Category Archives: The world and my place in it

Summer is coming

Although it feels like early spring here with the cool breezy days, I know the long hot days of summer will be here soon. I only have five more weeks of school chaplain duties. My daughter begins a three-month sabbatical at the beginning of June and we are planning a family trip for 10 days in late June. I’ve been making reservations.

This picture recently showed up on Facebook:

Sounds good for the adults, too. I would add a trip to the farmer’s market into that. Maybe that’s the “playing outside for 20 minutes.” I figure the creative something could be baking or canning. June, July, and most of August will be lovely, long, lazy days for me. I’m looking forward to them.

Sunshine, beautiful sunshine

Friday’s weather was delightful. No wind. Lots of sun. I went to lunch with The Ladies Who Lunch and Terry worked in the front yard.

There were eight of us at lunch yesterday. Biggest group ever. Our one friend who had back surgery in December was able to rejoin us. She brought her x-rays and showed how the surgeon had literally screwed her back into place. Rods, pins, and screws now hold her upright. She even gained a few inches in height and has lost 30 pounds since she can now move. We were all thrilled to see her back in operation. She loves to drive and the doctors have released her to do so. No stopping her now.

Another retired co-worker joined the group, for the first time. Nelva was the attendance secretary at the large inner-city high school where we all worked. She has been retired the longest of all of us, since 2001. She would be one of the first people I would see each morning when I went to the front office to get our mail. She now attends church with one of the other Ladies Who Lunch so she asked if Nelva would like to join us. She was delighted. Because we were such a large group yesterday, and we met at a very noisy cafe, I wasn’t able to talk much to Nelva, but did learn that she is the aunt to another friend of mine. She had noticed that we were friends on Facebook. Isn’t Facebook just the most amazing device for connecting people? I love it.

Because the cafe was so noisy, and we had met early, some of the ladies decided we should move on to a quieter coffee shop to continue our monthly gabfest as the afternoon was still young. My throat was tired, and I had leftovers to take home, so I declined and headed home. Besides, I also had five loads of laundry waiting there for me.

The sun is so bright this morning, I had to draw the living room drapes to see my computer screen. Not complaining, though. Even with the drapes closed, the room is light and bright. Sure makes me feel better. I’m planning to work in the backyard today. With all the rain, everything has grown like crazy and needs lots of pruning. I told Terry I’m not in any hurry to get out there, though. I don’t have my usual get-up-and-go. He said, “it’s more like sit-and-stay, huh?”  Yep, it sure is.

Heard some good news today

Way back in November I wrote about the little girl who needed an alarm clock. She and her brother were not getting to school on time and even the kindergartner believed an alarm clock would help.

After sharing the story with the attendance officer, she agreed, and said lots of students needed alarm clocks. I made it a point, from then on, to look for alarm clocks at thrift stores and yard sales. I’ve handed over quite a few to the attendance officer, so much so that she told another school about what her school chaplain was doing and recommended they get their school chaplain to do likewise. Of course, that school chaplain is a friend of mine! I’m sure I’m going to hear about this at the next chaplain’s meeting.

Today, while in the school’s workroom, I saw the little girl’s teacher and asked him about her. He laughed and said,

“I’m not too sure how it worked, but that alarm clock has turned the family around. The kids are never late. The mother has started taking a parenting class and she’s volunteering here in both kids’ classrooms. She’s been a big help.”

I don’t believe it was just an alarm clock. I believe that the kids and the parent realized someone cared about them and was willing to help them. It made a difference. I’m hoping such care and concern about kids and parents will make a difference. Some days I wonder, and then I hear a story like this.

I thought it was going to be a better day

We awoke to rain, again. Although I grumble about the rain and cloudy weather, it does seem to clear the pollen out of the air for awhile. Finally, this morning, I felt well enough to attempt a foray into polite society. I ran errands. In the rain. The pouring rain.

My first stop was the dry cleaners where I chatted with the proprietor. Such a lovely gentleman. Because it was pouring, and I had a large bundle to carry to my car, he tried to help me by either carrying it or giving an umbrella. I declined both offers as I wear a jacket with a hood when it rains and don’t futz with an umbrella. I didn’t want him to get wet as he was steadily working on ironing when I walked in on him. He could stay warm and dry.

I stopped to put gas in my car. All under an awning but no one to talk to. It went quickly as I only needed 6 gallons. The price of gas had dropped 2 cents! $2.77 a gallon. The governor just signed legislation to raise gas tax an additional 12 cents a gallon beginning November 1. The money is earmarked to fix California’s crumbling infrastructure. It is crumbling. Our roads are a mess. Bridges are just barely hanging in there. I don’t mind paying the additional money as long as it gets spent on these projects.

On to Whole Foods, sucking on a throat lozenge but not coughing. I chatted with the meat counter fellow even though I didn’t buy any meat. He is just such a nice man. We talked about the jazz being played on the sound system. The man in front of me at the check-out had boxes and boxes of cookies. We talked about overdoing it when buying junk food. His purchase made me feel better about my selections of cookies, a slice of cake, and ice cream sandwiches. The cashier and I had a lovely conversation about all sorts of things as she ran all my items through the electronic reader. She is one of my favorite cashiers. So upbeat and positive. We always have a good laugh.

It was only sprinkling by the time I loaded those groceries in the car and headed home. I was surviving. Then it all changed. I made sandwiches for lunch and had to stop numerous times to go in the bathroom and cough. A cup of hot water sipped slowly helped ease the tickle. We ate our sandwiches and I perused Twitter where I discovered that the heart of downtown Fresno was in lockdown due to a shooting. A madman had opened fire on innocent people, in three separate locations, all within a matter of minutes. Three dead, but the suspect taken down peacefully by the police.

The man had shot and killed a security guard over the weekend. He claimed to hate white people and was just taking them out when he felt like it. Such mayhem. Families devastated. Terry and I are talking, talking, talking. I’m coughing, coughing, coughing. I had really planned for a better day.

Post Easter

This is my view from the couch on the Monday after Easter. No sunshine. Cloudy with more rain expected.

If I sit very still, very quiet, not talking, I am fine. I was up at my usual time this morning, not coughing. I baked a pan of brownies, ate breakfast, and did my daily exercises. Wanting to feel normal after being a bum for the past two days, I put on makeup, dressed in big-people clothes, and thought I might even return to normal activities.

Too much movement, too much talking. So here I sit, on the couch, with my fingers moving along my phone’s keyboard. Quiet, still, silent.

No talking

Those who know me in 3D know how much I love to talk. I can talk for hours. I talk to everyone I meet. Give me the opportunity, and I will talk to a group of people at the drop of a hat. If anyone asks what I’m good at, I will tell them–talking.

That said, the last couple of days have put a dent in my conversations. There is something wrong with my throat, some weird little tickle that pops up when I talk. It has been a great burden. I have to cough to clear the tickle, and if I don’t cough, it feels like I’m chocking. Sometimes it helps to suck on a throat lozenge. Sometimes a few sips of water takes care of the issue. Even better is a cup of hot water with some honey and brandy.

Last night I was a reader in a Maundy Thursday production at our church. Three of us readers sat in the back of the church, with microphones, and read our parts. My part was rather dramatic. I had practiced, and since I hadn’t had a problem with my throat earlier in the day, I headed out to do my part. Just after the first piece, I could feel the tickle. I got a throat lozenge out and sucked mightily. After the second piece, I started coughing. Fortunately, the lady in charge of this production brought me a cup of water. It really was a God-send. That water and the throat lozenges got me through the rest of the evening. I put my heart and soul into concentrating just on my part and didn’t join in on the group recitations. A number of people complimented me afterwards on how much my dramatic reading added to the evening. I could only thank God as I couldn’t have done it on my own.

Resting overnight, and talking very little this morning, I felt fine to head out to the grocery store. We were in need of a few items and I needed to restock my throat lozenge supply. I zipped around the store, picking up items on my list, smiling at other shoppers, all the time doing well. No tickle.

I got into a long checkout line. Another checker opened up so I zipped over to that line and unloaded my groceries. The cashier greeted me and asked about my day. I started talking. The tickle started. I swallowed. I choked back the tickle for as long as I could. I had to cough. But not loudly. The tickle got more persistent. A few more coughs. I paid my bill, took the receipt. The bagger was chattering at me about my day. I normally would have replied, but could only nod my head and hurry to the door.

By the time I was outside, I had to cough–a lot. Tears were streaming down my face. The tickle was maddening. It would not let up. I got my groceries loaded into the car and found my water bottle in the front seat. I sat there for minutes, trying to regain some equilibrium, drinking water, dabbing at my eyes.

Too much talking. I will remain mute the rest of today and see how tomorrow goes. Easter Sunday may find me indoors, at home, away from people who will tempt me to do my favorite thing–talk.

Put a stamp on it

I’m one of those rare throwbacks to another era. A time when people sent letters and cards through the postal service. Although I love technology, and social media is a favorite of mine, I prefer to send special greetings by mail.

To do this, one must buy cards and stationary. I keep a stock of greeting cards at the ready for any occasion. I do need to find a new blank thank you card that makes me happy. Lately I’ve been using blank paper to send those. I also have a large supply of thank you stickers left over from my teaching days. They work nicely to seal the envelope.

Another component that I keep on hand is postage stamps. I usually buy the generic flag stamp as that’s what offered at the grocery store where I can get stamps along with my cereals and produce.

This week I had a stack of Easter cards to mail and really wanted a more “spring-like” stamp for those envelopes. I stopped at a post office, figuring they would have a lovely assortment. They still had Valentine stamps, you know, hearts and love. Not what I had in mind. Then the clerk pulled out these beautiful, very large, Oscar de la Renta designs. Gorgeous colors. Even Mr.
de la Renta was a stamp.

The stamps looked beautiful on my envelopes. I don’t know if the recipients even noticed, or cared, but I was happy.