Powerless

That headline has a double meaning today. We woke up at 5:22 with our clock beeping to tell us the power was off. Terry had just heard a loud pop before that so figured a nearby transformer had exploded. Four hours later, when the PG&E repairman was working in our yard, we learned that was exactly what had happened.

The transformer at the end of our block that provides power to 64 homes in the subdivision had blown up and the repairmen were trying to reconfigure the boosting transformers to carry the bulk of the power and get us back on line. By 11:15 we were good to go. Too late for me to shower and wash my hair but in time to have the garage door opener operational to get me on the road to school.

Fortunately, my hair didn’t look too bad and none of the kids questioned the looks of it. They were too busy asking about the bandaid covering a very bad bruise on my arm. I have no idea how I got the bruise, but it looks terrible and I didn’t want to traumatize small children with such a sight so I chose a colorful bandaid that matched my skirt!

Kids notice everything. Their little eyes and little hearts are very sensitive. I do my best to make their time with me the very best in can possibly be. Today, I read “This Book is Not for You.” It has lots of silliness and lots to laugh about but also take seriously, like you can read any book you choose. We talked about going to the public library over summer break and getting craft projects to make. Our libraries do a marvelous job with such activities.

That’s what I could do today, and I’ll do it again tomorrow with second graders. We will read a silly book with a good message. I will encourage them to read all summer. I will pass out certificates that will remind them of all the good stuff they learned this year. We will celebrate our names, all of our names. I am powerless to do anything for those dear children lost to an angry, bullied young man who took his revenge on the smallest. But like PG&E who came and rechanneled the electricity to other transformer boxes to make up for the exploded one, I am hopeful I can rechannel love and care to dear children in my own purview.

Graduation weather

The winds have blown strong here all week. Typical graduation weather. There have been some years when a severe thunderstorm blows through on graduation day. We have no graduations to attend so it doesn’t affect us, except to say, it’s graduation time.

Many of my former students have graduations in their lives. Some have children who are graduating from preschool all the way to college. Some are graduating themselves. Although very happy to see them celebrating their children’s successes, it saddens me to see a few of them celebrating something they never attained. And yet, they held so much promise, but something happened, along the way, that halted their forward trajectory. The next generation outshines them. Perhaps that’s the way it’s meant to be.

One student, who was at the top of her high school graduating class, is getting her bachelor’s degree, twenty years after high school. She is raising two boys on her own, works full time, and has been taking classes off and on for all this time. She never gave up. I am immensely proud of her and her example to her children.

No one is ever too old to achieve their dreams. If not now, then when?

Time passes too quickly to waste it doing stupid things

It’s Tuesday and I can stay home all day. You know how much I like that. We were up at 6 a.m. Feed the cats. Water the yards. I washed and dried my hair. Cleaned the bathrooms. Washed a load of towels. Caught up with emails and social media other than the blogs. Finished the prep for my next two days at Columbia.

No book this week, but instead a review quiz on all the resiliency skills the books have covered. I don’t write the quiz, our fearless leader does that, but I will administer it. It’s fun because it gives the children 12 different scenarios and they have three choices to make as to what they would do in each one. Although there are only 12 decisions to make, it will take the whole 30 minutes to get through the document. Lots of repeating. Next week I will return with certificates for each child. Those certificates will need to be printed before then.

Anyway, all that done and I realize it’s after 10 o’clock. Where the heck did those 4 hours go? I have a long list of other activities to get through on this day at home. Here’s my question: How do people have the time to get so angry, then the energy and financial resources to go out and buy weapons and ammunition and plan these horrible mass executions at public places like grocery stores and churches? They really need to stay home and take care of all the chores and activities there. They need to be at their jobs and places of employment to be making money and contributing to society in a positive way.

My place in the world

The world and my place in it is one of the categories I have for this blog. I don’t always check a category as I often write quickly, throwing words down as they come out of my brain and into my finger tips. I do a quick read of what I wrote and hit the publish button. Sometimes I remember that categories button over there on the right before I hit publish, but most of the time it’s just forgotten.

I don’t know what my place in this crazy, mad world is right now. The world has gone mad with all the hatred, warring, killing, injustices that just pile up. I admire the pastor and parishioners at the Orange County Presbyterian church who, at a regular after-church luncheon, knocked down and hog-tied an assailant who came into their building to kill as many as possible. I’m assuming that the congregation, much like my own, had an armed-intruder training session recently.

Many ask, why is this kind of training even necessary. Because the world has gone mad. While teaching I received this training as well as being part of an armed intruder situation so I knew the drill and didn’t attend the class. But, I was grateful the training was being held and provided to elderly church members because one never knows when it will be necessary. If not at church, then perhaps at the local grocery store. Another case of madness. You really do need to know how to act, what to do, and don’t think you will be saved by law enforcement.

On the other side of the training equation: Love people. Be kind. Show a generous spirit. Give grace. Every day, when I think about my place in the world, I think about what can I do today to make it just a little bit better. I would like to think that madness could end with me.

Today I stay home

It’s Saturday, a beautiful Saturday with sunshine, no wind, and a predicted high of 90 degrees. Perfection in my book. And, to make it even better, I have NO WHERE to go.

I don’t know about you, dear Reader, but I love days where there is no where to go and no demands for my presence. I do have tasks that need be accomplished, some to make ready for the next few days when I will be required to go out, but today I get to stay in shabby clothes without makeup.

The past week, since last Saturday, has been busy with somewhere to go every day. Show up, be responsible, interact, do one’s duty, take care of life. You know how it is. Comb one’s hair, put on one’s face, pick out respectable clothes. As an aside, do you have disreputable clothing that shouldn’t be seen outside the four walls of your home? I sure do. The jeans I’m wearing today are about 20 years old, shredded, with holes around the back pockets, in tatters at the hems. I have two pairs!

Perhaps I need to do some clothes shopping, but I haven’t seen anything in stores or catalogs that make me feel compelled to make a purchase. I did, though, order some new shoes. If you’ve been around here very long, then you know I love shoes. I have two closets full, plus a couple of pair that live in other parts of the house, near doors. Did I NEED this new pair? Oh, heavens no. But they are sparkly and will be fun to wear for storytelling as well as some other places I go. If you are at all interested, you can see them here.

For today, I am barefoot, which I really prefer. The weather is getting to the point I can do that. Which makes me very happy. It is a Happy Saturday.

Move along, there’s nothing to see here

Tuesday was our follow-up appointment with the oncologist we originally saw a few weeks ago. Terry had a PETScan on Monday to see if there was any other cancer sightings. Blood had been drawn two weeks ago and again on Tuesday when we first arrived at the cancer center which is huge and heavily used. Terry’s case had been sent on to a Stanford Medical Center specialist.

We were ready for whatever might be next. It appears there won’t be a next because the PETScan showed no cancer, even in the liver where it was originally suspected. All the blood tests show he is healthy. The Stanford specialist is too busy with seriously ill patients to even look at a case like Terry’s, and we are not at all upset by that.

Terry is an anomaly, which shouldn’t be a surprise. We discovered almost 40 years ago that his heart, much like him, is long and lean, and it is turned at an unusual angle. An EKG, taken without that knowledge, shows he’s had a heart attack because the electrodes haven’t been placed in the correct position. Now we find he has a strange liver. We can live with that.

That’s a wrap for the first week of May

It’s sunny and windy on this first Saturday in May. A whole week of the month has come and gone, most of it in absolutely gorgeous weather. Lots of sunshine and high temperatures, and also wind, which is blowing on this weekend morning.

Because I did a large number of loads of laundry on Friday, I have only the towels to wash this morning. For two years now, during the pandemic, I have been washing towels twice a week, on the same days I wash my hair and clean the bathrooms. The protocol has worked well for us, helping to keep us virus-free, so I persist.

While vacuuming on Friday, Terry discovered that Dyson’s brush was not turning when he was doing the carpet. He packed it up and took it off to the vacuum cleaner repair shop. Yes, we have one of those in the city. Terry has used it for decades, keeping our vacuums going far longer than expected.

Before the vacuuming and laundry chores, we went to get our second COVID booster at CVS Pharmacy. Although our two original vaccines were given through our medical provider, the boosters had to be administered at a pharmacy. Setting up the appointments, online, takes so long, but I persevered and we got appointments at the day and time I wanted, which hasn’t always been the case for these COVID shots. I’m thinking the demand has drastically dropped. Two years ago we were so anxious for these vaccines to be developed. A year ago people were lining up to get vaccinated. Now, not so much. Our city has only a 57.8% vaccination rate. Our daughter’s city in the Bay Area is around 89%. It makes me despair.

For the first time in over two years, Terry and I went grocery shopping TOGETHER, after getting our vaccines. The pharmacy is next door to a very fancy, precious, high-end grocery store. I have friends, who for years have told me I should shop there as it’s in our “neck-of-the-woods.” Because I shop so much at Whole Foods, I had always declined, thinking I was shopping at a similar store that carried many of the same things. Over the past two years, though, what with the pandemic and supply chain issues, that has changed. As you may know, Whole Foods is now owned by Amazon, which I do not use at all. Our daughter says I am one of the three people in the world who is not an Amazon devotee.

The Precious Foods Store, as I call it, is locally owned, and I was quite surprised to find so many locally produced products that Whole Foods no longer carries. The store is immaculate. The shelves well stocked. Employees every where and very helpful. The distance to Whole Foods and Precious Foods is similar, so, I guess I’m going to finally listen to my friends and shop at both.

I had an observer in one of my storytelling sessions this week, an older woman who is coming on next year as a resiliency coach. She had a good time with the first grade class who was well-behaved and then stayed for the teacher’s birthday party. One of the parents had brought cupcakes for us all to partake. This was a first in my eight years of storytelling. I enjoyed being a part of a birthday party and celebrating the teacher. I had left boxes of See’s Candy in all of the teacher’s mailboxes the day before for Teacher Appreciation Week. There are only three more weeks at Columbia. This year has passed in a blur. Life goes too fast.

First Monday in May

Because the next two weeks are jam-packed, I decided to go grocery shopping on a Monday, a rarity. And, sure enough, at 10:30 in the morning, the store was crowded. It’s all those people who didn’t shop over the weekend. Not all older folk, but mostly. Younger people, too, who have dropped their kids at school, just around the corner from the store, making a run for the week’s provisions that they didn’t have time to do earlier.

Such was the case for our daughter. She FaceTimed us this morning after dropping the grandkids at school and waiting for CostCo to open. She said the parking lot was full so she didn’t know how much time she would save, but they needed groceries. It is also the first of the month, and lots of people shop at that time. I never go to the bank around this time of the month and try hard to stay away from Target.

I made stops at the library to return books I read and DVDs we watched and pick up my holds. At the gas station because I had used just a bit over one quarter tank last week, 135 miles, with all the running around I am doing. Remember, I always want a full tank of gas in case of the need for immediate departure. At See’s Candy because it’s Teacher Appreciation Week and I want to tell the 6 teachers whose classes I visit each week how much I appreciate them. At SaveMart, because like our daughter, we needed groceries. The refrigerator was the barest I have seen it in a long time. I just didn’t have time to do much with food last week, buying or preparing. This week will be the same so I bought foods that are already prepped or can be fixed very quickly.

Who knows when I will get back to the store, or run any errands. I guess I could ask Terry to do the grocery shopping, but who knows what we would be eating. I’m always telling the cats, when they get underfoot and try to trip me, that they will be in sad shape if anything happens to put me out of commission. We might all starve.

This morning’s conversation with the grocery checker

“What’s this?” the cashier at Sprouts asked me this morning, holding up a plastic bag with lacy greenery sticking out.

“Um..” Okay, Delaine, this is something you picked out to buy and you know how to use it, so what’s it called; I quickly scrambled through my brain to make the connection.

“Fennel,” I shouted, so pleased with myself for remembering. “You know,” continuing with my out loud thought, “you shouldn’t ask old people what something is and expect a quick answer.”

The cashier laughed and responded, “and especially this early in the morning.” It was just past 9 a.m., my usual grocery shopping time.

“Oh, no,” I came back quickly, “now is the time to get the correct answer, if I was here at 5 PM you would have gotten a blank stare!”

See, there is another advantage to early grocery shopping–knowing what the produce is called!

The last few days of April

What a busy month, and an even busier week. I just wanted to stop by and say I’m still alive and doing okay but there hasn’t been much writing time. Even my journal is getting neglected. In a couple of years, when I look back, I’m going to wonder what the heck I was doing that I couldn’t sit for a moment and throw some words out there. So, here are a few words…

School storytelling is going well, the children are delightful and taking good care of me. This week’s story, The Invisible Boy, has a companion book, The Brand New Kid, because the kids had already heard The Invisible Boy, but when I have them vote as to which one I should read, Invisible Boy is winning out over New Kid. Who knows!

I am preparing to do a presentation in church on Sunday about a missionary in South Korea that the Support & Endowment Committee, of which I am now chairperson, supports. I will also do a brief children’s story if we have children in the congregation. On Easter Sunday we had 12 children! But last Sunday, zero. One never knows, but must be prepared.

Terry and I spent over two hours at an oncology center this week. A bunch of tests have come back showing some anomaly in Terry’s liver, but no one can figure it out. A specialist from Stanford is coming in to look at the test results. Terry feels fine, looks fine, and is disgruntled about the time this is taking in his life. Me, too. While we wait on doctors and specialists, we try to keep calm and carry on.

Birthdays and graduations are taking place. I’m off to the credit union to get folding money to put in envelopes and send off to the celebrants. Then dashing by the church office to check on where my place is in the Sunday bulletin and see if there are any reports in my box for that committee assignment I now have. Then off to school to read to first and second graders.