to mind.

Next week, I'll see how it goes.

I got home about 11:45 and did not suffer too much from my late bedtime today. We did the big grocery shopping. My mother loves to grocery shop. I know what you are thinking. Who loves to shop for groceries? Senior citizens do. As long as my mom is able, we are going. We are perennially overstocked but do not have an ingredient at times.

A little planning would be better than all this stocking we do. When an item is on sale, mom likes to buy in bulk. I don't like grocery shopping or trying to put all the stuff up where there is no room; but, I do love that my mother got another grocery trip in.

So it was a good day.

Fall flowers

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Brother, I wouldn't have told that.

I went to a Baptist church growing up and anyone familiar with the faith is familiar with the testimony. A person stands up witnesses an experience in their life in which they changed for the better.

 One man stood and gave his testimony about how he and another congregate did not get along, but they had agreed to bury the hatchet and be supportive of one another. There was always a theme of being a better person or walking closer to Christ.

You always had a woman, usually young who would get up and do a squallin' testimony that rambled and as a teenager I would whisper to my friend the whole time. I never listened to the woman who has a name, but heck she would do again next time there were testimonials.

 My dad found that sort of testimony bordering on hysteria. You can see where the skeptic in me came from.

As a teenager, I was very devout. I watched a movie last night titled Wish I Were Here on cable. It is an excellent movie. The story was so genuine. The daughter's teenage angst about living in a modern world with old world beliefs taught in yeshiva was relatable. She might have been Jewish and I Baptist almost 50 years ago, but we were the same.

Rotten Tomatoes panned the movie. What does  Rotten Tomatoes know? I felt better after watching it. I could relate to someone having problems they can't solve. Yes, it had a fairy tale ending with a resolution to their problems. After all, it was a movie.

The title of this post relates to an old story about a man who gives such a descriptive and shameful testimony to the bad and embarrassing secrets he has. The pastor pats him on the back and says, "Brother, I wouldn't have told that."

I read a blog post, .
I learned about the story of Judith and with some research what the apocrypha text is. So I learned a bit more about my religion.

It doesn't hurt. I went to Ireland on a tour. They had a cup at spring that had holy water. I thought the cup was for drinking the water and tested the water. My sister was so embarrassed. How was I to know the cup was for baptizing folks. We dunk people in my religion.  That was one of my "brother, I wouldn't have told that moments".

Friday, May 8, 2015

Oh my, how fast Saturday comes around.

I've had an easy time catching up with a few blogs. I think all the A to Z bloggers have had a collective meltdown and stopped posting. There are a few hard workers slogging away.

I'd like to report some exciting adventure or brilliant movie or thought provoking drama I've experienced. But it is more like I have been gardening, mowing grass, repairing water hoses that I have mowed.

I would make up a little story but ---- I bought five apple trees for five bucks each and I need to get them in the ground, so, more pictures. These are from a trip to Hawaii.

I love the window seat. You don't where it is; but, you can appreciate what you are looking at.

View from tour train at Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu

Dole pineapple plantation

Volcano on Big Island.

Tropical forest on Big Island

Killer Chickens on Maui


Maui from the cruise ship

Friday, May 1, 2015

I comment on everyone's blog if I can: A to Z reflections

This past April, I participated in the A to Z challenge. I signed up in early February and received attention from others soon after.

The reflections are to give suggestions to A to Z about how things could be better. Frankly, I think the improvements come from the bloggers themselves. The most important question is why do you have a blog.

People start blogs for all kinds of reasons, but few consider the social element. It wasn't until this year that realised that I do not want a heavily trafficked blog. That is too much pressure to not put something out there you will regret later. My life is busy, but it is the hurry up and wait sort of busy. With all the crazy news in the world, you do take more notice. As a result, you post items that you don't agree with later or just tiresome. Surprisingly most folks try to be supportive.

Some folks monetize their blogs with ads. There is no problem for most blog readers with that. It is a bit haunting to see what you searched for earlier in an ad. If I plan to purchase the item, I will intentionally use the blog link. The blog owner gets paid more for a sale. Personally, I don't plan to have ads.

Another angle is the building an author's platform. If you have a huge blog following, you have a potential market for your book. The best one is Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris' writing blog, , which has great articles about writing and the market. You do find yourself looking over both ladies books. I have purchased several and enjoyed them. The blog itself is really good.

I know completing a book is my goal. I doubt I market using my blog. Like most people, I have a life outside of writing. I have never had the luxury of a day free to write. It is more like a stolen moment. Well, several hours happens about once a week. To have a blog that sells, it would take more than the amount of time I have.

So my blog has evolved into part of my social media presence. I've made friends with the blog who feel like real friends. During A to Z, my mother had three hospital stays. To say I got burned out was an understatement. I have not replied to many worthy comments. What stays with me are these folks so I can go back to their blogs.

I love networked blogs, bloglovin and Google+. They are great in creating links for who has a new post published. Wordpress and Blogger are competitors and it is hard to skip to the other one and check your favorites. I think everyone should have an outside subscription source. You can have people subscribe using their email, but many folks delete them without reading.

I have subscription buttons for all three in my sidebar, but if you would like to connect directly, links are below.     

A to Z is helpful in that networking and friendship are part of the formula. I did not get to all the blogs. Some blogs were heavily commercial. Others had great design elements but had so much it was confusing. I was stunned to have several books sold to me by book reviews. If you could see the stack of books I have to read.

The ones I absolutely did not like were those designed to sell a product. One look and you were done forever. There was an exception of a writer who discussed elements of their books for fans. They had a clear fan base. However, I had never read their book. And this goes back to the purpose of your blog.

I read blogs for a quick glimpse into what is going on in the world. It updates me on popular culture and that human need to connect with others.

I try to comment on everyone's blog. We all need some feedback and know who our audience is. Like everything, I have improved with comments. It is hard to make a quick a reply. I'm that person who doesn't talk a lot. But, when I come by, you will be hearing from me.


 Zephyr is a soft, peaceful breeze. And I thought it had to be an imaginary animal. For many of you, we will not meet again until the next A...