|Day 3227: September 14, 2021
Prompt: Write about patience. Do you have a favorite quote about this subject you would like to share?
A long time ago, I learned from the Bible that patience comes from trials and tribulation. So I never prayed for patience, like some people commonly say when frustrated: "God, give me patience!" No, I figured I was patient enough. I certainly had enough tribulation.
At this point in life, I figure I have plenty of patience for real. If you deal with kids, or drunken husbands, or financial troubles, or bosses you don't like, you just quietly develop patience. Sometimes, it's not the trials, but your learning and reasoning abilities that give you patience. Just recently, I lost my patience when my finished basement flooded. I was using the shop vacuum, when I saw my brother, who was visiting, using my good bath sheet to mop up the floor. Without thinking I yelled at him. I just exploded. As soon as I stopped, I knew I was wrong. I composed myself and then apologized. I could do a laundry on top of the clean up. It wasn't the end of the world. Just because he couldn't read my mind and didn't do it my way, I did not have to blow my lid. I care too much about him to have a problem between us. I wasn't patient that time, but caught myself and might do better if there's a next time.
Patience can save a lot of heartache and broken relationships. It can allow children to work out their own problems instead of an adult playing general and alienating everyone. It certainly saves us some stress.
|Prompt: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."― Mark Twain Your thoughts, agree or disagree?
Books! Oh, to be surrounded by good books. If only I could live long enough to read all I want. I am a slow reader, so that makes it even harder to keep up with the books I have. To stay up late and read a story I just can't put down, now, that's a thrill. (I can't permit myself that pleasure any longer, because I'm on a c-pap machine, and it has to be so many hours a night. It reports on me to my doctor like a GPS. Hopefully, it's making me healthier and I'll live a little better.)
It's a family thing. My brothers liked to read, or at least two of them, but all three quote Shakespeare. My parents read and collected many books, which I now have. And the e-reader has books you can't lend or give away. I need to move to a smaller home, so deciding which books I can keep, and which have to be donated, is baffling me.
Twain is further right. Chatting with a few friends is a wonderful way to pass the time, whether we're remembering the old days, or discussing books or movies, or contemplating alternate meanings of "The second coming". Those friends are the ones who will meet us in a crisis, or sit by our beds while we are dying, or come to our second weddings. We'll do the same for them.
As to the "sleepy" conscience, he is right and wrong. It would be so easy to enjoy the first two, and not think about cutting the grass, doing laundry, or getting to work on time and wide awake. The carefree life floating up the Mississippi would be nice. However, we live in an age of taxes and insurance and responsibilities for the nice things we must have. And what of the rest of the world. Would the ideal life involve ignoring the damages of natural disasters in another part of the earth? A sleepy conscience permits us to be free of guilt for our own "errors in judgment", much less oppression, injustice, and violence at home and abroad.
If only he hadn't thrown in the part about the conscience. We can never be truly carefree for long because our world is in such turmoil. It keeps us unsettled and distraught. The books and friends are a welcome relief and escape from the turbulence astir in the world.
|Prompt: Write about your favorite thing to do in August. Do you have a favorite tradition to do in the summer/ winter depending on where you live that you look forward to every year?
In August, I usually panic that summer is almost over and I haven't done some summer things. I think it's ingrained from the school days which I haven't seen in decades, but from which I have not escaped. In August you finish vacations, buy school or work clothes and office or school supplies. The days get shorter, but the weather is still scorching.
If I haven't bought an ice cream cone all summer, this month it has to be done. It's not the same in fall or winter. There has to be a picnic or cookout somewhere. I haven't had one since last year when indoor entertaining was still frowned on. Unfortunately, the door is closing on indoor entertaining this year, too.
When I was a kid, we had family fishing trips. We don't do that any more, but I did drive to a county lake one day this week where we used to go with my grandparents, who had given up driving by that time. It's still a small park, no camping or picnicking allowed, just boating and fishing. But there are homes built all around it now. It was a mild sunny morning and memories flooded back.
The last of the tomatoes have to be harvested. This year I didn't have any but one Roma and a handful of tiny Asian pear tomatoes, thanks to the prolific deer in my neighborhood. I didn't grow anything else, but basil and cantaloupe which the deer ate before any melons appeared.
I'm not buying any new clothes this year. I'm not working and have too many out of date clothes to give away or toss.
I will still feel wistful in the late afternoon as the trees cast longer and longer shadows across the lawn. I recall watching those shadows from the window of a college study lab. Now, there's no excitement of a new school year and seeing my friends again, but a twinge of that anticipation still resides as fall approaches. The end of summer tells me life is flying by.
| If fixing a hot dog just for me, the perfect one starts with an all beef frank. The roll should not be so big or flavorful that it takes away from the frank and its toppings, like a special bakery bun. Just a cheap bun is good.
The toppings include warm sauerkraut, mustard, onions, sweet pickle relish to start. Options would be shredded cheddar cheese or cheese sauce, and no bean chili. It all depends on what the bun will hold.
I have fantasized about a hot dog business (I have often fantasized about businesses that I never started) and calling it The Dog House. At the window, the customer starts by telling the kind of hot dog: all beef, traditional Oscar Meyer wiener, turkey dog, or veggie dog. I know, why would a vegetarian go into a hot dog restaurant, but they go everywhere, Only one kind of bun available. Toppings are buffet style. Order fries or not and one size soda. Sodas are self service. I probably would have to offer at least one simple dessert.
So one topping island is the hot stuff: sauerkraut, chili, cheese sauce. As many safety precautions as necessary to keep it clean. One island is the cold stuff: chopped onions, relish, standard mustard, ketchup. Sodas the usual fast food arrangement. Plenty of room in between so traffic isn't blocked, and employees can clean and refill. Out door dining as well as in. The idea is a fast lunch, no being late back to work.
I've considered a drive-thru window, but that defeats the creation of your own hot dog.
|Prompt: List 30 things you want to do before you die.
1. Learn to drive a stick shift.
2. Travel--Boston, Maine, Portugal, Scotland, Channel Islands, Spain, Greece, South Dakota, Alaska, American Samoa, Wyoming, India, Italy, Madagascar, South Africa, Egypt. . . You name it, I haven't been there, but I want to go!
3. Fall in love again with someone who loves me.
4. Write a completed, decent novel.
5. Write a non-fiction book.
6. Be financially comfortable (not rich but unworried)
7. Be friends with a nice celebrity.
8. Develop an idea to improve conditions and elevate standard of living on reservations.
9. Create memories with my young nephew and great nieces and great nephews.
10. Lose 20 pounds and keep it off.
11. Finally, host a successful party that isn't just a family gathering.
12. Master the art of growing petunias and pansies, maybe geraniums.
13. Inspire other people to be kinder, gentler, more sensitive, and patient people.
14. Keep my car clean, inside and out. (It is now pretty much)
15. This is kind of vague, but leave something of value for the next generation.
16. Have someone, anyone, see some wisdom in me, provided there is some.
17. Encourage others to treasure the arts, painting, music, theater, sculpture, dance, literature. Share my passion with them.
18. Eat more vegetables.
19. Find the perfect hairstyle for me!
20. Have a few close friends to care when I die. that means I have to build those relationships now.
21. Set a good example for others to follow.
22. Encourage the spiritual growth of other people, especially confessing Christians.
23. Teach people to pray who don't feel comfortable doing it.
24. To know Jesus better than I do, to grow in my friendship with Him.
25. Shed my old inhibitions, negative thinking, wrong self images, my own mental barriers.
26. To be a prayer warrior.
27. Gain more knowledge.
28. Develop leadership skills.
29. Change the direction of someone else's life for the better.
30. To keep being creative and dreaming of new things.
|Day 3112: May 25, 2021
Prompt: Write about a time of transition.
Time flies. I've picked about a pint or more of strawberries from my deck. They were small this year because we had a cool spell in between warm weather patches. They turned red too soon, so they were small but sweet. Delicious.
My white peonies are bloomed and gone. I deadheaded them today. I have three shades of pink, the pale one is almost done. The medium pink are on the shady side of the house. They don't get as big; maybe it's the variety, or maybe the extra shade. The dark pink ones are on the sunny side, but also have smaller blooms. They all smell great to walk by them. If you cut them, you have to check for ants before carrying into the house. That strong fragrance beckons the insects.
The irises were beautiful this year and plentiful. Their purple beards were very deep, more colorful than many I've seen. I deadheaded a few of those today, too. I have to hit the main bed of them soon.
The azaleas didn't do so great. I believe they were over pruned last year. My dad planted these things in the ground, and most are too close together. He couldn't predict how they would fill in his beds. Any digging and transplanting would be a major project, which I would be willing to undertake in the fall. However, since his death, I cannot afford to keep up the house much longer, and will have to sell it. I don't want to invest time and energy and my heart into something I have to leave behind.
Just like the seasons move on and the vegetation cycles, we have to accept change, too. This house, this yard, hold many memories for me, many emotions. I don't want to leave it behind. I've been quite comfortable here. The location is great. The house itself is old and needs repairs. The furnishings are outdated, not timeless. The utilities, the taxes, the upkeep are just too much over the long haul. I'll be broke in a few years. I've tried looking on the bright side, that I can start over somewhere else. in a cheaper county, I can find a new church, make new friends, my next adventure. But I keep finding remarkable things like these flowers and I just don't want to leave them.
Sometimes change is good. Sometimes we regret it. Maybe we can adjust and accept it.
| I picked the first strawberry from my plants today. The iris bed is a carpet of purple and white. The climbing roses are blooming. The clematis on the mailbox is about spent. The daffodils are long since gone. The peonies are 2 feet tall and need propping up. Spring has sprung. I love it.
oh, I almost forgot. The blackberry bushes are full of blooms and tiny berry babies. The potted tomatoes are even surviving these cold nights!
| As if it wasn't bad enough that the seven year old last week pulled all the daffodils in my front yard off at the bloom. No chance of putting in a vase. I had denied myself cutting one or tow to put in the kitchen because the yard would look empty. But they all went away in an instant anyway.
Now, yesterday, Easter Monday, the five year old pulled up my Easter lily. It always just appears around Easter then blooms when all the other lilies do. It won't this year. It was in a patch heavily mulched, not a grassy area.
They dragged out old gutters from behind the shed, and the landscape light bases (which they had broken) and were finding whatever they could to build a fort. One was digging up my grass. It's the most visible part of the back yard from the street. I tried explaining this is a subdivision and we can't treat like farm property. I had just gathered up old tools and bricks and things they had dragged out, so I could cut the grass Now it was all out again.
These kids with too much imagination and energy are great nieces and nephews, one nephew same age group. I love them but I dread them at the same time. They bring disorder to my orderly life. While they were destroying one corner of my yard, I reminded myself they were building dreams and being creative. Was that more important than what my neighbors thought of my ugly yard?
When I realized that I can't afford to keep living here much longer, my biggest expense being taxes and insurance, I was a little leery. Moving somewhere new, not as conveniently located, maybe not so nice next door neighbors, perhaps needing a new slate of doctors and a new church. Then it was a little exciting. I no longer have any attachments, no spouse, no aging parent, no job. I could move anywhere! I could live in a different country! As long as it's budget level. Then it hit me that I can't move away from these kids. Three of them lost their young father to a heart attack; they still don't understand. I have involved myself in their lives and try to support their mother. The other is my youngest brother's only boy, a gift late in his life. I can't move far because I'm attached to these kids. I do need to find a cheaper county, but with easy access to these destructive kids.
|Prompt: What are 5 things you want to accomplish in April?
There's so much going on right now that I am unusually stressed. How do I focus on just a few things?
First, I need daily exercise. It has to become a priority.
2. Lose weight. Exercise is only part of it. Sleeping right, eating right. I hate giving up bread of all kinds. Ant then there's portion control. If a little meat loaf is tasty, why not a little more? Wrong.
3. Decluttering the sheds and garage .I need to put the house on the market. I have my late father's tools and antique equipment and my late brother's toy collections to disperse. (My dad inherited them in 2012 and never did anything with them.)
4. Get control of my finances. I have a bleak looking future if I live more than 4 years. I have to get my budget under control and increase my income.
5. I'm giving myself one year to empty the house and streamline my belongings and find a suitable cheap place to live. So I'm going to have monthly goals. In April before the temperature soars, I'm cleaning out the sheds and going to Good Will.
Plus the summer yardwork begins. Plus I still want to keep my reading goal for the year and occasionally write.
|Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on this day in 1929, observed, “The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil.” He also famously declared: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The above quotes were taken from an article by Jim Dennison. They are worth sharing. In light of all the violence of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, his words can enlighten our thinking and the words we use in talking about current events. I'm sure he meant all violence by all people.
With that in mind, stay home the next few days. Do not go to your state capitols or if you live in one, don't go near government buildings or public places. Think of your own safety and your family's. Then think of being a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. And stay out of DC. There are traps laid for you. You will be tricked into looking guilty of things you did not do. You will be swept up with the crowd into places you don't want to go. Government employees are going to allow this to happen just to stir things up. So just stay close to home. You can make your peaceful statements heard later on in a safe environment.