6.21.2017

How to Get Organized

1.  Decide which room you wish to work on.

2.  Pick a shelf or drawer from that room.

3.  Empty out all the contents of the drawer.

4.  Look it over and realize why it is so disorganized and messy.  Most of the stuff doesn't even belong in that drawer.

5.  Take the items out that don't belong.  Carry them to the rightful drawer in another room.  This is very important to our task at hand.  It would be foolish to throw anything away.  Another way to look at this is just reshuffling items.  Move the stuff from one place to another.  It's actually quite efficient.

6.  Put everything back in the now clean drawer.

7.  Feel good because you accomplished something.

And, that is just what I did today.

I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Except that now I have another place to clean out.

HMMM, where shall I put the stuff this time?


6.10.2017

A Tale of Two Books

We just returned from an overlong stay in Canada on a home exchange.  We had LOTS of extra time, so I got quite a bit of reading and listening to books on tape done.

Among those were two books - vastly different, yet also very similar.

First, I read BORN A CRIME:



That was followed up by: Hillbilly Elegy



Their cultures were entirely different; one in Africa, one in the South.

 Each of these books was about young boys growing up and coming of age.

Both of these young men had the decks stacked against them to begin with; both were born into horrendous poverty.

Both came from backgrounds of abuse, fighting, poor education.

Both seemed destined to stay in the circumstances like their families and relatives and friends before them.

BUT, the thing that saved them both from their horrible situations was a strong-willed, caring woman.  A woman who cared, who saw the value of education, who wanted more for the boy and could see the need to get out of the ghetto and slum.

For Trevor Noah, the saving woman was his mother.  I have the greatest admiration for his mother; a feisty, strong, independent woman who never babied her child, but let him suffer the consequences of his decisions.  Yet, she was always there, teaching him he could achieve more.

Noah is now a successful late-night comedian.  He achieved the unthinkable, and it is in large measure thanks to his mother.

For J D Vance, the strong woman was his grandmother; his own mother was a drug addict and he lost count of how many times she had been in rehab.  But, his grandmother was determined to not let him fail.  She was a foul-mouthed, noisy, brash woman, but she loved her grandson.  J D Vance is a law-school graduate of Yale University.

So, each book takes place in different worlds, but the outcome was the same.

SUCCESS - due to a never-give-up WOMAN.

Oh, the power of a strong, caring woman.  It's impossible to overestimate that incredible power.




6.08.2017

The High School Graduate

He's gentle.

He's kind.

He speaks softly and smiles a lot.

His cat is so fond of him and wants to be with him and in his room.

Technology is something he loves and he spends a lot of time with gaming, phone stuff, camera stuff.

Shuffling between his mother's home and his father's home is something that he just does naturally and without stress.  They both are good to him and love him unconditionally.

He doesn't mind hanging out with his parents.  One day, we went for a walk, and he was willing to come along and to just sit by the pool with the adults.  It was sweet.

It wasn't a given that he would graduate, but he did.  Everyone was pleased and proud, as they should have been.

He has struggled with depression and self-esteem, but during his Senior year positive things happened to him, which was good.

He is a good kid.

He is gay.

And, he is my step-grandson.

6.05.2017

VIRGINIA: the BEST!

It has been so great being here in Virginia with Kristi and Bobby and Will.

Class of 2017 from Murray High School - Congrats, WILL!


And, also, Jordan and his family!

Joining in the celebration were Anna, Immie, and Oliver!  What cute cousins!


Bobby and Kristi are the best hosts.  They are so thoughtful and accommodating!

It has been fun.

Can you tell that no one is really jumping in, except Jordan?  Ha Ha, but before this picture, they had all been in the pool!


Interestingly enough, we are always so eager to get home and don't like to stay more than three nights, but we will be here a week.

Hiking Crabtree Falls.  Oh, I love my kids and husband!  Family; that's where it's at!


And, it has been great!

Just back from a four-mile hike of the Ravanna Trail.  It was great just walking and talking with Kristi.
Allen walked the first mile with us.  (Trying out my new hairstyle - a ponytail!)


Thanks to the best Kristi daughter ever!  And, to her awesome husband.

5.29.2017

Today...

is our last full day in Va-Des-Lacs, Canada.

It's windy, blustery, cloudy.

A lot like it has been for the four weeks we've been here.

Except the snow has all melted; the birds are back, and spring has definitely come.

The hills are green, a few wild flowers and perennials have popped up making it lovely.

I've learned a couple of things on this home exchange.

First, I don't like isolation. we are on a small lake (GAGNON) and I can see a few lovely homes situated all around this small lake.  However, there's not really a trail to walk around the lake, so everything AND everyone, is at a distance.

The town - if it can be called that - has a little corner market, that is woefully under shelved and seems sorrowful the two times I have gone in there.  I was hoping for a chatty saleslady, but they are aloof, unfriendly, and always in a hurry to get to the back room....daytime television watchers, perhaps, on-line gamers....who knows? But they are definitely not interested in chatting with a foreigner from the states.

So, unless we drive somewhere, we sit quietly in the rustic and charming home on the lake.  (Because, with spring, has come a plethora of gnats and mosquitoes.  Those have entirely prevented me from venturing outdoors the last several days.  The minute the door is opened, they attack with a vengeance.  It's unbelievable, so that has made this setting a lot less desirable for me.)

For me, I need more human interaction.

The 2nd thing I've learned is that ONE MONTH is entirely too long!

Which is quite ironic, because we've said it before to each other.  But we did it again and are doing it in France.  Perhaps if we had been in the centre of a city, one month would be okay, but out in the far-away little village, it's difficult.

We've seen some quaint and interesting little places to visit, but not enough to consume one entire month.

So, as a one-time adventure, it was alright, but I'm glad we are saying our good-byes tomorrow.


5.25.2017

Modern Media

I'm grateful for:

The Internet,

Computers,

Phones,

YouTube,

Google Photos,

Google Maps,

Texting,

FaceTime,

Wikipedia,

Laptops,

Kindle reader,

ITouch,

What in the heck, did we do before we had all this stuff?


I'm so grateful for it all.  It means I can be away from home and still stay connected.

And, that is good.

5.23.2017

The Power of Words/Movies/Media

I'm feeling a little down today.

But, for strange reasons.

Not anything to do with me personally, BUT, because of the books/movie from today's reading/watching.

I'm listening to VAnITY FAIR....

It's a bleak book about a vain, selfish, social-climbing woman, who cares for nothing and no one but herself.  It's very disheartening.

I'm reading BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, about a dysfunctional Russian family.  It's also a philosophical book about good and evil.  It's long, sort of boring, and also sad.  Families are so very complicated.  Honestly, I don't know why I started reading it.  BIG MISTAKE!



I just finished watching VALKYRIE...a true story about an attempt on Hitler's life.  They came so close, but failed and all involved were executed on the spot.  It was just so very sad.  Hitler was so EVIL....and yet, he persuaded so many to believe in him and follow him.


Then, on the news, over and over, they have replayed Melania Trump's brush aside of her husband's hand as they have gone on a foreign trip.  It's all so very sad.  HE is the president of the USA, and he's so rude, obnoxious, egotistic, and treats his wife like she's just a piece of his property....no wonder she brushes him aside.  And, it just makes me sad to see how they react and treat each other.  

So, those are my feelings today.

I need a good cheery movie, book, and news report.  

For sure.