Posts Categorized: Joy

Hey!! Who’s Quarrelsome and Fretful!?!

We’ve been having a little trouble with the garage door opener. Actually, that’s not accurate. We’ve been having a LOT of trouble with the garage door opener. For weeks.

It’s been erratic, unreliable, and the cause of some shrieking.

I changed the batteries in the remote. Not helpful.

I traded the remote I had with the one that Kevin and April had, thinking that, being used less frequently, it might work more efficiently. Nope.

When Peter was here recently, we returned home from a trip to the zoo; the garage door would not go up. I finally phoned David and asked him to please come home and see if he could let us in the house. (His car has a built-in remote button, which, for some reason, works better. Not always perfectly well. But better.)

He opened the door for us. We went in and I unlocked the back door’s storm door and checked the door’s locks to be sure my keys worked well in them, since we never go in and out that door. One lock worked but the other one didn’t.

Peter and I went out again, and the garage door went up and down as it should. So, things were back to their erratic normal.

And things were reasonably fine, until last Sunday.

I got home from church; the door would not open. Not. Not. Not. There was lunch after church and David was staying to lock up, so I knew he wouldn’t be home for a while. So, I went around to the back door, where the storm door was still unlocked. I opened the storm door and tried both locks. NEITHER ONE OF THEM WOULD OPEN!

I really needed a bathroom, so I went to the grocery store. And then I did a little shopping.

When I got home, I said to David, “Tomorrow, after work, I need you to go to Home Depot and purchase three new sets of locks that are keyed to each other, and I need you to replace all the locks. (One of the locks on the front door also didn’t work.) And, tomorrow, I’m calling the garage door opener people and having them come out to replace this one (which was installed in the early ’80s.)”

And he said, “If we replace the garage door opener, won’t that solve the problem of the locks not working?”

And I said, “THINGS NEED TO WORK!”

And all those things came to pass. Well, sort of. It seems that locks are only sold in matching pairs these days. So, the keyed-together locks are going on the front and back doors. Actually, the one on the back door is done, and, as I write this, the ones on the front are going in, too.

Monday, first thing, I called the garage door people. Then, as long I was in the mood, I called the plumber, because the shower head in the bathroom I use just fell into my hands a couple of days earlier. And, while, yes, I can shower in the other bathroom, THINGS NEED TO WORK!

And, one of the sprinkler heads had broken completely off, and I thought we might could make it until cooler, wetter weather, but why not to ahead and call those guys, because THINGS NEED TO WORK!

 

 

It is better to live in a desert land, than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Proverbs 21:19 (English Standard Version)

 

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it?

Luke 14:28 (Contemporary English Version)

 

This is the garage door going up. I should have been taking my blood pressure during all of this. I suspect it’s right at normal now.

So, we solved that quarrelsome and fretful woman problem by sitting down and figuring out how much it would cost to repair and replace some things that badly needed repairing and replacing. And nobody has to go live in a desert land.

First, Chik-fil-a, then the Mayborn, then the Zoo, then cookies, and so on and so on and so on

As soon as Peter’s parents seemed interested in Peter’s new Pre-K school, I went online to look at the school calendar and discovered when the Monday holidays were, put them on my own calendar, and, as soon as seemed appropriate (a day or so after school had begun), I mentioned it to Kevin and suggested that we begin to think along the lines of “when can Peter come to visit again?”

And so, Columbus Day it was! I picked him up, as has been the norm, at school’s end on Thursday (because, really, even though there is school on Fridays, it’s Pre-K and there isn’t going to be a visit from college reps or big “we-hope-you’ll-get-into-the-university-of-your-choice” testing). And isn’t a trip to the zoo just as educational? I think SO!

And, truly, he seems taller and stronger and, well, all the ‘ers there could be.

Thursday–meeting Granddad at the Mayborn for Late Night, which includes Waffle Fries before visiting the rooms. And, a quietish early evening for Mimi, who spent quite a bit of the day in the car.

Friday–ZOO! Freshwater Aquarium, playground, tortoises, grilled cheese at the cafe.

I took this photo and sent it David to see what it was. I got this in response: “In general, assassin bugs hunt on various types of vegetation, including trees, weeds and bushes. Assassin bugs are able to fly but they are poor fliers in general with some notable exceptions.
Although most assassin bugs are slow-moving and non-aggressive, they will use their rostrum in self-defense if handled carelessly. Such bites may be rather painful to humans because the bugs inject the same salivary secretion used to dissolve the tissues of their prey. This results in the death of a small area of cells at the site of the bite. The symptoms are an intense burning sensation, often followed by a small, itchy lump that may persist for several days. However, no true toxin is involved so it is rare for the reaction to last long or to extend beyond the site of the bite. Some bites occur when the bugs are purposely handled out of curiosity, but most happen through accidental contact while gardening or working in the open. The sharp pain associated with assassin bug bites is usually enhanced by the surprise accompanying the experience.
The beneficial qualities of assassin bugs far outweigh their negative potential, and learning to get along with these indispensable predators is in our own best interest.” BAD BITES!! You’d think I’d have learned my bug lesson by now!

Well, it didn’t bite me, and we were at home and ready to make some cookies for a friend who loves Halloween.

Also on Friday, Peter was talking to me about Columbus Day, and how it was a holiday on Monday and we should have a cake that said “Columbus Day” on it, and have it for breakfast on Monday, with hot chocolate. He is always full of ideas that are really rather stream of consciousness things, and I said, “Sure.”

On Saturday, he said, “What about our plan, Mimi?” “What plan?” Sign of exasperation. “Our plan of a Columbus Day cake and hot chocolate for breakfast!” “Oh, that plan.”

So Sunday, before going to the library to get another video, because the Bob video we got on Friday only had ONE Bob, and some other characters in other videos, and the library doesn’t open until 1:00, we went to Wal-Mart for cake ingredients, etc. And then when we got back to the library, there were some friends from church, finding some interesting activities on the computers, and we didn’t get home until 3:00, and then I had to be back at church by 4:00 for a training event, and when I got home a little before 6:00, we went straight to Kiddieland to ride the train and a couple of other things, and then we rushed home for a quick bath and some dinner, and enough time for a book before bedtime at 8:00, so I was up until midnight or so, baking and decorating that little cake.

At then at breakfast, David said, “I thought there was supposed to be hot chocolate,” and I said, “EEK!” and warmed up some milk and put chocolate syrup in it.

 

 

How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us?

1 Thessalonians 3:9 (Contemporary English Version)

 

There’s another Monday holiday the first week of November. I have my hopes up.

“Come! Come! I Want to Show You the Pictures!”

That’s one of my new favorite sentences. (Along with “Your GFR is 43!“) My retina guy said it to me. (Yes, I have a retina guy. Well, he’s a Retina Specialist, to be completely accurate.)

I’ve been seeing a retina specialist for several years, in addition to my ophthalmologist (the spelling of which I always have to look up). Diabetes causes problems with, well, most parts of one’s body, but the blood vessels of the retina are particularly vulnerable. So, for quite a while, I’ve been going to the retina place, and a few years ago, the doctor said, “I’d like to try an injection to help with this problem.” Now, you might be thinking that he meant a regular ol’ injection, like a flu shot, or something like that. Well, yes, in that a needle is involved. But, really, we’re talking about my retina, so the injection involved is, yes, indeedy, in my eye. (Try to take a deep breath. Don’t freak out. And, really, try not to get diabetes.)

He explained, oh, so carefully, that they numb my eyeball. And then they put in, umm, some round thing, that keeps me from blinking. I guess it’s the same thing that they put in when one has cataract surgery, to keep that eyelid open and that eyeball exposed. Then, he says, “Look way over at the wall,” which exposes the maximum part of eyeball white, while keeping my eye from seeing that big needle approaching. And there’s a little bit of pressure, but really, it’s not painful. The worst part is that sometimes the injection creates temporary, dark floaties in my eye, which, at present, keeps looking like I have a strand of hair in front of my eye. But, it’s actually a little dark thing, floating around inside. It’ll go away. They always do. (Once, one type of injection caused a swarm of tiny gnat-like things that floated around for ages! They didn’t impair my vision, they were just a little annoying. And not painful.)

Anyway, back to the pictures. Each time I go to the retina place (which is monthly, these days) the first thing I do is go and sit down, put my chin in a cup sort of shelf (to hold my head steady) and look at the blue dot shining in front of me in a machine that takes pictures of my retinas. Actually, now that I think about it, the first thing I do is get my eyes dilated, so they can take those pictures. Those pictures, generated on a computer, then get sent down the hall to be looked at and evaluated by the doctor and staff, I presume for them to decide exactly which kind of injection I’ll need. I’ve seen copies of the pictures before. I don’t understand them. I believe what I’m told about them, and I believe that the retina staff does understand them.

Last Monday, I was sitting in the chair, in the examining room, when Dr. Castillo came in. He held out his hands to me and said, “Come. Come. I want to show you the pictures.” He led me out to the hallway, where a couple of other staff were standing, looking at the pictures on the screen. “Look! Look!” he said.

I looked. “I don’t really know what I’m looking for,” I said.

He pointed to the line of pictures on the left. “See. See these big, black spots. That’s what we are trying to shrink. Now, look here.” He pointed to the line of pictures on the right.

I did see. There were black spots, but they were flatter and smaller. Much smaller.

TA-DAH!!

And then I had to go sit back in the chair and get another injection. But, seriously, the bleeding, seeping spots are getting smaller. That’s preserving my eyesight. It’s a win/win.

As I got up to go, I thanked him for working so hard to help my eyes. And he said, “Thank you. Thank you for letting me treat you!”

“Do some patients not let you treat them?” I asked. He sighed and shook his head. “Yes, many.”

I just don’t understand. Okay, injections to your EYE!! It sounds horrible. What’s more horrible? Not being able to read. Not being able to drive. Not being able to understand what’s happening on the television/computer/movie theater screen.

I don’t understand my podiatrist’s patients who won’t wear their orthopedic devices, or do wear shoes that cause blisters which cause abscesses which leads to amputations.

I don’t understand my nephrologist’s patients who won’t stop eating foods that are hard for kidneys to process. Yes, bananas and tomatoes and potatoes and fresh oranges and pears and peaches are yummy (and, nutritious). And salty, crisp potato chips and corn chips are so very delicious. Sausage! Hot Dogs! I could go on and on and on. Not eat those things! HORRIBLE. You know what’s more horrible. Having to go to the dialysis clinic three times a week. Every week. For the rest of your life.

Vision loss and amputation and dialysis may very well be in my future. But I’m going to push that particular future as far away as I can.

and I praise you
    because of
the wonderful way
    you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
    Of this I have no doubt.

Psalm 139:14 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Meanwhile, on the fingernail front:

I also went by the dermatologist’s on Monday, to have the stitches removed.

…By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Possibly there are folks out there who don’t recognize this partial quote. (The title of this post) It’s Shakespeare, from the play Romeo and Juliet. The longer quote is:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

The speaker is Juliet, and she’s unhappy that the young man with whom she’s recently fallen in love is from a family on the outs with her family. Her point being that his last name doesn’t matter; she loves him anyhow, in the way that the scent of a rose is going to smell just as nice, even if we called it, for example, “stench-plant.”

The name “Romeo” has come to mean a lover, a ladies’ man, etc. (you can look it up). I don’t know what Shakespeare meant by it; maybe it was just a common name in those days.

But … moving on. A while back, I kept reading in the newspaper’s television page about the program TURN, the story of George Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Like: “Tonight on TURN, the spy ring finds a new ally.” That sort of thing. Finally, during season 4 (the final season), I got interested and discovered that the library had DVDs of the first three seasons. (Yes, I know. We’re archaic. My kids think we’re ridiculous because we don’t have Hulu.) I watched all those videos and then watched the fourth season on the AMC website.

Then I found, also at the library (how old-fashioned am I!), an audiobook edition of the book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. I’m listening to it. All 13 hours and 19 minutes of it. I’m a little more than halfway through it, but sometimes I have to go back and start a chapter anew. When I’m listening to an audiobook, I’m almost always doing something else, like working in the yard or doing housework, and, at some point, I realize that I’ve been thinking about herbs and not paying attention to patriots, and I have to skip backwards a little bit. And, for this one, a book of Revolutionary War maps would have helped. And a complete list of all the characters. And which side they were on.

Which brings me to Benedict Arnold. The only thing I knew, and pretty much still know, about Benedict Arnold is that he was a traitor during the American Revolution. I think that may be all that most of us know. And some of us probably don’t know that much. But the name means “traitor.” As in: “That which we call Benedict Arnold, by any other name would still be a traitor.” Even knowing more about him and the positive things he did during the Revolutionary War (before he changed his mind about us), he’s still famous/infamous for trying to sell us down the river, almost literally, and would have, if the plot hadn’t been discovered. And the British guy he was working most closely with, John Andre, got captured and hanged. Arnold slipped away and got himself to a British ship and fought with those guys until the end of the war. And then, afterward, in England, tried to stir up things anew! Give it up, Ben!

It’s interesting, at least to me, maybe you, too, that there are names out there, that, when bestowed at birth may just have been names that parents liked, but they’ve come to mean something that no one might have imagined. Like Benedict Arnold. Like Adolph Hitler. Like Benito Mussolini. Like Josef Stalin. Like Caligula.

And there were other names, that have come to mean something that the name-givers (or name-takers) might not have expected. Or, maybe they thought, all the time, that those named would become so significant. Like Mother Teresa. Mohandas Gandhi. Martin Luther. Marie Curie. Johann Sebastian Bach. Alexander Graham Bell. Anne Frank. Francis I.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (New International Version)

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 22:1

 

I guess “a good reputation” is what scripture means by “a good name.” Our actions, our behavior, and our attitudes, are what make our “names” good.

 

 

Aay Bee Cee Dee

Even now, when I’m putting things in alphabetical order, or looking through a dictionary for a word, I find myself quietly singing in my head: “H, I, J, K …” or whatever alphabet string I’m needing at the time. It’s ubiquitous. At least for me.

Most little kids receive alphabet books when they’re preschoolers, and alphabet books are a standard in preschools and at library story hours. We want little kids to become familiar with the letters of the words that make up our language, both upper case and lower case letters. And not just the names of the letters, but also the sounds those letters make. We sing them, we say them, we use them, we explain them (as in: “Yes, honey, I know it looks like it should say ‘takee,’ but it says ‘tayk.'”)

So we read those alphabet books, and all the other books, and try our best to plow that language into little kids’ brains so they’ll be competent readers and learners even before they start school and “formal” education.

When Peter was last here, he’d gone out to ride his tricycle in the driveway, the morning I was taking him back to Fort Worth. After a couple of days of hurricane-generated rainfall, the sky was still cloudy, but the streets and sidewalks were dry. “Look, Mimi!” he called.  “Come take a picture.”

On Amazon, there are pages and pages of alphabet books, with about 20 books listed per page. And that’s just on Amazon. We really want kids to learn the building blocks of our system of reading.

I was particularly interested in The Icky Bug Alphabet Book. I looked at the pages that were available to preview, and took issue with the idea that dragonflies and fireflies are “icky.” Earwigs? Oh, yes. But they do include a disclaimer that only two of the “bugs” they describe are actually “true bugs.” A couple of spiders are included–arachnids. And the rest are different kinds of insects, which, even though we call them “bugs,” are not actually true “bugs.” So, alphabet and science!

Anyway, The Dead Worm Alphabet Book may never make it to publication. Or, April and Peter may need to resort to collecting some live worms and try to arrange them into a few pages of living worms alphabet illustrations. I’m hoping to get some photography credit for my contributions.

Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.

Psalm 119:105 (The Living Bible)

 

Being a fluent reader means being able to read, for ourselves, all the important books and articles that can help us learn and become the people God planned for us to be. We can read, for ourselves, the Scripture, the commentaries, the sermons, and all the resources that are available for us. And for a lot of us, it all started with an alphabet book.

 

Scrub-a-dub-dub

Pretty much the only thing I miss from our previous house (built in 1912), where we lived for 28 years, is the old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub. And it’s not like it was a reproduction-style old-fashioned bathtub, it was just an old bathtub. One drawback was that it did become another place where things got mislaid, as in:

“Mom, I can find my shoes!”

“Look under the bathtub.” And there was a pretty good chance that that’s where they would be. Or, if not the shoes, something else that was lost might have ended up there. Like a soccer uniform.

I didn’t really use it all that often, until I started teaching at the community college. My first semester, I had a couple of day classes. For the other nine-and-a-half years, I had at least one, and sometimes two, night classes. They did meet only once a week, but they were 3 or 4 hours long, and I wouldn’t get back home until 9 or 10 o’clock. And adding in the hour or so that I spent, on my feet, getting ready for class, and sometimes that much time after class, putting away materials we’d used, and cleaning up, I was pretty worn out when I got home.

When I did get home, I couldn’t go to sleep. Another instructor put that problem in perspective. “People with day jobs,” he said, “work hard all day, come home, eat dinner, relax in front of the television or spend time on the computer or read until time for bed. We, on the other hand, work for three or more hours, often on our feet the whole time, then pack up our teaching things, and head home. We are wide awake, full of the energy of teaching, and we need a similar amount of time to unwind. Which means that we’re not able to relax until ‘way into nighttime.”

He was spot on. I developed a routine for relaxing. I would arrive home and immediately turn on the hot water in the big tub and let it run for a few minutes. Then I would go to the back of the house and listen to the hot water heater, to be sure it was heating up. (The large tub required quite a bit of hot water, first to warm up the chilly porcelain itself, then to fill the tub with hot water.) I would sit in the room next to the water heater and read and relax. When I heard the gas go off, I’d stop by the kitchen and make half a pimento cheese sandwich and pour a glass of cold tea or water, which I took to the bathroom. I had one of those nice trays that went across the tub. I could put my snacks there, as well as a book.

Bath beads and bath crystals were important, too, dissolving in the warm, warm water and making the whole bathroom smell wonderful. I would then ease myself into the hot water, an inch or so at a time. I could completely submerge myself, up to my neck. I would snack and read and relax. The perfect end to a busy, tiring day.

In our house now, I actually can submerge myself in the bathtub, but I’ve got to bend and contort to do it. And, the inner edge of the tub is too shallow to support one end of a bath tray. I only have hot baths now when I’ve been working in the yard and feel really sore. It’s . . . a C or C- experience.

So, I usually just shower, in the small master bedroom bathroom. I’m reduced to trying to find solace in good-smelling soaps.

I regularly read the little environmental suggestions each day in the newspaper. A while back, it reminded readers that liquid bath/shower soap comes in plastic containers that are often not recycled, and put forth the idea of using bar soap, instead, since it gets all the way used up. So, I bought a package of several bars of Olay soap, packaged in individual recyclable lightweight boxes. And I bought some additional washcloths.

But, I’ve sort of fallen off, part way, the bar soap wagon.

 

Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7 (Good News Translation)

 

 

The best kind of clean.

Love Life

A while back, I had an opportunity to talk with a young man I don’t get to visit with very often. We were at a festive event, and there were lots of people milling around. There was music. There was dancing. And we were catching up, not having seen each other in months.

I heard about a new job and another, part-time job. I heard about a kind and appreciative boss. I saw photos of completed projects. I kept asking questions. I kept getting detailed and enthusiastic answers.

After a time, I asked, “Lovelife?”

He smiled broadly and said, “Oh, yes. I do love life. I love all parts of life. I have a great job. I love where I live …”

I laughed and patted his arm. “What I really meant was, How’s your love life? Do you have a girlfriend? But, I like your answer much, much better. You do seem to have a great life. And you have a wonderful life attitude. I love that you love life.”

 

As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:18 (New International Version)

Considering how my life reflects what my heart values can be a little sobering. Or a lot sobering. This week, I am doing things that I know reflect my heart, which is teaching little kids at church. It’s Fun with Friends time again, and we’re doing art, as we remember that one of the first words in the Bible is “create.” Thursday evening-drawing. Friday evening-painting. Saturday morning-collage and printing. And a reason this week’s blog is so short. I’ve been gathering supplies, setting up centers, that sort of thing. Loving life.

 

Dilemma: If I’m going to buy a new plant, should it be one I choose for beauty or for eating?

I’m a little unnerved at discovering a less-than-desirable trait. In myself. I like to think that I always make good choices, appropriate decisions, the best possible option. Would that it were so.

For example:

Last Sunday afternoon, I was driving home and saw, out of the corner of my eye, a nursery that I like to visit. The parking lot had several cars. “Hmmmm,” I thought. “Are they open today? I didn’t know they were open on Sundays. I wonder if they really are open on Sundays these days. Maybe there are just some cars in the parking lot.”

And I thought I should drive on over and just see if they’d begun to have open hours on Sundays.

I wasn’t going to park. And I certainly wasn’t going to go in. I was just going to see if they were open, in case, on some Sunday afternoon in the future, I might want to walk through and look at some plants.

So I turned the corner and drove into the parking lot … just to see if they were open. And, yes, indeed. They are open now, on Sunday afternoons. And I parked the car.

“I’m just going to go in and look around,” I said to myself. “I have plenty of plants and I’m keeping them all alive. So far. I’m not going to buy anything,” I said to myself, as I walked into the nursery.

I walked around. There were some big, beautiful Caladiums. But I have some nice Caladiums that are growing nicely. There weren’t any hostas, and just as well, as I’m working hard to keep the hostas I have alive. There were herbs and some vegetables, but I really have what I need and what I know I can keep green. There were some interesting things that I enjoyed seeing, but I didn’t want. Yes, it was going well. “I’m just going to look. I’m not going to buy anything.”

There were moss roses. Got ’em. Purslane. Don’t want it. There was a plant with the cutest little red flowers on it; they looked a little like roses, but weren’t. The label said, “sun to part shade.” They were really cute. Okay. They were cute. They looked like something I might could keep alive. “But this is IT! I’m just going to buy these and that’s all!”

The new plants

The new plants

There was a pot of something that looked similar, but had little purple flowers, and they looked so cute next to the little red flowers. And the little red flowers looked a little lonesome by themselves. So, I thought, “Yes, I should get these purple ones, too. But, that’s a container in each hand, and that’s enough.”

There was a little plant that’s supposed to produce yellow flowers (but didn’t have any at the time) and likes sun, and I have a sunny place with other yellow flowers, and it was easy to carry in one of the hands that had the other flowers.

And, I had this horrible epiphany (I know, we usually think of epiphanies as good things, but I did look it up, and one of the definitions applies).

This might be what alcoholics say: “I’m not going in that bar. I’m just going to drive by. Well, I’ll park. But I’m not going in. Well, I can go in, but I’m not going to have a drink. Well, one drink. But that’s all.” And so on.

I’ve had that same conversation with myself in front of a yarn store. “I’m not going in. I’m just going to look in the window. I’ll go in, but I’m not going to touch any yarn. Oh, this feels so wonderful, but I’m not going to purchase it.” Followed by: “Let me write you a check for that.”

Which says something a little sobering about me. I have no self control. At least when it comes to plants. And yarn. And occasionally about some other things, like books for Peter. That sort of thing.

 If you had not helped me, Lord,
    I would soon have gone
    to the land of silence.
 When I felt my feet slipping,
    you came with your love
    and kept me steady.

Psalm 94:17-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Keep me steady, Lord. Help me make good decisions. About the large things and the small things. And all the things in between.

When I checked the definitions of “epiphany,” I saw a little link (Ollie, Mollie, Gollie–how many of those little interesting-looking links do you click on?) that said, “Do you know the word for the way the earth smells after the rain? I found that irresistible. I thought you’d be interested, too. Here it is.

[pe-trahy-kawr, ‐ker]
You know how it smells outside after a rainstorm? There’s a word for that, of course. Petrichor is the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

Now, isn’t that interesting. I can’t wait for the next rain, which, given typical Texas summers, could be in October.

All’s Well That Ends, Um, Reasonably Well

Last week was pretty busy with company and holiday stuff, and Peter stayed on for a few days, and I took him back to Fort Worth last Monday. Tuesday I needed to take some food to church for a post-funeral meal, and I did that and went to the funeral, then came home to try to put things in order, sort of. I worked for an hour or so, and thought, maybe, I should have a nap. I napped, and then I never returned to the kitchen for the rest of the day.

walgreenslogoOn Wednesday, all I had to do was go to a retina appointment. We were almost out of milk, and I thought that I’d just go to Walgreen’s, after the appointment, instead of the hubbub of HEB. And, I like to get my Snapple in the large plastic containers, which Walgreen’s does have, and HEB does not. That was my plan, and I got all the way home from the retina place before I remembered about the milk/Snapple run, so I left the house again and went on over to Walgreen’s.

Having my eyes worked on by the retina folks, while not really painful, is a little unnerving, and I always feel a little rattled. But, really, all I had to do was go into Walgreen’s and get the milk and Snapple. I parked under a nice shady tree, and pretty quickly got what I wanted and put it in a cart (because three big plastic bottles of Snapple are too heavy to carry all at once). At the counter, I was writing a check, and and I didn’t have my nice Walgreen’s reward card, so I had to enter my phone number, and then write the check, and then follow the Walgreen’s check-writing procedure, which varies from every other business’ check-writing procedure (click here, click here, sign your name w/our stylus, sign your name with your finger, click here, click here—They are all different!). I got through all that. The friendly checker put each Snapple bottle in an individual bag and the milk in a bag, and then she returned my check to me (as they do at two of the local Wal-Marts, but not the third Wal-Mart). It was a pretty lengthy and complicated procedure, but at last, I was on my way out to the car. I pushed the cart to the back of the car and put everything into the trunk. I picked up my purse from the cart and … it was too light.

IMG_4488I recently got a new purse. It’s ‘way smaller that the previous one, but it holds what I need to carry. The large, central pocket is just the right size for my wallet and for the little bag that I use for medicines and Band-aids and hand lotion and lip gloss and tissues. That little bag doesn’t weigh much at all. The wallet is the thing that weighs as much as everything else in the purse put together. So, it wasn’t like I’d just left behind a pair of reading glasses or the pen I’d used to write my check. I’D LOST TRACK OF MY WALLET!!!

I went through every bag I’d put in the trunk (Snapple intact, milk in its bag, no wallet). I checked my purse a few times. No, the wallet had not magically re-appeared.

I went back into the store.

I had to get back in line at the check-out and wait for a turn to talk to the checker. When I finally got to her (and, fortunately, no one else was in line), I asked, “My wallet? I think I left my wallet when I walked out. Is it here?”

She looked at me a little strangely. “You left your wallet? What did it look like.” “It’s black. Sort of regular size.”
And she said, “The lady behind you . . .” “The one buying cigarettes?” I said, because I’d remembered that the checker had asked her and then held the cigarettes for a minute or so, while I was signing, clicking, etc. “Yes, that lady,” she said. “That lady picked up a wallet from the counter and left with it. The lady behind her said she thought that was her wallet, and she sent her kids out to ask, and when they came back, they said that the lady said no it was her wallet.” “I think that was probably my wallet,” I said. “I’ve looked in all the bags I had, in my car, in my purse. It’s not there.”

She called for a manager, who came right away, and she explained what had happened. They had security cameras, but that wasn’t going to help me right then, and I began to feel anxious about getting home and canceling the credit cards.

“I think there’s really nothing to be done,” I said. “I’m so, so sorry,” the young lady said. And I said, “It is not your fault that I walked away without my wallet. It would have been nice if you’d noticed, but it is not your responsibility to take care of my things. It’s my responsibility to take care of my things. It is not at all your fault.” She took my name and phone numbers, just in case it turned up. I thanked everyone again and said I needed to get home and start making phone calls.

Sometimes modern life is nice and efficient. The Bank of America card and the Discover card have websites that say “Lost or Stolen Card?” And you punch that and they immediately say they will cancel the card and send a new one and to be sure to check recent purchases, which I did, and there wasn’t anything. Of course, I did have to call David and tell him he couldn’t charge anything for 5 to 10 days because I’d lost the card he uses.

Dealing with the Target card was a little more difficult. On their website, it says “Lost or Stolen Card?” but then they ask for information to be sure I’m the card holder. For example: “What is the three-digit security code on the back of the card?” Hmmm. I don’t know the three-digit security code on the back of my card because I don’t have my card!! I guess I should have that written down somewhere, but, alas, I do not. So I had to search and search for an 800 number, which I finally found. I was on the phone with, um, Tyler, I think, when the doorbell rang. I kept talking while I went to answer it, and, TA-DAH!! A lady was standing on my porch, holding my wallet!!

Now, I didn’t get that good a look at the lady behind me at Walgreen’s who was buying cigarettes. The lady on the porch said that she had found the wallet in a cart at Walgreen’s, looked inside and found who I was and where I lived, and so she brought it back to me. I opened the wallet and all the cards were there and everything looked untouched/unmoved. I thanked her very much and she left. I told Tyler the Target guy (still politely on the phone) that my wallet had been returned and that I would not need to cancel my card, and I thanked him very much.

And then I thought to look in the zipper compartment, where the cash belongs. Empty. Maybe the cigarette lady walked out, opened the wallet and removed the cash and then left the wallet in a cart on the sidewalk. Maybe the lady on my porch found it there. Maybe she didn’t think about taking in the store and handing it to a manager. Maybe she was the woman who took the cash in the first place.  I had gotten more cash that I usually carry because we were going to have company, but I don’t know how much I had in the wallet on Wednesday. It probably wasn’t as much as $50.00, and probably not that much. I certainly wish I had it back, but, over all, it seems like a reasonable amount of money to lose if it helps me remember to keep track of my wallet.

I looked at the number on the check I had written to Walgreen’s and compared it with the checks in my wallet. None had been torn out/used.

All in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Everything but the cash seems to be there. I didn’t have to go and get a new Driver’s License. And, a lesson learned the hard way, but I will not likely leave my wallet lying on a counter any time soon.

 

   Jesus told the people another story:

What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won’t she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found the coin I lost.”

Luke 15:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Come on over!! We’ll have a party and celebrate.

I did phone the Walgreen’s store and talked to the manager and told him that the wallet had been returned.  I thanked him for being interested and helpful and considerate, and to be sure to let the checker know that I had my wallet back, with everything intact. Well, I didn’t bring up the missing cash.

Tweaking Traditions

I’ve mentioned before how family traditions get started, continued, and sometimes, wrung dry and parched after a while. Our family pretty much embraces favorite traditions, as in the Fourth of July Flag Cake.

Another tradition that we continue is THE PHOTO. As in, “Wait, wait! Don’t cut the cake yet! We haven’t taken THE PHOTO!”

1980-Not everyone enjoys having their picture taken with the flag cake.

1980-Not everyone enjoys having their picture taken with the flag cake.

 

 

This was/is the original PHOTO. Jeremy, not even 3 years old, wasn’t a kid who enjoyed having his photo taken. He’s even decked out in the patriotic shirt, handed down from his older brother, that dated back to the bicentennial (1976). Kevin, age 7, was gamely trying to do his part. A few years later, as we were looking back at previous Independence Day photos, someone picked up the flag cake, before it got sliced and served, and suggested that it might be humorous to re-create the photo. And we did.

 

 

 

There was a photo every year and lots of interesting cakes. There was an ice cream roll cake, and cakes with fruit decorations, and many, many variations of red, white, and/or blue shirts. But this seemed like a representative selection. And I’m really happy with my leftover cake dilemma. And there was always leftover cake. So this year, I made some sugar cookie dough and cut long strips and a blue rectangle. I made strips with red glaze and sprinkles and white glaze and sprinkles and thirteen little white stars to go on the blue rectangle. (Not historically accurate, but I will be thrilled to hand over the job to anyone who asks for it!) Almost all of it got eaten up, right there at the lunchtime table.

And here are a couple of more photos that we’re happy about.

 

Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death.  A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.

John 12:1,2 (Contemporary English Version)

I used this a couple of years ago, for a July 4 blog. I like it. I like the idea of Jesus sharing meals with the people around him, with whom he had friendships. I like when we have meals together with friends and family, too.