Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Betwixt and Between

 

          

September is betwixt and between the hot days of summer and the cooler days of fall.  Change is definitely a hallmark of the month.  It’s been painful to recover from the botched Afghanistan exit and then remember the almost 3,000 people who died twenty years ago on September 11. We wished for the times when as Americans we were more united in purpose and politics wasn’t as poisonous as it is today.

The weather changed after Labor Day just like it did when I was a girl.  In upstate New York, going back to school the day after Labor Day meant fall and winter clothes.  It would always warm up for another week or so, but you knew that the short summer was over. Here is Georgia, the 90s of August are history and the much cooler nights and mid-80 days call for a lightweight sweater. The days are getting shorter and the nights longer as we head toward the first day of fall on September 22.

Charles and I are heading to the North Georgia mountains.  Both of us need to recover from sickness as well as the aches and pains of growing old.  Relaxation beside a lake will do both of us good and prepare us to come home to a busy fall.  It’s also time to stock up on the blueberry jam, apple pies, and breads at Panorama Apple Barn. We are headed back into birthday season for several family members, and the holidays will soon be here.

On Thursday, we returned from Hiawassee, GA where we enjoyed the 80-degree weather on beautiful Lake Chatuge.  We reserved a boat at the Ridges marina on Tuesday and were surprised to receive a major upgrade.  The crew gave us a beautiful twelve-person luxury boat to take out on the lake. Since it was past the busy season, there were few other renters. We floated and relaxed for two hours surrounded by mountain vistas and water as smooth as glass. A tinge of orange and red was visible in the trees and we could only anticipate the lake surrounded by color in another six weeks. 




Fall used to make me sad with remembrances of losses and difficult challenges. Instead, I have decided to embrace joy this year and be thankful for whatever comes my way.  I will do my best to place every day in God’s hands knowing that He is in charge and control of my life.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Covid/Chaos

 

Chaos is defined in the online dictionary as “complete disorder and confusion.”


That’s what it felt like when I was diagnosed with Covid.  I was a walking target. Since I couldn’t take the vaccine, I knew at some point I would get sick. My prayer was that I would not get so sick I had to be hospitalized.

On my fourth day of symptoms, I went to Acworth Health Park Urgent Care.  The wait time was listed at three hours since the waiting room was packed. After 3.5 hours, I was called back.

The nurses were very efficient, and the doctor immediately ordered a rapid response Covid test, a chest Xray, and an EKG.  With a positive Covid result, the doctor ordered fluids and talked to me about antibodies.  Regeneron Monoclonal antibodies were given via infusion. My fever spiked to 102 degrees, and then started to decline.  By mid-afternoon, I was able to be wheeled out to my car.  The hospital was avoided, and I was on my way to improvement. Thank God for therapeutics.

Charles and I were both placed under quarantine for the next two weeks. Charles took over cooking and dishwashing duty.  Not his area of expertise, but he has handled it without complaint. Friends and family have delivered food, and even though I can’t taste anything, it has been much appreciated.

Since I was stuck in my recliner, I turned on the TV.  My chaotic diagnosis paled in comparison to what I saw on the news. 

The turmoil in Afghanistan was hard to watch as thousands of people surged into the Kabul Airport trying to get on a flight out of the country.  The situation erupted overnight as the U.S. abandoned its promise to the Afghani people and the Taliban took control of the country.

All I could do was pray for the people caught up in the mess.  The President was AWOL and when he finally did speak, he made little sense. What had happened to the most powerful country in the world in just eight months of the Biden administration?

With a broken heart, I watched the tragedy unfold. America has never left its citizens behind and takes care of those who stand with us. The military will do its job of rescuing our people, but the Taliban won’t make it easy. What will be the reputation of the United States at the conclusion of this exit debacle?


?


I am healing and getting my strength back, but I don’t have that same confidence in the United States of America.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Freedom is not Free

 

The recent celebration of Independence Day on July 4th in the US was protested and fraught with emotion.  Members of the far-left Socialist caucus let their feelings be known about how America isn’t free for the underprivileged minority. The term racist was hurled too often at our history and white citizens.
How fitting that a socialist country 90 miles to our south is fighting for its freedom.  Protestors have taken to the streets in numerous cities in Cuba to march against food shortages, inflation, and the failing medical system.  Many are pictured carrying the American stars and stripes.

The government forces are cracking down on the protestors, beating them, and arresting many. Cuban Communist President Miguel Diaz-Canel hosted an address on television to request government-supporting revolutionaries to counter the anti-government protestors. Social media and news websites have been shut down to quell the flow of information

Residents of South Florida are demonstrating in support of their Cuban brothers and sisters. The older Cuban generation who lived under the Castro regime are leading the way. Many are donating food and weapons and urging people to take boats to Cuba to show their support.  The US State Department and other government officials have taken a passive approach to the uprising in Cuba after the Cuban government accused the US of funding the demonstrations.

Second generation Cubans have adapted to the more liberal culture of America and are less inclined to want to interfere. Older Floridians want the US government to intervene in Cuba to stop the bloodshed and to restore freedom of assembly.

 I remember well the 1959 uprising in Cuba that swept aside the dictatorial Batista regime and put Fidel Castro into power. The failed Bay of Pigs invasion followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis dominated the news headlines of the early 1960s.




The Cuban people deserve their freedom from the Communist regime. I pray that before many more years go by, that will be a reality.  I also pray that the citizens of the US will not allow our freedoms to be taken over by socialism, critical race theory, an out-of-control border, massive debt, and inflation. 

Our founding ancestors had to fight long and hard to win the right to independence from Great Britain. Freedom is not free or cheap. May we as Americans continue to symbolize freedom for the rest of the world, to our children, and grandchildren.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Silver Lining

 

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.”

Maurice Setter

 

We knew better than to look for gold when it came to our wedding anniversary.  That would be 50 years of marriage in 2046. By then we will be walking on heavenly streets of gold.  Instead, we decided to celebrate our silver 25th in a big way. 

Before Covid 19 hit, we put a deposit down on a river cruise with American Cruise Lines. We would follow the steps of the Louis & Clark expedition. The closer it got to paying for the remainder of the trip, the more we hesitated. Ships were requiring masks and vaccines for passengers and heading to the Northwest with all the rioting in Portland, Oregon did not sound appealing. 

 A week in Branson, Missouri sounded like a good alternative. Lots of shows and other activities awaited our arrival. One had to be determined to drive over 800 miles to Branson. We thought Atlanta traffic was bad until we encountered Chattanooga and Nashville, TN. Road work, closed bridges, and backed up traffic tested our patience. 

We finally made it to Paducah, KY to spend the night. We stayed at a Holiday Inn on the bank of the Ohio River—an important stop for Louis & Clark, too. We were surprised to touch a bit of their famous expedition in Kentucky. Reaching the last interstate, we drove through beautiful rural countryside until we got to Branson the next evening. I am incredibly grateful for a good car navigation system and for a man who knows how to use it. 

Our quaint Branson hotel—built in 1903— provided us with a small room and bath. The hotel’s big stone front porch was delightful and a good place to escape. Ordering show tickets ahead of time cost us more than buying them there, but we had tickets to some sold-out events. 

We enjoyed Dolly Parton’s Stampede with dinner and the performance on the Branson Showboat during a cruise on the lake.  I absolutely had to see “Back to the Bee Gees” that featured three 2021 performers singing all their famous songs. It was a great show all around. The highlight of the week was the multi-faceted presentation of the life of Jesus at the Sight & Sound Theater. The Gospels came to life on the 300’ stage and screen. What a beautiful and soul stirring production to finish out our week. 

After a delicious farewell breakfast at Steamy Joe’s Cafe, we drove round and round through the Ozark Mountains heading for Memphis, TN. We passed through Hardy, AK where Charles had spent time as a teenager.  According to him, the town had not aged well, but our visit brought back many nostalgic memories. 

We spent one more night on the road in Memphis, before hitting Interstate 22 into Alabama and I-20 home to Georgia.  Our Silver Anniversary trip left us with lots of memories. We visited pieces of eight states, but sure were glad to get back home to our piece of heaven. Even though our trip to the Northwest was put on hold for another year, we found our silver lining in Branson.

 

 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Learning a New Language

 My daily eating routine brings me comfort. Cereal, fruit, and an egg for breakfast. Sandwich, chips, and an apple for lunch. Meat, potatoes, vegetables for dinner. Add a bowl of almond ice cream before bed.  I grab a few chips, granola bars or crackers, in between or whenever hunger strikes.  Not too bad you say. 

My doctor has an entirely different opinion. “You have diabetes,” he announces after my annual Medicare checkup.

You’ve got to be kidding. I know I’ve put on weight and resisted exercise, but Type 2 diabetes?  I’m too old to learn how to eat again!

Since that day two weeks ago, I’ve been bombarded with Facebook posts.  Drink this tea, take this supplement, order daily meal plans, and my favorite—eat every three hours.  All of cyberspace knows what I am dealing with, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

The medical advice seems plain and simple—exercise at least five times each week.  Cut back daily carbs to no more than 60 gm per day. Lose at least 25 pounds. Yikes! That will turn my life upside down and backwards.

My online research led me to discover there are some good and some bad carbohydrates.


Good carbs are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans. The stuff everyone likes—cakes, bread, pasta, French fries, and burgers—are loaded with bad carbs. Potatoes, rice, pasta, and cereals are some of the worst.  Walnuts, almonds, and peanuts are much lower in carbs.

Trying to figure out what carbs I can and cannot eat is overwhelming. I’ve always prided myself on eating a healthy diet, but pride goes before a fall.  My so-called healthy diet has not served me well. I spent an hour and a half at the grocery store last week reading labels.  I found some whole grain bread with fewer carbs and calories that I can have from time to time.  Fruit and veggies are good, and I like them, so I loaded up my buggy.

Next, I ordered a senior exercise video that is teaching me how to MOVE.  That young whippersnapper that leads the exercise has no clue about being old, fat, and lazy. However, he motivates me to get in shape as I try to keep up with his cardio and core strengthening moves.



My late bloomer husband is an exercise guru and loves his desserts.  Keeping something in the house he can eat, that will not tempt me, is a challenge. Dunkin Donuts is right around the corner and has all the goodies he wants.

 

The doctor found this early and has a goal for me to not use needles and take pills.  When I see him again in October, we will reevaluate the situation. In the meantime, I’m learning a new eating language and at this point, not sure I like it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

On the Road Again


After a long dry spell, we couldn’t wait to get on the road again. We like to travel and looked forward to seeing new sights along the way. It was our first big trip in over a year. The mileage on our 2019 car was still below 10,000 miles. Going to the grocery store, drug store, and church uses little gas and the car still smelled new. 

Our destination was Baton Rouge, Louisiana to see Charles’ sister and then Pensacola, Florida to see my sister.  Both of these dear ladies were recently widowed when their husbands died early in 2021.  We didn’t make either funeral but instead opted for a visit after vaccine shots were more widely distributed.

A stop in Laurel, Mississippi to see the town made famous by Ben & Erin Napier on their fixer upper show Home Town was on the agenda.  We checked in at the Holiday Inn Express ready to see the sights when Charles got sick to his stomach and started heaving. The next twelve hours were not pretty. We figured he picked up food poisoning when we stopped for lunch.  He managed to drive the next day to the Hampton Inn in Baton Rouge.

During the night, I got sick and spent the next twelve hours with decision sickness. Not food poisoning, but a throw up virus that attacked both of us. Charles pulled himself together enough to make the appointment the next day at the nursing home to visit with his sister, Marion.

After four nights of no sleep, we checked out of the hotel and headed for Alabama.  We spent one more night in a Hampton Inn in Fairhope to make sure we were over the bug. We were supposed to see Donnie & Erin and children in Daphne, AL but still felt sick so we took a rain check.

The next morning, we were on our way to Pensacola.

It had been five years since I’d seen my sister, Audrey.  We’d talked on the phone each week, but it wasn’t the same. Every time we tried to get together, life intervened. We thought we were going to take care of her, but instead we were the recipient of her hospitality. My niece and nephew opened up their comfortable downstairs suite to us and we were able to come and go at will. Some good sleep restored our bodies and minds so we could enjoy our visit. 

Once we were back home, groceries had to be bought and a ton of wash needed attention.  Life resumed full speed ahead. Call us crazy, but we are already anticipating another trip for our 25th anniversary in June. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

It's Crazy Out There

 

 

 


“Look, we're living in a crazy time right now. There's a lot of craziness going on in the world and in the United States in particular.” Mike Jackson  (retired British officer)

We are at the end of one of the craziest years in my lifetime. A business acronym describes the confusion of the past year. 

           ·      V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change                 forces and change catalysts.

·      U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

·    C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.

·   A = Ambiguity: the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

Volatility is the hallmark word for the past year. Locked down and locked up. From losing our business to taking travel off our bucket list for our 25th anniversary, life has changed dramatically.  Like many other Senior Adults, we have struggled with a longing to spend time with grandkids and meet with friends for lunch.

Uncertainty has ruled as we have listened to the television talking heads telling us what we can and cannot do. Should we wear masks, go to church, avoid the grocery store? These are real concerns that seniors face each day. We have chosen to be pretty liberal when it comes to getting out and going places such as the grocery store and church. We have faithfully worn masks to protect ourselves and others.

Confusion at times has prevailed.  We chose to do a couple of upgrades to the house and as a result, confusion set in.  Contractors, with few English skills, caused nerve jangling days that made us long for peace and quiet.

Ambiguity is around every corner. Should I call the doctor or do a virtual visit? When will I be able to visit that friend in the hospital? Two of our brothers-in-law died in the past month and we decided not to go to the funerals because Charles had not received his vaccine.  After Easter we will leave our comfort zones and travel to Louisiana and Florida to spend time with our sisters.

As we move into a new year, free from the constrictions of the past, we will seek a new acronym.

  • V — Vision
  • U — Understanding
  • C —  Clarity
  • A —  Agility   (not so sure about this one)

We have signed a self-publishing book contract and will devote much of our time to getting Chasing a Whirlwind published and promoted. Never a dull moment around here. 

A recent edition of USA Today interviewed senior adults about their plans. A common comment was heard.  “I don’t want to be the one who gives it to people” “I won’t eat out or fly until herd immunity arrives.”   Late spring into early fall seems to be the timeline for the US to develop herd immunity and for most seniors to resume their previous activities. Maybe we all can have hot dogs in our yard by July 4th.

May God bless you as you move into new ventures and catch up with old activities in the remaining months of 2021.