Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interesting Shopping

I found the window frames (Complete with antique glass!!) to hang on my wall. I now have to find the outdoor scene to put behind them. Then my little office will have windows and a view!! It will be funny to see students' reactions. I'm sure they will not appreciate that I WANT them somewhat chipped, etc. As a matter of fact my husband even offered to have someone sand them down for me. As if!! Shabby chic he does not get. Antique he's okay with as long as I refinish or have someone to refinish. Deliberately chipped paint bothers the "fixer" in him! Fortunately, he will not have to see these daily!!

P.S.This is blog #494. Go here to register for the drawing to be held at post #500!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

When God Speaks, I want to listen

Lately God's been bringing people from the past into my life. I'm not sure what he's saying. But I'm trying hard to listen.

Tonight, we go to our favorite little gourmet cafe for a bit of supper (Yeah, supper! It's just the farm girl in me!) and we see a man we've know for a long time. His story is one of those that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Let's call him Jake for convenience and confidentiality. He was born second in a family of six siblings. The father was gone by the time the youngest girl was born and this man was about 8 and the oldest sister was 9. Mom struggled to feed and clothe them, but after two years, she married a harsh man with sufficient means to support her family of 6 children. The stepfather, however, didn't want the children around. They were routinely locked in a bedroom upstairs from the time they got home from school until the next morning. Six siblings from age two to age eleven, two beds, no bathroom. Usually they were fed. The oldest sister would occasionally manage to get out and go downstairs for extra food or milk for the littlest ones. If caught she was punished severely. One Chicago winter when she was about 12, she was locked out of the house in only her underwear for several hours to pay for her "crime." Jake was 13 then. He blamed himself for his sister's trauma. He cried while she shivered on the snowy doorstep, humiliated and cold because she tried to care for her little sisters. Jake became more and more reclusive, withdrawn, depressed.

One by one, the children were old enough to leave home --at age 16, 15 or 14 they each made an escape of some kind. Mostly the boys just left; the girls escaped with a boyfriend. When he was 21, Jake had a psychotic break. Life just became too much to bear. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I only knew him that way. Most of the time he could participate in one-on-one or small group conversations. He would lose touch with reality only when stressed, confused or embarrassed about something. Then his conversation would become disjointed and disconnected from the present. Even so, he was friendly with an air of childlike innocence that was appealing.

He's still like that. We saw him tonight eating lunch in our little diner. His mom died a few years ago and left him enough money to supplement his meager disability. He can now treat himself to a shake at a restaurant sometimes. He was happy to see us. Remembered our names, asked about our children. I had to say their names for him, but that jogged his memory enough that he asked about their wives. He even remembered our first granddaughter. He hasn't been around us since the younger one was born. We chatted with him for awhile until our food came.

My eyes filled with tears thinking of the wounds sustained in his life. He's past fifty now and mostly walks around town, lost his own thoughts. Too fragile to work or maintain a relationship, he lives alone. Has few friends. The picture of a train wreck kept coming to my mind. As though his life were a train that had somehow jumped or been pushed off the track. There, but not there, not able to move on. Just stuck beside the track as time moved by.

Then I thought of children I've seen these last three days. Some quiet and frightened, some angry and belligerent, some sullen and withdrawn. And through my tears, I prayed.

God, help us to remember that these young ones may be coming from situations that wound the spirit, numb the mind and discourage the soul. Help us as teachers to realize that with a soft word, a kind deed, a genuine smile we may help some child find the courage to continue, to stay on track. Remind us that within every little gangbanger wannabe, every little drama queen, every little tough guy, every little lost child there is a Soul that is lovely to you. Give us the grace to see that too!

God help us to bring healing to young people struggling to keep afloat in a sea of difficulties.

And God...minister to the Jakes of this world.


And now I think I know what God is saying:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign L
ord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed"
ISA 61:1

Give me strength, Lord!

I got so spiritual, I almost forgot!!! This is BLOG #493. To register for the giveaway on the 500th blog, go here. (At the rate I've posted this week, it will be a while before I get to 500!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post #492
Don't forget to go here and leave a comment to participate in the coming giveaway!

Just couldn't resist posting this here on the cusp of school starting. I left my office at 7:30 this evening!! And I'm still not ready!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

POST # 491

Just as a thank you to the friends that I've made online and to celebrate a milestone, I've decided to celebrate the 500th post with a drawing!!! Now I just have to get my act together and find that little counter thingy, etc. Nah. I probably won't have time, what with school starting and all!! (Although if anyone will email me the instructions for whatever that widget gadget is called that does random drawing....maybe.) I'll do it the old fashioned way and put all the names in a box (cup? teaspoon?) and have my granddaughters draw the winner. Here's the prize:

An album in a minute!!!
An album with photo sleeves for 24 photos or journal boxes, a package of stickers, and a package of 64 photo mats.

Or you can see the professional ad for the item here!

Here's another view of the package which includes: a 6 x 7 album with photosleeves. A package of 64 photo mats. (Plenty left over after your album) and a package of laser Stickers. Similar photo mats are here! (This color is discontinued.)

All you need are up to 24 photos, some adhesive and you have a handy album for that little one's birthday party, ballet recital or day at the park. (Photo of my granddaughter not included. Used to illustrate a page!!!)

Another photo of the prize with the easel quality of the album demonstrated.

Here's how it will work. If you'd like to win the album, make a comment on this entry between now and whenever I post the 500th blog. Probably a couple of weeks. I'd like to hear how/why you started blogging. But if you're in a rippin' hurry, it's okay to just say "pick me!" Remember your link must be active so that I can contact you. Or click email on my profile and send me your email address.

On the day of my 500th blog, my granddaughters will help me with a random drawing, and we'll pick a name! Good luck!

Note: I used to be a consultant for this product line and have lots of product to play with. I no longer may sell, but I may certainly give it away to my friends.

P.S. School is starting tomorrow and my office looks something like this. Not good, but better!!


It has happened. I do believe August 23 to be a record -- for my observation anyway. Yesterday I decided I had to add a few pieces to my wardrobe to get through the first couple of months of warm (I hope) days. And I saw.....This!!

So I decided if I can't lick 'em, I'll join 'em!! I added the countdown calendar. LOL

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The anatomy of a perfect day

What's better for the last Friday before school starts on Monday than a visit to Kiddie Land? And...we'll take along a little friend. Yep. Me, a 4-year old, a 6-year old and an 8-year old. All day. At the amusement park! Fun!

Right at the entrance was a beautiful old-fashioned carousel. Little m & a were ecstatic. Yeah!! Horse rides. I still had not taken the camera out of my fanny pack when M announces she's hungry. We head for the food stand and order pizza. While the pizza is coming, it begins to rain. Only a sprinkle at first then a downpour. By the time we get our teeth on pizza, there's a full fledged Midwest Thunder Storm in progress.

There's not much shelter available...this is an OUTDOOR park. But we find a place under the eaves of the video arcade to start on pizza. Here we are:
looking like drowned rats!!
By the time I bought these at the customer service window (They were out. I had to wait for them to re-stock) the pizza was soggy and inedible. So it's back to the car and off to McD's for food in a dry place. We dry off somewhat under the electric hand dryer in the bathroom there. See, there is some use for those things!
We re-enter the park, ride some more and have....yep!! Cotton Candy!

The Three Musketeers
Aaaw. They're sleeping.....NOT!
Watching someone else get drenched just like we did two minutes before.
Oh yes!! Getting drenched by a rain storm doesn't stop US from a log ride in which the point is to get drenched. We're brave like that!
Little A loved the horse. They were her favorite ride...all six times!!!

Most of the time, little m joined her.
And when she tired of big kid rides like Tilta-Whirl and The Scramble, M joined them.
Thrills for little m & a. M took the pictures!
End of day. Grandma gets her favorite -- the elephant ear!!! Well as long as there isn't Funnel Cake...or dark chocolate....or....Tiramisu... And SURE this is to share. Lets all stick a finger in the powdered sugar.
Please, please, please!!! Just one more ride before we go?????
Sure!! Why not? Now let's go trash Grandma's car with Subs on the way home ('cause now we're hopelessly late with several "one more" rides). Then we can mix in the crayons and some stickerbooks with the toys from McD and Sub. Let's take them all apart and throw them in the floor along with the clothes we have changed on the way. And .... one more snack too! Snack bars, and juice boxes that Mommy packed for the trip.

Ah! Yes! A perfect day. One we won't forget soon!!!

And Papa, the wonderful Grandpa that he is, de-trashed the car this morning while I still slept. And the handyman washed and vacuumed it -- all ready for school on Monday.

The perfect end to summer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cultural Ponderings
From which Age are you?

Technological AgeBoth a Diversity class that I've taken and responses to blogs in which I've written a bit about my unorthodox upbringing or at least referred to it in passing as background for attitudes, etc. have given me pause to think about my cultural past. From a post-modern viewpoint, things like killing animals for food seems worlds away from our modern society. And it is. Given my (not so advanced) age...come on now, I'm young enough to blog!!... and rural upbringing, I realize that I have spanned several centuries in terms of lifestyle. Hey, I'm still in my 50's!

If you take Toffler's wave theory, the world entered Wave One as an agricultural society, leaving hunting and gathering (and living in caves) behind. Maybe this happened sometime several thousand years ago, except in the case of certain Indigenous groups and some spots on the globe where nomadic hunting and gathering behaviors continued, or may even continue today.

Then the Second Wave began with the industrial revolution, the gathering of people in large cities with nuclear families rather than extended ones, an education system and development of corporations. And depending on where one lives, this began sometime in the 18th Century and continued until the present in which the Third Wave has begun, the Technological Wave. (It may go by other names, depending on the writer). But we live in an era in which Services and Technology are of paramount importance.

Technological AgeSo, I sit here writing in the Third Wave, using a computer with two screens attached and a laptop at hand. (I do not carry the Blackberry, etc...but am thinking of upgrading my phone!)

Industrial Age
My earliest life was firmly set in the Industrial Age: My Dad worked in the Automobile Industry, lived frugally in order to save enough money to purchase a farm -- to set us back in the Agricultural Age.

Agricultural Age
On a farm in a rural area with no phone, no emergency services available (without a 30 minute drive to the nearest town) and dependence on the whims of wind and rain, one learns to be self-reliant. Gardens were a necessity, as was canning and freezing food. One had to be prepared for the drought, flood or early frost that inevitably occurred. During tough times, we hunted and fished for food. Wild berries and nuts were also a source of food. We lived in the Agricultural Age, in the 1960's.

Hunters and Gatherers

Except during those tough times. While we were never homeless or nomadic, we certainly were dependent on hunting and gathering. I can shoot with the best of them. But my Dad had limits. He would not stoop to eat Raccoons or O'Possums. Well, as a guest, we did once eat Raccoon, but never O'Possum. He said that was only fit for the dogs.

Just for the record, we never would eat pets either. Dogs and cats were tended to well, although they lived in the barn, not the house. However, rabbits, squirrels, frogs (big ones), turtles (huge ones), fish, quail, wild turkey, duck, and deer were food. We didn't have access to bears, alligators, or ostrich, but I suppose they would have been food, too.

Technological Age
So I am seated firmly in the Technological Age, writing about experiences that send me back to the Stone Age -- almost. I teach students many of whom have had the same experiences as I. Or their parents have. Coming from underdeveloped countries, they lived in a rural societies much like mine. The difference is that it was last year and they have had little or no transition through the Industrial Era. Many have come from an Agricultural setting unchanging for the past 100 years or so, and with a single move have landed in a Post-Industrial, Technological society. To add to their confusion, they often speak little or no English. And this year, I will be working with those parents to help students succeed in school.

Interesting, isn't it? God uniquely prepares us for a specific role even when we are blithely unaware of it. My hillbilly life really is of some practical use to me, and not just some curiosity for my friends to ponder, even though I live in the Technological Age! Must be God's Plan!

So, what about you? Have you always been a "Techno"? Or are you in touch with another Age? In what ways has God specifically prepared you for the task at hand?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Young man in brown suit = my nephew
Middle-aged woman in blue suit = Hillary Clinton
Men staring disapprovingly in direction of camera = Sec*ret Ser*vice??
Place = Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date = Yesterday, 08-18-08

Monday, August 18, 2008

Melodrama at Dusk
It's a quiet day in the neighborhood. From below the horizon, the sunlight provides light while a slight breeze adds to the cool ambiance of a summer evening. Across the street some young men are playing Mexican "Rancheros" for my specific enjoyment. Birds are beginning to return to the trees to nest, adding to the music in the air.

I sit quietly out here near my huge pots of flowers with my laptop keeping an eye on things. And what am I doing? I'm protectin' the neighborhood. Almost, I wish I had one of the guns I had as a girl at home.

We live right beside the church. For this evening, we loaned the building to a local social service agency to give an informational seminar on immigration and immigrant rights. A University from Chicago sent a lawyer and some immigration specialists out to talk with people. There isn't much of a crowd. It's a frightening thing to admit that one needs such help. Families arrive slowly, reluctantly.

About an hour ago I came out of the building after helping set up tables, etc. There was a man in a cowboy hat and boots with a "Cowboy Up" tee-shirt in the parking lot examining cars. Did I mention he was a paleface?? In our neighborhood, anyone in a cowboy hat and boots is usually Hispanic, not white. But there were other suspicious things. In one had he had a pen; in the other he held a few 3x5 cards. From where I was, I could see a couple of license plate numbers on the card.

And when I said "Hello", he jumped like I'd pulled a gun. That's when the old "defender" persona sort of descended on me. I'd always been the protector of my sister and young cousins. It felt a bit like that. Like running a bully out of the neighborhood.

"I'm just waiting for somebody." He stammered at me. Even though I hadn't asked what he was doing. I should have.

I played it cool and just stood and watched him. Under the intense glare of my Wonder Woman-ish eyeballs, he didn't write down any more license plate numbers. (Maybe my eyeballs are more Annie Oakley-ish! Or Nancy Drew?)

It was a waiting game. A friend came out of the building (A social worker type, although at this point he is a teacher) and asked what I was doing.

I guess my wide-legged, arms akimbo stance looked suspicious to him. Or maybe it was that glint in my eyes. "I'm defending our territory." I explained that I was out-staring an intruder.

Together we just stood and chatted, always looking in the direction of the intruder who was now careful to keep to the sidewalk. Cowboy sauntered slowly down the walk. You could see he wasn't going to let US run him off. But he kept moving. And so did we. Always keeping him in view. Finally he retreated almost to the corner. We were very subtle, just walking casual-like and talking. Eventually a van drove by and picked him up. My friend decided to leave.

But, like a dog with a good bone, I'm not leaving my post. As long as there are pale-faced strangers in the neighborhood up to no good, I'm staying here. Armed with a laptop and a glare.

Makes me wish I had my Southern sisters up here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Your Hair Should Be Orange

Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.

You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

Hello!! My hair has been "orange" my entire life!!! Weird, huh?? People used to be nice and called it auburn, or red...but honestly? It's orange. It's always been orange. And my eyes are the same color . . . orangey-brown. But no one ever called it weird, even if hardly anyone noticed. Until now!

And now that it's faded, I alternate between Copper and Reddish Blonde. I think this time, I'm going to mix the two. Copper is a bit too bright and Reddish blonde turns yellow too soon. Should work. Right??? And if it turns green??? Naw! It won't!

Thanks Linda

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dinner Alone

Here I sit out on the deck, just me and my computer -- oh -- and my dinner!

Doesn't that look yummy? It called "Shrimp Cocktail" from a local Mexican restaurant. But it's more like cebiche, except that the shrimp are actually boiled for this one. The portion in my bowl has 6 of those big shrimp, but that's only half of the portion they give. Enough for two meals, or two people. Tonight, it will have to be two meals. But that's not all. I also ordered Guacamole and chips. Which look like this....
Also enough for two!! Are you hungry? Come on over, I'll share. I'd be happy for the company.

It's not the norm for me to be home alone in the evening. I am alone during the day sometimes in the summertime, but my summers are usually filled with events and people...Although one reason I eat and read the paper at the restaurant is just because I'm a people person. I function better surrounded by action -- even if I'm not really a part of it, as in a restaurant. If one of us is out gallivanting in the evening, it's usually me. He tends to be a homebody. Even travel. I sometimes travel alone in the summertime. He almost never does except by extreme necessity -- death or illness in the family. Once in a great while, a preaching commitment.
When I find myself alone in the evening, I usually turn on the tv or radio for noise...and generally don't even watch it. I just need the voices for company. Some nights the voices in my head are not loud enough!

I know, for those of you still chasing kids, you're thinking that you'd gladly transport two or three over here to provide background noise for me while you get some privacy in the bathroom!! I'm just in another phase of life. I don't EXACTLY wish for those child chasing years again, but on evenings like this....I'm just sayin'

So what's going on that's so important that he's out and about and I'm here on the patio with my computer and my dinner? Oh there are a few squirrels in those trees you see, but don't worry, I'm not going to have any for dinner!! I'm well past the squirrel eating years, and much too far North of the Mason-Dixon Line. (If you missed that post, click HERE.)

I digress. Hubby? For father's day the boys gave him a certificate for a "Guys' night out." He and they are having dinner and a soccer game. The Chicago Fire is playing tonight and they are there. Besides me, his kids and grandkids, and the church, his next love his soccer. He's an avid fan. At a game, he transforms from this quiet soft spoken gentleman into...well, never mind. Let's just say he yells a lot. Never anything crude, but he yells, as in, "Ref, can't you see that! That was a foul. Are you blind?" Yada. Yada. Yada.

If right after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, there is a soccer match between messenger angels and guardian angels, he'll be the happiest man in Heaven!!
Me? I just hope they have shrimp at the Marriage Supper!!

P.S. See what trouble I get into on my own? I decided to change my blog....I think this one is too busy for what I usually do -- lots of pics, etc. But I'll leave it for a couple of days, just to SEE if I like it. COMMENTS????

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Spectacularly Tagged

Six unspectacular things abut me:

First the rules
1.Link to the person who tagged you: Ballerina Girl and Marina
2.Mention the rules on your blog
3.Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks you possess
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them
5.Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blog letting them know they've been tagged
But...for 4-5 just play if you feel like it and let me know!

  • 1. My favorite summertime activity is eating breakfast at the corner restaurant, and staying to drink tea while I read the SunTimes, do the Sudoku and Crossword puzzle.
  • 2. I drink iced tea for breakfast -- most days. On Sunday, I drink coffee.
  • 3. I play piano, but only old style gospel or country songs -- I can't do the new funky music.
  • 4. I spend so much time on a computer these days, I don't read as much as I used to.
  • 5. I grew up in the country, shooting guns, skinning squirrels, gigging fish out of season and running from the Game Warden
  • 6. I can't draw worth two cents and my handwriting on the blackboard (or whatever they are called now adays) is terrible.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Still very tadpole, but getting to the froggy stage!!

Yes! That computer is on and working!!

Some of the books are on the shelves. Most things are out of boxes.


My myofascial disorder is really disordering tonight.

Trigger point? "
Repetative motions; Muscle strain due to over activity."

Oh? Like pulling stacks and stacks of books out of boxes and putting them on shelves?? That's why when I stand up, I walk like I'm 153 when I'm really only 102 years old?

But the room looks so much better, wouldn't you say?

One more day -- tomorrow morning. And then I have to get to the lesson planning stuff. 'Specially since I have to teach a totally new subject in only...2 weeks!!! School Starts in 2 weeks. Yikes.

Fourteen days. And between then and now I have 6 days completely filled. Two are Sundays on which I have NO time to write lesson plans. That leaves six days, two of which are Saturdays. That's grocery, laundry, etc. day. That leaves Four days for lesson planning. FOUR DAYS!!! My muscles are really spasming now!! Gotta go take some muscle relaxers. Bye y'all.

Bloggers Over 50

Personal DNA

Personality Profile

My Bloginality is ENTP!!!