Posts Categorized: Patience

When It Rains, It . . . Just Keeps on Raining

The latest hand-washed dishes, sitting on a towel on the counter, because I don’t have a dish drainer. And I’m not getting one; I don’t want the house to think, “Oh, it’s okay if the dishwasher doesn’t work, she has a dish drainer she can use.” Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

Two years ago, we got a new dishwasher. The old one had developed a leak in the door, and repairing it was a little iffy (expense-wise), so we opted for a new one. And, I made the decision in a hurry, because we’d been without one for almost a month, and I was growing weary with handwashing the dishes. I didn’t do any research, other than walking around the store and talking with an employee who might, or might not, have had all the information. Anyway, the thing isn’t working properly now. No water seems to be going in, and the dishes aren’t clean and the little soap packet is just sitting there, undissolved, in the bottom. The repairman is supposed to be here, right now, Thursday afternoon, as I write this. He called to say he’s beginning to feel sick and running a temperature, and didn’t think he should come. But, he’s planning to come tomorrow.

Maybe.

We’ll see.

 

Meantime, I was putting dinner together for David. I had a frozen vegetable thing to microwave and add to some fajita chicken meat that I had also pulled from the freezer. I sat it on a plate on the turntable in the microwave and set the timer to the appropriate length of time. It was supposed to sit for a minute, and then I should take it out and carefully open the package and pour out the nicely heated up corn and vegetables.

When I pulled the microwave door open, the handle came off in my hands. The microwave oven’s last hurrah.

You might notice that black X on one end of the handle. That’s the lower end of the handle, and, years ago, that part came loose. David put that X on it to remind people to not pull at the bottom. Even so, I guess the years of being the only part of the handle to take the pulling pressure finally became too much, and POP, it broke.

I’ve always been a little unhappy with myself for not doing better research on dishwashers. And I’m not making the same mistake, now. I went online to get information about microwaves, but all I found was lists of them, and prices, and features. The only place that had information about how they were rated was the Consumer Reports website, which is restricted to subscribers. I caved. For $6.95, I purchased a month’s subscription. In minutes, I found the information I needed. I checked online to see which ones were available, and, later this afternoon/evening, I’m planning to go get one.

The next problem is that Kevin and April installed the microwave for us, more than ten years ago. I’m guessing they’re not going to drive down here and put it in for us. And I’m quite confident that David and I are not at all in shape for that sort of thing. So, I’m getting Part One taken care of, we’ll have to see about Part Two.

 

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

1 Peter 5:7 (Contemporary English Version)

Later on Friday: We went to see about a new microwave. They have the one we want, but not in white (which I do want, so it will match the other appliances). It’s on back-order and won’t arrive until February 3. But they will deliver it and install it. And David says it is possible to pry open the microwave.

AND-the microwave salesman says I should check the dishwasher filter. Maybe the dishwasher problem is that easy to solve.

Christmas Perfect, or Christmas Memorable

If all your Christmases run smoothly, and everything’s perfect–just like it was so carefully planned, how do you remember one Christmas from another? Do they just blur together, in one big holiday collage of red and green and a tree and lights?

Not at our house. We live in RealWorldLand, where the best laid plans stay lying around, being balky and uncooperative, which means that we are often, at holiday time, remembering previous disasters/missteps/etc. Like, “Remember the time Mom put Snickers bars in the toes of our Christmas stockings, and we had the fire going on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning, and when we dug the candy bars out, they were all melted in their wrappers?” Stuff like that. Nothing particularly serious. Just memorable.

Jeremy and Sarah arrived the Friday before Christmas, from New York. They rented a car and drove to Waco from DFW airport. (Even though Jeremy really appreciates the public transportation in New York, he seems to have missed, a little bit, being able to drive.) We had a pretty relaxing time, doing some cooking (there were still some apples left over from Halloween, and they crafted some homemade applesauce, which was yummy, and for Christmas dessert, they made Apple Crisp). Memorable.

Jeremy dug through the game closet and pulled out games to play.

Jeremy and Sarah and I played a round of Ticket to Ride. Then we played again with David. I was in last place, seriously in last place, both times. Then, we played again with Kevin. I won. By a lot! Which proves that, while a little bit of skill is important, luck plays a significant part in this game. Memorable.

Also memorable this year, April wasn’t able to come. Peter had been sick, but was well enough to come (if you don’t count that fact that his ears were still stopped up and he often appeared to be ignoring us). April, however, was pretty sick, missed her own family’s celebration, and stayed in Fort Worth. We’ll remember that Christmas without April, but we hope it doesn’t happen again.

As I planned and prepared for Christmas dinner, I kept thinking, “Oh, I should have  . . . .” And I bought the ingredients. (And, I had actually baked and sliced two small turkey breasts for Christmas dinner ‘way back right after Thanksgiving, and put them in the freezer. Unusually ahead of time.) Quite memorable.

Kevin and Peter were arriving late afternoon on  Christmas, and we were cooking and getting ready for a good part of the day. The counter just kept getting more and more crowded. Just as I was putting some of the final dishes out, I suddenly felt really weak and shaky. I plopped into the rocking chair in the kitchen and said, “My blood sugar’s low.” “What do you need? What do you need!” “Juice,” I said. “There’s white grape juice in the fridge door.” They brought it over, and kept putting out food and arranging things. The turkey was heating up in the oven, and they kept asking what else was supposed to be out and where was it. Finally, it was just the turkey that needed to come out.

Some nice, sliced turkey pieces, lying artfully amid the glass pie plate shards.

 

Jeremy picked up the glass pie pan that was holding the turkey slices and carried it to the serving area. About three inches away, the pan slipped from the pot holder in his hand and crashed to the floor. Turkey and glass shards everywhere. Fortunately, some of the turkey was still in the oven. On another pie plate.

Jeremy looked down at the mess and said, “Was that plate special?” “Well,” I admitted. “It belonged to my mother … but I have the other one. There’s another one!” There was enough turkey for everyone (well, for the everyone who’s not vegetarian). Pretty memorable.

 

The kids worked on a desk/bookshelf for David’s office. Then they erected a small enclosed (plastic) greenhouse sort of thing, for me to use to keep my plants safe during the winter. Mem.Or.A.Ble!

And some things aren’t all that memorable; they’re just traditions that we like to keep up!

We went to the Christmas Eve service. Maybe we won’t remember the exact details a few months from now, but it was good to see family members who have come back for the holiday to visit. It was good to sit in the dark with my own family, and hear the songs and the story. It was good to see the candlelights all around the room. It was memorable.

 

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.

Luke 2:19 (The Voice)

Wishing you many memorable moments to treasure in your heart.

 

Growing My Own Christmas Dinner . . . Sort of

If you’d told me, years ago, that I would find plant nurseries to be places where I have no self control, I’ve have been skeptical. But you’d have been right.

am trying to be better about not looking at every cute plant and assuming, “I can grow that!” I’m getting more responsible about paying attention to light needs and water needs. And reality.

A while back, I found some seed packages at Calloway’s Nursery in Fort Worth. “I can do that,” I said to myself, and bought them. Microgreens. The idea is that they sprout and grow right inside your kitchen, and you just snip off the leaf tops and add them to your nice, green salad. And I thought that, yes, that would be a fun, interesting addition to Christmas dinner. One of the packages said, “14-20 days” until ready to harvest. I’d waited too late. The other one said “5-10 days.” Just right.

 

I planted them over the weekend.

I’m watering the pans with a spray bottle, to try to avoid completely drowning the little plants. The bottoms of the pans (which are cardboard) are slightly damp. I don’t want to get the soil all water-logged. But, I don’t really know how deep these roots go. So I’m keeping the surface damp, too.

The way things look now, there’s going to be a nice crop of MICRO-GREENS for our Christmas Day salad. Surely I can keep these things alive for three more days.

 

  Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:

A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds.Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. If you have ears, pay attention!

Matthew 13:3-9 (Contemporary Version)

I have to figure out how to take care of my own seeds. I have to figure out how to take care of my own deeds.

Meantime, while I don’t have any holly, the halls are decked, food’s been purchased, some of it prepared, and some tiny sprouts are waiting to be harvested. Have the happiest Christmas!

 

That Problem Finger Nail

Back in September, I described the removal of wart from a fingernail. When I went back several days later, to have the stitches removed, they said that it was a cyst and the biopsy results said that everything was fine.

This week, I went for another checkup, and the dermatologist explained more about the cyst. “It’s a digital myxoid cyst,” she said.

It seems that some of the fluid that lubricates the finger joints can leak out, and when it does, it travels toward the nail and can cause a cyst. And it can keep happening. Sometimes it doesn’t, but sometimes it does.

If it happens again, then there should probably be some surgery to keep the fluid from leaking and traveling from the joint up to the nail. And that, says the dermatologist, requires a hand surgeon.

The hand surgeon goes in and finds the source of the leak and repairs it. It’s pretty significant surgery.

“We’ll find you an orthopedic surgeon,” she said. “And we’ll send your biopsy results to them, so they’ll know what the situation is. And I really like your jacket.”

I had really thought it was all over and done with. And, it may be. But it might come back.

“And if it comes back, what if I don’t have the surgery,” I asked.

“Then, you’ll have another cyst. And you can decide.”

The cyst never hurt. It didn’t impair my finger’s ability to bend and work. I guess we’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, the nail, which had been growing all lumpy and bumpy when the cyst was present, is now growing out all nice and smooth. It’s still got several more weeks of growing for all that bumpy growth to reach the end of my finger and to get trimmed off. It doesn’t hurt at all. It just looks a little bit, um, not quite right.

But really, I don’t think that all that many people are staring at my hands and saying to themselves, “Whatever happened to that fingernail.?!?!?

Meanwhile, if you’d like some more information about digital myxoid cysts, you can go here.

 

You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you
    because of the wonderful way you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.

Nothing about me is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,
but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed.
Even before I was born, you had written in your book
    everything I would do.

Psalm 139:13-16 (Contemporary English Version)

 

This doesn’t mean that the way is always going to be smooth, never rocky, always easy. It means that we’re going to have the capacity to deal with what comes.

I’m Trying to Become a Weather Believer

I know that weather forecasting is an imperfect science and those weather folks are doing the best they can. But, because it is an imperfect science and they are sometimes wrong … really wrong, I’m bad about discounting their advice. For example, I’ve killed trees and lawns by trusting that the expected rain will actually fall. Conversely, I’ve sent perfectly good plants to their early demises by not believing that the temperature will drop below freezing. NOT THIS YEAR!!

Many of the plants on my back patio are new this year, having been purchased to replace those that didn’t make it through the first freeze last year. I’ve tried to be a wise and good plant mother to them, and they all look pretty good. So I’ve been following the weather rather closely. And, according to the weather app on my phone, Thursday night the temperature was supposed to drop to 30. Actually, it’s not supposed to get down to 30 until 6:00 a.m. the next morning, but the high temperature for the day was at 9:00 a.m. (low 40’s), so I bundled myself up and dug out my long cuffed gloves and went out.

Everything else has to stay outside. We have a garage, which can keep the plants from freezing, but there’s not enough light, even if I keep the garage door up.

Several years ago, in our previous yard, I had some upright, white bougainvillea (yeah, I really like bougainvillea). Before a freeze, I went to the nursery to ask about how to protect them. “Put plastic over them?” I asked. “First,” the nurserymen said, “cover them with a sheet. That helps heat stay in. Then, cover that with plastic. Plastic alone can damage the plant.” I did that, but those plants aren’t really meant to be in the ground in Central Texas.

But, I remembered the “sheet, then plastic” advice, and went with that.

Sometimes, I can get away with just moving plants close to the house, because it’s a little warmer there, out of the wind, so I started with that.

Everything’s nestled all snug in their beds. The temps are supposed to be in the low to high 50’s for the next two days, but the overnight temps in the mid to low 30’s. And in a week, the high is supposed to be 70 with a low of 51. I think it’s just the beginning of my winter plant dance.

 

Flowers and grass fade away,
but what our God has said
    will never change.

Isaiah 40:8 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Things like:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Luke 2:10-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

That Special Grandparent/Grandchild Bond

We went to a family wedding, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We were seated at a table with a couple of my cousins and their husbands. There were also a couple of empty chairs.

A cousin pointed to those chairs and said, “Bill and Karen couldn’t come. Karen’s sick.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“She kept the grandkids,” she said. “They were sick. And so she got sick.”

“Ah,” I said. “Been there. Done that.” And I explained how, last February, I went to Fort Worth for a couple of days to stay with Peter. The whole family had been sick, but Kevin and April were going back to work. Peter still had a temperature of 99, while meant he could not go back to preschool.

“Sure,” I had said, when they asked if I could come up to stay with Peter. He wasn’t really still sick.

But, he was. I came back to Waco on Friday afternoon. By Sunday morning, I had a bit of a scratchy throat and thought I shouldn’t go to be at church with little children. By Monday, I was truly sick. By Tuesday, I left my bed for quick trips to the bathroom. Otherwise, I was in bed.

My cousin related how she had stayed with her grandkids a while back, and picked up something they had. After she was back at home, she felt like she really needed to go to work, and did. And gave whatever it was to the rest of the office. She said her boss, not happy, said, “Next time? Stay home.”

Ha, ha. We had a good laugh.

The next afternoon, Kevin and April and Peter arrived. They were going to stay until Wednesday afternoon, and we were going to put up the tree and decorate it. And have fun.

Monday, Peter took a nap (unusual) for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That evening, we tried two thermometers to try to determine if he had a fever. We ended up not being sure. And, he didn’t really seem sick. Tuesday afternoon, he took another nap. At one point, he came in and said to Kevin, “I’m cold.” “Then go put your pajamas on,” said Kevin. Peter returned, carrying his pillow. “That’s your pillow,” said Kevin. “I know,” said Peter, putting it down on the floor and lying down on it.

Kevin scooted Peter so that his body was on his pillow and his head on a little square pillow he sometimes brings. Kevin covered him up with the comforter from his bed. And Peter slept another hour and a half. At one point, Peter opened his eyes and said, “I’m done with my nap.” And closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, he was all perky, and we all went to lunch together and they headed back to Fort Worth. On Friday, I felt a little throat-scratchy and head-achey. On Saturday, I was sneezing and blowing my nose. On Sunday, I stayed home from church. By Thursday morning, I felt much better. I had only woken up in the night a couple of times, when I needed to take Tylenol Super-Duper Cold and Flu, and I slept well for the first time in days. By Thursday afternoon, I was back to feeling achey and blowing my nose again.

Tiny kids with mighty germs.

 With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
    and with all that I am
    I praise his holy name!
With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.

The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick.

Psalm 103: 1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

And once again I am grateful for tissues in a box, and particularly for the Cool Touch Kleneex brand that feel so good on my red, problem nose. I’m glad that I can go to bed and not have to launder, hang out to dry, and iron any linen handkerchiefs.

 

 

To the Grocery Store . . . and Beyond!

Maaaaaaany years ago, when the boys were kids and teens, and we got paid on the first of every month, I found that we ran out of food AND money by about the 28th/29th of the month. To combat that, I started making a month’s worth of menus and the grocery list for the whole month. That took a couple of days. Then, I spent the better part of an entire day grocery shopping. I’d go one place for a whole cart of non-perishables, which I then packed into the trunk. And then I’d go on to another store for a whole cart of cold and frozen stuff. I’d rush home and haul everything into the house, and put things away. And then, it really was nice to know, every day, what I would be preparing, and knowing that everything I needed was there.

I don’t do that any more. First, we get paid every two weeks. Second, I’m way older now and the very idea of shopping that way makes me have to go lie down whenever I think about it.

So, now I’m at some grocery store a couple of times a week, if not more, when I’ve forgotten something or changed my mind.

 

It’s really irritating when folks do this. This guy has parked his cart while he’s searching for something. But, instead of keeping a pathway clear for other shoppers, he’s standing beside his cart so that now, between him and his cart, no one else can move up or down the aisle.

When we were first married, David was in the Air Force. We did our grocery shopping in the commissary on the Air Force base, and occasionally in the nearby Navy base commissary. There was no funny business like this in either of those places. The aisles were one way, and there were people patrolling and making sure that things were going smoothly and efficiently. The center, horizontal rung on each cart was painted red, all the way around. There were “half-cart” lanes, and shoppers learned how to wisely pack their items so that they wouldn’t peep over that red rung, or they’d get gently, but firmly, moved to the full-cart lane. Military precision all the way around.

One food store-related thing that I think I’ve finally learned, the hard way, of course, is the inadvisability of purchasing plants at the grocery store.

I really love Cyclamen. I’ve not had lots of luck with them, but I keep on trying. The pink flowered plant came from a very nice nursery in Fort Worth. The other ones, which had white flowers and red flowers, came from the grocery store. I understand and accept that it might be my fault. But it seems a little suspicious, doesn’t it. And, really, I think I should stick to buying food at a store whose main purpose is getting good, nutritious, wholesome food (well, and the candy bars and chips) to people. And, if I want beautiful, long-living healthy plants, I might should stick with places for whom that is their specialty, the thing for which they are trained.

My new mantra:

Groceries from the grocery store.

Flowers and house plants from the plant store.

 

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good

Genesis 1:11-12 (New International Version)

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27 (New International Version)

Okay, it guess there is a little bit of crossover here. They’re both growing things, and they both nourish, in usually different ways. But I think I’m sticking with my new attitude. Things grown for the nutrition of my body should come from the grocery store. Things  grown for beauty should probably come from the nursery. But, those big, fat, orange pumpkins are pretty attractive. And big red apples. Hmmm. What a conundrum.

What a Week . . . End

Peter has come for a visit the past two weekends. This past weekend was the regular Thursday-Monday visit, but the weekend before, Kevin and a friend had planned a campout (not for little guys, and just as well, the temperature was frigid and the wind fierce), so Peter came for Saturday and Sunday. He and David went out to breakfast, as usual, but, alas, they could not visit the Mayborn Museum, as they usually do. Because the Mayborn is part of the Baylor campus, and on the river side of things, just across from the giant football stadium, and as parking is at a premium on game day, the museum is closed when there’s a football game. They came home from breakfast at loose ends. “What’ll we do now?”

The last time Peter was here, on a Sunday, we went to the library near church, because it’s the only one open on Sundays. We found some friends from church who were using the computer in the children’s part of the library. There were some interesting things to do. So, to the glum men of the house, I suggested that we might try going to the library. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!

This past week, I picked him up on Thursday after school.

He took a long time to fall asleep Thursday night (all the excitement of a trip to Waco)! David said that at 12:15, Peter came wandering to his office and talked about a dream. “He said he was flying in an airplane,” David said the next day.

“And he fell out and the wind blew him to safety?” I asked. “Yeah!” he said.

But Peter easily went back to bed and fell asleep quickly. And slept until … 4:15, when he appeared at my bedside. “I’m hungry,” he said. “Do you want your Nutella kolache?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said.

We went to the kitchen, and he ate about half of it.  “That’s all I want,” he said. “I’ll eat the rest later.” He told me about the airplane dream and then walked back into the living room and got on his air mattress. And went back to sleep. He woke up again at 8:50 Friday morning, which put us a little bit later for zoo arrival than usual. We typically like to get to the zoo parking lot by 8:45 a.m. (it opens at 9:00), so we can get a good parking place under a little bit of shade, so that the car’s not so hot when we leave. But, now, in November, that’s not really problem.

One of his most favorite things to do at the zoo is to play in this dirt, which is in a little artificial wishing well. He pretends we’re making stew, and we gather leaves and small sticks and pebbles, and he stirs (not much, because the dirt in there is pretty tamped down) and stirs. This time, he ran across a quarter and a penny. “No,” I said, anticipating the question. “You cannot take this money. People put it in here and made a wish. We are not allowed to remove it.” He covered it back up before we left.

When we left the zoo, we stopped at the snack bar for something to eat, and he chose a small bag of Chex Mix. Notice how the bag says “Savory?” Traditional Chex Mix is “Savory.” Peter does not, apparently, like “Savory.”

We went to Wal-Mart for stuff for the rest of our meals. We checked the Chex Mix area, and, it was as I feared. There is no such thing as “Regular” Chex Mix. There is Chocolate Chex Mix and Bold Chex Mix and Honey Nut Chex Mix and Muddie Buddies Chex Mix. Even the Cheddar Chex Mix says “Savory” on it. (And the chocolate/muddie buddie/Honey Nut varieties seemed like a no-go for his folks.)

I suggested that we make our own. We visited the cereal aisle to look for possibilities. We settled on Rice Chex, Rice Krispies, peanuts, Pretzel Goldfish (which we had to get at Target), Cheerios, and I gave in to yogurt raisins. I added cashews to the list, after seeing it in another recipe, but he said no. And, we already had some cheese crackers to add. And that’s it. No spices or flavorings or butter. No baking and stirring every five minutes. Just the ingredients, all stirred up together. We had it for dinner Saturday night.

 

AND, he wanted to make Rice Krispie treats, and we should get some marshmallows. Fortunately, I had already gotten some at Central Market in Fort Worth, before I picked him up. I cannot get the kind I need (vegetarian) at HEB. I haven’t looked at a health food store, but I might could get them there. (And, if you’re confounded by the problem, Peter and April are vegetarians, and regular marshmallows are not vegetarian. Read the label for the solution to that conundrum.) So he went home with a plastic Glad box of snack mix and one with Rice Krispie treats.

Sunday morning–time change, and he was up reasonably early, which made getting to church easy.

Monday morning, he showed up at my bedside at 5:50, which is just about the time that David gets up. He was surprised at how early Peter was awake, but, really, it’s about the time that he would usually get up (at the REAL 6:50!). (I AM NOT ANY KIND OF FAN, AT ALL, OF TIME CHANGE!) David got up, Peter went to play, and I got up and started Peter’s laundry.

I wanted to visit a nursery I like in Arlington before delivering Peter back home. I pulled off 35 a little before I thought I needed to, to put the address into the phone so I could get good directions. We stopped at a gas station for me to do that. Peter needed a restroom, so we went in. Then we walked up and down the aisles, looking for a snack for him that I was willing to purchase. We finally whittled it down to pumpkin seeds.

At the counter, as I was opening my purse for money for the seeds, the clerk looked down at Peter and said, “I like your hair.” He looked up and said, “Thank you.” She looked at me and said, “Can I give him a cookie?” Now really. What was I going to do?!? Say no!? Which was like being rude to a kind person who wanted to give a gift to a child. So I said, “Yes.”

 

 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

Proverbs 31:17 (New International Version)

I may not be quite as vigorous or strong as I used to be, but I can still pick him up. When I really need to. But it’s hard for me to carry him around. However, at the nursery, there were these little carts for people to pull around to put their plants on. With a long handle on the front. And, in my case, a boy sitting among the plants. And, for the most part, uphill. Which might explain why, yesterday before I started walking on the treadmill, I took one of the pain pills I take when I’m feeling extra sore. But we’re talking about my arms here. Right!?!

Autumn Update

The first time I handed out apples for Halloween, was, I think, the year before Jeremy was born. David was taking Kevin around to family and friends, and I was home with the porch light on and apples in a bowl. Most kids seemed happy about the apples, but not one. He knocked on the door and I opened it and held out my bowl of apples. He looked down at it and said, a little angrily, “Apples! I don’t want an apple!”

“Well, that’s all I’ve got,” I said. And he turned around and stalked back down the sidewalk to his dad, who was waiting at the curb.

What did you say to her?!?!” Dad yelped. And I shut the door with a bit of a smile. Halloween is a nice time to learn manners and appropriate behavior.  And I’ve persevered.

This year, I bought four bags of apples for Trick-or-Treaters. I emptied three of the bags into a basket to take to the door. I didn’t count the apples, but it seems like I maybe gave out about one-and-a-half bags worth.

The weather forecast was dreary, but the rain had fallen late in the afternoon, and by time kids came, things were just damp. I think our house might have been the only one on our block with the porch light on.

A group of three or four came early, and then there was quite a lull. But, later, there were several doorbell rings and small groups of children, all ages, and all dressed up.

I’m still a little amazed that most kids think that apples are a cool thing to get for Halloween (and I’m determined to be the lone voice of reason in a sea of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups–which I would eat six of every day, if I was allowed that sort of thing–the Reese’s, not apples).

One little fellow, the smallest of his group, the ‘way smallest of any group, stood solidly by the door as his companions reached, one by one, into the basket for their apples. For every apple they put in their bag, he put another apple in his little plastic pumpkin, saying, rather zombie-like, “Apple! Apple! Apple! ” with every one. I finally stopped him, because I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get safely down the steps without falling over sideways from the significant weight of his apple-filled pumpkin.

Lots of apples remain, which is not as much fun as an apple basket full of Butterfingers, but better to have around. We may need to make applesauce in Sunday School.

Meanwhile, the fall plant report.

As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting
    and harvest,
    cold and heat;
winter and summer,
    day and night.

Genesis 8:22 (Contemporary English Version)

 

 

And, I suppose, squirrels.

 

We the Jury . . .

I got this jury notice. I don’t even remember when it came, but I was supposed to report last Monday.

The card always says to call their recording after 5:30 on the Friday before report time, to see if we actually have to report. I called. We had to.

My jury duty history has been rather spotty. When Kevin was a toddler, I got a summons, and there’s an exemption if you have a child at home with no one else to care for him. So I circled that one and sent it back. Then we moved to Lubbock for a year. Then we lived in a rental house for a couple of years. Then we moved into the house we bought. So, I’d forgotten about juries. I guess they lost track of me, as my address kept changing, and, I guess, those cards kept getting returned.

Then, once, when neighbors were out of town and we were getting their mail for them, our mail got mixed up with theirs, I completely overlooked a jury notice. When I found it, I was panic-stricken (thinking they might arrest me or something). I called frantically. Turns out, it was one of those days when the prospective jurors actually didn’t have to report.

Then, 1991, I had to go. And I actually got picked to be on the jury. And I actually served, start to finish, for the only time ever. It was a Workman’s Comp case, and, we the jury, did not think the guy was owed any more money.

I did get picked another time. It took so long that they sent us off for lunch before the trial began. When we got back, and were sitting in the jury room, someone, I guess one of the prosecutors, came in and said that, while we were at lunch, the case had been settled. He assured us that our presence had not been for naught. Our being there and having the jury chosen and the case ready to be presented, made whomever was on trial decide that maybe that deal that had been offered wasn’t so bad after all. He said that our willingness to be part of the judicial process helped the case get resolved. And thanks. And our checks would be in the mail. ($7.50, I think.)

Once, I got a summons and showed up for a case that involved a drunk driver. Oh boy, I thought. I am going to fry this guy. But then the lawyers began to talk about being unbiased and listening carefully to all the testimony and making a good and honest decision, and I felt bad and resolved to be a good juror. And then they asked if anyone was a non-drinker, and I raised my hand and that was that.

Then, more recently, I had a summons. They come a few weeks before jurors have to report. I forgot about it. I felt really bad about it. And really anxious about it.

A few months ago, one Monday morning, so few potential jurors showed up that there barely were enough people to handle the week’s court cases. Needless to say, the judge was FURIOUS!! This was after I’d neglected to show up, but, I’m being more careful and attentive now.

So, I showed up. But I wasn’t quite as anxious as I’d been when I first got the thing. For those of you who haven’t kept up with local legal events here, the first Twin Peaks shooting case has begun. The ladies who were sitting on either side of me in the potential juror room, and I, were all grateful that that’s not the case we’d be hearing. (It started a couple of weeks ago. The shooting happened two-and-a-half years ago.)

So, quite a few people who felt they had legitimate exemptions went up and talked to the judge. Most of them got to leave. Then, they called the names of 60 folks, and told them to leave but to return on Tuesday morning. Then, they called the name of 62 more people (including me), and also said to come back on Tuesday.

I went back on Tuesday. And this time, not to the juror room in the Annex building, but right up to the third floor of the courthouse. At 9:00. I didn’t want to be at all late, and I wanted to be sure I could find parking (which isn’t all that hard, after all), so I arrived at about 8:15. But, I brought some work to do. At around 9:15, I got up and walked around a bit. Actually, around and around and around the big open space that looks down on the rotunda. I stopped and talked to a friend I haven’t seen in many years. And talked. And talked. Finally, at 10:15 or so, they opened the doors and called us, by name, to enter the courtroom. They lined us up on the benches, six per row, all going in in the order in which they had called us. That took a few minutes.

Then, the judge said, “We’re sorry we had to keep you out there so long. And we’re sorry that we couldn’t tell you anything. But if we started talking to you about what was going on in here, then it would have undermined the whole process.” There were several cases on the docket, and all of them got resolved with pleas and deals. And we were done.

And again, the judge was sober and serious about the fact that our showing up and our being ready to be part of a jury had made the process work. Cases were resolved.

I looked at my watch and thought, “Hmmm. I can actually get over to West Avenue Elementary School in time for the Reading Club time that I thought I was going to miss.”

Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect and obey God!
This is what life
    is all about.
God will judge
    everything we do,
even what is done in secret,
    whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14 (Contemporary English Version)

I guess if God’s doing the judging, a jury of my peers might not be all that reliable. They might have a bias.