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. 


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. 

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 

Friday, April 2, 2021

My corner of the world

 I live in the deep South of the United States. I was born in Georgia and my ancestors were some of the original white settlers in Georgia. Whether I have wanted it or not; I am what a native Georgian is. I say this in that I have never bought into the Southern mystique. I don't believe in the moonlight and magnolia legacy. Most of what I know about the South I learned from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

But language has always been my love. There is a word that I have always wanted to know the root of and that word is Asscelling. It is used like, Quit asscelling around and get a move on it. Or as my dad would say "step lively". And in sheer frustration, Quit asscelling around and get in the dang car. It's funny how you can hear your parent's voice long after they are gone. The voice is not there, but the words linger. 

Asscelling has always been a mystery to me. Other words I heard and could not place eventually came home to me.

One time I said ornery to my students and they thought I said I was horny. The Southern pronunciation was ornry. I was lucky enough that one of my students of the midwestern persuasion correctly pronounced the word. I suspect she had heard my pronunciation in Ohio or somewhere in the midwest. It saved me some embarassment.

Another word is Cairn. Something smells like cairn or rotten meat. It is pronounced with a hard K sound.  I read another writer on Facebook explaining what Karne was. I wanted to correct her. But you know, I had always heard the word like she was explaining. It wasn't the Spanish word transposed into English.

Spanish makes me think of another word that I heard as a young woman which was Vamoose which is Spanish to get the heck out of here. 

So if you know what the word Asscelling really is; enlighten me.

Cheerio to all you A to Zers. This year I just plan to kick back and read. This is the google webpage with a listing of all the A to Z fun. 

Update: I found the word on this webpage,


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