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Feline Friday - May 31st


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I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

Untying the Knots

When my daughter was small she took a liking to my brightly-colored balls of yarn, and spent many hours tying things together in knots... furniture... toys... and even people if you sat in one place long enough.  She loved tying knots, mispronouncing the word as  "snots"  which always made me laugh. :-) Walking through our apartment in Germany was often like navigating an obstacle course of yarn strands connecting chairs to doorknobs to God knows what.  Needless to say, tying knots is a lot easier than untying them.  That often proves true in the bigger picture of life too.

My daughter watched me struggle through three really difficult, abusive marriages.  After she completed nursing school and was out on her own, she was introduced to a great guy, also a nurse, and eventually she agreed to marry him.  They built a good life together, and despite personal struggles for her with depression and for him with substance abuse issues, they got along well and she loved him dearly.  They were planning to start a family. 

Then one day a little over three years ago he came home and announced that he wanted a divorce.  He failed to mention that he had been seeing someone else that he met at work.  Since she wasn't able to afford the mortgage payments for their home  on her own, he gave her one week to find a place and move out.  I went down to help her and we got her packed and moved into an apartment during a week of torrential rain.  She was heartbroken and emotionally shattered.  She was certain that she couldn't survive without him and that life alone would be more than she could bear.  I told her that sometimes in life all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, keep walking, taking it one day at a time.

The months that followed were a horrible struggle for her, she called often for reassurance... sometimes multiple times a day and late into the night.  I had promised I would always be a phone call away, and I was.  Little by little she began to put the pieces of her life back together and prove to herself that she could survive on her own, even if not happily.  After a year or so I encouraged her to consider relocating to a new city that wouldn't be filled with memories of times and places they shared, and an all too easy drive-by of the old house with his new girlfriend living there.  She agreed and checked out many possible cities and applied for jobs at numerous hospitals around the country.

Finally setting her sights on Nashville, she flew to interviews, accepted a great position at a huge hospital, and located an apartment.  Then she returned home to give notice on her job and old apartment and made arrangements to move.  In the end, she drove herself and her two cats across country to her new home, wanting to be sure they would arrive there safely.  It was her first long distance road trip and again she was unsure if she could do it.  We talked often as she was enroute, and she made it there just fine... again proving to herself that is is capable of more than she believes.

She has lived in her tiny apartment in Nashville for a year and a half now, getting her bearings, settling into her job, and beginning the long hunt for just the right home.  She looked at dozens of houses and even considered having one built but could never find a lot in her price range with plenty of trees.  Finally she saw just the right one and made an instant offer.  (Houses in Nashville are selling so fast that they are off the market within a day or so of being listed.)  She held her breath and was delighted when her offer was approved.  She closed on the house (shown above) this morning, nervous about such a long-term commitment but finding her courage, and as of today is officially a homeowner... and what a beautiful home it is! 

This is the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in her life, I wish her and her furkids many happy years there!  I remind her often of just how far she's come from that trembling woman who had to untie the knot and come to terms with her life unraveling.  The young woman who was so sure she couldn't and wouldn't survive alone (and believe me we all held our breath and prayed... a lot), has proven to herself that she can, she can build her own life and follow her own dreams.  (She had wanted to move to Tennessee from the time she and her ex honeymooned in the mountains there.) 

Just as my life is a testimony to surviving and overcoming, so is my daughter's.  She has joined the "survivors club", and I have no doubt that whatever life brings her way, she will find the strength and courage to face it and get through it.  Life isn't easy, we all go through bad times and heartbreaking experiences.  But when we find ourselves entangled in knots, we can untie them and begin again... always begin again!

As her mother, I am praying that one day God will bring the perfect soulmate into her life, just as He did for me.  She is finally ready for a new relationship to happen because she realizes that she isn't desperate... she doesn't need to find a man or have a man to have a good life, it would just be mighty nice if it happens.  :-)
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I'm linking up with Brenda Youngerman's Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's writing prompt is "knot"

Searching for Answers

Do you watch the TV show "Long Island Medium"?  We do, and it's definitely interesting.  The premise is that dead people use this woman as a medium to relay messages to loved ones they have left behind.  I'm not here to make pass judgment on the authenticity of the show or mediums in general, but one has to admit that it is uncanny (and I'm sure at times a bit unnerving for those involved) how often she is able to provide enough information from the deceased that the family member is quite convinced that the connection is real. I sometimes question her sense of place and timing (such as interrupting a waitress or a store clerk while they are working to give them a message from a departed loved one), but if the show is to believed, it is undeniable that often the messages she relays provide a good measure of comfort and healing to those who receive them. 
 
Have you ever known anyone who had a family member or friend who died that returned in someway to communicate with them either through dreams, a ghostly visit, bringing something symbolic to their awareness, or some other method?  I know quite a few.  I was not able to visit my mother before she died but shortly thereafter I had a very vivid dream in which we met in a place that was familiar to us both, had a heartfelt conversation, and said goodbye.  I woke up crying as I was begging her not to go, but she told me that she had to, it was time.  Although I remember almost nothing of what we talked about, it was very real at the time and I have no doubt that she did indeed give me that opportunity to say goodbye. 
 
In the case of clients on the show, the Long Island Medium is often able to provide answers to things that have been troubling them and preventing them from moving on in life.  Sometimes they want to know what happened - how the death occurred or who was responsible, or if the departed one is at peace, and often if their loved one is going to still be near them and aware of what happens in their lives.  It is the traditional belief of many cultures that the spirits of the dead are not transported to some far off place, but remain ever near us and interacting in our lives, I believe that too.
 
As I thought about the show after watching an episode last week, a question came to mind.  If I had the opportunity, which deceased person that I personally knew would I most like to hear from, and perhaps have questions answered?   I asked Papa Bear, and his response was that he would like to connect with his father who died when he was just three years old.  He has no memories of him.  He said he would like to know if is father is proud of the man he has grown up to be.  I could answer that question for him, any father would be proud to call Papa Bear his son, he is a man who is much loved and respected no only in his family, but throughout the community.  But to him, it was important to know if his father can see him and has been present in his life.
 
For myself, there are of course questions I would love to ask my parents and grandparents, but the one unresolved situation that will haunt me to the end of my days stands out most clearly... my first husband - my daughter's father.  I would so like the opportunity to ask him WHY he did the things he did, and if he has repented of such evil.  Does he feel remorse?  Has he experienced forgiveness?  Is his soul troubled, in a state of anguish, or is it at rest?  And also, did he intentionally cause his own death? I guess on some level a part of me wants to know that a conscience existed somewhere inside his darkness, and that he now realizes how very badly he hurt people who loved him, causing lifelong damage and scars.  I am wanting him to be accountable for his actions. Perhaps that is too much to ask, maybe not. Is there forgiveness in the afterlife? I want to believe there is. Someday we will know for sure.
 
What about you? If you could ask one person you know who has died a question, who would it be and what would you want to ask, what answers are you still searching for?
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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompts this week are search or flight...
come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #29 - Search or Flight

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of  a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The May 28th writing prompts to choose from are Search and Flight... Have Fun!

Awww...Mondays - May 27th

Tiggy at 6 Weeks Old
 
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Charmed, I'm Sure

"How very nice to meet you," said Elise, offering her hand to the well-heeled gentleman she had just been introduced to by her friend Marie. 

"Charmed, I'm sure," Alexander replied, responding with a light touch of his hand, quickly followed by a deep bow and a wide sweep of his hat.

A wide smile spread across his face as he resumed his formal stance and appraised the lovely beauty standing before him.  

Little did he know that Elise had been secretly spying on him in recent weeks, and had her mind set on winning his favor... and eventually his name and fortune.

She smiled back demurely, lightly fingering the silver charm that hung from a narrow ribbon around her neck, and realized that the old woman who gave it to her had been right, it clearly held the power to raise her status - and that of her penniless secret lover as well.

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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "charmed"

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompt for May 28

Two Shoes Tuesday is back!  There are now TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like.

Since the intention is for this to be a creative WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

 I announce the writing prompts for the coming week on Sunday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, May 28th are:
 
 search  or flight
  
I hope you'll join us!

Six Thankful Thoughts on Saturday - May 25th

Things I'm Thankful For This Week 

1) Good memories of my father, who proudly served in the Navy during WWII. I can still see him so clearly, dressed up and wearing his American Legion Commander's cap as he raised the flag in his own yard before heading to the cemetery to participate  in the community Memorial Day Ceremony every year until he died at the age of 84.  My father was a true patriot; there will be red, white, and blue decorations on his grave to honor his memory this coming Monday.

2) A three day weekend, and one of the rare times that Papa Bear actually gets to enjoy a three-day weekend with me! We have no great  plans for work or play other than a bit of yardwork and housework, and some target shooting out back with my new Beretta PX Storm 9 mm handgun - now that we've finally been able to find some ammo to buy for practice! :-)
 
3) My best friend's husband is finally home for a few days after six long weeks of OTR truck driving. Six weeks is a long time to wait, a very long time to be alone for both of them. I can't even begin to fathom what it would be like to spend that much time apart, so I am so extra-happy for them when he finally has a few days off to spend at home with her and their beloved furkids.

4) The adorable little calf that was born over at our neighbor's this week.  It is impossible not to witness new life and not smile.  The neighbors have a dog that stays in the pen to help guard the bull and mama cow from coyotes, and is devoted to them.  We've watched him and the cow playing together on several occasions... chasing each other round and round their little barn.  In fact he is nearly always by her side.  He shows equal pride and care of the new baby, staying close to it as it spent it's first day learning to walk on wobbly legs. 
 
5) The 60 mph winds that hit us Thursday night - just as I had finished writing my post on wind no less - did no real damage and passed through quickly.  It is the first time we've  actually heard the wind whistle through the house out here and it was eerie, making the cats nervous too. If we would have had a shingle roof instead of a metal roof, we  would have been hunting for our shingles all over East Texas!  That's why we had  metal roof put on when it was replaced after a bad hail storm a couple  years ago.  They are becoming more common place in these parts, much more durable. 

6) I've had a lot of old and new friends dropping by my blog this week, and I reinstated my Two Shoes Tuesday writing prompt with a very good initial response. I hope you'll join us there this coming week!  Fellow bloggers are the reason that I love blogging... we inspire and encourage each other, and sometimes we commiserate together.  You all rock my world! :-)

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I'm linking up with Cate at Six Word Saturday...  join us there!

Feline Friday - May 24th

Photo Credit

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I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

And Then There Was Wind

 
Today a fashion-conscious acquaintance posted this as her Facebook status... "Hours spent on my hairdo... And then there was wind."   I have to admit that it made me laugh.  Life is so like that, isn't it? I washed my car... and then there was rain.  I polished my furniture... and then there was a dust storm.  I put on my nicely cleaned and pressed black pants for work... and then one of my long-haired furkids rubbed against my leg to say goodbye.  I filled a Solo cup with ice and sweet tea... and then Tiggy decided to fish for the ice, tipping the whole cup off the end table in the process.  I wore a shirt with wide black and white stripes... and then I spilled my lunch - on the white stripes of course!
 
It often seems like our best efforts and plans go haywire. Some days I can  laugh it off and smile... like when Tiggy jumped off the table as the spilled tea flooded across her feet and onto the floor, and then did her best to look innocent.  Then there are days when I am tired and it seems like just one more little thing going wrong is too much to bear - and I  grumble and rumble and occasionally break into tears. That's called being human too.  Later on I'm usually willing to admit that I might have overreacted a just a little bit.
 
I think the important thing is not so much that we handle every situation with dignity and grace, but that we are able to dust ourselves off and get on with life, and that we don't let it become bigger in our minds than it really is.  God isn't angry with me if it rains on my clean car, and the bundt cake breaking when I take it out of the pan isn't truly the end of the world... "cake" happens. :-)
 
One more thing that it's important to understand at times like this... bad things happen to ALL of us - don't take it personally!  Life isn't out to get me, it isn't only me that has bad things happen, I am not the most unfortunate person on the face of the earth!  Everybody has things go wrong in their lives now and then; if someone appears to have the ideal life with no problems,  they are probably just very good at keeping it to themselves. 
 
Don't let the ups and downs of life defeat you, don't let tripping over a speed bump on the road be a reason to turn back, and don't let a difficult moment become an excuse for a bad day, or a bad week, or an unhappy life!  Learn to laugh at yourself and the things that befall you... if you're life is anything like mine, you will never run out of reasons! :-) 
 
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Inside Looking Out

Just like the cat in this picture, I've spent much of my life looking out the window and thinking that things must surely be more interesting out there. 
 
I attended grade school in an old three story building that had a wall of big windows in each classroom.  I spent many an hour gazing out the windows, waiting for time to pass and wishing I was out there.  School came easy for me, and despite getting good grades, teachers often complained to my parents that I spent too much time daydreaming.  Indeed I did.  I watched children playing on the playground, cars travelling down the street, squirrels leaping in the tree branches overhead.  I watched the seasons change and delighted when the first snowflakes began to fall. 
 
 By the time I reached high school my fantasies about escaping out the classroom window were more dramatic, often wishing I could just slip out and disappear across the flat rooftops of the adjoining buildings unnoticed. Although I did well in my classes, I did not enjoy the experience, and school was not where I wanted to be.  From time to time I mentioned to fellow classmates that I wanted to blow up the building, and we laughed.  Now days that kind of conversation would result in serious problems with the law!
 
Not long after high school came of terrifying stretch of confinement that I wrote about here. Once again I found myself staring out of windows, this time wire-covered, watching autumn turn to winter and praying I would soon be free. 

The years that followed brought a string of marriages and moves.  I found myself often staring out of windows late at night with a tear-stained face and wishing I could run from the confines of my life to other places far away.  Admittedly, these were prisons of my own making, far easier to find myself in than to escape.

All of that is in the past now, I gaze out the windows of our little house out in the country, just as our cats do, watching the sun and moon chase each other across the wide canopy of sky, and I think about at all the strange turns in life that brought me here to this place of real love and inner peace.

Monday through Friday I sit at the desk in my ninth floor office, in a space that has no windows at all.  I miss being able to watch the unfolding seasons, which seem to come and go so quickly now that I am older.  I do not daydream about great wealth or big adventures,  but just as I did way back then in grade school and every year of my life thereafter...  I find myself longing to escape this box that confines me, to be on the outside of the windows and living free.

I smile in the knowledge that some day I will indeed be free not only of the confines of rooms - with or without windows, but also of this tired and tattered body... one day not so very far down the road from now I will at long last fly away and be truly free!

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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompts this week are beginning or window...
come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #28 - Beginning or Window

Welcome to the return of Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write to share their creative efforts!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of  a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The May 21st writing prompts to choose from for are Beginning and Window... Have Fun!

Awww...Mondays - May 20th

Photo Credit
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays
 

Bowing Out

An email arrives from my father's girlfriend, asking if I'd like to chip in on Memorial Day flowers for my father's grave.  The email has also been sent to my two sisters.  "Sure", I write back, "that sounds nice; let me know how much money to send." 

It isn't long before a second email arrives from her... "Your younger sister says she has it already covered, and doesn't feel there's a need for more than one arrangement." 

"Ok," I respond, "whatever works for her is fine with me."

A day later an email arrives from my older sister, cc'ing her response to dad's girlfriend that she'd like to chip in, and asking what my thought are on it.  I write her back, telling her it seems that little sister has the situation under control and I think it's best to leave it that way (a subtle way of saying that I am bowing out of the issue.)

Today a follow-up email comes from dad's girlfriend.  It says she went to the cemetery yesterday and a Memorial Day arrangement is already in place, presumably the one placed there by my younger sister.  Ok then, that covers it.

Any of you who've been reading hear for some time, will remember an earlier incident, not too many  months after my father's passing three years ago, in which who would be doing cemetery decorations when and paid for how became an issue of contest.  Then a year or so ago there was a similar showdown over the purchase of a tree for cemetery landscaping project.  We all chipped in on that, but my older and younger sister sparred of which kind of tree was to be selected from the list.  I bowed out on that one too, saying that I'd be happy with whichever tree was chosen.

Similar scenarios between me and my two sisters have played out for all of our lives (and we are now all over the age of fifty).  Everything has to be  a contest of wills, someone must be right and someone wrong, someone has to win and someone has to loose - compromise is out of the question. 

In years past I was often drawn into such frays, being the middle-child I  became the center-point in the tug of war; to win me over to your side was to have the advantage.  In recent years, I've learned the folly of allowing myself to take sides and be sucked into the game.  Whatever they decide is fine with me. I may have an opinion or a preference, but I'm not about to state it if it means that one will feel victorious over the other and yet another contest of wills, and volley of nasty email exchanges will commence.

I've learned that, in the big picture of life, who buys the flowers, or which tree is planted on the hill is incredibly unimportant. I am happy that it gets done; how they work it out is up to them to decide. Most often it's easiest to let my little sister have her way, she is the most emotional of us three, and the most likely to ramp up the level of drama.  My older sister can also be quite stubborn and set on having it her way, and is prone to unpredictable outbursts.  Almost always the issues at contest are as petty as who buys the flowers for dad's grave this year or who didn't handle something  right twenty years ago!

I close the last email, then shake my head sadly.  I'm sure mom and dad are doing the same in Heaven.  Some things never change.  Is it any wonder that it is so hard to bring peace to the world, when three sisters can't find a way to collaborate on flowers?  Sometimes I'm ashamed to admit I'm related... and they wonder why I keep my emotional distance and have chosen for all these years to live so far away from home. They can be in charge of flowers, I will honor my father with memories of my own.

Two Shoes Tuesday is Back!

By special request, my Two Shoes Tuesday writing prompt is returning beginning May 21st!  In addition to a bright new pair of shoes, I am going to implement a couple other changes...

There will be TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you! You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Since the intention is for this to be a creative WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

In adding your post to the Mr. Linky, your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday. It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine.

I will announce the writing prompts for the coming on Sunday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, May 21st are:
 
 beginning  or window
 
I look forward to seeing you here next Tuesday!

Six Thankful Thoughts on Saturday - May 18th

Things I'm Thankful For This Week 

1) A somewhat slower week at the office, and being caught up on paperwork when I left Friday.  Monday is so much easier to face when you know that your desk isn't stacked high and waiting for you!
 
2) If last night was a good indication, the music festival down the road isn't going to be a noise problem. We could hear the drums as we went to sleep, and Papa Bear could hear someone singing when he walked on the deck in the wee hours to relieve leg cramps, but it was distant. Whew! I love quiet and privacy so much, especially after the noisy work week, I am glad it will continue uninterrupted!
 
Speaking of drums, one of my favorite memories is falling asleep to the sound of drums when I attended a Sun Dance on the Pine Ridge Reservation many years ago. We were camping out at the Sun Dance grounds, and dancing continued as we fell asleep. It is true what they say, that the drumbeat is the heartbeat of creation. I think it is the most tranquilizing sound that I  know.
 
3) Papa Bear repairing the watering system for our two little globe willow trees, meaning he no longer has to haul buckets of water to them at the end of a long, tiring day.  Just in time too, as our temps are now up in the 100 range (105 yesterday), and  those little trees will need big gulps to keep them going.  They have done amazingly well in the last two years since we planted them, fingers crossed!  Papa Bear is a multi-talented fix-it man and has saved us a fortune with his do-it-yourself skills over the years. 
 
4) Finding a rental cottage at Ft. Davis for the three day weekend we are taking to celebrate Papa Bear's upcoming 60th birthday in June.  Ft. Davis is a small town lies at the foot of a small range of "mountains" and his wish was for a nice place to kick back, relax, and enjoy the view.  There are no large hotels there and rooms are booked way in advance.  We lucked out in finding a perfect little spot on the edge of town.  It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive from here, which isn't too bad. We live pretty much in the middle of nowhere and he didn't want to drive a great distance for a weekend stay.  This will be fun. We love little getaways.  Maybe we will take in a star-gazing party at the observatory there. Turning sixty is a fun reason to celebrate, although I tease him about being married to an old man. My turn is coming  up eight months after his, so I really can't say too much!
 
5) Our office closing early yesterday - at 1 PM, giving me time to go and get my Escape washed, it has been begging for a bath for almost two months.  The only time I am usually able to go to the car wash is on Saturday, and the lines are even longer then.  If I ran a business, it would always close at 1 PM on Friday, it gives a nice start to the weekend! If you haven't taken care of your business by then, it is probably something that can wait until next week.  (Though I am always surprised by the number of people that call our office five minutes before closing everyday.)
 
6) Making it to our tiny town  Post Office customer counter with just four minutes to spare to retrieve the package my son sent me.  They close at 4 PM, so I am never able to go during the week. My car wash took much longer than anticipated, but now that I am done grumbling about that , I am thankful that I was done just in time to make a flying trip to the PO.  The reward was sweet... a delicious box of fudge sent by my son!  He ordered it from River Street Sweets - the shop we both enjoyed so much when we visited Savannah... good treat, great memories!

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I'm linking up with Cate at Six Word Saturday...  join us there!

A Little Grumbling

Ok, it doesn't take much to get me grumbling, that's already well-documented on my blog. Usually I start to grumble when I get frustrated about things that I have no control over... because we all know that - in a perfect world - everyone would do things in ways that I would please me. Right?  :-) Well, ok, maybe not, but there's just a few little things bloggers sometimes do, or  in some cases don't do, that make me grumpy... you know - like that now famous cat with the permanently unhappy face.  I'd appreciate it if you'd take a minute to consider these notes, for what they're worth... my opinion.  Rebuttal comments are welcome, if done respectfully. 

 If you want me to comment on your blog, PLEASE make it possible for me to do that.  I had to obtain a Wordpress ID (although I don't actually maintain a Wordpress blog) just so that I could comment on other Wordpress blogs without filling in all the blanks on the comment form each and every time.  Ok, I did it and I got over it, because there were some good thing out there to read that I wanted to respond to.   Now we have a new thing going - Google+.  It appears that the only way I can comment on Google+ blog posts is to have a Google+ ID, so I tried that.  But... Google+ will not allow me to set up an  ID under the name Josie Two Shoes, because it doesn't accept it as a real name.  Humpf!  Maybe it's not my given name, but I've been  using in for several years now and it is the name I'm known by in Blogland.  I have an email address for that ID too.  I tried to explain the desire/need to keep my given name disassociated with my blog, but frankly my dear, they didn't give a damn.  Sooo...  if you are blogging with Google+, and you are linked up on any of the writing prompts or blog hops I participate in, be aware that I do read your post, but can't comment, and eventually I'll quit reading your blog altogether because it frustrates me to be excluded. 

I think plenty has already been said about word verification/captcha crap on commenting.  Bottom line, yes - I understand that spam can be a problem, though it hasn't been in my experience, but if you must use word verification, choose some kind that can be easily deciphered.  Blogger's captcha with the fuzzy made-up word and blurry number photo is one of the worst.  Usually, I'll give it one try, maybe two for something I'd really like to say... after that, forget it, I'm moving on to other blogs.  Why should I have to be tortured just to tell you that I really liked what you had to say?!

While on the topic of blog communication - here's another that bugs me.  No email address to be found on the blog or the blogger's profile.  Why not?  Yes, I know... it's the spam thing again, and it can be a problem with publicized email addresses.  There is a very simple solution... get a separate email address that you use strictly for your blog... such as my jts.2000 address listed on my blog and profile.  Then the pea brain spammers can send all the crap they want, you will still be able to receive things like emails from me telling you how great I think your blog is, or about an broken link, or some such important communication.  Maybe I even want to invite you over to my house for BBQ! 

Another note on profiles... and this is just my personal feeling... I sure like to be able to go to someone's profile or About Me page and learn at least a little something about them as a human being.  When there is nothing that tells me a single thing about you it begins to feel a little too mysterious.  You don't have to add your photo, street address and phone number, but just a little bit of personal info makes it feel like I am connecting with another person and not a robot or some creepy guy who pretends to be the sweet ol' lady down the street.  Are you young or old?  What part of the world do you live in?  A little bit about your background  or personality  or something?? Please!

Final complaint, and then I promise to call it enough...  If  you are participating in a writing prompt or blog hop, for Heaven's sake link a post that actually has some relationship to the prompt or theme.  People don't go thru the effort to set up these prompts and blog hops just to provide you with a way to publicize your own blog disregarding any rules/requests they post about participation.  I can't tell you how many times I click on a link and find myself searching for a related post and end  up scratching my head, thinking WTH!  This is NOT an effective means of increasing your readership.  I can guarantee  you that I won't be staying or commenting, I don't enjoy blogging with folks who are self-serving and who never come around to visit, just want you to visit them.  It's supposed to be a two-way street, that's the whole concept... SHARING!  

An additional note on linking to prompts... if you write one post and link it up to four or five different prompts, you are either amazingly good at covering all the bases in one effort, or you're really stretching on finding a connection to each prompt.  How about pick your favorite one or two for that post, where it fits best, and go with that.  I don't want to have to guess how your post relates to the theme of the week.  Abstract is cool but sometimes it seems to be exceeding the limit, and once again using someone's blog  hop or writing prompt for self-promotion.  Think PARTICIPATION!

Note to those who manage blog hops or writing prompts... please delete links that lead to an entire blog or a post that has absolutely no discernible relevance to your prompt/theme.  It's YOUR game, you make the rules... and you have the right to enforce them!  It will make it a more user-friendly place to visit for those of us who want to participate but  don't have a lot of extra time or patience to sift thru all the riff-raff to find the good stuff!

Ok, Josie climbing off her soapbox now, I feel so much better for having gotten all that off my chest! You may return to your regular blogging rounds, I'm done grumbling... for today! :-))

Thunder In The Country

This coming weekend the Texas Thunder Country Music Festival is taking place here.  The three-day festival has been organized as a fundraiser for the people of West, Texas - the city where the fertilizer plant explosion recently occurred.  Texans helping out fellow Texans - that's a good thing! 

What's not so good?  Well, this event is being held less than three miles from our house and they are anticipating a crowd of over 20,000 people!  Primitive camping spots will be available, and it is guaranteed to be an all out party atmosphere - alcohol included.  We will most likely be able to enjoy the music from the comfort of our hot tub, so I hope we like the bands!  Papa Bear has to be up early for work on Saturday morning; hopefully his ear plugs will be sufficient if the bands play late on Friday night! 

Our biggest concern is that the festival site is  just off Highway 158, the small rural highway that runs East-West just a mile from our house.  It is the ONLY road accessible to us and to everyone attending the concert, and it is by no means equipped to handle that kind of traffic!  Additionally, there are only two tiny convenience stores in Gardendale, that's it for amenities.  This means many of the weekend concertgoers will likely be travelling to and from Odessa or Midland if they want to stay in hotels or eat something other than what food vendors have available.  Bottom line... we anticipate of  weekend of traffic problems and noise... hopefully we'll survive it.  Praying that everyone in attendance survives it too, and that there are no serious accidents or fatalities - we've had enough deaths on that stretch of highway already.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Come What May

 
"Come what may"... it was her father's favorite expression.  Ruby thought of that now as she trudged through the snow at the cemetery.  She came here often to talk to him, especially when life was hard.  She wished that she was stronger, like he had always been. 
 
They'd gone through more than their share of troubles when she was growing up.  Ruby's mother had been killed in a car accident when she was very small - too small to remember her, but her dad was determined to raise Ruby on his own.  He worked hard on their small farm - some years the crops did well, and other years they failed, sometimes everything looked promising until harvest time, then a hail storm would come through and level the field, or grasshoppers would come and devour it almost overnight.  At those times Ruby saw the weariness in her father's eyes, but he  always pulled her close and told her "Come what may, Ruby girl, we will get through this and anything else that comes our way.  Bad times just make you celebrate the good times all the more."   And they did get through it, and no matter how tight the money was, he always made sure that Ruby had what she needed, and a few little special things too. 
 
As Ruby grew older she learned to help her Dad around the farm, first with tending the garden and gathering eggs, then feeding the pigs and milking their few cows.  As soon as her legs were long enough to reach the pedals she was taking turns at driving the tractor and learning what it took to make a crop grow.  Her dad was proud of how well she did in school, and wanted her to go to college and get a fancy well-paying job somewhere; but Ruby wouldn't hear of it, her heart was as connected to their land as his was.  She loved their farm and couldn't imagine ever leaving; her father understood.
 
A couple years out of high school the boy from down the road that had always fancied Ruby, got the courage to ask her father for her hand.   Ruby remember how her father's eyes shined with pride the day he walked her down the wedding aisle, and how pleased he was when Lee agreed to come and work the farm with Ruby now that he was getting older and stepping back a bit. 
 
It was that next winter that Ruby's Dad took sick.  She watched as he kept losing weight and fussed about him going to the doctor.  She knew just how bad he was feeling when he finally agreed to go.  The news wasn't good; his days on earth were numbered. "How can I survive without you," she sobbed in her father's arms. 
 
"Come what may, Darlin', you'll get through it, just like we always have.  You've got Lee now, and I know you'll be ok." Ruby held those words close to her heart and somehow found strength in his belief in her.   It wasn't long after his death that a new baby girl came home to the farm. 
 
Then came the horrible day when a neighbor came pounding loudly on their door.  Startled, Ruby answered it to see Jake from across the road standing there ashen faced, and hat in hand.  "There's been a bad accident Ruby," he stammered. "We found Lee's tractor tipped over in the field."  She soon learned that Lee had been crushed beneath it when it fell. 
 
As she stood there at the funeral, her young daughter holding tightly to her hand, she heard her father's words as clearly as if he was standing right next to her, "Come what may, Darlin', you'll get through it," and she wondered if just maybe he was there with her.  Reaching down to gather her daughter into her arms, she knew that he was right... no matter how bad things felt right now, she would get through it, and teach her daughter how to face life squarely, come what may.
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I'm linking up with Keith Hillman's Carry On Tuesday 
where the prompt this week is "come what may" 

Awww...Mondays - May 13th

Our first great-grandchild Cole Wayne L.
Born at 3:40 am this morning - 8lbs 13ozs and 20 inches long!
 
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays
 


The Space In Between

Today is Mother's Day, yet another holiday that is sweetness tinged with sadness.  I think that tends to come with age. My own mother died nearly twenty years ago, my paternal grandmother several years before that, and my maternal grandmother when I was very young - I barely remember her. John's mother also died more than twenty years ago, so there is no one to visit or call, or to send gifts and flowers.  The mother of two of John's daughters, that he was married to for twenty eight years, died twelve year ago.  Precious women that are no longer in our lives.

Our own five children are grown and scattered to the wind, none within close driving distance. I will hear from them today, and have received cards and gifts in the mail.  They are thoughtful, caring children, all of them, and in that we are so very blessed.  But they are not here to share the day with me.  On a day designed to celebrate motherhood, it is too quiet, and their absence is too keenly felt.

My heart replays memories of my own childhood, and of my children's childhood too. I am almost sixty now, how did all those years pass so quickly? 

We have grandchildren, six of them, that are technically John's, but who have all been gracious to accept me as their own.  I also have one child and one grandchild in Heaven that I didn't have the privilege of knowing in this life, but will someday. How I look forward to that! 

Tomorrow, there is a new life coming into the world... John's oldest grandson is about to become a father for the first time, his son is scheduled to make an appearance in the morning, or as his delightful mom states it, he is going to be "evicted" from his nice comfy space and lifted kicking and howling into the world, ready or not.  That would be enough to make me cry too!

Tomorrow, we will officially become great-grandparents... that is a wonderful reason to celebrate, even though we will have to be content with pictures and reports as this little guy will enter the world in Arkansas, too far for us to witness is birth.  He'll be joining a very excited big brother who turns four in a couple weeks... and a new generation begins.

But for today, it is quiet here, and as a mother I find myself somewhere in the space in between.

Feline Friday - May 10th

Tiggy... in the Bag!

The Request

Woman Sitting On Park Bench by Stephanie Frey
 
The call came in on my cellphone while I was at work.  I didn't recognize the area code or the number, but I answered anyway, as I most often do. One never knows when it might be important. 

A soft-spoken female identified herself as Mary and said, "You don't know me personally, but I have something important to give to you.  Please meet me in the park today at five p.m.,  I'll be sitting on the bench near the road."

I paused for a moment, wondering who she was and what this could possibly be about.  Then I asked,  "How will I know it's you?  What do you look like?"

"I have dark hair and I'll be wearing a long white dress, that will be easy to spot," she said lightly.  Her friendly tone drew me in. I couldn't see much harm in showing up to check this out.

"Ok, I'll be there," I told her. The hours seemed to crawl by at work, and  I was so glad when closing time finally came.  I hurried down the hall to the elevator, then out the door and across the parking lot to my car.

"You sure are in a rush to escape today, got a hot date or something?" teased a coworker when I didn't participate in the usual end of day chatter before we went our separate ways.  I laughed and let that one go, not wanting to provide any information in case this turned out to be a prank call or some weird hoax.

Arriving at the park, I discovered that the parking lot was nearly deserted, as was the park itself.  I saw a lady who fit the description sitting on a bench near the road, just as she said she'd be.  From a distance she looked to be fairly young, maybe late thirties or early forties, and I wondered why she'd wear a long dress with full sleeves on such a hot Texas afternoon.  White dresses and dusty park benches didn't seem like such good combination, but maybe she wasn't concerned about that.

I approached her and she stood to greet me with a gentle handshake and a smile.  Her blue eyes sparkled with light, and I felt immediately comfortable as she motioned for me to join her on the bench.  Reaching into her pocket she produced a square white envelope inscribed with my first name in beautiful flowing script.  "We have a mutual acquaintance that has asked me to give this to you," she said, handing me the envelope. 

Ever curious, I asked "Why didn't he - or she - just give to me directly?"

At that a smile spread across her face and she almost chuckled, "Well, he doesn't live here, though he does stop through from time to time."  Hmmm, I thought, mentally inventorying the list of guys I know who live out of town.  No one came to mind who would go to this much trouble to give me a message.

I turned the envelope over to find a red wax seal that bore the imprint of two hands, one crossed over the other.  I'd never seen anything like it before, and certainly didn't know anyone that was prone to using fancy stationary and wax seals.  This must be something pretty interesting, I thought to myself as I started to open it.

Just then Mary stood and announced that she'd be leaving so I could read the content in privacy since her duty to make sure the letter had been delivered safely was complete.  Before she left, she put her hand gently on my shoulder and said, "Take some time before you respond to the letter, think it over, the choice you make is important."  Then she turned and headed down the path and disappeared into the trees.

I sat there for a minute, thinking that her comment certainly sounded ominous; this was all becoming rather strange.  Taking a deep breath, I broke the seal, opened the envelope, and carefully removed the folded piece of linen stationery.  Opening it, I found a handwritten note that began with the words... "I have a special assignment for you that could save someone's life...."

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I'm linking up with Msrupole's Theme Thursday 
where the prompt this week is "mysterious"

Quiet In The Corner

People who have met me thru my blog are often surprised and sometimes a bit doubtful when I tell them that I am shy and reclusive.  Josie Two Shoes here is on occasion quite revealing, often verbose, and sometimes very outspoken.  It's easy to be myself here, on the illuminated screen, where I don't have to face questioning glances or judgmental eyes.  People who have been reading here for awhile know me far better than most of the people in my everyday life, including relatives and "friends".

In real life, I abhor crowds, social situations with a code of dress and conduct, even small groups of  people I don't know.  A table full of women oohing and ahhing over the latest high dollar shoes or purse does nothing for me. I feel like the child raised by wolves at their table.  I wear sandals, the same pair, day after day after day, they are comfortable. Does it really matter?  I wear very little makeup, often none, and my long coarse hair in the varied shades or brown turning silver, flies wild and free, often looking like I didn't bother to take a brush to it.  I like it that way, it's me.  Yes, I could style it or curl it or pull it up in some fancy do, but I am not that, I am just me.

Because I am disinterested in superficial conversation, and have little to contribute to the chatter, I remain quiet and keep track of time, tensing in my chair until I can come  up with a plausible excuse to enact an escape. Sometimes being in a group can be the loneliest place of all.

My coworkers know very little of me, a lesson learned the hard way quite a few years ago. Keep your personal life separate from your work life . Be cordial, friendly, and caring.  Visit a bit about your weekend or kids or whatever, but leave the drama at home, and don't get involved in other folks' drama.  If you were to ask any of my coworkers ten basic questions about me I really doubt they could answer, other than that they know I love cats, purple, seafood and blogging, because I spend most of my noon-hours doing it.  Yet none of them was ever curious enough to ask what I write about. I am twenty five years older than everyone else there, I am the old woman, no one cares. But my age serves me well when it comes to relating to our clients and empathizing with their plights.

However, you can put me in a chair across from any person in the world - any age, rank, or status - just the two of us (or maybe a threesome :-), and I could spend hours having a wonderful conversation, thinking up an endless stream of questions to cover and topics to discuss.  I am intensely interested in people - in their individuality. I do not have a group mentality.  I do not see myself as higher or lower than anyone, we all "put our pants on one leg at a time" as the saying goes. We have more in common than we have different, if we get down to the heart of the matter, and everyone who lives and breathes has a story worth hearing, if you can get them to share it!

So yes, at a dinner party or a group function, I am most often the one sitting quietly or hanging tightly to Papa Bear's hand, and wishing I could disappear.  I do not belong - it's like the lone cat sitting in a room full of canines! I am happiest when I am home, with my Papa Bear or alone, with my furkids, sitting right here sharing myself with you.  This is not a created me, an image for imaginary friends as some have suggested... here you have the real me, out there in the real world I am the quiet one in the corner. 

Not All About Me

During the April A-Z Challenge, all twenty-six posts were about me, and I labeled them such.  In reality, quite a few of my posts are about me.  I suppose that's  probably to be expected considering the nature of my blog, though I do throw in some fictional short stories, and a few posts related to other people, things and places for good measure. 

What about in everyday life, are you one of those folks who tends to think that everything is about them?  I'm not really talking about the people who believe they are the center of the universe and all attention should focus on them, though that kind of person can be very tiring to be around, and they also tend to be very jealous of anyone else who might be drawing just a bit of attention away.

On another level, I must confess that I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that it is all about me when it comes to what other people are thinking and saying - or not saying.  When I walk into a room and it suddenly grows quiet, I am quick to assume that they must have been talking about me.  If someone I know is being extra quiet, then it must have something do with me.  If they make a remark that seems a bit cryptic, well most certainly they're referring to me!  See what I mean?  Sometimes we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget people have other things going on in their lives besides our presence, when just maybe it had nothing to do with us at all!

I've had to work hard to redirect my own sense of self worth to believe that not everyone is thinking or saying something negative about me, and in fact maybe they aren't thinking about me at all!  Really, to fall into the trap of believing it's always got something to do with you is rather egotistical in a twisted sort of way.  I'm learning, slowly, to let  go of that line of thinking.  The truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, it is simply NOT all about me!  And really, that's a good thing... it means I'm off the hook, and I can invest my energy in more important things than worrying about what I did wrong now, or what someone else thinks of me! :-)

Aww...Mondays #179

Sophie lovin' on her Daddy
 
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Fuzzy

Clara chuckled when her young daughter Grace named the stray kitten Fuzzy, scruffy would have been more accurate.  It's long fur was ragged, dirty and matted.  She couldn't help but feel sorry for the little thing when she first spied it hiding in the bushes beside the old shed.  They started leaving out dishes of food and water, and within a week's time Fuzzy began to come out warily for dinner while she and Grace stood a distance away watching, and talking to the kitten in gentle tones. 
 
It wasn't long before Fuzzy was scampering across the grass to greet Grace, and reaching tentatively to her fingers for a treat or a quick kiss.  When fall came they made Fuzzy a soft bed in the garage and put a cat door in for her.  Fuzzy was growing big and her fur began to shine with frequent grooming and good food.  Her eyes were bright and she often crawled into Grace's lap for petting when Grace sat on the garage step talking to her. 
 
As winter grew close and the weather got colder, Grace worried about Fuzzy keeping warm, and she convinced her mom that it was time to let Fuzzy come inside.  After being coaxed into a pet carrier for a ride to the vet for an exam, shots, and spaying, Fuzzy came home to her wonderful new life as the princess in Grace's life.  Fuzzy remained Grace's best friend and  confidante until she passed over the Rainbow Bridge at the age of fifteen.  Her passing left a huge hole in Grace's heart, and Clara missed her too.  She had been such a sweet and gentle cat, a wonderful pet! 
 
Then one day as Grace was returning home from school she saw a small kitten watching her from underneath the corner of the shed.  She could see that it was meant to be white, but was so dirty that it appeared more gray.  Soon the food dish and water were back in service, and a new friendship was in the making.  Grace named the kitten Fuzzy Tu, and was certain that she arrived as a gift from Fuzzy, her beloved kitty angel; her Mom thought she just might be right. 
 
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Written in Honor of National Pet Week - May 5-11, 2013
I'm linking up with Meghan Genge's  Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "fuzzy" 
 

Up Up And Away

The morning of the Balloon Fiesta dawned bright and clear; before long dozens of huge, colorful balloons were inflated and beginning to lift off.  The crowd below watched the spectacle in awe as balloon rose slowly, caught the current and drifted across the sky.  The Fiesta included several challenges for the balloonists, and competition was stiff for the heavy prize purse being offered.    No one on the ground knew what happened as the balloons jostled for position and frequently bumped against one another. They didn't see Jonas' outstretched hand with the knife blade extended just beyond, but they screamed in horror as one of the lead balloons ripped wide open and the balloon plummeted downward, it's basket smashing to pieces on the ground.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "festival"

Six Thankful Thoughts on Saturday - May 4th

Things I'm Thankful For This Week 
 
1) The wonderful memories we have from our week of vacation in Savannah. That place is such a well-kept secret; we absolutely loved it there and will return again someday.  It is like nowhere else I've ever been.  All those trees are just amazing, I love trees!
 
2) My four furbabies survived the week while we were away just fine. It's hard to leave them, and I worry about them when I'm gone. They were mighty happy to have us home again!
 
3) A drama-free work week, enabling us to work together as a team to accomplish more, despite an extremely heavy workload.
 
4) Learning that everything has been approved for my daughter's purchase of a new home, and closing is set for the end of the month. She's been living in apartments for the last three years and is so ready to have a home of her own again, and this is a very beautiful home.
 
5) Finding out that the chest pain and tightness I was experiencing was a bad respiratory infection, and nothing more serious.
 
6) Hearing that the delivery date for our first great-grandchild is less than two weeks away!  I wish they lived closer, but it's exciting none the less.  We can't wait for this little guy to arrive safely!  His daddy is John's oldest grandson.

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I'm linking up with Cate at Six Word Saturday...  join us there!

Not What It Used To Be

I felt it coming on yesterday, tightness in my chest making it hard to get my breath, aching, a low-grade fever.  I woke  up at 5 AM and again at 6 AM struggling to get my breath. The second time I sat on the edge of the bed because I felt like I was suffocating when I laid down. I have asthma, and an attack can sometimes feel similar to this  so I decided to go do an Albuterol breathing treatment with the nebulizer before getting ready for work.  I did that, and it offered almost no relief.  Feeling lousy, I decided to forgo the shower and shampoo, pulled my hair in to a ponytail and headed down the road to work. 

As I travelled the twenty miles to town each breath was painful, and I realized that I needed to do something before I found myself in a bad situation.  I phoned my supervisor and then headed over to my doctor's office, which thankfully opens at 8 AM.  I was waiting on their doorstep and managed to get seen before they started in on scheduled appointments.  After an exam, followed by a precautionary x-ray, EKG and blood work, and it was determined that I have a really bad respiratory infection, maybe something I contracted from last weekend's airplane travel in crowded cabins.  Two shots, two prescriptions and another box of Albuterol ampules for the nebulizer, and I was sent home and ordered to stay inside and away from blowing dirt that would aggravate the problem, which made me smile, because at this time of year in West Texas that would require tying a garbage bag over your head to go outside.

I headed over to our local pharmacy to drop off my prescriptions, thinking that my husband could pick them up on his way home after work, since they are never able to fill anything in less than an hour or two.  I pass them to the tech in the CVS drive-thru window and he informs me that he is sorry but they won't be ready for pick up until sometime tomorrow.  WHAT?  Tomorrow?  He says they are short-staffed and running behind, still filling scripts from yesterday.  Good Lord!  I need the medication to start working it's magic today, not sometime tomorrow!  Apparently acute med prescriptions don't go to the head of the line, nor do walk in customers, as used to be the case back in the good old days when you could sit on the chairs and wait for them to get filled within twenty minutes or so. 

When I said that simply wasn't acceptable, that I truly needed the medications to address the pain I was experiencing while breathing, he suggested that I drive to the newly opened CVS across town and see if they might be able to do it sooner.   Not feeling up to contemplating a change of pharmacy companies today, I decided to try that.  Arriving at the new CVS, I was met by the pharmacist himself at the drive-thru window and I explained my predicament.  He looked out the window and noted that no one was in line behind me, then told me to wait and that he would fill them immediately.  In fifteen minutes time I had both prescriptions filled and paid for and was on my way home, grateful that the new CVS wasn't as backed up as the old one.  Before leaving I had him transfer all my prescription records to the new location, and Papa Bear will do the same.  The other one is so overloaded and understaffed that it is not unusual to sit in the drive-thru waiting line or inside at the counter line for thirty minutes or more when picking up refills.  Hopefully having two stores will improve the flow of traffic.  I was so very appreciative of his willingness to stop whatever he was doing and fill them right then. 

Variations of this story are being played out all over Odessa, due to the huge oil-boom we are experiencing and the shortage of housing and service industry employees.  Every business in town has signs up advertising for help, they are desperate.  That also means that they aren't able to pick and choose and have to pretty  much hire whatever walks thru the door, and keep them if they do even a half-decent job on the days they do show up to work.  It's a sad situation, and it is so frustrating!

Gone are the days of outstanding customer service that I remember growing up with, and I certainly do miss that.  We are supposed to experience another massive influx of oilfield business in the months ahead, great for the economy, but hell for the folks who live here.  We simply don't have the infrastructure or workforce to support it, and it isn't going to get better any time soon.

Oh well, it is what it is, and counting my blessings that at least for today my needs were met. I am thankful for the doctor's office that got me in quickly and the pharmacist that kindly filled my prescriptions.  I am thankful for my beloved Papa Bear who brought home supper for us, and for my furkids that cuddle up and keep me company while I'm snuggled into the reclining sofa with my blanket.  I'm not feeling great tonight, breathing is still labored and painful, but in a day or so those shots will kick in, and then the pills will take over, and by Monday I should be good to go.  Remembering to count my blessings, I am also grateful the problem wasn't something more serious, I had to admit that it was a little scary.   Once again, I know that God was looking out for me today.