A follow-up on the homeless girl I tried to help

Some of my dear Readers may remember a story I told, back in February, about the girl who showed up twice on our doorstep looking for a place to stay. 

I have a bit of a follow-up. Our city provides cooling centers in the summer (and warming centers in the winter) for those who might need them, whether they be homeless or their heating/cooling unit is out of order, or there isn’t a lot of money to pay the  high utility bills to operate said unit. The cooling/heating centers are free, and a person can get a free bus ride to the center if they just ask. Because some don’t know about the centers, or need a reminder, our local news media always runs stories about them. Yesterday, one such story was in the local paper.

But there are people who come to cooling centers specifically to cool down in the air conditioning.

Monique Garcia, 24, who lives at the Poverello House, said she has been homeless on and off for several years.

The area around the Poverello House “is a desert” with little shade, she said, so she and her friend Anthony Sims headed for the Ball center.

“I’m going to find somewhere to get out of the hot sun and stay in the shade where I can charge my cell phone,” Garcia said.

She said her plan was to swim in the pool after the cell phone was charged.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnoebee.com

Monique Garcia waits as Anthony Sims gathers his things after they cooled down at the Frank H. Ball Neighborhood Center on Thursday in Fresno.

The girl pictured in the paper’s story is the girl in my story. It appears that she finally made it to the homeless shelter that takes in single women. I’ve been praying for Monique with hopes she would find a way out of her situation and into one that provides a means to make a decent living and to have a long-term home. She has taken one step towards that. Now I will pray she will continue. Getting OUT of homelessness is very hard.

Finding a job while homeless is not easy. One needs an address, a phone number, a way to get to interviews, and a way to look decent for an interview. A homeless person must convince an employer that they will show up every day, on time, and in a manner that matches the job situation. It sounds easy to those of us who have the means to do this, but to someone who has very little, and sleeps in a shelter every night and who has to carry their belongings on their back (as you can see in the photo of Monique) this is very hard.



Getting an early start

When asked yesterday, by a friend, when I would be in a certain store today, I told her, “about 8:30 because I am a rare and delicate flower who cannot stand in the heat.” Yesterday, when I came out of Sprouts, with all those groceries, it was already 90 degrees and it wasn’t even 10:30. Sure enough, 105 degrees by early afternoon, topping out at 108 at 5 pm.

I have to start early if I’m going to accomplish much. This morning I was up before 5:30 so I could feed the cats, water the yards, empty the dishwasher, sort laundry and even get a few loads washed. It’s now almost 8 am, and I’ve gotten those chores out of the way. I spent time reading the newspaper, Facebook, and blogs, but now must put on my summer face and make ready to leave the house for a small amount of time. Terry will be gone all day and evening for various meetings. He isn’t as delicate as me.

My son-in-law is still recuperating but we don’t know if he has Lyme disease,  and tiny grandson is improving every day. The doctor said he will have the cough for some time yet. My friend who is taking care of her ex-husband got the air conditioner fixed but had to take the patient to the ER anyway due to his feeding tube coming undone. He will spend some time there as there are other issues. The posts coming from a friend of Ronni Bennett’s gives all of us a feeling of reassurance after her surgery where they were able to remove all of the tumor in her pancreas. Thankful for progress.

More couch time with my books and cake this afternoon.

Decadent summer living

It was 90 degrees when I returned home from running errands this morning. Too hot, certainly, to think of cooking or baking anything. I bought all cool foods at the grocery store, and a stack of books at the bookstore. I’m set to live my decadent life of eating and reading under the air conditioner the rest of the week. 

For this morning, I’m having cake with blackberries and starting a book that was written in the 1980s. 

It’s summer and I’m sad

Summer is usually a favorite season of mine. Long days. Warm temperatures. Yes, we have those, but we also have some troublesome things that just make life a bit sadder.

My grandson Judah has pneumonia. He’s on the mend, but not staying as still as his mother would like. He really needs to be well in a few days for an upcoming trip. His father, my son-in-law, has just gotten sick and Jennifer is concerned it may be lyme disease as he has gotten some tick bites as he is working in forested woodland where the buggers are known to hang out. He also needs to be well for the aforementioned trip.

My blogging buddy, Ronni Bennett, is undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer today. Her prognosis is fair, but who knows with surgeries, especially one so serious. My thoughts and prayers are turned to her as the day progresses.

Our pastor’s younger, and only remaining, brother, died Sunday night of colon cancer in a city halfway across the country. It had been a long, painful road. I was thankful that Pastor Pat could be there, holding his brother’s hand and reading Bible verses to him, but it is still sad for him to have been there all alone while doing it.

A young friend who I worked with at camp all those years ago when Terry and I still had the energy to be camp counselors suddenly died on Sunday. The underlying cause may be her epilepsy, but no word has come down yet as to why she died without warning.

My doctor’s office called yesterday. My recent blood work (after that very lengthy doctor’s appointment) shows I have gout. Or at least the uric acid that causes the symptoms of gout. I will stop taking the diuretic that I’ve taken for a couple of decades and what may be the underlying cause for the uric acid buildup, and start taking a different blood pressure medicine. I hate taking prescription medicines as they don’t usually work well with my system.

The air conditioning in my friend’s house went out just as we started a string of 110 degree days. This is the friend with whom I just had lunch and wrote about last week. She thinks she will have to send her very sick exhusband somewhere if the equipment cannot be quickly repaired. It seems that these devices always break down at the least convenient time.

I have a bright spot to look forward to in this litany of sadness. That trip I mentioned at the beginning is a family trip, all six of us piling in a van and driving to Portland, Oregon, where we have rented a house and my daughter will attend a national church conference, getting to see so many friends. We will play like tourists and have fun, too. I just want everyone healthy and feeling good for it.


Park the car

There was a large group for a tour at Kearney Mansion this week. It took two tour guides to do it. Another retired educator who does tours for the Historical Society and I were the ones called upon. We can handle crowds.  After I gave the introduction in the foyer, Larry took half of the group and started on the second floor while I showed the other half around the first floor. Then our groups traded places after about 30 minutes.

It worked well and it gave Larry and me a chance to chat which we never get to do since it’s usually just one of us giving a tour. Our paths seldom cross. After finishing the tour and saying goodbye to the tour bus of older adults,  we walked across the porch and out towards the driveway, Larry pointed out to the far parking lot where my car sat, by itself.

“Is that you parked so far out there?”

“Yes, I park as far away as I can because it forces me to walk. It’s the only exercise I get.”

Larry’s car was parked in the driveway, just steps from the porch. “I park as close as I can,” he laughed as he climbed into his Mercedes. I continued to walk out to the parking lot as he passed and waved. Even after getting to my car, I didn’t immediately get in and drive away. I took my phone out of the car and walked some more down the roadway, getting a few pictures of the park. It is so lovely at this time of the year.

So, where do you park? Close or far? I just came home from running errands this morning and both at Target and SaveMart I parked far out in the lot, and in both cases shuttled my shopping cart back to the cart ramps. I get so perturbed by those who leave their cart sitting in the middle of the parking spot. It’s a chance for me to get a little more exercise.

Now I’m headed out to pick up a friend and go to lunch. We’ve not seen one another for months, so lots to catch up on. Due to her health issues, we may have to park closer to where we go for lunch, but I’m going to prompt her to walk (which is good for her heart) a ways is she’s up to it. She may still have a handicapped placard, and if we can find any handicapped spots, may take one. Sometimes it just doesn’t work to park far away, but when I can, I will.

Our past, present, and future all connected through the internet

About 25 years ago the internet was this new-fangled contraption that many said would never last. Many in education said that. Along with, “students don’t need the Internet. They’ll just see bad things.”

I, and the teachers with whom I taught, didn’t believe it. We saw technology as a means to help our students learn more, and learn it faster. We wanted computers in our classrooms. We wanted internet access. We wanted color scanners and printers. We were a demanding bunch!

Another teacher and I went online at home, she on AOL and me on Compuserve, to teach ourselves about what this new thing could do. We connected with others and some of those connections have lasted for over two decades. Before networks and the World Wide Web and one click connection, we were dragging our students into the 21st century as well as ourselves. 

It’s all history, now. All schools are connected. All students, from kindergarten to graduate school, are online. And those teachers, we still believe in technology. I would be teaching coding and app development if I was still in the classroom. We would build robots that would do tasks. We would make videos of it all and connect with others around the world. 

On Wednesday this all came home to me when I had lunch with one of those former Compuserve friends I made over two decades ago. We’ve lived in the same town all these years and have reconnected through Facebook, but we had never met in person. She drove across town to have lunch with me at a new restaurant I had recently touted on Facebook. 

It’s like we had always known each other. We reminisced and caught up over a good lunch. We laughed at some past antics and we were saddened at the loss of friends we had in common. Lisa is caring for her exhusband as he faces the end of life. She does it with a grace I would not have. 

Next time I will drive to her side of town for lunch. Until then we’ll keep using the current form of Compuserve–Facebook–to keep up. Isn’t technology great?

Twitter made me do it

One of my Twitter friends asked for biscuit recipes yesterday. It’s kind of hard to do in 140 characters, but my simple recipe just fit.

3 cups of Bisquick mixed with a heaping teaspoon of sugar. Stir in 1 cup sparkling water. Mix, knead, roll out, cut out biscuits. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

As I typed it out, I began to think about how good those biscuits taste, and that it had been awhile since we had biscuits. Sunday afternoon was very cool, too, so running the oven was not going to make the house hot. I decided to make biscuits and gravy for dinner.

As I was making my biscuit dough, the Twitter friend asked another question about the biscuits, so I posted this picture to show her that they do turn out well.

This biscuit has apricot jam on it. I had a leftover biscuit for breakfast this morning with cherry jam on it. I’m sure glad she asked about biscuit recipes.