Ladies Who Lunch

The Ladies Who Lunch have tried to get more organized. It is getting harder and harder to get so many of us to agree on a date and place. One of the retirees decided to take us in hand and set up a schedule of dates and places after asking for some suggestions. We have decided on the second Monday of each month as well as a few road trips to small towns in the Valley.

This week we stayed local, a fish taco place that is also known for its Mexican fusion food. We were missing three of the ladies.

We met at 11 and stayed until 2:30. We love to talk, probably more than we like to eat. It really doesn’t matter where we go, as long as we can all sit and talk and catch up on one another’s life. All those years working together, we saw each other on a daily basis, now it’s monthly and there is so much to say!



Pass it on

We receive good gifts from God, but if we just absorb it all, without passing it on to others, our compassion quotient drops. Let compassion produce compassion. Spread kindness to everyone in your path as God has extended it to you.



Words for today


  • persistence
  • risk-taking
  • resilience

Don’t just sit and let things happen to you.

  • Learn
  • Be curious
  • Have an active, growing brain

all of your life. Learning is not just for school children.

These lazy, hazy, crazy days of winter

It’s cold in the San Joaquin Valley. And foggy. Which why it is so cold. The sun doesn’t burn off the fog. It just stays cold all day with very little temperature change from morning to evening. Sunday started out at 46 degrees in the morning and was 56 by late afternoon. By 4:15 pm the temperature starts to drop as the sun sinks into the horizon.

Because it is cold, I have no desire to get much accomplished, especially outdoors. There is plenty to do out in the yards, but my motivation is zilch. After coming home from church, and changing into my warm knits, all I have done is produce some hot bean soup for lunch. The rest of the afternoon has been spent on the couch, reading.

There was a chamber concert Sunday afternoon that I could have attended, but I was out much of Saturday at a luncheon event for a charitable organization. I would have had to go to the ATM to pick up more money for the concert entrance, and it’s cold. On Monday I am meeting my retired teacher friends across town for Ladies Who Lunch so will be gone much of that day. It just felt right to sit all afternoon, being very lazy, on this hazy, cold afternoon. Sounds pretty crazy, no?

After reading a comment on another blog about a yoga ball, I decided I would like to try one and so put out a question on Facebook asking where specifically I could buy one in town. There were a few replies. When I saw a friend I asked her about a yoga ball…did she have one? Yes, she did. Could I borrow it to give it a try before buying one? Backpeddaling, she replied she would have to find the ball. It was actually a different kind of ball, not an official yoga ball. It would need air. By the time we parted company, I didn’t mention the ball again nor did she.

A blog post from 10 years ago

I started this blog a bit over 10 years ago. On that Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday in 2008, I wrote about a childhood experience that has affected everything I have done since. With all that is going on in our country now, I thought it a good time to repeat it:

I grew up here in California, in the heart of the state where agriculture is king.  We grow the fiber and food for the world, and although it is done by large conglomerates now, when I was a child growing up, it was done by small farmers, farmers like my father and his friend, Mr. Price.  Farmers who made a living on small plots of land and fed and clothed the world.

My dad met Mr. Price and his wife when they came to chop cotton on our farm.  They hit it off because, although handicapped, Mr. Price worked harder than any man my father knew.  My dad was always looking for hard workers because he believed that is how you make a way for yourself in the world, by the sweat of your brow.  Race, politics, religious convictions, they meant nothing to my dad, only how hard did one work.   That was his measure of a man, and Mr. Price filled it well.

Our farm had excellent soil, and my father, being an excellent farmer, worked it sun up to sundown,  growing high quality cotton on it each year.  Mr. Price owned a small piece of land not too far from our farm, and he too was trying to make a living by farming this hardscrabble land.   My father was sympathetic to his plight as the soil was highly alkali and so harder to coax a good crop from it.   He offered to help Mr. Price with his farming, especially since Mr. Price only had one arm and one tractor that was on its last leg.  My dad knew it was hard to farm with good soil, good equipment, and all digits.

Because my dad had an open account at the local seed and fertilizer store, he took Mr. Price there too so he could buy his yearly supplies and pay after harvest.  It’s the way farmers make their living, paying their accounts after they’ve been paid for their crop.  However, the fertilizer store refused to open an account for Mr. Price.   This was a store for the white farmer, and Mr. Price was black, or as we said in those days, Negro.  My dad, who had a fierce temper, was furious but not thwarted.  “Ok, then put Mr. Price’s seed and fertilizer on my account,” thinking that would solve the problem.  Alright, but all materials had to be delivered to the address on the account.  Every delivery that was made was dropped in the front yard of our home where Mr. Price and my dad would then reload the bags into the back of Daddy’s pickup and haul them another 3 miles to Mr. Price’s plot of land.  I would watch from the living room window as the two men, one with only one arm, would lift those bags from the pallets where they had been dropped into the bed of the pickup.  I learned the lesson, you do what you have to do to get the job done, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

My students get upset to learn that a store wouldn’t sell to a black man, but I point out it wasn’t that the store wouldn’t sell, it was that it would not sell on credit to a man who was a different color.  There was the perception that Negroes would not be good for the money when it came time to pay up.  Mr. Price always paid Daddy, by the way.   I also point out that this was only a few decades ago, and it was right here in California, not the deep south where we think of racism.  I remind my students of what people like Dr. King have done for all of society and that we should remember what it was like then and look for how we can continue to improve the lives of all people.  As my father would say, “hard work never killed anyone,” and sometimes the hardest work is just to change people’s attitudes.


Why I don’t order online

Browsing through a store, looking at all that is offered, is my preferred way of shopping. Especially if I am not crystal clear on what I want. If I know exactly what I want, then I want to walk into a store, see the product, buy it, and leave. It’s also when I know exactly what I want, like a certain book title, that I’m more willing to shop online. Even with the book, though, roaming through a bookstore, finding other titles, makes me happy. It’s not easy to shop this way when doing it online.

Recently I realized that the rugs by the back door and in the kitchen need to be replaced. I bought them when we had the apartment in San Francisco, and I’ve certainly gotten good use of them. They are ready to be replaced. No sooner had I voiced that need, did Target send me an email for a sale on rugs. I know that my phone listens to me and sends messages to the various places I shop. This has happened before.

I glanced through the rugs. Terry took some measurements for me. I found one that would match the gold appliances in my vintage kitchen. It was fairly inexpensive, too, and because I am a Red Card member, I get free shipping. It looked to be the deal for me. Until…I clicked on buying it and found out I cannot get in any of the local stores (that’s okay, just send it to me), nor is it in stock to ship to me. WHAT?? All that fitzing and futzing only to be told, can’t have it.

This is why I don’t shop online. All those pages of scrambling back and forth. Picking the color, the size, the quantity. Then getting to the checkout only to find, it’s not available. I’ve had this happen with Talbots, too. And these are stores I like. Imagine how I would feel about ordering online from stores I don’t know. And don’t mention Amazon. I’m not getting sucked into that craziness. I’ll just wait until I go to a nearby brick and mortar and look at the rugs they have on the shelves.

In the new year

The days in the first month of the new year are now in double-digits, and I feel it’s going to be another fast year. I’ve certainly had no time to be bored and wonder what to do next. On Wednesday I got back to Columbia to see my first graders. One of the boys saw me in the cafeteria at lunch and called out, “I’ve missed you, Mrs. Zody.” Me too. I’ve missed the kids and my school routine.

It rained this week. Rain we badly need. It rained so hard on Tuesday that I spent most of the day emptying a bucket that I kept under the downspout on the patio. The downspout has been dismantled due to age and disrepair. Terry has been in talks with the metal fabricator who originally put the patio roof on our house 36 years ago when we moved in. The man told me, when I worked with him back then, that the roof would last a lifetime. I guess 36 years is a lifetime.

The actual patio roof is still in good shape, it’s just the edges that need to be replaced and the pieces are no longer made in the size of the patio roof. It’s a very large patio. The fabricator came early Wednesday morning to take measurements and will be back on Friday to install the edges. I hope this will solve the downpour problem and I won’t be dumping a bucket every 5 to 7 minutes when the next rain storm comes.

On Thursday Terry and I will meet our new doctor. This was not by choice, but our long-time doctor has quit. I don’t know all of the story. She told me she is taking time to regroup. In the meantime, we are getting a new physician, one that our old doctor recommended. That makes me feel better, but I’m afraid she isn’t going to be as wonderful as Dr. Jones whom I’ve know since the late 1980s when she first arrived in Fresno.

We still don’t have a resolution for the school district and teacher strike threat. The situation was sent to mediation and the report is back but no one has said what the final recommendation was. I am hopeful the district and the teachers can come to a settlement. For the kids. I will keep going to read stories until I hear otherwise. If the strike is called, I won’t be crossing the picket line.