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Delaine Zody tries to save the world, and fails miserably

Disclaimer, I know I cannot save the world, but I really try to do my best in my corner of the world with the situations God puts in my path. That said…

When I walked up to Whole Foods this morning, from the parking lot, there was a fella near the front door, wrapped in a large comforter. He asked if I had any spare change, a beggerman, but I don’t carry any money when I go the store. I told him I’d be happy to get him a sandwich if he liked. Yes, “that would be good, thanks m’am.” I told him it might be a bit of a while because I had quite a few things to get. “That’s ok, I’ll be here.”

Sure enough, it did take awhile as I had to get a variety of olives and other bulk fermented veggies from the olive bar. Now, doesn’t that sound pretty lah-di-dah! I’m doing coffee fellowship on Sunday because the deacons and elders are meeting after church and they need to be fed. Sandwiches, nibbles, a bar cookie. Nothing fancy, but nice. I also picked up items for the beggerman’s lunch, things that I would buy for my husband to eat–turkey sandwich, potato salad, cake with berries and cream. Oh, and something I wouldn’t buy for Terry, but figured the stranger would like, a coke.

By the time I got through the store, checked out, and back outside, the man was gone, chased off by the shopping center’s security. I was shattered. I drove around the center’s parking lot, but didn’t get any sight of the man wrapped in a large comforter. I took my groceries, and the sack lunch, home.

Terry is eating the food for lunch. “You got him a really nice meal,” he says through bites of food. “No different from what I would buy for you,” I respond. “I know,” he replied. “I’m sorry he didn’t get it.”

I wanted to scream at the security guard, even though I know she is doing her job. It’s a fancy shopping center with customers who do not like to see the dark underside of their city. They stay north of the street where this center sits, coming only this far in the town because it’s DANGEROUS elsewhere south of this street.

I know better. I drive much farther south each week. I see so many who need help, far more help than I am able to provide. So, yes, I know I can’t save the world, but I keep trying to do my small part. There are days I succeed, and days I fail.

Back to the bone density test

I wrote here about getting up early to have a bone density test and mammogram. The results came within a a day or so, and as I expected, the mammogram was just fine. Because Medicare allows this test every year, and the doctors only get paid when people come to have this test, they told me to come back in one year. No. Maybe three or four years.

The bone density results didn’t surprise me because, as I mentioned to you, I had lost two inches of height so I figured the bones were decreasing. Yes. My spine has an .8 percent decrease from 2019. The left femur has a 2.1 percent decrease in density measurement and the right femur has a 1.1 percent decrease.

Why is my left femur deteriorating more? I’ll try to remember to ask my physician when I see her at the end of February. Her response may be the usual: it’s what happens when you get older. She did send an email about the results saying to keep taking vitamin D and calcium and walk more. Since our weather has been gorgeous this week, I have walked, but I am very much a fair-weather walker.

The lab also included a 10-year fracture risk assessment. I have a 16 percent risk of major osteoporotic fracture. I must remember that means I have 84 percent of not breaking something. My risk for hip fracture is 2.5 percent. That seems to be better odds, but really? Who knows for sure. This lab report says to come back in 2-3 years. That would concur with my plans for another mammogram.

I will never uber lyft you

Terry received our car insurance renewal from AAA. He has been with AAA for his entire driving life and when I married him, I came onboard, too. Before that I had been with Farmer’s because that’s what my dad had, being a farmer. Terry had renter’s insurance with State Farm because that’s what his roommate had when he moved in. After we were married, and I became his roommate, we kept State Farm for our residence, moving it along each time we moved.

At one time State Farm tried to convince us to move our car insurance to their company but upon learning how long Terry had the AAA policy, said it wouldn’t work. They never could give us the rates he had. AAA said something similar when they attempted to get our house insurance. I guess the longer you are with a company, the better your rates.

AAA sent some updates on our policy for our two cars, two old cars, cars too old to be approved by Uber or Lyft for rideshare. But, nonetheless, AAA wanted us to know that if we should decide to use our cars for rideshare that we would need a rider on the policy. I have no idea how much that rider would cost, but I’m pretty sure it would be very costly. Can you imagine the risks you take by putting a stranger in your car and going off across town, or county, or state?

I do not like to drive, so, along with my 15 year old car, I would not be a candidate for a rideshare business. I do not like to drive on the freeways to just go across town. I do not like to have strangers in my car. I do not do well in strange neighborhoods where I don’t know the streets very well. I cannot parallel park. The only qualifications I would have for a rideshare company is that I have an excellent driving record and a very clean car.

More shopping in time of omicron

I needed 32 pound printer paper for a project for next week’s storytelling at Columbia. Office Depot had a nice selection of papers, some even on sale. I got a ream of 500 sheets.

I wanted to get Valentine candy to take to the staff at Columbia next month, and knowing that See’s Candy often sells out of seasonal products, decided to go by there today, just one month until the LOVE day. Sure enough, the single chocolate hearts had already been opened and half of the box was gone. The clerk found an unopened box in the back so I’m pretty well set. I even found a bag of my favorite candy–cashew brittle–which had not been in stock the last two times, Halloween and Christmas, when I shopped at See’s.

After my trip to Whole Foods on Thursday, I wondered what I would find on Friday at our local grocer. This is a local chain with union employees with stores throughout the valley. There are three stores within a 3-mile radius from our house. I went to the one closest and also my regular store.

The last time I was there, the pasta shelves were empty. Today there was a variety. The produce section was robust with all the greens in full force. They even had alfalfa sprouts which I bought for roast beef sandwiches. The bread shelves were still a bit bare, but the in-house bakery had a wide selection and I got a package of chibatta rolls for those sandwiches. Another area that was bare was the Pillsbury cans of dough. I wanted cinnamon rolls, but none. I did notice that the flower shop had more than the Whole Foods flower department. Whole Foods, though, only buys fair-trade plants.

It appears that it’s all about which store and when you shop.

Grocery shopping during omicron

It’s been a busy week, lots to do around here, so I waited until Thursday to go grocery shopping. Would it have been better at the beginning of the week? Who knows. These are strange times in which we live.

I had not been to Whole Foods since December 17, attempting to stay away during the busy holiday rush. Whole Foods had been smart and brought in portable cold boxes in their parking lot before Thanksgiving to give them adequate storage space for all the extra foods people would be wanting. The cold boxes were gone when I pulled into an almost empty parking lot just before 9 this morning.

Usually, on Thursdays, the store is pretty busy, often times with Amazon shoppers. Today I saw three of these paid-to-shop people. And there were few regular shoppers like myself. However, there wasn’t all that much to be buying.

The produce section was bare, especially the greens section. I did get yellow and red bell peppers, pears, apples, tangerines, and white potatoes. Oh, and a bag of carrots that came busting open when I got to the checkout, scattering those baby carrots everywhere. I ran to get a new bag, but didn’t need to hurry as there was no one behind me in the checkout lane.

No butter or eggs. But I did get buttermilk so Terry can make pancakes on Saturday. The cheese section only had those less purchased varieties. The meat counter was full except very little poultry. The baguette I bought, baked in the store, had been cut in half to fit the bags they had in stock. The stock of regular baguette bags was depleted. No plastic produce bags either. I’m assuming they shifted those bags for use in other areas of the store.

Every employee I saw, and there were many, was very cordial, greeting me, asking how I was. I didn’t complain to a one of them, instead thanking them for being there, keeping us supplied. I didn’t get some things I would have, but we aren’t starving or even doing without. As I type this, I’m eating a bagel, purchased at Whole Foods, and peanut butter, purchased weeks ago at another grocer.

Will things get better or worse? Who knows. The pandemic has turned everything upside down in ways we never would have thought possible.

Joy at school

It was a joyful return to school. The students were all so excited to see me and ready to tell me things and hear a story and tell me things and ask questions and tell me more things. Each step along each story time elicited more comments and questions, and even hilarious laughter.

We all had a good time with one of my favorite stories, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, about a very tiny girl in first grade who has buck teeth, a squeaky voice, and fumble fingers. Her grandma supplies the advice that works which gives her confidence when she must move and go to a new school where a bully tries, and fails, to rattle her. Her good natured confidence, though, changes the bully.

I had all the students stand up in their square on the rug, pull their shoulders back, hold up their head, stretch up as tall as they could, smile, and look me and each other in the eye. Then I had them lower their eyes, hang their head, erase the smile, look sad. How did each feel? Which did they like best? How did it make them feel to see their classmates look happy or sad. Then we talked about confidence. What can you do when you feel confident? ANYTHING! Those kids make me feel good about our future.

When I handed out the teddy bears four weeks ago, we took a group picture of each class, and today I handed each first grader, whether they were there that day or not, a photo of the class. That really started the conversations. First they found themselves, then their friends, and then they noticed who was missing. One boy had brought his bear to school (with a set of clothes on it) and showed the bear what it looked like the day he received it. Oh, my.

Tomorrow I go back and see three more classes and tell the story three more times and hand out the class pictures. I’m sure there will be more joy.

Double-digit days of 2022

A new month always starts with Day 1. In just over a week, Day10 pops up on the calendar. Ah, the double-digit days are here. Such is today, January 10, 2022. It all happened so quickly.

Today is the first day back in 2022 for teachers in the school district where I worked for so many years and where I now volunteer. When you work in schools, you really don’t think of the year in a calendar sense, you know, starting with January. January is the mid-point for us in education. June ends the year. Finis. No ball drops, but the last bell rings, and students and teachers gleefully run for their summer break.

The students in the school district where I now volunteer will come back to the classrooms on Tuesday and my plan is to show up on Wednesday. I remain well, knock on wood, and feel energized after four weeks away from the books, the props, the students. I’ve sent out emails to the teachers with the details of this week’s story, along with printable handouts they can choose to use if they wish. Later today, the first double-digit day of 2022, I will pack my bag of tricks. I’m throwing in a handful of optimism for this second half of the school year.

Why are we making so little progress?

Saturday morning is very cool and gray here in the San Joaquin Valley. There was a bit of rain at the end of Friday and now the fog has rolled in and continues to make the outdoors damp. The cats come in with wet coats.

I have no where to be today and I am grateful for a day to stay home, in my warm knits, sans makeup, and drink hot coffee, bake cinnamon rolls, and read my newspapers, books, and social media, including your blogs. It’s nice to savor the time and not be watching the clock, thinking about what needs to be done.

Of course, with the cold and damp, I am not going to be working in the yards today, even though they sure need some tending. I have gotten all the mulberry leaves off of the front lawn and rearranged the pear tree leaves in the backyard, using them for mulch under the shrubs.

Feeling more optimistic for 2022, I had put an organ recital date on my calendar, but now that the day is near, I’m feel less optimistic. Gosh, the numbers just keep climbing. People just keep going places and spreading this virus. Terry has physical therapy on his shoulder twice a week near a favorite Chinese restaurant. I had hoped to go along one day this next week and shop while he did therapy and then stop in for some of our favorite dishes. But now, I’m not feeling all that confident about going into a restaurant and taking off my mask.

I don’t just feel stuck, but rather that we are going backwards, not getting a hold on this virus. The vaccines are there. The possibilities are there. And yet we make no progress.

Can I have a do-over?

I need another Wednesday. I want today (Thursday) to be Wednesday as I didn’t get to the grocery story on the actual Wednesday because I was so busy with laundry, errands, and yard work.

This morning as I was preparing for the day, and thinking about going grocery shopping as soon as I was dressed, I was also thinking about the next two days with no where to go. Then it hit me, wait, today is Thursday, not Wednesday. I am going some where on Thursday, so I don’t have this day at home to just putter around. And I do have to run a quick errand on Friday, but not one that requires me to do my makeup and dress better than my around-the-house garb.

So, let me have another Wednesday.

And so we continue through winter

Although the mornings are cold and frosty, the rain has stopped and the fog doesn’t seem to be taking over in the valley as I had thought it might. When I was a child, after the rains there came thick, dense, wet fog that often hung on all day. We would go weeks without seeing the sun in late December, early January. I was always so thankful when we turned the calendar page to February. The sun was usually shining and the days getting longer.

Winter, as you know if you have been around here for any time, is not my favorite time of the year. Being retired, it is a bit easier to take in that I don’t have to get out in the early dark cold mornings to drive through fog or rain. One morning a month I do leave early for a meeting with the school chaplains.

I was out a bit early on Tuesday to get my hair done. My hairdresser always sends me a text the day before to remind me and I quickly reply that I will be there. When I walked through the door, just a minute before 9 o’clock, she had already mixed my color. I laughed and said, “wow, you sure trust me to be on time.” “oh, yes,” she replied, “you are my most prompt client, always on time.” She had her small heater running, right in front of the chair, knowing how I like to be warm. How can you not love a hairdresser like that!

Next week I have an early morning appointment at what I call “the booby hatch.” Time for a mammogram and bone density test, and for some reason the bone density person only works early mornings. Perhaps, like me, they do best in the early morning. That’s why I’m writing this post just past 7 a.m. My brain is sharp at this time of the day. Even when it’s cold and dark.