Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All Is Well

Good morning everyone. Sorry I haven’t been around, but I’ve been going through one migraine after another, plus I’ve been having internet connection problems.

Nothing to worry about. The migraines will pass and the connection problems I hope are gone. Hopefully I’ll be around visiting in a couple of more days.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Belt Buckle

Well the s**t has hit the fan. Some of you might remember when I wrote about my grandmother’s wedding band and how I gave it to my niece (sister’s daughter) and how Fmom also gave her a ring that meant a lot to her - The Pick Part II. When Fmom had given her the ring she told me she was sure there would be hell to pay from the rest of my siblings.

My brother his family and my sister and her family went to the beach for vacation this week. My niece was wearing both rings and my s-I-l commented about them. Of course my sister went through the entire story about how I got our grandmothers ring, and how Fmom gave my niece her ring. While driving back home my niece calls Fmom and tells her, “Granny I thought I’d better call and tell you to get ready.” She tells her that everything was fine until my brother heard about my grandmother’s ring. My brother says, “Hell I’ve been trying to get daddy’s belt buckle for years and still haven’t gotten that.”

So now Fmom is up in the air, and I’m thinking it’s hilarious. I just took Fmom and we looked through everything she has. We finally found my father’s belt buckle. The only reason my brother didn’t get it before is because Fmom couldn’t find it. Fmom talked to my sister, and my sister told her to tell my brother that she had given it to her a long time ago, and forgot to tell him. Fmom broke out laughing and said no that she didn’t want to give him a heart attack.

It’s a good thing though. Over the years Fmom has kept so much stuff and just going through the boxes and her cedar chest bought back good memories to her. She would pick up one thing and give me the history of each. She found my youngest brother’s first baseball uniform and it was so small. She would hold up little pieces of jewelry and tell me which great aunt it had belonged to, and how she came to have it. We found a Saint Christopher medal that a girl I had loved in college gave to me. In the boxes in her closet and bounty in her cedar chest she has more than just junk. She has a family history and her life. She hasn’t gone through this stuff in awhile, but I could see she was happy just looking for an old belt buckle.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Most Frightening.

Nancy at Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life asked the other day what frightens you. I obviously answered snakes and heights. I’ve been thinking about it a good bit, and although Nancy was talking about the little fears we can conquer, I got to thinking about the biggest fear. This is sort of a downer post, so I’m just warning you ahead of time.

In 1972 I worked in a charity hospital. I wanted to go into anesthesia and the fastest way to get there was by going to nursing school. I was working full time and trying to get through school at the same time. A part of each of our days was spent on the wards. Back in the early 70’s, men in nursing school were a rarity, and I found that when I was assigned patients each morning to take care of, I was usually assigned the big heavy people who couldn’t move. It wasn’t easy turning a 250-pound man to change his bed; to wash him, feed him and to take care of all the other stuff associated with a non-responsive patient.

There are many people I remember in those wards. People who I’m sure if they had more money would have gotten better care. But one I remember specifically. One day I was assigned a new patient. He was a man in his late 30’s early 40’s, and he was a CVA (cerebral vascular accident) patient. In other words he had a stroke. When I first saw him he had just come in and his wife and two children were by the bed. He was a nice clean cut looking guy and right off I could tell he was a farmer. His wife and children also looked nice and clean cut and the worry was obviously all over their faces.

I had four hours every day to usually take care of 3 to 4 CVA patients. This was always a total care situation, so my time was limited to say the least. With this patient I could usually spend an hour a day doing the things I had to, but I always felt with each of my patients it just wasn’t enough time. I talked to each of my patients, but with this one I talked a good bit more. I would always say if you understand me blink your eyes, move a finger, toe, just anything to let me know. He never did.

Over the weeks his family stopped coming as much and the regular staff at the hospital left him alone except for checking him from time to time. In the mornings I would find the night shift had done little to nothing during the night for him. I would always have to clean him all up because they usually didn’t even check to see if he had used the bathroom. He started loosing weight and from not being turned regularly he was starting to get decubitus ulcers (bed sores). This kept going on until one day I came in, and he was gone.

I’ve read novels and seen movies about people like this and ever since back in the 70’s the biggest most horrifying fear I have is to have a stroke. To not be about to move, but your mind is still working. To want to scream because this beautiful thing your mind, is now a prison. To be left alone hour after hour staring at the ceiling wondering if my family will come this day, this week or even this month. To probably be hurting from the ulcers on you body, to be hurting from lack of human contact.

I can think of nothing more horrifying than to be a prisoner in your body and to be left alone. When I went in to take care of that one patient, although he was non-responsive, I felt I could see the total consuming fear in his eyes.

This is what frightens me the most.


Friday, July 20, 2007

A Good Day.

When I woke up yesterday I thought it wasn’t going to be so good. There was a water leak in the front lawn and I thought I would be digging and trying to fix it. As with any home repair job, I work and work and work at it, and then decided I don’t know what I’m doing, and then call someone in. I had woken up thinking it’s going to be all day in the hot sun trying to do this.

Well I got up to fix coffee and one of my relatives was up too. This is unusual because they don’t get up this early. I asked if anything was wrong, and he said no that they were leaving this morning. I always the last to know anything going on, and I took what he said with a grain of salt. With these relatives they’ll say they will be here on a certain date and then not show up for a week sometimes. The same way on leaving too. So I get my coffee and start trying to wake up for the day ahead.

About an hour later, I hear something in the hallway and George starts barking. So I go and look and the relatives are carrying luggage to their car. I go out to the carport and see someone out at the leak in the front yard. He’s the same person we call every time we need a plumbing job done. I didn’t call him so I’m wondering how he knew.

Finally the relatives are packed and leaving and our repairman has done in 15 minutes what would have taken me all day. I’m in the carport with Fmom waving goodbye to the relatives and I ask her did she call the repairman. She told yes she did, and I told her I was going to try to fix it. She said she knew, but she also knew that I would be out there all day, and it was just too hot. She said she had rather called someone in to fix it, then see me out there falling out from heat stroke.

So as my relatives and the repairman are leaving, I’m thinking this day is going to be a good day. I can see slacking in my future.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Violin.

Fmom got a letter from her cousin today and in it were two pictures. The pictures show a violin and bow that hangs on a wall.

I feel sorry for Fmom sometimes because she never knew her mother. Her mother died during childbirth, and Fmom only knew her through what her aunts, uncles and grandparents told her. When Fmom was a child my grandfather had a job that took him all over the U.S. and down into South America. He wasn’t able to take Fmom with him, so her aunts and uncles on my grandfather’s side raised her. She ended up being raised mostly by GAN. My grandfather and grandmother had set up a house as couples do, but when she died, all of Fmom relatives came in and started taking stuff to keep for Fmom for once she grew up. Needless to say Fmom never saw any of this stuff. GAN was able to get a few things for Fmom, but really not much. My grandfather eventually remarried and he and his wife had a daughter. I guess on the wicked step mother scale, Miss P. was up there. Growing up we never called her grandmother, only Miss P. She was always nice to me, but you could always tell there was an icy distance between her and Fmom. When my grandfather died, Miss P. and her daughter were adamant about Fmom not getting hardly anything that was my grandfathers. Fmom didn’t try to fight it, and I’m glad she didn’t.

Fmom just found out last year where the violin had gone. It appears her mother had loaned it to her cousin when she had started taking violin lessons. Over the years the cousin had kept it and then had given it to her granddaughter. The granddaughter had it refurbished and it hangs now on her wall. Although I know Fmom would love to have it, she told her cousin that no she didn’t want it back, but she would love to have a picture of it.

So today Fmom got a letter with two pictures in it. Two pictures of the violin and bow that had belonged to her mother. She was calling all of us in the house to come and look at the pictures of her mother’s violin. You could tell she was proud to have the pictures, but also that she really would have loved to have something that had belonged to her mother. I told Fmom I know how much it would have meant to her to have it, but that I think she did the right thing to just ask for pictures, and that to me it showed class.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Sleeping and Insomnia.

Last week I couldn’t get to sleep for a couple of day and for the last two days all I can do is sleep. I’ve been through times like this before, and I have to say it’s a lot better now that I’m retired. I used to hate times like this when I was working. First you would be tired at work from no sleep, and then you would be at work trying not to doze off.

I used to have insomnia really bad. The longest I had ever gone without sleep is five days. I was working full time and at the end of that week I could barely lift my feet. At that point in time, I was actually reluctant to even lie down to try to sleep. It had become a loop to where I knew what would happen. I would lie down first and watch a little TV. Then I would turn it off and start to try to sleep. It always seemed just at that moment, that my mind would hit overdrive. There was no going through the stages of relaxing and then sleep. After lying there and trying to fall asleep for awhile, the tossing and turning would start. I couldn’t get into a comfortable position for anything. For a long time I would stay in bed and keep trying. I finally realized that besides getting no sleep, I was getting very frustrated just trying. So later when I found I couldn’t get to sleep, I would go ahead and get up.

This was back at a time before I had a computer and the only entertainment was reading or watching TV. I would feel like doing stuff in the house, but we had a small apartment, and if I did start anything in the house, it would wake up my X and the kids. So I did read a good bit, and would watch TV. TV was a total bust at those hours though. Nothing but infomercials on. Every now and then I could find an old movie I hadn’t seen before, but it was mostly boredom. After a good while, I would trying to go back to sleep and the same thing would happen. It would finally get to the point where at around 5:00 or 6:00 am I would finally get sleepy. However, at that time I couldn’t go to sleep because I became afraid if I did, I would over sleep for work. So I would go ahead and get ready for work and usually be the first one in the office.

Anyone that tells me now that they have insomnia, I feel for them and know exactly what they’re talking about. When you have insomnia it’s not just the inability to go to sleep, it’s also an underlying fear of trying to sleep. It’s one of those things that you know what’s waiting for you, and you just don’t want to go through that again. I’ve gotten better over the years with my insomnia. It’s no where as bad as it used to be, but it still pops up every now and then. Over the years I’ve tried everything. I’ve taken from the over counter to prescription medications. I usually don’t like taking these though. The over the counter medications have never worked for me, and the prescription medications scare me after the last ones I took. It’s scary to be told the next day that you sat down and talked to people for an hour or two, and the next day having no recollection of it. You begin to wonder what else you might have done and not remember it. So I gave those up completely. I now look at it as just a part of life or just getting older. It used to worry me about not getting to sleep, but now I take it with a grain of sand and don't worry so much. There’s still TV and reading, but now I have a computer and the Internet. So I can quietly keep myself amused without waking up anyone in the house.

The only thing I find about trying to sleep in this house is that no one wants me to. It’s as if everyone has a built in warning beacon that tell them when I’m asleep, and everyone has to pop their head in my door. Whether it’s to see how I am, or if they need something, someone is always going to wake me up. I think that’s the reason I’ve gotten into the habit of taking naps. I used to never be able to sleep during the day and a nap was out of the question. Now that I’ve gotten older, I can nap just about any place. I’ll usually doze off in my chair at the computer, and as uncomfortable as that sounds, it’s not too bad. I can’t get mad at my family for waking me up. If Fmom needs something I want to be sure to be there for her, and usually I want to get up to get whatever the rest of the family need something just because I don’t want too big of a mess to clean up afterwards.

So I guess everyone has problems with sleep from time to time. Does anyone else have problems and/or remedies for finding that elusive sleep?


Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Levee.

When I was growing up in Arkansas, the Mississippi River was fairly close to where I lived, which was about 40 miles Southwest of Memphis, Tennessee. About a mile behind my house there was a long lake that had been formed by the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-12. It used to be a part of the Mississippi River before the earthquake. Throughout this area where I lived there were levees. A lot of these levees were built in response to The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. By our house there was a three story building that was used as a store while we lived there. As with a lot of buildings in that area it was build up on stilts. My great uncle told me that he could just see the top of the bricks on the chimney during the flood. That had to be around 35-40 feet. So my point of that little side trip was to show how much the levees were needed. What most people don’t realize is that you can rent parts of the surrounding levees. Most farmers in that area have long term leases for any levee near their land.

Fdad rented a part of the levee that was adjacent to our farm. It was no more than a mile from the back of our house, and Fdad would use it for the cattle we had to graze on. Our part of the levee was two tiered. Half way down, it was built out enough to allow a truck to drive on it and on the top was a graveled road that ran the entire length of the levee. But my father also liked to enjoy himself, so our part of the levee was used for picnics with family and friends too. We would go down to the levee and in a stand of trees by the lake, my father would start the barbecuing, my mother would be looking after my youngest brother and we kids would run to the top of the levee with our flattened out cardboard boxes. This was our summer sledding time. Once the grass had started to dry some, you could take your cardboard box and fly down the side of the levee. For some reason we never had enough cardboard boxes for all the kids that wanted to slide. So once you slide down to the bottom, there would always be kids yelling at the top to hurry back up because it was their turn. Around this time Fdad also had a homemade pontoon boat docked by where we had our picnics. It was a bunch of 55-gallon drums strapped together with a platform built on top of those and railing on the perimeter of the platform. I forget what horsepower it was, but I remember we had an Evinrude outboard motor attached to the back, and Fdad had fixed it so that in the back right of the platform was a steering wheel and power handle for the motor. So there was everything from barbecuing to sliding down the levee to taking a ride on the lake to fishing. Fdad and Fmom had a lot of friends around there, so we always had a big group when we went to picnic at the levee.

I wasn’t going this way with this story, but I got to realizing that both Fmom and Fdad were a good bit younger than I am now. Fdad had already gone through WWII, and Fmom had already been the mother to five children. The sixth, my youngest brother would be on the way in a few years. I can look back now and think to myself hell they were kids. I guess the funny thing is that now that I’m older, it feels like I’m looking back and seeing my parents in their youth. Of course while this was happening, just as any child would see, they were bigger than life and pretty old. I guess I haven’t thought of it that much, but looking back at how much fun our family and friends had at the levee, I sort of wish at my age now, I could have become friends with my parents and their friends. I think it would have been a blast to get to know a young family like that. That young family also had a big plus on it’s side. It had me as a kid (obvious snark - :)).


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Glad I Jumped.

It seems like such a long time ago, but I remember when I was only a reader of the blogs. There seemed so many very intelligent and good writers that I was afraid or intimidated to put into the printed word what my thoughts were. I’ve never been a writer or to be more accurate, I’ve always been a very poor writer. I won’t even go into high school or what writing I had to do in the time I was in college. Leave it to say I had a teacher that told me one time, that he hoped I handled a shovel better than I did a pencil, because I had no future in writing. Up to this day, I’m still confused on grammar, sentence structure and all that goes with it. If I’m thinking of something, I just put it down the way I think it.

I could look it up, but I think it was about a year and a half ago that I finally stepped into the café and introduced myself. It was frightening to put down in a paragraph or two who I was. I think the most frightening thing was just the constant re-reading to find any mistakes. I wanted it to sound perfect, and I didn’t want the world to think I was illiterate. Luckily there were many in the Welcome Wagon who were very nice and kind. They finally got it across to me that not everyone was a professional writer, and that they were happy to have a new person in the group.

I think within everyone there is a wish to be a writer. I’ve dreamed of writing before, but I can see from the people that I know who are writers, that it’s hard work. Obviously to all that know me, that’s a big strike against it to begin with. I think the reason I write is because I enjoy it, and I think most importantly it’s a way to say hello to the friends I’ve met, and to see how they are. Although a year and a half ago, I was frighten to jump in and talk to people on the net, now I’m glad I did. I’ve met so many wonderful people I would have never known.

New Places To Go.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve got two new places to go on my blogroll. Two friends that have finally put up their own blogs. Whooo Hoooo!

Nancy/Kansas was first putting her blog up. It’s called Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life. It’s a wonderful site with many writers and friends dropping in. If you want to know something about writing or just a friendly hello, you should drop by.

Knucklehead just got his site started. He has some extraordinary photos especially of his saltwater fish. He named his site accordingly White Knuckles. Go over and check out his waterspout, lobster boat oil or see one of the "Lothars".

Hope everyone’s day goes good today, and it’s almost the weekend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Slow Week.

Not a lot has been happening around here lately. I got out of mowing the lawn yesterday by waiting for the rain. I had to wait until mid-afternoon and my neighbor was mowing his lawn, but we did get about 30 minutes of a sprinkle. That was enough for me. I don’t know if you would say we’re still in the exception drought because the grass is growing and it’s looking green around here. It’s still hot and humid though.

The relatives that were supposed to be here on Thursday, finally showed up in the middle of the night, last night. I suppose Fmom let them in because I didn’t know they were here until I woke up this morning. I figure they’ll be here for about two weeks.

Hope everybody’s week is going good so far.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

George Gets A Haircut.

The other day I took George to get groomed. I don’t have a just before picture because he looked too scraggly, and I would be embarrassed to show him. Leave it to say that I had little tuffs of hair floating around the room. Besides that, I knew he would be more comfortable with all the heat down here. So here’s an old picture of George with a lot of hair. It's one of my favorites of him.

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Of course, I always have to have a close up of George's beautiful smile.

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And this is what he looks like today. Usually they cut off all the hair around his head also, but this time they didn't. I think I like that better.

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So George has finally gotten over being mad about going to get his hair cut, I've finally gotten a no-hair zone and we appear to be happy for at least another couple of months.

The Irony!

When I lived out in California, I used to go to some very good Chinese restaurants. I became proficient with chopsticks and really enjoyed eating at these places. We finally got a Chinese restaurant here in town about two years ago. It’s one of those chain types with the food being fair, tons of different choices and they’re pretty fast. I always wondered, since this is a small college town, why one wasn’t here much earlier.

A couple of days ago I went to get a pick up order, and as I walked in, the bubble burst. Wafting over their small stereo was country music. I stopped for a second and thought – WHAT THE HECK! Well really I thought something different, but I wanted to keep this clean. While waiting at the counter for my order, a guy comes in and asked what’s in Kung Po beef. He keeps pronouncing it like it looks, and the lady keeps correcting him. I thought to myself, you’ve got country music on your stereo, and you’re trying to teach a guy who has probably never eaten Chinese food how to pronounce it right. The irony was almost overwhelming.

I count myself lucky to have lived in so many different places, and known many people of different cultures, races and nationalities. Although we don’t have as many different people and cultures down here as a lot of the big cities, it’s is nice to see new people coming in, and to see the folk here trying new things.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I’m A Waver.

Down here when you’re meet a car on the road, a lot of people will wave at you. Not everyone does, but a good number of people do. Everybody has their own type of wave. I’m a fingers waver. While driving instead of taking my hand off the wheel to wave, I’ll lift my fingers for a wave. Since there are all type of driving styles there are different waves. You have you wrist waver. They will drive by resting their wrist on top of the steering wheel while driving and lift their entire hand to wave, but their wrist is still on the wheel. You have some people who sit so low in the seat that sometimes you can’t see their head, but you will see their hand pop up. Then you have the two handed, hand off the steering wheel waver. While keeping one hand on the wheel, they’ll lift their whole hand off the wheel and give you a good solid wave. My younger brother is one of those.

Fmom told me about one time she was with this brother and going down the road he would wave at everybody. One time Fmom asked him who that was he waved at. He told her he didn’t know. Fmom told him he must be running for some office because he waved at everybody. My point there is that waving get on some people’s nerves.

I had a boss once that was from Chicago. He hated it down here, and he would come in the office and complain just about every day of people waving at him. One day I got fed up with it and told him it must be hard for him with the waving down here. I told him I’m sure in Chicago you just step over the newest dead body in the street and ignore it. I don’t know where that came from, but needless to say he wasn’t happy. He did stop complaining about waving though.

So waving down here is just something a lot of people do. It shows they’re friendly, and sometimes it shows they have a sense of humor. Have you ever been waved at by someone, and immediately stop thinking of what you were thinking about and begin wondering, do I know that person.


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