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






A dog goes into a bar saying I want to find the man that shot my paw.

I listened to a zoom meeting where Catriona McPherson discussed using humor in your mystery novel. It was unusual in that she did such an or...