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March 30, 2015
1:30pm EDT

Rated: 13+ | Book | Cultural | #1437803
My blog. I'm opionated and I just want to sound off.
  This is a way of making myself write something coherent and grammatically correct almost every day. I'm opinionated and need an outlet. I'm also prone to flights of fancy. Thanks for stopping by.
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March 29, 2015 at 8:57pm
March 29, 2015 at 8:57pm
The Weeds and The Flowers
         My friend told a story today about someone whose parents had a big garden that grew over the years. They added walkways, a bird bath, flowers that bloomed at different times, color patches, different heights to orchestrate, and some that drew specific birds or butterflies. People loved to visit their gardens and comment on the love and care, the planning, the variety, the serenity, and the beauty. But there was always someone who looked and immediately pointed out the weeds. Some people can't help themselves.

         Isn't that true with so much of life? I'm guilty at times. Granted there are times the weeds are threatening to take over, and I may be a little too Pollyanna-ish and see only the pretty wildflowers. But most of the time, it's easy to overlook the beautiful things for the weeds that need to be uprooted. My focus may be too much on the weeds, blinding out the peace, the beauty, and the wonder. I find it easy to point that out in other people who always rain on the parade, who complain after a lot of hard work by others. But to be fair I have to own up to my flawed focus.

         I might make that my mantra-- you know, write a note and put it on the mirror or by my alarm clock. "Focus on the flowers, not the weeds." I'll try and see if I get different results or at least more peace of mind.
March 28, 2015 at 11:55pm
March 28, 2015 at 11:55pm
In Like A Lamb & Miscellaneous Thoughts
         As I recall March came in a little on the lion side, but it seems to be going out that way, too. Today it was wintry and windy. I wore my winter coat, and was freezing. I skipped the park and opted for indoor exercise.

         Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and I'm having company. Baby toys are ready. Breakables are up. All doors of off-limits rooms will be firmly shut tomorrow before I go to church. When I get home, I can change and not worry about little ones wreaking havoc before I'm ready. I'm all for going out to eat, but I'll probably have to cook for them all.I have plenty of fruit and salad vegetables. I might have time to do beef stew. Or I could order some pizzas to have with salad.

         Next week I plan to fix a leg of lamb, coconut cake, and deviled eggs. They probably won't show up for Easter, because I have plans for them.

         I've seen Noah's Ark on the INSP channel. It's not bad, and worth a look see if you are interested. Many Biblical movies and TV shows badly alter the material, but this one seems to fit the framework fairly well. Of course, like historical fiction which mixes facts with art, the details are from someone's imagination and are not from the Bible. It's a British production, so the accents are British.
March 27, 2015 at 11:05pm
March 27, 2015 at 11:05pm
A Different Spring Walk
         Yesterday I was in a short sleeve cotton shirt and was sweating half-way through my walk. Today, I had on a heavy zipper sweater with a big collar, and I was cold, despite walking longer and taking a big hill up an asphalt construction road at the far end of the park. Such a difference from yesterday!

         I managed the long stair case much better today, even after the big hill. I almost stopped when I couldn't go any faster up the hill, but I was so near the top, I kept going. The stairs didn't cause nearly so much concern, maybe because it was cooler. I may have failed to mention that I have heart trouble and two metal valves. Inclines are very hard for me to do. Stress tests are forbidden. Otherwise I'm allowed to live a normal life, and I'm not supposed to avoid exercise or housework. I just have to be aware of warning signs. That's why managing the hill and the stairs even at a snail's pace are important to me.

         I took a huge box of coats, sweaters and shoes to Good Will today. The box has been sitting in the foyer for a week. There's more cleaning and de-cluttering to do. We have been taking things out one box or bag at a time, so it's a slow process. There's an old truck we need to get rid of as well. Spring cleaning in the closets, the drawers, the garage, the yard, and the body joints. It all needs to be done.
March 26, 2015 at 10:47pm
March 26, 2015 at 10:47pm
Spring Walk
         During the winter, my walks have been on town streets, some minor hills, but always on pavement. I now find myself with free time and the weather is good. So I went to the park today. Only one ball field was occupied, but many people lolled about or lay on the grass or sat by the river. One group was having a picnic.

         I don't count steps, and I've never been able to set a pedometer. So I just go by the time on my cell phone. I had brought ear plugs, and thought I would listen to my free I-book, but couldn't locate it. It's disappeared. I was only a few chapters into it. So I had to walk with my own thoughts.

         I tried to lengthen my steps to make it more vigorous, but the park itself helps with that. There are hills and grass and ditches to negotiate. I went down the long set of steps to the lower ball fields as I have done before. Even going down takes different muscles from level or track walking. I meandered around and stopped by the river myself to sit on the bench and look once more for my I-book. I deducted that time from my total. I made the big loop around, cutting across a different field, and could feel muscles working in my legs that haven't worked much for a few months. I came to the road I had already walked and turned into it again. This went back up to the pond by other ball fields. I turned back towards the steps and determined I needed to do this.

         They looked formidable, but I took a deep breath and proceeded. I couldn't let anyone see me slow down or pause. Each set was separated by a platform. I'd breathe in on the platform and breathe out on the steps. After about 4 sets or so, I was not breathing so smoothly. I kept going. My knees started to feel a little weak. I kept climbing and concentrating on breathing. My hip joints started to feel the wear. Finally, I thought as I looked only at the set of stairs before me, I must be near the top; I'm done for. I looked up and there were three more sets!

         I took a bigger breath and went on with the routine. By the time I made it to the top, my breathing was ragged and I was ready to lie down. I kept going. I was on the asphalt of the parking lot. I got to my car and circled around it. I pulled out the phone and determined that it was not as long as I had intended, but maybe that was enough for now. I counted leaning over for my water jar in the car as a stretch.

         I drank water and did side steps by the car, trying not to look overly stupid (just a little was okay). I finally did some lunges just to stretch the legs before scrunching into the car. I went home feeling like I had made a first step, but planning to do some stretches and moves later.

         Now tonight, my lower back is hurting, the backs of my knees are hurting, and my ankles ache.I fear it's going to be a while before I get a spring back into my step. I'm not throwing in the towel. I'm leaving winter behind.
March 25, 2015 at 11:53pm
March 25, 2015 at 11:53pm
Choir Practice
         I'm not a natural when it comes to music. I can't sightread. I learned to play a wind instrument, not a piano; so I can only read one line of notes at a time, in fact, one note at a time. A pianist can see a whole chord over two staffs at one time. I can't. I don't have perfect pitch. Tell me to sing middle C and I probably won't come close.

         But I like to sing. I learn the notes in solitary, with a keyboard, or a piano if I can find one. I pick out the notes, not in rhythm because I'm not fast enough. I learn what note to go to, then I work out the rhythm, and try to connect it to words. It's hard work, actually. Then I still have to practice with the group, and not be overwhelmed by the other parts.

         And over so quickly. Once you learn it, if you do a performance, it's over and gone. But somehow it's so worth the effort. Otherwise, why would so many people work at it? It's not just the performance, the success, or just getting through it. It's the process, the struggle, the getting there.

         I like the discipline. You have one individual following the rules-the written music-and following directions, "softly", "crescendo", etc.You have a group, working together, following a director, breathing together, blending their voices or their instruments. In a band or a choir, you must have team work. The discipline, the uniqueness, the teamwork all come together to make something beautiful.
March 24, 2015 at 10:55pm
March 24, 2015 at 10:55pm
Daffodil Days
         Daffodils are in full bloom on the hospital grounds today. I live on the other side of town, across the river. The daffodils are above ground, but not blooming. It's only a 15 minute drive or so, but I'm always amazed at the difference in temperatures and precipitation and vegetation from one side to the other. I'm at a higher elevation at home, so possibly that accounts for cooler night air and slower budding.

         I made a box of sweaters and jackets and other things I won't use again over the weekend. They will go to Good Will. I suppose it's time to clean and put away all the scarves and gloves. The jackets might be needed one more time for a late snow or frost.It's time to get our warmer weather clothes and shoes.

         We've got chives growing voluntarily in pots on the back porch. We didn't empty them last fall, so I guess the roots stay intact and come back. Our strawberry box is making a comeback again. It's fairly old. Soon we'll have crocus (they come suddenly and leave soon), tulips, and lilacs. I love it except for the pollen. Then when it gets hot, my mosquitoes start coming after me. But until then it's lovely out. My goal for April is to spend some time each day outside, weather permitting.
March 23, 2015 at 9:43pm
March 23, 2015 at 9:43pm
Our Family
         I'm glad we're not all alike in our society. Some people like being single and having the party life, no kids, no responsibilities. Some like working all the time, whether doctors, lawyers, business execs, or teachers who grade papers endlessly. Grandparents, retirees who travel, families with small children, newlyweds, all different from each other, in life styles and needs, and so many others comprise our communities.

         There are two generations living at my house. We take care of each other in different ways. I don't own the house or pay the taxes, but I cook the food, sweep the floors, and pick up after the elderly one with arthritic hands, who drops things and can't close a cabinet door or drawer. He gardens and does yard work while I go to the job that pays half my insurance fees and gives me spending money and a little retirement money.

         But my brother drops in weekly, sometimes with his grown children and small grandchildren. My other brother comes from out of town every other week with his two year old son. If we didn't stay close, I would be missing out on all that joy. I keep toys and books for them and small size furniture. There's always some juice boxes, fruit, and yogurt. At least once a month, sometimes more, we have four generations in this house. And it feels good. We are blessed.

         I wouldn't like being in a community where the family units were kept separate, where adults without children didn't mingle with those who do have children. Even the kids like playing with great grandfather, reading books with him, checking out his glasses and flashlights. If traditional family values weren't alive and working, I would be deprived of so much. We all would.
March 22, 2015 at 10:06pm
March 22, 2015 at 10:06pm
Recovering From Surgery
         A friend is recovering from a recent surgery and has just moved from ICU to a room. Some nurses he likes, and some just strike him the wrong way. His brother is staying with him, and notes the more efficient and knowledgeable nurses are the ones he's spurning in favor of ones who are unsure and a bit clumsy. When the older nurse, a very attractive one according to his brother, talked with him later, they concluded it's a control issue. Someone who's accustomed ti being in charge at home or at work or elsewhere cannot submit very well to doctors and nurses, even they know what's best. The nurses who are less confident appeal to him because he can dictate to them.

         It's also become apparent that certain drugs are words have the stigma of "crazy". When the nurse asked if he wanted a med for anxiety, which was on his chart as permissible, he got upset with her again. "Here I feel uncomfortable, and can't get any relief, and she says I'm crazy!" She never said that of course, but in his mind, anxiety means crazy. Most people understand that anesthesia, pain medications, and chemo can make you temporarily out of sorts. (He had a "hot chemo bath" while he was cut open.) This friend thinks that if you need one dose or one day's dose of a mood leveling agent, that you must be crazy.

         Personally, I think he's paranoid under the medication. He's not normally like this, but he told his brother, "If I take that medication, I'll be under their control." Doesn't that sound paranoid? He's not rich, he's not a spy, or a politician. Why would anyone want to control him? Having him under his own control might not be bad for a few days until he can get on his feet and get around and feel more secure without meds.

         While we don't want to submit blindly to medical people who could make mistakes, we don't need to fight them either. We can't assume we know as much as they do after all their years of medical training. Our five minutes on the Internet can't compare. We also must allow that either we acknowledge our feelings of anxiety or fear are unreasonable and keep them in check or just take something to calm us down, short term.
March 21, 2015 at 11:55pm
March 21, 2015 at 11:55pm
Paying The Bills and Other Things
         The one in a marriage who takes care of things is not always appreciated. It's not necessarily being taken for granted. The one who doesn't pay the bills may never have done it and doesn't realize what is involved. If a couple gets married when young, and one has never balanced a check book, he or she will never appreciate that the other spouse does it. So one carries the burden and in time may resent it, but the other will never understand what is involved or the time or mental exercise it takes. It won't be credited as a duty within a marriage.

         It doesn't hurt to review the duty list occasionally. Taking out the trash once a week hardly equals washing dishes and sweeping floors and making beds everyday. And unless one actually cleans a toilet, he (it's usually a he) will never understand what a dirty time-consuming job his spouse undertakes for him and the kids doing this on a regular basis. So swapping duties for a day or week isn't a bad idea either.

         This inequity usually comes to the surface when one partner is feeling overwhelmed, taken for granted, and unappreciated. The other may be claiming his duties are bigger and more important. If she makes the bigger paycheck, and he balances the checkbook, she may feel like he is wasting her money. Talking about it is one step, and in some cases is not enough. Cross-training is a good step, particularly if the one who does the job gets sick.
March 20, 2015 at 10:33pm
March 20, 2015 at 10:33pm
A Little Self Respect
         You know if you listen to people talk, or surf the Internet, or watch comedy shows, you'd think the lowest life form is made up of people who shop at Wal-Mart. Yet Wal-Mart continues to be one of the biggest merchants in America. I guess while people are there taking pictures to put on Yahoo News or Facebook, or write jokes, they spend money, too.

         Once in a while I shop at Wal-Mart for cheap household goods, like soap dishes, or measuring cups, but I wait until I really have to go. I don't like waiting in long lines. And you get your exercise wandering around pushing a cart looking for things that have been moved again. I've noticed they don't have the good selection like you used to find years ago. They get better price points by shopping in depth with fewer brands. And they don't carry all the items they use to carry, like sewing aids or crafts.

         I see lots of people there from all walks of life. I've encountered lots of rude people, misbehaving children, and women assaulting each other, but I've never seen ones like those in the pictures. Some are dressed pretty sloppy; at least they are covered. I'm surprised there aren't more fights in the parking lots over carts running into autos because people are too lazy to put them in the cart holders.

         You'd think by now with so many Wal-Mart shopper jokes and pictures that anyone planning to go to Wal-Mart would be more cautious. If you are going to Wal-Mart, cover your butt. Don't let your belly hang out, or let your cellulite show. Don't wear a halter top, especially if you wear more than an extra-large. Be sure your pants are clean in the seat. No visible cleavage. This is not a bowling alley, or a bar. It's a family oriented store. Have a little self-respect and look yourself over in a mirror before you leave home. You could be embarrassed when your family's laughing at your viral photo.

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