Friday, December 24, 2021

So this is Christmas

Tonight, the sun was beneath the horizon and there was that unbelievably beautiful orange glow behind the distant trees. I looked up to see several planets in the night sky. They were roughly in a row. 


People sometimes don't understand how some of us are connected to the natural world. That beauty and permanence is something that takes the troubles of this world off my shoulders. I can't help but think how small we are in the history of mankind and the size of the universe. With or without us, it all will continue to exist.


I've never learned to totally let go of people. I read in the paper about a woman who wanted to stop staying in contact with her ex-husband since their only child was grown, married and a mother. My thoughts were I thought that was the idea of a divorce.


But the truth is, I'm one who holds on to people. My huge problem is my sister who had a stroke. Quite honestly, she was not an easy person before her stroke. There is a movie about Lucille Ball. Her daughter recommended that the writer Aaron Sorkin to take off the "kid gloves". Her mother was not an easy person.


Me, I am a bullshikser from the word go. I'm always persuading people to the point I need to just state the facts and let it go. This is my gift and my disadvantage and a portion of the problem in helping my sister. Humor is an oil and yet a greasy mess at times. 


In dealing with nursing homes and assisted living, it is important to know they have the upper hand. They have a product you have to have for your sanity and the welfare of your loved one. They know the brick walls to throw up and hassle you. And frankly, I know in time I may live in one the facilities. My dad was scared of living in a nursing home. I understand too well. My experiences will delay my going into assisted living as long as I can.


My sister hates where she lives. She is diabetic and is eating sweets which is just about the worst thing a diabetic can do. Her doctor has dropped her. I cannot get another doctor until the end of March. She has a pre-existing appointment with an endocrinologist on March 9th. The facility where my sister lives does not have an in house doctor. Nor can they have someone like my sister who does not have a doctor.


My short term solution was she could live with me. She came home for the holidays and immediately wanted to go back to her place at the Assisted Living which is a good thing. Rude is not the word for her abuse of me. So that solution is not going to happen. Well it may happen. My thoughts is she wants to do a bad business deal like sell her house for a small amount of money. Whenever she is going to do something like that, the first thing she does is get rid of me. 


I'm going to a lawyer and hopefully they can give me some good advice. I don't want to do guardianship for my sister in that she will take me and the rest of my family to hell in a handbasket. I do not want to be legally responsible for someone who will deliberately thwart and make it difficult providing her the care she needs. I know I am not the only person with a difficult, handicapped person. Sometimes I consider writing her off and not contacting her and telling the social worker and nursing home; I am out of here.


On another note, a writer I truly admire has had some horrible blows. Her husband who had dementia passed. There is the guilt of trying to take care of someone with dementia. That guilt is amazing in that taking care of someone with dementia is so very difficult. The other harsh part is she knows she is dying. I will say she appears to have a support system of friends. So my problem is not good. But I am not dying or grieving. 


The plight of refugees fleeing. They leave everything behind towards uncertainty and abuse. I can't imagine having to do that.


It's an older movie. I had tried to watch the movie several times. One day, everything slowed down and I actually paid attention. It was Brighton Beach Memoirs which was a semi-autobiographical story by Neil Simon. The film was followed by two more movies which are Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. I've never watched the latter movies. But Brighton Beach Memoirs really touched me. The father made me think of my own father. They had family from Europe who were escaping the conditions in Germany. Although it was the 1930s and times were tough; the dad says they will find a way to house and feed these people. 


There is something about the Christmas season that is disappointing. To be content is something I have to remind myself all the time.


I remember as a child some pretty fun Christmas days. One of my sisters was born on December 23rd. My mom remembers coming home and finding pieces of candy throughout the house for the longest time. I remember we got skates. Dad didn't want us out on the road. So we skated in circles on the pine floors of our house. Mom said the floors were really scuffed with black marks from all our skating. But somehow, my dad had cleaned all her pots and pans so shiny like they were brand new. I was six that Christmas. So all my stories are hearsay at that time. But I remember it being fun and the skates. My dad knew how to throw a Christmas.


I have purchased a standing rib roast for Christmas. Without my sister, I felt a bit sad that she would not be with us. But the folks at home are game to eat roast beef. I've never cooked a rib roast before. I understand it is not quite as good a cut as prime rib. I've been studying how to cook the meat. I live in the South. We like food done. So our roast will be cooked a might more than other folks would cook it. We don't like red or pink meat. My family are not huge meat eaters. I looked for the smallest roast they had. It is huge. We will be eating sandwiches the next day which will be a huge disappointment to all our dogs under the table.. 


We are also making a Yorkshire pudding. We don't eat much so it will be a small one. Peas and carrots will round out the meal. I'm sure the dogs will quibble over the bits of Yorkshire pudding we share. Truth be told, we will be sneaking meat to each of them. I would invite others. With Covid, I am reluctant to invite others. I am mindful when I go into my sister's assisted living that I could be ground zero for a Covid infection. Plus, I don't know that any in my household would survive. I already know several who have died of Covid. We do have the vaccinations. Next week, we are getting our boosters.


So it will be Christmas. Some good, some bad, but a roof over our heads and a fine meal to boot. I can't complain. It will be 73 degrees and sunny. I'll be working outdoors after dinner. 







Sunday, December 12, 2021

Christmas Letters

 Christmas Letters, You either love them or hate them. I only get one long missive each Christmas. The letter writer is a friend from over twenty years ago and she and her sister were like family to me. I have mostly enjoyed her letters. My mother enjoyed the letters too although she only knew them through what I have said.

But one year it was too much. It wasn't really the letter's intent. It was more my longing for things I have missed in life. 

The production workers in the Kentucky candle factory where so many died in the spate of tornadoes this past weekend made $8 an hour. I've been that worker. I remember making 70 cents an hour at the Tastee Freeze. I felt most fortunate to occasionally pull a second shift and raking in that cash. 70 cents times 8 hours extra. There was no overtime. I worked seven days a week. That job paid for my first year of college. I had the luxury of banking all of my money which I doubt many in the candle factory had. I wasn't exactly that worker in retrospect. 

Living through a tornado, woo doggie, I can't even imagine. I live in the land of tornadoes. I remember walking my dogs, the weather was pleasant between rain storms, my cell phone rang. It was the owners of the property across the road from me. They were asking about a tornado. I said, there was no tornado. I came back into my house and turned on the news. About four miles from me as the crow flies, there had been horrific damage from a tornado. The bank I used was totally demolished. Only the vault remained on it's concrete base. 

On another occasion, there was a teacher who was sheltering in her bath tub. The twister totally demolished her double wide home. It tossed her into the back yard. She sustained a broken ankle. It's obvious she did not return. It is now an empty lot in the country.

The funniest twister story was the inebriated man who was hurled from his home into his backyard unhurt and unfazed due to his drunken state. I don't imagine he found it that funny the next day. That is why I sleep in a bra. I'm prepared to come barreling out of my house come hell or high water. 

My Christmas letter is very simple. 

I am still here. Most of the people I love are still here. 

I still have hopes and dreams. 

The house is a mess. 

My dog BoDuke has arthritis like me. It's hard to keep a dynamo down. But I am insisting he use his little stairs and no longer take a flying jump to give one of the cats or dogs what for. I remind myself to stand up straight  

I've started a new flower bed.

Maybe, I will make it to Bouchercon in Minneapolis this September.

My field of Goldenrod are grayish white puffs of flowers. They are still beautiful in the sunlight.

Life is lot of luck no matter how well you plan.

I am still here.

I wish you the best this Christmas.







With love, Ann

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Same Song Different Title

Kyle Rittenhouse and his mother makes me think of the consequences we face for our actions. Kyle Rittenhouse's lawyer gave the hope that time would allow Kyle to fade into anonymity for his shootings at a riot in Kenosha. Does he follow his lawyer's advice? Does he let political pundits use him as a cause du jour to frankly make money. Does he do some serious introspection about the deaths of two men? Does he sue CNN?

He was too young and untrained to do what he professed a desire to do at the riot. His crying on the witness stand was played all day everyday somewhere on the television. The cynic in me has seen a lot of crocodile tears. I'm one of those people who feel we need to man or woman up to what we have done. My life experience tells me there is a place for mercy with someone so young.

What changed my mind was not his lawyer. If Kyle Rittenhouse and his mother did anything right, it was hiring Mark Richards. Mark Richards changed the focus from politics to the situation and the person. The original lawyer, Lin Wood, was spending through the donations for Kyle's defense and granting interviews with the Washington Post, et al with his client Kyle Rittenhouse.

What changed my mind was reading the profiles of the people Kyle shot. Don't mistake me for one of those people who feel they were scum who deserved to be shot. That is not what I am thinking. What I did recognize is they were unstable violent men. Thousands of years of evolution has given us all that inner instinct to recognize danger in another person. Kyle saw that danger.  

I remember a psychologist who warned teachers to always respect that instinct. I only had one student in my work that evoked that response. 

I worked at an evening high school. He was one of many day school students who were trying to catch up by retaking classes they failed. My night school kids were irritated with their immaturity. The day school kids mistakenly thought they were the better kids. He sat in the front and I had a large student lab table between me and him deliberately. 

 One day, I absentmindedly broke my rule and walked over to the side of the table and that kid reared up at me. Two of my "so called bad kids" were there blocking him from me within seconds. My instincts were right. Those two kids knew it too. It was interesting how the lightbulb went on in the average day school student's heads. They began to to be quiet and polite like my night school gentlemen. 

I suspect Kyle Rittenhouse had an innocence like the day school students. Those two night school students would not be attending a riot. They understand attending a riot can lead to death and injury. Heck we have death and injury where people crowd a music venue. My beef with Rittenhouse and his mother was what fantasy world did they exit when they loaded up for the riot. I can understand why a young man could want the adventure. But momma, you gave him a lift and a "cool" rifle?

Consequence? Originally, I thought he should serve some jail time. I'm tired of everyone who has the money and inclination arming themselves to the teeth with guns and not having a clue what a responsibility and burden it is to be a responsible gun owner. I was raised with rifles and guns. They were considered dangerous tools. I had someone point a gun at me about ten years ago to intimidate me. I still have no respect for this person. 

I was raised to only show a gun as you use it. If you are wondering what I would use a gun for. It would be to be to protect a person or one of my animals from being attacked by a wild animal such as a feral hog or dog. The days are long gone where I would shoot game for dinner. My cousin still shoots a wild turkey on occasion, and they have a nice meal from the meat.

My dogs are working dogs. No one sneaks up on my house. I have a rule that we lock doors and windows at all times. If we were to have a home invader, this would give us time until law enforcement arrived. I know I would not go all Rambo and be successful. I would be scared and make mistakes. My pitbull would be behind me shaking in fear. But my chihuahua, I don't know. I can see the home invader being brought down by him. 

Rittenhouse has a lifetime consequence. I'm sure going through the court case was a hardship on the mother and son. I know it was paid for by donations and Fox news making a documentary. But there are other hardships than financial. Rittenhouse may be emboldened by winning the court case and the urging of people for him to sue CNN or President Biden. My prediction is that doing so will make him never live what he did down. He would be like David Duke with his KKK affiliation or  Zimmerman shooting Travyon Martin.

I see Kyle sort of like the young woman who was photographed hassling black students integrating a school in the 1960s. Her name and image deeply affected her life. She did her best to live it down and remain obscure. Maturity and a conscience led her to work to help black Americans live better. I certainly hope that Kyle takes his notoriety and builds a better life for himself and others. In some sense, being involved in such a notorious event makes a person almost obligated to live a life of redemption.

In humility, I think of times I was shielded from blunders of ignorance. I think about the woman who made a lame joke flying to South Africa and the public condemnation she received because social media took her serious. This is one big reason why I am hesitant to voice public opinions. The other reason is I can think of a lot of other things I would rather do than listen to someone disagreeing with me. 

Plus, I always find things I have had wrong my entire life.

For instance John Fogerty's brother was Tom Fogerty not Dan Fogelberg. I went to see John Fogerty a week or two back. What a great show. He was very close to being as good a showman as Marty Stuart. My favorite was his saxophonist, who had a Dixieland Jazz outfit on. So all these years I have been calling John Fogerty, John Fogelberg. A mistake amplified by the fact that I am a huge fan. The internet is my fact checker. And so many things for me to learn. 






 


Monday, November 15, 2021

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 organized presentation. Writing discussions can ramble all over the place. 

I'm a retired teacher. I can ignore a lot in life. But I am a stickler for detail at times. Over the years I learned how to grade almost anything. They introduced teachers at one time to rubrics to evaluate student work. For most teachers, we had been using rubrics over the years. 

One year, the grade level I worked on agreed to use a rubric to evaluate science fair projects. I was young and dumb. I took the rubric serious. One dad called me upset with the C his child received. Exasperated, he said, "But I worked so hard." Later I learned the other teacher had given all her students A's. I would like to say I was smart enough to change all my grades and be popular too. After all, a science fair is a PR event for the school where all the projects are wonderful and all the students are great. But, I didn't.

Sometimes I find myself grading inane things. And one is any presentation I watch. One thing I do know is that you can learn something from almost everyone. There are so many writers and so much to read that I have become a bit more realistic in acknowledging I can't read everyone's novel. I also have a tendency to read what my blogging friends over years write. Sometimes, it is someone I met at the few conferences I have attended. I'm a huge memoir reader.

I was really hung up on Catriona McPherson's mother's quote that "there is more to life than being happy". I got a phone call and had to walk away during the question period. But I don't know if I would have had the nerve to ask exactly what context her mother said that for. And even though McPherson did an excellent job describing why use humor in a serious story such as a mystery or suspense novel; I can't remember much of her rationale. 

More than anything, she helped me build a character in a story I have been working on. He is the King of "dad" jokes.

These were the notes I took from the presentation. I thought they had a resonance. I highlighted the books she mentioned.



why be funny

there is more to life than being happy

humor is not comfort or whimsy

dark is not more real than light

James Robertson "The testament of Gideon Mack"

To write humor, you must be able to accept people may be offended. She likes what has a bit of bite.

Taking potshots makes you a bully or weak

"My sister the serial killer"   Oyinkan Braithwaite

"Squeeze me"    Carl Hiaasen   offensive?  set in country club of an ex President where the older women are being  bumped off. . lampooning a country club of ex President will hurt no one.

google bad sex awards

punch yourself makes a safe joke

If there was a funny laugh in say a rape, it would have to be from the victim not the rapist. Terrible idea.

There are people with no sense of humor

Germans have a form of humor that is much different than that found in other European languages. (Catriona is a Scot. She doesn't know we Americans don't comprehend anyone speaking anything but English.)

do not say your characters laugh. Do not ever share your characters laugh  no funny speech tag

Be funny throughout if you use humor

How to do humor

Surprise - laughter is response to a pleasurable surprise

      search your writing for cliché and switch it out

Rule of threes

     Add two more things to get something funny

    Works with a running gag  You need to time three good hits. First needs to happen in the beginning.      The second needs to happen quickly.   The third should be a surprise later in the book.

   Three people in dialog helps boost the comedy

Mismatch between style and substance

Standard Joke set-up can be used. 

Consider point of view.  Absurdity is in the eye of the beholder.

Leave on the laugh.

Commit to detail. Detail can also hide a clue. 

Sock barrel 

"Diary of a bookseller" which is a memoir by Shaun Bythelle

What is screwball comedy? I looked up the answer. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the movie would be a good answer.


Below is one of several paintings in a doctor's office interior. I would have liked to gone into the offices to see some better work. The frames and matting hid the artist signatures. 

My next journey in life is to take an art appreciation class. I know if I understood the rationale, I would like the work more. But it may be like all things, what is good is subjective. 








Saturday, October 30, 2021

Passwords be crazy sometimes.




 Except for my phone, I have not had internet the past three weeks. And I missed it. It is hard to believe that I am so attached to surfing the internet. But it is not just surfing, it is the programming by netflix, hulu or discovery+ which interesting enough, I rarely use. Paying bills and checking my bank balance are other big items. 

I have always found it interesting to need a password to pay a bill. I paid a large amount to keep the electricity on for my brother's house. I sort of had to hack my way into the system to keep the bill paid. I can't see having to spend the day getting service shut off and turned back on. Plus the presentation of legal papers seem like counterfeit to the person working in the window. Obviously, I am a very suspicious woman.

It has been a chore getting his house ready to sell. I now understand why people start giving items away willy nilly after a death. Truth be told, I have not been ready to let go of my brother. I took papers to be shredded and I felt like my brother was left there. I had the mental urge to go back and get him. Ridiculous I know. It did make it easier to take the next batch.

Isn't it interesting how businesses who collect debts can't divulge private information but they will tell you the X amount of money they want to be paid. When my younger sister had a stroke, I had to piece together her life for awhile. She was out of the mental business. For some bills, I waited until the second billing to make sure she had not paid it the first time. 

I will say Verizon was very kind to reactivate my sister's phone number after the bill had gone unpaid for much too long. Some things had to slide. It is difficult keeping up with someone in the hospital or rehab. A hospital rehab insisted I spend the night in a chair to make sure she didn't fall out of bed. It was a hellish three weeks for me. I would rush home, catch a few hours sleep, take care of everyone a little bit and then return.

The worst experience was the naïve clerk at my sister's insurance wanting me to pay her premium. I would call her the idiot but that was me. I paid the bill. What were they going to do? Cancel her car insurance? The car is still unused in her driveway. 

My sister was a civil service employee and the only way to get her W-2 for taxes was to access her federal account. This is why I needed her phone reactivated. The phone had a yahoo account active which I could access. I did my sister's taxes for 2015. To get her W-2 to do the taxes; I had to access her federal email account. One benefit of being a sister, I guessed her security questions with her permission. Good thing I could guess them, at that time she could not recall the answers. They sent a temporary password to her home address. 

I've heard of people who give way off answers to security questions to foil people like me. I have tried that in the past and found myself permanently locked out of an account. There was no remembering what I had put down and I am sure there is a scratch of paper that I carelessly scribbled it on in my office somewhere. I can see myself puzzled after reading it and wadding it up to toss into the trash can. 

This brings me back to passwords. My sister had borrowed money from an annuity. They would not let me make a payment. My sister says, she will pay the penalty which turned out to be quite expensive. But at least I was able to file her taxes. I printed several years worth of W-2s in case we needed them. We didn't. 

My internet was repaired on a Tuesday. And another man came and repaired the line last Monday. Apparently, lightning had damaged the phone lines on the road where I live. The first man went a mile down the road. But as the technician said, one side was not working. Hmmm.  

My DSL has a history of working well and then slowly going downhill until it does not work. On the same day that someone bombed the AT&T, by coincidence my internet began it's latest descent into not working. Then boom, lightning must have traveled down the line to disrupt my internet. 

I know I should immediately contact AT&T when it first starts. It is always a bit of a hassle. It is a shame that getting something repaired should be as easy as they collect the bill. They ask, did you check x, y or z? Then they ask, could you check them again. I do. I know I could lie but what would that really help. By some miracle someone in India may fix my internet. My truth serum would be the potential of being embarrassed by the technician doing the suggestion to fix the problem.

I've seen on twitter where people are saying quit AT&T over their support of a right wing news channel. First, I don't boycott over politics. Second, the news channel is a business decision (They's money in them strong opinions). AT&T also owns Times Warner which includes my favorite news channel, CNN. 

I did get on Facebook via my phone. I follow several "I smell Bacon" sites which really is I like the updates on car wrecks, and gossip.  Anyway this woman was blasting a "Karen" for running her off the road. I was so relieved it was not my SUV. Can you imagine going on line and finding out your car has been outed. This post erupted into a fight and the "Karen" basher stopped comments. Those comments can be a riot. My fellow "Baconites" were not sure her story was the only story. Have you ever noticed that those that can dish it out can't take it tossed back to them. Oh well, that is another blog post.

This plant has a myriad of names. I have always heard it named Mullein. It grows well on the sides of the roadway. The plant has been used to make a tea which helps the lungs. The jury is still out as to whether this is true. The plant is not indigenous to North America but it is not considered invasive. It is a naturalized plant in that it can reproduce without human help but never to the point it disrupts the ecosystem. 



Thursday, September 9, 2021

 Autumn slightly edges out Spring as my favorite time of the year. Much of it is due to the milder temperatures. The lawn part of my property is a bit out of control. I've mowed a little of the worst about half way. Tonight, I plan to work a bit more. I could wait a few months and really have an easier time maybe. Next year I plan to purchase another riding mower. The push mower is moving the snake line further back.

Where I live, how much I mow is flexible. Some will not be mown before winter sets in. I love the Autumn wild flower parade. There is a new coyote in residence which makes me want to mow a bit. The dogs will only go out close to the house in the mornings and evenings with a longer walk midday. I'll be able to admire my flowers better. Besides the coyote is quite sneaky. We have to be mindful of him or her all the time.

My favorite snake which I missed a photo opportunity was a nosy black coachwhip? that arched his head up to look at me. Coachwhips will chase you. Upon catching you, they wrap around your leg and beat you badly. My dad told me that story with the additional information that the snake is just nosy. The snake only wants to get a good look at you hence the chase. I've heard stories of being chased. 

I'm a snake respecter. I definitely do not have a hankering to hold one; although, I have held many. My favorite time was rescuing my body builder neighbor in a duplex. He couldn't walk out his door because of a snake which was probably a black rat snake. I gingerly picked up the snake and walked it to a wooded area about 100 yards (meters) from our homes. 

One time my dogs were all barking at a harmless King snake. The yellow lab, Mathilda, I owned at the time kept retrieving the dang snake and dropping it at my feet. Each time I squealed like the body builder. I don't think Mathilda was being all hoity toity with me. Just being a retriever is the vibe I was getting. I swept the rather large snake onto a large shovel and gently tossed it over the fence to the overgrown pasture. It was rather pretty.

About two months ago, I saw how a copperhead got it's name. There was one in the middle of my driveway. I turned immediately. It was coiled, hissing, glittering gold in the sunlight. My dogs did not follow my instruction to turn around and come home quickly. They had to approach the snake. They hadn't ever made an acquaintance with that snake. Fortunately, nothing happened. We do have rattlesnakes which I have seen. I've had two dogs to die of snake bites. 

One time I had the biggest rattlesnake in my garage. I literally swept it out with a push broom. I had called the sheriff department and the young woman officer was going to shoot it with a shotgun but it was too close to the house. When we walked around the car, that dang snake was gone like disappeared. I had a large Confederate Rose plant that she felt the snake disappeared into.

I sort of wondered it it was a spirit in that it disappeared so quickly. I did not want to say that to the officer in that she would have thought I was crazy for sure. Plus, the snake was very solid when I swept it out of the garage. 

According to Native American mythology, the snake is a harbinger of change. Now, I don't know which group of folks share that exact belief so I made a quick google of snake symbolism. The Greeks felt snakes were sacred and used in healing rituals. This is why two snakes encircling a staff is used as a medical symbol called a Caduceus. 

Caduceus on a gravestone, Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland
Wikimedia Commons Link to Photo

Above is a gravestone found at Glasgow Cathedral in Scotland. Below is a caduceus found on the Russell Dixon Building in Washington DC USA.

Russell A. Dixon Building Caduceus (Washington, DC)


Caduceus yellow



For those of us with  Judeo-Christian heritage, we all know the allegory of a serpent being the tempter of Adam and Eve in the story of original sin. 

Moses staff was turned into a serpent before the pharoah and was used to part the Red Sea. The staff was adorned with a snake which protected the Israelites from snake bites as they wandered the Sinai for 40 years. Moses was not allowed into the promise land because out of anger, he hit a rock with the staff to provide water and did not have faith to simply ask the rock.


My favorite insect is a snake doctor. That is probably my cosmic connections to the snake. Truthfully, I admire all creatures. My dad would have us to capture spiders and take them outside. Dad said everything has got a job to do.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Words are powerful. Words are often said with lack of forethought. The hardest ones are those said which you no longer believe.

It has been 26 years since O J Simpson killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. I think he killed her. The dog present was a Spitz and that dog would have attacked a stranger for harming its owner.  Judgement is mine says the Lord; so God forgive me if I am wrong. One of the detectives, Mark Fuhrman, was asked if he used the n word. Fuhrman said no. The defense immediately proved he used the word which allowed the jury to consider that all his testimony was possibly lies. 

That was a racially charged case that made the daily news until my dad would answer the phone, if you are going to talk about O J or the flood, hang up. We also had a flood in July of 94 in central Georgia.

What I was always dumbfounded about was Mark Fuhrman saying he had never said the n word. All whites of a certain age used the pejorative at one time. My mom considered it cursing and you better not say it around her. It was negro or colored you were to use which are considered pejoratives now. I've heard whites get in a dither on what you should call black people. Times change and popular opinion changes. On a deeper level, people change their attitudes. 

Back to Mark Fuhrman, why didn't someone tell him to tell the truth whether it was embarrassing or not. His credibility was at stake. But no one wants to admit to being a bigot. Some of the most embarrassing moments of my life was when I tried to hide uncomfortable truths. 

I wonder about the LAPD in Mark Fuhrman not being prepared for the aggressiveness of the defense attorneys to label him a racist and a liar to mitigate his negative testimony. My dad said be careful answering a lawyer's questions, a question can have a twist. 

Public figures are held to a different standard in voicing unpopular opinions. But what I don't agree with is an 18 year old self's opinion being used to judge a 40 something or older self. I think of myself at 18. I had some opinions so long ago, I don't remember them. If I remember correctly, some of my opinions were just to be a bit rebellious. 

I have a fascination with the political opinions of my classmates. It is interesting who is a conservative and who is a liberal and who is in between and the political party they identify with. For many of us, there was no prediction of where we landed. Maybe.

There is a difference between speech and actions. There is also the capacity for change. One problem all censorship does creates is people do not share what they feel or think. I'm considered a bitch by some. It has to do with I will tell people uncomfortable truths if they need to know them. More like, their health or pocketbook is going to be affected. 

Lately it is over the vaccine. I don't get into any conversation deliberately. But if asked, I say get the vaccine. It makes me miserable that really nice people cannot recognize that they are being bullsh--d about the vaccine. The vaccine is saving a lot of lives. 

People talk about technicalities like titering their antibodies due to a previous infection when the best protection is the vaccine. If I have to read 5 paragraphs how you have had cancer and did the research, I know you are an anti-vaxxer apologist. Get the vaccine if you are able. There are some who cannot get the vaccine due to health reasons. That is why the rest of us need to get the vaccine. To stop a terrible virus that can infect us all. Honestly, I think it will be a decade before the virus is dealt with. If it is vanquished at all. 

We use the phrase "n word" in our house for chicken nuggets. My mom's dog Josey eats a few nuggets every morning. When we drive by Chick fil A, her eyes watch the sign as we approach and pass by. 

You cannot say chicken or nugget in her presence without her wanting some chicken. Soon we will need another word. She is a smart dog. She will know n word is just another word for nugget or chicken. 

JoJo, the chicken nugget eater


Monday, August 16, 2021

 My life is a hurry up and wait, you're behind, you're behind, life is wonderful, I love my animals and nature, oh hell how am I going to manage this mess. 


 Currently, my sister is going into a wonderful assisted living facility. You can't know how much peace of mind this gives me. I have a huge sadness when I realize this is the beginning of the end for all of us. My mom is 91. There is no reason for me to feel all of our lives are over. But there is change coming. One woman who my sister tries to avoid at mealtime at the rehab constantly rehashes the things she cannot do any longer. She is talking to the wrong sister. I can sympathize with mourning for what has been.

I've healed for the most part from my fall. My back hurting at night is alleviated by getting up and sleeping in a chair. I had this problem before the fall. What is niggling me is my brother's welfare. He is developmentally delayed. So I think about moving into independent living in the near future. Not that I really need to. I am just concerned if something happened to me that he is taken care of. My other tactic is to start attending meetings with workshops organisations for the developmentally delayed. 

My brother as well as myself are enjoying our retirement in our home with all of our pets. My brother will call the dogs stupid when they ignore his orders. I try to give him other words to use like hard headed, bossy. We do have spoiled animals. My sister who is moving into assisted living was aggravated with me and fussing at me. I was miserable and what does my little lap dog do. He sits by her wheelchair and refuses to come with me. I look at his warm eyes and he seems to say to me. I gots work to do taking care of Donna.

There are a myriad of animals that live around my house. There is the deer that stands nearby when I am mowing. There is another deer with her twins who live under a broken branch of an old Pecan tree. The branch is covered with wild muscadine vines. I almost cleared it last winter but ran out of time. Lucky for the deer, it makes a good shelter from the rain. There is an enormous buck that hangs around my back yard. I like the stout, alert ears of the armadillos when they see me. Today, I had a turkey buzzard on top of my house. I've started calling them country pigeons. They are everywhere like pigeons on a city street.

The red clay of rural Georgia has seeped into my soul or maybe my soul was wrested from the clay. As a young woman I wanted to live in New York City and have a very exciting life. The closest I got was Atlanta, GA. I look at a lot of my classmates and they live in the Atlanta area. What drew all of us bumpkins to Atlanta are the jobs and central heating and air. You can live so much better there.

It will take me several years to get to all the minor things to make way for a big move. It is not like it has to happen soon. I know some people put their family members in a group home as a protective move from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as Hamlet would say. But you know, my brother enjoys the freedom and luxury of living in a home with his pets. I can't see giving that up either. 

Living in the country, you are sheltered from so much. There is really no one nearby and if someone were to think they could slip up on my house, my rag tag pack of dogs are ready. When we first moved here, we had a bulldog named Lugnut come to our yard looking for love. I had 7 female dogs and 3 males. My toy poodle bit him on his haunches. My immediate thought was that was the last of my poo boy. Then one of the females nipped him from the other side. My pack was nipping him from every direction. Lugnut decided to go home. We renamed him Luigi. Nothing that lonely for love should have been called Lugnut.

My immediate goal in life is to try to get a balance to have a bit more free time and a safety net for my family members. When one door closes another one will open and I hope I am smart enough to walk through it. 

I live in the land of the anti-vaxxer. One man shared how he had two good friends who had a child to die from the vaccine. I felt like saying, who are these friends. But I dropped it with a polite, probably weak smile. I don't waste time with liars. We all have our flaws and believe me I have them. I have a temper which I control for the most part. But I don't believe in lying. I used to believe in the white lie. Over the years, I noticed the damage lies did for parents trying to raise their children. They could do a lot to correct a behavior early than let them become an older teen where it too ingrained. 

I want to rewrite a screenplay I wrote. I will probably doing a big rewrite in that I have no clue on which hard drive I have a copy. When I finish, I thought I might try to make a film as a hobby. A hobby I am deadly serious about. A hobby none the less. So maybe I will write about things a bit more fun in the future. Feel free to critique the pieces I post on line. I'll give you a taste of my Scot temper marinated in the hot sun of Georgia. Then I will fix the play and thank you later.

I hope you are having a good day. My brother always said Have a good day and a better tomorrow.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

 Two and a half weeks ago, I took a nasty fall in my home. I was packing everyone up to go grocery shopping. The kitchen and hallway were swept and I decided to mop them when we returned. I briskly walked through the kitchen, with my phone, keys, a bag of recyclables, I found my self falling. Obviously it was a small puddle of urine which is the reason why I mop daily. This is my older brother's elderly dog. A dog who won't die. A dog who is loyally sleeping by my feet as I type this. A dog that barks at my longtime lap dog in anger for getting in my lap.

My doctor who I saw a week later told me to be careful to not fall. GeEWhiz, I Did nOT KnoW. 

It was a fall that was unusual in that I could not get off the floor. I had hurt my back about a week before. My mother had lost her hearing aid which entailed me getting on the floor with a hurt back and looking under her chair. I was able to get up. She found her hearing aid in her ear. 

My right leg and my left hand was injured in the fall. I get a call from my sister's nursing facility. The woman asks if it a good time to talk. She advised me to call 911. And I did after about 30 minutes. I knew I would not be able to get up. 

I am not sure about fate and what you have to learn in the cosmic universe. But I did learn ibuprofen is some good stuff. My knee proceeded to swell. I was so glad to have handicap equipment in the house. I sat in a wheelchair and used a walker for the minimum walking I had to do. It was a misery. But I did get a good lesson in what members of my family go through from my mother not wanting to bend her knee to my sister with a stroke avoiding having to stand to transfer from bed to wheelchair. 

And the drama continues with my sister in the nursing facility. They are locked down due to Covid. This is interesting in that many of the staff refuse the vaccination. My sister has been vaccinated.

My sister will not take my calls. She has had a "friend" tell her what a rotten situation she is in. Last time I talked to her, she had a litany of places that were better for me to check out. I was discouraged to say the least. So as I ran errands, my 91 year old mother called her and gave her a talking to. I have to handle this sister like dynamite, she explodes so easily. There has been a lot of craziness. My sister has had a stroke and it affects her judgement. 

Anyway, sister unfriended me on Facebook which means her drama fest is in full swing. The money she had in an annuity which I was going to withdraw to pay her nursing home fees are in limbo. As the responsible party, I will be stuck with her bill once again. As aggravating as all of this is, it is a heck of a lot better than physical pain. 

One thing I did not learn in life is to not care about things. One night after I had gassed up my car, I saw a homeless couple with their dog. The dog was actually picking at the young woman. I rolled down a window and gave them a twenty. It was all I could do to not say get in and take her home. But I know there is always a story with a story. I don't know why they were homeless. I don't know if they were not homeless and just begging for spending money. I don't know if they would murder me and drive on down the interstate. 

I do know if they appreciated the help, life has probably jaded them to the point they would be difficult to live with. One cause of homelessness and having no one to help is the tendency to burn your bridges. 

At the moment, I feel pretty jaded. I would like to take a walk outside. But the coyotes are active close to my house. I know they want to eat cat. But I never like to be outside when they are near. I'm a bit scared of them.

What makes me feel better are the myriad of pets I have. I've got two backyard cats that are real hams about being fed. They are both feral cats that decided hanging out with a human is not bad, not bad at all. Good thing they got an open mind. I think I will try that a bit too. Meanwhile it is 5:30 in the morning and I have not gotten much sleep. 


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Getting an IV Drip

 I had to look up whether an IV drip was made for treating a bout of heavy drinking after reading about a singer who drank too heavily on a television show where the host imbibes too much alcohol with his guests. Article Here. It turns out, there are IV bars where people get an IV for having drank too much alcohol or for general health benefits. Article Here.

Fads come and go, you see pictures from 40 or 50 years ago and you don't even notice you were so immersed. I remember bellbottoms and miniskirts. Coming home from college I wore a below knee length skirt which shook up my friends at church. I was going mod on them in an ugly fashion sense. I agreed with everyone that the longer skirt looked strange. At 18, you can have three or four opinions without embarrassment.

I've always been a linear thinker. Oh I have had a few epiphanies. They were far and few between. So I was a bit impressed with this 34 year old Texan named Matt Tunstall who has lived in California for the past three years where he has created two political PACs. The PACs impersonate Trump and draws most of it's donations from retirees. Essentially what money is spent on politics is to create robocalls. Both PACs have collected 3.4 million dollars based on federal filings. And yes, most of the funds are used to pay Matt a generous paycheck. There has also been filings of missing funds. Hmmmm

Needless to say, this guy is living the life of Riley. He tools around Los Angeles in an expensive sports car, wears designer glasses, jewelry and clothes. Calling himself an influencer on Instagram and tik tok, he gives himself credit as an award winning writer and executive producer on LinkedIn. But he basically shams old people into making donations in their devotion to Donald Trump. Then he adds insult to injury in that he uses what he needs to keep the PAC legal? on robocalls tooting different causes of the Trump. CNN article about Tunstall's PAC

Unethical is all I can say to describe him. But you have to admit, he is ingenious in generating all that cash. It will be interesting to find how his future works. I certainly would not want a daughter to marry him. You would know going in, he is shallow money grubber. I've wondered if he will have a "come to Jesus moment" to excuse his manipulation of people for money. Hopefully he will not become a televangelist and really rake in the dough. 

My brother was a Trumper and I am a never Trumper. We agreed on one thing, never send a politician money. 

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has raised 3.4 million dollars since her election. Who says talking smack does not pay. She and Matt Gaetz have been traveling the country talking about issues that get some people all riled up. Both have a chance of a snowball in hell of being re-elected. Matt Gaetz may be serving time for having sex with an underage female. (Maybe, his father is very wealthy and it is Florida.) Mountain people who elected Greene don't like looking like fools. There must be about twenty people interested in running for her office. But I think she gets to keep the money. 

I rarely donate to the large charities. I donate locally to the many small non-profits that help people in central Georgia. 

Any way, I don't think I will be getting an IV drip anytime soon. At least I hope not. And my head just swims with the audacity and greed of people sometimes. But this is one retiree they hopefully will never get a dime from. I hope. My mom's mind slips at times, but she still knows how to manage her money.

This is my second great grandfather and family. I think my great grandfather Duard William Bennett is the young man on the horse in the back. 




Saturday, July 17, 2021

Slave Labor and Mob Rule

 Hey, I'm talking about Brittney Spears. 

Not these children of migrant cotton field workers from May of 1937. Photo by Dorothea Lange.


DorotheaLangeMigrantWorkersChildren


I am much too old to appreciate the talents of Brittney Spears. She is beautiful and must be a wonderful performer to garner the fans she has. She's dressed very sexy and is aggressively approaching some defenseless male in an airplane in the one that I watched. I did not finish. I did not watch a second. I doubt I would have watched them as young woman. Maybe. I don't know. As a teacher, I appreciated why we weren't allowed to call boys as a teenager. Girls could be outright pests for some boys and their family with incessant phone calling. I got that vibe from the video.

I'm not the sort of person who becomes a super fan. Although I was very disappointed to discover Sean Connery was the same age as my father. The fact that I never met him or knew what he was like; I was in love with him. But I have felt the same love for Tommy Lee Jones and Hal Ketchum. Just a huge crush that was a bit of fun.

It looks like we are going to see what a mean woman Brittney Spears can be to her father. I have a mentally ill sister living with me. None of them need their meds, just ask them. So getting Brittney off a conservatorship without evaluation is going to be an interesting feat. I mean if she does not have a conservator, does not take meds for her mental illness, and her 58 million disappears does she qualify for medicaid or what?

This has hit me personally in that both of my sisters have squandered a great deal of money denying they have a problem. I've picked up the pieces for both. And both are just as candid on what nasty things they have said about me. So this is where I am with Brittney wanting her father prosecuted. How did she get from 2 and a half million to 58 million in the past 13 years with him stealing her money. She only wants to have a baby and marry her 26 year old boyfriend. Brittany Spear's father may be wrong but I doubt he does not love his daughter.

And these fans, who needs a court system with laws when people can just mob up and protest. Frankly, this protesting is too much in this country.  I remember a teacher I worked with had an argument with her child's high school teacher. I wasn't listening in detail because I was eating and having a break. But I remember her summation. The important thing was she got her way. Her son was a jerk. 

There is a huge distance between social justice and Brittany Spears being a slave.

My question is. Why didn't boyfriend hire her a lawyer? 

Another question is why are we to believe Brittney point blank and not listen to her father side.

Another question is why are people close to her so damn scared. They give the response they support Brittany but they don't broach the topic.

Another question involves an on air personality stating he saw Brittney in a drugged like state and observes maybe she does not need her meds. Meds that treat Bi-polar and Schizophrenia do not make you seem drugged. I do know for Bi-Polars, they love the mania but the depression is hell. So if Brittney was drugged, hmm, why? Which leads to the question, why would an educated person who is untrained feel they can make that recommendation.

Another question, who doesn't have a loving father who would be a pain in the arse running their life. My father who I loved was so controlling it made you miserable at times. I can tell you it is a privilege getting to know your elderly parent like my mother. But, my life is constantly observed, edited, etc. I fell last Monday and reinjured a hurt back, a knee and a wrist. I am sleeping in a lift chair beside my mother. We are more connected than when I was two. It is terrible. 

Another question is why does the general public think that someone that has mental illness is a complete imbecile unable to do anything? Schizophrenics make up 1 percent of the population. Of that one percent, roughtly 10 to 20 percent have lifelong psychotic episodes. Which means 80 to 90 percent do not. People with Bi-Polar make up another one percent. Twenty percent of people at any given time are suffering from mental illness. So how do we jump to the conclusion that someone with mental illness is non-functional.

I think Brittany should get what she wants. As long as you aren't hurting other people or doing anything criminal, you have the right to live your life as you want. One thing that is hard for parents is to step back and allow your child to live their lives mistakes and all. I do understand why celebrities are speaking up. It allows them to tap into Brittney's fan base. Some may have strong genuine feelings on Brittany's behalf. My concern would be the level of mental illness that she suffers. There is a huge difference between someone being treated for mental illness and someone who is not treated. 

From Brittany Spears anger I feel a confusion. Is she vicious? Is it righteous anger? Who knows. But we will read dribble about her poor miserable life off and on for a while.

Meanwhile, the West coast of the United States is burning. There is flooding in Europe. People are dying of Covid who intentionally declined the vaccine. I know. A cousin of mine recently passed from Covid. The misinformation from so called experts who has made some people paranoid about a supposed Big Brother aspect of everyone getting the vaccine is the problem. I really would like Brittany Spears to go after these folks. Their misinformation is killing people.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Working Dogs

 Americans really like their dogs. I can still picture an older man with his arm around his dog like a girlfriend and talking to it as they slowly drove down a minor highway. The man leaned into his dog as he took a right turn on a small road that would cross a railroad track. This happened easily 40 years ago.

In June of 1997, I purchased a miniature poodle at a yard sale. I was hoping he would be large miniature. He was a small miniature and never weighed over 10 pounds. At the time I had a 90 to 100 pound Golden Retriever mix. I would walk the two dogs. The large dog would want to stop and enjoy the scenery and lay down on me. In time, Mr. 9 pounds would do the 90 pound dog lay down. I humored him some. One night my large dog was at the vets recovering from a minor surgery. I began to walk my small dog at twilight and realized my rural walk was not going to happen. Mr. 9 pounds was not the protection Mr. 90 pounds was.

The world can be a messy, miserable place. I certainly believe "Survival of the Fittest" is the rule versus the exception in the most civilized of countries. I have two mentally handicapped siblings and this is why I moved home and began helping my mother. My big regret is that I did not do so when my father was alive. The year before he passed, I came home for about two days every week. I began working at an evening high school which had a longer day but the luxury of a four day work week. It was a jolly year for us.

My older brother is developmentally delayed. One time he tried to tell me that people were mean to him and he did not like to walk the dogs. A week or so later, I was following him and my sister walking their dogs. As I caught up, the children who were taunting them saw me. They froze in their tracks and rode off on their bikes. They recognized me as a teacher at their school. 

There is a sadness you feel that is so very old. My brother's siblings would get into fights to protect this brother. I remember one man coming to our home because my squirt of a brother who was about 8 had taken on his 13 year old child who was easily double my brother's size and threatened to call the law. The fact that they never answered the door when my mother had gone to talk to them about the bullying made me laugh on the inside to witness him practically crying about what my brother had done.  His son was not injured. 

I have a sister who developed schizophrenia when she was 19. It is a horrible brain disease. She is quite feisty and people will leave her alone. But there is the other problem which is much worse. It is the isolation of people avoiding her. She is harmless and the medication she takes now has really helped. They say the stigma of mental illness will begin to end as they develop treatment. 

It was with great sadness when my other sister had a stroke. She lost a part of herself and man did the predators swoop in. They are still about and it is a big concern for me and the people who love her. She wants to live independently which she manages. But she needs help. 

So I see the ugly side of humanity. I think about it when I get older. Will someone step up for me? Heck I don't know if I will live that long. I don't believe in worrying about what has not happened.

But I remember walking my dogs. A big burly man in his beat up truck stops and backs up. He is beaming as he shows me his little white poodle with a pink bow on it's head. I drive down the road and see a working class black man walking a foo foo dog of some sort. Another time and day, I am sitting in a park watching a group of kids walking their dog much that is larger than themselves. This gives me a lot of hope for what goes well in the world.  

I currently own nine dogs. Three dogs work as boon companions to my mother, brother and sister that live with me. Three dogs are quite elderly and are pets inherited from one of my brothers who has passed and two from my sister who had a stroke. The final three are mine. 

No one sneaks up on our house. My bulldog is probably my crime preventer where I live.  But it is my Chihuahua mix that is going to rip the home invader in half. The bulldog will only participate if that person makes the mistake of trying to hurt her little buddy.  The mother of the chi mixes is a great ratter too. Almost as good as these cats I have. 

Today there was a deer in my front yard. It seems to know me and wasn't bothered by my mowing. It looked at me. I looked at it. And the elderly 18 year old 6 pound dachshund barked her head off. I was impressed the dog had located the deer.

My older brother's dog is about 60 pounds and about 17 years old. She is blind and cannot hear. I always have to make sure where she is when I approach the road to fetch the newspaper or mail. My mother fell when I went to my brother's house to pack his things. When the medics came, my sister had put all the dogs but the two old ladies up. Well my brother's dog walks up to them and growls "No entry into my house".

My sister put her up but the medics waited for a law enforcement officer to come. As the medic explained, it is when you try to pick someone up that the dog attacks. They are only defending their owner. As aggravating as it had to be for my mother being delayed in being picked up by a toothless, blind hound; my mother had to call her sister that night to brag on the dog. 

My brother's dog does more than just eat. She pees all over the place. But that is another story.



Friday, June 4, 2021

You can call me kitty kitty

 I've always been impressed by people who walk to a different drummer and dare to go out of the norm. I am ambivalent about the fact that I am the person who seeks to blend into the crowd. My older brother would take them on. I grew up in a family that could easily stand out and then there was me, my mother, my sisters and one of my brothers who only wanted to blend in. We were all utter failures to conform in our own way. My dad was born to not give a damn and was a social butterfly.

The funniest thing my dad did was he and my uncle went to a wedding together. Both men liked to talk and go to a party. 

My older brother had great social skills that I did not recognize until I was older. We had a good family but we had our struggles. One thing that happened to my brother and I is we had to enter the world at an earlier age and become independent. Both of us relied on our wits. 

For me it was going to college which at that time you could work and pay for most. Several of us would live in an apartment to save money. I lived in a run down trailer one year and it was incredibly cheap. The fashion at the time was "hippie", so a pair of jeans or three and a selection of tops was all I needed. I'm glad I did not come of age in the sixties. It would have been a choice of fashion or college.

My brother got the poor man's college. He joined the Army and made a tour of Vietnam and came back very troubled. He drank heavily most of his life. Besides being a helicopter mechanic, he was a doorgunner for the helicopter. Vietnam was the frat party from hell. I wanted him to write a book. He didn't want to write a book. In many ways, my brother was my best friend in life. I had thought as we got older, I would get the stories out of him and write them down. As I go through his paperwork, I can't help but notice he had the same family traits as all of us. 

But my brother had the guts to be himself. Me I have conformed. I think of hilarious things to say and strange things invoke a humor in me that I don't share. My brother would let it rip. When leaving the hospital after losing part of a foot about a year before he passed, the nurses gave the biggest smiles when he was leaving. He had entertained in a cantankerous funny way during his stay. One night he had a pizza delivered.

I remember at the first hospital, two young nurses were constantly checking on him because they loved the banter. I told him to watch his salty language. The young gals turned and looked at me and said they could handle it. They were enjoying the entertainment. I can imagine them sitting at the dinner table with their parents. They were that young. 

What has made me considered to walk to a different drummer is that I am not a follower nor a leader. I got my independence very early in life like 4 years old. We had a neighbor that had a past. My father had lived in the same boarding house as her. To protect her virtuous reputation, she spread stories about my family. One was that we were part black and I was the proof. I suspect it was a power trip as well for her. As a consequence, I have always been suspect when someone cautions me about an individual. In my mind, I feel the tick tock what is it for you to control how I feel. 

I thought this had something to do with the fact that I do not have racist tendencies. In living with my mother, I now recognize my parents were not racist. My mother is very open minded and recognizes how badly black people were treated. Looking back at my family, I remember how sad my parents were when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I remember my dad saying he was a good guy. It would be much harder for race relations without him. I also remember what my dad said when I told him what the neighbor was saying. He would not even look up from his reading and said he liked black people. It was OK with him. 

My contention with organized religion I think is genetic from my father's side. My dad is mostly Scottish with a bit of Welsh and English thrown in along with an errant Viking. I have recognized that my doubt of God was more from an anger at people using religion for their advantage. Even today, I feel disgust with television preachers who collect enormous sums from people who have very little. A lot of our social connections in the South are connected to our churches.  

I would go to church. But, I struggle with not having enough time as it is. I'm a moving target anyway. Most of the time I am busy working and not thinking of anything really. I get my best ideas mowing grass for some reason. I have wondered if it is not like meditation and perhaps the angels can get my attention more easily.

Anyway, I was a lucky person to know my brother. I would say Rest in Peace; but, I think he is in heaven. 






Saturday, May 22, 2021

Life is Good

     Well we dodged a proverbial bullet on my birthday. The day before my mother wanted to eat some Japanese food and it made her ill. I'm agreeing with her that it was a bit of food poisoning. (My developmentally delayed brother is the only person in the family that will argue with mom. When you look at family photos, my mother has him next to her with her arm around him.) Truth is, the food was too oily for her stomach. I fear what makes Japanese and Chinese food tasty are meat renderings. 

   We like a dish called company cabbage. You add a bit of vinegar and bacon to the cooked cabbage. When carrying the leftovers from the dining room to the kitchen I got a whiff of Chinese food. Hence I discovered one of the magic ingredients in Chinese food is probably bacon grease. My former night school students who worked at restaurants told me they coated potato skins with bacon grease before they were cooked to create a popular appetizer at that time.

   It truly is very scary with a 90 year old parent. I spent the night in her room. Before going to bed, she told me she was scared of dying. I told her that was quite reasonable. She was having difficulty breathing and had only taken one of her meds that day. So I had her take her water pill with her portable toilet by her bed. We proceeded to sleep. I slept through her getting up and down to deal with the water pill. At 3:30 am, I woke up and thought it was morning. Took a few dogs out and looked at the time. I decided to lay down on my bed for a quick snooze and woke at 7 am. When I returned to my mother's room, she was back to normal. I cheered her up. Did she want to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

  So once again I went to my personal purgatory. I purchased sodas but somehow I filled my buggy with other items. Mostly I sat in the car with the dogs until my sister returned. She loves the grocery store too. We shop at a Kroger that sells housewares, clothes, shoes. It is a great one stop shop similar to Walmart without the electronics department. I had two books with me. I am reading one that is "meh". I plan to finish to broaden myself. Isn't it bad luck to not finish a book. 

   "Little Scarlet" by Walter Moseley is calling my name. I look at that sleek red cover, oh my. Oh my, I'm definitely 65. Walter Moseley's sleuth is Easy Rawlins. I'm hoping he proves to be interesting. I saw Walter Moseley speak in the online Bouchercon this past year. He has a cool voice which I expect to hear as I read. I am hoping to go to Bouchercon this next August in New Orleans. It is a 6 hour drive which is reasonable. 

  It is a funny feeling when your mother who announced every year I was her best mother's day present has forgotten my birthday. This is the second time, so the sting is not there. And then, she asks me about my birthday a few days later. My mom's younger sister who is 79 has told her she has Sundowners. What is it with siblings? Fortunately, my mom thinks it is a family thing and is easily cured by a cup of herbal tea. My mother had a bit of disorientation when she was hospitalized about two years ago. This is when my aunt made the diagnosis. 

But where does time go. I think I'll have my mother awhile. She really is of sound mind for the most part. She does remind me to attend to some financial affairs of hers. But that decline is something I recognize even in myself. And for the record, I am not a big birthday person. Now if my brother Tim was alive, the day would have been celebrated Covid or No Covid. 

We have been to the regular doctor and heart doctor. Things are looking good. Both men are very good men. Mom spent her time at the heart doctor explaining how she made soap back in the day. He basically told me to keep good records of her blood pressure so he could tell how her meds were working. 

Today in the grocery store, there was a very cute and grumpy little girl who was say a year old. I smiled and waved at her. She liked that. We took turns waving at each other. Sometimes, I get to be a teacher again where I learned some mystical body language that appeals to children. When I see young girls with their moms at the store, I remember shopping with my mom and the counter being something I could never see over. I wonder how many of those girls will be shopping with their mom for the fun of it when they are 65 and mom is 90.


 


Saturday, May 1, 2021

 I don't boycott stores or products. Like many people, I lost my taste for tuna when I heard that dolphins were being caught in tuna nets and drowned. Apparently, I was not alone in that years? later; tuna cans would say they were caught by dolphin safe nets. 

I lost my interest in Woody Allen films when it was revealed he was dating his step daughter. 

But not buying products because of politics has no effect on me. Yes, I would like to see the person who paid for the hotel rooms for those who stormed the capital be prosecuted. But contributions to politicians do not concern me. It does concern me when someone who lives on limited funds make large donations to anyone. 

I know of an older couple whose home was being sold to settle debts. They had borrowed money to give to missionaries. A piece of me thought those missionaries should be sending them some money to help them. That moves to my thoughts about maybe there should be legislation to prevent this.

The political angle does not bother me in that I have a minority opinion where I live. I vote for either political party but I have an inclination to vote Democrat. My opinion is both parties are corrupt. I don't believe in the Democrap and Repugblican philosophies. They are human beings and they have to ride the bandwagon to be elected to be a part of government. 

I have had people to not be my friend over politics and that bothers me. I liked them regardless of their politics. But they have done me a favor. They were not my friend. Sometimes I recognize a kindred spirit who I don't agree with in politics. I have wondered if I would be a conservative where liberalism prevailed. Anytime you have a preponderance of people following a political idea; they are ripe for corruption to set it's lazy, greedy ways in.

And what got me on this topic you might ask. Well if you read this far, I should really share. It was for an over priced serving of  soft serve ice cream by Chick Fil A. I took one back into the store. I thought there had to be a mistake. It turns out, they only sell small sizes and they weight their product. Alas, here is a picture. I originally wanted to put my picture on Facebook. Then I thought, I don't boycott or do crap like that. 

Plus there are many who would be content to pay $1.25 for that tiny bit of soft serve. Not everyone is a hog like my family is. We like to buy large and enjoy ourselves. My little dog, Bo, loves the bottom of my ice cream. When we go grocery shopping, we go to Chick Fil A. Mom's dog, Jobelle, loves chicken nuggets. My 90 year old mom likes to get her dog some nuggets. 

So, I am packing dishes, spoons and a serving spoon. Next grocery trip, I am buying some good Mayfield Ice Cream. Once everyone and the load of grits is packed into the car. I am getting our ice cream out and serving everyone. 


We might have to sit in the parking lot for a bit. The dogs have to eat their cream in a controlled environment. Jobelle and Bo can get quite testy about their treats. Each thinks the other got a better dish and they don't want the other one looking at their ice cream. Ice Cream is much better on a sunny day in the car. We've got two ancient containers at home that I need to throw out.

You guessed it. None of that is going to happen. I will ask. Does anyone want me to buy them an ice cream. My brother and sister will say yes. My mom will want a frosted lemonade. I may get a frosted lemonade. But I am done with their ice cream!

We will still get Bo and Jobelle a box of nuggets. My brother and sister enjoy their Chick Fil A lunch before we go in the store. My mom and I have long been burned out on their food. 

I have an ice cream maker. I am making ice cream for mother's day. It's going to be a party. I'm buying strawberries too.

I've started reading Mark Twain's autobiography.  

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Big Plans, Really Big Big Plans

 I've spent my life a planner, maintaining a safe, secure location to better manage those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune like Hamlet. I have three tomes I feel a need to study. One is a spiritual tour of Flannery O'Conner's The Habit of Being. The second is Mark Twain's autobiography that was published 100 years after his death and the third being the complete works of Shakespeare. Plus there is that TBR shelves of books, a library of children stories I picked up at an estate sale and my mother's recommendation of reading the Bible.

It's more of less picking a path. My disorganized system truly stinks. This week, I read Elizabeth Greenwood's book about how people purposely disappear and why it truly does not work well for them. But like all things, there is a good reason for some to disappear like victims of spousal abuse. Most people who try to disappear do it for the money. And interesting enough they are rarely prosecuted for making false insurance claims. They are just denied the claim.

We have a time bomb in our country and that is unpaid college debt. Having financed my own education, I am not too sympathetic. Having been young, I do think assuming so much debt should be limited by the lenders. Manana is the rallying cry of the young. You know "Someday Never Comes" is more than a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival. 

I don't think student debts should be wiped clean. But I do think there should be responsibility of the lender to monitor how much is borrowed versus the how much that person will be able to pay back. I remember a young lady who was bemoaning she would owe 10,000 in student loans back in 1980. For the student who owes 100.000, I wonder in 40 years will inflation reduce it's sting. Elizabeth Greenwood supposedly had flirted with the idea of a fake death to get rid of her college debt. I think it was just a thread she ran with in the book. She is very smart, and I suspect has quite a profitable career in writing waiting for her.

I never had trouble getting a job. One reason was the fact I always had a job and would work any job available. I was a professional in that I taught school. But I have been a house cleaner, lawn mower, baby sitter, peach grader, cashier, food worker, waitress, bank worker, cook, dishwasher. My mother is from Appalachia and there is no shame in honest work. For the most part me and my siblings have been good workers. One of my siblings wasn't so much a poor worker, she just never chose careers that used her natural talents.

Therein lies the rub comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet comes to mind. Young people going to college or university don't have to have a car nor do they need to live in an apartment like a young working person of independent means. Why aren't kids living in dorms and eating in a dining hall? They probably still are. Not every young person can handle a part time job and full time college which is what I essentially did. We all dressed like hippies in the seventies which helped me out financially big time in college. My roommate and I joked how our favorite jeans were standing by our beds every morning waiting on us.

When you are young or at least for me, that is when my pride got the best of me. I feel that pain for young people now. I would like to share with them that one day; you will not care. You will want to apologize to that kid you picked on. You will see where that kid that had everything really was not as lucky as you were. 

And the gist of this post was really how everything lately reminds me how much time I have left in this world. How well will I spend the rest of it. Next week, you'll find out which I have chosen to read during the summer of 2021. Of course, I got to get a better schedule for my day. Oh my. And even though there is a big part of me that wants people to pay back their student loans for living so high on the hog; as a country we need to give a low interest rate and possibly some way to erase a portion of their loans. They need to pay something. But not an 11 percent interest rate when you can currently purchase a house with a 3 to 4 percent loan. 

I'm leaning toward reading the children's stories. The 26 books have the date 1941. I doubt they were ever read. They really need to be read.


 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Smart things people did to make food more nutritious or edible.

I did a bit of research about the flavors in Asian foods. My family loves Chinese and Japanese food, well the American version. I understand they have a restaurant in China that serves what is found in the American Chinese restaurants that the locals like to explore and the American expats love as a bit of home. Plus I have been watching Midnight Diner on Netflix.

The show, Midnight Diner, led to learning about koji which is a fungus that is used to ferment rice, barley, soybeans. The fungus in China is healthy and improves the food. Similar varieties of the fungus in North America are quite poisonous. We don't think of all those natural spores floating in the air. We add yeast to aid fermentation to make wine or whiskey. 

At one time, mother nature deposited that yeast in time from the atmosphere. I've heard when they were making a vat of whiskey in the mountains when my mother was a child if an animal fell in the fermenting corn and died, they just left it. My grandfather was not a drinker but he brewed moonshine a few times. It could be hard to make a living in the 30's and 40's.

Anyhow, koji is behind the manufacture of soy sauce, miso and koji rice. There is also a fermented rice called Tapai. I have always enjoyed the stories of the buried cabbage that was described as disgusting when I was a child. As an adult, I know sauerkraut when I see it. Those school yard stories are probably told about we Americans in Korea about our disgusting cabbage, cucumbers, green tomatoes and okra. My dad always loved to make a sandwich of pickled green tomatoes to snack on.

Koji rice is healthier than white rice in that it contains isoflavones which help prevent cancer. Add to that, koji also has probiotic qualities. There is currently a trend for Shio Koji which is Koji rice I think. This trend has not made it to central Georgia. And as I have written in the past, I live on one of the many edges of the universe. Sort of a precipice of regional culturalism which is hard for different parts of the world to penetrate. But we do have lots of cats.

One thing we eat a lot of is hominy grits. Hominy is produced by soaking corn in a mild lye solution. The resulting corn is more nutritious, releases B vitamins and easier to digest. This process called nixtamalization was found in Guatemala 3500 years ago. 

We eat much more corn in the Americas than the rest of the world which usually favors wheat. On reddit I noticed eating fresh corn in Europe was more of a beach holiday type of food or something thrown on a salad. In the Americas corn is used to fatten cattle, produce sweeteners and all sorts of products. We have sweet corn for eating, flint corn for popcorn, and field corn to feed animals and production of various corn products. 

Now the potato truly made it around the world from the Americas to the point I don't imagine people can't imagine not having the potato. The potato increased the population of Europe by about 25% after it's introduction. I love a potato. But I don't think frying a potato makes it more nutritious. It does increase the calories and tastes very good. 



Hominy

Friday, April 9, 2021

Tempis Fugit

Time, there is never enough. I remember in college someone told me there was a trick to staying up all night and being rested in the morning. I was so disappointed they couldn't remember that valuable tip. It is nearing 50 years later and I think I know how and it is no tip.

 


Late at night, sometimes my mind races in frustration over my sister who had a stroke. She has been conned and been difficult to manage while making modest strides towards being independent. I would do guardianship of her but she would fight me every step of the way. Today, the home health care people quit her.  I'm not terribly disappointed they quit. I've never considered their efforts that good. Her insurance pays like for 26 visits whether they are checking her blood sugar or doing physical therapy.

My sister needs proper physical therapy and I need to stay with her when it is occurring. The fact that their arrival is so unpredictable makes it impossible. Add to that, my sister has said they stay about four minutes. One thing that happens when someone is mentally disabled is they are vulnerable to the my word versus your word. It's assumed they are always disoriented. There was a blow out with one yesterday and I can honestly say. My sister probably got angry too fast and was unreasonable. 

The physical therapist was unable to communicate for my sister and pursued an argument. As the professional and person without a stroke, she could have done better. Add to that, I came by my sister's house shortly after the fiasco and one thing that was said about my sister was probably not true. What I was told was said was from the fourth person in the chain of hearing and telling. 

In the United States, one thing everyone of some middle class wealth should do is get long term nursing care insurance if offered. If you have no money, Medicaid will cover the cost. If you have the money, you can foot the bill yourself. But for those in the middle, it is between $4000 to $8000 a month. Add a bit of dementia to the stew, you have a right mess to deal with. Most importantly make the decision to accept living in an old folks home. If you live long enough, you may be lucky to be there. I know in my family, our bodies get too frail as we age. Luckily we keep our minds which I hope happens for me.

My sister needs to be in a personal care home. The problem is you can't make someone live where they don't want to even with guardianship. She spent 20 days in a nursing home rehab and she cannot tell you enough how horrible it was. 

When my sister lived with me, I allowed her to save her money so she would be able to live in a good facility. Then the parasites started circling her. The first one was a man who had a meth problem. At one time, he was a respectable business man. It started with my sister giving him a gift of $500. Next it was a check for $1500. The next was her friend Debbie who always needed money. Heck, even I gave Debbie money. Then it was a old high school chum who encouraged her to move out. The first night my sister was in her home, that girls mother came to my sister's house around midnight wanting to talk to her. Their idea was for my sister to stay with the mother and the old chum to live in my sister's house. Luckily, my sister recognized that it was a terrible offer. 

In a series of bad decisions, my sister has racked up debt. People who have come to her house to help her have stolen from her. The first thing they always did was get her rip roaring mad at me. Getting me out of the picture was always needed. 

A neighbor who was mowing her grass and doing odd jobs for a payment of either $500 or $1000 a month no longer speaks to her or me because she has told him she can't afford to pay him that anymore. I did see her give him $1000 in cash and knew there was a problem. I just did not have the power to control the situation. This has been one of the good things that has happened. My sister has been easier for me help with him out of the picture. 

I think he meant well at first. Like many amateurs he overcharged for his services, and I think he did not want to become her de facto caregiver. He may have learned what the bottom feeders know. You can get in a lot of trouble taking money from someone like my sister. The neighborhood is made up of relatively new homes and many of the neighbors are black which is a good thing. As an ethnicity, black people are more tolerate of the failings of others. As an older woman, if I look at a black man no matter their age, they will ask me if I need help. White men do it too but not as often as black people. So her neighborhood is safe and if something is awry, they would call the police. 

The big thing the neighbor did that was wrong was he butted his nose into me being able to take care of my sister. I hate that people never respected that it was me that was always going to pick up the pieces. I particularly despise anyone telling me that she should be able to live on her own. They don't get the crying phone calls about how she is miserable because of different things. They don't spend $3000 paying her property taxes so her home isn't sold in a tax sale. They don't love her. They just say she made her bed let her lie in it. She is mentally unable to care for herself. It don't work that way. 

There are no simple answers. Yet that is the root of people who assume they know more. This is why so many are tired of thoughts and prayers. It is easy to mouth these words. What she needs is a friend who will talk about real things and visit her, wash her dishes, be wise enough to get her on another topic and have a conversation.

So no, I don't sleep well anymore. I'm lucky if I get six hours. 

My sister's yard is very small. I have a developmentally delayed brother who would enjoy mowing it while I helped her inside the house. But her sense of wanting to be independent makes her want to hire someone which is fine by me. As long as she has a roof over her head, food, medicine, medical care and other necessities, I'll have to be satisfied. 

The bright spot is that if she had been in a personal care home; she would have had problems due to Covid restrictions. I do have a friend who lives in a nursing home. There were days when they had to keep the door to their rooms closed. Just a little television or whatever to while away the hours. For my sister, she still has that desire to live a vibrant life. It is just that her body is not cooperating. 

I do what I can for my sister and plan to continue. Honestly, there are no magic agencies or any thing to help. I remember reading about if you don't plan for your retirement, you will live in poverty in your old age. I know some think the government will take care of you if you are poor. They will. But it will not be as comfortable and easy as you think. 

Jojobelle
My mother could be in a nursing home. My dad left her well provided for. But she has her own room with what she needs that she enjoys. My mom sleeps in a lift chair and the equally comfortable spare lift chair beside her is where her 14 pound chihuahua, Jojobelle sits. My mother is relatively independent in her personal care. 

 I bring a book to my mother's room in the evening to read as she watches Matlock or the old Perry Mason. I was surprised to learn how good silent movies are. My mom wears hearing aids and she uses closed captioning to watch television. Mom busies herself with taking care of herself, taking care of Jojobelle, reading, sorting photographs. In short, she has a good attitude.

I've learned that you can't master or control anything about life. My situation is like many parents whose children I taught. Their child resisted doing any school work without intense pressure. They always wanted ideas to motivate them. There was very little they could do except dog them to do their work. I felt keenly for these parents in that they understood what a cruel teacher life can be.

I'm a very blessed person. I have good health, financial security, a purpose in life. This was a vent blog which I normally don't publish. It is Friday morning. I fell asleep at 12:30 am and slept until 9 am. So I feel great.

Tempis Fugit 

So this is Christmas

Tonight, the sun was beneath the horizon and there was that unbelievably beautiful orange glow behind the distant trees. I looked up to see ...