Monday, December 26, 2016

Keep on Keeping On to the New Year

Today, my sister had her first shower in about three months. I had bought this shower chair that slides from one side to another. The hitch was getting her on the chair.

To get on the chair, she had to slide from her wheelchair to the right side. She is partially blind to the right. Add to that all of her practice to move is to the left, her strong side. Subtract from that my stubbornness. Add to that she was scared to do it. She wound up on the floor. She almost made it but a change in plans caused her to move back to the wheel chair which can move even when locked. It wasn't a fall. I held her weight and lowered her.  Good thing I had mopped the floor with bleach previously.

I retrieved the trusty lift. It had never been used; much less put together. The instructions were who knows where. Good thing I had read them and remembered the advice to use petroleum jelly to get the mast of the lift to slide into the base.  But she was lifted to the shower chair within ten minutes.

The shower took about two and a half hours. I did not time it. This includes the time lost moving her to the shower chair and for getting my sister dressed and our daily exercises to work her right side. It normally takes about this long to get my sister together. Besides having the remote to the satellite for the television in the living room marinate in diet mountain dew; everything is going well. Most of the remote works. Hopefully, the rest will work as it dries internally.

Even though my body can be quite creaky, I have been fairly strong in helping my sister. It comes in handy being of good pioneer stock. My sister has the strength, just not the balance. Add to that some of the weird things her right side can do. When moving from the bed to the wheelchair, she said she wasn't going to be able to stand a long time. I look down, her right leg is lifted. She is standing on one leg, I have her to lower to the bed for the next try.  I don't think I could stand on one leg.

Tomorrow, we get in and out of the car two times. I have casually said we would stop to eat in a restaurant. My sister is keen on that. Creating castles in the air comes too easy for me. If she is game, I will do it. I will bring the lift. Meanwhile, we are going to the doctor's office. Tonight, I will burn the midnight oil to get her disability paper work done.

My adventure with online shopping continues. Vetmed is a vendor for Walmart. I purchased a Bariatric commode with foldable arms. The one we have now is rickety and I have it braced against a wall. This commode is supposed to hold 1000 pounds. With my sister's problem, she will not take offense at that weight load. My thinking was force. We try to lower slowly to manage the drop. But in case we don't that 1000 pound sounds good.

Well the commode was supposed to be delivered on December 21. It was delivered December 22nd to some lucky woman in Sacramento, CA who took the package from the UPS driver. I waited until the next morning to make sure it was not somewhere around my house in Fort Valley, GA during the clear light of day.  I've sent an email. With Christmas and the 1 to 2 business day wait, well who knows. The negotiation of the lift that was never delivered has made me reluctant to complain.

I can imagine the wonder of receiving that gift to the folks in Sacramento California.

It could be coincidence that they ordered the same thing. I looked up my street address and there is one identical in Sacramento on Google Map.

Meanwhile, the weather is wonderful. The rain is regular and short. Some of us have bad colds in the house. My bully dog is enamored with my sister. She has a hard time believing that she can't sleep on the hospital bed with my sister. I've been sleeping on a mattress in the floor of the living room so I can hear my sister if she needs help at night. It is getting crowded with the bully, my chihuahua mix and sister's dachshund. We use four blankets. The chihuahua and dachshund roll up in a blanket. The bully likes the idea and now does the same thing. I have a major yard dog with sensitive skin and a major case of the airs.

I'm getting the house ready for New Years. We have a big New Year's meal. We eat hog jowls, black eye peas, turnip greens, crackling bread. We are even buying a cake from the bakery. We have a lot to celebrate. Another year and we are all still together. My brother comes to ours and then his wife's family. Her family makes a pork roast, sauer kraut and dumplings. It sounds good. If I wasn't going to be so busy making our meal, I would go to hers. Frankly, both meals are a bit hard on us mature folks.

What do you serve for your New Year's feast?

Louise looking at my sister.

Two old ladies chilling

BoDuke being his cute little self.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Art of Idleness

The new room looks great. Like most things, there are disappointments. But they are relatively small. I didn't think about getting a few extra electrical outlets. There are three in total. I'm getting the roof replaced next. Inside the house, I am having to push my sister to stay up and exercise. I haven't had a stroke and hope I never do.  She has walked with a good physical therapist by her side. The regular one will be back next week.

Meanwhile I miss my pastime and truly serious hobby which is being lazy. I like to sit in my recliner, surf the net, comment on blogs, read books. Perhaps leave late in the evening and meet up with my friends at a health club I belong to. We get in the pool and slowly walk back and forth and talk. We talk a lot of nothing. Politics are off limits which improves the conversation.
Cotton harvest stored in Pecan orchard

The occupational therapist that visits my sister is great. He has mentioned an inpatient program that my sister could participate in. My sister's mind is good. It is just that in the beginning, she was disoriented. Now, she would like to lay in bed all day. I'm hoping to get her in that program.

She will get disability from her federal job eventually and can live free in my house. She could pay for caregivers to give me some relief. I would rather her use those funds to take a cruise, travel, go to a spa and enjoy life a little. The ability is there to walk again. I know to not push too hard.

I am insisting she sit up in her wheelchair most of the day. Right now, I have told her after her fitted sheet gets dry in the dryer, she can lay down. I taped Saturday Night Live and we are playing that. You all know what I am doing. I'm keeping her up another 30 minutes. She can take a nap. But at 5 PM, she is back in the wheelchair. At the moment she is pushing her chair to the bedroom which is progress to independence.

All I can think is folks take care of your health. As much as the grind of taking care of my sister has become for the entire family, my sister has it rough. I bought fried chicken from a popular chicken take out place. It was great. My sister enjoyed hers. She had a terrible stomach problem because of it. Eating hospital food for two months has made her system sensitive.

What troubles me the most is her quietness.  I no longer talk for her with the nurse or therapists.

Christmas seems to hurtle quickly each year. Some folks relish the holiday. I worked at Rich's Department Store. One gal had Christmas eve off. She and her mother were in the store just before closing on Christmas eve. They weren't shopping. They just loved the hustle and bustle of the frenzied shopping.

Not having children and a small family, Christmas has been a quiet day for me over the years. I've been lucky in that I don't have depression over the holidays which afflicts many people. My dad passed away on December 18, 2000. Even though that date should paralyze me, it doesn't. I miss my father. My big regret is that I did not move home while he was alive. I did make a point to spend a day with him and my mother the last year of his life.

One thing I do know, is our lives are like the wind. You don't really notice the wind. But it happens quickly, quietly. My Christmas wish for everyone is take care of yourself. Don't criticize yourself. Make the best of all your days. They are your greatest gift. Even the time you squander reading all the Clickfarm news you knew better than click.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Just Keep Your Feet Moving

Get up in the morning and put your feet on the ground and just keep moving. This is the advice the nurse practitioner Christina Johnson gave me in reference to facing hectic days.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, I knew I had impossible days. There was no way I was going to be able to do all I had to do. I am in still in that boat. I have got to do my sister's paperwork for retirement and get her social security application supplemental materials submitted. Luckily I went by her house and got her mail to find the request.

I live with shifting priorities, not completing anything is the rule of thumb. I'm hoping in a few months that she will have an income and I can hire someone to help care for her. She is a full time job in itself. Tonight she is being relatively quiet. I have been getting her out of the bed and sitting in her wheelchair.

As much as she would like to take a real shower, she does not relish my suggestion to have her move from the wheelchair to the shower chair and back. But that is going to happen after breakfast tomorrow. Soap and water is good for the soul. And I am shopping for a bedside commode with a detachable arm so she can transfer from the bed to the commode.

Progress has been made in so many ways. It was hard to see at first.

The day after she was first admitted to the hospital, the diagnosis was she would regain her ability to walk and use her hand but the peripheral vision loss was permanent.

Then a week at Emory University Hospital.

Then three weeks at Coliseum Hospital Stroke Rehab. Maybe she would not walk.

Three more weeks at a Nursing Home Rehab when I watched the skilled CNA transfer her to bed in the evening with a TIMBER type of approach.

Coming home, my sister was afraid to get out of bed. Then the at-home nurse and physical therapist began to visit. . They transferred her from bed to wheelchair and back. So yesterday, we began. My sister wanted to give up. I told her she couldn't go on like a sack of potatoes on the bed. Transfer happened.

I know everything will get easier in time. I'm having my garage changed into a room. It will be my bedroom/workroom. I learned a long time ago to hire a worker but not try to micro supervise their work or give too many suggestions. I really just gave a general idea of what I wanted. What Jody has created is great.

I can tell he is a right brained person. He created a large laundry closet and almost equally large clothes closet. The clothes closet would have been the same size except that the garage has two windows and he did not extend the closet over the window. The lack of symmetry would drive some people crazy. I am sort of left brained. Only sort. I plan to do my view facing out of the windows versus facing the doors.

I stopped at a furniture store I use to see if they had daybeds. I had thought of moving from a queen sized bed to a twin bed. My bedroom is going to be an exit outside for the family. We have three other doors; but this doorway will be the easiest to get in the car.  I want a sitting room feel to the room. I have to be careful and not overload the room.

I had thought about purchasing a sofa to sleep on. Have a nice piece of memory foam to roll out in the evening with a set of sheets and a blanket. Me and my two sleeping hounds should fair fairly well. The sofa in mind has two catnapper recliners built in that unfold with an electric motor. I have a mental picture of my sister using one side as I work at my computer or desk.

My sister's recovery does seem dark at times. I expected to take care of my mother this way. I never imagined I would do so for my youngest sister. When I read the reviews of Amazon about handicap equipment, I know there are so many who have faced this challenge. I'm filled with admiration and glad I have not had to do this for thirty years like some.

This is certainly not what I wanted to spend my golden years doing. I'm not being so generous in that this is my sister's only option at this time. As I scold her to stand and not give up, it is just as much for me as it is for her. The more she can do, the better.

One observation I have made in life is that when people run from responsibilities, they don't always have a better life. A piece of me thinks maybe this is all there is. God doesn't exist. But then I also think even if God does not exist, how could I be happy without the companionship of my family.

I do think God exists. My writing is that Southern stuff as this young gal said in a writing class I took. I did not intend to write Southern stuff. I wanted to write the all-American novel. But that Southern stuff is there including the tendency to see Jesus as just around the corner.

I don't think God curses us with illness or responsibilities. Plus, I live a very blessed life. I have a nice home with central heat and air. I grew up in a house where no matter where you stood, you could look out a window. Ventilation and heat were the big issues. Winter is so short, you just stayed in the kitchen where it was warm and covered up good in the bedrooms.

So now, I just plan to get up every morning and work. There is light. At least I believe there is light. Otherwise, why am I able to get up every morning.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Caveat Emptor

This is why you should wait before you post an item. I took my complaint one step more to Amazon. I felt like the Medical Department Store did not do due diligence in delivering the lift to my home. Amazon agreed and gave me a full refund without penalty. So what I have written below is what I thought was the ultimate outcome.

What was evident to me is that the company did not have the lift in stock. They ordered the lift from Invacare to be delivered from my home. I have known that many times when you order from a catalog, they are middle men and do not actually carry stock.  I was irritated in that I could not track the package and then it was not delivered by UPS as Medical Department Store. So what I have written below is altered for good reason.

Buyer beware is so true. I thought I had been bit in the pocketbook by the mighty Amazon. I buy a lot from them and use their links liberally in my blog. Usually it is a book, If they had not given me the refund, I would have linked outside of Amazon for books. I also do a newsletter.
Me and my trusty friend  Frank

Medical Department Store charged me $166.32 for shipping and restocking fees on a medical lift. You can't beat city hall. Plus, I have liked the opportunity to purchase items that are not easily found. It is handy to have items delivered  I've never had to return an item before with Amazon. I didn't know how Amazon would have refunded.

I ordered another item, and Amazon said my payment method did not work. I have been using a credit card that has worked well and I use for purchases with Amazon along with a direct debit to my checking account. It has just been so expensive with getting what my sister needs. Paranoia creeps into my thinking. It worked for several other purchases. I pay the card off every month to avoid finance charges.

I ordered the lift on November 9th and it was expected on November 22nd. I thought it had been delivered. I go out to the garage where I was keeping items for my sister's use. I discover the item I thought was the lift are the bedrails I ordered from Walmart. The bedrails I reported to Walmart were not delivered and they sent me another set. I will contact Walmart and pay for the second set. It will probably be cheaper than paying all the freight.

It turns out the bedrails were not needed. I had to get a hospital bed and it was cheaper than what it would have been on Amazon. They delivered the bed and set it up. They commiserated with me about my problem with the lift not being delivered plus gave some me some information for future use. I'll hold onto one set of the bedrails in case my sister gets to move to a regular bed. The other set I have newly purchased. I will donate to Happy Hour Service Center.

Getting my sister home was hectic and I am still chasing my tail. Each night I have had trouble sleeping. I need to assist her about 1 am each night which leads to not being able to fall back asleep. Add to that leg cramps and I have lost about ten pounds the past three days.

On Amazon, I had gotten the message that the lift was supposed to be delivered by November 22nd by UPS. So I combed the Medical Department Store link and found the company Averitt Delivery. I googled their website and put the tracking number in. It revealed it had been delivered November 28th. So I called them. I thought I might be able to pick the lift up. The customer service agent said they could not deliver the lift because they did not have my phone number. It had been returned to the company.

When I discovered I did not have the lift, I felt panicked. Then I thought there will be a solution which turned out to be paying $140 for medical transport. That morning I woke up and had not heard from Amazon or Medical Department Store. There were no contact phone numbers. I thought I will loose my money. But a lift was needed regardless of how it turned out.

But I decided to purchase a medical lift from Walmart online. I knew I needed one soon. I paid for expedited delivery. It should be here on Tuesday. I did not order from Amazon. I could have the same problem. Amazon wants you to pay for Amazon Prime to get free shipping.

I got a refund of $322.68.

This is the reason I was charged the $166.32.

This is a freight item. Item is a signature required product. Freight carrier attempted to get ahold of you with the number you provided at check out. They have your phone number on file. Order was returned due to they were not able to get a hold of you to arrange delivery for signature required. Unfortunately due to this you will be responsible for shipping fees and restocking fee per return policy on Amazon. As for us, we were only notified on Nov 30th for the first time that you did not receive your product. In first email you stated that Averitt didn't have your phone number when indeed they had 2 numbers and  "one was incorrect and the other was not answered". 

I have a cellphone with a bill. I have so many irons on the fire it will take me awhile to search for the call. I need to fill out forms from Social Security and my sister's job disability forms. I'm just glad Averitt told me it was returned to the manufacturer. Otherwise, they may not have given me anything back.

There are bigger losses in this world. For one, my sister having a stroke is a huge loss. Everything is relative. Medical Department Store did take a loss in delivery. I felt the fact they never delivered should have been on them. I don't know if I would purchase an item they sold. But I definitely will not now.

When I ordered another lift, I could not contact Amazon or Medical Department Store except for waiting for their email reply. With so many reports that it had been delivered, I did not know if I would get my money or a lift. Hence, I ordered another one from Walmart. You can contact them.

These are the company's associated with Medical Department Store. I am glad they gave a list. I can put them on a dartboard. At least I got some money back. It did give me a lot more respect for Walmart. I have disliked the behemoth because I did not want it to become too big of a monopoly. I've had the same feeling about Amazon and book sales. Things are what they are.

www.  wheelchairauthority.  com

www.   medicaldepartmentstore.   com

www.  woundsupplyonline.   com

www  .ebikedirect.  com

www.  homemobilityaids.   com

www.  edpumps.   com

www.  ewheelchairccushion.  com

www.   portableoxygenstore.   com

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Medical Department Store
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Being on the right side of history.

It's going to be a busy week. My sister is coming home from rehab from her stroke this Friday. She was ready to come home four weeks ago. I am busting my butt to get things ready for her to come.

It's one of those things where I'm doing what I should have done long ago. So when it is done, it will be wonderful. Meantime, I'm miserable. So I'm getting this blog post written early. Although today is the magical day where I can unload the rest of the garage and it will happen; the morning is mine until 11 am. Then I get busy. 

I've always enjoyed Sunday morning television. I also love Saturday morning but not as much as Sunday. I used to like the televised church service. But the new preacher spends way too much time talking politics instead giving an inspirational homily. I know the congregants probably enjoy it otherwise they would choose another pastor. With my vow to not discuss politics, I know how much it permeates our thought processes. 

I don't give up on my blog in that it is my commitment to continue writing. When your life becomes heavy with responsibility and taking care of people, it is hard to think of good topics to write about. There is not much time to think. Care giving is not the most cheerful topic either. It is also not that kind to overshare about your family. No one chooses to be incapacitated. No one chooses to be the caregiver. 

With my two easiest topics out, what do I write about? 

I guess I'll be busy looking at prompts offered or write what I learned new.

This week I have been reading about Hazel Bryan. She was the 15 year old captured in an iconic photograph shouting at Elizabeth Eckfort attempting to go to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Many people would have tried to minimize or excuse their conduct as being part of what was going on. Hazel felt guilt and apologized to Elizabeth. She has spent a great deal of her adult life trying to help people regardless of race or creed. Later, she helped Elizabeth who has had a difficult life. They became friends and then fell out with one another. It was too big of a divide.

I related to Hazel in that I think we have all been hateful. Hers was a predecessor to the modern day public shaming on social media. Her face has been memorialized as the epitomy of the hatred. Her parents moved to a rural area after the picture. The shame was recognized by her parents then.

I'm glad the civil right's movement has progressed as far as it has. I remember those days before integration. We had several small private Christian schools created in response. As a public school teacher, I question the quality of these schools. I don't think it helps a child to shelter them from outside views. When they learn the truth might not be what they were taught, it creates doubt.

But when I look at the pictures of the protestors, I recognise them. They are for the most part decent people who were just wrong. They also stood on the wrong side of history and I could have been one of them if I were of that era.

My dad always quoted the phrase "Except by the grace of God, there goes I".

One of the ironies is that Hazel and her fellow students dealt with the discrimination of being poor whites which probably help fuel their outrage.

I feel shame for the people in the photograph. I also see their humanity. We all wrestle with. I'm not being an apologist. They were just wrong. They weren't the first and they certainly will not be the last.

Little Rock integration protest
By John T. Bledsoe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Kids are In Charge

All through the house
Sighing as they grouse
Clean here, clean there,
Aunt Margie will care
Don't forget to vacuum the dog's chair.

Who put the frozen turkey in the fridge?
Mamas in the car crossing the bridge.
She wants that thawed turkey in the sink
All I see is fifteen types of fruit drink.
Oh this really stinks

Look in the freezer sis
Old tom turkey we just can't miss
Hey put the ham in a pan please
Turn on the oven to 325 degrees
What do you mean you only see peas.

Let's heat up the leftover pizza
Before we have to share it with Lisa
She can look again in the deep freeze
Mom always listens to her pleas
Hey don't hog the cheese

We could cook the rolls
And pile them high in a bowl
Mom would be pleased with that
She'll smile like the Cheshire cat
Or think oh rats

The rolls would get cold
Lets put that thought on hold,
I hear the wheels of the car
What happened to my candy bar
Mom is not far.

Mom is home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I am the editor of a newsletter for a writing group filled with published authors of several books. Although, I have not finished a book much less worried about getting anything published, I find myself giving tips on how to market books.

My latest tip is to create a press kit. When you first start writing, you pick up books that tell you how to sell that book. You find yourself in the sell mode with a little bit of crap to market. Then you begin to read about the craft and you work on that crap and most of it continues to be crappola however much you search for that jewel in the rough.

This is one of the reasons I can speak with authority. I read a lot of marketing your book before I figured out that maybe I should avoid that sort of book and look for one that only had exercises on how to write better. Thankfully I started a blog and have improved just by writing it. What started as platform building was actually a springboard to meeting people who do write. I don't regret that I spend more time reading than writing. For one thing, they pay about the same.

But back to creating a press kit, I recommended a flattering picture. I've noticed if people are young, they and their big teeth are grinning in their pictures. With some age, many opt for a picture of an intelligent walrus or other branding figure. I plan to put my high school graduation picture out. I've changed a wee bit, well a lotttttt. But who actually chooses a book by your picture. Come to think of it, my high school picture could date me.

A second item would be a biography. This is incredibly tough for me. I'm a person who has spent my life wanting to blend into the wallpaper. In school, I never volunteered to answer a question. As an adult, if I saw the boss in the hallway, I slipped in my classroom, another hallway, restroom, library. Out of sight, out of mind was my thinking. The Japanese have a saying that the nail sticking out is the one that gets hammered down.

I exaggerate, moderately. I'm just one of those people who wanted to be liked and accepted. As I have grown old, I see where so many people I felt I needed to impress were not people to worry about. Some of the greatest people I have ever met came in and out of my life quickly and I did not know it.

Below is my tentative biography in the first two paragraphs. Give me any tips on how to improve it.

"Ann Bennett received a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Masters in Education from Georgia Southern University and a Specialist in Education from State University of West Georgia. A native of Georgia her father's family is descended from the original white settlers of Georgia, Ann grew up in the International City of Warner Robins, GA which grew in the shadow of  Robins Air Force Base. 

Ann worked several jobs but her career was teaching school. She spent roughly 32 years teaching science primarily to sixth, eighth and high school students. Her last job was as a coordinator for a science non-profit which essentially entailed doing school programs that ranged from Pre-K to Twelfth grade in a five county area of Central Georgia. Ann started writing as a pastime to alleviate the struggles with her second and most important career as a care giver."

The following paragraphs are disclaimer to comments I have received.

None of the characters she writes about are her, happened to her or someone she knows. She would never use the name of the mean people she has dealt with in life. More than likely, a very nice person would share the same name. Plus, we all can be mean at times. Some more than others.

You live a life you meet a lot of people. When watching television, you recognize some stories from the news are woven into that week's crime of the week for a down and dirty crime fiction show or a sweet cozy mystery.

Well yes, someone can be the base of a character but little more. In a current story, there is a former Goth girl from the nineties who becomes a internet world building nerd. There is much more to the story. The woman is based on a random woman's obituary and so many kids who dressed like Goth's. It is just a probable life story based purely on imagination.

The third item is where can your work be found.

All of my work is on jump drives. The first items I may publish are science education booklets. They have been finished for years. I sat down to work on them and started writing fiction.  It is not a pretty place where the muse woke; but, I'm running with it. I have not been hellbent on being published. For one thing it is a time consuming process. The people I take care of basically determine whether I will be free or not.

But yes I have that fantasy. I make a lot of money. People quote me. I get called up and asked my opinion on the world news. There is always a surreal comic element when a fiction writer gets asked about a tough news story they only write about. Add to that that anyone would care what a 60 something woman had to say.

Last of all I spend the remainder of my life on a cruise ship with my dogs in tow. Everybody I have ever loved will be on the boat. Plus, I make enough money to build decent housing for mentally ill women. They don't have to live in a four beds to a room group home and share a small toilet and shower. They can have their own room with a walk in closet and get their nails done like everyone else.

The fourth item is an active link to where your work can be purchased. At this point, everything for public consumption is on my blogs. I thought of loading all my work on blogger to be published in the future. If I die, my work could still be eventually published. But right now, I'm still at the rhymmy dimemie stage of writing. The world will continue to turn without my stories. And yes, I don't do a great job cleaning up my grammar and syntax.

Cheers folks. If you need an expert opinion from someone who probably does not know the answer. Send me that question. I'll answer or write a nice piece of fluff that no one should do at home. Take care.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Zealots are us

I had a good comment on my last blog post which was that people on one side of a political argument usually consider the other side a zealot. I have a fear of being opinionated. Besides making yourself obnoxious, it makes you old. It is a limited mindset.

Many hard-core Republican friends of mine are not going to vote for Donald Trump. I understand how they feel. I am usually a Democrat. I have called myself an independent; but, I have lately voted Democrat. But if the Republican is a better lawmaker, well I am voting for them.

I'm a hypocrite of sorts. Where I live a white Democrat is a minority. I keep my politics quiet in that my lawmakers are Republican and they are who I have to work with if I have a problem. Fortunately, I have not got a problem on that scale. Add to that, most of my white friends vote Republican.

For the record, I agree with anyone in my mother's age group without hesitation. I would do this with a stranger.  I do all the required nodding and grinning. So in that department I am not a hypocrite but an outright liar. I believe in respecting everyone and getting along with as many people as possible. The day I moved to Atlanta in 1982, a man shot the man in front of him in a car because that man gave him the finger.

Daisy on the left, Joey on the right.
I would not want a real friend to no longer like me. I have a walking friend I'll call Portia to hide her identity. Portia will on occasion talk about why she dislikes Hillary. I don't say a word until the topic changes. She knows my politics besides the likelihood of the two us bumping into Hillary Clinton is nil.

I told Portia the other day about my mom's chihuahua mix Daisy. She has a big body and skinny legs. Just like the me and her. The other lady in the group looked shocked. Portia laughed. We have been doing our DNA in our family. I told Portia that I might not be part Indian. Portia told me, "Oh Ann with your big nose, you know you got to be part Indian." Portia and I have been friends since we were nine.

The interesting thing about our friendship is life took us in different directions. I have not spent time with her or seen her in 40 years. In returning home, I've resumed childhood friendships. You had your church family and they still consider you family. Although I was quite pious and earnest as a teenage girl would be in her religion; my ideas about my religion has changed. It's funny that all of these people were not surprised.

Now most of my black friends are Democrats. However, more than you would think are Republicans. So unless they are (once again I am changing names), Lydia and Alicia, I am not broaching the topic.
In Georgia, districts are drawn to make sure African Americans are represented. So districts are drawn up so that pretty much only black democrats and white republicans hold national office.

Which brings me back to zealots. I know it doesn't but you have read this far.

I think considering someone else with a different opinion a zealot is you have to be a zealot yourself. I could give examples; but, I have vowed to not talk real politics and this post is the closest I will come ever again. I hope. Truthfully, I have been a bad political talker. It's going to be hard; but, I am reforming. I was just selective who I talked politics to.

But I am a zealot about people parking in handicapped spaces who are not handicapped. Some people park there and don't have the ID on the car. Others have the ID; but they are obviously not the person it was written for. Some may even need the handicap space and I just can't see the disability. Since I have disabled people in my care, I see red when someone drives up and parks beside the curb and blocks the handicapped ramp. I no longer try to find a close parking space. I park in the back of the lot deliberately. Plus, it protects my car from car door and shopping cart dings.

I think we should all have something to be a zealot about. Particularly since I have one.

But come Wednesday, it doesn't matter who is elected. What will be will be the reality and we will all deal with it like we have always done. It won't be the first President anyone has disliked and hopefully we will all live long enough to dislike a few more.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The power of a meme

With the joys of this election years, I have succumbed to the What fresh hell is this poetry challenge by "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads".  We've all avoided politics this year. I've read many a fine piece of rubbish on Facebook against both candidates. 

My favorite are the people who have posted maybe ten or eleven memes a day for their candidate. Then offer a personal essay of how they have weighed the choices and came to that conclusion, why just that day. So this sonnet is dedicated to them. 

What a novel idea.
Toss out lightly the depth of your choice
Intone a bit of fear
In honor of God you share your voice

A quick apology for offending a few
But the cause is so great
A little annoyance is due
I just can’t take the bait

These ideas you share
With great care
Like a repetitive nightmare
Sung loudly from a zealot’s lair

Oh yay the boo hag will ride
And no one switches side

As much acrimony that has occurred during this election campaign, methinks we are all tired of the politics and politicians will understand the folly of their ways. Well in an alternate universe this could happen. But on planet Earth, in particular the United States, we will always have four or five heated opinions in a room of two. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Poke Salad

My grandmother said if you ate 8 messes of poke salad you would not get sick that year.

Poke salad can be very poisonous and has to be prepared just so. Preparation involves boiling the greens in water and pouring off the water. Replenish the water and boil again. You need to do this at least six times.

You pick the very young leaves that have just emerged. If any red can be seen, it is poisonous. My mother painted her fingernails with red poke berries as a child. Her grandfather got very upset. He had her to wash her hands and gave all the cautions adults do.

Birds love the red berries. The old adage of if you see an animal eat it, you can eat it is just plain wrong. Periodically you hear of someone being treated of mild poke salad poisoning. The seeds are incredibly poisonous but their shell is so hard, they are said to be viable for 40 years. Birds also love poison ivy berries. Imagine dying of eating poison ivy berries, convulsive scratching before anaphylatic shock.

I guess you think my caution reflex is in overdrive. It isn't. I've seen too much to not know people have feet of clay. I've done some foolish things. So far, I've done nothing that has killed me.

In South Georgia, people do not talk about eating poke salad. I think I might be the last generation to eat the plant. I stopped pointing it out to students when I noticed a student who was considering a harvest. It is one of those things that will not hurt you if done properly but will certainly kill you otherwise. It is like harvesting wild mushrooms.

Poke Salad probably prevented scurvy is my guess why it prevented illness. In the mountains, people ate poke salad along with ramps. They were the food of the poor which is a whole lot of people of the mountains. The growing season really goes year round in South Georgia. Certain plants like collards produce year round. I had an uncle that had some collard plants that were about 4 years old in his back yard.

What does poke salad taste like? It taste likes weeds. It is not a good taste but a palatable one. You usually cook them and then scramble a few eggs in them like spinach. I don't recommend doing this because some varieties are poisonous. But they taste like the grass you mow boiled. This is up there with something tasting like dirt. I have never eaten boiled grass or dirt. But I have eaten a mess of poke salad.

I go through my picture archives and cannot find one of poke salad. I've got a few reedy stems near the road. That is what is left this time of year and it is a drought. Next year, I will have to get a good picture.
The dried stems are the poke salad. They are usually bright red with green leaves this time of year. But we are in a drought.

Beauty Berry

Cotton Bolls

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Well it's Wednesday Again.

I've come across a poetry blog and as a consequence been on a poetry writing binge. Well writing one poem binge. They do not come out that fast for me. I have two other poems that are works in progress..

Sort of that adage about the company you keep.

I was trying to write a quick story as an offshoot to a story I was writing for IWSG's Anthology. I will not finish in time. Plus the story may become a novella. Funny how a quick little story grows. The length of the story is 3000 to 6000 words. The deadline is November 1st. When I write, I usually have to cut about half out. So it just depends.

This is how my writing for contests go, I never get them done in time. But sometimes, I get a story in good condition written. I was much better off when my plan was to write my great tomes of science when I retired from teaching.

I've been spending the night  at the hospital with my sister. I thought I would get her papers organized and a whole lot written. As you can guess, none of that is happening. I drive home during the day to get a little done, take care of my animals, visit with my family and by the time I return I am tired. I'm tired from sleeping in this hard recliner chair in my sister's room. It worked fine the first two nights. I've had long enough to have real complaints now.

I had been helping my sister with cleaning up in the room, helping her with using the bathroom. One day I came in tired, so I let the nurse change her diaper. This is when I learned, it was important my sister learn to use her call button. As a consequence, I've learned to be a nurse critic. When watching, it is easy to notice what others do wrong. One nurse always spills my sister's bedpan. That armchair quarterback in me is yelling "slow down" in my mind. Mind you, her diaper looked like a six year old did it when I was doing it.

My sister is getting better, she is giving me instructions on how to clean her room. I'm pleased that she has called a nurse to help her get up and into her wheelchair. She is in rehab hospital. One of the physical therapists was able to get her to stand and move to her wheelchair the first day. However, it takes two nurses to help her transfer in the morning. Mostly from the fact that they are rushing and trying to do it without a plan. Yesterday, I broke my rule and intervened. I put the wheelchair where it was supposed to be. It went much better. Today, I have wheelchair in place.

What am I learning from this, I don't want a stroke and I need to lose weight. Being overweight, it is hard for the nurses to move you. My sister is in a real battle. Like many battles she does not comprehend what she has in front of her.

Yesterday morning, they wake her up at 5:30 am for her bath, It is 7:20 and she has fallen asleep. They will wake her up around 7:30 to move her to her wheelchair. In the hallway, it is constant scurrying. When you are use to doing for yourself, it is hard to be patient. In the next room, I hear the nurse yelling at patient "sit up, sit up straight" She'll be in shortly to yell to my sister the same thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I've been to the bridge

I’ve been to the bridge where the water overflowed.
The road with swirling eddies and an ice cold grip
Steadying my step the river carried my load.

The water was calm and steady in the road
It would not stop my trip
I’ve been to the bridge where the water overflowed.

The large fallen tree in the river’s lift slowed
To bobble at the bridge’s lip
Steadying my step the river carried my load.

Heart and desire would goad
A passion as strong as any kinship;
I’ve been to the bridge where the water overflowed.

I stood, waited, gathered my hopes
Bowed to a current so mighty my dreams would slip
Steadying my step the river carried my load.

Returning without a rainbow
Those memories will never fade
I’ve been to the bridge where the water overflowed.

The road with swirling eddies and an ice cold grip

I decided to participate in a poetry blogroll. I've been working on this poem for awhile. I'm not quite pleased with it yet. But this is my progress.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A New Normal

Saturday, I found my sister disoriented on her kitchen floor. She had had a stroke. I had come by her house the day before and knocked. Her dogs were there. I assumed she had gone out with a friend. I now know she was probably there at that time.

Where do the years go? One problem with getting older is that your siblings and friends are there too. I know many who have lost a sibling. My sister is still here. But she has permanent damage to her eyesight due to the stroke. The other symptoms will improve over time. She's ready to leave the
hospital. She is in no shape to go anywhere.

I have told all my family members that I will barge into their homes when they don't answer the door. Hollow words in that the damage was done. If she had gotten treatment shortly after the event, she may have recovered better.

Meanwhile, I'm still rescuing dogs. Two red tick hound puppies were walking down the road. When I stopped my car, one ran to me. The other one ran to hide. When I come down the road now, I am seeing it. I have left food out. This morning it squealed at me before running off. I hope it comes back for it's food and water.

As good as the world can be, right now it feels like a crappy place. Why have you got to have sorrow. Why does the dog always die in the movie?

So I'm here, with a red tick hound curled under my chin. A small creature who has learned in two days here that it wants to get in my chair with me and be comforted. It is inordinately curious about my trashcan outside. I wonder was mom a trashcan robbing stray that got killed. This puppy is too young to be from it's mother.

Grief comes in spurts. My mother is not taking it well. When we came back from grocery shopping, she was shedding tears in the car. Her dog Daisy had returned to the car to comfort her. Like so much, when it happens to you, it cuts deeper and bleeds more when you have time to think.

So my family is getting a new normal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Darlene trumps the debates.

I watched the vice presidential debate tonight. But there is a bigger piece of news I need to share with everyone. It's even bigger than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's custody battle. But I don't think I am going to hear from People magazine.


At the end of the road I live off of, she has been standing watching traffic on HWY 96 which is a large divided highway. She appeared to be looking for someone.  Long story short, she ran when I got out of the car to feed her. I told myself, I would have a harder heart and only feed her. Perhaps dilly dally her presence to local rescues. They were all overloaded this summer. So I was going to do what many do which is to put food out there until someone gets her.

Well, we came home yesterday afternoon, and she was in front of my house. My driveway is 1/3 of a mile long. I live about a mile and a half down from where she was hanging out. Initially, she ran from me. I shook a bag of dry food. She was interested. I put some food on the front walk.

When I came back to the car, she was my new best friend. Today, I have been trimming the excessive matting on her fur. I've got her in a cage in the house for tonight. Just a lovely personality in about a thirty pound package. As I cut her hair, I noticed, she knew how to hold her head for trimming. I plan to take her to the vet for shots on Thursday. With luck, she will have a chip. People do dump dogs here. But sometimes, dogs do get lost. Her hair was a matted mess. I cut through mats filled with briers.

I learned a lot the last time I rescued a dog. I can't keep the dog. I am at my personal limit. The one thing in Darlene's fate is she is not a pit bull but a cute terrier which people are not afraid. I'm also dealing with this with more confidence. When I start advertising her, it won't be please take this dog. It will be, this dog is the bomb and she costs money folks. Since she has long hair, whoever owns her must be willing to spend a little money at the groomers.

For a shaggy vagabond, she got pretty indignant when I gave everyone a potato chip but not her.

My family is not too thrilled with Darlene. My dog Duke is aggravated. He's also aggravated that I bought him a new collar. Sort of like how most of us feel about this election. I'll be glad it will be over. I've noticed only a few stalwarts constantly post political memes. It is sort of like most have decided it is too hot of a potato to handle.Frankly, I enjoy the wilder memes. Where are all the Jill Stein and Gary Johnson memes?

I'll posts photos of Darlene when I get all the matting off. We got maybe over half off today. She just got too stressed, so it was time to quit. But she is clearly half the dog she was. One thing I can say about the debate tonight. The dog is a better topic. She is cleaning up to be a handsome girl. I don't know about this election. Neither one of them had a plan to mend fences. Maybe Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can give them some tips in People magazine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

World Class Juggler - Twenty years ago

My Type A personality is creeping out. This October has a lot to offer to me. Whether I can fully do it all is another question. I've been reading ghost stories and a tale of witches to prepare me for it all.

Last Saturday, I was sitting in a church activity center and opened my computer to continue reading about ghost hunting. The writer has a ring that was supposed to be haunted by a vampire. I wondered, what could happen in a church with that sort of information. Being a Baptist, I was taught God was stronger but not mess around with the Boogey Man, just let him be. And here I was reading about him in a church hall.

It made me think of a fellow teacher. She managed an In school suspension classroom. The students did their work. I picked up the romance she was reading and read the most lurid sex romp. Looking at the class, I slowly lowered the book to the desk.

I sat in on two speakers at the Chattahoochee Writers Group in Columbus. The first one was a screenwriter named Ty Manns. He was really good. I have a problem with organization and clarity with my writing and he gave some clear guidelines. If only, I could do what he does.

The second speaker was clearly leading a fan club meeting. The speaker is a well known sci-fi novelist from the area. Hanging on every word were his fans. To me, it was a long hour of redundant talk about his work and other sci fi writers. I read a lot of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and all of Frank Herbert's books in my twenties and enjoyed them. But I was unfamiliar with the writers and this man's work. I sat crammed in the front row corner. There was no way I could have slipped out politely.

Whether I like it or not, I always learn from what does not go as planned. If I ever speak to a public group, I will never assume they have the same familiarity with a finite set of information. If they don't, they can't relate. Putting it into practice is harder than saying it.

I also reached the point where I need to follow the drummer in front of me. I am constantly trying to learn about the craft of writing. The biggest problem is that each person has their own group of books of fabulous writers to explore. So now I will read what I have and just write what I have started. There are just too many directions. I am picking one. Do all roads lead to Rome?

I guess this is where my organizational problem originates. Just picking one item and ignoring the others is very difficult. Add to that all the balls I am juggling. As you get older you start dropping a few balls. Add to that the new balls people are tossing you. It all goes back to priorities.

So my priorities are going to be aligned once again. But this month I got it all written down. I will do what I got to do first. Then I will exercise. Then I will do any of the extra if I have time. I remember when the only thing I had to do was the extra. I went to school or work. But hey, second shift I was good to go. I could even forego third shift and show up for work or school.

Those were the days my friend. I hope they are still yours. Meanwhile, I got to find that ball I just dropped.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

You're Invited

It pays to be attractive. I have been twittering on twitter. It has an analytics page. I love numbers.

Meanwhile, I discovered my attitude about not tweeting unless I have something to say can be misconstrued as creepy on twitter. I have a fuzzy profile picture that I use.

I waste some time everyday checking out my new followers. When I see a gal with big boobs or buttocks, porn is somewhere. There are also some profiles with predictable comments. Apparently the world needs to be told the birds and the bees. Not that I click these folks. I report them as spam whether they tweet or not. I assume "come to my snapchat profile" is spam.

Every once in awhile, a woman has a glamour shot but is that is just her profile picture, no porn. I'm always fascinated when someone with a foreign language in a script unlike the English language follows me. I don't follow them back. They may understand English. I don't understand them. We English speakers are certainly lucky that our language is so widespread.

Am I going to get anywhere with this. I so hope so.

Anyhow, I started posting pictures. I did not have anything relevant to say. I think all the encouragers in the world are available on twitter. To think I bought a book of Bartlett's quotations. One day I snapped a picture of Duke and Louise smiling in the car. Louise was a little uncomfortable and only posed well with her face beside mine. Otherwise it was cut that out and drive.

Anyway, here are their pictures. Everyone is clicking for little BoDuke. No one is clicking for Louise. She really is much prettier than that toothsome picture.


My mom wanted to go back to the driver's license office and get her picture retaken. It was really bad. I told her I think that is how they train them to take pictures. Fortunately Louise could care less about her twitter picture. She just wants to get in the car.

Meanwhile, I have volunteered for a job I am immensely unqualified for. I am coordinating the newsletter for a writer's group. Yes, you have guessed correctly, no one wanted to do it and I said I could help out. So I am opining, "how to be a good writer" and I am far from arrival myself.

To get people to open the mail chimp newsletter, I used a jazzy title and it worked. The title was You're Invited to a Party, a Twitter Party that is. I may have used the word your instead of you're. I deleted my copy. 

So Thursday night between 7 and 9 PM, September 22nd, the Southeastern Writer's Group will have a twitter party. The questions are what are the best and/or worst vacation, meal and/or place you've lived. Use the hashtag #SWA.

I borrowed the idea of the question from Betty at Benches with a View. Thanks Betty, it is nice to know a trendsetter.

I'm inviting everyone to come. It may just be me. I've deleted Candy Crush so unless there is a good television show on, it could be a long two hours. I guess I could write my next blog post. I threw a twitter party and no one came. I ate all the party treats anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Next week, I'll go to Paradise or a Play. It all depends.

We have finished a quick tour of hell. It involves walking in circles in a massive grocery store searching for my mother. You have to follow that motorized scooter or it disappears. Mom and I have a joke that we have papers that disappear into thin air.

I have a feeling my mother may be part Harry Potter and disappears in the grocery store. Last week it was an old man with two bottles of wine that I kept seeing. This time it was another woman older than myself. She really was not dressed as well as my mom. But finally I saw mom beside the organic food milk case carefully looking over discounted yogurt. I felt like saying, "Since when do you eat yogurt?".

But I kept my mouth shut. No matter how old you are and how old your mom is,


In about an hour I will unload the cabinets and reload them with canned vegetables. It is the only way to slow my mom from stocking up. I get her to straw boss my putting the cans back in.

The dirty thirties is never far from my mom's memories. She can remember the past in striking details.

I am currently packing up perfectly good clothes while they are perfectly good to give to the thrift shop that operates at the workshop my brother attends. I'll gift them with some canned food.

How did I get so many clothes?

1. I retired. You just don't wear clothes like you did when working. I have three pairs of jeans I alternate. One is very important. It is tight at the waist and reminds me to cut back on my eating. I let a professional outfit go every month or so.

2. Apparently, the fear of going without is a hereditary trait. It didn't show up on my sister's DNA test of our ancestry but it is there.

3. Also hereditary is the ability to find a good deal. I have two sisters. One can spend money faster than me and the other can find a good deal faster. You stop at a yard sale. The first one will get in the car with a piece of junk and the other one will have found a gold chain for a dime. I'm not exaggerating. I of course get in the car with another book or two or ten.

4. I like to dress well. I just don't understand why I forget a pair of pants have a rip in them until someone taps me on the shoulder to tell me.

5. At one time I worked so much, I really did not know I had amassed a monopoly on black and navy pants at below wholesale prices. Let's not talk about shoes. I am taking a few of them to the thrift shop.

Anyway, the only way to get my mother to slow down stocking the canned food is to let her help me reorganize the cabinet. I would call that hell too. But mama did not raise a fool. The fact that our cupboards are full is something I feel blessed to have on Earth. The real reason I get my mother to tell me how I should put it back in the cabinet is that I did not inherit the organization gene.

Now purgatory is lunchroom duty in a middle school. Whatever you do, never agree to play music. The kids only talk louder than the music. Believe me.

This is where I learned that time slowed and there was a different vibration in the air before a child threw a carrot.

I exaggerate.

But did you know there are kids who will throw small pieces of candy instead of eating them. They are usually male. Although I did keep a girl after school for throwing peas at the table.

One of the reasons I used to decide to teach at an alternative school was no lunch duty. And the fact that the children were really pretty good children. They just had tough lives. This time I'm not exaggerating.

This is before. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Just a little troll watching

Every cloud has a silver lining or There is no use crying over spilled milk. These two quotes are my response to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" we all face. There is a lot of wisdom in Shakespeare.

I searched for the origins of the first two phrases. John Milton's Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634 was probably the first reference in literature of the silver lining of clouds.

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

I did a cursory search for "crying over spilt milk" and came up with blithering. Blithering in the sense that the answers were obviously made up. One attributed the phrase to spilt milk being a favorite food of the fairies. So although you spilt the milk, you pleased the fairies.

Knowing how precious food was so long ago, I imagine everyone missed a goodly portion of their food that day when the milk was spilt. What comes to mind are my great-grandfather getting upset that my mother threw her piece of cornbread in the fire to watch it burn or my grandfather's declaration that his favorite pieces of chicken were the neck, back and gizzard. And of course, the more chicken feet a girl eats, the prettier she will be.

An infamous clickfarm (I had to click about four times to get the lousy origin they offered) wrote that somebody was probably crying over spilled milk and the others told them not to cry. Gee, what research.

But there is so much unrehearsed research on the internet. I keep a list of troll comments to use in my writing. I'm not in the habit of saying something hateful. It has been a long time since I was 14 years old arguing with my older brother. I will confess. I was hateful. But that is another post.

Some trolls write great zingers. So many don't understand the internet is forever. I take screenshots just to save a few nasty beauts. A high school chum who is a bona fide genius and programmer states anyone can make a quick copy of any screenshot. So good luck using it as proof.

I have heard of the power of trolls. Trolls are not always that frustrated male living in their parent's basement. It is not unusual for them to be women, nurses, doctors, teachers, mechanics. They come from all walks of life. For many it is obviously an anger outlet. For others, it is idleness and something to do. I'm sure future research will reveal several threads of psychology that motivate trolling. Immaturity comes to mind.

When there were anonymous comments and everything was new; I was as guilty as everyone else making comments. Then when a girl name Justine was pilloried with mass indignation; a book was written, articles were written about the tendency of social media attacking people without the facts. It is that fairplay thing. Does the crime fit the punishment?

There is that acknowledgement that they were so stupid not thinking about how what they said could be taken or interpreted. There is that greater humility in knowing I have done some pretty dumb things intentionally and accidentally.

So I matured. As so many others did. My big beef with folks arguing over the internet is calling someone a Nazi, Fascist, Hitler or Commie. I've read about Godwin's Law which is an excellent summation of using those epithets.

I do not think Donald Trump would be a good President.

I do not think Donald Trump deserves to be called a Fascist. He is not. He is a salesman selling himself to an electorate that will turn out and vote. The fact that the tax cut he is proposing only benefits the more affluent passes over their head. Because, heck don't we all aspire to that in the United States. Isn't that why the lottery is so popular. If you don't earn it and you aren't going to inherit it, you might win that great windfall.

Godwin also brings up a point that calling someone a Nazi because you disagree does not acknowledge the enormity of the crime against humanity Hitler's Third Reich committed.

Anonymity allows trolls to flourish. Some are just as obnoxious with their names in print. When trolls commit actions that can put an individual in harm's way or incredible bullying, there should be real world consequences like monetary fines. The KKK was broken financially. I have heard of it's resurgence which is unfortunate.

Sitting in the car putting on lipstick, It's Wednesday and I should create a post for my blog. A little whimsy got pretty serious quick, eh.

I took this on an Alaskan cruise.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The itchiness of women

Itchiness in women is a sore point. Just the acknowledgement is a put down. I read a study of itchiness in women in the Atlantic magazine.
Mama itch with two of her female children. Little itches.

What bothered me was the experiment. They basically proved that women could not contain their cattiness when the woman giving instructions wore a low cut blouse with their boobs hanging out, hot pants and boots versus when the same woman wore a more conservative outfit of a blue knit top with khaki pants.

Well duh, what happened to you dress for the job you aspire to. If you dress like a call girl, why would you invoke respect from women or men.

The inverse of this would be men would be more likely to make a sexual advance to a woman presenter dressed sexy. I think this is why I went home from teaching school, changed clothes, put on make-up and fluffed my hair up to go nightclubbing on Friday nights. I don't think men would have asked that haggard teacher that left work to dance.

As a teacher, I have been called an "itch". I've been white itch, fat itch, big tittied itch. I've been friends with black "itches" and fellow white itches, fat itches, you get the picture. These ladies were terribly nice in my opinion. I did know a teacher who bragged the students thought she was an "itch". Frankly, if the shoe fits . . .

I worked at a school that was supposedly filled with "itches". We worked for a woman who had a lot of guts. At the time I thought she was so courageous because she came from a very wealthy family. I learned that woman had a strong spirit and a keen sense of justice. She paid for every time she stood up for you, herself or someone else.

The study in the Atlantic made me think of a study by Margaret Mead. She went to fancy eastern colleges and tried to persuade the young ladies to eat turnip greens, etc during World War II. The gals did not eat more of the vegetables in response to Margaret Mead's august praise of the food. The commentator stated a flaw was Margaret Mead should have gotten a movie star, et al to do the touting of the food. Accomplished as Margaret Mead was, she was not glamorous. I don't have a source for this anecdote. It is from memory.

Which leads me to another item? Why are we raising kids to think someone giving them an honest opinion is their enemy. As a teacher, I sugar coated criticism. I also told kids I was paid to correct them.

I follow a blog of an incredibly intelligent and talented writer. She will be a force in literature if she does not implode first. She was chastised and released on twitter for taking another person's work and appropriating it as hers. Being 16, she was indignant that the scholar she had borrowed so heavily from told her to take it down and dropped it since she was a minor. If you read the blog post, it is child's indignation.

 This is the post.

In the comments, her friends agreed with her. Real friends would tell her there is a time to listen to the criticism. I thought of commenting. But, she was told by these women.

This was my beef with some gifted students when I taught school. They were bright and used to being told how good they were. They were that bright. But somehow, some thought they were perfect. This was usually combined with parents who had no tolerance of someone doing their child wrong whether the child was right or wrong.

I had a great deal of admiration for the father who called my young self and told me not to change a grade until his child brought it to my attention. I had taken high 90 something average and put like 85 in the computer. I just made a mistake. Some parents would have gone nuclear on me. It took about two days for the child to discuss it with me. I deserved an academy award for saying, "Oh you are right, let me fix it."

Do I like criticism? No. I like my life as easy as it can be. It just don't work that way. But I have benefited from some pretty mean spirited criticism. There is always something there to use. I have to remind myself when I get rejection for what I write. It has made me a better writer. It is also giving me the confidence to know whether I agree or not. But no I don't like criticism. I had someone read my first screenplay and he tore it apart. I laid in bed looking at the ceiling after reading his review. And you know, everything he said was right.

The argument in the Atlantic discusses that women don't like their loose counterparts because it makes it harder for men to commit to long term relationships with them. I get the logic. I just think that the argument demeans men and women. It is like all men only want a succession of one night stands. I agree with the pun that women have sex to have men say I love you and men say I love you to have sex.

I don't know, I don't know. But I do know men live longer with a spouse than being single. I also know I am not an "itch" when I speak my mind while being female. I'm old enough to know that nursing a grievance is not a sign of deep thought. Which is another thought and this post is long enough.


 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...