Saturday, April 29, 2017

PACE clothing give away

A week ago Friday I joined my friend, Terri, and her sister, Gayle, over at church to sort and fold clothes which Terri had hauled from her office. I didn't know they were going to do this and was happy to be part of the fun. I can sort and fold clothes to beat the band and do enjoy doing it for the girls. There was much much more clothing coming from the PACE Center which Terri would get help moving on Wednesday. 
This past Thursday Terri and the gang had gotten everything hauled from the back classroom where it was stored to the Fellowship Hall at church where we began in earnest with more sorting and folding. Besides the ATT Pioneers volunteers, Gayle, plus Janet B., from our congregation, came to help. When we had the room all set up Michael came in from the classroom and took our photo. 
 On Friday morning, we were ready for the girls from PACE to come and do their 'shopping'. I was privileged to help this young lady with her selections. The number of items they get to take is based upon an earned point system in the school year. Two young ladies had acquired enough points to get 50 items! They get to choose from the hanging clothes, folded items, purses, lingerie, sleepwear, and even shoes. 
 The girls were transported by their own PACE vans from their school to our church, about 12 at a time. Terri's group is quite organized with the way things are handled for the selections and bagged up. This is important since they are under a time crunch. I thought of Supermarket Sweepstakes where folks run through the aisles of the grocery store and throw stuff into the shopping cart to beat the clock. 
 Here's some of the room all done up and ready to be dug through. In between the visits from the girls we'd have about 45 minutes during which time we'd restack the clothes which had been rummaged through, locate empty hangers in the racks (the hangers were very nicely placed in boxes for the next event) and we'd move some stuff around on the racks to make them easier to see. Some of the groups had quiet girls while others had more excitement. I'm sure it's a bit overwhelming especially for some of the girls who come from less than ideal circumstances or from poverty. At the end of the shopping, I was completely worn out and excused myself while the ladies set about packing up. Terri had to be sure the Fellowship Hall was turned around and ready for Bible study on Sunday morning. She reported to me that she had done just that. 

Thankfully they could wheel some of the racks to the back classroom where they can be gone through again before being packed up for the next time. I look forward to helping with that next week, I'm sure!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I hate the words "used to"

Hate is a strong word, I should modify it to 'dislike' that group of words. One of my friends at church, Jackie, in her 80's, told me more than once how she has come to hate those words. "I used to be able to drive at night..."; "I used to be able to shop for hours...", "I used to be able to sleep all night..." and so on. All the things we used to do, or were able to do. I used to dance like my pants were on fire. Now, they'd have to actually be on fire for me to move like that! And then I'd not be able to walk for the rest of the week. 

Several years ago my sister, Lori, was telling how her husband and she were moving furniture around in their split-level. What formerly would have been a simpler task proved to be quite taxing. In Lori's words: "My days of carrying sofas down the stairs are over..." She 'used to' be able to carry stuff easily, but now, not so much. The physical limitations are just that---limiting. 

I remember how I 'used to' do many things on the job sites including demo work, nailing drywall, stapling insulation, nailing floors, staining and varnishing trim, painting walls and ceilings, painting the exterior of our homes. I used to be able to climb ladders, once even getting onto the roof of a house, but found myself unable to address the ladder when it was time to go back down! In those days, my husband was able to swing and lower me by my hood onto the rungs of the ladder. He 'used to' be able to handle me, as it were. 

Some of the things I used to do I don't miss much but there are other things for which I do wish. One is to hear my son's voice. I can make that come true by having my video tapes converted to DVDs. Not sure what is preventing that, it's on me to make it so. I used to be able to Jazzercise, now it takes all my strength to move from chair to bed to car to place where I am going. That might be an exaggeration but not too far off. My joints complain and my back hurts. I used to be able to pack up a household in really good time, whereas now, I'd have to sit down every few minutes to accomplish the task. At least I can still tell others, the able-bodied, what to do yet!

I used to wear big, heavy glasses but after having LASIK surgery, I no longer have to wear those. However, I am at a point where glasses might now be necessary again, after 17 years. Hopefully not so heavy and I am sure so large, though that is presently the style people are wearing. We shall see (ha ha)! I never used to take afternoon naps but now I do, every time I can. I never used to procrastinate but now I do, much to my chagrin. 

I 'used to' a lot of things, some of which I miss, and others I do not. I don't hate it yet as much my older friend does, but I imagine I shall some day. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Looking at relationships

There is a scene in one of Justin's and my favorite movies, "Julie and Julia", where Julie has a sad lunch with her friends and comes to the realization about who or what they really are---terrible people! At least, that's the way they come across in the restaurant scene, totally self-absorbed and full of themselves. Simple Julie meets another friend later on and asks her the rhetorical question, "What does it means if we don't like our friends?" Quite telling. Are they truly friends or just people we know? 

I've had some recent experiences and communications which proved troubling, leaving me feeling sad and unsettled. What's going on with people? Why so touchy? Are our relationships so valueless and unimportant that they can be disposed of without any sense of loss? I hate to even think how close I've come to figuratively giving a pop on the snoot and say, "Knock it off!" The question is for how long does a person tolerate being poorly treated or spoken to before severing ties? When it's one's own family acting poorly toward the others in the relation, that is a tough situation. From the outside, it is easy to make suggestions on how to make the repairs to the relationship. The more people involved, the more complicated it becomes. It all gives me a headache, and sometimes, a heartache. Deep and abiding sadness, messing with my joy. Hate it, just hate it, for all of us. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Deeply sad news

Last night before I was ready to drop off to sleep, my phone went off. It was Jean from church, calling me to report some terrible news. A long time friend of the family, church and school ties, had died earlier that day. Twila's grandson, Mark, same age as Justin, had problems with drugs. At this time it is unsure what caused his death but likely it was life-style related. Jean said that Twila didn't want this news publicized yet, but felt she just had to talk, and I was glad to be here for her. 
Mark, Robbie, David, and Justin 2009

Mark went to live with his grandparents when he was about 9 years old, after his mom died. Mark's parents were divorced and the dad was not equipped to care for him so the grandparents took over. Twila talked to me about sending Mark to St. Johns, and since 3rd grade Mark and Justin were in school together, graduating in 2006. Church and school friends, and neighborhood friends as well. The boys were confirmed in faith together in 2002, with their friend, Robbie. 

After Jean called me, I went to see if Justin was still awake, but he was not. Apparently the news got out other ways because before I went to sleep, folks were reaching out to me, asking me for information, etc. I let Robbie know this a.m. on a private message, and I let Justin know last night in the same fashion, fearing he'd see it on Facebook first. So far I haven't heard from him about this, he will have all day to process it, as will I. 

I have so many memories of experiences with Mark including mischief the boys got into at our homes, shared meals when the boys were in confirmation classes,  carpooling to school, birthday parties, church events...Oh my! Twila and I were raising boys the same age, though she is about 20 years older than me. My heart is so heavy with all this, breaking for Twila. When Timmy died Twila was at my house the next morning to be with us. I wish I could do the same but she has asked for no phone calls or visits just yet. I will respect that, but only to a point. 

Jean, Twila's sister-in-law, suggested I share this news with those at Bible study this a.m. So far I have not been asked to place them on the Prayer Chain but I am ready when the family is. Such a sad ending to this young man. On the same day my son was voted onto the church Council, Twila's grandson died. It's just so hard to process. May the Lord comfort Twila on these most sad days...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Celebrating friends

Today was a gathering at The Club to celebrate a couple of birthdays including my friend, Nancy W. The past few years we would meet at a nearby Brew House which had its pluses, but more minuses for some of us. One thing is they don't serve soda, and another is the seating is at hightops---most uncomfortable for those with back troubles. So, this year they chose The Club and for that, I rejoice!

Two of the three birthday celebrants were at our table, and once we ordered, the ladies got busy passing out the gifts. I was so impressed with the amount of apparent thought that they put into their gift shopping. The cards Nancy got were just about all themed around cats, since she is the cat lady of the group. Her gifts were right up her alley, chosen with her likes in mind, obviously carefully so. One of the ladies gave her a bracelet in a most beautifully decorated box, something her daughter does as a hobby. The box alone was a gift!
We sure enjoyed our time together and am glad to be included in this circle of friends. Nancy and these ladies all live on our property north of The Club and allow me to sit in on their Trivia team each month. At the table they were talking about how they've taken up canasta as a group, taking turns as hostess for it. Another lady had out of town guests and had a bounty of leftovers to be eaten up so everyone is going to her house for dinner tomorrow night. That works! Love this for Nancy and for all of them!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Such behavior!

Tonight I found myself again in a TV drought, there being nothing I cared to have on, really, as I worked at my computer. So, eventually I turned on reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond". It was a terrible episode, as so many of them are, regarding the behavior of the husband and wife toward each other. The husband, Ray, is made out to be a total fool (and tonight, he was!) and his wife, Debra, was a shrew, as usual. Their common roles are husband as child and wife as mother to their children and Ray. Ugh! I hate that!

The story line tonight was about a suitcase left on the stairs landing, each of them holding out for the other to carry it upstairs. Weeks went by, each one glaring at the other behind their backs about ignoring their single piece of luggage on the stairs. At one point Debra walks through wearing a top which was in the luggage which really irked Raymond, prompting him to blurt out about the stand off to his father. His dad encourages him to stand his ground, typically. 

Ray had to go on a business trip and, instead of taking the suitcase with him, he put his belongings in a plastic bag, like a hobo. Talk about stubborn! Marie came over to the house and wondered what stunk. Debra and she sniffed around the rooms and determined it was coming from the suitcase. Before he left, Raymond had put a chunk of stinky cheese in it, that rascal. I guess he didn't consider that his stuff in that bag was going to smell like rotten cheese, too. Did he not need his shaving kit from the bag for his business trip? 
Image result for everybody loves raymond suitcase on stairs
Anyway, they both behaved so badly that I could hardly watch, but I wanted to see how it resolved. Eventually when Ray came home Debra was determined to be the better person and "win" by carrying it upstairs. Then Ray wanted to be the bigger person, have the upper hand, as it were, over Debra by taking it up. They proceeded to have a tug of war over it, Ray holding Debra's legs as she tried to hold the suitcase. And then brother Robert walked in and asked, dead pan, "how's the suitcase situation coming?" 

It doesn't show how it finally resolved but my guess is that every time they traveled in the future, there were thoughts of a stand off repeat, 'cause that's the way they are. And not once did the three children show up in any of the scenes. How does that happen? 

Did/do people think this was amusing when it was new, or were they upset by it like I am? I should have taken Justin's advice and save some of my daytime listening for at night on Mondays to avoid this type of thing! Ugh!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Well, it's done!

The United States of America has a new president serving the nation. The parades have ended (or have they???), the swearing into office made it official this a.m., and the celebratory balls are taking place. I've kept my thoughts and opinions to myself, for the most part, since I had no dog in this fight other than the political party and policies which I support. While I would dearly have loved to have a truly Constitutional man in this office, going through all the pomp and circumstance, the voters/electors chose differently, despite the best efforts of the media. 

Many in our country, however, do not agree and have taken to the streets to express their displeasure. Windows are being broken in buildings and automobiles, trash and other things being lit on fire in objection to the transfer of power. The media is obsessed with the coverage thereof, showing split screens of the anarchists terrorizing city streets. Much is taking place in DC and New York, with more participants from which to draw, aside from those being bused in, to take to the streets. This is not an organic outcropping of unrest. This has been cultivated since election day, gas being poured on the fire of disappointment. 

When Romney/Ryan lost back in 2012, Justin and I were just so so so sure they were going to win. We were dumbfounded when the election results were coming in. What? How can this be happening? We'd made a celebratory meal and luscious dessert to celebrate the victory. That dessert ended up in the fridge for at least two days before either of us felt like eating it. We were devastated. I wept, not sure if he did or not. It took me months to feel like myself again, the election results being a constant reminder of 4 more years of the same or worse. But not one window was smashed. Not one fire was set. Neither of us marched or chanted. I mourned for my nation and myself in the privacy of my home or with my fellow like-minded folks. We did it differently. It is safe to say that even if the opposing candidate had won this time neither Justin nor I, nor the folks with whom we associate, would have gone on a rampage. Nope.