Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday Thirteen #735

The nearby town has a "tinsel trail" of decorated Christmas trees on display. We visited the other night. It wasn't quite dark enough for the lights to make the display all merry and bright, but the trees were pretty to look at.

The Tinsel Trail is sponsored by First Bank and the county Chamber of Commerce.

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 735th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A Jam for My Friend

My friend, B., died on December 3. The family chose not to have a service. Instead, in the obituary, we were all advised to spend an hour having fun in my friend's name.

I had a sinus infection and was sad, so I wasn't exactly into fun at the time. Instead, I picked up my guitar and settled into a bluesy honkey-tonk jazzy something or another that went on and on and on without an end. This video ultimately was 20 minutes long; I cut it back to 6 minutes.

The rhythm guitar and drum loop was created using a Boss RC-3 loop station. I played the background rhythm first with the drums from the loop station. It's a simple jam in E7, A, and B. The lead guitar runs are simply me playing whatever I was feeling at the time.

The D string went out of tune a little bit during the time I was playing, and I can hear it in this part, which is unfortunate because I thought this section had some of the best lead runs in it. Oh well. What's a "live" performance without some error, right?

I hope B. enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Crime in My County

Today I went to see my chiropractor. I've been seeing her for almost 20 years. We are not "friends," exactly, but I expect I'm closer to her than many of her patients. I think I am the patient she's seen the longest, or close to it.

Her office is in a small mall. It's generally quiet over there where the mall is located. It's "over the mountain" and while part of Botetourt, I think folks there often feel like the red-headed stepchild, because most activity and growth centers on this side of the mountain.

My hairdresser is also in this mall. She's the person I have settled on after years of bad Super Cuts hairstyles after my hair stylist of 30+ years retired.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled into the mall was a big, cracked window at my hairdresser's place. The window was not shattered, so no one gained entrance, but someone sure tried to break out the glass.

My chiropractor was visibly upset about this. Apparently, it happened last night, and the violence of it upset her. She is often alone with patients in the later hours at this little mall and wants to feel safe. She also wants her patients to feel safe. 

The hairdresser was nowhere to be seen and her shop was closed. The police had come and gone. Someone had thrown a huge rock at the window. I tried to think what might be in a hairdresser's shop that would entice attempted robbery but came up blank. They'd have had better luck at the dentist's office a few doors down. He, at least, would have had some drugs in there, even if it was just numbing agents.

I was not unsettled by this; I've done business with many of the folks who are or have been located in this mall and never had a problem in the 20 or more years I've been going there. But, it brings things into focus. 

We do not live in safe times. We need to lock our doors. We cannot trust that our neighbors mean us no harm.

Fear has found us here, in the backwoods, in the ruralness of home.

To feel fear is a great loss, and I'm afraid it's the ruling emotion of our times.

Monday, December 13, 2021

A Clear Phone Screen

A while back, I took the case from my phone, removing the screen protector in the process, in order to have the battery replaced.

The battery replacement went fine. The screen protector, not so much. It was terribly dirty when I replaced it and it bothered me.

Today, UPS brought me a replacement screen protector for my little iPhone 5SE, and in about 20 minutes, I had a clear screen on my phone again.

This makes me very happy as the dirty-looking screen that I had before, with the old screen protector on it, was driving me nuts every time I looked at the phone.

So, yay for a clean phone screen protector! Hurrah for clarity!

I was even able to get the case back on it without a lot of grumbling. Good as new!

It's the simple things, yes?

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever been caught outdoors away from shelter during a thunderstorm?

A. Yes. When I was at band camp, the director kept us on the field even though the lightning and thunder was all around us. He made us keep marching until the rain started. I thought it was terribly irresponsible of him.

2. Did you ever build furniture forts as a child?

A. I'm sure I did, but I don't recall anything specific.

3. Do you use any medicines daily? 

A. Yes.

4. When was the last time you used a disposable camera?

A. Years and years ago.

5. When was the last time you flew on a plane?

A. In 1993. I'm not a big traveler.

6. How many first cousins do you have?

A. At least a dozen. I'm pretty sure I missed someone in there, though.

7. What’s the longest period of time you’ve gone without sleep?

A. About 24 hours.

8. Did the house you grew up in have a big yard?

A. I grew up on a farm. We had fields.

9. What has been the most difficult class you’ve ever taken?

A. Some kind of math class, I'm sure. It's been a long time since I was in school and took the core courses.

10. What’s something that’s much more difficult than a lot of people realize?

A. Living a good life. Having a good marriage. Being true to yourself regardless of what others think.

11. What are some things a house would need to have for you to purchase it?

A. Hardwood and tile floors, no mold, preferably one that hadn't had pets or smokers in it.

12. Would you ever go out in public wearing pajamas?

A. Not unless it were an emergency, and I were on a stretcher.

13. Have you ever had a lemonade stand?

A. Yes. When I was young and we stayed with my grandmother, my brother, my young uncle. and I would set up a lemonade stand in the summer. We used the money to go to the skating rink or to see movies.

14. Do you think you look older or younger than your real age?

A. I look a little younger but not by much.

15. Where have you lived throughout your life?

A. I have never lived more than 30 miles from where I am now.


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.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Saturday 9: Driver's License

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a girl who just got her driver's license. Who taught you to drive?

A. My father. I was driving when I was 12 years old. A straight shift, even.

2) Do you like your driver's license/state ID photo?

A. It's a driver's license. I need it. It doesn't matter if I like it or not.

3) Think back to the first ticket you received. How old were you, and what was it for?

A. I received a ticket for a wreck; I rear-ended someone. That was about 1994, I guess. I topped a hill, and a car was stopped for a school bus. I hit the car. I was on my way to a job interview. Busted up my knee. I had to go to driver's school and then there was no more ticket and nothing against my record. Driver's school, incidentally, was a joke. I didn't get the job, either.

4) In this week's song, Olivia Rodrigo is brokenhearted, driving through her boyfriend's neighborhood, certain that he has taken up with the sophisticated blonde girl. When it comes to romance, do you have a jealous streak?

A. No. My husband is a faithful man.

5) Olivia grew up in Temecula, California. Temecula is home to 40 wineries and dozens of tasting rooms. Have you ever attended a wine tasting?

A. No. I don't drink.

6) Her first on-screen appearance was in a commercial for Old Navy stores. Old Navy is owned by the same company as Banana Republic, Gap and Athletica. Have you done any of your holiday shopping at one of those stores? (Yes, their websites count.)

A. No.

7) She went on to star in projects for Disney studios. That's also how pop stars Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, and Christina Aguilera got started. Arguably the first teen star created by Disney studios was Annette Funicello. Do you remember her?

A. I do. She was on the Mouseketeers.

8) "Drivers License" was one of this year's most popular songs. One of this year's most popular books is John Grisham's The Judge's List. Do you expect to do much reading between now and the end of the year? If so, what's on your TBR (to be read) list?

A. It's Better This Way, by Debbie Macomber, A Queen in Hiding, by Sarah Kozloff. If I get those read that will be a lot of reading; the last book is about 600 pages long.

9) Random Question: What is the longest line you ever stood in, and was it worth it?

A. It would have been for something at Disney in Orlando, and no. Nothing is worth standing in line for, if you ask me.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however. 

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Thursday Thirteen

Last night before I fell asleep, I was thinking about what to write for Thursday Thirteen. Old commercials popped into my mind.

1.  Valleydale

2. Frito Bandito

3. Oscar Meyer

4. Armour Hot Dogs

5. Chiquita Bananas

6. Where's the Beef?

7. Mr. Whipple squeezing Charmin

8. Evans Drug Store, Evans Drug Store, good prescription service! Intersection at Airport and Williamson Road! Delivery in the city, and in the county, too! For drugs, cosmetics, school supplies, it's Evans Drug store! (Local commercial. I remember the words)

9. The lady dipping her hand in dishwashing liquid - Palmolive.

10. The Maytag Repair Man

11. Pearl Drop Toothpastes (my grandmother hated this one)

12. The Native American with a tear in his eye because of all of the trash thrown out.

13. Mikey! He likes it! (Life Cereal).

Here's 14 minutes worth of old commercials:

Many of these would be considered incorrect today. But they are an interesting way of looking at the world I grew up in.

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 734th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

O Christmas Tree


Our Christmas tree this year. You can't see much of the ornaments for all the shiny lights and tinsel!


Late yesterday afternoon, I think I inhaled something down the wrong pipe.

The something was either from reflux, as I was bending over at the time, or a small piece of a white chocolate Lindt ball that maybe I hadn't swallowed. That was the last thing I had in my mouth, anyway. But bending over causes reflux and I am not sure what happened, except I choked a bit.

I coughed and coughed. Nothing came up. I went about my business. I kept coughing sometimes, but it felt funky in there, and still does.

I can breathe, and I can eat, and I can talk. I drank a cup of hot water (on the theory that if it's a piece of Lindt chocolate, the hot water should melt it, right?) and that set off my sinuses, and they drained. I coughed more. My husband beat me on the back a lot (I need the chiropractor now).

This morning when I woke up, my jaw was locked because I took the mouth guard off to ensure I was breathing ok. So, there I was with my jaw locked, hacking away, and spitting up hoping something would come out. 

But nothing did. I can't tell if it's an aspiration or if something scratched my throat. I have had a sinus infection and still have sinus drainage, so some of it could be from that. I just know I'm uncomfortable.

My jaw has unlocked, but it is quite sore. I ate a scrambled egg (something soft) and found eating made the weird feeling worse. As long as I stay quiet, I seem to be ok, but every now and then if I take a deep breathe, there's that weirdness again.

I put in a call to my doctor to be on the safe side, but I haven't heard back from her. I don't consider it an emergency, and I definitely don't want to go to the emergency room for this, but I also don't want to end up with pneumonia because something went down the wrong way.

What a weird thing to be dealing with on a Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

I Wimped Out

A while back, I said I was going to replace my cellphone battery myself.

I wimped out and took it to Batteries Plus this morning instead. It cost more to fix it, but at least I felt more comfortable knowing they likely wouldn't break the phone.

However, the screen protector cover on my cellphone case is now bleary. I removed the case and the cover before I left the house to take it to the store. I didn't realize the cell phone screen protector cover had sticky stuff on the back. I may have been able to have left that on there, I don't know. I'm not sure what the fellow had to do to get the battery in.

Of course, in removing things, I touched the sticky stuff, so now the screen on my phone isn't as clear as I would like. Not to mention I left it sticky side up, and it's four years old, so dust has settled on it, and it's stuck there, too.

I tried to blow the sticky side clean with a can of air, but that didn't help.

The screen protector being a bit unclean doesn't really affect anything on the phone. Perhaps I should buy an entirely new case, but my phone is an iPhone 5SE (1st generation 2016) and I would have to order it. They're not cheap, either. They've gone way up since I bought my phone in 2017.

It looks like the best cases are otterbox, but I'm not sure of that and will need to do more research before I make a purchase. 

The one I have is supposedly military grade, but I bought it from Zazzle at the time and it's been discontinued. This case has held up well as it and the now-bleary screen protector have been on the phone since 2017 without a problem. It's certainly been a good case.

At least I have a new battery. Hopefully I can continue to use this phone for a few more years, until they do away with 4G, anyway.

Monday, December 06, 2021

The Union Prom

My husband was a firefighter and member of the local firefighter's union for almost 40 years. We never once went to the Union Reward Banquet (aka Union Ball or Union Prom).

Until Saturday.

Saturday night we went because my husband had retired in 2020, and there was no Union Ball in 2020 because of the pandemic.

So, all of the retirees were honored Saturday night. There were quite a lot of them, though less than half of them came to the "Union Prom" to receive their chrome-plated axe.

Here are photos from the event:

Me trying to be "artsy" with the cellphone camera.

My husband and his cousin with their retirement axes.

My husband had served the longest. When he retired, he was
the second-longest serving member of the fire department.

All of the retired firefighters who showed up to claim their retirement axe.

My husband, his cousin, and some fellow I don't know with their axes.

My husband's cousin and his wife. We sat with them.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sunday Stealing

1. What are your plans for December?

A. Go to my husband's long-delayed retirement party, see my doctor, have Christmas.

2. How do you celebrate your wins/success?

A. I tell somebody, usually the husband.

3. Are holiday movies only for the holiday season?

A. No, but I prefer them then.

4. What would you consider a waste of money?

A. Diamonds.

5. What do you like to eat for breakfast?

A. Eggs, bacon, grits, toast, grape jelly. That's what I like to eat, but it is not what I eat.

6. How do you feel about poetry?

A. I love poetry. I write and publish poetry.

7. Are you shy?

A. Yes.

8. Do you take time to reflect on your goals?

A. I don't have goals at the moment. It's something I need to fix.

9. Name something you are curious to know more about.

A. The weather. I would like to know more about how the weather works than I do.

10. Name something that makes you feel fancy.

A. Wearing dangling earrings.

11. How are you still handling the pandemic?

A. I have my vaccinations and booster shot, and I continue to wear a mask in public. I greet people at the door with a mask on, unless I know them. I also continue to do pickup at the grocery store, though I sometimes go in because let's face it, those kids can't pick out a decent cut of meat. Mostly, I stay home.

12. A close friend you’ve never met in person.

A. I have several friends among the respondents in this meme who I consider "a close friend" but I've never met them in person. I also have a friend in England whom I haven't met, and friends in my video game that I likely will never meet.

13. Do you get in on trends early or later?

A. If I am in on a trend, it's an accident.

14. What is something you do on a regular basis?

A. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Read the newspaper. Look at my watch. Ask Alexa to play music. Play music myself. Write. Read.

15. Do you enjoy spending time with family?

A. Sometimes. Depends on who it is.


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.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

My Friend Has Gone

Last night I received word that my old friend, someone I've known and loved for decades, passed away.

My regular readers may be surprised by this relationship, for I seldom wrote about it. My friend, whom I called "B." generally if I did happen to mention her, was the most private person I ever met, and out of respect for her, I did not write about our friendship often.

I may have occasionally mentioned lunch, but I never wrote about our relationship. 

But now my friend B. has moved on and she knows what lies beyond. She has answered the unanswerable question, one we discussed in detail many, many times.

She had been ill for a long time. I remember her anger when she told me she'd been diagnosed with a terminal illness, though she had some time (5 years) until death. Her anger was palatable over the telephone, like a demon racing through the wires to end at my heart. She seldom was angry with me, and I knew she wasn't angry with me then. She was angry at the situation, and at the world. I was simply a part of it. She was about the age I am now when she learned of her diagnosis, that she had the same disease that had killed her mother, her aunts, an uncle. I know she wondered if she'd passed it on to her child.

She had a wickedly delightful sense of humor. Few people get my sarcastic and sardonic wit (and those who do are friends for life), but she caught every nuance in the silly and inane things I'd say during our long lunches together. I always made her laugh. She made me laugh, too.

For years, we had lunch once or twice a week. I was working for the paper, she worked for an accountant. We both loved books, but she preferred mysteries to fantasy - she never read a fantasy, I suppose - although to me mysteries are fantasies and I enjoy them as well. We both cheered on Stephanie Plum in her adventures, wishing she'd settle on the very romantic Ranger over the more boyish guy-next-door Morelli. She stayed ahead of me in the series, usually, because the books would come out while I was in the midst of some 1200-page fantasy, and she devoured the stories of Stephanie Plum as soon as the library made them available. I introduced her to Stuart Woods and his stories of Stone Barrington and Hollie Barker, and she soon read all of those. She also liked Kinsey Milhone in Sue Grafton's books, though not as well as Janet Evanovich's books. She read other mystery series that I did not (especially ones with recipes).

For a short time, we both tried to read Elizabeth Peters books and neither of us cared for them. It became a running joke for a bit - if there was something we didn't like, we compared it to an Elizabeth Peters book. For us, that meant it was really bad.

We met over 30 years ago. We both worked part-time at the Botetourt County History Museum as it was trying to rebuild itself. I only worked on weekends. We were cataloging items, and we were doing it by hand. I wanted to do it on a computer and so did B., but the person in charge at the time was a bit behind the times. Finally, I confronted said person, and I lost the job in the process. B., who was about as nonconfrontational as my husband, continued doing as she was told.

Then we served together on the Board of Historic Fincastle, Inc. (HFI), working to help preserve and protect the tiny town of Fincastle and its historic properties. The town is like a miniature Williamsburg, really, with great potential as yet still unrealized. I served as president of HFI and B. followed immediately after me.

And then our mothers died the same year. B.'s passed in April from the same disease that she would ultimately have, and my mother died of cancer in August. The loss of our mothers that same year created a firm and yet seldom discussed bond. Motherless daughters, but not alone in our loss because we had one another. The following year, for my birthday, B. gave me a rose bush to plant. It bloomed orange, the color my mother said she'd "send" to me from beyond, to prove there was a beyond.

I did not consider it a coincidence.

For some time - a decade, at least - we were the best of friends, yet most people did not know it. We didn't keep it a secret, we just ran in different circles that seldom overlapped.

As friendships do, ours waned off and on, though we were always in touch. She and her husband built a new home, and she became preoccupied with that endeavor. They loved to travel and so she was away a lot, either exploring the United States - she visited every single state, I think, and the "four corners" of the country - or off on craft shows with her artistic husband. 

After I became disabled and less able to move about (and more reclusive as a result), she continued on with her life while I tried to rebuild mine. She was supportive when I whined, but after her diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, I whined less. A lifetime of chronic pain versus a shortened life span? What kind of comparison can one make of that, after all?

We still had lunch occasionally, but with her travels and my health, not often. But it didn't matter how frequently we saw one another, because we had one of those relationships that began again as soon as we were back together. And we emailed. We emailed right up until last month, when she said she needed to switch to text because she could only manage short comments. And then we texted. The last thing I sent her were pictures from out my front door of a beautiful blue sky, one of the clearest days we'd had in a long time. I told her I wanted to share the view with her.

She never responded back, though the text is marked, Read.

I will miss her.

Saturday 9: Got My Mind Set

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) George Harrison sings that he requires money, patience and time. Which of those three do you wish for most this morning?

A. Money.

2) This was long one of George's favorite songs. He first heard it back in September 1963 -- months before the Beatles became an international phenomenon -- when he visited his sister in Benton, IL. Is there a song that reminds you of a trip you took?

A. Not really, although I was traveling with my parents across the US and we were in some really flat state with cornfields when we heard that Elvis Presley passed away. Elvis songs remind me of that.
3) For years, George thought his birthday was February 25. When he was 17, he saw his birth certificate and learned he was really born on the 24th. His mother explained that he was born just before midnight on the 24th and she didn't get to hold him until early morning on the 25th, so she considered the 25th as his birthday. Do you know any interesting stories about the day you were born?

A. According to my mother, I didn't want her. She held me and I kicked and stretched and she knew right away that I didn't love her because I didn't meet her expectations of melting in her arms or something. Also, I had a big mole on my chest in the shape of a bullet, so she took that as a sign that my father should quit the police force (he eventually did) because a bullet would kill him.

4) When George was just 14, he met Paul McCartney on a bus en route to school. Tell us about a time when you met someone who ended up changing your life.

A. I met my husband on a bus route to school, too, but he doesn't remember it. Later we met again underneath the goal posts of the football field while watching the interschool rivalry game on Friday, October 15, 1982. He asked me out.

5) Then 17, John Lennon was not interested in letting George perform with his band. He dismissed George as too young. Paul insisted George get a chance and the rest, as they say, is history. Tell us about someone who stood up for you and helped you succeed.

A. Many of my teachers "stood up for me" from time to time over various and sundry things. I was a good but troubled student, and most of them knew that.
6) In the 1970s, George took up gardening. He said that clearing away weeds and overgrowth helped him clear his head, and he was very proud of his jasmine flowers. What's your hobby? Why do you enjoy it?

A. I play guitar. I love to make music and write music, and create new sounds, and learn old sounds, and challenge myself to do better.

7) He also enjoyed playing ukulele and encouraged others to do the same. George often gave ukuleles as birthday and Christmas gifts. What's the last gift you received?

A. A friend brought me a Covid-19 test kit on Thursday. Her time and effort to get me that was a great gift, and I was glad to get the test kit. (I tested negative.)

8) At the Academy Awards in spring 1976, another George was in the news. George Burns won an Oscar for his performance in The Sunshine Boys. Who was in the last movie you watched?

A. The last movie I watched was Dune and I have no idea who was in it.

9) What's the last thing you dropped? Did it break?

A. My cellphone, and no, it didn't break. I have it in one of those military grade cases.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

But What About . . .

A long time ago, about 2005, I think, for we were at war in Iraq at the time, my husband and I went to Myrtle Beach for our vacation.

Being a news reporter and somewhat gregarious when I'm in public, even though I'm more reclusive and introverted than most folks, I tend to strike up conversations with people as we stand in line or sit and wait for tables or whatever. It's the Gemini in me.

That year, I struck a conversation with a nice couple. They were a little older than we were, and we were talking congenially about the weather and the beach, the things that had changed over the years, and this and that.

Suddenly, abruptly and bristly, and frankly out of nowhere, the man spoke up and said that his wife's cancer, which we'd not even mentioned, would not be cured because of abortion.

"Excuse me?" I said.

"We've let so many people die, probably the one who would have invented the cure for cancer has been aborted. The people who could make the best inventions are the ones women are killing off for their own personal perversions." The man's face reddened. He was nearly apoplectic, and my initial thought was something along the lines of, Holy shit, he's a nut and we're trapped in a line here.

But I also am not one to back to down. And abortion, my dear reader, is a touchy issue. I'd never have had one myself, but I don't think it's my place to tell anyone what they must do, even if it is only for 9 months and they can give the child away after they pop it out, as a Supreme Court Justice recently noted. 

After all, pregnancy carries great risks, emotional, physical, and financial, to the pregnant woman, and who I am to force gestational diabetes on someone, or to make a 12-year-old give birth to her half-sister conceived through incest with her father? Or force a woman to lose her job, or possibly her life, carrying a child she doesn't want?

That was not the tact I took, however. As I am a pacifist, the current war was a better target.

"Could be that we've just murdered the child who could cure cancer in the war in Iraq," I responded. "Or the mother who would have had that child. We're killing so many."

His wife gave the slightest of nods of her agreement with me but said nothing.

"The child who could cure cancer would have come from the United States," he retorted. I raised my eyebrows at that.

"You mean a white child, I suppose."

He nodded.

Fortunately, my husband, ever nonconfrontational, grabbed me by the arm and said, "They've got us a table," and dragged me away before I could become embroiled in an argument with a bigoted white supremacist.

I report this memory because it came to mind as I have read about the recent Supreme Court hearing on a southern state law that basically stops abortion. Many more laws will follow regardless of what the Supreme Court rules, but I write about this because it is a great illustration of what the abortion argument is really about.

It is not about women of color having abortions, or about killing women of color overseas in stupid wars that are for rich men and have nothing to do with protecting this country. 

It is about white women having abortions. It is about racism, it is about misogynistic ideas, it is about control. 

It is not about saving children so they can grow up to cure cancer. Because in order for a child, any child and every child, to grow up to cure cancer, that child must first have opportunity - the opportunity to be fed nutritious food, to live in a loving and supporting home, to have a quality education, to move about unburdened by depression or any other mental illness and be physically fit and appropriately raised.

We don't ensure any of that. In fact, the people who want abortion go to great lengths to ensure that children are not raised with such security.

Until we ensure that every single child born in this country has every opportunity to be the child who can grow up to cure cancer, and we ensure that the women we're forcing to have babies receive prompt, appropriate care, both mentally and physically, paid for and supported with tax dollars, then I support the right of women to choose whether or not to have a child.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Thursday Thirteen

1. Thinking about what to write for Thursday Thirteen becomes difficult when I am not thinking well at all.

2. I'm not thinking well because there are too many thoughts swirling around, so many I can't grab one and plop it down. There are thoughts that are personal, thoughts about my husband, thoughts about my friends, thoughts about my community, thoughts about my nation, thoughts about the world. Complex, tangible, yet incoherent thoughts because so much is going on.

3. It was inconceivable to me prior to 2016 that there were people who wanted to destroy whatever it is we have, which is not Democracy or a Republic, really, but a sort of autocratic semi-fascist socialist democracy, and replace it with a total autocracy (aka as a king), but apparently there are plenty of people who want to dismantle the nation and return to something that never really existed in the first place.

4. Many of those people are still in the government. At least two were recently appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

5. While I think our autocratic semi-fascist socialist democracy or whatever it is needs loads of repair, it doesn't need autocracy or more fascism. It doesn't need to be run by a cult.

6. Knowledge is power. The things unknown were always the things I did my best to find when I was a news reporter. Not because I wanted to be powerful, but because I then gave the knowledge back to the people in a news story. I gave the power back to the people. The power belongs to the people. Not to a single person, or a small few, or a single party. To the people.

7. We have a lovely day ahead of us, with warm temperatures and sunshine after the partly cloudy part goes away. I am missing out because I am inside with a sinus infection. Perhaps I shall step out on the porch for a sniff of fresh air.

8. The Lord of the Rings is not a Christmas movie, but it was released at Christmas 20 years ago, and I try to watch it at Christmas every year. All three movies. Over 10+ hours.

9. Yesterday, I thought I saw a moose in the field. Then I thought I saw a buffalo. They were but shadows shifting, but I had taken some guaifenesin and that medication tends to make me jittery. I need to take some this morning but I wanted to write this first. Who knows what strange things I will see in the shadows today.

10. My cellphone is about 4 years old. The battery says it holds 87% charge but it drains quickly, especially if I'm listening to a book or playing a game. I ordered a replacement battery and I'm going to try to put in a new battery myself. If I can't, I will have to go buy a new cellphone. Fingers crossed. I don't want a new cellphone. I like this one.

11. You can find anything on youtube, even videos about how to replace the battery for your exact cellphone. I've watched several. It looks tedious but doable.

12. Still struggling with finding things that are in my brain. Maybe it's the antibiotic? Oh brain, latch on to a thought! Yoohoo! Brains!

13. I have a fortune from a fortune cookie on my desk. It says "We write our own destiny. We become what we do." Do you think that's true? Are we what we do? Does that mean I'm a washing machine, or a vacuum cleaner?

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 733rd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Happy December!

Here we are, 24 days away from the big day now! Christmas is coming whether one wants it or not.

Thinking back, I can't say that I have a favorite Christmas. As an adult, the two that stand out are the first two I spent with my husband. The first we were dating; the second we were married.

His first Christmas present to me was a pair of cowboy boots. They were the rage at the time. I gave him a sweater jacket.

I don't remember the presents of our second Christmas, only the feeling of waking up to my own tree in my own home with my husband of just over a month in the room beside me. Then it became a whirlwind as we visited my parents and then his, then grandparents, too, all in the same day. We ended that as soon as possible, visiting my family on Christmas Eve and his on Christmas Day. Too much running around for me all in one day.

My childhood Christmas memories tend toward watching. Watching my brother open his presents. Watching the interactions between my parents. Watching the tree, the lights twinkling. Watching the pile of presents grow. Watching my mother wrap things. Watching to see where the toys that "Santa" would place under the tree might be hidden. (I did not always find them.)

My brother and I played with some of the decorations and having great adventures with them. We had an ornament we called Santa Mouse that my brother and I played with, using him as the hero, dashing off in his sleigh to solve whatever we could come up with. Saving Barbie from Johnny West or delivering those little green Army men to the poor underdeveloped Ken to shore up his self-esteem. Whatever.

My brother always received the better presents - the guy things. Electric trains, Lego sets, Erector sets. I received girl stuff - dolls, clothes, makeup mirrors. I am not and never have been a girly girl, so I always coveted my brother's more manly gains. Fortunately, when we were alone and not bothered by other children, we generally played well together although of course there were lots of brother and sister arguments. Young children always have them.

I remember snow at Christmas, something we seldom see now. I remember sleds and toboggans that we used to race down the hill. I remember riding like lightning down a hillside and crashing into a frozen cow pile and nearly knocking myself silly when I hit it, and the laughter from my companions, who at that time would have been my brother and the Stewarts and maybe a couple of Lees.

My father once brought home these snow pans. They were an invention and he wanted to see how they worked. He gave them to my brother and I and told us to go play with them. He watched while we fell down and sat on them and generally could not figure out how to use them. He decided not to invest in them, I think. In my mind, they were the precursor to the snow board. They apparently weren't, but I wonder if that man ever took his invention elsewhere and did something with it. I don't know. But I'm afraid one could not have found a klutzier person to test such a thing on than I. I generally spent more time on the ground than I ever did on things like skates or skies.

The first day of December arrives with bleak gray. I don't know how much of that is cloud and how much is smoke from a major fire on Pilot Mountain in North Carolina.  It appears to be a combination of both. It is not overly chilly, though. It's just cold enough to let everyone know that winter is on the way.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Now I'm Vintage

My brother found these vintage aerial photos of some of the places I've lived.

The first is the house my husband and I lived in from 1984 to 1987.

This is the house I lived in from 1976 to 1983, when I married.

This is the house I lived in from about 1974 to 1976.

None of them look like this now, and would be hard to find in the rolls of film unless you know what you're looking for. I like the middle photo because it has my husband's old truck and my Pontiac T-1000 in the picture; apparently, we had both our vehicles there the day the picture was taken.