Saturday, May 31

Everything Old Is New Again

During our final days of packing before the big move, I suggested to my daughters that we make a trip to the local zoo.

When they were little girls, I took them frequently.

Back in those days, a day at the zoo cured everything, and had the ability to make nap time appear a welcome opportunity rather than a chore.

I even have pictures of Miss Jessica pushing her baby sister in a rented zoo stroller...

But this time, even Jessica's best friend's son was too big for a stroller.

And the lone man that was brave enough to accompany all us girls
was my youngest daughter's fiance'.

Friday, May 30

Getting Our Ducks In A Row

A week ago we started our road trip from Texas. We packed and cleaned the apartment-- hitting the road the very moment everything was finished--about 5:30 pm. It may seem crazy, but you what you have to do.

Things were packed just so in Miss Jessica's car so that even legs had to be placed a certain way to fit. What didn't fit in the car was shipped or donated to the Salvation Army.

I got reacquainted with my daughter's driving skills, as she did with mine. After the second day on the road, I became envious of the cat, who was medicated every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

But we did it and arrived here in Virginia early Sunday afternoon--tired and stiff.

This week has been spent sorting and moving things to storage to allow Miss Jessica some space of her own. We're meshing...

And Lina, who once spent her days peering into the courtyard of an apartment building, now has a somewhat different view of life.

Thursday, May 22

The Cat's Meow

Every time I remove my camera from its bag, Jess' cat, Lena, tries to get in the bag.

Of course, she tries to climb in my open purse as well--and my purse is really not big enough to accommodate her either.

I'm thinking she senses the move and doesn't want to be left behind.

Well, she's coming. Lena will be the backseat driver for our two day journey and can give us directions from the safety of her carrier.

I just hope she's not too opinionated.

Wednesday, May 21

The More Things Change

Packing. Packing. Sorting.
I'm waiting on the Salvation Army now to come fetch up odd bits of furniture and memorabilia. We have a truckload.

I had thought we could start the big road trip across country in the wee hours, but Miss Jessica's car is in for repair and won't be ready until after lunch tomorrow. So plans are pushed back. I have always heard "If you want to make God laugh--tell him you have plans."

As JB tells me all to often: It is what it is. One must remain flexible. I am trying. And I had woke up this morning so excited about returning home--with my oldest daughter.

Instead I have been reacquainted with coin laundry. But I phoned my women's cult and they are meeting tonight. So maybe things will work out so that I can go, have dinner and visit--and get a second wind before the big road trip.

Saturday, May 17

There's Strength in Numbers

The last-minute plane trip entailed changing planes three times! Lack of sleep and worry over the unknown had me a bit edgy and tight connections just exaggerated my emotions.

But I'm here. We left the hospital yesterday about noon.

I never thought I would reach the point in my life where I would have so few opportunities to interact face to face with my girls. We've been very good about keeping in touch via phone and email, but there's so many things than can only be assumed using either of those methods.

I am one of those people who operates best when I can look into the eyes of the one I'm speaking to--the eyes are indeed the windows of the soul.

I've received--and given--many long overdue and much needed hugs in the past 36 hours.
Even though miles separate families, the love and moral support is always there.

We'll be sorting and packing for the next few days. Then we're off on the road trip across the country that will bring us all back home.

Thursday, May 15

I Need A Map

I long for a roadmap. I want some warning of what's ahead--a hint so I can be better prepared for the unexpected.

Most of the world nowadays--due to the instability--would probably like a roadmap as well.

The reality is there are no such maps.

Instead, we rely on gut instincts, our heart and as a last resort--logic.

I am catching a plane this morning for Texas to retrieve Miss Jessica. I understand she's being hospitalized for "observation." By the time I arrive, I'm guessing she'll be released and we can begin the process of gathering up her toys to return to Virginia.

My heart tells me this is the right thing to do. My gut instincts tell me this won't be an easy task. And more than likely, logic will surface a bit later as I hop from one plane to another today to reach her by dinnertime.

Tuesday, May 13

Fair Is Where You Get Cotton Candy

I'm not a man hater.
In fact, I'm very interested in them.

I have some male friends. I've spent lots of time with men in the workplace and I've been married a total of 26 years. The fact that it was 3 different men who shared that 26 years should actually enhance my credibility. I mean, I kept on trying to find the right fit.

And while it's no surprise that men and women are wired differently, my pal Hoss actually found the best way of explaining it when he posted this video on his blog.

This struggle to co-habitate and to understand one another has been going on since the beginning of time though. Look at Eve. We'll never really get the true story there. Was Eve really the one that was tempted or did Adam actually bite the apple and she just covered for him? We females always want to swoop in and fix things, don't we?

We've been grilled on playing nice and minding our manners, but too often our male counterparts never heard those messages, or just chose to ignore them altogether.

The clipping in the picture tells the story of Lilly Ledbetter, the Goodyear employee that was being shortchanged at work by what her lawyer called a "good old boys" network. When she was on the verge of retirement, a tipster revealed she was earning 79 cents on the dollar compared to her male counterparts in the same position. She sued and won, but the ruling was eventually overturned because she had waited too long. Turns out, if you're getting screwed and you don't notice it for 6 months, you're really screwed.

It's shocking, isn't it? And that's the part that always gets we women. We're shocked by the audacity. We never thought anyone would behave like that. How could they do that! Don't they have a conscience? And they seemed like such nice people...

I worked for a corporation, that when forced to cut salaries, came to me first because I was the only female executive. They rationalized that I should be able to endure a reduction in pay before my male colleagues because I was a woman and had a husband with a job.
I resigned. This wasn't the only sexist incident, but it was the icing on the cake.

I received a promotion at another corporation while in Texas and the man who stepped into my previous position started at a salary that was $5K more "because he had a family." Actually I am convinced it was because he had a penis.

And on top of that, they wanted me to help him with this position, while transitioning into my new one as well. I wasted no time in voicing my opinion. I have never seen so many grown men blush as a result of the word "penis." But they really should have been more embarrassed by their behavior.

It's what I refer to as the sheep hormone. If there is a group of men, the intelligence level will sink to the lowest IQ in the group and they will begin acting as one. Females, on the other hand, seem to thrive on individuality and fairness across the board.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying this is true of all men in all situations. My JB is honest and compassionate to a fault. But since I have found a man like this, I know that such men do exist.

The Supreme Court implied that Lily Ledbetter's lower pay was her own fault because she hadn't investigated her employer for sex discrimination sooner. Now isn't that a shame that you have to check up on everybody just to make sure they're doing what they should be doing?

Saturday, May 10

Cultivating Goodness

Every day provides a new treasure.

Some are just beginning, like this peony.

While others are overwhelming...
and require much more care and attention.

Friday, May 9

Time To Lose The Pearls

The wind got up and the clouds formed. As I was cooking dinner JB had a beer and began sharing his weather forecast.

I can now do my own forecast based on the cloud formations, thanks to Dr. Biology. Before we studied meteorology last semester, I relied on the aching in my left shoulder or the soreness in my wrists to inform me of changing weather patterns.

But after living smack dab in the middle of tornado alley in West Texas for a hundred years, a tornado watch doesn't get me very excited. I've had my fair share of inclement weather.

There was a time that a tornado watch or warning meant being prepared--gathering the kids, pillows, and battery operated radio--and heading for the innermost room of the house. That would be the bathroom.

We'd make a party of it. While they gathered their books and a favorite toy or two, I'd grab a flashlight and the battery-operated radio. By the time they had climbed into the bathtub amidst a pile of pillows and blankets, I'd have pored myself a glass of wine and donned my pearls.

I always figured if I was going out, I was going out wearing my pearls. And the wine? It certainly couldn't hurt.

I've shared this tale more than a few times, much to the amusement of family and friends. And last night, when JB suggested it was an evening for wine and pearls, I suddenly looked at the entire scenario with new eyes.

The pearls are still there where I left them. They're taking a breather--a deserved rest-- in a red velvet box with a white satin lining.

I'm just glad I don't need them anymore.

Tuesday, May 6

Learning to Work With Mother Nature

The Georgia Collards have bloomed and gone to seed.
Pop noticed all the honeybees when he and Momo came to visit on Sunday.

They're so tall and the blooms are pretty...
but they've taken over the garden.

JB got this photo of me trying to do some damage to the crop.

Neighbors have enjoyed 4-5 pound bags for some time.
I started cooking to start freezing some yesterday--6 quarts!
I have a feeling I will be having collards for a while.

But I have plans for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and peas...

Saturday, May 3

Nasty Little Brain Invaders

The last exam was taken yesterday. I went prepared, but still felt the anxiousness that accompanies any test of memory or mind function. I've come to realize it has more to do with my emotions rather than knowledge of any given subject.

I have to ward off thoughts of defeat. I take deep breaths and shake off self-limiting ideas so the words I'm reading make sense. Last semester, I even went so far as to request an instructor double space his tests in an effort to keep the questions from running together.

Today my Jeni is taking regional exam boards. I feel anxiousness for her--1400 miles away.

I hope she has the ability to focus entirely on the present moment. I want her brain to be so full of what is right in front of her that there is no space for the what happens next.

Its the outcome of what's before us that generally creates the anxiety anyway.