Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fears, Fate and Having that Spark

I'm a scientist when it comes to the brain. The neurological pathways grooved in our brains are habits. I have a fear of public speaking. When I freeze, If I can talk science, the words flow from years of teaching science.

I'm afraid I am guilty of being a "Jack of all trades and Master of none" when it comes to science. I could be a quasi master of a few topics. It depends on how knowledgeable the person I am speaking to is.

But I know the fundamentals so well. This is especially true of chemistry and algebra. I don't know that I remember a lot of Algebra or Trigonometry or Calculus. But I can tell you most children who have trouble with algebra do so because they don't understand the fundamental equation X + 5 = 7    X = 2

Most kids will say I can do it in my head. Well yes, anyone can. But can you remember the process so that you can diagram that process later in a more difficult equation. The process being
X + 5 = 7
X + 5 - 5 = 7 - 5 
X = 2

I'll spare you the lesson in Chemistry.

When you are under stress, your mathematical ability bottoms out. This is why I tried to keep children feeling good in my classroom. One reason I tutored were some kids were shell-shocked from their dad's impatience in helping them with math. There was one mom through the years that I knew about. I'm sure there was a multitude of others. One child's mother had to give her child permission to excel. Mom made the mistake of telling her child how poorly she did in math. Child began to do poorly. She was loyal. 

One thing I learned through the years is that a break or a little play would increase the amount of learning I could get. The mind needs time to process information.

I'm taking a break from the blog until the middle of January. I'm getting my house clean for Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I'll be visiting blogs and writing in general. Cheers.

Lizard on my purse in my car. I got him out and he skedaddled
 into some bushes. We haven't had a hard freeze yet.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is an Important issue that I am tired of hearing about. For one thing, a few of these reporters are describing cads or dirty old men who really are not sexual predators. They are just rude and what they have done was borderline accepted behavior at one time which means we have come a long way baby. Now if it affects your employment or social acceptability, it is sexual harassment that is criminal.
What kind of picture goes with sexual harassment?

I matured early. I got the gross old men hot on my trail.  Fortunately, I never met a bona fide predator which is what Harvey Weinstein was. I'm afraid all these cad alerts are going to desensitize the public to actual predators.

Mayim Bialek had good intentions when she wrote about women need to conduct themselves in ways that discourage men. The problem is a predator is not distracted by that. They are keen to read weakness in people. For someone like Harvey Weinstein, he was able to plunder more easily in that most people in show business know you might get one good chance.

But pleeeez, when the elderly President H. W. Bush was accused of sexual harassment, that is a lack of understanding. Yes I understand it was an awkward and embarrassing thing to be touched on the bum and listen to him say his favorite book was "David Cop a Feel".  He is now 93 so he was about 90 at the time.  Barbara Bush was present and laughed.  Even a President gets elderly and their filter weakens. The joke is truly about at an 11 year old's level. It takes me back to teaching seventh grade again.

The latest was an actress lamenting vulgar remarks from Dustin Hoffman. Once again shame on Dustin Hoffman for being a cad. But she did not feel she had to have sex with him or anyone else. Dustin Hoffman's remark that she stated was pretty bad. It is a shame someone didn't say so to him. He was being a true dirty old man.

As an adult woman, I might have chastised him for being so crude to a teenager. But if I were not on his level I could have been fired. Plus a problem of being so famous is everyone wants to be your friend so bad, you lose perspective of when you are wrong. You have too many yes men like Elvis.

There should have been someone on set that she could have confided in. He should have been told to apologize and behave. This happened when she went to get his breakfast order. If someone else would have been sent as a solution, that would be sexual harassment. It sent a clear signal that he was OK to behave the way he did. I'm sure many men would have told him he was crossing the line. At the time he was 49. He is 80 today.

So she does have a point about what Dustin Hoffman said. It does make you feel like less of a person.

As a society we have sent out mixed messages. One big rite of moving from a child star to an adult star is to be raunchy in public to shake the sweet young image. You have someone like Miley Cyrus being crude as all get out. Then other young women are unprepared to be put in the same boat. Don't get me started on hooking up and Tinder.

I hope the consequences discourages another Harvey Weinstein. But it will not. Someone like him never thinks it is his fault. You can see the difference in their responses. Dustin Hoffman has apologized in being called out.

Harvey Weinstein has not apologized. Of course an apology could be used against him in court. The statute of limitations has run out on most of his transgressions.

I have mixed feelings about the "me too". There is a lot of shame involved and no person should have to publicly state their experience.

Kevin Spacey, like is this a pattern or did he think a younger man who was at the age of consent was last for a reason. Being drunk is no excuse.

I'm a Kevin Spacey fan and hate to hear of his fall. Mixing his apology which implies guilt with coming out as gay was not brilliant. Most gay men don't want to be associated with someone being sexually aggressive with a 14 year old.

Why was a 14 year old at an adult party. Where were his parents or responsible adult?  But there is someone else who is responsible. If everyone is leaving a party and you are the last one. Where is your ride? Who is making sure that you get home safely.

Update: House of Cards cancellation was not impulsive. Lots of stories of Kevin Spacey being a regular leach to younger men. What a disappointment.

There is a director named Ratner denying his raunchiness. Besides looking like a dirty old man, with 6 accusers, he is probably guilty. You can explain away one or two if there is no proof. But when you get a line of folks.

Give me your opinion. We all learn from one another.

I am not doing nano officially. But, I will try to get my 50,000 word goal this month. I better get started.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Being as cheap as I wanna be.

I'm thrifty not stingy. That is a huge restaurant size can of beans I'm using to make Chili. I'm predicting leftovers.
I wanted to get back to posting on Wednesdays. However, I have had a busy week playing solitaire on my computer and making sort of Halloween threats on Pat Hatt's rhymetime blog. I say sort of in that the most important part of the message is that it rhymes.

Occasionally, I get up and do some work around the house, a bit of cleaning, pay attention to a dog. In other words, the area around my desk looks like a bomb exploded. If you keep your eyes on the screen, there is no pandemonium going on around you.

I've noticed there is a new blog platform called patreon. I'm not impressed in that I will avoid those bloggers. I feel guilty reading what they have written and not making a donation. I shared a video about a month or two ago and took the time to like the page the video came from. I noticed in my Facebook feed, the videomaker would like me to sign up to donate a dollar a month. I deleted the video.

Some bloggers on other platforms have a donation request on their sidebar. I don't follow them either. There are so many good blogs out there that I don't need to add them to my list. In my opinion, ads are the best way to make money. I do buy the books of fellow bloggers.

I pay for the NY Times, The AJC, and The Washington Post. I've made a donation to The Guardian.

Social media is a mixed bag. I think it is great when people have an emergency; others can help them out with crowdfunding.

I don't like people soliciting for money they should save up for themselves. A ridiculous request to me was a couple with seven children who wanted money to have an enormous second wedding. If that same couple wanted money to take their kids to the State Fair, that is OK in my worldview.

I feel a bit of disappointment with teenagers trying to collect money to go on a mission trip. If they feel that strongly, they can mow grass, wash cars, babysit or save their allowance to pay their way. The saddest ones are the petition to pay final expenses for someone.

I do make donations for several reasons. People don't always have family and friend to help them during hard times. This is the  blog of a man who found himself homeless, On the road with Al and Ivy I found his story compelling.

Medical catastrophe gets a donation from me. My sister's stroke burned through a lot of my life savings. She had good insurance and will eventually get disability from her federal job. But that may not happen until June of next year. A full Year and 8 months after her stroke. Hospitals and other medical firms like labs use bill collectors.

I got a nasty bill collector letter, a bill from an ambulance company and a refund from paying the ambulance bill due to her insurance paying them on the same day. Another ambulance company had some very nasty bill collectors. The man on the phone from the ambulance company did not understand why I was so agitated. He said he was sorry.

Sometimes I donate to an animal. You have to be very, very careful donating to animal rescues. Some of them are quite generous to the organizer. It is one of those facts of life I wish I had not learned. I already have a problem with having absolutely no expectations from my fellow human. It makes it a lot easier to accept disappointment.

My big caveat to giving is to give locally or to an individual. I feel peeved when I make a donation and two weeks later there is an appeal for more money. Almost all large charities do this. During Hurricane Katrina, I gave to the ASPCA and state of Louisiana. I get regular calendars and preprinted labels from the ASPCA which I toss. I did hear from Louisiana a few times for donations. I gave them nothing more.

I give to the arts. Not a whole lot, but tossing in a few bucks to a young filmmaker is good. I also buy books that I may or may never read. One time I went to a book fair with $50. The first table I stopped at had a $45 coffee table book which was great. I didn't buy it. I bought a bunch of books between $3 and $15. Spread the wealth is my mantra.

Friends who create fundraisers probably will get a few bucks from me.

We hear a lot about entitlement. I know when I quit a job to take another one. I discovered the amount of clout I had given up after I made the transition. However before leaving the first job, I had no idea that it existed. We all have a framework of entitlement. I was more prepared for old age in that I grew up lean so I learned to live on less. Fortunately, I eventually made enough to have a cushion. I'm not sure that cushion will be there in ten years. But I might not be here either.

So in all humility, I think all of us depend on one another. I'm lucky in that I can pay my way.

Asking for handouts is not a good system. It is inherently unfair. People who know a lot of people or have a tragic story that gets picked up in the news can do quite well. Meanwhile there are some who really suffer. I believe in a government sponsored safety net for us all.

The second part is that the system is rife for exploitation. I feel a bit used when someone collects money for a need and later I see them living high on the hog. I think this causes some of the cynicism people feel about welfare. I had a student with two children who lived in a better place than I had for most of my life and drove a better car than I did. However, I do believe in the welfare system and believe in the value of social programs. I did witness children struggling with poverty.

From personal experience, some hardship can be endured. My dad had a friend whose father did not lose his money during the 1930's depression. My grandfather lost everything and my dad faced a lot of hardship. He felt a little envious of this man. In the early 1960's during a real estate bust, which happens in the real estate field at least once every ten years, this man lost everything. His solution was suicide. My dad would tell this story in that he recognized his friend was disadvantaged in not learning to cope with the vagaries of life.

How do you feel about crowdfunding? I got more opinion but this thing needs to end! I got to post some nonsense over at Pat's blog.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nothing happens faster than the week between writing blogposts except for updating your dues each year with an organisation. I remember when I had six posts a day ready to go. I remember someone who did that many posts in a day. Like a marathon, you have to pace yourself, unless you're a marathon champion.

This week, I shall cheat a bit. Which means I will share what I have really enjoyed on the net.

Number 1 involves a dog of course.

Number 2 is I took the time to watch Deathly Hallows 1 & 2 of the Harry Potter series. Is it sacrilegious that at a few points I thought could these two have the fight to end all fights, I'm ready to call it a night. That said, I think J K Rowling is brilliant to have written such an engaging series.  Nothing to share with number 2 but my opinion. I have satellite television and one or more of the stations run the Harry Potter movies back to back on a regular basis.

Number 3 is something you all may know about. It is the Write Edit Publish bloghop of Halloween based stories. They are all a quick thrill to read. I haven't submitted. I would describe my tour of hell tomorrow. But hey, most of you are very familiar with grocery stores.

Write, Edit, Publish blog's October Challenge

Cheers and imagine me and my dogs howling at the moon tonight. lol Take care, Ann

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Keep bouncey houses at grandmas.

If anybody my age takes the knee, they are showing off. A childhood friend of mine has had both of her knees replaced. She injured the first knee in a bouncy house with her grandchild. And get this, she injured the second one in a bouncey house with the same grandkid.
This lovely bouncey house costs 2 grand.
You can get a cheaper version at Walmart.

I don't think it is hanging around her grandchild that is the problem. They got to start carding people going into bouncy houses. The gatekeeper needs to be a teenager who can say with a straight face and authority, "Grandma, you are too old to enter this bouncey house."

It's not bouncey houses that hurt knees.
People are free to own all the bouncey houses they want. They just have to be educated on who and how a bouncey house should be used.

It's ironic in that the people who will purchase a bouncey house are usually old enough to injure their knees. Once again a teenager at the register is handy. They will give a forty-five year old a senior discount and lavish them with praise. "You are one cool old lady!"

One thing I do is take care of my joints. I have mild arthritis. What has weighed on my mind the past few weeks is my mortality. I know I should just be glad to be alive. So many people do not make it to 61. Plus I got two good knees and no urge to enter a bouncey house.

The last time I went to the nurse practitioner; I got a heck of a lecture about exercising more, eating less of all the good foods which for her information I rarely eat. I argued with her over cornbread. My A1c was 8.5.  I got the message which I didn't appreciate.

My great aunt Faye quit smoking the day before she went to the doctor. She knew he was going to insist she quit smoking. She knew she could tell him she quit. But if he told her; it was going to be the damnedest thing to do.

It is just that malaise of not living my life to the fullest. I don't know where I get the outlook where I feel like I should achieve something, learn something, clean something. Because lately, I get little done. I think this is a mid-life crisis. I tried to have my crisis at the more appropriate age of 51. But I was busy.

At 55, I got a little crisis building going. I worked out several hours a day and ate to lose weight. I started my journey of writing the great American novel. And somehow bang here I am. I can't even have a decent mid-life crisis in a timely fashion.

Plus I don't give a rip about a lot of things. I better start giving a rip about some paperwork I have waiting for me. Well for my brother that I need to complete. I do have the temptation to take him to the social security administration and have him deal with the matter. He turned 65 this year. During 2016, he made a little too much money and they are going to take that whopping 261 dollars they give him a month away. Maybe, I don't know what they are going to do.

However, I better make a beeline to the Social Security Administration with my hat in my hand and "grin and shuffle" to get it straightened out. If I get Madame Sourpuss or her friend Mister Looksdownalongnose, I make an excuse and get out of there to come back another day. Actually I have not done that yet; but, it is an alternative.

Plus, I need to get the car oil changed and the tires rotated.

But tomorrow is Wednesday and I'll be taking my weekly journey through parallel hells. Last week, I had to cut one of the journeys short. I needed to pick up my brother. Although my mom was thoroughly exhausted, she was not happy. It is hard to have to hurry and be on someone else's schedule. My mother has always been a hard worker and an independent woman.

We are leaving at 9am tomorrow. Early in the day, she has more energy. My mother enjoys this one big outing each week. I'm glad we can make it. And it is not really hell. I better stop complaining or I will spend time in purgatory sweeping a grocery. I used to think my purgatory might be lunch room duty. But I know the good Lord knows I have mellowed. My hearing isn't what it used to be, and I will probably start throwing peas with the kids.

My sister who is recuperating from a stroke is a night owl. I am one too. The problem is that I got changed into a lark by all these early birds and the schedule we keep. But her waking hours are waking the owl in me. One night she woke up at 10 pm and was curious what I was going to fix for supper. I made her a peanut butter sandwich al dente with a very fine chilled coke zero.

I hope your week is going well. I've got to get busy on my novel or purgatory may be finishing one of them.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The field in front of my house is covered in gold and pink. The morning glories are brilliant along the roadway.

I walked the dogs as I pushed the trashcart down to the road. The temperature was cool. The full moon was rising as the sun was setting which doesn't happen that often.

Then in the distance, the coyote call was feigning injury. All my little wolves gathered close. I left the trash truck to the side of the driveway. I picked up my mother's two dragons.

The newest dog, Little Red, is going to be a large dog. However, he was quite scared in that he is probably about 8 months old. My brother's dog Buttons wanted me to carry her. Being a 20 pound chihuahua, the twenty five pounds I was toting was hard enough. I didn't run. But I walked briskly. Fortunately, I have fencing that comes up the driveway for about a tenth of a mile. Once I got to that point, I put my mother's precious dogs down.

My little dog is ferocious and he walked proudly defending the pack. He makes me think of the man whose picture has gone viral standing and flicking a bird to the shooter in Las Vegas. I know many think he was crazy or drunk. But I have known a few men and women who had that defiance in their soul. I think of the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson about the life of William Wallace.

At least the coyote is only wanting dinner. I'm sure they will discover what motivated this man.

I learned to fire a rifle and pistols as a child. My dad had strict rules. We basically shot beer cans in the creek. My dad did not allow us to shoot turtles. I understand why people want to own weapons. I don't understand why people don't know that regulating their use could prevent some of these tragedies.

In Georgia, we have an open carry law. You are supposed to have a license for this. However, it is illegal for you to be questioned about this decision. Unlike concealed carry, you do wonder if the person has been cautioned that they are the first person law enforcement will take down when shots are fired in a crowd.

I have a friend whose brother was shot by law enforcement behind a Waffle House by police. There was a huge fight going on. Her brother took the gun that was present and held it in the air. If he had put it inside his pants or concealed it somehow and walked away from the fight he might be alive today. His mother told me his clothes had multiple bullet holes in them.

I wasn't going to write about the shooting. It is a burden for us all. I had a Facebook friend who contacted me about the senselessness. I think he knew what a country music fan I am. However, I love the country music from the 60's and 70's the best.

I just wish people would think long and hard before they pay $25 and receive that free bumper sticker that advertises an organisation. Money can be motivation of an organisation to be pig headed and I am talking about the NRA. I'm not against people owning guns. But I am against this mania we have about owning a gun. The more untrained people with firepower; the more horrible incidents are going to happen.

Even with training, what about wisdom. My dad always taught us, you don't shoot someone for stealing your car. A car is a thing. A person should not die for a thing.

Feel free to give me your opinion whether you are for gun control or not. I'm from the South. We make up our history from day to day. The fact that a hundred years ago, not everyone could afford a gun. The expense of a gun and ammunition reduced the number of gun deaths. But lets not let any facts get in the way.

The world has a lot of cruelty and injustice. September 30th in Los Vegas gives us all pause. I could shoot that man a bird too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I went to Africa yesterday.

Ready for a little traveling? You'll be back in an hour or two.

Positive letters is written by Hillary Melton-Butcher. As an anglophile, I love the trip through England and the history she shares. This is a brilliant blog.

A new find for me is Leaves on my Tree by Emma Springfield. I like her reminiscences. I've learned new things such as restacking bowling pins at the bowling alley before technology. My parents did not have an extended family. So I love reading the stories of people when they describe their families back in the day like Emma does.

I love Baili and I .  The writer lives in Pakistan and shares pictures of her home, town, family, wisdom.

Then back to the American prairies with this crazy mountain man who posts such a lovely pictorial narrative of wildlife and the happenings in Iowa.  Out on the Prairie

Elephant's Child photos are such homey, delightful pictures of flowers, birds and local sights near Canberra, Australia. My favorites are of the bright red and green King's parrots and Jazz and Jewel, two admirably beautiful black cats. Elephant's Child
But the piece de resistance was my discovery this week of Diane Stuckey's blogs and the publication of her mom's diary of her family's move from England to what was Rhodesia in 1953. It is so fascinating. Of all the continents, Africa has always fascinated me the most. If I could spend my days however I want, it would be walking this Earth and just looking.

For a dollar fifty US, you can get the breezy read of her mom's account of their journey. I've read most of it. I plan to finish it later today. The Great 1953 Trek on kindle.

These are her blogs.

The great 1953 Trek

Life before Charente

Life in Charente

My life in Charente 2

Now to put another load of laundry in the washer and get a few chores done.

Bon Voyage.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, I hope.

Big news. My cousin's 25 year old son was just promoted by the electrical company he works for to Linesman and was promptly sent to South Florida for an assignment with overtime.

Good thing it was only a tropical storm.
My mom chuckled over the news. An able bodied single guy will be very handy helping to restore power. Hurricane Irma covered Florida as a hurricane, and my state, Georgia, as a tropical storm. We watched the trajectory which caught my house, my brother's house outside of Carrollton, GA and Mentone, Alabama which is my mother's old hometown.

It was interesting to experience those sustained winds as Irma passed over. I slept through the heaviest of winds. About 40 years ago, I slept through a storm where huge Pecan trees where lifted out of the ground and laid down like match sticks by the wind about 100 feet behind the room I was in.

Irma's rain was the sort my grandmother loved which was a light steady rain that would soak in the ground. My grandmother farmed through the dirty thirties and the 40's during the Big War. I remember going to tell her how bad DDT was when I was a teenager. I stopped; she had a wistful look and said that was some good stuff. Some good stuff that controlled insects and almost decimated several bird populations. Everything is a matter of perspective.

I posted a picture of two of my dogs on Facebook. Louise seemed mystified by what was going on. I opened the back door to let a dog back in and heard a bird crying. I checked again with the resolve to rescue the animal. I could not easily find it. I went back in and when I came back out, I heard my favorite birdsong, so mom or dad must have been retrieving their youngster. I know what the bird looks like and it's song. I just don't know it's name yet.

Louise and BoDuke are cool with the power out. But what's with all that wind?

As bad as Irma and Harvey are, it's the floods that do the most damage. We will have some flooding in central Georgia; but, it will be manageable. Who I worry about the most are people out West with the fires. This is a year to remember with natural disasters.

Last Tuesday, the storm had blown away. The birds seemed happy in the sunshine. A sassy lizard ran the driveway away from the house. We had a lot of leaves and branches broken from the wind. The horse farm next door had an old barn to collapse. There are a few trees uprooted in the Pecan orchards. Being within weeks of harvest; nuts fell from the trees. Hurricanes this time of year wreak havoc on Pecan production.

There were tremendous trees blown over. Leaf and twig debris was everywhere. Mother nature prunes with a vengeance.

It was strange to have a curfew Monday from 2:30 am until 8 am the next morning. With so many Florida evacuees, all of the first responders, law enforcement and firemen and women burned the midnight oil for us all. It was appreciated.

There are some cultural differences between South Floridians and central Georgia. We talk to everyone. My sister had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. Since the doctor was in, we went and stopped at a Chinese restaurant we enjoy.

I chatted up a few of the Floridians. They were cordial; but, they initially had that look like "Are you speaking to me?" I wasn't trying to agitate anyone. I only spoke to those who were carrying a heavy load on their face. Actually, I talked up a bunch of folks.

The day without power and the days without internet wore on me. However, I had my comfortable bed to sleep in each night. Plus I cooked a good dinner the day before in case the power went out. I can't imagine sleeping in my car or a motel in Atlanta only to join grinding traffic to go back home and see what is left. They were smart to evacuate. They saved their lives and possibly the first responders who would have helped them.

The traffic was heavy but flowing. I don't know what caused this back-up. This was my exit.
The funniest thing that happened as we were returning home. The Interstate was backed up and we went off a side road that had a huge truck stop. People were trapped and couldn't get out. So I stopped and let a long line of them out until; I got honked at and passed by a line of about four cars with Florida tags followed by a local who also honked at me.

So I waved at the one in front of the trapped cars and went on my way. No use holding up a lane of traffic if the traffic was going to drive around me. All I could think is the people who passed me chose a difficult road to find their way back to a highway going South. The first car that passed me, the guy was running his mouth and shot a bird at me. I can imagine the aggravation he was feeling. And this crazy car just stops and lets a whole line of people out.

And yes, we laughed about it might be cultural to deliberately stop traffic to let people out. I don't know. People did it all the time when I lived in the Atlanta area. Atlanta is quasi Southern. It's only the South when people feel like it. Even then, they have to read the Atlanta Journal Constitution to know for sure what Southerners are like. I mean I was always surprised to learn about Southerners in that paper at times. We can be an interesting lot with plenty of blarney to spare.

I remember one car that saved my life as I merged from Interstate 85 to I-475 about 30 years ago. They were working on the interstate and there was a narrow area to merge. As I merged, this car changed lanes where I needed to go. I slowed for them and was scared. It was the concrete median or the car behind. Luckily, the car behind saw the situation and made me a space.

I changed lanes and drove down to look at miscreant that almost killed me. She had a look that she was incredibly lost in her thoughts. Driving is a poor place to daydream.

Consideration in metro Atlanta traffic had more to do with accident avoidance. 

But hey, do you stop traffic so people can get out? Do you live in an urban, suburban or rural area?

Hell was open this Wednesday. These two trees had to call attention to themselves.

Yep, we got enthusiastic rock painters here too. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mornings can be magical.

Sometimes its me.

What a bummy thing to realize. For my friends who are not Ciudadano de Estados Unidos, bummy as in a bum living off handouts not what we all sit on.

I've gotten a bit outspoken. I know I have always been plain spoken. But lately, it's me.

At first I thought it could be because of my writing passion. I find myself organizing my thoughts, having an opinion, re-organizing and having another opinion. I worry about being more hard-headed. All of your gifts from God has an edge. One of my gifts is having a strong will and a sense of determination. Their dull and grating edge is a hard head.

Then I thought, it could be my home life. I have no regrets about my choices. I know the consequences and they are using those two gifts. I understand the loneliness of the young housewife. I've always had a career. The career was not without it's problems but it checkmated my independent drive. I always had to consider the other point of view.

And that is the crux of the problem. Keeping that social point of view.

My mom likes me to handle things. When the neighbor called the law on Christmas Eve because Daisy the 9 pound chihuahua decided to chase horses that day, the sheriff deputy found himself lost for words when my mother who was only about 84 at the time came out to defend Daisy with a forceful push of her walker. That is when I told mom. She was in charge of some things.

Age gives privilege. I do meet sweet younger souls who defer to my age. My true nature instinctively wants to turn and snarl when I figure it out. Thankfully, I'm usually in the car on my next part of the journey when the realization hits. I appreciate the special treatment.

But sincerely, 61 is not that dang old.  I've never been a sun worshiper and genetics are in my favor; I don't have crow's feet of yet. It's that silver hair of mine that's to blame. It has been this way for almost 20 years. I remember when I stopped coloring my hair. Floating black hair is not my thing.

I'm going to start walking with my camera again. This morning a thick fog hung over the overgrown pasture in front of my house. I noticed it was extended up the small rise to the neighbor's horse farm. My driveway had a misty bridge of the condensation over my driveway. I did not try to retrieve a camera. I knew the freshly risen sun would have it burned off probably as I walked under it.

The other night I corrected a woman who wanted to write race and racism in the South. I shared three facts with her. She had no knowledge of what she was writing which was true. She should never use the N word no matter if it was used liberally at one time in history. She should set her lynching in Southern Illinois where she is from because they weren't the hotbed of civil rights she thinks it would be. "Sundown towns" comes to mind.

At one time, I would have just listened.

What is wrong with me? It does not matter. There is so much being written and not read. What does it matter?

I was the only Southerner in the group. I did not get a negative reaction from anyone. What bothered me about what I said is that sort of talking can make people uncomfortable. But like that mist this morning, it is over and done with. I hope to see another mist. Unfortunately, I'll probably open my mouth and insert my foot again.

So make me feel better. When have you blown off when you should have kept your mouth shut. Or what cool things did you see this morning.

Cheers, Ann

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fall comes a bit early

This morning, the air was cool and crisp. Fall was in the air a week early. Usually the temperature drops the second week of September to a tolerable level. I know this because of all the years I taught in schools with no air conditioning.

For a fleeting moment, I thought wonderful hurricane weather. Then I thought the price and regretted that thought. I certainly feel compassion for all the suffering.

On CBS evening news there was a woman whose child had cerebral palsy. His medicine had gotten wet when they escaped the flooding, and he was having seizures. If I could wish them into my home safe, I would get in the car and pick up his medicine. Mom and child could get cleaned up and have a warm meal.

I still remember the elderly woman who died and someone had covered her head with a coat during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. No water and probably no medications, the stress was too much.

As troubling as the news is, I avoid as much of the news as possible. It gladdens my heart to see all the pickups towing boats going to Houston. I pray for the best for those in the Hurricane's path and their helpers. We all know some very sad outcomes are happening.

At one time, I would keep up with the news. With the turmoil in the country, I have started to avoid all media references to politics. I've felt a lot better since then. My last political beef was something I read about the five different Beckys of "white privilege"which is just another way of telling women to shut up.

I read comments. I've tried to scan them. I do wonder about some people who comment so hard and heavy on one specific topic like in real life. The more fictitious their name is; the less I care what they think. The comments are a great source for creepy statements for your writing. I do enjoy writing some things I think but would never say. However, none of these thoughts reach the creep level of some comments.

My favorite station is Channel 13 and is a CBS station. I've noticed that the nightly news is more palatable than say a friend's Facebook highlights of "The Golden Child of Wisdom Sitting on the Rail Giving A Patriot Review of American Values Right Now dot com".

I used to watch the true crime shows on the ID channel and fall asleep. But CSI or the fiction shows would wake me up with terror when I fell asleep. I guess if it bleeds it leads goes into overtime with fiction shows. The same probably happens with "The Golden Child of Wisdom Sitting on the Rail Giving A Patriot Review of American Values Right Now dot com".

I do pray for the people of Houston and coastal Texas and Louisiana. Rough days are here and ahead for them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The eclipse came and went without me. I spent that time cooking dinner and spending time with my mother. Mom still loves to cook and still does a little. My mother is all fired up for me to get a ten dollar box of okra at Brown's market this Friday. We'll come home, wash them and get them into the freezer. We go to get her shoes Friday morning and Browns is along the way.

I had every intention of going to the Indian Mounds to view the eclipse. They were giving away 50 eclipse glasses. Then it was 600 pairs. Then I knew what a crowd. It was that frustration. I should have gotten some of those protective glasses several weeks ago. I had planned to view this eclipse. Why didn't I do it.

So I watched the eclipse party in Illinois on television as the okra fried. My brother kept looking at me. That is what he does when he is expecting me to do something. It dawned on me to tell him since he was sick we were not going. No big whoop to him. The fact there was an eclipse did not register with him. I noticed my sister going outside to keep up with the eclipse. The biggest surprise is that it did not get dark. However, the air temperature outside went down by 5 degrees.

There will be another one in 2024. However, I will have to travel. It will be a big coincidence as I see it. I will content to be alive during the next one.

I can't say I missed the eclipse. The eclipse didn't miss me. We just both had our own schedules to keep. Cleaning up after dinner, I was glad I didn't follow my impulse to drive to the path of the total eclipse. It would have been a six hour round trip.

As my mother ages and with my sister having had a stroke, we are getting increasingly housebound. We get out to a restaurant about twice a month, and grocery shopping on Wednesday. I used to get out in the evening some and I need to make time to do that some more.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I would grieve about it but I am way past that. I spend a way too much time on the computer dawdling. When I see people sitting together scrolling on their phone, I feel like slapping my hands between them and say, "Be careful, life is going to pass you by as you sit there reading some insipid text." There are lots of eclipses that don't involve the sun and moon.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New week, the news has to get better. You can unfollow people but remain friends on Facebook. Right now my Facebook feed is about Genealogy and the local paper. I miss the days of the cat video sharathon.

The fact I have taken in a new stray dog puts me at ten dogs. I got too many dogs and the shelters are full this time of year. Living in a rural county, there is no animal control. The dogs are chasing something back into the woods. I'm hoping it is not another dog. They are cutting the pines down on the property behind me. Maybe it is a deer.

There are tons of chicken trucks delivering birds to the chicken processing plant nearby. My mom and I discuss the urge to set them all free. We had chicken last night for supper. So, I am a hypocrite. We also drive by unkempt grape vines and have the urge to start pruning them.

I've done my first binge watching of a television program. It was Orange is the New Black. I asked my sister if something was in the book. It turns out the book was about 200 pages long. I watched all five seasons this past week. I will say as the seasons progressed, they got duller.

I'm glad I caught them at one time. What cliffhangers, and the characters are very endearing. The bad, bad guys are awful and all three worst got killed. It was supposed to be dramedy. However, the comedy was not real strong for me. It had a more surreal quality. There are some things that I know are supposed to be funny; they just don't strike me that way.

It is not realistic in that all of the prisoners are swell folks deep down inside. All of their meanness is due to bad things in their lives. I used to subscribe to that notion but it is not always true. Some people are plain mean. Evil exists.

The character Poussy is unfairly killed by a guard in a crackdown on prisoner rebellion. That guard goes into a deep dark soul searching depression over the incident. I can see where something like that can eat at your soul. However, most people go for self preservation.

It is a show that is best enjoyed by not thinking too hard. It is pretty ham handed over the injustices of the prison system. They also go overboard with the lesbian content. There is a a lot of soft core porn inserted in shows. I fast forwarded through some; but, some serious dialog happened during the scenes like people discuss the vagaries of life during sex.

Disney movies actually make more money than any other type. Orange is the new black is not Disney material though. Orange is the New Black is about as realistic as a Disney movie.

The main character Piper Chapman is not a likeable character. I loved the characters they created. There was Flaca and Maritza who represent youth and innocence. There are the mothers, the hoodlums, the skinheads, people divided by race with the elderly forming their own group.

A 79 year old inmate plans to stab a really mean and vicious inmate who has caused a lot of problems. She stabs and kills another inmate in that she doesn't wear her glasses because they make her nose look big. Just a reminder that the gals may look harmless but they might not be.

A sad part was a woman with dementia is given a compassionate release. She is taken to a bus station with a ticket. The woman obviously does not have the wits to get on the bus or go anywhere. It reminded me of a man who drowned in the Ocmulgee River about a year ago. He had signed himself out of an nursing home several months before and had been homeless.

It's a good show. It is not as good as the Sopranos. I watched the Sopranos long after the show had ended. It was as good as they said it was. I've tried to watch Breaking Bad. I can't get into it in that I can't buy into the premise of a nice man making meth to rescue his family from doom. I think his family can fend for themselves after his death from cancer. And good people don't make things that will destroy other people and their families.

I am still watching the news. I'm taking a break from thinking about the news. They have started the Civil War back up again. We as a nation are in la la land when the most current thing in the news is something that ended in 152 years ago. But I do pray for reason. I read an article about what Andrew Young had to say about current events. It is a shame we don't hear more reason in the world. But I do thank God that we have had people like Andrew Young to lead and there are younger people leading the world with reason.

Andrew Young's statements in the Atlanta Journal.

I'm one of those people who is actually neutral about the statues. Time will be taking quite a few down soon. There is no fight like the one a family can have. What I wish people could take from the civil war is such a huge price in lives and misery was exacted from the War Between the States.  We should all take a step back from the noise and seek reason.

This letter from a civil war soldier should give us all pause to stop and think.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In God we Trust, everyone else pays cash.

I taught a Russian child whose parents and he were living in Canada. When he was returning to the USSR which was Russia at that time, I put my arm around his shoulder like I would any other kid and wished him a safe trip and a happy life. His doubtful eyes are in my memory. He is one of the children I wonder what happened to them.

That particular child could be difficult. The guidance counselor could calm him down in a minute. She had a note he had written that he would not want his parents to see. The Canadian kids were kids. One time the Russian child challenged me in class.

The little Canucks thought we would have a regular USA versus Russia rivalry. I wound up giving the class a lecture that the disagreements between countries had no role in people not being able to get along. I guess not wanting another class lecture, the kid gave up. He was not that popular and getting a teacher from the South lecturing the class again was not the greatest mantle to wear.

(I was never a disciplinarian. I'm like my parents in that I believe in someone having free will. It's an old Baptist belief. My parent's were not missionary Baptists which most Baptist's are today. It's interesting how beliefs of Quakers and Puritans can reach their hands across centuries and affect us in the present. I went for control to teach class. But kids could have their opinion. When I taught at an evening school, I was careful in asking opinions. You did not always want to hear what a life hardened 17 year old had to say.)

Which leads me to a serious matter. People who underestimate that Russia is an enemy to the United States. I read one blog about the Christian nature of Russia and how the blogger prays for Putin. She looks forward to hearing his Christian message.

As a former KGB agent, I doubt Vladimir Putin has a good message for the United States. Putin may be a practicing Christian. But we know how all of us interpret the message and filter it through our own perspective of the world.

The United States has been the world's policeman for a long time. Small countries all over the world have petitioned the United States for help and many have gotten that help.

If the United States loses it's credibility and leadership, there will be vacuum to fill. Emmanual Macron, President of France and Angela Merkel of Germany have been attempting to fill that gap.  It is inevitable the the United States and Western Europe will lose leadership of the world. But I do not anticipate the coldness and callousness of Russia and China.

In China there is a special uncontaminated food and water supply for their oligarchs. I can't imagine the Flint, Michigan water crisis becoming the norm in the United States.

I listened to Boris Johnson speaking to the Australian media. Johnson pointed out that the actions of the United States are stable although the rhetoric appears destabilizing. Boris Johnson is a conservative MP who was born on the Upper East Side of New York City and an architect of the Brexit.

Boris Johnson's quote My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive. summarizes my opinion of thinking that Putin is our friend and has our best interests at heart. Yeah, pray for him, pray for your enemies. The Bible admonishes us to do so. But the Bible does not direct us to deceived by our enemies.

The business of politics is beyond the scope of most of us. It is an intellect honed by fire. I am not that smart and neither are most people or you. Trump's true weakness is he has lived in a world of privilege where people do exactly what he says. Despite what his "hardcore" followers want, we live in a democracy not a dictatorship. There is a dimension of the "Art of the Deal" that Trump will need to acquire if he wants to govern effectively.

What is interesting to me is that most people are in agreement about certain items but can have different political ideologies. We've become tribal in our politics. Actually, it is our nature handed down over the centuries to us. Some of the lies and/or propaganda used during the American Revolution are surprisingly modern in tone. I'll dig my favorite book up and share a few next week. The book is the American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard

I am a Christian and an American. As an American, I believe we all have a right to serve God in the way we want. I am not afraid of someone having a different belief system as myself. I want the right to believe as I wish. Quite frankly, so many people speaking the mind of God are actually speaking their mind and unaware. In some cases, they are aware and in my belief system they have a lot to fear when they meet the Almighty.

It doesn't take Einstein to know what my message is. The old Soviet Union is the United States enemy. Russia is not concerned with our welfare. They would like the United States to be weak so they can control more of the world. Putin is no one's friend, not even Russia. He squashes political dissent. You may think he agrees with your values. Think again, he is a trained KGB agent. Once he gets what he wants, the heck with you.

What made me aggravated to write this post are the sonic attacks on embassy personnel in Cuba. The cold war has only thawed. Why is North Korea threatening? They perceive as being weak.

When I lived in Canada, I met all walks of life. The frustration of sleeping beside an elephant was how they felt about sharing a border with the United States. A friend shared this article written in 1973 at the close of the Vietnam war. Our country was torn by discord. We are torn again. But the American people have a promise to keep and I hope we keep it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

That song is driving me crazy.

My tour of hell yesterday was not painful. We only went to one store. The new tradition of eating a Chick Fil A sandwich before we go in the store not only saves me from cooking dinner but takes a bite out of the shopping. Except for two packs of strawberries, my mother did not purchase a lot of what we cannot possibly eat. That was my job.

My sister had an appointment with the eye doctor. Riding into town, I was bee bopping to a Tom T. Hall tune on Willie's Roadhouse. I love Sirius radio. Then all of a sudden, the DJ starts talking and he keeps talking and then he says, "If you want to hear my opinion, It was like turn the channel please.  And this is why with all the politics, you really don't want to put your opinion on Facebook. Opinions can be very very very borrrrrinnnnnng. Like a bolt of lightning, I got the message.

I've been reading "Story Grid" by Shawn Coyne. It has been interesting; but, I haven't got past the part of the sales pitch. What is it writing books. Why do they persist in spending the first part of the book about why you need to take them serious. Why else would I be reading the dang book.

I've also been reading some cozy mysteries by Sheila Hudson.

My favorite radio station on Sirius is Willie's Roadhouse. I would not listen to country music with my dad as a teenager. Now I love that music. I remember dad liking Tom T. Hall. Man what a long list of songs and ballads he sang. This is the one that played yesterday. It has a jolly sound.

Tonight I go to a Marty Stuart performance. I've seen him before and he is a great showman.

This Tom T. Hall song was released in 1972. As the Bible says, "There is nothing new under the sun." I like the King James version of the Bible. The old language is what I grew up reading and still enjoy.

Ecclesiastes 1:9King James Version

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Making a Peach Cobbler

There are two types of cobblers.

One cobbler is made with fruit stewed in the bottom with a layer of biscuits on top. I bet a layer of yeast rolls would be good. I don't know if the bottom of the dough would cook enough. But how many people make yeast dough nowadays.

What makes a good biscuit is the type of flour you use. There is bread flour which is heavier with a higher protein content. The protein makes more gluten. A high protein flour makes a denser bread which is not good when you want a light fluffy biscuit.

A low protein, all purpose flour like White Lily makes a good biscuit. How do you make a biscuit? A hot oven helps. I cook biscuits at about 425 degrees. I purchase self rising flour. You can use plain flour but you have to add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of flour.

The next big trick with biscuit dough is you have to beat it by hand with a strong fork until the dough pulls together. It's that gluten thing going on. Once that happens you can pat your dough on a floured surface and cut biscuits to the shape you desire.

I have an old orange juice can my mother used when I was a kid. Frozen orange juice hasn't come in a can for at least 40 to 50 years. I shudder to think someone will just chunk it one day. Lately I drop biscuit dough in a muffin tin I have sprayed with PAM which brings me back to what you put into biscuit dough.

I use about 2 heaping cups of flour. If we don't eat all the biscuits, the dogs will. I put some oil in. I might drizzle some olive oil or cut in some softened butter into the flour. Maybe 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter but about 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Some people use shortening for the oil and some add a bit of sugar. I don't use sugar.

Then I add milk or buttermilk to the flour and stir vigorously until the dough pulls. If you get it too soupy, it makes a better muffin biscuit. You can add more flour if you want to roll the dough out. Buttermilk makes a lighter biscuit in that the acid it contains reacts with the baking powder to produce a gas. Self rising flour already contains salt and baking powder.

For a cobbler with biscuits on top, you want a dough you can roll out. But you don't want a stiff dough or you will have those legendary hard as a rock biscuit. Dense dough makes dense bread. You can add sugar to the biscuit mix. You do that before you add the liquid. Generally the fruit below is well sweetened.

I use this sort of  biscuit for fruit that will not maintain it's shape. An example would be blackberries, I would create a stew or jam of the berries and add sugar. Then drop biscuit dough on top. You can cut the biscuits and push them together or drop biscuit dough on the top.

The more you reshape dough and roll it in more flower, the more that dough will create a lousy biscuit. If you hate to waste the scrapes. Put the scraps in a biscuit shaped pile on the baking pan and cook them that way. I always just drop biscuit dough on top for a cobbler and use a glass baking dish. I don't like the metal taste food can acquire in a metal baking dish.

The second type of cobbler has a layer of fruit with a liquid dough poured over it. Apples and peaches are good fruits for this. Layer sliced fruit on the pan. Season with cinnamon or other spices you like. Nuts and raisins are good on the apples. You can put pats of butter on the fruit if you like the taste of butter a lot. It is good without butter. I use PAM on the glass pan before I place the fruit in.

You have a choice. Sprinkle sugar or sweetener like Splenda on the fruit. I don't use a lot of sugar. I get a lot of compliments on my baked goods. I halve the amount of sugar in everything. Sugar and salt are used heavily in processed foods and restaurant food to hide the inferior quality of the food being served. Plus the more salt and sugar you eat, the less you can taste it. Have you ever noticed smokers can eat the hottest salsa?

The dough is 1 part milk to 1 part self rising flour. That is 1 cup of milk to 1 cup of flour or 2 cups of milk to 2 cups of flour. I add 1/2 part sugar. You may want to make sugar 1 part.

My way is 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and 1 cup self rising flour.

I cook my cobbler in a 400 degree oven. For biscuits on top, I cook it until the biscuits have browned. For the soupy dough, I cook it about 25 to 30 minutes.

Anyway, the Elberta peaches are in this week and we are enjoying them.

How do you make your cobbler, biscuits on top or with the soupy dough bread? Or do you make a pie instead?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

What Southern Heritage is.

Southern heritage is not "The South will rise again" nonsense. It is not an argument that the war was over state's rights and not slavery. The civil war was over slavery. State's rights was a roundabout way of people protecting a free workforce. How well the slaves were treated was dependent upon the people that owned them.

Only 1 percent of white southerners owned slaves. A large slave owner named Pierce Butler had 436 people auctioned to settle debts. It was a horrible breakup of families. Large slave owners often lived in large cities like Philadelphia or New York to enjoy their affluence and culture. Some large slave owners lived on large tracts of land with their slaves and family. Some slave owners owned two to fifteen slaves.

There is nothing good to say about the institution of slavery.

If slavery were legal today, you know there would be people who would own slaves who would justify their actions. Pretty much like someone who has a very profitable business and pays their workers minimum wage. Or someone getting an au pair who helps with a family but is to be paid and have free time being used as a 24/7 childcare helper.

What is as bad as slavery is the prejudice African Americans have had to endure. It is 2017 and the problem is still with us.

But Southern heritage is my family. I had ancestors that fought on both sides of the civil war. I had one branch that received reparations in that they were Union sympathizers that lived in middle Tennessee. However, the bulk served for the Confederacy.

I remember my dad telling my brother before he went to Vietnam that you don't want to lose a war. His answer was based on his experiences in Germany after World War II. His answer was based on grandfathers who served in the Confederate Forces. His answer was based on family deported from England by Cromwell for supporting the bonnie Prince Charles during the turbulent 1600s.

Men were expected to enlist and serve to do their part during the civil war. I came across this letter in doing genealogy research. If I am related to this man, it is most distant. But his letter shares the pathos of the common soldier during the civil war. And this is my heritage.

I do this in memory of my great great grandfathers Simon Bennett and Big John McDuffie. They served in the Confederate Militia. Simon Bennett in a South Carolina Militia and John McDuffie in a Georgia unit. This is my heritage. Both men were not perfect. But they were honorable men and deserve respect.

The Bennett's never owned slaves. The McDuffies did. The civil war alienated people much like today's politics. I don't know if it was the McDuffies or the Bennetts where this story originated. The Southern soldier who was on his deathbed refused to meet with his brother who had fought for the Union.

The customs and treatment of African Americans of that era do not deserve respect. Nor does the class system that permeated the South deserve respect. Both are abominations of the human spirit.

But the men who served and the families that suffered during the Civil War lived through difficult times. I honor them. This is my Southern heritage.

King Richard Sellers died of typhoid fever in June of 1864. He had two brothers who died during the war. Another brother disappeared during the Civil War.  Snipped from

The Confederate battle flag is a difficult topic. To me, it is a symbol of the South. To African Americans it is of oppression and slavery. Since 90 percent of the African American population was enslaved before the civil war, I see their side. As an American, I have to stand with them to oppose oppression.

The battle for the Confederate battle flag was lost when hate groups began to use it.

Interesting enough, people outside the South have begun to use the flag to state rebelliousness. I was walking my dogs yesterday evening and thought of this anomaly when the thought emerged that in say twenty years, African american youths might start waving the Confederate flag. Much like Muslim teenagers aggravating their parents by wearing a burka.

Hard to believe I know. But nothing is as queer as folks. But never underestimate a new generations redefining who we are as a culture. I've gotten older and seen changes happen I never thought would happen. I just hope we become a more generous, kind culture.

One thing true about the American people, we don't do anything halfheartedly.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Who let the dogs out?

My chi's had their fur all up and Jobelle came back squawking in fear. I stepped out hoping we were not running from a rabid fox or coyote or armadillo. It was a large yellow puppy much bigger than them.

You just can't leave a baby to fend for itself. He arrived July 2nd. I thought it might be fireworks that sent him running from where he came. He has since doubled in size and is turning red. Remarkably friendly and wanting to be a part of the pack, I'll have to let my hostile chi Boduke run with him and let them settle the score. I don't want the score settled when Little Red becomes full sized.

There is an animal rescue that will post the animals I have found. This is convenient in that maybe it will lessen the number of dogs dumped on this road. Two different neighbors shoot the dogs that are dumped. One might enjoy it. The other one gets angry doing it. You can't take care of every dog that is dumped. Another man has about 30 dogs. I don't like something defenseless to go hungry; but, Ten is my max.

Fortunately, I have not had to start shooting dogs. I want to get some chickens, and we eat those chickens. My mother and sister don't think I can kill a chicken. Well maybe they are right. But I would still like to get some chickens.

Little Red looks like he is mostly Golden Retriever which is a wonderful dog. Dogs earn their keep. No one sneaks up on this house. I dare say we are low on the list of home invaders. Who wants to deal with a pack of dogs in the house. But I don't plan to go for the full thirty.

The chi's are therapy dogs in their own way. Louise the pitbull is my therapy dog.

I came across prompts for summer and remembrances of summer camp was offered.

As a girl scout, I did a lot of hiking and camping. I would say girl scouts instilled a lot of my love of outdoors; but, my family life was more responsible. We always went berry picking as a kid. My grandmother lived in the country. I remember chasing fireflies in tall weeds covered in flowers. Bringing a bunch to my mother, mom and grandma both start hollering to not bring those weeds in. They were covered with bugs.

I remember a pack of wild dogs approached my family as were walking back from picking blackberries close to the Echeconnee Creek. My dad, mother and siblings were close to the car and hopped in. I was straggling, and we were parked on a dirt road on a hill. The road had washed into deep gullies. My dad yelled run and he backed that car close to the edge of a rut. I don't know how I got in the car so fast. I'm sure one of my older brothers yanked me in while another one shut the door. The car was surrounded. Dad floored it and we were out of there with plenty of berries to make pie.

My parents had two sets of kids. There is me the lone female with three brothers. I was so spoiled in that my dad favored me. I was a regular five year old tyrant. Those were the days. I have two sisters who were born later. They always informed me how gross I was. Growing up with brothers and a neighborhood filled with boys, I was a major tomboy. I came by those tomboy ways honestly. My mother was one. My grandmother Ada Prestwood was one. Grandma lost her first baby due to jumping over a turf row.

In the early 1990s, my older brother Gene's wife threw him out of the house, and he was laid off later that week. He came to stay with me in the Atlanta area. Atlanta is an oasis of jobs for people in Georgia. Long story short, I cooked chili one night and we both had a gas attack later that evening and we reminisced about all the "fart" jokes. I knew why I was gross. It was my brother's fault.

My brother found a job within a day of coming to my house in Atlanta. He has since retired and lives outside Atlanta. He plans to move down here one down. But it is hard to move and I don't know if he has it in him to get it done. Plus he has a dog that is scared to ride in a car. He plans to let Miss 14 year old Sadie live out her days and then get serious about moving.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Getting things off my chest.

I live in Georgia which is one the United States "third world" states; resources are limited. This is why I am the caregiver to four people. I have no choice. I could not stand what would happen if I walked away.

My developmentally delayed brother could live in a group home. My mother could live in personal care home. But ---- They enjoy the comforts of living in a home, having a pet, their own room, television and bathroom. Plus, they help me. My brother helps me with some work. My mother helps in spending quality time with him and my sisters. I would visit them daily and it is easier for them to live in my home to visit with them.

Queen Charlotte, formerly known as Checkers, she was originally named Grace. She doesn't like her children and will treat them badly if they fraternize with her owner. But Charlotte takes care of her owner with undying devotion. 

I am amazed at people who will just tell me how I can make care giving so much easier. Many of these same people will step in my shoes one day. At that point, they will hear "crickets" when they ask for real help. They will not be consoled that you can be put in jail for abandoning a handicapped person. No one is going to help you nor are they letting you off the hook.

Now some remarks from people older than me make sense. They had taken care of a parent.

The statement that makes me mad is "You get a lot of money from the government." Like heck I don't.

My dad left my mom well taken care of. Sharing my home, she is relieved of many bills and able to live "higher on the hog". She would enjoy assisted living. However, I have handicapped siblings. Although my mother is unable to do physical work, she is still super mom to these individuals and a great companion to me.

That said, you have to face doing the dirty work. I don't do it unless I have to. But you do have to tell people their limitations. Sometimes they have to tell me my limitations. Family will tell you what other people will be too polite to say.

One thing you learn with mentally disabled individuals, there are predators.

This person is not a predator. I've got to tell my sister's therapist we focus on living a content life and accepting ourselves as we are at 55. The therapist is about 25. You do the math. I don't know what is being discussed. Frankly, I don't care. My sister gets creative at times which is more due to her disability and loneliness. This is one on one attention for one hour a month which my sister normally enjoys.

My sister gets $525 a month from social security. I give her $250 for spending money. The rest I put in the grocery money. She gets medicare in that she has about $6000 in a thrift plan that disqualifies her from medicaid. Medicaid is their preferred source. Public mental health care is superior to private. Private frames their care around insurance coverage. You cannot get it across to them that you will take a second mortgage to get the care they need.

I am grateful for her Social Security benefit and medicare. I'm incredibly grateful.  My siblings, cousins and I have worked and paid taxes. We certainly aren't eating steaks and caviar with her money.

With the nuttiness in Washington, she can stay on medicare. Medicaid is tightly controlled by Georgia's budget. They have been cutting social service and school budgets by approximately 5 percent every year for the past 14 years. Only certain doctors take medicaid due to state restrictions.

 I feel a vise constantly tightening about my sister mental health care. I put up with a great deal of humiliation. I put Uncle Tom to shame yes ma'aming and yes siring where my sister gets mental health care. They keep cutting funds. One day, my family may live as beggars. It is expensive to be mentally ill.

I hate the Halloween laugh. It's real. It's having your sister open a door and cuss imaginary people for about 15 minutes. This happened as she was getting on medication. Before my sister moved in with me, her private practice psychiatrist took her off her medication. When my sister had a problem with the new medication, well my sister had become a bad patient. She should take the medicine. The fact that no real plan was in place to evaluate whether the new drug was the problem or not created a lot of grief and loss for my sister. The medicine was the problem.

Like many schizophrenics, it was not her. It is the world that is a problem. (Sometimes I feel that too.) Long story short, she lost her job and was arrested for disorderly conduct about two years later. The judge told me to get guardianship which I did. Two years without medication created havoc with her reason. It cost me about $1500 to get guardianship.

With appropriate medication, she has made strides in the 8 years she has lived with me. She is content. There is a little dog who is a lifesaver. Why is family different than the wonderful staff at a personal care home? It is someone who will have a conversation with her. Not those "how are you" depth of conversation that I call "gee gaw" talk. No depth, no real interaction occurs. Plus, she cannot afford the cost to live in a personal care home. Remember, it is $525 a month.

For my sister who has had the stroke. It's saying no you cannot move back into your home. You are unable to shower or toilet without assistance. And even when you get disability, it would be a stretch for it to pay for a full time caregiving situation. I am hoping she might be rehabilitated to living independently.  A meaningful life is my hope for her. Her recovery is going well.

How do people get help who live on the margins of society.

A homeless man was hit by a car and killed about two weeks ago in Macon, GA. The family in Ohio were in grief. They had hunted for their schizophrenic relative. Apparently, the people in Macon liked this man and took up money for his final expenses. The family was heartbroken to be taking back ashes versus the family member who disappeared years ago.

Not everyone has the finances or health to do what I do. My sister could have just disappeared 8 years ago. The day I got the call that she was in jail, I was searching for her. She had disappeared two weeks earlier.

I will not be able to do this forever. But I am doing it now. What I do now pays nothing. But it does pay in quality of life. I have never known anyone to live better by running away from problems. We all got problems. My next big goal is to get my affairs in order so that what I have can finance them to live a decent life. My developmentally delayed brother does have a safety net. It's my sisters and myself I am concerned about.

For my friends, I want you to know how small that dog I have in the fight for healthcare. I wasn't born to be a liberal. I wasn't raised to be a liberal. I wasn't inclined to be liberal. I did not work long hours most of my life to be a liberal. I resent the heck out of being called a liberal. But if that is the group of people who will side with me. I'm honored to stand with them.

I live in Georgia where they have cut taxes and defunded  mental healthcare and education. (I still pay 6 percent of my income on taxes, I don't know who got the break for sure.) Obamacare is not perfect by any means. But it is better than nothing or less. So I don't care what your politics are, you best keep up with these new healthcare bills. It affects so many people.

Of course, I could pack everyone up and move to a state with resources which I have known people to do. Georgia is my home. I'm descended from the original settlers.  But that is all baloney. It takes everything I got to keep the house going and people taken care of. I couldn't move if my life depended on it. I don't get my chores done as it is. Plus Georgia is who I am.

I don't want people to feel sorry for me or my family. We all got troubles in this world. I just want people to know why I look at the world the way I do. You might not have a dog in the fight. I hope you never do.

You may never become a caregiver or be the reason for someone becoming an unpaid caregiver. I read of a woman who died in her van that she lived in. She was in Washington state at the time. She was 86. They were looking for a home for her dog. Barbara Woolworth, the Woolworth heir, died with $3000 in her checking account.

And my brother gets $261 a month from social security. My mother uses the money to pay his medicine co-pays.

I have a dream for my little piece of property. It's to develop a place for people like my sister to live. It is still only a dream and may remain that. I'm religious in that I believe God opens and closes doors for a reason. I need to put some concrete in that dream if it will happen. At the moment, I've got a full plate.

In the meantime, take some time to advocate for responsible health care.  If you live in a "have" state, remember there are "have not" states. Politics should not be a decision maker. Be sure to tell your lawmaker that. The your side versus my side will be a death sentence for those that don't have access to healthcare. Promises are not the same thing as what is written as law. Whatever law is written, there will be surprises in it's interpretations.

Healthcare is like all men are born equal. People don't understand the definition. Access to healthcare and the availability of good healthcare are two different things. Call different doctor offices and ask if they accept patients without insurance. There are only a few that do.

All people are not born the same. But we are all born to have the same rights as the next person. I learned the difference in fifth grade. I will not be out protesting. But if someone with a wheelchair needs me to push them into a legislator's office to plead their case. I will.


 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...