Thursday, June 08, 2023

Thursday Thirteen - The "I" Edition

Today I am 60 years old. There was a time when I never thought I'd see 30, much less 60, so yay.

Since it's a big deal birthday, I am going to list 13 things I've accomplished over the last 60 years. This is actually harder for me than it sounds, because I tend to focus on the things I've done wrong, not the things I've done right. Anyway, let's see what I can come up with.

1. I chose a good man for my mate.

2. I have three college degrees, and I was an honor student.

3. I have written and published approximately 2 million words and oodles of photographs for various publications. Most of those were nonfiction articles, but I've also published poetry and a couple of short stories. I also wrote the county's official magazine for its 250th birthday.

4. I am a loyal friend. I consider my friends family.

5. I am a good sister to my brother and have worked hard to keep that relationship going.

6. I am a good daughter. I certainly could have been a lot more trouble than I was.

7. I am a good wife even if I don't like to cook or do housework. I still do it.

8. I'm a good nature photographer.

9. I'm a good aunt to my nephews and niece.

10. I'm a decent musician, playing guitar and writing songs. I can usually play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on any instrument I pick up.

11. I do ok with computers, including using word processing programs and gaming.

12. I'm well-read and knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects.

13. I make great fudge.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while, and this is my 811th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Crash and Burn

Yesterday, I wheeled my grocery cart from Food Lion and as I approached my car, I hit the trunk opening.

A woman was walking by just as I hit the button, and it startled her. I called, "Sorry, I didn't realize you were so close to the car," and she said, "I thought I must've touched it or something." We laughed about it, and she climbed into her car.

I proceeded to start putting my groceries in the trunk. The woman had parked beside me and was driving a white van/SUV type vehicle. I was trying to figure out how to keep the hot rotisserie chicken away from the cold items when I heard a slight beep of a horn and then I heard, "crunch, crash, bang." I said, "Oh crap," and ducked. I turned around to see that the woman had backed right into a smaller vehicle with North Carolina plates.

They each pulled back into their parking spaces, and the woman climbed out of her car. "I just didn't see him at all," she said as she walked by me.

She said something to the man, and he somewhat loudly and angrily replied, "I don't have a job, I can't absorb this." Then he asked where he was, and she told him Botetourt County, and he wanted the police called, and wanted to know who would respond, and she again said, "Botetourt County."

I pushed my cart to the rack and as I walked back, I surveyed the damage. The car from North Carolina had taken the brunt of the blow, with the rear side being caved in. The white vehicle had scratches but was otherwise ok.

The woman was heading to her car with her cellphone in her hand. "Do you want me to stay?" I asked her. She shook her head no. Had she said yes, I would have stayed even though I didn't really see anything as I was focusing on my grocery unloading task. I didn't know her but I'm sure she was shaken. I know I would have been. Had I thought I'd been a good witness I would have stayed, but since I really didn't see anything but the aftermath, I left.

Since this occurred on private property, the police won't have done anything other than referee and ensured that insurance information was properly passed along by each party. At least there would be a paper trail.


The other thing that happened yesterday was something that I am occasionally confronted with, and it always makes me uncomfortable.

Someone I know asked me if I wanted to write their life story. 

For free.

I know many people are not writers, and I believe everyone has a story. But I do not want to write someone else's life story, not for free. I know they mean well, but they have no idea what kind of time that would take.

If the person had said, "I'll pay you," or mentioned anything like that - even a barter for services - I would have responded more enthusiastically. Instead, I said, "I think you should write it. Get started on it. I'll be glad to give you advice later on if you need it."

My friend said she wasn't a writer, but I said, "You should try it anyway. That's more real, more in your own voice."

Fortunately, she dropped the topic and we moved on. (I hope she doesn't read my blog.)

Many years ago, a good friend stopped talking to me after I declined to write her life story, so this is tricky. It's not something I want to lose friends over, but it's like asking a lawyer to take your case for nothing. Or asking your doctor to see you without charge. Those are extraordinary circumstances if you have to do that. Writing a life story is not an extraordinary circumstance, and writing has been how I've made my living. I have done enough volunteer work for various causes. I don't need to do free work for other people.

I remember another guy who asked me to write his life story - he had been involved, peripherally, in NASCAR - and he stopped talking to me as well when I declined. These things are not going to make any money, so offering to split the "big bucks" with me isn't going to cut it. If someone writes something, I am more than happy to read it and make suggestions for a meager amount*, but if they want copyediting or involved, in-depth work, then I need to be paid for my time.

*I charged the last person $100 to read through and make suggestions. That is way too little for what I offer, but I consider the circumstances. If you don't want to invest $100 in your creation for a read-through, then you either already know it's no good or know deep down you're not going to listen to my suggestions.

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Smoke From Distant Fires

For the last month, we've had smoke from fires from Canada, and now we're getting smoke from fires in the upper eastern part of the United States. 

They make for interesting sunsets. Last night it looked like I was living on a different planet as I watched an incredibly red sunset.

Monday, June 05, 2023

He's All Grown Up

June is a big month for birthdays in my family, and today is my brother's turn.

Happy birthday, Brother!
My brother, age 8 or 9

I don't remember the day he came home, or my mother's pregnancy. I would have been two - almost three - when he was born.

He was a rascal from the start, though. My very first memory of him is this: when he started walking/crawling/moving around, he pushed a chair over to the counter, climbed up on it, and proceeded to eat an entire bottle of aspirin. 

I told my mother what I'd seen him do, and she whisked him off to the emergency room to have his stomach pumped. He was probably a year old. (I remember this because I was a hero for a day or so.)

Around the same time, a dog chomped on the leg of a very large stuffed doll that I loved, and my mother laid it next to the oven while she tended to other things. She was going to repair it. My brother, again with the chair, turned on the stove and set the doll on fire. We're lucky he didn't burn the house down.

When he was around 6, he took a pair of scissors to the hair on all of my dolls - including some old Barbies and a Midge that I wasn't supposed to play with because they'd belonged to my mother - and made them bald.

I imagine I made it difficult for him at school without meaning to - I was a straight-A student (and quiet and generally well-behaved) and he had to follow that legacy.

But those are old memories, and I want to talk about the wonderful man he has become. He raised three children - a stepson and two of his own. He runs a big company (yet still answers the phone when I call), and he is devoted to our father.

He likes to hunt and enjoys being in the woods, alone with his thoughts, I suppose. He also likes a good meal. He works very hard - too hard. He's always on the go, always doing something.
High School Senior

When my husband caught his hand in the hay baler, my brother stayed with me, brought us hamburgers when we tired of hospital food, and fixed the hot water heater for me when it broke the day I brought hubby home from the hospital.

He helped me out when husband had his ankle fused, and last summer when husband had his hip replaced. All I had to do was ask.

A few months ago, when I was having a problem, I talked to many people about it, but it was when I called him that I burst into tears and sobbed.

With his son, 1997
He's a caring fellow, and I have always loved him. So happy birthday, brother! (And yes, I know, you'll always be younger than me.)

In April 2023

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Sunday Stealing

1. What are your plans for June?

A. Have a birthday, get a mammogram, see my doctor, work on the bookkeeping, do some writing.

2. What are your mid-year resolutions or goals?

A. I don't have any. 

3. Are you good at taking care of plants?

A. Yes.

4. What makes you feel nourished?

A. Hugs, phone calls, time alone, and chocolate.

5. Which animals do you see most in your area?

A. Deer, squirrels, turkeys, birds.

6. What books are on your summer reading list?

A. The Princess Bride, which I am reading now, Tarzan of the Apes, and any of the 100s of books on my Kindle. I would like to read a good biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. If anyone has a recommendation, please leave it in the comments.

7. What projects do you want to tackle this summer?

A. I would like to redo my office, but I don't know that I have the umph to do that at the moment.

8. Do you have any weddings, graduations, summer celebrations to attend?

A. Just birthdays in June.

9. Which summer snacks are you excited to enjoy again?

A. Watermelon.

10. How much time do you like to take for vacations?

A. We haven't had a vacation since September 2019. We generally only go away for about 5 days if we go. We have a farm to run and can't be away long.

11. How much has changed since last summer?

A. My husband has a new hip. That was a big change. He's doing great.

12. Name something that would be out of character for you.

A. Running.

13. What do you miss about winter?

A. Nothing.

14. What are your favorite free / cost effective ways to have fun?

A. Take a walk, read a book, play a video game.

15. Who do you trust most to house & pet sit?

A. This is not a service I generally have a need of, although there are folks we trust to help with the cattle should it become necessary. That said, I'd trust my brother or some of my friends with most things.


I encourage you to visit other participants in Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.