Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday night

Just. One. More. Day. to. This. Week.

Thank goodness. I so need some time away from work. Today was nothing but irritation piled up on aggravation. My patience, which has always been the only thin thing about me, has just all but worn through.

Nice thing about tomorrow is that I have a meeting to cover at noon, so I'll be out of the office for a couple of hours. That will give me a bit of a respite.

I finished a big project this week -- it's one of those special section things that comes in the Sunday paper that people just pull out and throw away without even looking at. But by golly I wrote every dang story in it and put the section together, so it's all mine (except for two tiny fillers that I edited down from wire stories. Not bad for a 24-page tab.) Anyway, it's one of those thankless worthless time-consuming jobs we all have.

I think most of us in the office are having a major crank-fest this week. One person in particular seems to be taking great joy in pissing everyone off. You might guess it's the one person who doesn't lift a finger to do anything. So I daydream terrible things and make myself as scarce as possible so I don't follow through. And I pray for Saturday's quick arrival.

Sorry to be so down and grumpy, but that's the way things are here for now. I'm sure that at some point things will be more positive. I'll definitely will let you know when that moment comes. It's only fair!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday Morning

It's one of those mornings where it's not as early, clock-wise, as it seems.
We've had a rain, apparently recently ended. The sky is still mostly gray with clouds, with just slivers of silver trying to break through in the east.
I've just had to go out to the garage to grab an armful of clothes out of the dryer, hoping that I've scooped up at least one outfit in the bunch that I can wear to work in a few minutes.
To get to the garage I have to go out the back door of my kitchen, across the screened-in back porch.
This morning the air is so cool and so fresh from the rain that I just want to stay on the back porch and absorb this fresh beginning like a sponge. My spirit needs to soak this up. I'm going through a dry patch -- wrung out and growing a bit crunchy.
Part of me so wants to call in to work to say I'll either be late or I won't be in at all... but what would that call sound like?
"Sorry boss, can't make it in today. No, I'm not exactly sick. I'm just calling in rainy. See you when it's nasty hot again."

Meh. I've heard worse excuses when I was the one people called in to.

And now, I'm off to check that pile of laundry and find out what I'll be wearing today. Here's hoping you found matching socks today.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday night

The weekend is winding down and I'm trying to get pulled together to start another week in just a few hours. I need to throw a load of laundry in so I'll have something to wear tomorrow. Seems like laundry is the thing that perpetually gets the short end of the stick around here, getting done only when it becomes a crisis. No, wait. That doesn't make it much different from everything else. *Le sigh.*

I mowed the lawn tonight and finished just as my light was running out. Clouds covered the sky just as I was putting the mower away -- it would be fine with me if we got some rain tonight. The soil is dried out and clumping, but I'm not a grass waterer type person. I really think the water should be saved for people.

I'm sure my neighbors are probably glad that I finally broke down and mowed. I'm not sure how long it has been -- certainly longer than they would all go since the last mowing, but it's dry enough that it's really healthier not to cut it too short when it's this hot. That's my position and I'm stickin' to it!

Anyway. I did get a good long nap in this afternoon. I had thought about going in to the office this afternoon right after church, but I would have had to have gotten there before the circulation guy left and locked the building. I don't have a key. And I started thinking about it, hard. Then I decided that Sunday is my Sabbath, the only day I don't work, and I was not going to start violating that just to get ahead a little. My attitude is poor enough about things right now (which some of my astute friends have picked up on... is it THAT obvious?) I don't need to succumb to that kind of self-punishment.

This evening I also was able to clean some trash off of my screened-in porch. That gave me a little more room for maneuvering out there, so maybe I'll get to sort through some more of the stuff which STILL lives out there. You would think that a year would have been more than enough time to sort, purge and put away, but not for me. I moved in on Aug. 3, so I still have a week. Ha.

Oh. Last week was the garage sale. The one that was supposed to be my garage sale here at my house, which then became a group garage sale. We then were going to have it at a friend's office with a lot of traffic and a large drive. Then it moved to her house because she had furniture to sell and didn't want to have to load it up. Uh. OK. She lives in the country across the river in the neighboring county. I wound up making $7.

Yeah. That's going to help with my hospital bill.

Why do I do this? *Le Sigh.*

Good news: Wednesday is payday, and since it is the third payday of the month, it won't have the usual deductions. So it should be slightly larger. Plus, as usual, I have plenty of overtime. This will help a little. I just hope it's more than $7. Ha.

I should get the laundry going and start thinking about going to bed. Here's hoping you have a fresh start to your week tomorrow and that you enjoy the last week of July 2008. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

All day long this verse has been running through my head as I would catch a few seconds here and there to reflect on my weekend trip to Missouri.

See, this happens every time I go up there. My Aunt Dot has such a God-granted gift of hospitality and especially of cooking for people that I am drawn into an altered state on every visit. I love seeing her garden, but what really gets to me is looking in her refrigerators and pantries. She has two refrigerators upstairs. There's another out in the machine shop for my uncle and his special beverages that aren't allowed in Dot's house. And I think there is another freezer down in the basement. I haven't been down there in 40-plus years.

Anyway, Dot is the epitome of a prepared woman. At any given moment, even at the age of 79, she can prepare and take a meal to someone who is sick or bereaved. She could, on an hour's notice, put together a family dinner for 15 people or more, depending on who drags friends along.

We're not talking about fast food or junk, folks. We're talking about REAL food. Fresh veggies from her own garden or from a neighbor. Home-made dishes. Only in the past few years has she started keeping a few frozen commercial dinners in her kitchen freezer for lunches when she simply doesn't have the strength or energy to cook.

This woman cooks three meals a day and ALWAYS always always has leftovers ready to send home with anyone who may drop by and need something to eat. My cousin who lives nearby is her most usual beneficiary -- cousin is proud to say she never gets too close to the stove to cook, but just try keeping her out of Dot's fridge. HA.

When I arrived on Friday, we had leftover roast beef sandwiches. Divine beyond the scope of human understanding! Deviled eggs, made from eggs from Bill Brightwell's chickens. They will be served at every meal Dot makes. Fresh green beans from her garden. Salad. Freshly made cole slaw using a neighbor's cabbage. A lemony cream cheese dessert she made for guests at lunch. Maybe some cut-up watermelon or cantaloupe. Freshly brewed iced tea or lemonade.

Breakfast includes pumpkin bread she makes for my visits. These are always cooked in coffee cans to create a round loaf with ridges around them. The slices are slightly less than a half-inch thick, perfectly even. The whole loaf is cut in half so the pieces resemble a D. The meal also includes a choice of cold cereals, toast, fresh fruit (blueberries this week!) Uncle Jean always has cooked prunes. And the coffee pot is on for those who want a cup.

Lunch is similar to dinner -- always fresh, always home made. Always a reminder of God's extravagant love for us.

So when I return from these trips, there's usually a pack of food that comes back with me. This time it was a few leftover pieces of chicken my cousin from Atlanta made for our supper one night, plus a big zip bag full of green beans. Denise picked five gallons of beans off Dot's plants Saturday morning so they simply HAD to come with me so there would be room for more through the week.

And the other thing that comes with me is this altered state. It's a renewed appreciation for the food of the earth that God Himself provides, with no preservatives, no artificial colors, no added sugar or fake sweeteners. And as if I'm in a zombie trance, I'm drawn to the produce section at the store. Tonight I bought blueberries, Ranier cherries, four different colors of peppers, corn on the cob ... well, you get the idea. I also had some fresh tilapia for supper and a little bowl of the cherries for dessert. Oh, the energy that filled me up was unbelievable.

This is exactly the kind of holy moments I wanted this blog to be about when I started it. If you'll note the header again, you'll get it.

All day, that verse was filling my head -- Taste and see that the Lord is Good. I couldn't quite place where it is found, until I was flipping through my new Gooseberry Patch catalog that came in today's mail.

Do you suppose it was a God wink when I found it on a Thanksgiving platter in the catalog? Taste and See That the Lord Is Good -- Psalm 34:8.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday Post #1

I've finally had a chance to do some shooting, so I have new photos! And I'm posting them!

You know the secret -- click on the photos to see the whole thing. What you see isn't what you get, necessarily.

These are from my weekend trip to see my aunt and uncle north of Kansas City, Mo. They are all at the family farm.

This was my grandparents' house. It is right across the road from my aunt and uncle. I realized tonight I didn't take a photo of their house. It's one my uncle built by hand. A mid-century modern 1950s house with a flat slanted roof.

The farm has been sold to different farmers in the area since my aunt and uncle retired from farming. They owned the land (a LOT of land) with another uncle and his wife. The sale was so they could equitably split the estate. No one feels like things were done correctly, so they probably were.


It was harvest time for the wheat while I was there. Combining:


Sunday morning the farmer was raking the straw into windrows. Later he came through with the baler which gathered up the straw and bundled it into the great big round bales and then pooped them out of the back of the machine.

The old dinner bell is a multi-generational relic. It really was used for decades to call the farm hands to dinner.

My aunt's garden. It's small this year. Tomatoes, green beans, corn, onions and radishes.

Please Farmer McGregor! Please don't throw me in that briar patch!

Her flowers:
Thanks for visiting with me. I didn't take my camera to the fireworks at the next tiny town over, but they were the BEST fireworks ever.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Off to Missouri!

Happy holiday, my friends. I'm heading to the family farm just north of Kansas City International Airport to visit my aunt & uncle and their daughter who is in from Atlanta for the weekend.

It's a normal "traveling day" for me -- not an early start like I always have dreamed of. Not packed. Not sure what clothes I have that are clean. It must be nice sometimes to have a plan for daily living. I've heard of such things and even pretended a time or two to try it out. But right now? I'm not fighting nature. Just rolling with the flow and trying to keep the stomach acids under control instead of stressing about my imperfections.

Hey. I'm old and getting older. I'm tired of constantly feeling guilty about these things. So here's my declaration of independence today:

I have dirty dishes. It's OK.
My laundry needs to be washed. It's OK.
I'm not packed. It's OK. It's just a two-night weekend trip.
I didn't start driving at 6 a.m. It's OK. I was asleep then.
I need to shower. It's OK. That's just a 10 minute task, more or less.
I do not drive straight through. I stop at almost every opportunity. It's OK. It's faster to stop than to have a disaster because I didn't.

I am a grownup. I am 53 years old now. I can make my own rules.

(On the positive side: I am leaving with my bed made and my car empty, instead of looking like a mobile trash dump. I might stop at the vacuum at the gas station and do a quick hit even. That would be nice.)

You have a HAPPY, independent and self-directed day today, you hear? See you when I get back!