trifectas

There are occurrences that happen out of our control that maybe could have been avoided or prevented, but they happen all the same.

Something brought such an event to mind this week that made me laugh out loud. I recall at the time not being amused.

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One morning when my son was maybe 6 or 7 years old we had overslept, he was going to be late for school and me late to work. Throwing his lunch together and getting breakfast ready I realized I had forgotten to get any milk. Could he have survived one morning not having milk? Sure. As an obsessive single mom could I have allowed this?

No.

So I called to my son that I was running up the street to get milk, ran to my car, pouring rain, saw the dog had got out, put her in the car, jumped in, drove the short distance to the store.

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Leaving the car running, I ran in, grabbed the milk, paid the cashier, dashed back to the car to see my little dog, delighted to see me again, jump on the door locks locking all 4 doors. I stood for a moment, at a complete loss. I ran back in the store (this is 10 years pre-cell phones) and, explaining my predicament asked they call 911. About 5 minutes later the fire truck pulled up, chastised my thoughtlessness explaining carefully if a living thing had not been in the car they would not have come to help.

Well, I thought, that ‘living thing’ was the reason they were there.

No matter. I had the milk, got breakfast in my son. As we sat at the light to turn in to the school I jotted a quick note explaining his tardiness. A jarring jolt accompanied by crunching metal, I looked up to see the front of my little car neatly folded under the rear of the concrete mixer in front of me at the light. Apparently I could not maintain proper pressure on the brake pedal and write simultaneously.

”Why didn’t you say something?” I wailed to my son.

”I wanted to see what would happen,” he calmly replied.

** Days better spent in bed **

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Thanksgiving from: Pacific Paratrooper

Pacific Paratrooper

Rakkasans of today.
187th RCT

I WISH TO EXPRESS MY THANKS FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU !!!  AND MAY WE ALL BE THANKFUL FOR THOSE VETERANS WHO FIGHT FOR US !!!

US troops in Afghanistan give thanks.

Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.

 

Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

The ones in the future, will be happier, I know

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

For…

View original post 200 more words

the end

So I lost a few followers last week, not surprised. I’ll likely lose more this week. For some reason political correctness and cancel culture have become the norm, preying on the graces of people who know better.

I am troubled though, by the profound evidence of election tampering, whichever ‘side’ you voted for. Freedom is important to me. I have voted in every election since I was eligible to vote. Every one. Never missed. I will admit there were a few when America was so prosperous I did not give enough consideration to who claimed to do what and actually meant it.

It saddens me to think that votes do not actually matter in this country. We have always stood for the sacredness of choosing our leadership and strongly encouraged each other to participate in the election process. It never occurred to me to wonder who friends voted for. Our friendship was not based on political inclinations. Now, I have found, it does. A few months ago, having a conversation of current issues my “friend”, disagreeing with my thoughts called me evil and a problem.

When I recovered, I replied, “I guess this conversation is not going anywhere,” and the person got in my face to pursue expressing her rage. I excused myself from the conversation, shaking, more from fear than rage.

When did we become so politicized? When did abject hatred replace agreeing to disagree? When did a person’s hate for a politician translate to hate (or at a minimum dismissive disdain) for the politician’s supporters thereby justifying verbal or physical attacks?

This is just wrong.

In addition, a blogger I follow has been advised by WordPress that he has until December 2, 2020 before his blog will be ‘deplatformed’. He was informed that his values and views are out of alignment with that of the domain. His posts are factual, informative, well-researched, honest, thoughtful, inclusive, enlightening, and conservative. Hence the deplatforming.

So I will not be writing for a while. Yes, I am discouraged. Saddened. I will, in time, resolve to press on. And I am driving to visit family in Texas for Thanksgiving, after which I will be moving from my beloved home state of North Carolina.

It just isn’t home anymore.

I wish any remnant of readers I possibly still have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever you may celebrate, and a joyous 2021. In the end hope and faith are all we really have.

God bless and keep each of you.

history

So one of the favorite parks of rescue dogs Lily and Lulu is a few miles up the road, and was named after the man who dedicated it to the city over a hundred years ago. It is a favorite because there is a paved pathway through the park, lightly shaded with thousands of long leaf pines. There is a fenced dog park, a couple of ball fields, playgrounds, a waterpark and picnic shelters. It has been refreshing to see all these offerings enjoyed again, after the severe lockdown.

plaque that is now nameless

We visited this park recently. There is an ornate wrought iron archway at the entrance proclaiming the name of the park, up to now, the gentleman who donated the land.

Not any more.

It is now called Long Leaf Park. I suppose this is ok, but why did they change it? My supposition is because the man who dedicated it was a son of the confederacy and, regardless of who he fought for or against, it was apparently a reminder of that particular time in America’s history which is in process of being erased.

I have parts of my own personal life I am not particularly proud of. I won’t erect monuments to them, but they are going to be a part of my memory my entire life. Thankfully I have learned from these things and moved on. Onward and upward as my mother would say.

So why can this country not understand that monuments, statues and national parks are also reminders of, not who we are, but our growing pains? People we have grown from, not who we are or will become?

As a people we are not born finished products. We learn. We grow. We change, develop and (we hope) become better. The statues and monuments are not to celebrate what happened but to remind us of where we were but aren’t anymore. We can’t forget our history. The descendants of those who suffered from it should be grateful their forebears survived and became stronger. Anything less is mere bitterness. Where justice resulted we as a nation need to be humbled for what we overcame.

It’s said those who forget the past are doomed to relive it (attributed to Edmund Burke, among others). I for one prefer to move forward from some things that happened in America’s history as well as my own personal history. I look toward a day when justice is greater than injustice. But we won’t find it by being angry instead of proud that we have come through difficult times, nor by erasing reminders of our past.

walkies

So the weather has been teasing us again here on the NC coast that the humid days are coming to an end. We get a couple of days of cold mornings, dry, warm afternoons, then a day like today with muggy air and blustery winds. Hurricane Zeta decided to throw some our way but that’s long since past. So no idea where this is coming from. Hurricane Eta is visiting Honduras.

humidity-loving tree frog stuck to garage door

Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu love the cooler weather. Lily’s hot spot of 3 months ago has morphed into a larger area. It does not appear to bother her until I have to wash her but she looks moth-eaten. She doesn’t care, and I don’t care, either but people have stopped asking about it. Well, hoping with cold weather it will soon be history.

Occasionally I walk on my own after Lily and Lulu have their walks. It always interests me when I see others walk their dogs. Most seem to understand that if you are walking with a dog it is their walk, not yours. They stop to inspect every third blade of grass or, if they are strong and young, strain against the leash lengthening your arm in the process. On the rare occasion when Lily was younger and she spotted a rabbit she would suddenly cross in front of me without warning and I’d cartwheel into the bush. But more and more I am seeing dogs on a short even if retractable leash being dragged behind their person who apparently is on a walk for exercise not for dog exploration. I feel badly for the dog.

I almost never see initials or names etched in newly-poured concrete sidewalks or driveways anymore. Obviously this was from many years ago. I never knew Kathy or Bob. I don’t know if they lived where this was engraved, or if they did, that they are even still there. But it is carved (until the driveway/ sidewalk is replaced) in time immemorial as a testimony that once this couple wished to let anyone who passed by know that they were important to each other.

Once I saw “Jesus Loves me” carved on a tree trunk. It gave me pause. It is a truth that applies to every one of us. Whether we love Him, obey Him, seek Him or even believe in Him, He loves us.

fennel seeds

I tried to remember though if I have ever seen a carved “I love Jesus” and I couldn’t. But then He tells us when we love Him we show it because in true love you want to do things that make the person you love happy. So you serve Him. Not because He expects to be served but because this is who He was when He came to save us. And He is still interceding for us. But it is our choice. So saying and doing are not the same thing. He is life. Forever.

cocoon

*I have always wanted to spell cocoon the same as raccoon but it doesn’t.

So I think I am in current events overload. 2020 seemed to start out pretty well. Not much different from most new years until this virus. Which I learned we are now affectionately calling “the ‘Rona”. I doubt anybody who has had a close encounter with it feels too fond of it, or anything having to do with it.

fritillary caterpillar cocoon

My son and his girlfriend left for Germany on a Wednesday afternoon. That evening flights were cancelled from Asia. Friday they were cancelled from Europe. Saturday he was scrambling to find a flight from anywhere in Europe back to the states. They did make it back.

Then schools closed, till further notice. Playgrounds, parks, restaurants, libraries, government and municipal offices, the IRS, people worked from home. Or they were furloughed.

angel trumpet flower seed pod

Basically life stopped.

Hostility in the federal government escalated. A person of color died under uncertain circumstances in law enforcement custody and riots started. Not just there. Everywhere. Last I heard Seattle is still under siege.

We made it somehow through spring, no church, no graduations. Then summer. Some parts of the country the virus stabilized. Corporations began relocating elsewhere from the west and pacific northwest. Students continued their online classrooms.

fritillary (red) caterpillar with monarch caterpillar

Fall came. Louisiana got hit by more hurricanes. Busiest season on record. Some cities and states had opened. The virus spiked here and there, not in other places. Then other states crawled to phase 3, still not much service in restaurants but some store hours expanded though most places still require people to wear a mask. It became evident that this virus can be managed and survived but panic is still being encouraged in some quarters, I have no idea why.

passionflower (maypop) fruit

And now election. I’m capped off at this point. Early voting started last Thursday where I live. I stood in line two hours to vote. Most people were civil, congenial even. We did not care who was what or who was voting for whom. We voted, we went away.

maypop flowers

So I have done my civic duty. In the past at various elections I have been a precinct judge, a poll watcher. I have volunteered with phone banks. Not this year. Even though some states are claiming they need to extend the ballot counts beyond election day because, well, covid. I say baloney.

goldenrod flower spike and small bumble bee sleeping

So I will self-isolate, call a lid, whatever, intentionally, even though now with my state still in phase three I don’t have to. I have seen highly contentious politics before but none with so much proof and evidence of unethical and illegal activities that are blatantly denied. I’ve not lost faith because my faith is in God, not men. But I am looking forward to a day when all of us are honest again, when we care about others and work for what is good for all people. And I am going to firmly believe this day will come in my lifetime.

hate

I have learned that hate is not necessarily opposite to love.

This week rescue dogs Lily and Lulu and I went to a park we seldom visit but like, especially before hurricane Isaias hit and the pier was damaged.

Lily and Lulu enjoyed walking to the end of the pier, sniffing the spots where fishermen had cleaned their fish, sitting on the benches as we walked. But the county parks department has been slow in clearing trees and making repairs so though we can still walk at this park the pier is closed.

I noticed a person sitting at a picnic bench and thought what a nice day it was for a picnic lunch when this person yelled, “You better watch out, I have two pitbulls here!”

I looked around to see whether she felt threatened by someone else. Nope. Just my dogs and me walking. So I called back, “Well, how can I get by then to avoid your dogs?” (pitbulls do not frighten me, in fact this lady scared me more than the dogs, as she continued…)

She stood, pointing to the far perimeter away from her, yelling her dogs were on very long chains. I pointed out this was a public park, which I probably shouldn’t have. She replied (I will clean up her words)…

“I’m so ****ing tired of you ****ing slow people down here. Idiots, can’t figure out *unintelligible*…”

Again, probably against better judgment, I replied, “Maybe you could go someplace you’d be happier.” Again came a very angry response as she reeled in her snarling and snapping dogs and their very long chains.

I was beginning to shake at this point. You never know when someone will snap. And many people have guns. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the Second Amendment. My dad was an avid hunter (for food, not trophy) and collector. My brother and I were taught at an early age about guns and how to use and respect them. I have many friends who have guns for protection. These days this is a good idea. But this woman was becoming unhinged and I was worried so we walked faster over to the pier.

Since we had not been to this park in a long time Lily and Lulu were enthralled with the scents and marsh tracks (the Cape Fear is a tidal river and it was low tide), so I let them wander.

I slipped Lily’s collar off so she could have more freedom and she was so happy. She darted in among the reeds, chased little spider crabs, stopped to explore and smell under and around uprooted trees. The day was quickly warming so I put her leash back on to head back to the car, and we circled around the far side of the park to avoid the angry lady.

I glanced her way as we came parallel to where she sat. She was affectionately stroking her dogs who gazed up at her with complete adoration. So whatever had caused this woman’s defensive anger toward me and loathsome comments, had been mollified somewhat by the love she shared with her dogs. I found myself praying for her. For all I knew she may have lost a job, or a relative, or a friend. I will never know what caused her unjustified anger at me. She did not know the first thing about me. She will likely never know. She won’t know that I tend to be impatient with slow people myself. Or that I am respectful toward other dogs we meet on walks even if the persons with them indicate they are friendly. You never really know how dogs will react to other dogs. My language, though much cleaner than when I was a single parent and juggling 12-too-many balls in the air and way more impatient than even now, can be salted occasionally by words I immediately ask forgiveness for.

So despite her preconceptions of who I am and how I behave, however mistaken, she and I had more in common than she will ever know.

indian summer

This time of year is beautiful. My mother always called it indian summer. Despite my perpetual questions when I was little, her beatific manner as she answered me made it seem all the more serene, mystic almost. It’s not a common phrase I learned, but people who use it make it seem lovely.

Sassafras leaves

Where I live on the North Carolina coast doesn’t have as well-defined seasons as the mountains. The few maples we have will turn but much later when it begins to get so cold the leaves just fall. So we don’t enjoy the spectacular, dramatic reds, yellows, oranges of the trees that blanket the mountains and foothills. And we have many evergreen trees, not just palms, pines, cedars and magnolia but many oaks that stay green — live oak, blackjack, willow and water oaks. So unless we  have an ice storm, or snow things stay pretty awake through the winter. Their dormancy is not apparent.

Highbush blueberry

It does get cooler here but not consistently. The thing that we do have that other places have is fall pollen. Especially ragweed. Unlike spring pollens this season’s pollen -for me- is almost debilitating. And deceptive. It can seem like a serious cold or even a flu, complete with fever and cough. When I was little it was bad enough to need allergy shots. But only for here. I have lived in New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and New Mexico. No allergy problems any of those places. And the weird thing, whenever they give those dreadful allergy ‘scratch’ tests where you have a thousand punctures and they cover you with allergens, for me nothing ever shows up. No allergies.

Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu enjoying a sunny autumn afternoon

So every fall I stock up on tissues and antihistamines (thankful both are on store shelves again) and make the best of it. Like with everything some days are better, some days I keep the eyedrops nearby, and always the herbal teas. I swear by these. My sister-in-law thinks they are for sissies and I used to think they were a little too new age-y until I tried a couple. Maybe it’s the hot temperature. Maybe it’s the added honey. Whatever it is, it helps the symptoms.

Bracken fern

My brother had allergies. One year they were especially bad. He doesn’t have the patience with things like this. He did whatever he had to to get rid of the congestion. And whatever he did worked. Not for me. Mine just lasted longer. And my brother had a mortal fear of any sort of injection.

I don’t know what this is. I thought it was pretty.

So these bodies we have. We adapt, change, age, accommodate and take care of it the best we can. It has to last a while.

phases

Everything has a phase. Life, insects, business, illness, the moon, people. When this covid started states were given federal guidance for ‘managing’ conditions to ostensibly promote avoidance of the virus and maintain good health. The authority rested with the governors. I’m not sure this was the best plan but how could they not. Like a parent, they had to be fair. Every state has a governor.

So the country basically went into hibernation. Work from home. Shop for essentials only… if you could find them. Travel stopped. Playgrounds were empty. Churches were empty. I have to wonder if the effects would have been any different had the precautions been selective to age, strength, physical limitation. But nobody knew how it would or wouldn’t impact people. So we all sat at home.

Finally, late spring, after everyone missed celebrating Easter, graduations and other spring events some states moved to the next phase. Other states’ governors went totally rogue and power crazed. They tightened the screws. Then the riots. Chaos ensued. Everywhere. Protesting, maybe, but with violence. Not peaceful. Think what you will, I do not see what they are doing to accomplish anything aside from destroying livelihoods and dreams. We know they are organized, recruited and paid, these rioters. Some states have doused the flames. Others encourage the crazy.

So this phase 3. North Carolina just moved there this weekend having had phase 2 extended in 5-week increments since May. It does not escape me that the election is a month away. Our governor is not popular. He knows this. Ballot harvesting is illegal here yet it has been said there was evidence of it in 2018, when he ran for the office. I am not smart enough to sniff out political intrigue and aberrations. But I do know this state is tired of moving in circles. We are exhausted from frustration and boredom. Two entire seasons saw personal freedom in a straight jacket.

Whatever, we are coming up on a year since this weird virus made an appearance. I don’t normally obsess over a thing, not a nebulous one. But this was treated badly. Cancer patients could not receive treatment. Family members passed away alone. There must have been some way hospitals could take precautions so families could have spent some moments together. I know God was not surprised by any of this. I know He is fully aware of where this all is going. I just wonder if He wishes we had handled it better. All of us.

love people, use things

My elderly across-the-street neighbor recently moved to her daughter’s house. She had gotten to where she could not manage stairs and did not trust herself to drive. I hope I will be so wise to concede to this if I get there.

I did not know this lady well since I have only lived here for three years, but she would call now and then to chat and I enjoyed her calls.

As she prepared for her move she called one afternoon to let me know there would be several trucks coming to her house to pick up various pieces of furniture. She sounded sad and I waited silently as she gathered her thoughts.

“You know, they are just things, but no one in my family wants them.” I could hear her hurt as she spoke and I could sympathize.

I have my mother’s dining room furniture. Neither my son nor my brother wants it. Well, my brother wants the fiddle-back chairs. Our mom had the seats upholstered with needlepointed patterns she had done years ago. But no one wants the side boards, the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner china and casseroles or the silver. No one wants the very old china plates that my mother waited years for Dad to make plate rails for, and he never did. (You can buy them already made I learned)

So I could understand how my neighbor felt. I know these are things but they hold such memories. And they are beautiful pieces of furniture. And the silver no one makes like this anymore. But they are things. Everytime I get to the point where I think I will donate the lot someone (usually my brother) insists I keep it all, as though it is sacrilege to not want it. I am a practical-oriented person. If I don’t use something in, say over 15 years, it’s time to let it go.

I still have the memories. My mother is not a chair. My father is not in a table. Having the things we used when they were still living and we were a family together is not the same as having the people. And things, for me, do not extend to the person. I am grateful to have had such lovely things but, as with the piano that found a better home, wouldn’t it be preferable for a new family to enjoy them?

If I used these things it would make more sense to keep them. I do not entertain. My son especially since this virus, does not visit me and even when he did we never ate a formal meal.

If I were to leave this planet I cannot take these things with me. They will remain behind for someone to deal with. Everytime I move I occupy a small portion of a house that is mostly used to shelter the furniture I never enjoy. Just seems wasteful.

I have asked rescue dogs Lily and Lulu who have made it clear that they are only interested in being in whatever room I am in. If I am eating they are at my feet, wherever I am. They have their dog beds in every room, so they can rest on a comfy cushion wherever.

This should not be so difficult. I have books and clipped articles with tips on helping people declutter, downsize or minimize. Even one that I no longer have that was purported to be most authoritative, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”. Since (so far as I know) I am not on the brink of death this was a little too final. Even if my sister-in-law is Swedish.

hot spots

Back in the ‘70s this would be a place my parents wouldn’t have allowed me to go to. Not under any circumstances. Swinging, happening, mod… none of that was part of my experience. No, we were not Amish, Mennonite, Mormon or even Catholic. My parents were cautious and protective of my brother and me. Based on how some of our neighborhood pals turned out I am glad they were that careful.



Go forward a couple decades. Hot spots are specific designated WiFi accessible places like airports, hotels, campuses. With smart phones it’s not that important now but they are still around.

Not that kind, either.

A couple of weeks after I came back from Texas I noticed something on husky-mix rescue dog Lily’s fur. It looked like I spilled water on her but didn’t seem to bother her. I found her grooming brush to get it out and a large clump of hair came with it. Lily turned her head toward me and I leaned closer to figure out what this was.

Hot spot.

She had not had one of these in a couple of years. It’s an allergic reaction, sometimes from a flea bite or allergy or other skin irritation and generally bothered even more by extreme heat and humidity. If they chew or scratch it becomes worse. I’ll spare further graphic description but her vet confirmed that’s what it was.

So we came back home loaded with antibiotic, allergy pills and an anti-itch antiseptic spray. They shaved a large area on her back around it so it could heal.


Well, it has healed and as you see here Lily and terrier-mix rescue dog Lulu are eagerly searching for a small lizard living in this plant. Not bothered anymore in the least. She still has that bare spot that draws curious looks when we are on our walkies but probably also provides welcome cooling to her double-thick husky fur coat.

Crisis resolved.