Friday, June 26, 2015
We laughed a lot but it really wasn't funny.
Why are there signs on parking garages about the height limit being 7 feet or so?
Why is there a bar hanging down so that one can actually SEE how high 7 feet is?
Perhaps the man tried to drive around the side of the bar?!?
They felt it the kids' playroom. Earth tremor? They felt it twice. Once when the man drove in, and again when he tried to back out. A discussion in the playroom about whether it was just the kids running. "It's the kids jumping in the ball pit." "No", said the older smarter one, "something hit the building." It happened right under them. The fire alarm went off in the entire building.
I was in the staff caff with my feet up. After a few minutes of the annoying alarm, I plugged my ears and peeked into the kitchen to see if there was any smoke. No sign of emergency. The announcement came on: "we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Do not evacuate the building."
The alarm went off for awhile and then came back on. On my way back downstairs I passed Miz C and found out what had happened. I'm sure I laughed. We should have a stupid customer contest.
When I got back to my post, the alarm went off and on a few more times, sending people out of the store either from fear, or to get away from that horrible shrill alarm. When the man drove into the garage, he ripped a lot of the sprinklers from the ceiling which set off the alarm.
I went downstairs to have a look. There was the U-haul stuck between the ceiling and the pavement. Puddles all around. A gash about 20 or 30 feet long in the ceiling with insulation and lights and sprinklers dangling. I tried to see who did it, but it was not clear. Why, after the initial collision, did he keep going? Did he think that the actual ceiling height was higher than the bar? Maybe he panicked. Was he angry? Maybe he lost his cool. Did he have any cool to lose? My mouth was no doubt hanging open. There was a policeman there giving a ticket. A few other coworkers, mostly managers, and a cart guy, all gawking, as I was. Somebody really did this! Unreal. The cart guy said the man had declined insurance when he rented the U-Haul. The fire truck was parked just behind the U-Haul and the firemen were deflating the tires to get the truck out. My, my, my. What does one say about this? I'm pretty sure you and I are not thinking right now about the stupid mistakes we have made in our lives...
When I went back up, I passed Miz P who was sitting on a step. She looked distressed, head in hands; on the phone. What a responsibility to have on your shoulders! Your store. Your baby? I went back up to my post. The alarm finally quit, but not before we lost thousands of customers on a Saturday during the summer sale, which is one of our biggest days for sales of the year.
So we gossiped about it all day. People were saying things like 50 grand, 100 grand, and that the man paid for the damage with his credit card. He is going to be paying for this for a long, long time. I said someone must really like our furniture a lot.... The final figure I heard was $35k. Was that just what he had to pay to fix the garage? Does the store have any coverage for all the lost sales during the time people poured out the doors and did not come back?
I went to get supplies and came back to find Miz P putting away a yellow bag. We talked for a minute. How could anyone do that? She said the poor wife of the U-haul man was in tears and terrified. I said I would be scared to go home with him! She laughed. Miz P spotted the wife coming up from the garage looking shell shocked. Miz P immediately took her under her wing and up to the restaurant for coffee. I felt sorry for the wife, too. When they went up the escalator, Miz P turned and winked at me.
Monday, May 25, 2015
By contrast, in spring and summer if you go on a Saturday, there are noisy ball games on in every field and many walkers, joggers and bikers and many dogs. I haven't met anyone unfriendly yet. Young moms bring their toddlers to see the baby goats and chicks and they sit and have picnics and talk to other young moms.....no doubt having heart to heart talks about being a good mom and wife and all the rest of it. I remember.
But I do love this place.
By now it has gone from closing at 5 pm to quite late, as at the time of publishing summer solstice has just passed.
In spring when the leaves are about half grown, they are moist and supple. When the breeze blows the sound is very very soft, unlike fall when it is raspy sounding. Now the leaves are big and the branches are weighed down.
If I am feeling anxious about anything, I know that when I get to the end of a full hour's walk, I will feel better no matter what. Good stuff. Thank You, God.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The above was written back in 09 or something; I was still in Virginia Beach
It is 2014 and I am still getting the same messages in different words from other creative types and still NEEDING encouragement from the Chip on my shoulder (Chip was a pastor turned vocational coach whom I met in Maryland when I was leaving ministry and walking into a big fat question mark. He was the one who told me "of all the people I have met and I have met thousands, you have the biggest nay-sayer on your shoulder of anyone!" Example: I would like to live in a beach house, BUT I CAN"T DO THAT because I don't have enough money.
I think I should blog about The Artist's Way.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Daddy's new bed is working beautifully. He is eating and drinking and his latest wounds are healing. We need to get him back to the dentist because the last dentist appointment, at which he lost two teeth, he was supposed to have all his teeth x-rayed and they did not do it.
Also, I am searching for a tall person wheel chair or at least leg extensions. He nearly slid out of his chair on his walk and that is how he got his most recent leg wounds. The perils of being 99.
He does not know that his son died in December. I have not made a permanent decision not to tell him. I would want my children to tell me even if I had dementia. His neighbor, who is also old, said don't tell him. There is no urgency. He won't remember anyway.
His caregivers love him and try very hard. My favorite time with him is when I take my turn at night duty and in the morning I poach him his eggs, too runny, just the way he used to make them for himself. He goes "mmmmmmm" and digs right in. I use a plate with a lip so that he can push his food up against it and get it onto the fork. I avoid feeding him or helping him get the food onto the fork; the more he does for himself the better. He is very coordinated with his fork, still, but if something falls off onto his chest, he cusses at it.
I am used to the cussing now from he who never uttered a single cuss word in all my days growing up. Apparently he did cuss according to my mother. But with the stroke in 2004 the part of his brain that restrains cussing in public got broken. Thus he cusses often now and cannot control it. It is so sad to see such a great mind, so chock full of encyclopedic information simply lose its ability to bring up any of it.
People ask "Does he know you?" He cannot say my name if I walk in. I look different than I used to for one thing, short hair, glasses, extra weight. But if I tell him I am your youngest daughter, he understands that I'm family and he responds in a certain way. He likes me to mess with him verbally and he recognizes HIS own humor.
One day the visiting nurse had a lot of poking and prodding to do, which he hates, so I stationed myself near his face and held his hand (not just to 'hold hands', but more to keep him from grabbing the nurse's hands and flailing around) I talked to him like this: "I need you to be strong and lie still, Daddy. You taught me to be brave and the nurse has to take a blood sample. It won't take long if you lie still and be calm. You are a man and I need you to show me how strong you are.....on and on I went saying these things, appealing to his manliness. It worked to an extent, but at one point he yelled "BALONY!" and we all laughed. Even when he is suffering and fighting what the nurses have to do to him, he still cracks jokes. This is my father.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
the only recent pictures I have are on my phone, so I'm putting in one from December 2011, the last time we took Daddy on an outing to the Nature place.
I have moved in with my 99 year old Dad.
I am settling in. After one week, we slept in hospital for one week. Back home again and doing great for his age. Infection appears to be gone, skin wounds healing. He does not know me wholly, but he knows me some how. Dementia takes your memory a little at a time, which is sad to see, but it has not got all of him.
We play football with a nerf ball and he fakes to the nurse and throws to me. Vestiges of humor. He is aware that I am around.
I am slowly getting more comfortable with helping the private nurses to handle him, move him, roll him, try to calm him when he flails and cusses like a sailor.
It is good to have this time to get to know him even if he is different. I am glad to be here with him and for him.
He knows the nurses though he could not name any of them. He is familiar with them and likes them all; they love him. They cook him 3 meals a day and he eats like a horse. THAT is good!
God is gracious.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
I try a few times to get said glass out. Only more bleeding and no success. So I clean and bandage it and try a couple more times later. After a few days I decide that a doctor may be able to do this. So I go to Urgent Care. He says go to a specialist and he calls and they can take me right now. So off we go.
Dr. says yes there may be glass in there, or not. It feels like it to him. He says the sensation in the tip of my finger indicates there might be nerve damage. He suggests surgery to remove glass and possibly wrap the nerve so that it grows back properly. It is expensive, I complain. He says everything is expensive. Don't remember if I whined about my catastrophic health insurance, but ultimately I decide if I don't have him try to take it out, it will bother me and I will always be thinking there is glass in there and why didn't I have it taken out (and what if it moves around and .....say CUTS the nerve or other creepy things? Surgery is scheduled for next week.
Oh by the way, you have to go under for this and you have to have a check up with your own doctor to see that it's ok to put you under. What? Now I'm really whining. Why can't you just numb my hand and let me watch?
He says the nerve is the size of a hair and the surgery is done with a microscope and you cannot move. So we are set.
While waiting, I keep thinking, hey, people jerk and move while they are asleep, I still am not sure I need to go under. Why can't they just clamp my arm and hand down and I won't watch. Surgery is early in the morning, so I ask to discuss this with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist one last time before they knock me out.
They come in and I tell them my concerns. It isn't that I'm afraid of going under, it's the expense. He assures me that there will be better results if you are out. The anesthesiologist says you are way more still that when you are just asleep. You are so far out that they have to put a breathing tube in to make you breathe. Oh great, they have to kind of almost kill me and then keep me alive artificially. Wonderful.
OK I understand and I agree.
I wake up. They tell me the doctor has come and spoken with me but I do not remember seeing him. They say this is normal, amnesia. My friend Howard has picked me up and taken me home. I take a nap. I have a long list of things to do and not do after surgery, such as keep your wound above your heart and don't get the bandage wet. They do not say do not use your hand. There is a thick white gauze wrapped around and around the palm of my hand. As my mind clears and I am looking at the bandage, it dawns on me, HEY there is no indication that he went into my finger where the wound is. He went in somewhere below the base of my finger or my palm. HUH? Something is wrong here. OK, give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe in this type of nerve surgery, they go in at the base of the finger and follow the nerve up to the wound under the skin.
See, I just can't believe the doctor has made a mistake so my mind is working on why the surgery was not done at the wound site (which had healed up on the surface during the week).
I call the secretary and ask to talk to the doctor. She says he's busy and cannot call you today. I say I do not see any indication that he went in where the glass was. I think out loud at her: maybe they go in at the base of the finger....etc. She says you are just confused and trying to figure out how the doctor did the surgery. The doctor knows what he is doing. He has 12 surgeries today and he cannot call you. She has thoroughly dissed me.
I say (politely) I will wait until all his surgeries are finished, but I need him to call me today, because I am going to Seattle this weekend and if this has to be done over again it needs to be right away so that I can be done with this before I leave.
He calls and I tell him what I see. He says can you come in tomorrow morning? Yes, so I show him at his office. I say here is the wound and I point to my finger and you went in down here in my hand. What happened?
He says I screwed up. He says I am going to make this right and I will do it tomorrow any time you want and will not charge you for either of my surgeries and only one hospital charge.
OK, I am relieved that he has owned his mistake and I agree.
But if I were he, I would pay for every single expense I had in relation to this surgery.
So in the end he redid the surgery. No glass but a badly damaged nerve was found, which he wrapped and then I went to Seattle. My son-in-law talked me into taking out my stitches.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Acorns, I am told, yield heavily every 2nd year. Apparently this is one of those years. My college buddy swept the deck and next day, behold, more acorns than before. Doink. Are the squirrels discarding the shells? Yes. And are most of them just ripe and falling? We find no recipes for acorn soup. I imagine they must be really bitter, or they'd be popular. It's pretty durn loud when it hits the glass table out there. The ones that go down the chimney are also loud and they echo. Sounds of fall.
The air has cleared and cooled after a long heavy rain. The beach is perfect. Summer crowd is gone. We got our walks in and rode rented bikes on the boardwalk. We ate at Pocahontas so that we could say "I've been there." It was good having her to talk to.
Watched too much TV, but loved the Ladies #1 Detective Agency. I was amazed how the actresses fit my mental image from the book. Stirred by watching the Book of Eli, fascinating and full of truth.
Open windows, cool temps in the night and morning. Perfect.
Lots of talk of renting and selling the place. Decision was made at one point but I am not following through, which means I didn't mean it.
Shall I decide based on money fears alone? How do I know things will not change? Could I not make another kitchen with pretty cabinets and an undermounted sink? Of course I could. I could also be happy with a different sink and old cabinets. I've loved every place I've ever lived and used my creativity to make it my own each time. So what's so permanent about this place? I want a dog and a fenced area for the dog and I will never have that here. I want to be hospitible and I only get 2 parking spots here.
So many ideas I have for this place such as beams across the bedroom ceiling, French doors onto the deck, widening the bathroom door and moving the closet to the opposite corner, adding windows on the east side and making a lofted twin bed in the master upstairs. Would love to hang the porch swing in the middle of the living room. Now tell me that's not out of the box. What box?
Yes, and if I sell it and move elsewhere, I'll think of many more such projects, dream and dream on forever which is my wont, DREAMING.
It is a lot of work to move & it makes me tired just thinking of it, really. God knows. And it is very good that He is God and I am not in charge.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
maybe it did not get emptied last week because of the snow...?
so the top was half up with the excess and the guy dumped it and it just kept coming as one layer fell into the truck and more was loosed which had been packed down into the container. so now the truck is overflowing and the container is poised above it with more stuff stuck and a toaster-oven hangs by it’s cord from the container and i am laughing out loud. zeus the foster dog wonders what is so interesting out there and can I go out and pee now please mommy?
the truck compacts what’s already been dumped and in goes the remainder, toaster oven and all. one bag misses and the good man picks it up and tosses it back into our dumpster before he leaves, back up beeper a-beeping . Good day sir and were we glad to see you!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I've seen that gate, that self-assured stride that says I am strong and I can do my job, respect me. Besides that I am cool. The guys were arriving, arranging their 4 trucks in the parking lot, walking out back to size up the job. I moved my car. One had a very long blond ponytail, another was Asian with shoulder length hair. Not big guys but exuding total confidence.
It is sunny and 50-ish. I go out to my observation deck with the dog & coffee. Ropes in the trees, It's futile to try to figure out why they put them where they do; it only becomes clear after they cut the tree. I will not go back inside and work so I decide this is part of my work as an artist: observing. A+ for Rationalizing. Or should I say F-? I love this. I remember the joy of watching guys take a tree down in my other back yard. One had a dog who was crazed with excitement waiting for the command after the tree crashed down... then he tore into the branches looking for squirrels.
Today's tree fell against another during the Noreaster, it's roots half in the water, saturated.
So the top of the tree is secured and a rope is twisted around the supporting tree like a peppermint stick which they can let slack out of with control. The falling tree is now tied by its upper branches and they cut off the bottom of the trunk first. It thumps over, then they cut subsequent pieces of trunk until "she's a-hangin!"
Mr. Burly drives the little tractor hauling off lengths of trunk with claws that remind me of monsters in movies. Is this where they got the ideas for all those movies? I'm wondering how the lawn is going to look later.
He smacks a pile of smaller branches from the top to compact them, then backs up, scoops them up and totes them out to my parking space. They pretty much took over the parking lot. One guy feeds branches into the shredder.
So she's a hangin' and they let out the slack bit by bit. She eases down as they cut pieces from bottom to top.
They trim another tree of branches that hang over our roof. They all know what to do and one pulls this rope and another is up in the tree and a third is moving stuff around on the ground and the huge branch comes down without falling on anything. I think my son would love to be here watching this with me.
The Asian steps onto the shovel of the tractor and it lifts him so that he can grab the hanging branch and keep it from hitting the grill as it comes to rest on the grass. Just plain fascinating. They have done this over and over and they have become a machine.
Here comes the lady from next door cursing loudly. "Aren't you going to remove this branch on my property?"
"No, we are hired by the city to remove THIS tree. Do you want an estimate? You will have to call the city to ask them."
"Ok I'll call them. It was not there before and now it's down and I have before and after pictures". She has switched to her polite voice but in no uncertain terms she is trying to intimidate them into taking care of her downed tree while they are there. Can we say M A N I P U L A T E ?
After she walks back home they laugh and tell each other she was trying to claim they caused the branch to fall but they note how far it was from where they had been working and conclude she's nuts. They laugh at her. Nice try lady.
She waves at me from her deck. Don't try to get me involved in this.
The ponytail has asked for water and I bring out enough for all of them. I take pictures but not for the same reason the nice lady next door is....I take pictures just because you can in the age of digital cameras,. They clean up the parking lot and the caravan leaves in time for the residents to come home from work.
In my next life I think I'll come back as a macho testosterone type and cut down trees with my buddies.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Victoria Falls and Botswana, 21 – 27 December 2009
My holiday was anything but boring – falling trees, seeing hundreds of wild animals, many surprises, beautiful scenery, lost luggage, and many forms of transportation. I’m so glad I had this opportunity before I moved back to the UK. I was again struck by the immense variety in God’s creation. So many shapes, sizes, and colours – just in the bird population.
Day 1: Liz Liebenberg (a widow lady from my church) and I began our holiday in Johannesburg. It didn’t begin in the best way possible as I’d forgotten about the limit on liquids that one can carry on board a plane. Liz didn’t know anything about this from her travel agent and she knew it was Liz’ first flight! So Liz had to do a major reshuffle of her bags at the check-in counter.
Otherwise our flight to Livingston in Zambia went well. Yes, it’s named for David Livingston who ‘discovered’ Victoria Falls. Zambia is just north of South Africa and I’d never been to this country before. (A few words of warning if you would like to visit: $US50 is charged for US passport holders for entering the country and everything around the Victoria Falls is VERY expensive.)
Neither of us had seen the Falls and it rivals Niagara in volume of water, height, and width. Pictures can’t do it justice just as they don’t for the Grand Canyon. Because of its size, seeing it requires quite a bit of walking – the most I had done in months, but my new hip did very well The water falls down into a rather wide fault which has opened up and has a horseshoe shape at one end. We really couldn’t see this bit because the water formed a shroud of mist about it. (The travel agent had failed to mention that this afternoon was our only opportunity to go see the falls, so we rushed off as soon as this dawned on us.)
Afterwards we just happened to be hanging round the reception area of our lodge and were told that we were booked for a dinner/cruise. They were waiting for us! No one had told us about this booking. So off we went on the Zambezi River to see lots of hippos and crocodiles and eat a lovely meal while the sun went down. Fortunately, we weren’t part of the crocs dinner that evening!
I’ve never slept under mosquito netting before, but did so this first night and again the last 3 nights of the trip. This time of year is the peak time for malaria, so I’m taking anti-malaria tablets. However, I never saw or heard one such beast the whole time!! – for which I’m very thankful.
Day 2 & 3: The first morning we were driven to a river that helps form the border between Zambia and Botswana. Normally one would cross a river via a bridge, however there was none! Ferries were taking individuals and lorries (trucks) across. Even this was surprising as the lorry ferry was large enough to take only one at a time!! Our ferry was a small boat for which there was no dock. Our boat just eased up onto the sloping muddy bank. Even the lorries drove off their ferry the same way.
At the riverside we were joined by 5 Japanese folk and they, along with our guide, formed our party for the next 2 days. We were taken to Chobe National Park and began to see animals straight way. The Park is 10,500 sq km and has no fences.
Our camp site was in the Park. By ‘camp’, I mean tents, cooking over a fire, hole in the ground for a latrine, etc. I’d not been camping for decades so it was a bit of a shock that ‘home’ was to be so primitive. However, a man did cook our food for us, there was a shower with a roofless tent around it, and the latrine was similarly ‘tented’ and had a seat. Inside our tent we found foam mattresses and bedding. The feather-filled duvet on my bed could have adequately dealt with the Arctic! I lost a fair bit of sleep just because I was either very hot or too cold.
At night kerosene lanterns were placed on the ground between our 5 tents. Nothing else prevented animals, large or small, from entering our site!! Leopards tracks were seen the next morning, elephants were very nearby when we arrived back at camp the next day, and one night we heard a lion roaring. That’s up close and personal! But all the animals had plenty of food in this very natural setting, so they weren’t likely to be aggressive – for which I praised the Lord.
I went on two game drives both days in a 9-seater safari vehicle. I saw so many animals! Elephants, water buffalo, impala, a pack of wild dogs, black backed jackals, kudu, a sable antelope, water bok, giraffes, banded mongoose (geese, gooses?), kori bustards, vulchers (sp?), red billed hornbills, male lion, zebra, baboons, and monkeys. Several times young bull elephants approached our vehicle and tried to show how brave they were by shaking their heads, trumpeting at us, and one even blew out threw his trunk and sprayed us with mud! It was all bravado. If they’d been the matriarch of the herd or a large bull it would have been a very different and dangerous matter.
The ‘roads’ which we travelled in the Park were just sand tracks and were very bumpy. Our guide tried to go over them slowly as I wasn’t supposed to jerk my new hip. However, by the 4th or 5th game drive the area around my incision was complaining painfully. I decided it needed a couple days rest.
The Park was very hot and sandy, so I gave up on feeling clean or wearing clean clothes. Sand has been blowing to this area for millennia from the Kalahari Desert. Both of us looked forward to the next phase of our journey and to a proper shower.
Day 4: We had to get up at 5:15 so we could catch a 12-seater plane at Kasane. On the way our guide, Leonard, took us the long way so we could hopefully see more animals. I finally got to see female lions up close – right at the end of their impala hunt. The impala won and left the 3 lions panting for breath.
The next stage of our journey took us to the Okavango Delta – a huge area in Botswana that is very flat. It all floods around April and lots of it is a permanent swamp the rest of the year. I had no idea that such an area existed. The plane had 3 stops to make to deliver folks to safari camps similar to that which we were going. These flights were rather bumpy and our landing was well timed as I was getting airsick. Because the Delta is covered by so much water, most camps are accessible only via air. Our camp was called Xigera and is run by Wilderness Safari and is supposed to be their best.
It’s called a water-based camp as it’s surrounded by that material. It’s a government-decreed game reserve and has no fence around it. It is well monitored by the government for its effect on the environment, e.g. no permanent structures can be erected. Xigera could have a maximum of 20 guests.
Using the term loosely, we stayed in ‘tents’. What a contrast to the ones at Chobe. The sides and top were of tent material, but each tent was up on a wooden platform, as were the walkways in between. Inside our tent there was a large bedroom area, a dressing room area, shower and toilet and a balcony outside. The view included two small watering holes surrounded by grasslands. Usually in and around the water were many red lechwes (antelopes) and lots of birds. We even had maid and laundry service each day, so it was all rather posh camping!
The staff was very friendly and helpful. One of the guys is a Manchester United fan, so we had a couple long conversations about our team. The food was top notch. Everything was included in the package we bought, so we didn’t have to pay for a thing once we arrived.
Our schedule was similar to the camp in Chobe National Park: up at 5.30, breakfast at 6, leave at 6.30 on a boat trip or game drive, upon return have brunch, tea at 4.00, off again for another game drive or boat ride, dinner at 8.00, flopping into bed soon afterwards. The animals aren’t out and about during the heat of midday, so safari-ing had to be done in the early morning and late afternoon.
The first day at Xigera we went on a mokoro – a dugout canoe ride which was propelled by a man with a pole. (I felt like I’d been suddenly transported to Oxford, England.) This method of transport is very common in the Delta because of all the water and the shallowness of it. I learned what papyrus looks like and bulrushes, a la Moses. Midway we stopped for drinks and biscuits, which they provided for us each time we went out. This was my first day of rest for my hip from bumpy drives.
That night I heard the red lechwes bellowing and other nights heard lions roaring! The animals were free to visit the camp as there were no fences. An elephant had recently been in the central area of it and decided to push a tree down. That was ok except the tree landed on one of the main walkways and crushed it.
Not to be outdone by an elephant, I watched the wind that afternoon take down a very tall tree, which in turn took down a smaller tree - both landing very near to the newly repaired walkway! Needless to say a significant gap was opened in the walkway yet again and the maintenance men of the camp spent the next 2 days repairing it. One of the days was Christmas! Because of the sandy soil (again from the Kilahari) even healthy trees often cannot withstand strong wind. The gap in the walkway lay between our tent and the Lodge, so we had to go down stairs, walk along the ground (hoping to not encounter a wild animal), and go up a ladder. When it was dark we all had to be escorted to our tents anyway, so we never had to take this detour alone.
Day 5 - Christmas: It was hot!! 30C+ degrees (90F+) today. In the evening we went on another mokoro, but in the opposite direction. Saw a tiny white frog. It was probably only 1” or 2 1/2cm long and habituates reeds. Meanwhile the staff had been preparing a sumptuous Christmas meal for us, which included turkey, stuffing, and Christmas cake.
Day 6 – The camp activities included the option of a motor boat ride. Hoping that it wouldn’t be too bumpy, I went on this in the morning. It was fine. However, to get to water that was deep enough for a motor, we had to ride for an hour in a safari vehicle, which was bumpy! In the swamps we saw sitatungo, which are antelope-type beasties. I’d never heard of them before, never mind seen them. We got very close to a small croc and a large hippo.
This holiday was never dull. When we got back to our vehicle it wouldn’t start. It’d been giving us trouble on the way. It is a well-used starter motor because when we saw wildlife the driver usually stopped and turned the engine off. A mechanic from camp came in another vehicle to rescue us – along with a new starter motor. Two men who were with us had a flight to catch, so we flew over the ‘road’ on the way back to camp. Since my incision area didn’t appreciate that at all, I stayed in camp that evening.
Day 7: departure for Jo’burg day. A little 5-seater plane came to fetch us to take us to the airport at Maun, Botswana. The journey to Jo’burg was in a 2-prop airplane, which yet again to the many different modes of transport we used on our adventure.
Friday, November 27, 2009
So thankful there is a cure chapter following the diagnosis chapter.
You have adult children. ADULT I said. You watch their decisions. Your experience tells you that perhaps theirs is not the best decision. You get it that the time for you to verbalize this is past. Well, of course you can pray. And you do know that it is God Who works inside people to grow them. Every day, new opportunities to put this conviction into action, by NOT ACTING (not lecturing, not trying to manipulate, not even saying what you think about things). They already know what you think about it. Some would argue with me about this..." once a mom, always a mom", "you never stop being a mother", "you always love them"right? My challenge is to define love. Is not God's design to grow the kids up to become mature self sustaining adults?
I slip up many times. I apologize for words that come out of my mouth that are in the lecture category. My sweet kids forgive me, and my sweet God, Who is in the business of Redemption, redeems again. We go on.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Used car salesman. and saleswoman. What comes to your mind. Should I write this? Should I diss these guys that are 'just trying to earn a buck?' They have such ploys. And of course, some will try to tell you to buy a new car. Aresenio. i told him I am not in a hurry. But I AM, he said, thinking he was funny. Not going back there. Search all day on internet....get in and go to some dealerships during rush hour (so logical). Two were Christian. One may be able to get me one like mine at the auction next week. That'd be great. There is one with low mileage and low price but they did not answer their phone. Why does it have to be silver? D hugged me twice when i made jokes with him. I thought it was totally cultural for him and very unprofessional.....llike, you're so funny, I'm just going to fall on you and hug your neck. Go away please, I'm not your best friend. That's part of their training, act like best buds. Then whathisname and I talked about how great XM radio is and he raved about Howard Stern and I thought: I want to go home now. I don't want to buy a car from you. Good to have my son help me decide. I'm paying for my own car rental now. I think of how nice hondas and toyotas and some of the others are but I can't imagine them handling like my vw. I really want to replace that car, even if it has to be older. Then there was Earl with long fingernails and bloodshot eyes. Nice enough, the car I went to look at was already sold. But he did have a vw out there we looked at. And I even searched in DC and Indy in case I could go visit loved ones and drive a new car home cuz there are not many jetta wagons around and the passat is pricey. He gives and takes away. he gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Then we have the girl, who was interested in painting, but my! She told me to come out there and then she had no vw's on the lot. She made me sit down at her desk and talk about what i wanted, which I had already told her on the phone. She was very slow and I heard her discussing unimportant things with her coworkers while I waited to go look at the maybe one car they actually had there. just annoying. don't want to deal with her either. And they have to go and talk to the manager. And the manager calls me into his office and gives me his out the door price. You gotta be kidding. I think you came down a whole dollar. thanks. patience, child, and trust.
Monday, August 03, 2009
A long drive. Up the Eastern Shore was very pleasant, NJ Turnpike tolls have gone up a lot. Overnight overpriced in Connecticut. Topsham at my sister's. Our kids are married to each other and we don't have a word for it in English, so we have decided on sister. We argue over her desire to be a wonderful hostess, which she is, and my desire not to make trouble for her. Brandy the sheltie is ever beautiful and sweet. Stuffed haddock. Heaven.
I commute to Owl's Head which provides me with 2 extra hours each day seeing Maine from Rt. 1. Second week I am at Lake Crawford, which is mostly hid from me via rain and fog. Cozy cabin of knotty pine that smells like my Grandma's house. My room is very dark at night and makes for great sleeping. An erie owl echoes over the unseen lake.
I never quite seemed to get organized in my car and of course I brought too much, but the second week I settle in better and I like my paintings.
A thumbnail is going into the demo book of my teacher. I am honored and blessed.
He said such nice things about my work, beyond my understanding, as I am pretty uneducated in art history, but I take it as a gift and I want to share it, not hoard it.
There is too much to write & I must move on. What comes to my mind, all those grays and how to make them luminous. Fish every day. Nice people in the class. David gives and gives and gives the entire time, but I wish he would find me every day and comment and help me with my paintings. He said at the end I just get better and better every year and that I should try to enter something in the National Academy. I will.
Monday, June 08, 2009
John said he wrote so that our joy/ his joy? may be complete, they had some joy and it could always grow until it is full up, pressed down, shaken together and running over. plenty! John emphasized that he heard, saw, touched Jesus, implying those gnostics, those gnasty gnostics, are wrong to teach spirit is good and physical is bad. If so then Jesus would have been bad. They somehow could not accept that Jesus came in the flesh, cuz they were men and they knew themselves and they therefore had first hand evidence that all men are dogs, (sorry guys, I love ya anyway, but it's true) ...so they tried to get their mind around this and couldn’t so they concluded that therefore since Jesus is good, he must not be physical, cuz HE was sinless, as in not a dog, not like other men.
One thing they got, He was not like the rest of us. But John brought us back to reality and said, yes, he is, that’s just it, isn’t it amazing and you gotta get this in order for your joy to be complete and in order for us to have fellowship. if them gnasty gnostics wanna make up stuff like Jesus didn’t have an actual physical body then what was it I SAW and HEARD and TOUCHED with my own two grubby little hands? LOGIC. man! Use your brains. They were using their brains and came up with a fancy idea that was unfortunately plenty fancy and zero true.
Go, John, thank you for writing this down in a letter so that we can still benefit from is all these years later.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
From Calm my Anxious Heart homework, chapter on FAITH.
Each week we write: What did I learn about God this week?
He sometimes uses spooky seeming things to make His point with us). He sent 3 men to Abraham and he recognized them as messengers from God even though they are not called angels. He treated them as such. Weird, it comes across to me. Now that I have had my own weird experience, I should not see this as spooky, but I do.
It comes across as a oneironaut, a waking dream. It was in the heat of the day--no breeze, all still save the cicadas in the trees around the oasis, resting in the door of his tent, shade and breeze best there. Wavy images over the sand. Is this a heat dream, as compared to heat lightening?
Looking at the context: Abraham, and all his men, had they been circumcised. It comes immediately after in the text, though that is not proof that it happened right then. That just means, this is the next story that is written down. But I am curious.
Are they reeling from pain? Were they on Canaan aspirin to numb the pain? drunk? That could produce some weird dreams.
They had obeyed God. Every male was circumcised. Then God visited them with the specific promise about SARAH, not Hagar, that their son would become a multitudinous nation. After some time they tried to fulfill that promise by surrogate mother Hagar. Then God said circumcise and they obeyed and then God clarified His intent: Sarah is to be the mom.
God still used Sarah even though she laughed in disbelief when she first heard of His plan and then LIED: "I didn’t laugh"....not looking too Godly at that point. But by the next year she gave birth in old age. She had grown in faith. I'm thinking Sarah is blown away by God’s faithfulness.
God has a sense of humor, yes, but he reprimanded Sarah for her lack of belief, her lack of taking God’s word from His messengers seriously. Can you blame her? Yet God blamed her. But He did not punish her, nor did He change His plan.
Companion question: What did you learn about yourself this week?
As with Sarah, God is with me, come as you are, imperfect, as is, scratch and dent. I used to pray "I believe, help Thou mine unbelief." I did not believe whole heartedly. And He helped my unbelief. He took my mustard seed faith and made it grow. It is growing into a big ole tree that birds can build nests in. Lord, may my little birdies nest in my tree, which is rooted in You. And I thank You for this. You made me, You redeemed me, You gave me my family, You graduated Rick to heaven and You became my husband. You sent men to help me do things men do best. You made my son Andrew to step up, You made him faithful like his dad. You blessed me with grand babies. You coached me; you sent me Ron Marsh (Christian life coach: purposefilledlife.com.) You gave me a life purpose. Hallelluiah. You gave me my ability to see beauty and the eye-hand coordination to but my interpretation of that beauty on paper. You did this.
And how does it make sense that I still worry about money? (This is the inheritance that my physical father gave me: you need to have plenty of money--- though at age 97 it is about family.)
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
I pined for my dog who is now in doggie heaven, if there were such a place, in which she would be either not biting people, or biting them and having it make them laugh with glee, since heaven is a place where God fixes things up, right? No, I don't believe either of those things.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Assignment: Write a paragraph outlining how you will Search your heart, or cut the ropes, or Submit to plastic surgery, or Share Your Wealth. --page 228, #7. of Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow (Women's Bible study I am in at church) I chose
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Once upon a time there was
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Urgent! one year old black lab needs home.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Zoie had a bath today.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The family gathered. Mom prepared a huge meal successfully bringing all hot dishes to the at table in sync.
In the kitchen, she was in her element. We were dressed up in church clothes and the table in lace. There was an elaborate centerpiece with perhaps a deer, sparkly fake snow and candles hand made each year by my father’s secretary. We were all happily looking forward to Mom's lime jello "salad" with dream whip, pineapple, nuts and cream cheese, and marshmallows in it, which was really a dessert.
The hot home made rolls melted the butter. Add jelly from a pretty little bowl. Mound up the mashed potatoes with more butter and skip the gravy. It was the side dishes that made the turkey taste good.
Thanksgiving foods with sugar:
rolls with jelly
High fat list:
butter in the mashed potatoes
French fried onions on the green bean casserole
butter on the rolls
ice cream & whipped cream
butter in the vegetables
butter on the sweet potatoes
Thanksgiving foods that are LOW in sugar or fat:
hmmmm, thinking, um, uhhhhhh, let’s see....Can’t think of any right off hand. Ok maybe the relish tray if you skip the dip.
We 3 girls set the table correctly as we had learned in Girl Scouts. My father, ever the gentleman, pulled the chair out for us.
He would carve turkey at the table with a monogramed sterling silver knife and fork which matched ours. Who wants the drumstick? Would you like dark or light meat? Dark please. Say when.
One of us would sing-song grace:
God is great, and He is good,
and we thank Him for this food.
So we made good memories. We put our napkins in our laps, tried not to talk with food in our mouth, and passed to the left and with pleases and thank you's.
Daddy and my brother would watch football. We girls took turns using the dish master, a hose with a brush that sprayed water and held soap in it. When you wanted soap you pushed the button. This was a modern invention during the days before dishwashers.
I cannot remember what happened after the feast and clean up.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I copied the hymn during the offering because of the verse about art not being only for decorating Christian brochures. I let myself be trapped by that idea for years.
God, All Nature Sings Thy Glory (verses 1 and 2)
God, all nature sings thy glory, and thy works proclaim thy might;
ordered vastness in the heavens, ordered course of day and night;
beauty in the changing seasons, beauty in the storming sea;
all the changing moods of nature praise the changeless Trinity,
Clearer still we see thy hand in man who thou hast made for thee;
ruler of creation's glory, image of thy majesty.
Music, art, the fruitful garden, all the labor of his days,
are the calling of his Maker, to the harvest feast of praise.
Written by David Clowney in 1960
sung to the tune of "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig Van Beethoven, 1824
It's not such great poetry, but I appreciated the affirmation that God made me an artist on purpose and I am now using this gift from Him.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
That's an interesting place, the Apple store. There are as many geniuses as customers. I ignored all the cool merchandise and went straight to the back. My genius wasn't one and I wouldn't have hung one of those tags around his neck just yet. But he tried and I appreciate their high customer service standards.
So, the "free write" clutter in my computer.
There is a vague notion that someday I will glean something worth publishing, maybe someone will be encouraged by it.
But if the writer is bogged down and isolated, it isn't going to happen.
All those files become heavy and worrisome in the mind. I don't want to go back there and read all that stuff. It's overwhelming.
In the past writing has made you clarify things for yourself, and some of your writing people have enjoyed and been blessed by or at least your words were curious to a friend who enjoys poking around in another person's thoughts.
But freewrite stagnating in the laptop? Hmmm, not good.
So, try this instead: free write directly into your blog for one month. Yes, you will edit it, making it no longer FREE. If you want people to read your words, try it.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
So - the seas still roar.
The violent reds are still out there backed by wet greens.
Rain still blackens the tree trunks, turning up the color volume.
I am blessed with a bright maple right outside my back door.
So I told my other conservative friend: if our side loses, and it did, the fall colors will still make impact every year and the sand the the waves are not going away.
I went out walking by the waves in hiking boots with an umbrella which I did not use. There was a wind advisory on the bridge. The seas all the way up to the sea walls. I had to wait for the wave to ebb and hurry over to the narrowed beach. My boots got wet over the ankles once or twice.
It is powerful to be by the water when it is calm. How much more so when it is actually frightening. The wind came from behind me so the back left side got wet. Along with crushing waves was light but pelting rain on my hood. I saw one set of dog prints.
The seas were Davy's grey, darkening toward the horizon, and the sky almost the same hue and value with more blue. The breaking waves had some olive yellow in them.
I tried to use the umbrella after turning into the wind, but it was not worth the effort. How did the sailors in old ships hold the sails? I mean I only had an umbrella! Thus the mind of men who engineered ships and sails, created by the mind of God.
I studied the colors for a sketch from memory later in the studio. I should have studied more, I didn't remember what went into the middle foreground where the waves were all churned up.
We sang the Navy hymn in church last week "for those imperiled on the sea". But there were different words.
I would not want to be out there in a storm.
The ships out on the horizon, normally stretched out lengthwise, were facing land. Are they anchored, turned by the wind or are they controlled by people?
I am glad for the fact that we have elected a man with African roots for President.
I am not glad he is liberal.
We shall see how he leads.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
On Sunday I had to kill my dog, no, you must not say it so harshly. Put her to sleep, euthanize, put her down. It was so very hard. The pain is deep in my chest. It erupts regularly in tears. Poor animal just does what God designed it to do, and because it bites to protect itself when it is afraid, it cannot abide with humans any longer.
Such a companion. Such a gift God made, dogs. There will be no one to wag her tail when I come home from The Great Northwest. I wish it did not have to be. Now then, if I let her live out her years, she might get sick and be in pain and not be able to tell me she is suffering. So she went out quickly and painlessly, I think. But God, it was so hard. It just feels so wrong, because I loved her like a family member and you don't kill family members, do you? Of course not. We all understand: she cannot be trusted around children (or anyone without monitoring her) and now there are 3 grandbabies. So the decision.
I see a squirrel outside and I think of her.
I hear the neighbor's dog bark and I remember.
I see a dark blanket out of the corner of my eye and I think it is she.
I drew a picture of her from memory because I could remember every curve of her body from stroking her so many times.
I wanted the vet to do me next.
I told her not to bite anyone in doggie heaven.
It makes me never want to get another dog.
Guilty of caring too much about a stupid animal.
I will get another dog but I will be very sure it is not reactive, but calm and sociable.
Right now I think I wouldn't mind if I just died.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Born 8.18.08, now 6 days old. seven pounds, 3.7 ounces. 20 inches.
Not much crying but lots of sleeping. The second night, when the mom was exhausted, the friends visited all day and kept her up, the night nurses didn't say much, and she cried because try as she might, the baby did not know how to latch on. I hugged her and tried not to give her too many words...let her cry. She is frustrated watching her baby struggle and I am frustrated watching my baby struggle. I and all the nurses and other mothers told her already it will get better. But it is dark and it is so frightening.
After that she began to be able to nurse. The lactation nurse came in like an angel just as she was getting it. Many positive words and hands on teaching of positions to try and so on.
At home more visitors. Rest. Photos. Letting her lie on my chest while we sleep.
It is Sunday and I did not make it to church. I read to her from the Bible and sang her some songs about God. She rolled her eyes.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This summer I took Amtrak to my class in Maine. From there I went to North Dakota to visit my father and sister. My father grew up in ND, so now that he is 96, has dementia and my mom is dead, we take him up to ND every summer where he is peaceful and feels at home.
Do buy all your tickets ahead of time
Do check the discounts, such as the 30 day rail pass.
Do check your itinerary and tickets so that no legs of your journey are omitted.
Do travel light.
Do check your large bags.
Do take layers or blankets or both to stay warm, especially at night. Consider bringing your own pillow and eye shades.
Do visit the lounge car, especially if there is a National Park Service person on board giving details about things you see rolling by.
Do converse with people you meet.
Do take your time in the bathroom and be careful...it takes practice and patience to stay clean on the train.
Do try their Green Mountain coffee unless you only like the dark roast kind.
Do have wheels on your luggage.
Do paint in the lounge car if you paint.
Do remember your camera.
Do bring your toothbrush on board.
Do help someone with luggage.
Do use your laptop if you are going up and down the East Coast. They have internet en route and plugs by each seat.
Do walk around and check out the whole train.
Do try to schedule overnights where you can see your friends or relatives.
Do get some work done while you are NOT DRIVING.
Do expect more room than on an airplane.
Do expect to be rocked constantly.
Do acquaint yourself with all the different stations. They are not as clearly marked as airports.
Do bring your paper tickets. An itinerary is not enough to ride.
Do read the details at Amtrak.com
If you have the money, try a sleeper car.
Don't count on being on time.
Don't be afraid of the others on the train.
Don't plan on changing your tickets at just any old station: you can only change them if there is an agent there.
Don't take stuff to read if you won't read it.
Don't stress; The conductors, the attendants and other riders will answer your questions.
Don't worry; someone will help you with your luggage if you need it.
Don't travel in peak season if you have the choice unless you like full trains.
Don't count on internet on board unless you are going up and down the East Coast. Maybe later.
Don't count on a plug to fire up your laptop or cell phone.
Don't take night trains in coach cars if you want a good night's sleep.
Monday, July 21, 2008
There are an infinite number of ways to arrange furniture in your place, no matter how little stuff you think you have. Such options provide an infinite number of distractions for your mind-- good options, too, for which you can thank God. And you must take yourself by the hand and lead yourself away from going over each and every option perfectly, dragging the decision out.....hoping for the perfect arrangement of your things... You have spent enough time doing that in your life. Put it somewhere and USE it, function, work, eat, sleep, go out, come back in, let the house serve you, not the other way around.
Be ruthless with the paper. Shred it or make a box for a bonfire on your son's deck with his new fire pit.
Good. All good. Good problems to have. A house. Now go paint, Pollock!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
OK, yesterday I was thinking about Rick and the body of Christ and what came to my mind was that if I had to put him as a specific body part, I’d say core.
As children, we were told "lift with your legs." In tennis I learned "use my legs." As an adult I learned that using your legs and proper posture prevents back injuries.
I learned the reverse when my daughter and I carried Margaret’s sewing machine cabinet out of her house, with the old sewing machine in it. She is on the down end and I am at the top of the 2 steps leaning forward and trying to step down....there is no place to bend my knees to center myself under the weight, but I don't think about that because we are already moving. BOING. there goes that sprongy electric shock feeling in the lower back. Uh oh.. Ow ow ow. I try to continue but..... I can’t remember..... did Margaret's daughter carry it the rest of the way? The next few days I was immobile, getting in and out of bed to inch my way into the bathroom ever so slowly and with every attempt to roll over in bed, a reminder from the back NO! Not like that! Pain, that is.
So hopefully I learned. Experience is a better teacher than words.
But CORE. That word became popular when Pilates became the new exercise craze. My daughter-in-law liked her Pilates class. I tried it once or twice and liked it OK, though I preferred the dancing around aerobic tapes. Anyway the teacher kept talking about the core. As in: strengthen this first and foremost. OK so the legs are not your center physically, your abs are. hmmmm
Now then, Rick. No flashy charismatic gifts. Not a great speaker, not a GQ type, not a life of the party, not a brilliant mind. He thought he didn’t have any significant gifts, that he wasn’t really good - better than those around him - in any one thing. He felt less important because he lacked expertise in one area where he could shine above others. Don't most of us want to excel at something?
I would say to him, you have the gift of personal evangelism. You have a gift a lot of Christians would like to have; you present the gospel to people and they come to faith. I don’t know how he felt about my words, but It did NOT make him go: "yeah, you’re right, dear wife, now I feel on top of the world, Praise the Lord."
He was not a hand with intricate ability, nor an eye, to see what other people didn't see. He wasn’t a brain to think up stuff. But he was strong, both physically and mentally, tenacious and faithful to God.
So I see him as a core, or part of Christ's core perhaps a fiber in the big abdomen muscle, or a cell in the fiber.... No one focuses the core when they greet a person. Maybe they felt the heaviness of the approaching footsteps. They look at the eyes, the face, maybe glance at the whole body. They hear the voice and smell breath or soap or perfume. They feel a handshake or a hug, or kiss the cheeks. But they don’t NOTICE the core.
Yet what if it weren’t there? There would be no person. No core, no body.
Rick was solid, plodding, steady. "Faithful," I said and that is the word that best describes him. It is on his grave marker. Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
His place in the body of Christ was not highly visible, but it is absolutely a must have. God could see this when he gave gifts to the body of Christ, He chose to put Rick and his ilk in as core. He did not want the body to fall apart. You don't build a human from the skin in.
Now when I go to X-biking class and we are in sustain mode, I will work my handlebars to the right and left while trying to keep my core centered. I can line up the center of the bike and I try to keep my eyes precisely above that while pushing the bars to one side. It is not easy as you want to lean with your head and body in the direction your hands go. It requires a lot of my core when I do this. I feel it later in the day.
Someone had to hang on to the essence of Christ when others around him were running off to other gospels, New Age, Prosperity, etc. He kept reading and studying the Bible, kept telling people about Christ and kept seeing results.
It's curious to me that I remember one of the strongest images in my mind immediately after Rick died was that there had been an explosion and there was a giant hole from my chest down to my legs. it was as if I could have looked down at myself and there was no middle, just a hole you could see right through, empty, air. Nothing. That's where a core is, right in the center.
I could also see him as feet. How beautiful are the feet of the one who brings good news. Maybe a later post.